rdinary Time (Proper 11)
MARK 6:30–34, 53–56/ 6:31–35, 56–58 IV
Touch Us, Lord Jesus
Jeremiah 23:1–6, Psalm 23, Ephesians 2:11–22, Doctrine and Covenants 163:2–3
With the primary focus on an open Bible, place other objects around it that remind people of being divinely loved as part of a sacred community. Examples include the following: an art project
We gather together mindful of the Divine Spirit’s presence in our lives. We yearn for closeness with God as Creator, Nurturer, and Lover of our souls. We desire to draw closer to one another—to share in times of sadness, celebration, hardship, and joy. We gather to shoulder together cares and struggles of creation, as Jesus calls us to do. We gather together as Christ’s disciples, welcoming all people into fellowship as God’s beloved.
Mark 6:30–34, 53–56/6:31–35, 56–58 IV
“We Gather Together” CCS 127
OR “When We Are Living/Pues si
OR “Touch Me, Lord, with Thy Spirit Eternal” CCS 574
Prayer of Gratitude
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 2:17–22
Read the children’s book, In God’s Name, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781879045262).
“God must have a single name that is greater and more powerful than all other names.” All the people of the world set out to find God’s name…and each of the many seekers is sure that he or she alone has found the right name, the only name, for God. Finally, they come together—and at
In God’s Name
—Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, In God’s Name (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781879045262)
Ask one or two people to share a brief testimony or story centered on Community of Christ’s Enduring Principle, Blessings of Community. For details on this principle, see Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., (Herald Publishing House, 2012, ISBN 9780830915736), 13–14 or www.CofChrist.org/enduring-principles.
OR “God of the Future” CCS 360
OR “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” CCS 325
Based on Mark 6:30–34, 53–56/6:31–35, 56–58 IV
OR Congregational Psalm (see below)
Disciples’ Generous Response
Preparing to Give
“We Lift Our Voices” CCS 618
OR “For the Life That You Have Given” CCS 619
OR “Brothers and Sisters of Mine” CCS 616
Offering ourselves to God for the sake of others is part of our discipleship, yet it is difficult to do. Sometimes it is hard to remember others when our own lives are all-consuming. How can we unplug from life’s busyness and constant demands? What opportunities can we create to spend time in quiet prayer, loud singing of praise, or still meditation with our Creator? God calls each of us to share our “first fruits”—to offer our “best selves” in Christ’s service and witness.
Take a moment to reflect on the week past and the week to come. Based on your genuine need, what is God asking you to receive? Based on your genuine ability, what is God asking you to give? Pause several moments to allow adequate time for reflection.
Follow this time of reflection with a prayer—blessing the offerings we give in the plate, the offerings we give in other ways and times, through whole-life stewardship and discipleship, giving in gratitude to God’s grace and eternal 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.
Praying for peace at the beginning of the service helps center our minds and hearts on Christ’s peace throughout our worship. Praying together our desire for peace at the end of our time together helps us focus on the deep need for peace beyond our walls. Christ’s peace is more than a feeling—it is also a call to action. It is a call to take Christ’s peace with us as we leave and journey from our own
Christ traveled in peace throughout the countryside, cities, and desert places. We, too, travel on roads, sidewalks, and byways. May we take the words of St. Francis of Assisi with us in blessing to those God calls us to encounter.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
—Saint Francis of Assisi
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
“Prophetic Church, the Future Waits” CCS 362
OR “Living Stones” CCS 279
OR “I Have Called You by Your Name” CCS 636
Sending Forth Prayer
OR Reading of Congregational Psalm (see below)
“Alleluia” CCS 117
This is a guided discovery of what God is writing on the hearts of congregation members—culminating in the creation of a psalm written by those present. This practice helps unify people by giving everyone a
This works easily for intergenerational groups of 30 people or
Leader: explains and guides the congregation throughout the process
Scribes: record and compile each group’s ideas
- Easel or sturdy stand, or blank space on a wall everyone can see
- Flip chart, two large poster boards, or large sheets of sticky notes—place on the easel, attach to the wall using masking tape (or another adhesive that protects the
surface),or stick to wall
- Bold marking pen
- Note cards or smaller sticky notes—each group needs two—and scrap paper for notes
- One pen for each scribe
- Tape to secure note cards onto the flip chart or poster board
Allow 20 minutes, depending on the service planned.
(3–5 minutes) The leader describes the purpose of psalms in one or two sentences; presents the invitation for everyone to participate; pre-positions scribes near
(10 minutes) Write or project the following questions for each group to share and discuss. These may be written ahead of time:
- What name do you call God?
- As Christ’s disciple, what are your hopes and dreams for your community?
- What do you need from God right now; what do we need from God right now?
- What do you/we have to be grateful for?
The scribe will combine answers and thoughts into two sentences, one on each note card or sticky note, to share with the congregation. Be sure to include the words, images, and thoughts of children, youth, and those considered to be “voiceless” in your community. When sentences are completed, give the note cards to the leader.
(5 minutes) On another piece of paper or poster board, write the following four words spaced evenly on the left side: Opening, Request, Hopes, Praise.
Read each of the sentences developed by the groups in the congregation and ask congregants what heading best fits that thought—attach the card(s) by that word. If sentences sound similar, cards can be grouped together.
Read the “draft psalm” aloud, adjusting cards if needed.
Reading of Congregational Psalm
If you created a congregational psalm earlier in the service, you may have the leader or scribe(s) take the final compiled paper or poster board outside the sanctuary to refine the psalm, or they could take a picture of it and work from the photo. To give the psalm a common voice, it is recommended they use “we” and “us” language, rather than “I” and “me.” It is also recommended that, if necessary, they make changes to reflect Community of Christ’s identity, mission, message, and beliefs.
Once the sentences are refined, rewrite them on a separate sheet of paper to be read to the congregation at the close of the service. It may be helpful to have a person involved in the psalm refinement chosen to read it.
Note: This psalm can be used in future settings: individuals may want a copy of the psalm to keep for personal reflection; the historian may want to include it as part of the congregation’s history; if there is a member with musical skill, the psalm might also be turned into a song and sung together as a congregation.
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
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
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.
- 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.
- Without compassionate and caring shepherds, the sheep are aimless, wandering, and desperate. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
- Spiritual needs take precedence over physical needs. What matters to a good shepherd is providing spiritual leadership to the flock.
- Sometimes it is those least expected to understand the gospel message who are the first to recognize and embrace it.
Questions to Consider
- When did you need rest but were called to give ministry instead? What was the result?
- What spiritual disciplines give you strength and energy to keep ministering?
- What do you think is the most compassionate and caring ministry that you are called to give? How is that like “shepherding”?
- Who are the “Gentiles” in your world? How have you “crossed the sea” to share the gospel with them?