Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Ordinary Time
MARK 1:29–39/1:26–35 IV
Isaiah 40:21–31; Psalm 147:1–11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16–23; Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a, c
Read the section below on the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick (administration). Prior to the service, ask elders to be prepared to participate. Set up chairs around the sanctuary as directed.
Provide construction paper for the additional activity of hand tracing during the Focus Moment or have paper hands precut or purchased prior to the service.
Welcome and Call to Worship
Scripture Reading: Psalm 147:1, 3, 5, 11
“Gather Your Children” CCS 77
OR “O Lord, Grace Our Communion” CCS 80
Prayer for Peace
Light the peace candle.
We confess to times of insensitivity, ignorance, judgment, indifference, hatred, and greed. Help us tear down the walls that separate us from one another. Lord, let us see you in the faces of our brothers and sisters. Let us hear the cries of the frightened.
Living on every continent are those who are oppressed, hungry, and heavy laden. As we merge in your love, help us become a people of compassion. Free us from our own limitations that we might free others. Renew in us your Spirit, that we might be faithful to each other in your love.
Together we can build your community, in our hearts, with our minds, words, and deeds. May our hands join, our minds unite, and our hearts beat as one.
This is our prayer for peace. We lay it at your feet that it may be acceptable and we all might be healed in your love. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
—Sheryl Holstein, adapted
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.
Mark 1:29–39/1:26–35 IV
Sharing Joys and Concerns
Invite people to share joys and concerns, particularly for people and places that need the healing touch of the Great Healer.
Based on the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper and Mark 1:29–39/1:26–35 IV
Song of Preparation and Confession
“As We Gather at Your Table” CCS 523
OR “The Love of God” CCS 210
OR “Soften My Heart” CCS 187
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Preparation of the Emblems
Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine
Focus Moment: Helping Hands
Did you know that our hands can be the way we help and bless others? We can do many helpful things with our hands. The sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick is an example. Briefly explain this sacrament.
Use your hands to play “Electricity.” Sit in a circle, if possible, or reach out to the nearest person and hold hands. The first person will start an “electrical current” by gently squeezing the hand of the person on his or her right. Then each person will pass the current along. Joy, blessings, and good actions can spread like electricity from person to person.
We will show God’s love with our helping hands. Make a “helping hands” mobile to show ways you can help. On construction paper, trace around participants’ hands or have paper hands precut or purchased prior to the service.
Have participants write or draw on the paper hands what they can do to help someone else. Ideas: greet visitors who come to church, welcome a new person to their class and show them around, send a card to a person who is sick, help with church chores, etc.
Cut out the hands, punch a hole in the top, and hang the pairs of hands on a coat hanger to make a mobile.
—“Ideas for Children: Helping Hands,” Community of Christ, (www.CofChrist.org/called-ideas-for-children)
Sacrament of Laying on of Hands for the Sick
Introduce the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick (administration).
Any person who is sick or faces spiritual or emotional challenges may ask for a special prayer of blessing. During this sacrament, ministers of the church lay their hands on the head of the person and anoint the person with a drop of consecrated oil. The oil symbolizes the love of God. The ministers then offer a prayer asking for God’s blessing in the person’s unique situation.
Hymn of Compassion
In preparation, sing one or both of these hymns.
“Healer of Our Every Ill” CCS 547
OR “Spirit, Open My Heart” CCS 564
Read several of the scriptures below prior to or during the sacrament of laying on of hands for the sick. These scriptures could be projected on a screen while they are being read.
James 5:14–15, Luke 4:40, Acts 28:8–9, 4 Nephi 1:6–7, Mosiah 1:97–98, Doctrine and Covenants 163:10a
Sacrament of Laying on of Hands for the Sick
Although this sacrament often occurs in private, there are times when the prayers are appropriate within the comfort of one’s congregational family where the congregants silently add their own prayerful support even without knowing the specifics of the need. Place several chairs within the meeting space where it would seem most comfortable for your congregation—along the back wall, in front, or along the sides of the room. The number of chairs used depends on the size and needs of the congregation. Announce that this sacrament is available to all regardless of membership. Ask the elders to stand at the chairs to be available for people to come forward for prayers. The prayers can be given quietly so only the one in need can hear the words. The rest of the congregants pray silently from their seats. Quiet music can be played in the background. Also, projecting pictures of God’s holistic creation on a screen would be effective during this activity.
Disciples’ Generous Response
View the Witness the Word video, “Community of Christ: First Responders”
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 a spiritual practice. It is a gift of thanksgiving to God in response to God’s generous gifts to us. When we share our tithes, the church can spread joy, hope, love, and peace around the world so others can experience God’s generosity, too.
Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2e–f
Question for Reflection
- Have you shared generously this week?
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
The first Sunday of the month focuses on Abolish Poverty, End Suffering which includes Oblation and World Hunger ministry.
For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response-tools.
Scripture of Promise
Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a, c
“Sing a New World into Being” CCS 576
OR “Draw the Circle Wide” CCS 273
OR “For Everyone Born” CCS 285
A Version of the Lord’s Prayer
Eternal Spirit, Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker,
Source of all that is and shall be,
Father and Mother of us all, Loving God, in whom is heaven:
The Hallowing of your name echo through the universe!
The way of your Justice be followed by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!
Your Commonwealth of Peace and Freedom sustain our hope and come on earth!
With the bread that we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory of the power that is love, now and forever. Amen.
—Jim Cotter, “A Version of the Lord’s Prayer” in Prayer at Night: A Book for the Darkness (J.E. Cotter, 1983, ISBN 9780950762517). A revised version of this prayer is used in A New Zealand Prayer Book.
Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany Ordinary Time
Exploring the Scripture
The Gospel of Mark 1:29–39 offers two healing stories, an intentional time of prayer, and a reaffirmation of Jesus’ mission. First, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law. She has a fever, is confined to her bed, and unable to greet and serve her guests. Jesus immediately goes to her and heals her by taking her hand and lifting her up. Second, people from the village come to Simon’s home to have their illnesses and demonic possessions healed. Jesus heals all who come. In addition, Jesus commands the demons not to reveal his true identity.
The disciples want Jesus to continue his miraculous healings. Instead, in the morning after the healing miracles, Jesus goes to a deserted place to pray. When the disciples invite him back to Capernaum, Jesus refuses. Instead, he reaffirms his missional purpose and invites the disciples to come with him. They go throughout Galilee inviting others to come, hear Jesus’ teachings, be healed, and to share the message of God’s generous love with more people in more places.
When Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, he made her whole. His touch changed her state of illness to wholeness. Touch is an intimate action between people. When Jesus touches, he brings the other person into relationship with him.
The woman responded by ministering as a faithful disciple. She greeted, cared for, and fed her guests. Some may think she fulfilled her social and domestic duties. In contrast, consider that Simon’s mother-in-law responded to Jesus’ invitation to come, be healed, and serve. She opened her home to family, Jesus and the disciples. She created a gathering place for the community of believers to be in relationship with one another. In addition, she opened her home to the entire village modeling Jesus’ invitation to come and be healed. She received the gift of wholeness and shared her gratefulness through servant ministry.
Early Christian communities often met in house churches. These homes provided places to share new understandings and to invite others to hear Christ’s messages of justice and peace.
The next morning Jesus rose in the dark and went to a deserted place to pray. Jesus understood how critical it was to stay connected with God. We are reminded to follow Jesus’ example. Daily connection with our creator is essential for faithfulness.
The disciples did not understand the importance of daily prayer and meditation with God. They were frustrated by Jesus’ absence. Simon, in particular, wanted him to return and heal more people. Jesus reminded them his mission involved preaching and healing throughout Galilee. Jesus’ invites all to come and be healed. As we look at the text for today, we see Jesus brings healing and wholeness through touch. When we look to the sacraments in Community of Christ, we see many of them include the ministry of touch. We lay on hands for the healing of the sick. We bless babies by holding them. We baptize through holding. We confirm, ordain, and offer blessings by laying our hands on the person’s head. There is power in Jesus’ healing touch, and we are representatives of Christ and bring Christ’s healing in the world through loving touch. Simon’s mother-in-law responded to healing by going and serving others. When we receive the blessings of Christ, we are also called to respond by serving and sharing that love with the community.
- Jesus brings wholeness through his healing touch.
- Faithful disciples respond to Jesus’ healing by ministering and serving others.
- Jesus models the need for intentional daily prayer in deserted places.
- Jesus’ mission involves preaching and healing. He invites all to come and be healed.
Questions to Consider
- How has Jesus healed you and helped bring wholeness into your life?
- Describe how daily prayer and meditation are impacting your spiritual life.
- What are you, or your congregation, doing to invite new people into relationship with Christ?
- When has touch been a part of the ministry in your congregation? What is the power of Jesus’ touch?