17 November 2024


Ordinary Time (Proper 28)

Hebrews 10:11-25

Hold Fast to Hope


Additional Scriptures

1 Samuel 1:4-20; Psalm 16;
Mark 13:1-8; Doctrine and Covenants 165:2a-b




Sharing Joys and Concerns

Call to Worship

The Lord is our chosen portion and our cup. You, O God, show us the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy.

—Psalm 16:5, 11, adapted

Praise Singing

“How Firm a Foundation"
CCS 250

OR “God of Grace and God of Laughter"
CCS 100 

Invocation and Prayer for Joys and Concerns


Spiritual Practice: Visualization

This spiritual practice is grounded in the lectionary scripture from Hebrews 10:11-25. After the scripture has been read, you are invited to close your eyes and take three grounding breaths. A word or phrase will then be offered, and you are encouraged to create or visualize a mental picture that aligns with that word or phrase. Try to hold that image in your mind, noticing the details; shapes, colors or textures of that image.

Read Hebrews 10:11-25

Invite those gathered to close their eyes and take three deep breaths. Give them 30 seconds to create and sit with each mental image.

Imagine a mental picture for this word: Sacrifice

Imagine a mental picture for this phrase: Draw near to God

Imagine a mental picture for this phrase: Laws in the hearts

Imagine a mental picture for this phrase: Hold unswervingly to hope

Imagine a mental picture for this phrase: Spur one another toward love and good deeds

Small Group Sharing

After the final phrase, print or project the five words/phrases and invite people to choose one to describe or share their mental picture with a neighbor.

Reread Hebrews 10:11-25

Song of Reflection

"Nada te turbe”  Sing several times.

If this is unfamiliar to your group, consider singing along with the vocal recording found on Community of Christ Sings Audio Recordings, available from HeraldHouse.org.

OR “Heal Me, Hands of Jesus"
CCS 546 

Prayer for Peace

Light the Peace Candle.


Creator of all,

It is easy to look around and become overwhelmed at the current state of the world. With environmental catastrophes and the state of global warming, the lack of sustainability, and pollution. There are wars and greed, systems that support discrimination, inequality and unjust treatment of people and the planet. How can we not feel overwhelmed?

Don’t put laws in our hearts, Lord. But rather your radical, all-encompassing love. May this flow through our bodies spurring us on to demand just change to the world we live in and on. May this cause us to make a beautiful noise; to speak and stand in the face of oppression and greed and be a living example of a better way.

Let us draw near to you God, with sincere hearts. That we might be sustained in the knowledge of your love for all and the heartbreak of what we, as humanity, have caused.

Help us find our way forward from here, is our prayer from the depths of our beings. Amen.

Sing for Peace

“Lord, Prepare Me” Sing twice.                                                                     
CCS 280

OR “The People Walk/Un pueblo que camina”                                            
CCS 292

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

Object Lesson

Telephone is a fun game to practice skills of listening carefully and communicating clearly, with a chance to reinforce today’s scripture.

Rules: Create groups of participants (the bigger the better, seven to ten). The first person in the line will be given a sentence. They then quietly share it with the next person in their line, and it gets passed down the line in a similar way to an old-fashioned telegraph relay station. The last person in the line shares the sentence. See how much it has changed from the original.

Example sentences:

  •             You are worthy and you are loved.
  •             Hold fast to hope without wavering.

Discuss: What caused the differences? Have you ever had an experience like this? What might we do to become clearer communicators? Better listeners?

Disciples’ Generous Response

Scripture Reading: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2a


Generosity rarely happens by chance. Instead, it is intentional decisions that we make in our lives. It demonstrates willingness to offer every dimension of one’s life to God. Many ways can show expressions of generosity. Over this season of generosity, we will examine expressions of time, treasure, testimony, and talent.

Testimony is the sharing of your story, encounter, and experience. In our context it is communicating with others where you have experienced God moving in your life or how this connection with God has changed and shaped you. In the journey of discipleship there are times when we feel very close to God and other times when we struggle and feel disconnected. Sharing of testimonies supports the community, growing hope, and helping us all move forward in our journeys with God. It is important that we not only share our testimony but, as we learned in the Object Lesson, listen carefully to those of others.

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.

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

Song of Hope

“Beauty for Brokenness"
CCS 302

Choose three stanzas most applicable to your group.

OR “For the Healing of the Nations"
CCS 297 


Based on Hebrews 10:11-25

OR Small Group Sharing        Print or project questions for all to see.

  • When has hope grown in a time of darkness in your life?
  • What give you hope today?

OR Ask two or three people share a testimony on the above questions.

Sending Forth Hymn

“Take the Path of the Disciple"
CCS 558

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

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

OR “How Many Times We Start Again"
CCS 560 


Sending Forth: Doctrine and Covenants 165:2b





Year B—Letters

Ordinary Time (Proper 28)

Hebrews 10:11–25

Exploring the Scripture

Today ends the examination of Christ as the Eternal High Priest. We have come to understand he gave his life once and for all time, for all people. For those following the Hebrews lectionary path the last few Sundays, today begins with a summary of key points explored in previous texts. If today is the first time considering Jesus as the Great High Priest, we recommend a review of Sermon Helps for the past five Sundays. 

Contrasting Jesus Christ with the priests who served in the Jerusalem temple, the author of Hebrews reiterates a key theme in last week’s text. Human priests stand at the altar offering animal sacrifices day after day, but they can never fully atone for sins. The need for repetition is itself proof of the ineffectiveness of the ritual. The daily sacrifices only serve to remind people of their sinfulness.

On the other hand, Christ offered his life, once, completely, for all time and creation. His work was finished, and like royalty, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” waiting for the end of the age when all who opposed him would be subordinated (v.12). His single sacrifice offered complete forgiveness, allowing God to view each of us through the filter of Christ’s perfection.

The author cites Jeremiah 31:33–34 to affirm Christ’s new covenant lives in their hearts. The new covenant in Christ offers complete forgiveness of sins. It does not rely on external sacrificial rituals or an unending cycle of laws, daily rituals, and reminders of incomplete redemption. There is no more need for animal sacrifices.

There are no longer any barriers (curtains) separating us from God’s presence. We can approach God with confidence, following Jesus’ way. Because Christ died for our sins, our hearts have been symbolically sprinkled with the “blood” (life) of Christ and cleansed from impurities (v. 19). Further, we can approach God in faith with a clear conscience without carrying the burden of remembering past evil. Whatever scars sin has left on our bodies is removed, as if washed away by pure water.

With Christ as our High Priest, we look to the future with unwavering hope, knowing God’s faithfulness toward us is unwavering. Christ transforms our relationship with God and our relationship with one another. Forgiven, free from sin, filled with hope, we encourage one another and work together in love to bring about good in the world. We gather eagerly for worship and togetherness and build the community Christ promoted as God’s Reign. 

Even as we see “the Day approaching,” we continue to be a source of steadfast faith, hope, and love for one another (v. 25). “The Day” probably refers to the Second Coming of Christ, mentioned in Hebrews 9:28. It does not matter whether one views it as Christ’s Second Coming, the end of the world, or some other apocalyptic event. Whatever day we might dread, whatever deadline we might face personally or as a community, whatever approaching disaster we discern, we can face it with faith, hope, and love. We are assured of Christ’s continued ministry of forgiveness, restoration, and mercy for humankind and each of us as individuals. 

Central Ideas

  1. Priests stand at the altar day after day offering inadequate sacrifices, but Christ sacrificed himself once and for all to bring about final, total redemption.
  2. The new covenant lives in our hearts, strengthening us through continual renewal and mercy.
  3. We can approach God in faith with a clear conscience and look to the future with hope.
  4. Whatever disasters loom ahead, Christ provides faith, hope, love, and forgiveness as resources to meet them. 

Questions for the Speaker

  1. How have you claimed Christ’s forgiveness and mercy?
  2. What does it mean personally for the new covenant to live in your heart, renewing your life?
  3. How does the burden of conscience deny the blessing God offers through Christ? What do you do to let go of the burden of a guilty conscience?
  4. What disasters do you perceive in your future? How can faith, hope, love, and forgiveness help you meet them?



Year B Letters

Ordinary Time, Proper 28

Hebrews 10:11–25




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, “Christ, You Call Us All to Service,” Community of Christ Sings 357, by Joy F. Patterson.

Let us be a servant people, reconciling, ending strife,
seeking ways to be more just of sharing and of ord’ring human life…

God of service and strife, thank you for your beautiful world! In the clouds, sun and wind we find inspiration to be your servant people. For the clouds never tire of raining, the sun never tires of shining, and the wind never tires of blowing. Teach us to be relentless and resilient. Remind us that we come from the same Earth that the clouds and the wind come from. The light you placed in the sun is the same light you placed in our souls.

Pursuing peace seems endless at times. Endless and repetitive. Just as the green Earth needs regular and continual rain, peace needs regular and consistent reconciliation. But just as the rain is beautiful and full of healing, so is reconciliation. Deep in our hearts, hide a passion to end strife, so that we would continue to search for it within our souls, around our communities, and among our neighbors. May we always seek ways of peace.

In the name of Jesus, the Way of peace. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Discernment through Contemplative Prayer

Today’s spiritual practice focuses on the Enduring Principle of Responsible Choices. We find stories in the scriptures of people reflecting on their history and seeing God’s hand in all of it. When we pause to discern God’s presence in our lives, we can see the divine hand throughout. God’s presence guides us as we seek to make Responsible Choices. One way we can sense God’s presence is through contemplative prayer.

Contemplative prayer is a method of meditation used by Christians to sit in silence with God. When we get quiet and listen to our heart, we can discern where God is calling us.

Choose a word or phrase as a symbol of your intent to open yourself to God’s presence. Sit comfortably, with your eyes closed. Repeat your word slowly and silently.

When you become aware of thoughts, physical sensations, or emotions, allow them to pass. Return gently to your word or phrase.

We will continue this practice for three minutes.

Ring a chime to start the meditation.

After three minutes ring a chime to end the meditation.

Now we will sit quietly for three minutes to see what comes to us in the silence.

Ring a chime to end the silence.

Invite the participants to share their experience with this spiritual practice.

Sharing Around the Table

Hebrews 10:11–25 NRSVUE

And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds,”

and he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

In this passage of Hebrews, the focus is on Christ as high priest. We are urged to look to the message of his great and last sacrifice instead of the continued daily sacrifices performed in the temple. Remember that Christ will remember our sins and lawless deeds no more. Where there is forgiveness, there no longer is a need for offerings for sin.

This promise is predicated on the covenant quoted in verse 16, that the law will be put in our hearts and written on our minds. Again, the message of Jesus is to go deeper than the religious requirements. We see this all over the New Testament in his teachings. Not to simply do what we should do, but to be what Jesus wants us to be. We’re to integrate his holy message of love, salvation, worth, compassion, giftedness, and call in all we do.

A commitment is made to this when we begin our journey with Christ. For many, that commitment was made through baptism or confirmation. May we continue to commit ourselves to following Christ each day, each time we gather in faith, each time we take Communion, each time we love and serve one of our siblings in Christ. This passage reminds us that the love and commitment of Christ should be etched so deeply on our hearts that it transforms how we act. That time and time again we might more fully reflect the Divine in our world today.


  1. What does it mean personally to have this covenant written on your heart?
  2. How can faith, hope, love, and forgiveness help you through difficult times?
  3. How can your faith community, family, or friendship group more fully reflect the way of Christ?


Statement of Generosity

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 511, “Three Things I Promise”

Closing Prayer


Optional Additions Depending on Group

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


Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • bubble solution and wands for each person

Say: Today’s scripture reminds us of the importance of forgiveness. Just as God offers us forgiveness, we should offer forgiveness to others, too. Sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. Even after we’ve apologized and made amends, we still might feel guilt or shame about something. Today, I want us to try a practice that will help us let go of guilt and shame.

Close your eyes and visualize the thing you are struggling to forgive yourself for. Have you already apologized for this thing? Have you done all you can to make it right? If so, it is time to let go of your bad feelings about it and forgive yourself.

To do this, I want you to imagine that you have a bubble wand and some bubble solution. Imagine dipping the wand into the solution. Take a deep breath in and bring the wand to your lips. As you release the breath, imagine you are blowing your guilt and shame into the bubble. Now imagine the bubble floating away, taking the bad feelings with it. If you weren’t able to release all of the bad feelings, feel free to blow another bubble or two.

When you are ready, open your eyes and head back to your seat. (If you got bubble solution for each participant, give them the solution as they go to their seats, but ask them to not use bubbles until the end of the gathering.)

Older Post Newer Post