REDEEMER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
August 29, 2021
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Invocation: Good morning and welcome!
Lord of mercy and abundant love, we have gathered here this day to hear your healing words of compassion and to be transformed by your love. Help us to become more faithful servants in our thoughts, words, and deeds. It is in Jesus’ Name, we pray. AMEN.
Call to Worship
L: Every generous act of giving is a tribute to God’s love for us.
P: Lord, let us be people of generous and abundant gifts for others.
L: Be ready to listen and slow to react in anger.
P: Lord, prepare us to be peaceful people.
L: Keep your hearts and spirits ready to serve the Lord.
P: Lord, open our hearts to hear and respond to your words of life in ministries of hope and peace. AMEN.
Words of Welcome and Parish News
Prayers of the people and a time for Silent Prayer
Prayer Focus: Faith
The Lord’s Prayer:
Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
The New Testament Lesson: James 1:17-27
17Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 19You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. 22But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. 25But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. 26If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
The Message “Doers of the Word” Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.
Well, today, our Scripture leads us into the familiar territory through an adage: “Practice what you preach.” The significant difference for us as a people of faith is doing what Jesus instructs us to follow in all thy ways. Sometimes you may have come across some people who can quote Scripture forwards and backward. They may be able to do an excellent exegesis of the Word, which means unpacking the verses and interpreting. But, after all that, are they doers of the Word? Now let’s face it, we’ve all been in situations when we talked a good game, and that was its extent. How can we say, “you should do this or that, and we don’t?” Another challenge we face is speaking before listening because we grab hold of a couple of words and stop listening to a suggestion, a change in a process, or an update on a decision. Some people hear one word and start to say I’m not listening to that; therefore, they think they’re not responsible for participating in decisions.
Today’s word gives us an insight into our relationship with the word and our faith journey. Thus, do we have the strength to be doers of the word! This passage from James may have you taking a self-reflection. Look inside of these verses: 23For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; 24for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. When you are alone an have the opportunity to study the word, do you ponder how it applies to you? Do you see how there may be some challenges in your daily habits that may need an adjustment? Yes, when you have the opportunity to read and spend time with the word, even through a devotional are you so moved to question how it applies to yourself? We talk about things and do the opposite. But, as the faith community, people study us every day. They decide about going to church or strengthening their relationship with Jesus based on what they see us do.
Have you ever listened to conversations from church-going people and wanted to ask if they actually said or did something to a person in public that didn’t sound like it was in the Christian way? Maybe this is why James gives a unique and powerful image: 26If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Image how we sometimes get carried away and talk, talk, talk and say some things that sound in complete opposition to who we are? James says we should bridle our tongues. Now a bridle is a mechanism that you see used to control the direction of a horse. We are faced with conversations and decisions that require us to be guided by the Holy Spirit. However, sometimes we open our mouths and before you know it, say something that you want to take back.
Finally, being doers of the Word. James gives us reminders that continue to appear throughout the Bible. That is how we take care and respond to the care for oppressed people and remember Jesus calls us to social justice. 27Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress.” Living the truth moves us from listening to doing. Redeemer you are doers of the word! This Scripture today is about you. Ultimately, it’s about Gods unending grace that pours out on us in every breath we take! 18In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
Offertory Prayer: Generous, giving God; we offer our gifts to you in gratitude for all the blessings you rain down upon us. Your sunshine warms us, your earth feeds us, and your word nourishes us. More than these gifts of money, we give ourselves—our time and our energy—that we might be doers of your word and not just hearers only. We pray this in the name of Christ our Savior. Amen.
Doxology: UMH 95
*Unison Prayer of Dedication: God of light and beauty, every gift is from you.
Even our ability to give is a blessing of your love. We offer you what we have and what we are.
Use our gifts to give birth to a world of righteousness where none are in need and where all draw close to your grace. Amen.
As Christ has fed and redeemed your life, now go into the world in peace and love offering ministries of hope and justice. Go in peace and may the peace of God always be with you. AMEN.
Recessional (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)