and Worship Resources
Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon and Worship Resources
An Autumn Prayer
Dear God, the world is aflame with your glory and the
trees sing out your praise. Let the fires of your Holy Spirit, burn
the self satisfaction and pretense from our souls. Let it set us on
fire with the joy of serving others in Your Name. Let it dance among
us gathered here as the falling leaves dance to your glory on the
hillside. Give to us new hearts that your song may be sung in the face
of grief and fear, in spite of sickness and loneliness, and in the
knowledge that wherever we go, you are there before us holding those
we would serve in the arms of your gracious love. Teach us to love as
you love, through Jesus our savior and guide. Amen
based on Matthew 25:1-13, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Amos 5:18-24
Rev. Karen A. Goltz
When I read
through today’s lectionary texts, all I could think was, ‘Wow! How
depressing!’ The reading from Amos talks about God ignoring the songs and
sacrifices dedicated to him in worship, and says that the Day of the Lord is
darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it. The reading from 1st
Thessalonians talks about dead people and whether or not they’ll be able to
participate in the Day of the Lord, and the Gospel reading seems to issue a
stern warning about being constantly prepared. It seems like it’s saying you’re
out of luck if you’re not completely ready at that unexpected time.
. . . Our culture and our dictionaries understand
hope as a feeling that what we want to happen will happen. Our
plans for our families. Our careers. Our stocks. Our
retirement plans. But what would happen if we put our hope and our trust in
God, rather than in the things and the people that God created?
And the Gospel?
The Gospel lesson is a word of encouragement. God doesn’t go by our
timetables, and we will encounter frustrations. We’ll have our times when
we’re caught up in the worries of this world and lose sight of the true source
of our hope. But even though we don’t know the day or the hour, the fact
is that the bridegroom will come. And if we forgot extra oil for
our lamps? It occurs to me that ten people don’t need ten separate lamps,
if they stay together. I wonder if the sin of the foolish bridesmaids
wasn’t that they forgot oil, but that they stopped watching for the bridegroom
and instead gave their attention to the worries of this world. Their hope
wasn’t in the coming of the bridegroom; their hope was in having enough oil.
Whenever we celebrate a baptism, the newly baptized is told to let their light
so shine before others that they may see their good works and glorify their
Father in heaven. Others who at any given moment do not have oil in their
own lamps can be illuminated by the lights of the baptized, and encouraged in
their own faith to fill their own lamps with oil. That is witness, and we
are witnessing to the confidence that we are guaranteed participation in the
completion of God’s saving act by all that God has done in the past.
full sermon manuscript.
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