Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 03 June 2018

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 4)

MARK 2:23—3:6/2:21—3:7 IV

How Shall We Keep the Sabbath?

Additional Scriptures

Deuteronomy 5:12–15, Psalm 81:1–10, 2 Corinthians 4:5–12, Doctrine and Covenants 119:7


Welcome

On the Sabbath, let us focus on finding rest and peace in our busy lives.

Gathering Hymn

“Praise to the Living God”             CCS  8

OR “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”          CCS 27

Call to Worship

Choral Reading

Invite several readers to participate in this reading, adapting the lines as needed. The group could stand in front of the congregation or they could be spread throughout the congregation with microphones to allow everyone to hear.

Reader 1:             Observe the Sabbath day

Reader 2:             And keep it holy,

All Readers:         As the Lord your God commanded you.

Reader 3:             Six days you shall labor

Reader 4:             And do all your work.

All Readers:         But the seventh day is a Sabbath

Readers 2 & 3:    To the Lord your God;

Readers 1 & 4:    You shall not do any work—

Reader 1:             You, or your son

Reader 2:             Or your daughter,

Reader 3:             Or your male or female slave,

Reader 4:             Or your ox or your donkey,

Readers 1 & 2:      Or any of your livestock,

Reader 4:             Or the resident alien in your towns,

Reader 3:             So that your male and female slave

Reader 2:             May rest as well as you.

Reader 1:             Remember that you were a slave

Readers 3 & 4:     In the land of Egypt,

All Readers:         And the Lord your God

Reader 1:             Brought you out from there

Reader 2:             With a mighty hand

Reader 3:             And an outstretched arm;

Reader 4:             Therefore the Lord your God

All Readers:         Commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

—Based on Deuteronomy 5:12–15

Sabbath Meditation

Have soft music play in the background during the time for silent meditation. Project or print these questions:

  • What does keeping the Sabbath mean to you?
  • Is keeping the Sabbath possible in today’s world? How?

Sabbath Discussion

Turn to those nearby and discuss your insights from the meditation.

Hymn of Making Sacred Space

“Come Now, You Hungry”            CCS 227

OR “Come and Fill/Confitemini Domino” (sing several times)           CCS 235

Communion Message

Based on Mark 2:23—3:6/2:21—3:7 IV

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn

Sung while the emblems are prepared. Can be sung with multiple parts or play the accompaniment and speak the words while it is playing.

“Is There One Who Feels Unworthy?”       CCS 526

OR “In the Singing”          CCS 519

Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine

Meditation

Continue light meditation music after the serving is completed. Ask people to continue in a time of inward reflection, resting in the presence of the Lord and appreciating the special blessing of Sabbath. Consider projecting images of sacred space and holy moments during the meditation.

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Reading

Using the same readers from the Call to Worship Choral Reading, share this hymn text in a similar recitation: “Community of Joy” CCS 631.

Peace Prayer

Creator and Sustainer,

We pause today as we give voice in gratitude for the assurance of your presence with us in communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. As we seek Christ’s peace in our lives, may we also commit to sharing that gift with others. May our lives be a living witness demonstrating the fruit of that peace inviting all to share.

We pray for peace in our connections, especially the connections through family. May our family, your family, refocus from what divides to that which unites us. May all your creation be blessed as we move toward your peaceable kingdom.

We give thanks for the gift of your Spirit which sustains us and weaves us together as sacred community. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray, 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.

Hymn of Commitment

“There’s a Church within Us”        CCS 278

OR “Though the Spirit’s Gifts Are Many”   CCS 334

Disciples’ Generous Response

Statement

The first Sunday of the month focuses on Abolish Poverty, End Suffering which includes Oblation and World Hunger ministry.

Six principles of A Disciples’ Generous Response guide us in managing and sharing our resources: Receive God’s Gifts, Respond Faithfully, Align Heart and Money, Share Generously, Save Wisely, and Spend Responsibly (www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response).

When we consider the ways each principle applies in our lives, we respond faithfully and begin to align our priorities with God’s priorities, align our hearts with God’s heart.

Share Generously

Tithing is one way God calls us to share generously and sometimes it can be the hardest action to talk about. Tithing is a gift of thanksgiving to God in response to God’s generous gifts to us. It is given from our income before we save or spend. And, our tithing response reflects the call to be in the church and the community.

Kathy Ross shares: “I welcome the opportunity to give to our generous God. It is not a burden, but a joy! So I give in faith to my true capacity without hesitation or fear.”

Questions for Reflection

  • Is sharing generously through tithing a burden or a joy for you?
  • How does sharing your blessings through tithing reflect thanksgiving to God?

Show the Disciples’ Generous Response video featuring Jared Fears’ testimony: “Community of Christ: Small Steps, Big Changes” (www.youtube.com/watch?v=eunCnCU0PrI&feature=youtu.be).

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.

Prayer of Gratitude

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.

Closing Hymn

“For the Life That You Have Given”            CCS 619

OR “Go Now Forth into the World”           CCS 646

Benediction

Response

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 4)

or the Ninth Sunday after the Epiphany

MARK 2:23—3:6 

Exploring the Scripture

Allowing ripened grain to wash against their hands or pulling off a few ripened pieces of grain to eat as they walked was viewed as a violation of Sabbath practice. The question asked of Jesus was about the effort it took to pluck the grain, not the worthiness of eating. It is a question of the proper rhythm of daily life.

Talking with Jesus while walking was sacred time for the disciples, just like they believed time in the temple in Jerusalem was sacred. In this passage, sacred time and sacred space collide, and Jesus is asked to settle the dispute: Is walking and pulling grain a violation of sacred practice? The problem was that it wasn’t a violation of Sabbath, but a violation of their interpretation of what was a proper rhythm on the Sabbath.

In Isaiah 58, the prophet clearly explains God’s frustration with people when they say something one way, but act differently. The rhythm of fasting for recognition was in conflict with God’s expectation of how to treat people in the community and within families. In a similar fashion, Jesus tells those who question him: You think you have it all figured out by the way you interpret what is right. The real measure of your understanding is how you apply what you believe to those in need, to those searching, to caring for others and family.

The grain will wither if it’s not consumed or used for its purposes. The innocent action of pulling off a few pieces of grain is interpreted as a violation. Now, amid sacred space, Jesus faces a man with a real limit. Jesus calls together the observers and accusers and asks them if it’s a violation to cure one in sacred space on a sacred day; their response is silence. Jesus’ response is one of frustration and compassion. At the end of the passage, compassion for one in need receives the blessing of Jesus’ presence.

Sabbath is a sacred rhythm of grace and compassion. It is a gift we receive when we set aside our interpretation of what’s important, and spend time being gentle with ourselves, taking time to rest, receive, and live with compassion.

From the beginning of creation, God has been providing the sacred rhythm of creation to rest and respond with compassion to the needs we face in our daily, sacred rhythm. God’s Sabbath expectation is for wholeness, restoration, renewal, healing, and life-giving rest for all our relationships and us; it is a rhythm of grace.

Central Ideas

  1. Keeping Sabbath is an essential rhythm of balance. Work, rest, and compassion are not in competition.
  2. Sabbath is anchored in caring for others and self.
  3. Slowing down to receive rest, renewal, and perspective are central to Jesus’ rhythm of honoring the Sabbath and the needs of people.

Questions to Consider

  1. In some ways, this passage reflects a conflict of expectations. How do you balance expectations of ministry and Sabbath? When did you face a conflict of what was expected of you, and you felt the need to pause and rest?
  2. How does the man’s action of stretching out a limp and withered arm reflect an action you have experienced?
  3. God’s expectation of wholeness, restoration, renewal, healing, and life-giving rest for all our relationships is the good news this day. Share how you have experienced good news by receiving this gift from God.

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time

Mark 2:23–3:6 NRSV

The Facilitator Notes provide an overview of Sacred Space and how to use the resource to best meet ministry needs. This is a must read for first-time users.

The weekly outline and handouts provide everything needed to plan and facilitate a scripture-focused Sacred Space gathering and includes additional options such as Thoughts for Children.


Gathering

Welcome

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.
Light the peace candle.

Creator and Sustainer,

We pause today as we give voice in gratitude for the assurance of your presence with us in communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. As we seek Christ’s peace in our lives, may we also commit to sharing that gift. May our lives be living witnesses, demonstrating the fruit of that peace and inviting all to share.

We pray for peace in our connections, especially the connections through family. May our family—your family—refocus from what divides to that which unites us. May all your creation be blessed as we move toward your peaceable kingdom.

We give thanks for the gift of your Spirit, which sustains and weaves us together as sacred community. In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Prayer of Repetition and Reduction

Invite the group members to take a relaxed posture that will allow them to focus on the words that will be spoken.

As you read each phrase, pause. Allow the group to rest in the words for two to three breaths before reading the next phrase. Adapted from Psalm 46:10 NRSV:

Be still, and know that I am God.
Be still, and know that I am.
Be still, and know.
Be still.
Be.
Be still.
Be still, and know.
Be still, and know that I am.
Be still, and know that I am God.
Amen.

Invite the group to share about this experience of prayer.

Sharing Around the Table

Mark 2:23–3:6 NRSV

One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

The Sabbath is sacred time. No work took place on this day of rest. The Pharisees in this passage thought plucking a few pieces of grain violated their interpretation of what was proper on the Sabbath.

Jesus tells those who question him: You think you have it all figured out by the way you interpret what is right. The real measure of your understanding is how you apply what you believe to how you treat those in need. Sabbath is a practice of sacred time that is intended to refresh us and prepare us to better care for ourselves and others.

As Jesus enters the synagogue he sees a man in need. Jesus calls together the observers and accusers and asks them if it’s a violation to do good for someone (in this case, to heal the man) on the Sabbath. Jesus is indignant at their silence. He calls the man to him and heals his disfigurement. The Pharisees do not see this as an act of compassion; they simply see a violation of the law.

From the beginning of creation, God has provided the sacred rhythm of rest and response. Sabbath is for us to experience restoration, renewal, and response. Sabbath is a gift we receive when we set aside deadlines, expectations, and the busyness of everyday life and simply spend time being gentle with ourselves. Sabbath is taking time to rest, receive God’s grace, and respond with compassion. 

Questions

  1. Keeping Sabbath is part of a sacred rhythm of work, rest, and compassion. How do you experience this rhythm?
  2. God’s expectation that we take time for sacred, life-giving rest is the good news this day. Share how you have experienced good news by receiving this gift from God.

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Sharing for the common good is the spirit of Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2f).

We receive God’s grace and generosity. The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

This offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

Covenant God, As we navigate our world of debt and consumerism, help us to save wisely. In this way may we better prepare for the future and create a better tomorrow for our families, friends, the mission of Christ, and the world. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 568, “God, Who Touches Earth with Beauty”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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