Ordinary Time (Proper 4)
MARK 2:23—3:6/2:21—3:7 IV
How Shall We Keep the Sabbath?
Deuteronomy 5:12–15, Psalm 81:1–10, 2 Corinthians 4:5–12, Doctrine and Covenants 119:7
On the Sabbath, let us focus on finding rest and peace in our busy lives.
“Praise to the Living God” CCS 8
OR “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” CCS 27
Call to Worship
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
Have soft music
- What does keeping the Sabbath mean to you?
- Is keeping the Sabbath possible in today’s world? How?
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
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
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.
Using the same readers from the Call to Worship Choral Reading, share this hymn text in a similar recitation: “Community of Joy” CCS 631.
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
We pray for peace in our connections, especially the connections through
We give thanks for the gift of your Spirit which sustains us and weaves us together as
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
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.
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
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.
“For the Life That You Have Given” CCS 619
OR “Go Now Forth into the World” CCS 646
Ordinary Time (Proper 4)
or the Ninth Sunday after the Epiphany
Exploring the Scripture
Allowing ripened grain to wash
Talking with Jesus while walking was
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.
- Keeping Sabbath is an essential rhythm of balance. Work, rest, and compassion are not in competition.
- Sabbath is anchored in caring for others and self.
- Slowing down to receive rest, renewal, and perspective
arecentral to Jesus’ rhythm of honoring the Sabbath and the needs of people.
Questions to Consider
- 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?
- How does the man’s
actionof stretching out a limp and withered arm reflect an action you have experienced?
- 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.