Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity – October 3rd 2021

Worship

Confession

God our Father, we come to you in sorrow for our sins:

For turning away from you, and ignoring your will for our lives:

Father forgive us:
Save us and help us.

For behaving just as we wish, without thinking of you:

Father, forgive us:
Save us and help us.

For failing you by what we do, and also by what we think and say:

Father, forgive us:
Save us and help us.

For letting ourselves be drawn away from you by the temptations

in the world about us:

Father forgive us:

Save us and help

For living as if we were ashamed to belong to your Son Jesus:

Father, forgive us:
Save us and help us

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins, time for amendment of life, and the grace and comfort of his Holy Spirit.

Amen.     

 

Word

The Collection for the Lord’s People

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you[a]—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians
8:1-9

Generosity – 2 Cor 8 v 1-9 Generosity series #1 Totley. With thanks to Stephen Croft.

[Introductory group work – Has anyone ever been really generous to you? How did it make you feel?

I remember (…personal Scalextric story). It was wonderful – unexpected and unearned – just given.

Chat with people near you or those you’re watching with if watching the recording of this at home. ]

If anyone would like to borrow the digital Scalextric set I now have just let me know!

Introduction – All saints is starting a new short series in the life of Church which is about generosity. In a world in which nations are increasingly focussing on looking after their own interests rather than those of others, one of the key things which should make Christians stand out as God’s people is that Christians should be a generous people. That generosity should be seen in many ways – in being generous with our time, in being generous in giving our money, and being generous in spirit, quick to forgive people, and quick to think the best of people rather than the worst. Generosity is a vital part of our discipleship: the way we live out our Christian lives. Our generosity speaks to people about the nature of our Church and can make it seem the kind of Church that people would want to join, so it’s an important part of our outreach as a Church too. In this short series you’ll be looking at this generous life – being generous in our financial giving, generous in giving of our time and generous in giving of ourselves.

Biblical In today’s reading, Paul is writing to the Church at Corinth – a Church that is well known and well respected in those times. A church, that v7 tells us ‘excels in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in love. Now he is giving them an opportunity to excel in another field of Christian living – in generosity. He’s not commanding them or trying to make them feel guilty. Paul simply wants to give them the chance to show generosity as a means to expressing grace. ‘Caris’ as the original Greek says. Generosity, says Paul, is a gift of grace, along with all the other gifts of grace which the Corinthians have experienced
To do this, Paul is unembarrassed in telling the Corinthians about the welling up of rich generosity in the Macedonian Church in their giving. But Paul is not trying to raise money that is needed for a particular task or ministry, so much as to change the way the Corinthians think about money. And that’s what this Generosity series is all about. Not simply about raising money, but changing the way we think about money.

Macedonia sits on the Aegean sea, next door to Greece.v2 tells us that the Macedonian Church were living ‘in extreme poverty’ and yet, they were staggeringly generous and wanted to give as much as they could. And what is amazing is that they did so joyfully. They pleaded with Paul to be allowed to share in the service of God’s people in this way. Far from their poverty making them reluctant to give, they had a generous spirit and a trust in God which allowed them to give, even when they had very little, knowing that they could trust in God to look after their own needs.

At the end of our section, Paul makes the comparison between the grace that God has given us in sending us Jesus – even though we were undeserving. ‘Although he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. Because we have received so much grace, a natural response from us should be to show grace in our dealings with others, and one way to do that is through generosity.

 

Application – In today’s talk I’m going to talk about four ‘keys’ to exploring God’s view of giving, and I’ll ask you to ‘buzz’ with people around you in response to some questions in the talk. I’m hoping to get people talking! And I want to begin by focussing on the why – why do we need to talk about generosity and giving to the Church?

Key 1: Talk about God’s giving
[slide 1]

Question 1 for discussion. Which answer would you give:

We need to think about generosity and giving because
o The Church is running out of funds
o Its going to be a very cold winter
o God has given so much for us.

Well, I don’t really know about how All saints’ funds are doing at the moment, but most Churches are struggling financially at the moment, it’s true,

It may well also be a very cold winter coming up!

But the real answer to this question is of course the third of these.

God has done so much for us, is doing so much for us. So often I know I take all that God has done for granted. Christians use the word grace to talk about God’s gifts, to remember all that God has done. So let’s for a moment think about just some of the things God has done for us:
Anyone like to shout out some good things that God has given them?

[Answers]

God’s work in creation; the gift of life; the gift of community; the gift of Jesus Christ; being able to know God; to share in Christian fellowship; the gift of the Holy Spirit shaping our lives; the privilege of Christian community.

We still use David’s great prayer from the Old Testament in our worship at Holy Communion:

“For all things come from you and of your own do we give you” .

We give first of all because God has given to us. We give in response to all that God has given us.

The second key thing: God’s vision
[slide 2]

Here is Question 2 for discussion. How would you answer?

We need to talk about generosity and giving so that:
o We keep our church going a bit longer
o We can grow and build God’s kingdom here
o We won’t have hold so many jumble sales

We know that God is generous and therefore we need to be generous. But we also need to know what we are giving money for. We need to know it is well managed and not wasted. We also need to know that we are achieving something by our giving.

This Church has a great vision ‘Love God. Love one another. Love a broken world.’
Your giving helps support this vision – helps make it happen.
This is an exciting time for All saints as you prepare to receive a new minister and start a fresh Chapter in your life together. People’s generosity, of their time, their money and of themselves, will be of key importance to enable this mission to the broken world to be fruitful.

The third key is connected with that.

3: Prayer.

Giving is a spiritual matter. We are talking about changing people’s lives; about God’s provision for our work. Therefore we need to pray about this earnestly and regularly; individually and together.

I’ve known some amazing things happen in terms of giving in the different places I have been. They have all been connected with prayer. Prayer and faith can move mountains. Many of us will be able to tell stories about God’s provision.

Illustration – Some years ago our son Thomas was suddenly at 4 weeks’ notice asked to go and play the drums for a group called the Continentals on their gospel tour taking Christian music and testimonies to towns across Europe. He was just 14 and he had to raise £1500 pound to pay the costs of the trip. But he prayed and asked God for help. God prompted some people to be generous and to help Thomas and the money came in –exactly the amount he needed, so he could go. God provides for us when we have need – we can trust him.

Q 4: Giving is good for us
[slide 3]

Here is the final question for you to think about
Is God concerned about
o The amount we give
o The way we use all our resources
o Creating generous people

The answer is of course all three, and these are what we’ll be looking at in this mini series. But most of all he is concerned with creating generous people.

Generosity cuts against the grain of our consumer society, where everyone is encouraged to get as much for themselves as possible, to be greedy, not generous. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Wellby wrote a really challenging book about how our societies’ attitudes to wealth are drawing us away from God called ‘Dethroning Mammon’.

God’s goal is not consumers of religious services. God’s goal is Christlike people in Christlike communities.

As God is generous, so Jesus is generous. As Jesus is generous so we are called to make and to be generous disciples.

Closing Prayer
Lord, may I daily grow in the grace of giving, that, like the Christians in Corinth, I might excel at it. Amen.

Witness

The Eucharistic Prayer

The Lord is here.

His Spirit is with us.

Lift up your hearts.
All We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
All It is right to give thanks and praise.

Almighty God, good Father to us all,
your face is turned towards your world.
In love you gave us Jesus your Son
to rescue us from sin and death.
Your Word goes out to call us home
to the city where angels sing your praise.
We join with them in heaven’s song:

All Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.

[Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.]

Father of all, we give you thanks for every gift that comes from heaven.

To the darkness Jesus came as your light.
With signs of faith and words of hope
he touched untouchables with love and washed the guilty clean.

This is his story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

The crowds came out to see your Son,
yet at the end they turned on him.
On the night he was betrayed
he came to table with his friends
to celebrate the freedom of your people.

This is his story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Jesus blessed you, Father, for the food;
he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said:
This is my body, given for you all.
Jesus then gave thanks for the wine;
he took the cup, gave it and said:
This is my blood, shed for you all
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in remembrance of me.

This is our story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Therefore, Father, with this bread and this cup
we celebrate the cross
on which he died to set us free.
Defying death he rose again
and is alive with you to plead for us and all the world.

This is our story.
All This is our song:
Hosanna in the highest.

Send your Spirit on us now

that by these gifts we may feed on Christ
with opened eyes and hearts on fire.

May we and all who share this food
offer ourselves to live for you
and be welcomed at your feast in heaven
where all creation worships you,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit:

Blessing and honour and glory and power
be yours for ever and ever.
Amen.

As our Saviour taught us so we pray:

The Lords Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.

Breaking of the Bread

The president breaks the consecrated bread.

We break this bread
to share in the body of Christ.

Though we are many, we are one body,
because we all share in one bread.

Giving of Communion

The president says one of these invitations to communion

God’s holy gifts
for God’s holy people.

Jesus Christ is holy,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Prayer after Communion

Almighty God,
we thank you for feeding us
with the body and blood of your Son Jesus Christ.
Through him we offer you our souls and bodies
to be a living sacrifice.
Send us out
in the power of your Spirit
to live and work
to your praise and glory.
Amen.

Blessing and dismissal

May the Father from whom every family

in earth and heaven receives its name
strengthen you with his Spirit in your inner being,
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;
and the blessing of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always
Amen.

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

Community

The community of S17 has drawn together during these unusual times in a very special way. This is reflected in the great work of the S17 COVID-19 Community Support group.

The group aims to support those in the community who may be in need and to provide a support network to the S17 community at this time.

“If there are needy people in our community let’s ensure we help them out with things like bringing shopping to their door.”

The Wardens of All Saints Totley have been producing regular newsletters with helpful links, thoughts and resources. The latest of these is here.

We have also started to add resources for the younger members of our church, to add to this virtual service. They can be found here, and here.

Reminder

If you have any feedback on this service or any other ideas, suggestions or contributions, for future services please do send these to comments@allsaintstotley.church