Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 15 July 2018

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 10)

MARK 6:14–29/6:15–30 IV

Choose Righteously

Additional Scriptures

Amos 7:7–15, Psalm 85:8–13, Ephesians 1:3–14, Doctrine and Covenants 153:9


Worship Setting

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 example: a plumb line, level, measuring tape, ruler, yardstick, kitchen scale) to create the worship center. These items may also be used as examples during the Focus Moment.

Prelude

Welcome

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, God, and peace will prepare the way for your steps.

—Psalm 85:8–10, 12–13, adapted

Opening Hymn

“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

Response

Focus Moment

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 useful to 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; and a measuring spoon or kitchen scale to follow a recipe.
  • How does God want us to build and create our lives?
  • What tools and instruments has God 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.

Testimonies

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.

Focus Hymn

“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

Morning Message

Based on Mark 6:14–29/6:15–30 IV 

Community Prayer

Holy Creator,

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

Statement

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 choice made, helped bring us to this moment together before God.

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 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.

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

Response

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 11)

MARK 6:30–34, 53–56 

Exploring the Scripture

Today we consider two transitional passages. The first is the return of Jesus’ followers from their mission. It transitions to feeding the 5,000 (to be explored another time).

Jewish crowds will not let the disciples retreat to rest. The second passage occurs after Jesus walks on water (explored at another time). It relates a summary of his ministry in Gennesaret, where crowds of Gentiles bring their sick to be healed.

In Mark 6:30–34, for the first and only time, Mark labels the disciples as “apostles,” which means those who are sent. Mark records their mission favorably, one of the few times he presents them in a positive light.

Jesus hears their report and encourages them to retreat to the desert and rest. The crowds have become so demanding that Jesus and his disciples didn’t even have time to eat. The comment foreshadows feeding the 5,000.

When the disciples retreat by boat, the crowds anticipate their destination and hurry to meet them. Instead of expressing frustration, Jesus “had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (v. 34). Wisdom dictates that they retreat. Compassion urges them to minister. Then, as now, finding a balance is difficult. Sheep never stop needing a shepherd.

The image of aimless sheep without a shepherd is found in Numbers 27:17, 1 Kings 22:17, Jeremiah 23:1–4, and Ezekiel 34:1–16. The passage in Ezekiel repeats God’s promise to seek the sheep, feed them, water them, and care for them. Mark’s audience also would be familiar with Psalm 23, which presents God as the Good Shepherd.

Mark identifies Jesus as the agent of God and hints at fulfilling this prophetic tradition. Although modern Christians are familiar with the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, it was not so in Mark’s day. Mark mentions shepherds only twice. In the second passage Jesus predicts his disciples’ desertion (Mark 14:27). He quotes

Zechariah 13:7, “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” Both of Mark’s passages refer to irresponsible or absent shepherds who leave the sheep scattered. His first audience may have assumed the religious and political leaders of the day were the shepherds who had failed in their duty and left the sheep leaderless.

It also may be a warning against “shepherds” who neglect their service to promote their own welfare. Jesus responds to the needs of the aimless sheep by putting aside his agenda for rest and renewal. 

Today’s passage continues with Jesus and his disciples again crossing to Gentile territory. Mark often sets up a contrast between those who recognize and accept Jesus and those who do not. When the disciples witnessed Jesus walking on the water, they did not recognize him.

But the Gentiles on the far shore recognized him and “rushed about that whole region” (v. 55) to provide opportunities for Jesus to heal the sick. Their wish to touch even the fringes of his garment (the tassels that hung at the corners of his mantle) shows faith and trust in the result.

This brief summary of healing and acceptance contrasts with the next chapter. The Gentiles of Gennesaret were eager to follow and be made whole. The Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’ country refused his authority and power. Will the disciples eventually come to recognize him?

Mark’s audience waits to find out. 

Central Ideas

  1. The demands for ministry are constant and unending. Those engaged in mission often need a time of renewal and rest to prepare for further ministry.
  2. Without compassionate and caring shepherds, the sheep are aimless, wandering, and desperate. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
  3. Spiritual needs take precedence over physical needs. What matters to a good shepherd is providing spiritual leadership to the flock.
  4. Sometimes it is those least expected to understand the gospel message who are the first to recognize and embrace it.

Questions to Consider

  1. When did you need rest but were called to give ministry instead? What was the result?
  2. What spiritual disciplines give you strength and energy to keep ministering?
  3. What do you think is the most compassionate and caring ministry that you are called to give? How is that like “shepherding”?
  4. Who are the “Gentiles” in your world? How have you “crossed the sea” to share the gospel with them?
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