Current Worship Series

“First Fruits”

November 10th – November 24th – Theme: What we do illustrates what we believe.

Sister Helen Prejean once said, “I watch what I do to see what I really believe.”  Our actions reflect the condition of our heart.  The depth of our devotion to God is seen through our faith practices. As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses shared with them disciplines and practices that would deepen their relationship with the Lord.  One of those was the giving of first fruits.  This practice would lead them to remember their reliance on God, would foster a spirit of generosity, and ultimately call for true commitment to their Lord. This practice still applies today. As we consider the invitation to offer our first fruit to the Lord, let’s remember that what we do illustrates what we believe.

November 10th – “The Creed” – Deuteronomy 26:1-11 – Theme: Giving first fruits means putting our trust in the Lord.
The Israelites are ready to enter the Promised Land. Up to this point, their primary identity has been as wanderers. Now a people who had been homeless are about to have a home. One would think that this would be a moment of liberation, but in fact, this was one of their most vulnerable times.  Facing the possibility of forgetting their need for God, the Israelites were given a practice that reminded them of their continual reliance upon the Lord. So how have we forgotten?  What practices do we have in place that help us to order our lives in such a way that causes us to look to and rely on the strength and security of our Lord?   
 
November 17th – “The Tithe – Deuteronomy 26:12-15 – Theme: Generosity fosters generosity.
A “tithe” is understood to be a tenth, offered in confidence and out of gratitude for God’s abundant provision.  Yet, it can be hard to always trust the promise of abundant goodness and provision. Bad news and difficulties make us want to turn inward, protecting what we have in order to keep an untrustworthy and insecure world at bay. But our generous love for each other is what we need to call on when we are most deeply challenged. Generosity is what propels us through crisis. It can transform danger into opportunity and tragedy into hope. Generosity fosters generosity. It makes us human and is both a basic human desire and a skill that is developed through practice.

 

November 24th (Christ the King Sunday) – “The Commitment” – Deuteronomy 26:16-19 – Theme: Our commitment is a testimony to God’s reign.
Our deepest challenges call for our deepest commitment.  Moses’ teaching to the Israelites concludes with an urging of full obedience to God’s divine instruction on the giving of first fruits. But his point is not based on adherence to a law; it is about the blessing that comes through being in relationship with the Lord.  Within this covenant of sorts, both God and God’s people have a part to play.  Moses illustrates God’s commitment to us, so the question is, how deeply and passionately will we commit to God?  Through this promise, our lives become a reflection of the glory of God and our commitment becomes a testimony to the power of God’s goodness and peace.