Call to worship based on Psalm 123
O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak to you.
I am sending you to the people of Israel.
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. Amen
A prayer of confession and assurance
With the support of saints and apostles, as members of Christ’s body, we confess that there have been times when:
we have made unwise decisions, we have acted with closed minds, we have followed our own priorities.
Lord, have mercy
We turn to Christ, confident in God’s forgiveness, and celebrate the faith we share.
God has brought us back to life, shown us mercy and flooded us with grace.
United with Christ, we embrace life, ready to grow with Christ and each other.
We dedicate ourselves to holiness.
A Reflection on Mark 6:1-13
I watched yet another news report of the dwindling effectiveness of the church in modern society. Its easy to say we have to change our ways to continue to serve our society, but we seem to find it difficult to change even the smallest of things. What does Jesus do in similar circumstances?
So far in the Gospel of Mark it seems that nothing or no one could resist Jesus’ ministry:
- People had been making holes in roofs to get near him
- Gangsters had turned their backs on their corruption
- Huge crowds of people had followed him around Lake Galilee
- 12 men gave up everything to follow his teaching – he told some wonderful parables
- He had faced up to demons and evil
- He raised the dead
Unfortunately, he’d fallen out with is family and the authority figures at the Temple and now we hear that his friends and neighbours had fallen out with him. He wasn’t flavour of the month! People didn’t want to listen any more!
We’re told that Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith. Everyone knew Jesus and his family. He was a local craftsman. He was supposed to be just like them so even when they heard him speak and saw him healing, people could not shake off their preconceptions. Was he getting above his station in life? Had he, by going away, failed in his duty to his mother? Whatever the reason, it was the attitude of local people that meant that Jesus could ‘do no deed of power’.
But he didn’t want to leave this area around Nazareth without hope and encouragement: he sent out his disciples to continue with the mission – and they were really successful! Notice too, the urgency of Jesus’ ministry. The logistics were minimal: they were to take nothing with them and depend on local hospitality.
The structures of the URC allow for us to follow this model of mission. We are able to send out our fellow congregants and ministers. We are able to move around; to find new mission fields when our work is finished in one place. We are able to move our church buildings to a different physical space if that is what is needed.
I would encourage us all to check-in with our friends and neighbours, with those people we share a pew with on Sundays. Go out in the name of the Lord, show compassion, talk about the good news and love one-another. Just don’t expect everybody to react positively to Jesus’ message or method.
Lord, help me to look ever to the skies,
to feel the earth beneath my feet,
to hear birdsong,
be refreshed by rain and sunshine,
laughter and tears,
to step out, sensing the way,
to be still and know …
Colours of Day www.youtube.com/watch?v=mw-7CJhlbp0
Make Way (Graham Kendrick) www.youtube.com/watch?v=tK6XuYhL7JI
We Have a Gospel to Proclaim www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5wWRYq