Sermon: Swearing Oaths: Taking Jesus’ Words to Heart – Exodus 22:10-11, Matthew 5:33-37

Truth-telling.  From the time we are very little, we know that the truth matters.   There’s a phrase from my childhood, “Cross my heart and hope to die”…words we say to show that we are really really telling the truth.  It’s actually an oath…although it’s lost its religious meaning.  “Cross my heart”…which is a religious symbol, calling God to bear witness, and “hope to die”, meaning,  if I don’t tell the truth, may God strike me dead!We need to know whether people are telling the truth.  Whether it’s the person who is selling us a car, the person we are dating, or a politician to whom we give power…we want to know that they are trustworthy.  We make decisions and base our lives on people telling us the truth.

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Child Dedication with Children’s Story

Families come in all shapes and sizes, some people live in a family with grandparents and parents, some people live in a family with just one parent or caregiver, some live as an only child in a family, some live with many kids in a family.

Today I want to tell you about a different kind of family.  It’s a church family.  Stand up and look around at everyone here (they turn and look)…all these people together make up something we call a congregation.  We are a group of people who love God and are trying to follow Jesus together. Another name for a congregation is a “church family.”  We are a family because when we love Jesus, we become part of a group that takes care of each other.  We help each other. We encourage each other.

Today we are going to have something called a child dedication. ….

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Mennonite Offering Prayer

God, we want our congregation to be a witness to you:
             immersed in scripture,
             constant in prayer,
             joyful in worship,
             generous in giving.
             A loving, supportive community
             reaching out to those in need.
             Accept these gifts we offer, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Thanksgiving Responsive Communion Service

Leader: We come to this table with thankful hearts.
People: Why do we give thanks at this table?
Leader: We give thanks because God has invited us here!
All God’s children are invited to the Lord’s supper.
We come humbly to the table,
knowing that we have not earned our way here,
but are invited, guests at this feast of love. 

People: Why do we eat at this table?
Leader: We eat at this table to remember
that on the night before Jesus died, he ate with his friends.

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“Come to the Table” Communion Service

Come to the table of Jesus our Redeemer!
Jesus invites you here as part of the people of God.
Come to the table humbly,
not because you have earned a place here,
but because you need mercy and help.
Come because you love God, and want to love God more.
Come because Jesus first loved us, and gave himself for us.
Come because you want to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Come because you want to experience the mystery of God’s grace.

On the night he was handed over,

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Advent Communion Service

Who is invited to the Lord’s Table?
All are invited;
the young and the old,
the rich and the poor,
the lowest and the least;
sinners and saints together in communion.
Come find your place here
where there are no strangers or foreigners,
only brothers and sisters in the sight of God.

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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