Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 29 July 2018

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 12)

JOHN 6:1–21

Share Generously

Additional Scriptures

2 Kings 4:42–44, Psalm 145:10–18, Ephesians 3:14–21, Mosiah 2:32, Doctrine and Covenants 161:1


Worship Setting

Have an arrangement of baskets for the worship setting. Turn some of the baskets sideways with canned goods, nonperishable food, or fruit coming out of them. Encourage congregants ahead of time to bring items to the service this week for a food pantry donation. Congregants could bring their donations forward during the Disciples’ Generous Response or the Focus Moment.

Prelude

Sharing Joys and Concerns

Gathering Hymn

“As We Gather” CCS 73

OR “Give Thanks”             CCS 134

Welcome and Call to Worship

Psalm 145:10–13a

Opening Hymn

“All Creatures of Our God and King”          CCS 98

OR “Breath of the Living God/Soplo del Dios viviente”        CCS 43

OR “Jubilate Deo”            CCS 123

Sing this through in unison several times, then divide the congregation into two to six groups and sing this in a round.

Congregational Mission Prayer

Print or project this prayer so all in the congregation can share it.

God, where will your Spirit lead today?

Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.

Grant me courage to risk something new and

become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.

Response

Prayer for Peace

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

Readers 1 & 2:     Gracious and loving God, as we gather to worship you today,

Reader 2:             We remember your wish to bless all of your creation.

Reader 1:             So, we pray for the power of your peace to be freed in the world.

Reader 2:             Remembering that you came to us as a defenseless baby, keeps us centered in the peace you bring.

Reader 1:             In our prayer for peace today we seek your clarity and your courage;

Reader 2:             Clarity to recognize injustice against the most helpless in our society,

Reader 1:             And courage to act on their behalf.

Reader 2:             Help us to challenge the systems within our influence

Reader 1:             That value the wealth of some over the health and safety of the most vulnerable.

Readers 1 & 2:      God, you showed us your love.

Reader 1:             In Christ’s life, ministry, and death, we begin to take in the depths of your compassion,

Reader 2:             And we know you understand the pain and hope each one here feels.

Reader 1:             We pray for those nearby and far away whose home is the street and whose constant companions are need and fear.

Reader 2:             We pray for those whose innocence has been compromised by greed or neglect.

Reader 1:             We pray for those whose conscience has been crippled by racism, hate, or wealth;

Reader 2:             For those whose eyes have been blinded and hearts hardened by excess, by harm, or by ego.

Readers 1 & 2:      We ask your Spirit’s nearness when we fail or stumble as we try to uphold each one as a child of yours.

Reader 1:             We need your presence so we will not be discouraged in our efforts

Reader 2:             Or lose sight of the ways in which your love connects us to one another.

Reader 1:             We believe your kingdom is a place where each person can know their worth, to you and to the world as a whole.

Reader 2:             Guide us individually and as a body as we strive to create a space for your kingdom among us.

Readers 1 & 2:      We offer this prayer to you, that Christ’s way might more fully become our way.

—Charmaine Chvala-Smith, 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.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Testimony

Have someone share a testimony of when he or she received someone else’s generosity or choose a story from www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response-tools.

Scripture Reading

Are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend on the same being, even God, for all the substance which we have; for both food and clothing, and for gold and silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?

—Mosiah 2:32, adapted

Statement

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.

www.CofChrist.org/disciples-generous-response

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.

Hymn of Generosity

Sing as the offering is received.

“Take My Gifts and Let Me Love You”       CCS 609

OR “Can We Calculate Our Giving”            CCS 617

Focus Moment

Read “The Feeding of the Five Thousand” from The Children’s Illustrated Bible by Selina Hastings (DK Publishing, Inc., 2005, ISBN 9780756609351), page 228, or another children’s Bible storybook. Use fish-shaped snack crackers as an illustration of the two fish, and round crackers to represent the five loaves. After the story, the snacks could be distributed to all who are gathered—just as Jesus and the apostles generously shared with more than 5,000 people who had gathered to listen to Jesus.

Before the reading:

Imagine you have a packed lunch for school or work, as normal. You come in one day and you’re the only person with a lunch. What thoughts would go through your mind? What would you do?

After the reading: 

1. What did the people do when Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee?
2. What food did the child have? Should the child have offered food to Jesus and the apostles even though there was not enough for everyone?
3. How many people were in the crowd that Jesus fed?
4. What did the apostles fill 12 baskets with after the meal?
5. Was this scripture about a problem or an opportunity?
6. What was the miracle of this scripture?

Invite the congregants to bring their generously shared food pantry donations to the worship center.

Confession

Have an instrumentalist play during this slow, meditative reading (read by one person or the entire congregation in unison), or develop a series of slides with the words and various images to project as the music plays. Consider “Be Still,” CCS 156, for the instrumental music or use the vocal recording from Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings as background music for the slides.

Be

Be still

Be still and

Be still and know

Be still and know that

Be still and know that I

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I am

Be still and know that I

Be still and know that

Be still and know

Be still and

Be still

Be

               Based on Psalm 46:10

The Message

Based on John 6:1–21

Hymn of Sending Forth

“Send Me Forth”               CCS 651

OR “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing”             CCS 648

OR “Bless Now, O God, the Journey”        CCS 559

Benediction

Scripture Reading

Doctrine and Covenants 161:1a

Sending Forth

To journey in trust is a process. The work that is to be done involves our entire being. We have been given a direction. We’ve been told to share generously on this journey. Have faith as you continue your own journey. Go in peace.

Response

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 12)

JOHN 6:1–21 

Exploring the Scripture

John 6:1–21 contains two stories that are familiar to those who spend time with a Christian community or in personal study: feeding more than 5,000 people and Jesus walking on water. These stories are in all four Gospels suggesting they were important events in the life of Jesus and his followers.

As the crowd continued to grow, Jesus asked his disciples how they would be able to feed so many people. The cost was astronomical. One disciple said he had found a boy who had meager supplies: six barley loaves and two dried fish. Jesus blessed this offering of food and it was divided. Jesus looked out at the people and felt compassion. He understood the people were hungry and needed food.

When we have an opportunity to offer who we are or what we have for the need of others, the Holy Spirit blesses that offering to bring about miracles. We are called to “generously share our witness, resources, ministries, and sacraments according to our true capacity” (Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., 12). When we engage in actions of compassion no matter how large or small, we open opportunities for God’s blessing.

John 6:15 says when the disciples gathered the leftovers, there was far more than the original amount of food remaining. When we make an offering of compassion, the result is more than any of us can or will know or imagine. As the people became aware of what had happened, they named Jesus prophet and wanted to make him their king. He left the crowd and escaped to the mountains. Jesus realized they did not understand that he was not an earthly king.

When Jesus walked on water and appeared to his disciples who were in a boat, they were startled. He called out to them, “It is I; do not be afraid” (v. 20). The scripture tells us they received him on the boat. Some scholars point out this was a pivotal moment in the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. When Jesus said “It is I,” he was stating that he was the Messiah. And when the disciples received him on the boat, they received him in their lives as the Messiah.

Ephesians 3:14–21 is a powerful prayer that complements John 6:1–21 well. In this prayer, Paul prayed the people would begin to understand that when we receive Christ into the very core of our lives and are rooted and grounded in God’s love, then the fullness of God will be witnessed by the world, as it was on that hillside with more than 5,000 people.

Central Ideas

  1. Jesus saw the people were hungry and had compassion for them and wanted to feed them.
  2. A small offering of compassion brings blessings to thousands.
  3. The disciples received Jesus as the Messiah into their lives.

Questions to Consider

  1. When have you looked at a group of people and felt overwhelmed with compassion because the need was so great? What was your response?
  2. When have you seen meager offerings multiplied?
  3. How does a disciple become “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17)? What spiritual practices or acts of spiritual formation can you use to strengthen your relationship with God?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time

John 6:1–21 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

Two readers are needed for today’s Prayer for Peace.

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

Together: Gracious and loving God, as we gather to worship you today,
Reader 1: we remember your wish to bless all of your creation.
Reader 2: So, we pray for the power of your peace to be freed in the world.
Reader 1: Remembering that you came to us as a defenseless baby, keeps us in the peace you bring.
Reader 2: In our prayer for peace today we seek your clarity and your courage;
Reader 1: clarity to recognize injustice against the most helpless in our society,
Reader 2: and courage to act on their behalf.
Reader 1: Help us to challenge the systems within our influence
Reader 2: that value the wealth of some over the health and safety of the most vulnerable.
Together: God, you showed us your love.
Reader 2: In Christ’s life, ministry, and death, we begin to take in the depths of your compassion,
Reader 1: and we know you understand the pain and hope each one here feels.
Reader 2: We pray for those nearby and far away whose home is the street and whose constant companions are need and fear.
Reader 1: We pray for those whose innocence has been compromised by greed or neglect.
Reader 2: We pray for those whose conscience has been crippled by racism, hate, or wealth;
Reader 1: for those whose eyes have been blinded and hearts hardened by excess, harm, or ego.
Together: We ask your Spirit’s nearness when we fail or stumble as we try to uphold each one as a child of yours.
Reader 2: We need your presence so we will not be discouraged in our efforts
Reader 1: or lose sight of the ways your love connects us to one another.
Reader 2: We believe your kingdom is a place where each person can know worth, to you and to the world as a whole.
Reader 1: Guide us individually and as a body as we strive to create a space for your kingdom among us.
Together: We offer this prayer to you, that Christ’s way might more fully become our way.

—Charmaine Chvala-Smith, adapted

Spiritual Practice

Breath Prayer

Slowly read the following instructions:

Sit with relaxed posture and close your eyes. We will spend 5 minutes in centering prayer.

Breathe in a regular, natural rhythm.

As you breathe in, name what you would like to receive. As you exhale, state what you would like to release (for example: breathe in peace, exhale fear).

Breathe in and out, focusing on what you are breathing in and what you are exhaling.

Watch the time for 5 minutes. Urge participants to continue the breath prayer for the full five minutes.

When time is up, share these closing instructions: Offer a brief word of thanks to God, take a deep breath, and open your eyes when you are ready.

Sharing Around the Table

John 6:1–21 NRSV

After this Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias.  A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”

When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

As the crowd continued to grow, Jesus looked at the people and felt compassion. He understood they were hungry and needed food. Jesus asked his disciples how they could feed so many. The cost was astronomical. One disciple said he had found a boy who had meager supplies: five barley loaves and two dried fish. Jesus blessed this offering of food, and it was divided to feed all the people. When the disciples gathered the leftovers, far more than the original amount remained.

We have opportunities to offer who we are or what we have to comfort or care for others. The Holy Spirit blesses our offerings, and the result is more than any of us can know or imagine.

When Jesus walked on water and appeared to his disciples, who were in a boat, they were startled and afraid. He called to them, “It is I; do not be afraid,” and they took him onto the boat. In many ways this symbolizes the way we “receive” Jesus Christ into our innermost being as disciples. An important part of our discipleship is to “generously share our witness, resources, ministries, and sacraments according to our true capacity” (Sharing in Community of Christ, 3rd ed., p. 12). When we act with compassion and generosity, no matter how large or small, we open our lives to opportunities for God’s blessing.

Questions

  1. When have you looked at a group of people and felt overwhelmed because the need was so great? What was your response?
  2. When have you seen meager offerings multiplied?
  3. What does it mean to you to “receive” Jesus Christ?

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 609, “Take My Gifts and Let Me Love You”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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