14 July 2024



Ordinary Time (Proper 10)

Ephesians 1:3-14

Set Our Hope on Christ


Additional Scriptures

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24;
Mark 6:14-29; Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a


Share and Care  



The presider should prayerfully read all four of the lectionary scriptures several times and prepare a statement of Welcome including an overview of the scripture and theme of the day. The following is an example.

Welcome to this sacred time. We come, full of hope, in response to the invitation issued through God’s grace. We come to find the Holy.

It’s a mystery. The letter to the Ephesians highlights the unknown of God’s work through Jesus Christ. Understanding the mystery of it all opens our lives to hope in Christ. While it is mysterious, it is not accidental…

The psalmist must have experienced grace and lifted his voice in praise recorded as Psalm 24 which we will hear inviting us to worship.

Hymn of Welcome

“Alleluia! Hear God’s Story”
CCS 271

OR “All Are Welcome"
CCS 276

OR “In Christ There Is No East or West"
CCS 339

Call to Worship: Responsive Reading

Leader 1: The Earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.
For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the waters.

Leader 2: Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

Congregation: Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory.

—Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 9-10

Hymn of Praise

“Earth and All Stars” 
CCS 102

Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own.

OR “Pray to the Lord”
CCS 85

OR “God of All Time"
CCS 270



Scripture Reading: Ephesians 1:3-14

The reading of the theme lectionary scripture is placed here so that it will be known in the worship elements that follow. The presider and speaker should consider ways in which the scripture verses can be made most meaningful to listeners. For example, a bulletin insert of the reading or more than one reader.

Focus Moment

Gather an egg timer that uses sand like an hourglass, a picture of White Sands National Park in New Mexico, a small cup of water (like a communion cup), a picture of a large body of water, and a picture of someone holding a tiny baby. Project the pictures for all to see.

Today’s scripture verses we just heard use words like immeasurable greatness, power, forgiveness, and richness. It says that God lavished on us the riches of his grace. Lavish is kind of a funny word that we probably don’t use very often. It means something like generously giving something you have a lot of or an abundance of. Let’s talk about abundance with some examples. 

Here is a timer with sand in it. You might see one in a kitchen or in word games. We use one so we know when the egg is boiled or time in the game has run out. What would lots of sand look like? Here is a picture of the White Sands National Park in New Mexico. That’s a lot of sand, we could say an abundance of sand.

Here is a small cup of water. What would lots of water look like? Here is a picture of the ocean. That’s a lot of water, we could say an abundance of water.

Now let’s think about love, God’s love. What would a small amount of God’s love look like? Is that even possible? Here is a picture of someone holding a tiny baby. Would that be a small amount of love? Probably not. The baby is small, but the love is very large, it is abundant.

God’s love is like that. It is abundant, so abundant that we can’t even imagine it. It fills the whole world, all of creation, the earth, water, land, all the animals, the moon, planets, and stars. And the good news is that God’s love for us, all the people in the world, is ABUNDANT.

The book of Ephesians in the Bible is about this. It uses the word “lavished” to describe what God does with God’s abundant love. Verses 7, 8 and 9 say: “In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made know to you the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure.”

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.


Lavishing God,

We hear the promise that your grace is abundant, that you lavish it on us generously. Through the example of Jesus Christ giving his life, you challenge us to give our all and work of peace. Jesus taught that it is in losing ourselves in the gospel of peace that we are saved. It’s a tall order. The irony of this requires us to act in faith. So, today we are praying for the strength of your Holy Spirit to empower us to do your work of living in the path of Christ, the way of peace.

There is so much need for people dedicated to the work of nonviolence and peace. We would be part of those who give themselves for the cause. Cleanse us of thoughts of violence. Stir us to seek peace rather than conflict. Inspire us to lose ourselves in the cause of justice. Don’t let us falter when the challenge seems too great. Amen.

                                                                                    —Steve Bolie

Hymn of Reflection

“Hevenu shalom alayehem/La paz esté con nosotros"
CCS 311

OR “The Peace of the Earth/La paz de la tierra"
CCS 647

OR “May the God of Hope/Dios de la esperanza"
CCS 652

Sing at least twice. Encourage participants to try all the languages. 


Based on Ephesians 1:3-14

Sung Response

“The Path of Our Walking”  
CCS 177

OR “In the Bulb There Is a Flower”   
CCS 561

OR “Help Us Express Your Love” 
CCS 621

Disciples’ Generous Response


For more than twenty years, Community of Christ has used the term Disciples’ Generous Response in place of offertory. It emphasizes that our offerings are our response as disciples to generous God. Mission Tithes may be designated for worldwide mission or local mission.

Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission. During the Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart.

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a

Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. Through our offerings we can tangibly express our gratitude to God who is the giver of all. As we share our mission tithes either by placing money in the plates or through eTithing, use this time to thank God for the many gifts received in life.

If your congregation is meeting online, remind participants they can give through CofChrist.org/give or eTithing.org (consider showing these URLs on screen).

Blessing and Receiving of Local and Worldwide Mission Tithes

Hymn of Gratitude  To be sung as the offering is received.

“From You I Receive”     Sing several times.                                               

Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own.

OR “We Lift Our Voices”                                                                                          CCS 618

Pastoral Prayer

Closing Hymn

“May the God of Hope/Dios de la esperanza”   
CCS 652

Encourage participants to sing in a language other than their own.

OR “Jesu, Tawa Pano/Jesus, We Are Here”  Sing several times.
CCS 71

Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own.

OR “Hope of the World"
CCS 29                                                                                                                

Sending Forth

With the hope of Christ within us, let us lavishly share our abundance and our love. Go with God.




Year B—Letters

Ordinary Time (Proper 10)

Ephesians 1:3–14


Exploring the Scripture

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians was written to ordinary people doing their best to keep their jobs, provide shelter, food, clothing, and maybe an occasional “treat” for their family. Some were better off than others; some probably experienced tragedy, grief, and injustice. Some may have been the ones inflicting injustice onto someone else. They were people with several questions about life, the future, and how to make sense of a life of faith. In many ways, Ephesians is a letter written to people just like us, though separated in time and place.

Scholars have noted that this whole paragraph of today’s text is one long, running sentence in the Greek text. Paul wanted to make sure it was all connected and nothing would be excluded! In verses 3–4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ…” 

This statement is foundational to the entire section: Praise for what God has done, is doing, and will do. We are participants—or should we say beneficiaries—of what God is up to in the world. We have been blessed because of what God is up to in this plan for redemption. As Paul pulls back the curtain on this idea, it’s like he’s saying, “This includes you, you know.” In verses 4 to 14, he explains what God has been about and how redemption touches each person who receives grace. 

Paul proclaims this blessing has been part of God’s grace and generosity from the beginning. All are included. God’s yearning has always been to bless all creation all the time. There is no hierarchy of spiritual blessings. All God’s children are equally and generously blessed. What are these blessings?

We each have been blessed with giftedness. When all our gifts work together according to God’s goodwill, something happens. The Blessings of Community are fully expressed and offer much-needed hope in our often-desperate communities. According to Paul, because of God’s gift, intended to be shared from the beginning of creation, we can do better than exclusion, tolerance, or patronization. We can do better than blame victims. We can do better than allowing unjust systems to continue to oppress people from living a life full of God’s grace and hope. Redemption gives us the space to stumble towards love. This mystery is now in full expression because of Jesus Christ.

The term “mystery” in the New Testament usually means something previously hidden but now disclosed. Paul says we now know God purposed this mystery to be put into effect as part of this desire from the beginning of time and is bringing it all together in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As we experience this mystery, we can stumble towards love. Now that this mystery is revealed, what is our next step? 

Liminality means “a threshold of consciousness.” Theologically speaking, liminal space refers to the moment we become conscious of a transition. Like standing in a doorway, we are between one space and another but not entirely in either. Paul says now the mystery is revealed, we are aware of what happens next. As disciples, we take faithful steps to follow God. Paul is telling his readers, then and now, because of what God has revealed, we can step through the doorway into God’s future, even as we stumble toward love. The supreme blessing of God’s activity is liberation, freedom, adoption, and redemption for all creation. 

Central Ideas

  1. The letter to the believers in Ephesus was meant for “ordinary” people, like us.
  2. Paul expresses praise for what God has done, is doing, and will do.
  3. All God’s children are equally blessed.
  4. God reveals mystery—things previously hidden—to help us be more aware of the supreme blessing of God’s activity that surrounds us.

Questions for the Speaker

  1. What have been some moments of praise and celebration for you and your community? How did your celebration reflect the blessings of community to your larger community?
  2. How has this mystery, revealed in Jesus Christ, been expressed in your life or community? How have you stumbled toward love in this last week?
  3. What threshold are you being asked to cross in your next faithful step as a disciple and community?




Year B Letters

Ordinary Time, Proper 10

Ephesians 1:3–14 NRSVUE




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

Prayer for Peace

Ring a bell or chime three times slowly.

Light the peace candle.

Today’s Prayer for Peace is inspired by the hymn, “My Gratitude Now Accept, O God,” Community of Christ Sings 614 and 615, by Rafael Montalvo.

“From all your bounty I give to you;
For all the blessings you impart.
Receive this offering I bring.
Receive my joyful heart.”

Spirit of joyful peace, we don’t always feel joyful or peaceful. Our human brains jump from day to day in search of the path of least resistance. Yet, the path of peace is filled with resistance! We pause today to remember that you are faithful and ever-present in our strivings for peace. Open our cautious spirits to your leading Spirit, which is active joyfully each day of our lives. You are so generous with your blessings. May we gratefully accept your blessings and respond by following your promptings to grow peace within our hearts, in our house, and from the hilltops of our towns.

In the name of Jesus, who grants abundant peace. Amen.

Spiritual Practice


Our Enduring Principle focus this week is on Unity in Diversity. Not one person on Earth is exactly like another. We all are shaped by our culture, genetics, upbringings, families, experiences, beliefs, etc. One thing we all have in common is that we all are divinely made. Unity in Diversity is respecting the differences while honoring the Divine in all voices.

Read the following to the group:

But God has so arranged the body…that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.

—1 Corinthians 12:24–26 NRSV

Think over the past week. Who has shown compassion when you felt sad or were suffering?

Who has rejoiced with you, celebrating the good things in your life?

Invite people to share.

Who do you know who has endured suffering this week? How were you able to share this burden with them?

Who has had cause to rejoice this week? How have you celebrated with them?

Invite people to share.

Offer a short blessing of unity and close with “Amen.”

Sharing Around the Table

Ephesians 1:3-14 NRSVUE

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

The images of the cosmos gifted to the world by the Hubble Space Telescope continue to inspire awe and wonder. Looking back in time we see the complexity and expanse of God’s creativity because of the nature of light and time. There has never been a time when humans have the perspective of creation that we have now.

The Apostle Paul begins his letter with a Hubble Telescope view of the gospel and does not neglect to place the reader smack in the picture. Today takes a really big look at the work of salvation in Jesus and puts us in view.

When we consider the flow of God’s movement in creation we can get lost in the story. Sometimes we might feel like one of those little specks of light in a Hubble photograph, a speck among billions of specks. But Paul assures each person that God is with us, that God sees us not as a mob of people, but as beloved individuals.

Followers of the Way during Paul’s ministry were in no way a majority. In fact, they were a small, but growing faction. His words assure readers that God sees them, and they are an integral part of the history of salvation. Paul captures the beginnings and the futures of followers of the Way in a breathless song of praise for what God is doing and what the people are becoming.

God with us, is proof that we all matter and all are seen and known.


  1. God came to us as a baby under the same circumstances that billions of babies have come into the world: poor, vulnerable, oppressed. How does this influence the way you think about God and your relationship to God and creation?
  2. What does it mean for you to be a “follower of the Way?”


Generosity Statement

Beloved Community of Christ, do not just speak and sing of Zion. Live, love, and share as Zion: those who strive to be visibly one in Christ, among whom there are no poor or oppressed.

—Doctrine and Covenants 165:6a

The offering basket is available if you would like to support ongoing, small-group ministries as part of your generous response.

The offering prayer is adapted from A Disciple’s Generous Response:

Discipling God, as we navigate our world of debt and consumerism, help us 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

Community of Christ Sings 21, “God the Sculptor of the Mountains”

Closing Prayer



Optional Additions Depending on Group

  • Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
  • Thoughts for Children


Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • “I Am” signs

Say: Today I am going to give you each a piece of paper to make a sign. As you can see, the sign already says, “I AM.” You will fill in the word that describes the “real you” that you hope people can see.

Let’s begin with taking three, deep, peaceful breaths together.

As you sit quietly, close your eyes and imagine you are looking in a mirror. You see your own reflection. You see your hair, your eyes, your face.

Now imagine the mirror can see beyond your outside. It begins to reflect who you are inside.

You see your feelings. What is the mirror showing you?

The mirror shows your ideas and creative thoughts. What do you see?

The mirror shows your hopes and dreams for the future. What are they? 

Now imagine you are holding a sign in front of you. At first it is blank, but slowly words form. It says “I AM…” What word appears next? I AM _____?

When you see the word that completes the sign “I AM _____,” open your eyes and write it on your sign to complete your phrase.

Allow participants to share what they wrote and celebrate who they are.

Say: In addition to being all the wonderful things you just shared, we are reminded by today’s scripture that we also are children of God!

This week, as you go about your daily life, remember who you are. Proudly show the real “you” to the world. Share your ideas, your giftedness, and your kindness with confidence, knowing you are a child of God.

Adapted from Kids Book Club Resource

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