Third Sunday before Advent – November 7th 2021

Welcome

Call to Worship

Let us open our hearts, our minds, and our eyes to see the generous gifts of God, and respond with praise and thanksgiving.

Worship

Gathering Prayer

Generous God,
we come, individually and together,
as your people to be resourced, inspired and blessed.
We come, thankful for the self-giving love of Jesus.
Inspired by his example, may we be generous and giving,
with no reward other than knowing we are doing your will.
We ask this in his name.
Amen.

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Word

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

1 Kings
17:8-16

The Greatest Commandment

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

Mark
12:38-34

So I wondered how we might answer the questions in the light of the Bible stories that we have heard this morning, both of which could be considered as an image of ‘giving hands’

 

What does living generously mean to you, in terms of our Old Testament Story, as a widow, the woman would have had no power or status and would have been on the edge of society. As a family they have little food left, just an almost empty jar of oil and a little flour, just enough for a final meal for herself and her son, and yet she is prepared to share this with the prophet Elijah.

 

For the widow in the temple, giving her all was her two coins_ in this passage it is highlighted that Jesus sees not the total cost but the personal cost – which leads me back to my comments at the start of the service – and this is the real measure of generosity. It is the heart of the giver rather than what is given that is important.

 

As I reflect on this passage, what strikes me is about both women was that they didn’t hold back, and in doing so gave ‘their all’ answering our third question. But the thought of ‘holding back’ opens a whole new line of wondering. Do we sometimes hold back? If so when, what are the circumstances? Do we hold back from others or do we hold back from God and perhaps the most challenging question_ What keeps us from holding back?

 

Both the stories we have heard this morning are images of a generous living and a generous sharing out of very little, over the past few weeks, we have reflected on Generous Giving focusing on Paul’s guidance to the church in Corinth in the light of giving to the church in Jerusalem and in that we saw Paul guiding them to give from what they had and willingly. This is the counter-cultural message in today’s terms and society as it is a reminder to love God and our neigbours as ourselves.

What does living generously mean to you?

What would it mean for you to ‘give your all’?

Give some space to have a think discuss with family group or someone near to you as you feel able. Share with the group.

Witness

All Age Prayer

God, I pray for eyes big enough

to see to the edge of the galaxy, (raise hands high)

down to the depths of the sea, (hands touching the ground)

and all around in every direction, (hands spread wide)

to see everything that is made by you. (point up)

Thank you for your generosity. (hands together and small bow)

Help us to live and give generously too. (hands in offering gesture)

Awesome God,

Thank you, Amen

 

Diocesan Vision Prayer
 

Living God, Jesus calls his followers to seek first your Kingdom.
Renew us as we make your love known;
Release us to share freely together in mission;
and Rejuvenate us to be fruitful in your service.
Give us courage, wisdom and compassion,
that strengthened with the grace of the Holy Spirit,
we may, as the Diocese of Sheffield,
both flourish and grow through Christ our Lord.
Amen
 


The Lord’s Prayer
 


As our Saviour taught us, so we pray
 
All   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.

Blessing and dismissal

A Sending out Prayer

Generous God, make us generous.
Make us generous in joy,
and generous in love.
Help us to remember what we have done today.
Remind us, every day,
that we need to share our love for you with others,
that we need to give and live generously –
for you are generous God, our God.
Be with each one of us and all whom we love,
this week and always.
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