Home Service for Sunday 20th February 2022

Call to Worship

Come before God in the spirit of sacrifice.
Leave everything behind and offer all that you have and all that you are
to the Lord who loves us.

Amen

Please read Mark 10.17-27

A prayer of confession

Lord, we hear your word and confess that we think it applies to others.
Most of us are not rich, and though we have possessions, no one would want to buy them.
Largely we keep the commandments – at least, the ones we understand.
And we give up quite a lot to be your followers:

· time at the gym or Sunday brunch

· an evening out for a church meeting

· the price of a meal out becomes a direct debit.

What have camels and needles to do with us?
Yet you look on us with love.
Help us to listen to you, Lord, and to follow.
We confess that we have sinned, and we repent.

Amen.

Reflection

Do you know somebody with too much money? How has it changed them?

This passage isn’t quite as straightforward as it might seem. It is easy to see it as a tirade against people with money and has often been used in that way. Yet Jesus and his disciples were far from poor. Jesus himself came from a middle-class family, running its own building business at a time when the construction trade was booming in Galilee, with the construction of two significant cities (Tiberias and Sepphoris) not far from Nazareth. Some of the disciples too: they had enough employees to keep their fishing business going even while they were spending time out with Jesus.

So the instruction to this particular individual must have been specific to his personal circumstance rather than a blanket statement about money as such. The key to understanding it is likely to be found in the statement about ‘the kingdom of God’ (v.23) – which can be thought of as ‘God’s way of doing things.’ And God often turns things upside down from our way of thinking: the first being last and the last being first (v.31).

The mention of the eye of the needle has given rise to much discussion, for how could a camel ever possibly pass through such a small opening? Rather than take this literally perhaps Jesus is using this metaphorically to suggest that rich people might struggle to embrace God’s way of doing things because of their lifestyle or their overwhelming financial ambition.

Jesus encourages us to stand by the poor and when possible, to share with the poor, he doesn’t encourage us to become poor – nor to be super-rich. When Jesus encourages us through the man to leave everything behind. That might not just mean our money but also the way we live our lives. Are you ready to change?

Prayer

Lord, as we think of the rich young man, we give thanks for the guidance and insight
we find in gospel stories.

Give us ears to hear and minds to learn the wisdom of those deep treasures.

We pray for those who have wealth, giving thanks for those who share and praying that they may receive wisdom as they seek to build a better world.

We pray for those who find it hard to share, praying that they will learn the joy that comes
from community and giving.

And we think of those at the other extreme, those who have very little.
We pray for strength and wisdom to do what we can to bring about a fairer world and relieve poverty.
Thank you, Jesus, for understanding our human failings.
Thank you, for coming among us, as one of us, to show us a better way:

· for getting alongside us, rather than preaching down;

· for teaching us in love and compassion, not judgement.

Lord, teacher and friend, we praise you.

Amen.

Sending out prayer
Go, in the spirit of sacrifice.
Think what God may be asking of you.
Give yourselves up to Jesus, and go, follow him.

Amen.

Suggested Listening Lord I Offer My Life to You www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5yO0U1ZlBs All That We Have www.youtube.com/watch?v=k16C-ukG-KI Take My Life and Let it Be www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of4l5bTdZ8M Love Like This (Lauren Daigle) www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7eyU9EPGWo

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