Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 18 November 2018

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 28)

Mark 13:1–8/13:1–10, 27, 33–34 IV

Wait in Faithfulness

Additional Scriptures

Daniel 12:1–3, Psalm 16, Hebrews 10:11–25, 1 Nephi 1:76, Doctrine and Covenants 163:9


Preparation

For the Focus Moment, provide paper and crayons (pastels) or markers.

Prelude

Gathering Hymns

“Seek Ye First” CCS 599

OR “Blessed Be Your Name” CCS 252

This song is well suited for guitar(s) and drums.

Welcome

Call to Worship

I say to God, “You are my God; I have no good apart from you.” Wherefore, let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of our God.

—Psalm 16:2 and 1 Nephi 1:76, adapted

Opening Hymn

“Great Is Thy Faithfulness” CCS 11

OR “How Can We Name a Love” CCS 2

OR “Lord, You Have Brought Us” CCS 76

Opening Prayer

Sung Response

“Santo, santo, santo/Holy, Holy, Holy” CCS 159

Encourage people to sing in languages other than their own.

OR “O God We Call” (repeat several times) CCS 195

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

Holy One,

We pray today

for an end to the violence carried out by tough words, lethal weapons, or cold triviality. May our homes, our nation, and countries around the world become harbors of peace.

We pray today

for the wisdom to listen to the experiences of those different from ourselves and to respond with respect.

We pray today

for the strength to teach our youngsters how to resolve altercations nonviolently and courteously, and the courage to model peaceful resolution in our own conduct.

We pray today

for our church, that we may celebrate and welcome the diverse faces of Christ in our worship, our ministries, and our leaders.

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.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Watch the video “Disciples Generous Response—The Butterfly Effect” (www.CofChrist.org /resources?tags=DGR-Videos|Generosity-Formation#/1859/disciples-generous-response -the-butterfly-effect).

Statement

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).

Receive God’s Gifts

When we consider the ways each principle applies to our lives, we respond faithfully and begin to discover our true capacity for giving. One principle of A Disciple’s Generous Response is Receive God’s Gifts. God gives us many gifts. If we choose to respond to God’s love and grace for us, a deep happiness is one gift we receive.

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

Receive God’s gifts. God gifts each person with boundless grace and unending love. God’s gifts for each of us are expressed through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

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.

For additional ideas, see Disciples’ Generous Response Tools at www.CofChrist.org/disciples -generous-response-tools.

Scripture Reading

Mark 13:1–8/13:1–10, 27, 33–34 IV

Focus Moment

Read the children’s book, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012, ISBN 9780399246524). Summary: When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her. Each kindness makes the world a better place.

Discuss the book using these questions as a starting point:

  1. Why do you think Maya wore “spring” shoes in the winter?
  2. Why wouldn’t Chloe return Maya’s smiles?
  3. Why did Chloe, Kendra, and Sophie whisper about Maya? Did it make them feel more powerful and in charge?
  4. The teacher said that everything we do goes out, like a ripple into the world. What did she mean? If your group is not familiar with a “ripple effect,” consider doing the activity the teacher did with her students.

Afterward, encourage the group to write or draw pictures of how they can be kind. These can be posted near the sanctuary exit during the Silent Reflection time so they can be viewed as people leave.

OR “Church Is the Faith Community” by Erica Blevins Nye (see script below)

Conclusion (use at the end of either option for the Focus Moment)

After we hear a short scripture, we are going to sing a song. It’s called “There’s a Church within Us.” Remember, Jesus said that church isn’t about things. When we sing the song it’s not really saying there is a building inside of us. Let’s turn to CCS 278 and read the words before we sing it to see what the song says really matters at church. Consider reading the entire text aloud before singing it. The music could play quietly behind the reading to introduce the tune.

Confession Scripture

Hebrews 10:23–24

Confession Hymn

“There’s a Church within Us”      CCS 278

Morning Message

Based on Mark 13:1–8/13:1–10, 27, 33–34 IV

Time of Silent Reflection

If applicable, post people’s drawings near the sanctuary exit for all to see.

Scriptural Sending Forth

Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

Closing Hymn

“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” CCS 16

OR “Now in This Moment” CCS 96

Closing Prayer

Response

Postlude


Church Is the Faith Community

The narrator can read the lines, but it is best to deliver them directly. Modify the questions and focal points to fit your congregation. Allow opportunities for children to respond.

Narrator: Welcome to church today! We are in church, right? Well, how do you know for sure? Take responses, if you like.

Just look around! Look at all the pews. And the pulpit up front. And the hymnals. This is definitely church! What else do you see that tells us we are in church?

Take more responses. Perhaps point out the organ or piano, a cross or pictures hanging on the wall, the steeple on the roof, stained glass windows, the presider or preacher up front, etc.

Now I have something for you to imagine. Close your eyes. Imagine all of the hymnals have disappeared! Poof—they’re gone! Pause for people to imagine.

You can open your eyes. I wonder…if all the hymnals are gone, are we still at church? What if the pews were gone? Are we still at church? What about the pulpit up front? The cross? The organ? The stained-glass windows? The preacher? Still church?

What if everything including the walls and roof and steeple was gone? Are we still at church? What is left when all these things are gone? Take responses.

The people! And Jesus! Even if everything else is taken away, it is the people and the love of Jesus (we call that “community”) that make up the church. Everything else is just stuff to help us along the way.

It says in the Bible, in the Gospel of Mark, that Jesus was walking with his disciples near the huge temple. The disciples looked at the spectacular temple and said, “Wow! Now that is a strong, impressive building! The church must be great!” Did Jesus agree? He told the disciples, “It does appear strong and important, but even this big building will fall down one day.” Then he reminded his disciples not to get distracted by what appears powerful today or by worrying about the future.

What really matters at church? The love and message of Jesus are what matters most. That’s what makes us the church! That’s what helps to keep us faithful to God. Let’s stick to putting Jesus and people first. Let’s not get too attached to the place and the stuff around us.

—Erica Blevins Nye in Scripture-based Focus Moments, Community of Christ, 2015, 31, adapted.

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 28)

Mark 13:1–8

Exploring the Scripture

The chapters preceding this passage find Jesus triumphantly entering Jerusalem, reflecting on the greatest commandment (Mark 12:28–31), and teaching in the courtyards of the temple. Throughout this time, he warned his disciples not to become enamored with the grandeur around them or follow things that would distract them from his central mission. And what did they do next? They commented on how glorious the stones and buildings were that made up the temple complex!

Several of these stones weighed over 100 tons and measured nearly 45 feet long. The temple and its surrounding buildings and courtyards—the center of Jewish religion and culture during Jesus’ day—also served as a testament to the power of the Roman Empire and as impressive feats of engineering. No matter how strong a building may be, it can still be destroyed: when the Romans sacked Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion in 70 CE, they left the once-grand temple in ruins. To be faithful to Christ is to look beyond the presumed stability of institutions, buildings, nations, and glittering wealth of the world. We do not put our trust in that which will topple or fade, but in the gospel message and the Living Word to which it points.

Some of his disciples, who presumed Jesus’ words of warning about the temple indicated the imminence of God’s judgment, asked when these events would take place. Many around
them were predicting the end of the world, a cosmic upheaval where the righteous of God would overthrow those they perceived to be oppressive and in contradiction of God’s desires. They believed a new world order was coming soon, and would be heralded by catastrophic events signaling its arrival.

It is tempting for many people in our world— and throughout the ages—to see contemporary calamities as signs of the so-called “end times.” But “wars and rumors of wars” (Mark 13:7), earthquakes, famines, and other times of suffering we experience do not signal the coming of God’s kingdom in its completion in the world, Jesus said. He did not tell the disciples the signs they should seek, but rather warned them to be on guard against those who would claim a certain event or series of catastrophes signaled the end times. Even as popular Christianity today tends to teach disciples to pay attention to “the signs of the end times,” Jesus firmly rebukes such speculation. Those who come “in [his] name” and prophesy this imminent destruction do not act within the authority of Jesus’ teachings (v. 6). Many people will focus on doomsday predictions, Jesus said, but his disciples were not to be among them or be tempted to wander down such paths of distraction.

Instead, Jesus calls his disciples to be faithful to the message he came to share. In the next passage (Mark 13:9–13), Jesus reminds us our task is to proclaim the good news to all people by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is our mission. We do not cling to the rocks on buildings or attempt to make sense of turmoil around us by declaring catastrophes as the fulfillment of end-time prophecies. To be faithful to Christ is to proclaim him and him alone as the Rock of our faith and the fulfillment of our hopes, even—and perhaps, especially—in the face of suffering.

We can receive further insight about the concept of “end time” from Community of Christ Basic Beliefs, which says, “The future of the creation belongs to the Prince of Peace, not to those who oppress, dominate, or destroy. As we anticipate that future, we devote ourselves to seek Christ’s peace and pursue it. We do not know the day or hour of Christ’s coming but know only that God is faithful” (Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., 2012, 16). We remain faithful by focusing on Jesus and the pursuit of peace and sharing Christ with others.

Central Ideas

  1. Being faithful to the gospel means we place our ultimate trust in Christ and his mission, rather than impermanent things that can distract us from his priorities.
  2. Jesus instructs his followers to avoid the apocalyptic fervor around them and instead focus on how they conduct themselves amid turmoil.
  3. We must listen and remain faithful to Jesus and his teachings rather than be caught up in what our culture dictates we must believe.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to you to remain faithful amid the struggles of life? How has God been faithful to you during these times?
  2. In what ways does the community of faith help keep us grounded and focused on those things that matter most?
  3. What emphasis does your congregation place on maintaining your building rather than sharing the mission of Jesus Christ? Are they at conflict at times? Is there a challenge there?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time

Mark 13:1–8 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.

Holy One,
We pray today
for an end to the violence carried out by tough words, lethal weapons, or cold triviality. May our homes, our nation, and countries around the world become harbors of peace.
We pray today
for the wisdom to listen to the experiences of those different from ourselves and to respond with respect.
We pray today
for the strength to teach our youngsters to resolve altercations nonviolently and courteously and the courage to model peaceful resolution in our own conduct.
We pray today
for our church, that we may celebrate and welcome the diverse faces of Christ in our worship, our ministries, and our leaders.
Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Unity

Unity in Diversity is an Enduring Principle that expresses the diverse nature of the church and the commitment to live our common Christian discipleship as one community. We develop relationships that cross borders, cultures, traditions, and language. As we read in Romans 12:15, we rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.

Think about the past year.

  • When have you rejoiced? Who rejoiced with you?
  • When did you weep? Who wept with you?

Spend a moment in silent prayer, thanking God for those who rejoiced and wept with you. Again, think about the past year.

  • Who shared their joy with you, and you rejoiced with them?
  • Who shared their burden with you, and you wept with them?

Spend a moment in silent prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to experience joy and sorrow in unity with others.

Invite any who wish to share reflections on the spiritual practice of unity.

Sharing Around the Table

Mark 13:1–8 NRSV

As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”

When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray.

Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

As they entered Jerusalem, Jesus warned his disciples not to become enamored with the grandeur around them or follow things that would distract them from their mission. And what did they do next? They commented on how glorious the stones and buildings were in the temple complex!

The temple and its surrounding buildings and courtyards served as the center of Jewish religion and culture during Jesus’ day.  Several of the temple stones weighed more than 100 tons and measured nearly 45 feet long.

Some disciples asked when these destructive events would take place. Would this be the end of the world? Would it be an upheaval in which the righteous of God would overthrow their oppressors? Some believed a new world order was coming soon and would be heralded by catastrophic events signaling its arrival.

Jesus warned the disciples to be on guard against those who would claim that a certain event or series of catastrophes signaled the end times. Even as popular Christianity today tends to teach disciples to pay attention to “the signs of the end times,” Jesus firmly rebukes such speculation. Many people will focus on doomsday predictions, Jesus said, but his disciples were not to be among them or be tempted to wander down such paths of distraction.

To be faithful to Christ is to look beyond the presumed stability of institutions, buildings, nations, and glittering wealth of the world. We do not put our trust in things that will topple or fade, but in the gospel message and the Living Word to which it points.

Community of Christ Basic Beliefs say, “The future of the creation belongs to the Prince of Peace, not to those who oppress, dominate, or destroy. As we anticipate that future, we devote ourselves to seek Christ’s peace and pursue it. We do not know the day or hour of Christ’s coming but know only that God is faithful.” (Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., 2012, p. 16).

Questions

  1. Jesus instructs his followers to avoid trying to predict “end times” and instead focus on how they act amid turmoil. How have you found the peace of Christ during turmoil in your life?
  2. What does it mean to you to remain faithful amid the struggles of life? How has God been faithful to you during those times?
  3. How does the community of faith help keep us grounded and focused on the things that matter most?

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:

God, May we be a generous people in response to your boundless grace and unending love. Bless and magnify our gifts and our service to others. Let generosity become part of our nature, we pray. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 347, “The Church of Christ Cannot Be Bound”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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