Leader: Praise the Lord!
People: Praise the name of the Lord;
Leader: Give praise, O servants of the Lord,
You that stand in the house of the Lord,
In the courts of the house of our God.
People: Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;
Sing praises to God’s name.
Leader: For I know that the Lord is great;
Leader and People: Our Lord is above all gods.
Songs and hymns of praise
Scripture text: Romans 12:1-8
Sermon ideas: The church is called the “body of Christ”—the hands and feet through which Christ is made known today. This body is made up of many members, all different from one another, and all with different gifts. This diversity is necessary—one can’t have a body with all feet, for example. But it is not always easy to honor the different gifts. It is tempting to see some gifts as more prestigious, while others—the “grunt work” jobs are seen as less desirable. But this is contrary to Scripture, which tells us that all members are a necessary part of the body.
Frederick Buechner (pronounced “Beek-ner”) says that vocation or call is where our passion or “deep gladness” and the world’s need meet. Encourage the members of your congregation to think about what enlivens them, what God-given passions they have. This will not necessarily be the same as one’s paid work. A professional accountant may prefer teaching Sunday school to being on the church’s finance committee. A school janitor may have gifts of hospitality that would be overlooked if s/he was only expected to clean the church. You may wish to share a story of your journey into ministry, and how you discovered some of your gifts.
Romans 12:1-2—verses that are familiar to many Anabaptists—are often viewed in isolation from verses 3-8. But there is a natural connection. Together the body of Christ makes up a “living sacrifice” (v. 1). Together the people of God seek to be transformed, rather than conforming to the world. This transformation enables the church to discern the will of God. This is all part of being the body of Christ—our individual gifts are to support the corporate mission of being Jesus’ hands and feet in the world.
Responding to the Word
Song of Response
Options include “There are many gifts,” Hymnal: A Worship Book (HWB) 304; “Here I am, Lord,” HWB 395; “One is the body” Sing the Journey 72
Litany of Response
Leader: Lord, you have formed us to be a people—the body of Christ, at work in your world.
People: We celebrate the gifts you have given us to carry out the work of your kingdom.
Leader: You have given your people many gifts. You have called some to teach, some to minister, some to administer, some to offer hospitality, some to share the Good News, some to heal.
People: You have given each one of us a gift. We offer ourselves—our gifts, our time, our energy, our resources—to you. Amen.
Options include “Heart with loving heart united,” HWB 420; “Go, my children,” HWB 433; “Sizohamba naye (We will walk with God),” Sing the Journey 78
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