Pentecost 13–August 22
Offerings of Praise:
Service Prayers and Ideas for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost
August 22, 2021
Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
As this piece of bread was scattered over the hills and then was brought together and made one, so let your Church be brought together from the ends of the earth into your Kingdom. For yours is the glory and the power through Jesus Christ forever.
from the Didache
Call to Worship
One: In this house you will find bread for your life’s journey.
One: Come. Stay awhile and eat this bread so you will never hunger.
One: Come. Be strengthened in God to withstand the present night and the spiritual forces of evil.
Prayer of Invocation
O God, we have no life apart from you. We do not come here to eat bread that fills us for a day. Rather we come to be nourished by you and that the love you have for us fills us for a lifetime. May this food strengthen our discipleship. Grant that it will renew in us our commitment to proclaiming the gospel of peace through our ministries of peace and justice in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
We profess that you are God, O Holy One. We have no other gods, and yet, we do not always serve you with sincerity and faithfulness. Our “other gods” are not the ones of our ancestors—the ones beyond the River, or in Egypt, or of the Amorites. We struggle with “other gods” here and now who seek to fulfill us by consumerism and with self-importance. We hear gods who instill in us such fear of our enemies that we seek power from weapons of destruction. Help us, O God, to find fulfillment in you. Forgive us that we are skeptical of love’s transforming power. We repent of our sins and turn our hearts again to you. Amen.
Words of Assurance
No other god cares for us as God does.
No other god loves us as God does.
No other god forgives us as God does.
Thanks be to God.
Have you ever thought why the Doxology follows the offering? Doxology comes from the Greek doxologia, meaning “words of glory” It follows an ascription of praise.  Seen this way, this offering is an act of praise to God. It is through this offering that we honor God. Let us be generous in our praise to God.
Prayer of Dedication
Accept our offerings of praise in grateful thanksgiving for your presence in our lives and the many blessings you bestow upon us. Consecrate our offering, O God, that it may become bread to fill the emptiness and heal the brokenness of the lives in this community and beyond. And may we be reminded that our real life begins when we give with generous hearts to proclaim the gospel in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.
Go forth from here filled with the bread of life. Share that bread with those you meet so they may taste the bread that will never let them know hunger.
May God’s blessing be upon you.
May Jesus’ love attend to you.
May the Holy Spirit sustain you until we meet again.
What is it about your church that you cherish? How does your church help you to live more fully? When do you feel God’s grace and love?
This morning’s reading from John’s gospel comes at the end of the same chapter that began with the story of Jesus feeding the 5000, which is the only story that appears in all four gospels. Jesus fed them food that filled them for a day, but at the end of the chapter he proclaims that he is the bread of life. “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” (6:58)
Pose the questions above or similar questions to the congregation. Have them share their answers with each other. If possible, have them write them down while they talk. The following suggest two ways to have people record them:
- Get a very large sheet of paper and mount it on a wall. If possible, have a large picture of the church on the sheet. Ask people to come and write their answers directly on the sheet.
- Create a “stained glass window” using colored tissue paper. Using a large sheet(s) of paper mounted on a wall as a backing, ask people to write their answers on pieces of irregularly-cut, colored tissue paper and then taping their responses to the large sheet. If you have clear windows, tape them directly to the windows. (Note: Crayons work well for writing on tissue paper.)
After everyone has had a chance to record their responses, read some of them to the congregation and invite the writers to elaborate on their responses.
Collect all the responses after the service. Organize them. Use some or all of them by weaving them throughout the next pledge campaign.
Offerings of Praise: Service Prayers for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost was written by the Rev. Quentin Chin, member of Church on the Hill in Lenox, MA.
Copyright 2021 Faith INFO Ministry Team, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.
 W. Jardine Grisbrooke. Doxology. From The New Westminster Dictionary of Liturgy & Worship. edited by Paul Bradshaw. Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, KY. 2002 Page 156