After Pentecost C — August 28

August 28, 2022
Luke 14:1, 7-14
“Receive the Invitation”

Call to Worship

Welcome to the banquet of hope,
the open bar of prayer,
the “anonymous” circle of acceptance.

We come because we are invited.

Welcome to a fiesta of joy
or a mercy meal of tenderness,
where every seat is a place of honor.

We come because we are invited.

Welcome to a party for God’s love-reveal,
where all seating is a circle,
and karaoke is never necessary
because we sing our own stories.

We come because we have an invitation,
not on paper, simply our names.

God, we come this gathering of community where there are no barriers, and all our abilities are celebrated as gifts. We come to receive your hospitality of caring for each one of us and to learn from you how to offer such a celebration to stranger, friend, chosen family, those whose faces are unfamiliar to us, and the face who meets us in the mirror. Amen.

Prayer for Transformation and New Life

God, sometimes we say, “I’m too busy,”
to invitations to kindness, friendship, or activism,
or pretend to be “too busy,” and avoid
being indebted, pitied, or rubbing elbows
with those who make me uncomfortable.

Sometimes we accept an invitation to be involved,
celebrate with someone, or just have coffee,
but back out or “no-show.”

Forgive us when we skip your parties.

God, sometimes we are “imperfect guests,”
wanting to be the center of attention,
and other times we insist on
always being host, giver, one in control,
receiver of praise and gratefulness.

Forgive us when we fail
in gratitude or generosity. amen.

Words of Grace
God loves, invites, nudges, embraces us in all our resistance to simply hold a balloon of joy and clap at the candles of another’s cake. We are forgiven; a plate is set for us.

Invitation to Generosity
We are invited to offer our resources, our time, our abilities, our compassion, on days when our lives are full and days when our lives feel empty. We are invited to offer what we have and accept what we need. Our practice [include the ways offering is received in the particular church] is a profound “yes” to the invitation of God.

Prayer of Dedication and Thanksgiving
God, we bring these gifts, our response to your invitation. In this giving, we find ourselves not lessened, but newly joyful, truly honored, and deeply fed by your blessing. Amen.

May you be blessed when you sit at fine tables of welcome
and when you spread the picnic blanket of peace.
May you be blessed in giving and receiving,
not repaid, but your hearts repaired.

Receive the Invitation: Service Prayers for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost were written by Maren C. Tirabassi, a UCC pastor, author of fiction and non-fiction, and also lover of summer, the company of dogs, mystery novels and science fiction conventions.