Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 14 October 2018

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 23)

Mark 10:17–31/10:15–30 IV

What Must I Do?

Additional Scriptures

Amos 5:6–7, 10–15; Psalm 90:12–17; Hebrews 4:12–16; Doctrine and Covenants 162:7b–d


Prelude

Welcome and Community Sharing

Call to Worship—Responsive Reading

Leader: Corporate, communal, and personal greed lead to the disenfranchisement of persons around the world.

Congregation: What must we do, Oh Lord?

Leader: A vision of success that puts a few at the top and many at the bottom guides a narrative that is prevalent among us, yet counter to the gospel’s inclusive message.

Congregation: What must we do, Oh Lord?

Leader: Fears of security in material things leads to the the negligence of neighbors, creature, and planet.

Congregation: What must we do, Oh Lord?

Leader: God’s redeeming grace makes space for all at a table of abundance and generosity.

Congregation: May our comfort be in God’s grace.

Leader: God’s peaceable kingdom grants equality to all persons and casts a vision in which none are hungry, and each has enough.

Congregation: May our vision be wed to the welfare of our global family.

Leader: God’s loving presence in the world creates pathways for holistic justice, honoring each person, creature, and ecosystem.

All: May our security be in the Living Jesus, who works within each, and among all. Amen.

Hymn of Community

“We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky” CCS 301

OR “Brothers and Sisters of Mine” CCS 616

OR “Let Us Sing a Worldwide Anthem” CCS 323

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

God, Our Creator and Sustainer,

We praise you for the numerous blessings of peace you have granted us. We thank you for the experiences of compassion you have extended for all, including those who do not know you as Comforter and Friend.

As we search for meaning in our lives amid famines, earthquakes, storms, and war, we often struggle to understand the suffering and resulting lack of peace from them but also recognize the beauty of the seasons we are given by this same earth. We remember the blessings of adversity, the strength we gain, the support we share with one another, the recognition of our dependence on you, and the renewed awareness of the truly important things in life.

Help us, gracious God, to seek the wisdom which comes from our relationship with you. We pray in the spirit of shalom, amen.

—Helen Lents, adapted

For more ideas: The Daily Prayer for Peace services offered at the Temple in Independence, Missouri, can be found on the church’s website as Calendar Events at www.CofChrist.org /daily-prayer-for-peace.

Hymn of Communal Response

“Put Peace into Each Other’s Hands” CCS 309

OR “Hevenu shalom alaychem/La paz esté con nosotros” CCS 311

Scripture Reading

Mark 10:17–31/10:15–30 IV

Hymn of Mission (ministry of music or congregational hymn)

“Find Your Wholeness” CCS 643

OR “O Christ, the Healer, We Have Come” CCS 544

Message

Based on Mark 10:17–31/10:15–30 IV

Hymn of Response

“Jesus Is Calling” CCS 578

OR “With God All Things Are Possible” (repeat several times) CCS 15

Spiritual Practice

Centering Hymn

“Ubi Caritas et Amor” (repeat several times)   CCS 152

Dwelling in the Word: Doctrine and Covenants 162:7b–d

It may be helpful for the congregation to have these words of scripture printed in the bulletin or displayed on a screen. The questions below may be used for silent, individual contemplation or small-group sharing. For information on how to lead a Dwelling in the Word spiritual practice, visit: https://missionalleadersdotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/09 /dwelling-in-the-word2.pdf.

First Reading

Just listen and let the words sink into your consciousness.

Second Reading

As you listen a second time, what do you sense as God’s calling in your life through these words?

Third Reading

As you listen a final time, what is God’s calling to this congregation through these words? How can this Community of Christ congregation create a “resting place” for those who seek a spiritual home?

Disciples’ Generous Response

Our Whole Lives

The readers should replace “Reader 1” or “Reader 2” with their actual names in the dialogue. The dialogue can also be personalized in other ways to match your own circumstances.

Reader 1: So, [Reader 2], you’re one of the financial officers?

Reader 2: Yes, [Reader 1],…

Reader 1: I heard we’ve got some extra cash. Let’s go spend it!

Reader 2: What are you talking about?

Reader 1: Well, I heard it said a couple of weeks ago that we brought in more income than expenses!

Reader 2: That is partly true. We did bring in more income than expenses in our operating budget.

Reader 1: Well, isn’t that where all of our money is? Didn’t you say our money is all in “one bucket”?

Reader 2: Yes, I did. But that bucket holds different funds. Our operating fund is different than our building fund.

Reader 1: What?

Reader 2: I know it’s confusing sometimes…

Reader 1: Well, we’ll make it, right?

Reader 2: We usually do. Our congregation is very generous.

Reader 1: And when you talk about generosity, you aren’t talking just about money, are you?

Reader 2: Exactly right, [Reader 1]! Our congregation supports local and worldwide church ministries in pursuit of Jesus Christ’s mission by tithing our money, but also our time, talents, and testimony.

Reader 1: I can think of several people in our congregation who have been extremely generous with their time, talents, and testimony.

Reader 2: Yes, there are amazing people here. They help provide experiences and activities that create a Christ-centered community that brings us all together. Name a few of those things that they do for us, [Reader 1].

Reader 1: Well, they’ve planned amazing retreats, wonderful worship services, given incredible sermons, and contributed great food for potlucks!

Reader 2: You’re right—and all of these contributions are gifts that are valuable to the congregation and enrich all of our lives.

Reader 1: It sounds like this congregation is trying to get our priorities aligned with God’s. We are actually committing our whole lives to God’s purposes, aren’t we?

Reader 2: Yes, it is a whole-life stewardship. Generosity must be a balance of the gift of actual funds and the gift of our time, talents, and testimony—really, it involves all of our living.

Reader 1: That sounds “easier said than done.”

Reader 2: It’s something we all have to be mindful of and work on each day of our lives. It’s not always easy, but it’s our calling, as Community of Christ.

As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through eTithing, please use this time to consider your commitment and how you will tithe to your true capacity of time, talent, and testimony.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response-tools.

Hymn of Commitment

“Christ Has Called Us to New Visions” CCS 566

OR “If by Your Grace I Choose to Be” CCS 587

Benediction

Sending Forth

We cannot own the sunlight sky, the moon, the wildflowers growing, for we are part of all that is, within life’s river flowing.

With open hands receive and share the gifts of God’s creation, that all may have abundant life in every earthly nation; that all may have abundant life in oneness with their neighbor; that all may have abundant life and peace endure forever.

Amen.

—from “We Cannot Own the Sunlit Sky,” by Ruth Duck, © 1992 GIA Publications, Inc., CCS 301

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 23)

Mark 10:17–31

Exploring the Scripture

“Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” (v. 21). This phrase sets the context for an important interaction between Jesus and the man who “went away grieving, for he had many possessions” (v. 22). Jesus, with compassion, invited the man to discipleship that was radically different from what the man understood. Jesus wanted the rich man to experience fully the nature of the reign (kingdom) of God. The man, however, decided this type of discipleship was too costly for him and chose to leave. By leaving, the rich man exemplified the difficulty in turning from the value systems held in esteem by society to one centered on the values of Christ. This interaction and the ensuing conversation between Jesus and the disciples, upholds an important principle in the reign of God “…many who are first will be last, and the last will be first” (v. 31). Living for others through service with compassion, and without a focus on rewards, is foundational in God’s reign. This story is in all three synoptic Gospels (see also Matthew 19:16–30 and Luke 18:18–30).

The interaction begins with the man honoring Jesus by kneeling, addressing him as “Good Teacher,” and asking what he must do to inherit eternal life (live in the reign of God). This man appears to seek justification, affirmation, or even admiration from Jesus, who is viewed as someone with authority and esteem. The rich man boldly proclaims his adherence to the significant commandments dealing with being an upright citizen. He is accomplished at meeting the expectations of society and expects Jesus to pronounce him an example of righteousness. Jesus does not approvingly receive the man’s praise nor the man’s response to God’s fundamental commandment—to love God by loving others as yourself. Instead, Jesus invites the man to authentic discipleship by turning from the values of the prevailing society, selling his possessions, giving to those in need, taking on the values of God’s reign, and following him. The interaction ends with the man leaving in shock and grief.

Jesus clarified his message to the disciples, telling them it is hard “for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (v. 25). This teaching was difficult for them to understand because the disciples generally acknowledged the societal belief that material well-being resulted from people pleasing God and having God’s favor and blessing. If wealthy and upstanding citizens did not earn God’s favor, then who could possibly be good enough to earn the right to live in God’s kingdom? Jesus refuted the societal norm that associated wealth with righteousness.

Jesus proclaimed God’s initiative in the experience of righteousness and declared humanity’s appropriate response is to surrender our lives to the new values and ethics of the reign of God. The rich man depended on his position, accomplishments, and wealth to achieve a right to God’s presence. Jesus, instead, invited him to surrender his heart and life to compassion and discipleship—an invitation the rich man found too difficult to accept. Jesus stated clearly, God is the one who makes possible the seemingly impossible task of living in and fully experiencing God’s reign.

Today, we often find ourselves, like the rich man, depending on our own deeds, power, and wealth to warrant a place in God’s reign. Jesus looks at us with love and invites and calls us to radical discipleship that leads to lives of surrender. We, too, experience shock, grief, and confusion, yet God continues to make all things possible. God continues to invite us to eternal life.

Central Ideas

  1. The rich man went away grieving because he was unwilling to accept the invitation to the type of eternal life proclaimed by Jesus.
  2. People cannot purchase or achieve salvation (living in the kingdom of God) by following a set of rules; salvation is experienced when
  3. people commit their hearts to lives in Christ and live for the benefit of others.
  4. God’s reign is a transforming, upside-down-kingdom way of life where the first are last and the last are first.

Questions to Consider

  1. How do people with resources and wealth authentically participate in God’s reign?
  2. What does “leaving everything and following Jesus” mean for us today?
  3. How might Jesus complete his sentence, “You lack one thing…” if he was speaking to us today?
  4. How is God making possible the transformation of our hearts?

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