by Rev. Kerry Greenhill © 2019
These liturgies for Sunday, February 24, 2019, were written as part of the worship series “From Glory to Glory: Following the Spirit from Epiphany to Transfiguration.” They were written with the Special Session of General Conference (UMC) in mind, and weaving together the lectionary texts with the fruit of the Spirit, in this case, self-control. If you are United Methodist and wondering what you can do this week while the General Conference is taking place, check out this article.
1 Corinthians 15:35-50 – But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
Luke 6:27-38 – “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
A seed contains a mystery: it looks nothing like the stalk or plant or tree that will grow from it, yet it contains all that is necessary to reproduce a certain form of life. We must be willing to be broken open for God’s resurrection life to spring forth. And, by grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, we must practice self-control so we can keep sowing the seeds of the Kin’dom, the seeds of love and blessing and generosity and nonviolent resistance. Whatever the results of General Conference, we can continue to sow God’s seeds in the world, and to live into resurrection as God breaks open our church to bring forth new life.
Call to Worship
One: God asks, “What kind of life are you growing?”
Many: We want a life of joy and abundance,
not fear and scarcity.
One: God asks, “What kind of church are you building?
Many: We want a church of love and faithfulness,
not bitterness and rigidity.
One: God asks, “What kind of world are you creating?
Many: We want a world of justice and peace,
not oppression and brokenness.
One: God calls us together in worship today
Many: to plant seeds of resurrection,
to lay foundations of grace,
to dream visions of wholeness and right relationship
greater than we can accomplish on our own.
All: God, by your grace and the power of your Spirit,
draw us into your transforming love this day. Amen.
Litany of Commitment
(adapting the Rule of Life attributed to John Wesley)
One: Though there is plenty of bad news to go around,
and evil seems to run rampant in our world,
God calls us to a different way of life:
Many: So we sow seeds of kindness, love, gentleness, and generosity.
One: Though our church is torn by conflict
and we fear that the institution we love may die,
God promises that resurrection is possible.
Many: So we sow seeds of hope, patience, peace, and self-control.
One: Though the work of justice and peace is hard
and we do not know what the future holds,
God’s steadfast love never fails, but sustains us day by day.
Many: So we sow seeds of faithfulness, courage, endurance, and joy.
One: And I say to you that listen,
Many: Do all the good you can,
One: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
Many: By all the means you can,
One: bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
Many: In all the ways you can,
One: If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also;
Many: In all the places you can,
One: and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
Many: At all the times you can,
One: Give to everyone who begs from you;
and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.
Many: To all the people you can,
One: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Many: As long as ever you can.
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