Ordinary Time (Proper 10)
MARK 6:14–29/6:15–30 IV
Amos 7:7–15, Psalm 85:8–13, Ephesians 1:3–14, Doctrine and Covenants 153:9
As a way to focus on our alignment with God’s guidance and purposes, prepare an open worship setting table or area. During the Call to Worship reading, have preselected people of differing ages bring an assortment of measuring tools and instruments (for
Call to Worship
Use two or more readers. During the reading, have individuals bring up items to be arranged as part of the worship setting. OR have all the items already in a box or basket in place for the worship setting. Have each item taken out by someone one at a time and arranged to create the worship center area. Pausing after every line will allow time for items to be brought forward, or to be seen by the congregation, and then put into place.
Reader 1: Lord, we focus on our alignment with your divine guidance and purposes. (pause)
Reader 2: Let me hear what God the Lord will speak—a voice that speaks of peace… (pause)
Reader 1: You call us to be your disciples—individually and as a church family. So many times, we fear our efforts have not measured up to our own or your expectations. (pause)
Reader 2: …God will speak peace—peace for faithful people who turn toward God in their hearts. (pause)
Reader 1: As your disciples, we are accountable for our actions and inactions; our words and our silence; the disconnect between our commitments and what we do. (pause)
Reader 2: God, surely salvation is at hand for those who revere you and your glory will dwell in our land. (pause)
Reader 1: Forgive us for the times we do not get along with each other, or with your creation. Forgive us for giving greater weight to our own desires than to your vision of shalom for the world. (pause)
Reader 2: Love and faithfulness have met; justice and peace have embraced. (pause)
Reader 1: Continue to guide and lead us. Help us be open to learning your ways anew for this place and this time. (pause)
Reader 2: Our God will give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Justice will go before you,
—Psalm 85:8–10, 12–13, adapted
“Grace Moves in Rhythms” CCS 375
OR “Clothe Us in Your Spirit” CCS 584
OR “O God in Heaven, We Believe” (stanzas 1, 2, 4) CCS 493
Prayer of Gratitude
Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 153:9c
Invite everyone forward to see the tools and instruments in the worship setting or hold up each one so it can be seen, then enter the following discussion.
- Each item is
usefulto help make or create something using specific measurements or amounts.
- How is each item used? What might each help create or build? Some examples might be: a measuring tape to help sew clothes, or to make a quilt fit a certain bed size; a plumb line to paint a straight line or build a straight
wall; anda measuring spoon or kitchen scale to follow a recipe.
- How does God want us to build and create our lives?
- What tools and instruments
hasGod given us? Some examples might include scripture, prayer, family, friends, and church.
Scripture Reading: Luke 10:27
Present and discuss Luke 10:27 as God’s tool for us when following Jesus in our lives.
Two or three people, selected in advance, briefly share how their tools are useful and helpful to them personally or professionally. (They may each place a tool in the worship setting at the beginning of the service and retrieve it for the testimony.) Ask each one to relate the tool or instrument to God’s guidance for him or her as a disciple of Christ. This may be expressed as a life story, testimony, or future desire.
“O Carpenter, Why Leave the Bench” CCS 25
OR “In the Crossroads of This Moment” CCS 170
OR “If by Your Grace I Choose to Be” CCS 587
Based on Mark 6:14–29/6:15–30 IV
You stood beside the wall, a plumb line in hand, asking us, “What do you see?” You set the plumb line and bid us to follow your instructions. Give us the courage to be steadfast and trust in your instructions. Strengthen us for the tasks that lie ahead. Support us as we strive to build your kingdom. We pray these things in the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
—Amos 7:7–8 and Doctrine and Covenants 153:9, adapted
Disciples’ Generous Response
Preparing to Give
“God, Whose Grace Redeems Our Story” CCS 570
OR “I Know Not What the Future Hath” CCS 246
Everything we receive from God changes us in some way. The gift of life changes us from infancy to every stage of life that follows. The gift of love for and from another changes us, too. School, work, professions, major events—some happy, some sad—each one leaves us transformed. As we change, we often see ourselves and the world differently, sometimes making different choices than before. Sometimes as we learn and experience new things, we forget important knowledge and experiences we once knew. Every gift received, lesson learned, experience lived, and
In this next moment of silence, pause, and remember when you first knew you were loved just as you are. Or, remember when you first experienced God’s Spirit, or when someone helped you see the disciple God calls you to become.
Pause and remember… (moment of silence)
The gifts we give and share help change us, too. As God desires to be present in and through every aspect of our lives, pause and reflect on your whole-life offering. (moment of silence)
Follow this time of reflection with a prayer—blessing the offerings we give in the offering plate, the offerings we give through living our lives, and all the ways we give in gratitude to God’s grace and love.
As you share financially through Mission Tithes, or if you give regularly through
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.
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
Have one person or several read each stanza of “Beauty for Brokenness” CCS 302 with the congregation reading the chorus. End the hymn-reading with “Amen” or “In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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.
Sending Forth Hymn
“Though the Spirit’s Gifts Are Many” CCS 334
OR “We Need Each Other’s Voice to Sing” CCS 324
Prayer of Commissioning
Ordinary Time (Proper 11)
MARK 6:14–29/6:15–30 IV
Exploring the Scripture
Rumors of Jesus’ actions and rising popularity traveled to King Herod, with various explanations of his identity. He is John the Baptist, resurrected. He is Elijah returned. He is one of the ancient prophets. He is a royal pretender. Herod believed he was John the Baptist: “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised” (v. 16). When Mark tells the story, it becomes the only account in his Gospel that does not obviously focus on Jesus or his disciples.
The Jewish historian, Josephus, writes in his Antiquities of the Jews 18.109–110 that Herod Antipas visited his brother, Philip, on a trip to Rome. During his stay, he began an affair with Philip’s wife, Herodias. Antipas then divorced his wife and married Herodias, who became a powerful influence at Herod’s court. There is some question whether the daughter who danced before Herod was named Herodias (like her mother) or Salome, as later tradition affirms. Josephus writes that Herod killed John the Baptist because of his rising popularity, not because John opposed Herod’s marriage to Herodias, as Mark said.
The reader must enter the story-world of Mark and accept his version as an important commentary on the morals of Herod and his court. Taking his brother’s wife was immoral. It also was considered improper for a woman to dance for strangers outside her family. Herod commanded his daughter to dance. It was shameful for a man to lust after a woman in public. Mark portrays Herod in that way. Herod offered her half of all he possessed, the maximum the law would allow. It was a public pledge he had to honor to preserve trust with his officials. John died for all the wrong reasons.
John the Baptist’s death parallels Jesus’ trial before Pilate. Both Herod and Pilate were weak rulers, threatened by the popularity of the man before them. Neither was personally convinced that execution was proper. Both gave in to public demand. Followers of the victims recovered their bodies and laid them in a tomb. Mark’s first readers did not know John’s death was a formula that would be repeated with Jesus, but later they would have noticed the likenesses (Mark 15).
Mark uses the story to say something about the nature of life as a disciple. Just before this story, Jesus sent his apostles to preach and heal. After telling the story, he relates the return of those followers and their success. The fate of John the Baptist warns of the outcomes of engaging in Christ’s mission (Mark 13:9–13). In the community of Mark’s listeners, disciples were being martyred for their faith.
The verses that immediately follow Herod and John the Baptist form a stark contrast to the story. The scene shifts from Herod’s luxurious palace to a desert place. The courtiers and officers around Herod become peasants and followers who crowd around Jesus and his disciples. The lavish banquet and shameful dancing contrast with the hunger and neediness of those Jesus taught. The feast of Herod contrasts with five loaves and two fishes. Just as Herod displayed his patronage by providing a feast for his courtiers, so Jesus, in providing food for the multitude, was declaring his care and compassion for those whom he taught. In both scenes, Herod and Jesus declare their central values and character by their actions.
- Jesus’ growing popularity was sensed as a threat among the political figures of his day.
- Herod displayed weakness and lack of integrity in being manipulated into beheading John.
- The death of John the Baptist foreshadows and parallels the death of Jesus and his followers.
- The simplicity of Jesus’ ministry contrasts sharply with the ostentatious display of wealth and power that characterized those in authority.
Questions to Consider
- What questions haunt you when you consider who Jesus was, is, and might be?
- When have you acted to please public demand instead of acting according to your personal convictions? When have you braved public censure to act with integrity?
- How does political and religious power suppress the gospel today? How is the gospel subverting the systems of power and control?
- What does John the Baptist’s death mean to you? What does Jesus’ death mean to you? Why?