Home Service for 16th April 2023

Call to Worship

Come and worship as you have always come, but come with your heart open. Come and pray as you have always come, but come with your heart full of integrity. Come and give thanks as you have always done, but come with a heart that means what it says. May our words, our worship and our lives be truly beautiful.

Please read Mark 7


This is a strange story, because it seems to show Jesus treating harshly someone who comes to him in desperate need.

He has gone to the region of Tyre to get some peace and quiet, but he ‘could not stay hidden’ (verse 24); a Gentile woman whose daughter has a demon comes and begs for help. Jesus answers her in the voice of a rigidly orthodox Jew: the children of Israel come first, and the Gentile ‘dogs’ a long way second. But this woman, passionately committed to her daughter, refuses to take no for an answer, and Jesus honours her faith.

We should probably concentrate on the result of the encounter rather than getting too tangled up in their dialogue. Their exchange highlights the radical nature of Jesus’ ministry. In Matthew’s version of the story (15.24) he says he was sent ‘only to the lost sheep of the people of Israel’. But while the focus of his ministry is his fellow-Jews, Gentiles too are loved by God and could be welcomed into his kingdom.

Here, as in other parts of the Gospels, Jesus is drawing the circle of God’s love wider. No one is excluded on the grounds of race or gender or nationality.

It’s easy to pay lip-service to this idea. But Jesus’ use of the word ‘dogs’ to describe Gentiles is designed to acknowledge the prejudices

that are so deep-rooted we don’t even realise we have them. Understanding ourselves – sometimes painfully – is part of Christian discipleship.

Intercessory prayer

God of integrity and compassion, we pray for those who live in homes that look lovely from the outside, but inside are places of anger and violence; for people who look cheerful on the outside, but inside are depressed and in turmoil; for churches that look beautiful from the outside, but are full of disillusionment and division; for those who offer what appears to be a bargain but is actually exploitative and destructive; for those places in which animals appear to offer entertainment and fun, but are really locations of cruel captivity.
We pray that our world may reflect your beauty on the outside and your love on the inside.

We ask this in Jesus’ name.




May God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
inspire joy in our hearts, compassion in our words,
and integrity in our lives, now and always.



Suggested Listening

Lord I come to you let my heart be changed – www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSi-9PPPGnI

Purify My Heart (Jeremy Riddle) – www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkqJHUJlKVM Thuma mina – www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MdP9lVSSH0

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.