Sixteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time C, July 17, 2016

Amos 8:1-12
Psalm 52
Colossians 1:15-28
Luke 10:38-42

*Note: I am using names of currency in today’s liturgy, so for those of you not in the United States you will likely want to adjust that terminology in the Prayer of Confession.  Sorry about that.  I just thought it was important enough to reference and didn’t want to just say “shekels.”  Thank you for your understanding!*

One: We like to think that our faith is our individual pursuit.
All: But, O Lord, you call us into community.
One: We like to think that what is ours is ours.
All: But, O Lord, you teach us sharing.
One: We like to think that our faith is contained in this room.
All: O Lord, open us up again to what life in you really looks like.

Gracious God, we think we know you and have it so wrong.  We think you love us so much – even more than others – that we deserve your special favors, and you remind us that we all are gifted with your love and deserve human justice and equality.   We like to think that our petty priorities are yours, but how wrong we are.  Today, O Lord, take us out of our own priorities and selfishness. Help us hear again, maybe for the first time, where the buck stops in your eyes.  Amen.

We get it wrong all the time.  We pass down the wrong from generation to generation.  Let us come today before a gracious God, and confess our sins.

O Lord, we have it so wrong.  As Amos convicts us, we can’t wait to make the next buck, compound the next dollar, buy the poor for a “good deal,” or the needy for a pair of used shoes.  While our balance sheets in life are deceitful, our balance sheets with you are condemning and shameful.  We have done mischief against the godly with razor-sharp tongues and works of treachery.  And we have built a system so full of deceit that we don’t even see the problems.  We have lost your way so thoroughly.  Lord, teach us to take refuge in you, instead of riches.  Help us trust in your steadfast love instead of abundant wealth.  Help us not be distracted by many things but instead sit at your feet and listen.  Forgive us this day, please.  Amen.

Dear ones, God’s love is from everlasting.  God loves those who have not a penny to their name, and God loves you.  We know where we stand, and now let us discover how we are to be forever changed.  In the name of Jesus Christ I declare to you that your sins are forgiven.  Now go forth and sin no more.

If there were ever a day to come forth and eagerly rid ourselves of our money, it is with today’s scriptures.  We don’t deserve it.  We don’t need it.  And we know well through the words read today that there are better homes for it.  Let us now give freely, unburdening ourselves of the wealth and greed we likely carry.

O Lord, may what we have brought forward today from our pockets and ourselves turn mourning into feasts, deceit into open generosity and mischief into your justice and righteousness.  Amen.

Only Christ is the head of this table.  There is no jockeying for who gets to sit next to the head of the table, for none of us deserve it.  And we come here finding ourselves sitting next to silk and sackcloths, bright colors and grey, freshly washed and unwashed, people of every color of the spectrum, language spoken, and status of heart.  But you welcome us all equally.  Your feasts are the most wonderful, honest and loving.  Come, dear ones.  Come to the feast of our Lord.  You are all most welcome.  Now partake in this simple and extra-ordinary meal together.

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