As You Go, Call All: Monday, May 16

General Conference Worship
Monday, May 16, 8:00 AM
As You Go, Call All

Gathering

PRELUDE        Martin Methodist College Chamber Choir

CALL TO WORSHIP

Reader 1: All of you who are thirsty, come to the water!
Reader 2 (in Spanish): Come to God’s party!
All the world is welcome at the party! (speak in your first language)

Reader 1: Whoever has no money, come, buy food and eat. Without money, at no cost, buy wine and milk.
Reader 3 (in French): Come to God’s party!
All the world is welcome at the party! (speak in your first language)

Reader 1: Why spend money for what isn’t food, and your earnings for what doesn’t satisfy?
Reader 4 (in English): Come to God’s party!
All the world is welcome at the party! (speak in your first language)

Reader 1: Listen carefully to me and eat what is good; enjoy the richest of feasts.
Reader 5 (in Swahili): Come to God’s party!
All the world is welcome at the party! (speak in your first language)

Reader 1: Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.
Reader 6 (in Portuguese): Come to God’s party!
All the world is welcome at the party! (speak in your first language)

PROCESSIONAL HYMN

I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table

I’m gonna sit at the welcome table…
We’re gonna feast on milk and honey….
We’re gonna eat and drink with Jesus…
Here all the world will find a welcome…

PRAYER

Dear God who is both our Savior and our Host, we come to join your party, the party of love and grace where all are welcome. God, you are the source of all life and the fount of all mercy. When you throw a party, it’s a major celebration! We are invited to your feast, but we pray that you would empower us to go out to the streets and the back alleys, to the tiny villages and to the urban centers, to spread the word that you have invited everyone to your party. And when we falter, God, doubting the authenticity of our own invitation, play the music a little louder, blow the fragrance of your fresh bread and wine out the door on the wind of the Spirit, and give us the courage in Jesus Christ to claim our own place at your welcome table. Amen.

SUNG RESPONSE

God Welcomes All

Proclaiming

SCRIPTURE     Matthew 22:1-14 [CEB]

Reader 1: Jesus responded by speaking again in parables: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding party for his son. He sent his servants to call those invited to the wedding party. But they didn’t want to come. Again he sent other servants and said to them,

Reader 2: ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Look, the meal is all prepared. I’ve butchered the oxen and the fattened cattle. Now everything’s ready. Come to the wedding party!”’

Reader 1: “But they paid no attention and went away — some to their fields, others to their businesses. The rest of them grabbed his servants, abused them, and killed them. The king was angry. He sent his soldiers to destroy those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his servants,

Reader 2: “’The wedding party is prepared, but those who were invited weren’t worthy. Therefore, go to the roads on the edge of town and invite everyone you find to the wedding party.’

Reader 1: “Then those servants went to the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good. The wedding party was full of guests. Now when the king came in and saw the guests, he spotted a man who wasn’t wearing wedding clothes. He said to him,

Reader 2: ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’

Reader 1: But he was speechless. Then the king said to his servants,

Reader 2: ‘Tie his hands and feet and throw him out into the farthest darkness. People there will be weeping and grinding their teeth.’

Reader 1: “Many people are invited, but few people are chosen.”

SERMON     “Appropriate Attire Required,” Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey

CONFESSION AND ASSURANCE

Dear God, you have invited us all to your wedding feast,
but we turn our backs and walk away.
Christ, have mercy. (in your first language)
Silence

You envision a banquet where all are welcome,
but we don’t want to sit next to those we call unworthy.
Christ, have mercy. (in your first language)
Silence

You instruct us to spread the invitation to everyone,
but we are too busy with our church tasks.
Christ, have mercy. (in your first language)
Silence

You lovingly prepare the wedding robe so that we can celebrate with wild abandon,
but we refuse to put it on.
Christ, have mercy. (in your first language)
Silence

God, forgive us for our stubborn denial of the depth and breadth of your grace.
Forgive us when we judge those whom you have invited to the feast.
Forgive us when we are too busy, too angry, too proud to join in the celebration of your all-encompassing love.
Christ, have mercy. (in your first language)

ASSURANCE

We know, God, that your love for us is so great that you sent your only Son to personally deliver the invitation to your party. It is through Christ that we come to understand that everyone belongs at your table. It is only through Christ that we finally know we ourselves are truly welcome at your banquet. It is through Christ that we have hope, that we have new life, that we have forgiveness. It is through Christ that we are forever celebrating as forgiven and beloved party-goers!

RESPONSE

Tenemos Esperanza/We Have Hope [Sung first by soloist in Portuguese; everyone sing refrain, led by cantor]

Consecration of Deaconesses and Home Missioners

Clara Ester, Deaconess:
Jesus tells the story of a king whose party needs guests. And the king needs servants to take the invitation out to the streets so that everyone knows they are welcome into the celebration of God’s love and mercy. Deaconesses and home missioners are among those servants today. From the time that the modern deaconess movement was born in Germany in 1836, to 1888 when the Office of Deaconess was first added to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and continuing today, these faithful servants act as agents of God’s invitation to those who may not know that they are indeed welcome at God’s party. These servants before us today have already accepted Christ’s invitation into grace, and this relationship compels them out into the community to proclaim the gospel of grace and salvation in word and deed. They hold true to their motto of serving neither for gratitude nor reward but from gratitude and love; their reward is that they may serve.

PRESENTATION OF CONSECRANDS

Harriett Jane Olson:
Bishop Harvey, I present to you and all who are witnesses to this holy moment, the following candidates to be consecrated to the Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner on behalf of The United Methodist Church.

EXAMINATION OF THE CONSECRANDS

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.:
Friends in Christ, we rejoice that you have responded to God’s invitation to devote your lives to servant ministry as deaconesses and home missioners. God’s invitation is transformative, and our response can be no less extraordinary. In the varied ministries in which the Holy Spirit will lead you, you will testify to the infinite love of God in Christ Jesus. Such a lifetime vocation confers a great privilege; it also lays upon you a solemn responsibility. What you have pledged alone with God in consecrating your lives to this service we ask you now to declare publicly.

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.: Do you sincerely believe that you have been led by the Spirit of God to engage in this lifelong work of love, justice and service and to assume its responsibilities?

Candidates: I do so believe.

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.: Will you be diligent in prayer, in the reading of the Holy Scriptures, in mutual relationship with the communities you serve, and in all other means of grace available to you?

Candidates: I will endeavor so to do.

Bishop Pedro Torio, Jr.: Will you earnestly seek to carry forward your ministry call in sincerity and in love under the direction of the Church?

Candidates: I will, God being my helper.

Gary Locklear, Home Missioner: The Office of Deaconess and Home Missioner includes mutually supportive ministry as part of a covenant community. Will you accept responsibility for participation in the deaconess and home missioner community?

Candidates: I will, God being my helper.

Emma A. Cantor, President, DIAKONIA Region Asia-Pacific: By joining the deaconess and home missioner order, you will become part of the ecumenical world diaconate that reaches out in service to all parts of the earth. Do you commit to a lifetime of loving and supporting your sisters and brothers as a part of the world diaconate?

Candidates: I will, God being my helper.

Dr. Cristina N. Mañabat, President, Harris Memorial College: The design of the deaconess and home missioner pin is based on the pin of the Wesley diaconate of England. The cross with arms of equal length represents the spread of Christianity in the four directions. The circle is symbolic of the gospel throughout the earth and stands for eternity—without beginning and without end, a reminder also of the inclusiveness of God’s love. Let the wearing of this pin be a sign of your commitment to serve neither for gratitude nor reward but from gratitude and love.

CONSECRATION PRAYER

Bishop Rosemarie Wenner:
Let us pray: Most Gracious God, source of all mercies, anoint these your servants with your Holy Spirit, enrich them with your grace and strengthen them to accept your invitation to the journey that lies ahead. May their labors glorify your holy name as they enter into a lifetime commitment to ministries of love, justice and service. Through your Child Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.

CONSECRATION OF PERSONS TO THE OFFICE OF DEACONESS AND HOME MISSIONER

Consecration Anthem: “Witness” (arranged by Jack Halloran)

THE CHARGE

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey:
Sisters and Brothers of the whole Church, I commend to you these persons whom we have consecrated on this day into a lifetime of Christ-like service under the authority of The United Methodist Church. In this holy moment, we too are called to a renewed consecration of our lives to Christ, as we pledge the support of our prayers and mission.

We thank God for your willingness to serve as deaconesses and home missioners of The United Methodist Church. Together we are the people of God, called to God’s mission of inviting all the world into the joy and celebration of Christ’s grace.

Thanksgiving

SONG

Walking Up the King’s Highway

Sending

BENEDICTION     Bishop Harvey

BENEDICTION RESPONSE

God’s got a party robe for you,
God’s got a party robe for me (hallelujah),
God’s got a party robe for every one of us!
Gonna join in the welcome party, hallelujah.

****************

Acknowledgements:

We are grateful for the leadership of these guest musicians:

Martin Methodist College Chamber Choir (Pulaski, Tennessee)
Centenary College Choir (Shreveport, Louisiana)

Unless otherwise noted, all liturgical pieces are written by Laura Jaquith Bartlett, © 2016 The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts.

I’m Gonna Sit at the Welcome Table; words and music: African American spiritual; found at #770 Glory to God. Public Domain.

Tenemos Esperanza (We Have Hope); words: Federico J. Pagura; tune: Homero R. Perera; found at #10 Tenemos Esperanza. Words © 1979, music © 1999 General Board of Global Ministries, GBGMusik.

God Welcomes All; words: John L. Bell; tune: THEMBA AMEN, South African transcr. John L. Bell; found at #399 Glory to God. © 2008 WGRG, Iona Community, admin. GIA Publications, Inc.

Walking Up the King’s Highway; words: Mary Gardner and Thomas A. Dorsey; tune: KING’S HIGHWAY, arr. Mary Gardner and Thomas A. Dorsey; found at #402 African American Heritage Hymnal. © 1940 (renewed) Warner-Taerlane Publishing Corp. and Unichappell Music Inc.

Image: Todd Pick, © 2016.

 

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