16 June 2024


Ordinary Time (Proper 6)

Mark 4:26-34

The Kin-dom of God Is Like…


Additional Scriptures

1 Samuel 15:34—16:13; Psalm 20; 2 Corinthians 5:6-17;

Doctrine and Covenants 147:5a


This worship service was planned in the Dominican Republic. It includes elements that resonate in that culture and provides worshippers with a glimpse of the worshipping church beyond their own walls.

Sharing Good News and Concerns


Gathering Hymn

“This Is My Song”                                                                                                     
CCS 389

OR “Onward to Zion”                                                                                                
CCS 390


Called to Worship

Reader 1: The kin-dom of God is that kind of kin-dom where we will all be welcome and all have a place.

Reader 2: The kin-dom of God is for the poor and the rich, the needy and the powerful, the marginalized and the mighty.

Reader 3: The kin-dom of God is not a kingdom that conquers with wars or politics. Jesus taught us that the kin-dom of God conquers the sinner with love.

Readers 1-3: The kin-dom of God is like a planted seed that sprouts and grows up to be what God intended.

Praise Hymn

“In the Bulb There Is a Flower”                                                                                
CCS 561

OR “O God in Whom All Life Begins”                                                                    
CCS 508


Musical Response

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.


O Holy One,

Hear us in this day of conflict and trouble.

Give us sanctuary to sustain us on bad days.

Accept our offerings of peace and help us to trust more in you than our own resources, agendas, or desires.

Allow us to remember your name and greatness in the midst of our own weakness.

Give us strength to work for justice and the coming of your kin-dom.

God, hear our prayer and grant us peace.


Scripture Reading: Mark 4:26-34

Well in advance, ask a liturgical dancer to develop interpretive movements to go with the scripture as it is read.

OR Ask an artist to sketch images from the scripture as it is slowly read. Make this large enough for all to see. This could continue into the Ministry of Music/Hymn.

Ministry of Music or Congregational Hymn

“Leftover People in Leftover Places”                                                                        
CCS 275

OR “Clothe Us in Your Spirit”                                                                                  
CCS 584

Gospel Message

Based on Mark 4:26-34

We Sing the Gospel Message         

“Bring Forth the Kingdom”                                                                                       
CCS 387

OR “What Is the World Like”                                                                                  
CCS 385

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 147:5a


During this time of Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are more than meeting budgets or funding mission. We can tangibly express our gratitude to God through our offerings, who is the giver of all.

Through our offerings we join in making God’s work visible in the world.

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. Our hearts grow aligned with God’s when we gratefully receive and faithfully respond by living Christ’s mission.

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

Generosity Hymn To be sung after the offering is received.

“Let Us Give Praise to the God of Creation”                                                             CCS 607

OR “My Gratitude Now Accept, O God/Gracias, Señor”                                          CCS 614/615

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


Congregational Sung Response     Sing twice.

“Seek First”                                                                                                                
CCS 600

OR “Go Forth”                                                                                                           
CCS 654

Sending Forth Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26





Year B—Letters

Ordinary Time (Proper 6)

Mark 4:26–34


Exploring the Scripture

Twenty-first-century readers must enter the first-century world of Galilee to understand how shocking Jesus’ parables were. Jesus combined everyday things with images from the Hebrew Scriptures. He used them to challenge preconceived notions about God’s reign and the accepted system of power and authority.

Today’s passage includes two brief parables that use seeds as the key symbol for the growth of God’s kingdom. Mark 4:26–29 presents an image of the mysterious growth of God’s reign. The farmer’s effort is minimal: plant the seed and watch it grow. The kingdom belongs to God, and only God can bring it about, in God’s own time. When the harvest is ready, the farmer reaps it with a sickle. Joel 3:13 uses the same image to express the end times and judgment.

The second parable is the well-known saying about the mustard seed. But the meaning is not necessarily well-known today. The mustard seed was tiny and black, smaller than vegetable seeds. It grew into a wild, spreading bush larger than vegetable plants. It was tough, resilient, and hard to control. In Jesus’ day, farmers kept it separate from their vegetable gardens. When they found it growing wild in their fields, they pulled it out.

The parable speaks of “sowing” the mustard seed, that is, planting this wild, uncontrollable weed on purpose. His hearers would have laughed. Jesus was saying that God’s reign is not intended to be separate from everyday life. We must plant it in the middle of our tiny, cultivated world—and watch it take over! It grows wild and spreads everywhere, a weed that many reject or try to destroy.

Then Jesus adds an image from the Hebrew Scriptures that would have been familiar to his hearers. This tiny seed grows into a bush so large that “birds of the air nest in its shade” (v. 32). Ezekiel 31:1–18 describes Assyria as a great tree, proud and tall as the cedars of Lebanon, towering above all nations. The birds of the air (the nations of the world) found shelter in its branches and rested in its shade. God cut down Assyria and left it broken and dead. Similarly, Daniel 4:10–17 describes Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon as a proud, invincible tree. All the nations deferred to him. God cut him down, chopped off his branches, stripped his foliage, and scattered his fruit.

The contrast is clear. The reign of God is not a proud, majestic tree that rivals both the power of God and other nations. It’s a strong, resilient bush that grows wild and keeps spreading despite efforts to pull it out. Its branches are large and strong, able to host all the nations (the “birds”) of the world that will come and be part of it. But it’s humble.

For those who did not understand the humbleness of God’s reign, its inclusive nature, and its secret growth, such parables were confusing and strange. But Jesus explained his images only to his closest followers in private. Those who were loyal and committed to Jesus were given inside knowledge about the nature of the coming reign of God. The subversive nature of his teaching was hidden from those who would destroy him and uproot the beginnings of the kingdom.


Central Ideas

  1. The kingdom of God belongs to God. God alone manages the growth and the harvest.
  2. The kingdom of God is not separate from the world. It is planted amid it.
  3. The kingdom of God begins in small ways, but its growth cannot be contained or controlled. It’s uncultured, unpopular, and unstoppable.
  4. Any human efforts to make the kingdom of God majestic, powerful, or sophisticated are doomed to fail.


Questions for the Speaker

  1. How have you misunderstood and misappropriated the good news of God’s reign? How have you tried to manage or control it?
  2. Where have you seen God’s reign beginning to sprout, grow, or bear fruit?
  3. How do we unconsciously try to keep the kingdom of God separate from our daily life and activities?
  4. How have you recently been challenged to sow the seeds of the kingdom?



Year B Letters

Ordinary Time, Proper 6

2 Corinthians 5:6–17 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 our 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: “Ate, Wakantanka, hoyewayelo,” Community of Christ Sings 189.

Lakota Prayer

Father Wakantanka says come. Father Wakantanka, pity me. The people want good health. Saying that, I send a voice.

Father God, we pray for the peace that good health brings. Peace and good health for the Earth, for its plants and animals, for its ecosystems, for its people. We ask forgiveness for the scars we have inflicted on Mother Earth. None of us is innocent of this. Each of us is responsible for caring for the scars. In caring for the Earth, we care, too, for one another. May we be a voice of peace.

Spiritual Practice

Dwelling in the Word

The Enduring Principle we are focusing on today is Continuing Revelation. We will practice this with Dwelling in the Word.

I will read the following passage aloud. As you hear it, allow words, images, or phrases to come to your mind. Try not to focus on them. Let them rest in you. After a moment of silence, I will read the excerpt a second time. As you hear the words again, listen for how God’s Spirit is nudging you or catching your attention.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 163:4a:

God, the Eternal Creator, weeps for the poor, displaced, mistreated, and diseased of the world because of their unnecessary suffering. Such conditions are not God’s will. Open your ears to hear the pleading of mothers and fathers in all nations who desperately seek a future of hope for their children. Do not turn away from them. For in their welfare resides your welfare.


Read the scripture a second time.


Invite group members to share responses to these questions:

  1. What words, phrases or images came to mind?
  2. How is God’s Spirit nudging you?
  3. How does dwelling in the word create Continued Revelation within you?

Sharing Around the Table

2 Corinthians 5:6–17 NRSVUE

So we are always confident, even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord—for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to be pleasing to him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive due recompense for actions done in the body, whether good or evil.

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people, but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves but for the one who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we no longer know him in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; look, new things have come into being!

In this passage, Paul shares that the human embodied experience is a “home away from the Lord.” We can be confident (faithful and secure) in our human lives because we know God is with us. Paul admits that in our human form, there is a degree of separation from God. However, in life and death, the goal is to please God, not ourselves.

Death brings judgment or reward “for what we have done in the body, both good and evil.” The mention of God’s judgment leads Paul to reflect again on the charges laid against him by other leaders. Paul affirms that he fears or honors God and is known by God in return. His relationship with God prompts him to share the gospel with others. He reminds the Corinthians they know him and ought to defend him against unfair accusations. Appearances are secondary to what lies in the heart, and the Corinthians know Paul’s heart.

The accusation that Paul is “beside himself” could mean crazy or refer to a superficial spiritual ecstasy. Paul argues that if he is crazy, it is for God and, therefore, genuine. Paul’s love for Christ motivates him to share the gospel message.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that the death and resurrection of Christ changes the lens of humankind. The old categories and old ways of relating are inadequate. Old habits, relationships, prejudices, and conflicts have been abolished. We stand transformed into a new humanity. Being new creatures in Christ implies acting in new ways toward others—more loving, forgiving, extending grace, creating peace.


  1. When have you felt motivated to share the message of Christ’s peace?
  2. How does the human nature of Jesus Christ transform what it means to be human?
  3. What does it mean to you to be a “new creation” in Christ?


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 280, “Lord, Prepare Me”

Closing Prayer


Optional Additions Depending on Group

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


Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • origami paper—really any square paper; thinner is better

Have enough paper cranes folded so that you can give one to each participant. Hold up a piece of origami paper and ask: What is this?

Say: You are right. This is a piece of paper. What if I told you I could turn it into something else?

Fold the paper into a crane (directions: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC_Szxdqh2Y).

As you fold, invite participants to guess what you are creating.

Say: I used a piece of paper to create a bird! Looking at the piece of paper I had, did you think I could create something like this?

In today’s scripture, Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them they are new creations in Christ. He encourages them to see one another as God sees them. God sees us not just as we are, but as we can be. You are beautiful and wonderful just the way you are, God doesn’t want to change that about you. But, when we allow God to live in our hearts, we can be transformed into something we never imagined, and we can better share joy, hope, love, and peace in the world! 

Give all participants a paper crane before sending them back to their seats.

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