God, we gather this day to worship you and to acknowledge your glory
and strength. Quiet the other voices that clamor for our attention,
as we strive to hear your voice calling us and claiming us as your
people. For your voice is mighty and sounds throughout our world: a
call to faithfulness, justice and mercy. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Seen from below,
power is something for which you grasp. Earthly leaders seek it
in order to rule over people. God's power, like what we
celebrated last week in the coming of the Holy Spirit on
Pentecost, is different. It wasn't to "lord over" people that
Jesus was sent. God in Christ relinquished power, and died that
we might live.
Jesus said, "whoever
wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their
life for me will save it"
(Luke 9:24). That makes no sense if seen from below, does
it? The apostle Paul, in dealing with his own inadequacies,
heard God tell him, "My grace is sufficient
for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"
(2 Corinthians 12:9). Again, that's not how we normally see
things, is it?
To be "born from above" is a radical shift of
perspective. We see with new eyes the world which "God so
loved." Our relationships shift from self-centeredness to
unconditional love. Our possessions cease to possess us as
gratitude becomes a way of living. We stop being so worried
about our own security and welfare, and start caring more about
the welfare of others and about what's right and just for all.
We start seeing the world as bigger than our own little piece of
Of course, all this doesn't happen overnight. Just like a baby
does not come out of a mother's womb as a mature adult, so being
"born from above" is a life-long process. Each and every
day the living God falls afresh upon us, melding and molding,
filling and using, as the old hymn states. Are you allowing
yourself, day by day, to be transformed by the One who was not
sent to condemn, but rather to save? Think about it.
Ushers, would you guide our giving?
O God, our possessions often bring us a sense of safety and
reassurance. We are too quick to place our faith and hope in
earthly things – homes and cars and bank accounts and investment
savings and technology. You invite us to place our faith in
eternal, heavenly things. Today, we give you one type of
earthly possession – money. In giving, we accept your
invitation of the true security that is offered through your
son, Jesus Christ. We pray in the name of God, the Father, Son,
and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Whether or not we hear them,
the voice of angels ring out above our everyday
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of
hosts; the whole earth is full
of his glory."
Are you listening?
Wherever you go, whatever task you face,
know that even there "is full of
Therefore, head into the work of this week
knowing that your heavenly Father calls you to holy
no matter how large or small these may
You are heirs of the Kingdom
through Christ Jesus, the Son,
born from above.
You are empowered by the Holy Spirit
to do what needs to be done.
"Whom shall I send?" God asks daily.
Will you respond, like Isaiah did?: (motion for people to join in if
they’ve caught the tune): "Here I am, send me."
Interested in Sunday School? Below is a growing list of possible sites to visit.
As you discover others, please let
International Lesson: Adult
from The United Methodist Publishing House
(click "supplemental resources" and "current events supplement"
under both the "Student" and "Teacher" sections in the left hand column)