Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 22 July 2018

Worship Suggestions

rdinary Time (Proper 11)

MARK 6:30–34, 53–56/ 6:31–35, 56–58 IV

Touch Us, Lord Jesus

Additional Scriptures

Jeremiah 23:1–6, Psalm 23, Ephesians 2:11–22, Doctrine and Covenants 163:2–3


Worship Setting

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 from vacation church school; a friendship bracelet or wedding ring; a T-shirt from youth camp; a photo of loved ones or family; a storybook read to your child or grandchildren.

Prelude

Welcome

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.

Gathering Scripture

Mark 6:30–34, 53–56/6:31–35, 56–58 IV

Opening Hymn

“We Gather Together”    CCS  127

OR “When We Are Living/Pues si vivimos”              CCS 242/243

OR “Touch Me, Lord, with Thy Spirit Eternal”         CCS 574

Prayer of Gratitude

Response

Focus Moment

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 last learn what God’s name really is.

In God’s Name is a spiritual celebration of all people of the world and their belief in one God."

—Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, In God’s Name (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2004, ISBN 9781879045262)

OR Testimony

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.

Focus Hymn

When, in Awe of God’s Creation”             CCS 283

OR “God of the Future”  CCS 360

OR “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”  CCS 325

Homily

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

Statement

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 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

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

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Statement

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 sanctuary, to those who have no safe person or place.

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.

Peace Prayer

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.
Amen.

—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)

Sung Response

“Alleluia”             CCS 117

Postlude


Congregational Psalm

Purpose

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 voice, and acknowledging God is alive and working in their midst.

Group Needs

This works easily for intergenerational groups of 30 people or less, and can be adapted for larger groups by adding coleaders to assist groups. When it is time to divide into groups, try to have no more than six or seven people to a group. Each group needs one “scribe” who will combine the group’s thoughts and words into two sentences. Select and coordinate with the leader, scribes, and coleaders in advance of the service.

Leader: explains and guides the congregation throughout the process

Coleaders: assist groups in congregations of more than 30 people

Scribes: record and compile each group’s ideas

Supplies

  • 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

The Process

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 those less mobile, and asks congregants to sit around the scribes in groups of no more than six or seven people.

(10 minutes) Write or project the following questions for each group to share and discuss. These may be written ahead of time:

  1. What name do you call God?
  2. As Christ’s disciple, what are your hopes and dreams for your community?
  3. What do you need from God right now; what do we need from God right now?
  4. 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.

—Diana Hansen, adapted

Sermon Helps

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 passage Jesus predicts his disciples’ desertion (Mark 14:27). He quotes

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 to Gentile territory. Mark often sets up a contrast between those who recognize and accept Jesus and those who do not. When the disciples witnessed Jesus walking on the water, they did not recognize him.

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. 

Central Ideas

  1. 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.
  2. Without compassionate and caring shepherds, the sheep are aimless, wandering, and desperate. Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
  3. Spiritual needs take precedence over physical needs. What matters to a good shepherd is providing spiritual leadership to the flock.
  4. Sometimes it is those least expected to understand the gospel message who are the first to recognize and embrace it.

Questions to Consider

  1. When did you need rest but were called to give ministry instead? What was the result?
  2. What spiritual disciplines give you strength and energy to keep ministering?
  3. What do you think is the most compassionate and caring ministry that you are called to give? How is that like “shepherding”?
  4. Who are the “Gentiles” in your world? How have you “crossed the sea” to share the gospel with them?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time

Mark 6:30–34, 53–56 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.

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.
Amen.

—Saint Francis of Assisi

Spiritual Practice

Chalice Prayer

Create a cup, or chalice, with your hands and hold it in front of you at chest level.

We will use the chalice as a symbolic vessel to offer thoughts and concerns to God. Each time you fill the chalice, raise it overhead with your face tilted upward, and then open your hands. Spread your arms out and down to your sides as you release the concerns in the chalice to God.

Let us begin:

Create a chalice with your hands. Imagine placing into the chalice:

  • The Earth and all the creatures of the land, sea, and air.
  • The wounds of pollution and depletion.
  • All peoples of the Earth with their poverty and surplus, joy and grief, violence and goodness.

Raise the chalice overhead with your face tilted upward. Open your hands and spread your arms out and down to your sides as you release the concerns in the chalice to God.

Create a chalice with your hands. Imagine placing into the chalice:

  • Your loved ones, your extended family, your church community, and friends.
  • Those from whom we feel separated due to anger, hurt feelings, poor choices, or pride.

Raise the chalice overhead with your face tilted upward. Open your hands and spread your arms out and down to your sides as you release the concerns in the chalice to God.

Create a chalice with your hands. Imagine placing into the chalice:

  • Yourself, as you are in God’s sight.
  • Your deepest needs, your gifts, your weaknesses.
  • Your desires for healing and wholeness.

Raise the chalice overhead with your face tilted upward. Open your hands and spread your arms out and down to your sides as you release the concerns in the chalice to God.

Conclude the chalice prayer by saying aloud, “We release these to you, O God, to be loved and healed as only you can love and heal. Amen.”

Sharing Around the Table

Mark 6:30–34, 53–56 NRSV

The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

The apostles return to Jesus and tell him all they have been doing in his name. They have been so busy with so many people coming with needs that they have not even had time to eat. Jesus encourages them to leave the crowds and rest.

But 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.”

Sheep without a shepherd may refer to irresponsible or absent shepherds who leave the sheep scattered. Or it may point to religious and political leaders of the day who failed in their duty to care for the hungry, weak, and powerless.

As today’s passage continues, Jesus and his disciples travel by boat to Gentile territory. The people on the shore recognize him and rush to bring those who were sick or crippled to Jesus for healing. These “foreigners” recognize the power in Jesus ministry. They had faith that just touching the tassels that hung at the corners of his cloak would bring healing and blessing.

The compassion of Jesus for both Jew and Gentile stands in stark contrast to leaders who neglect the needs of the people while profiting from the oppressive constraints of foreign occupation, poverty, prejudice, and persecution.

Questions

  1. When have you felt tired or stretched to your limit but found the strength to “have compassion” on someone?
  2. What spiritual disciplines help strengthen your discipleship?
  3. Who are the Gentiles in your world, those who are “foreign” to you? How have you “crossed the sea” to share compassion, friendship, kindness, or hospitality with them?

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

Generous God, Be with each of us as we manage our time, treasure, talent, and witness. May we use all our resources in ways that express our desire to bring blessings of healing and peace into the world. May we focus our giving on your purposes, and may our hearts be aligned with your heart. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 217, “When the World Is Babbling Round Us”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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