Community of Christ

Worship Resources - 30 June 2019

Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 8)

LUKE 9:51–62

Follow without Hesitation

Additional Scriptures

1 Kings 19:15–16, 19–21; Psalm 16; 1 Galatians 5:1, 13–25;

Doctrine and Covenants 162:6a–c; 163:1, 9


 

Prelude

Welcome and Community Sharing

Praise

Invitation to Worship

As our hearts begin to worship, let us join with the psalmist who wrote these words of  gratitude to God.

Leader:           I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord! Every good thing I have comes from you.

Congregation: The air I breathe, the sunshine, and water—even ‘living water.’

Leader:           Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!

Congregation: A land with wondrous landscapes and natural beauty, inviting me to sense you near.

Leader:           Guide me, Lord; I know you are always with me.

Congregation: No wonder my heart is glad. I rejoice. You show us the way of life, granting us the joy of your presence and the pleasure of living with you forever.”

—Psalm 16, adapted

Hymn of Gratitude and Praise

“Praise to the Living God”   CCS 8

OR “O God beyond All Praising”     CCS 90

OR “Restore in Us, O God”  CCS 219

Invocation

Response

Confession

Scripture Reading

Galatians 5:13

Enduring Principle: Responsible Choices

Leader: Loving God, in you we are free, but with freedom comes choices. We confess that sometimes we use our freedom to benefit ourselves, when you would call us to look around us;

Congregation: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.

Leader: We often become self-satisfied, forgetting the needs of others.

Congregation: Whose need will your Spirit show me today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond.

Leader: We confess those times we remain silent in the presence of those who are oppressed, pleading to be heard.

Congregation: Whose situation will your Spirit reveal to me? Grant me courage to risk something new, courage to use my voice on behalf of another.

Leader: We repent of those times we have been complacent and self-centered; to remember that freedom in Christ calls us to serve one another in love.

Congregation: May we become a blessing of your love and peace.

All:      Amen.

Song of Prayer

“Soften My Heart”    CCS 187

OR “Lord of All Hopefulness”          CCS  193

OR “Eternal Spirit of the Living Christ”      CCS 182

Proclamation

Prayer for Peace: Pursue Peace on Earth

Light the peace candle.

Prayer

Loving God,

Your Spirit calls us to be emissaries of your love and peace. We acknowledge that in our comfort we often forget there are many who lack basic needs; many crying to be free from oppression and injustices. And you weep.

You, who created all humankind, implore us to see the inestimable worth of all persons. You call us to heal our divisions and tear down walls of separation, and to build bridges of understanding.

How long must you wait for our dedicated response to follow the example of the One we follow, reaching out to those who are rejected and marginalized? May we truly be Community of Christ and live sacrificially, generously, with eyes and hearts wide open to needs around us—both near and far.

May we live your vision of shalom until inequities and brokenness give way to love and peace. We pray in the name of the One we serve, amen.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:6a–c, 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.

Scripture Reading

Luke 5:51–62

Hymn of Discipleship

“He Came Singing Love”      CCS 226

OR “At the Heart of Sacred Calling”           CCS 509

OR “Lift Every Voice and Sing”        CCS 555

Message

Based on Luke 5:51–62

Commitment

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

Stewardship Principle 2: Respond Faithfully

When we faithfully respond to the ministry of Jesus Christ we become accountable  to one another, God, and ourselves. Our response to God’s gifts of love and grace is to serve others and let generosity become part of our nature.

Share with Gratitude

“Listen to the testimonies of those responding generously. Follow your soul’s yearning to come home to God’s grace and generosity. Let gratitude show you the way”  (Doctrine and Covenants 165:2b). When we understand God’s love and grace are given freely to us, it liberates us to share them freely in return.

We respond out of gratitude and not debt. When we respond out of gratitude, we understand that God’s blessings are freely given. When we respond out of debt, we believe that we owe something to God.

God is not keeping track of the blessings provided with expectation of return. God does not want us to respond because we feel like we have to respond or “by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). God simply blesses.

—Stassi Cramm, ed., Choose Generosity, (Herald Publishing House, forthcoming).

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

Hymn of Gratitude and Generosity (sung as the offering is received)

“From You I Receive” (sing several times)              CCS 611

OR “Take My Life, That I May Be/Toma, oh Dios, mi voluntad”                        CCS 610

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

Hymn of Calling

“The Summons”        CCS 586

OR “Jesus Is Calling” CCS 578

OR “Hark! The Voice of Jesus Calling”       CCS 592

Benediction

Sending Forth

Doctrine and Covenants 163:1

Postlude

Sermon Helps

Ordinary Time (Proper 8)

LUKE 9:51–62

Exploring the Scripture

Consider the first part of today’s passage (Luke 9:51–55). The disciples are struggling to understand Jesus as Messiah and how he is different from other rulers. Jesus has “set his face to go to Jerusalem” (v. 51). The quickest way there is through a Samaritan village, but the Samaritans refuse Jesus passage. James and John are furious. How dare these heretical Samaritans hinder God’s Messiah on his way to Jerusalem! They ask Jesus, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (v. 54).

What comes next might have startled James and John—Jesus rebukes them (v. 55). James and John still do not understand that God’s kingdom is about healing and peace. Jesus rebukes us also when we are tempted by violence in the name of Jesus. Jesus does not encourage our anger or acts of violent revenge. Jesus is not a typical king. He is much different. Jesus does not act as ruler, president, or prime minister of a country.

The second part of today’s passage returns to the theme of committed, unhesitating life as a disciple (vv. 56–62). Nothing is more important than proclaiming God’s kingdom, not even burying your father or saying good-bye to your family. You cannot look back says Jesus, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (v. 62).

Community of Christ proclaims Jesus Christ and promotes communities of joy, hope, love, and peace. If we believe God’s reign on Earth, the kingdom, is one of joy, hope, love, and peace and that “The mission of Jesus Christ is what matters most for the journey ahead” (Doctrine and Covenants 164:9f), then there is nothing more important than following Christ. We should not hesitate in our commitment to discipleship. Bring forth the kingdom!

Central Ideas

  1. The kingdom of God is about healing and peace, not revenge, greatness, or violence.
  2. Jesus Christ calls us to proclaim God’s kingdom as the highest priority.
  3. We should not hesitate to give our all for the mission of Jesus Christ.

Questions to Consider

  1. In what ways do you understand Jesus to be a “ruler”?
  2. Describe the nature of God’s kingdom for you. What will God’s reign on Earth look like?
  3. How is the kingdom of God different from the kingdoms of this world?
  4. How committed are you to the mission of Jesus Christ? What makes you hesitate?
  5. What are some of the ways your congregation is helping to bring about God’s reign on Earth?

Small-group Worship Suggestions

Ordinary Time (Proper 8)

Luke 9:51–62 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

Ordinary Time is the period in the Christian calendar from Pentecost to Advent. This part of the Christian calendar is without major festivals or holy days. During Ordinary Time we focus on our discipleship as individuals and as a faith community.

Prayer for Peace

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

Loving God,
Your Spirit calls us to be emissaries of your love and peace.
We acknowledge that in our comfort we often forget that many lack basic needs; many cry to be free from oppression and injustices. And you weep.
You, who created all humankind, implore us to see the inestimable Worth of All Persons.
You call us to heal our divisions, tear down walls of separation, and build bridges of understanding.

How long must you wait for our dedicated response to follow the example of the One
we follow, reaching out to those who are rejected and marginalized?
May we truly be Community of Christ and live sacrificially, generously, with eyes and hearts wide open to needs around us—near and far.
May we live your vision of shalom until inequities and brokenness give way to love and
peace.
We pray in the name of the One we serve. Amen.

—Doctrine and Covenants 162:6a–c, adapted

Spiritual Practice

Body Prayer

Read the following:

Today we will participate in a Body Prayer. We will use three postures. (Demonstrate the three postures of this spiritual exercise. Note that these postures can be done sitting or standing.)

  • First posture: Head bowed with hands folded.
  • Second posture: Sitting or standing with arms stretched upward.
  • Third posture: Hands clasped over the heart.

We will begin with the first posture. A chime will signal when to move into the next posture. This is a wordless prayer. We will focus the prayer that emerges naturally from within our being as we hold each posture. Each posture will be held one minute. We will observe silence during the body prayer.

Take tree deep cleansing breaths with me. (Lead the group in three deep cleansing breaths.)

Ring the chime.

(Hold silence throughout the body prayer.)

Assume the first posture: Head bowed with hands folded (one minute).

Ring the chime.

Assume the second posture: Sitting or standing with arms stretched upward (one minute).

Ring the chime.

Assume the third posture: Hands clasped over the heart (one minute).

Ring the chime.

Close the prayer with a spoken, “Amen.”

Sharing Around the Table

Luke 9:51–62 NRSV

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village.

As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Today’s passage marks the beginning of Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem. The journey encompasses 10 chapters in this Gospel, including some of the most memorable and beloved stories and parables in Jesus’ ministry (The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, Jesus’ encounter with Zacchaeus). All are stories that give flesh to what it means to be a disciple, and they speak to the cost of discipleship.

The journey is important. It will take strength, determination, and single-mindedness, hence the author’s statement that Jesus “set his face to go to Jerusalem.” To set one’s face to something is to commit fully with unwavering determination to see it is done. Some would say it was Jesus’ single-mindedness that evoked the inhospitable response of the Samaritans, who did not receive him. The mission of Jesus is too important to give way to distractions.

Of course, the disciples struggle to understand Jesus as Messiah and how he insists on being different from other rulers. James and John might understand the importance of the journey (though debatable), but they apparently miss the fact that the coming reign of God is about healing and peace, not violence and consuming fire.

The fact is, the journey of discipleship is not unlike the journey to Jerusalem. It requires sacrifice and single-mindedness. It is natural to react negatively to Jesus’ seemingly harsh words to his would-be followers, saying, “…let the dead bury their dead” and that “…no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” We must remember that what Jesus says is based on knowledge of just how difficult the road will be. If we are distracted by every good reason to put off the journey; if we can’t “set our face” to “Jerusalem;” perhaps we’re not really ready to follow.

Questions

  1. What in your life have you been willing to “set your face to?”
  2. What “good reasons” do you use to delay fully committing to following Christ on the difficult journey of discipleship?

Sending

Generosity Statement

“Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundant generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:9). 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 of our discipleship, As we navigate our world of debt and consumerism, help us to save wisely, spend responsibly, and give generously. In this way may we prepare for the future and create a better tomorrow for our families, friends, the mission of Christ, and the world. Amen.

Invitation to Next Meeting

Closing Hymn

CCS 584, “Clothe Us in Your Spirit”

Closing Prayer

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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