6 October 2024

WORSHIP RESOURCES

Ordinary Time (Proper 22)

Mark 10:2-16/10:2-14 IV

The Kin-dom of God Belongs to Children

Additional Scriptures

Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12;
Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a

           

Preparation

Today’s scripture is an opportunity to include the Sacrament of Blessing of Children. Suggested placement would be after the Message. If offering the sacrament, include in the Message the background and meaning of this sacrament.

Prelude

Welcome

 The Kin-dom of God belongs to children and so we welcome you to this worship as a little child.

Scripture Reading: Mark 10:13-16

Call to Worship: Psalm 26:2-3, 8

May you be welcomed this day as a little child. May you be blessed.

Hymn of Innocence

“Gather Your Children"
CCS 77

OR “like a child"
CCS 403

OR “Peace Child"
CCS 402 

Opening Prayer

Prayer Response

Prayer for Peace

Scripture for Peace: Doctrine and Covenants 163:2a

Light the Peace Candle.

Statement

Around the world, children are disproportionately impacted by poverty. According to UNICEF, one in six survives on less than $1.90 USD per day. As of 2019, 426 million children lived in conflict zones and 69 percent of all children, some 1.6 billion, lived in conflict-affected nations. What will we do to welcome these children into the kin-dom of God? What actions will we take as individuals and as a congregation to bless children?

A Child’s Prayer for Peace

I’m hungry God. My village has no fresh water, we search for food, we have no school. I’m scared, God. Soldiers kidnap and fight, torture and kill. Who will rescue us? I know of this word: peace. How will it come to me, God? Who are you sending for me? Amen.                    

Hymn of the Children

“I Am Standing Waiting"
CCS 298

OR “Jesus Loves Me"
CCS 251

Focus Moment

Explain the work of organizations like Outreach International in combating child poverty and the causes of injustice in our world that lead to conflict. In advance, print one of the posters from Outreach International and invite children or others in the congregation to help you place it somewhere it will be seen. See Outreach-international.org/how-to-help/faith-communities.

The Message

Based on Mark 10:2-16, especially Verses 13-16

Add the Blessing of Children Sacrament here, if desired.

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Hymn of Sacrament

“Bread of the World”                                                                                     
CCS 527

 “O Lord, How Can It Be”                                                                              
CCS 529

Communion Scripture: Mark 14:22-25

Communion Talk

Invitation to Communion

All are welcome at Christ’s table. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a sacrament in which we remember the life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Jesus Christ. In Community of Christ, we also experience Communion as an opportunity to renew our baptismal covenant and to be formed as disciples who live Christ’s mission. Others might have different or added understandings within their faith traditions. We invite all who participate in the Lord’s Supper to do so in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

Hymn of Preparation

“Eat This Bread”                    Sing twice.                                                      
CCS 528

Blessing and Serving of the Bread and Wine

For guidelines on the Lord’s Supper, including online participation, see CofChrist.org/our-ministry-tools.

Disciples’ Generous Response

Statement

Together we are called to recognize and respond to God’s blessing and share generously to our true capacity. Building the kin-dom of God requires a response of whole-life stewardship that blesses the lives of everyone in community. We read in Acts how the early Christians in Jerusalem sold their possessions and lived with all things in common. Each week, we have opportunity to respond to this ideal through the Disciples’ Generous Response. As a Communion tradition in Community of Christ, all loose offerings today will also go to the oblation fund to address suffering and poverty.

During this time of Disciples’ Generous Response, we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart. Our offerings are about 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. Together we reach out to children around the world and welcome everyone to God’s kin-dom.

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 Sending Forth

“Go My Children, with My Blessing"
CCS 650  

OR “Strong, Gentle Children"
CCS 233

OR “Bwana Awabariki/May God Grant You a Blessing”                                 
CCS 660

Sing several times. Encourage participants to sing in languages other than their own. 

Prayer of Benediction

Response

Postlude

 

 

SERMON AND CLASS HELPS

Year B—Letters

Ordinary Time (Proper 22)

Hebrews 1:1–4; 2:5–12

Exploring the Scripture

Although Hebrews ends as if it were a letter, it opens as an essay. The writer affirms God speaks to humankind throughout the ages, a belief central to Community of Christ. God spoke through prophets in the past, but around 400 BCE religious leaders decreed that God stopped speaking—the heavens were closed, and the age of prophecy had ended. Hebrews affirms God’s revelation continues through Jesus Christ.

Throughout the centuries theologians have discussed the nature and role of Jesus Christ. Christians have affirmed that Jesus Christ is fully God and also fully human. The book of Hebrews begins by stressing the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as God’s Son.

Christ is God’s heir, creator of the universe, reflecting God’s glory and the “imprint of God’s very being” (v. 3). Christ continues to sustain life through “his powerful word,” a parallel to God’s work of creation through the word (Ibid.). In the same verse, the author refers to Jesus’ humanity. “When he had made purification for sins” refers to Jesus’ death on the cross (v. 3).

However, the allusion is subtle, nearly lost in describing his divine nature. Christ became superior to the angels and sat down at the right hand of God (Majesty). Angels are only spiritual beings. Christ is spiritual, divine, human, God’s heir, and eternal. Angels serve; Christ creates, sustains, redeems, purifies, and rules. Hebrews quotes seven scripture passages, mainly from the Psalms, to build a case for Christ being superior to the angels (vv.5–12).

Chapter 2, verse 5 further refers to the Psalms (8:4–6) comparing angels to humans. The quote describes humans as being a little lower than the angels, in contrast to Christ, who is superior. Even though humans are lower than the angels, God gave humans control of the Earth, “subjecting all things under their feet” (v. 8). But, as the author points out, humankind had not yet succeeded in bringing all things under their control—with one exception. For a time, Jesus was human. He was glorified through his death and resurrection. Everything, including death, was now subordinate to the Risen Christ.

Here we find the Divine Christ (superior to the angels) balanced by the human Christ (a little lower than the angels). The paradox corrects the portrait of Christ that appears untouchable and unsympathetic to the everyday problems of human existence. He, too, has suffered, been humiliated, experienced death, and therefore becomes approachable.

Jesus is the pioneer (also translated as Author or Leader) of salvation, the forerunner who only reached completion and full maturity as the Savior through his sufferings. The author declares that humanity’s salvation required Jesus to suffer and die for all. (Later theologians proposed alternative atonement theories.) Jesus “sanctifies” his followers, transforming their flaws and brokenness into holiness (v. 11). Christians, who receive sanctification, call God “Father,” or Mother or Parent (Ibid.). Thus, Jesus called his followers “brothers and sisters,” confirming the capacity of ordinary people to have the same relationship with God that Jesus had (vv. 11, 12). Through Christ, we are united to God and one another as a spiritual family. 

Central Ideas

  1. The book of Hebrews begins with the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as God’s son.
  2. Christ is superior to the angels, which he temporarily gave up to live as a human being.
  3. Jesus was glorified through his death and resurrection, a sacrifice that brought about salvation for all humankind.
  4. Jesus Christ “sanctifies” his followers, transforming their flaws and brokenness into holiness.

Questions for the Speaker

  1. How is the “imprint of God’s very being” visible in your life?
  2. Are you more comfortable with Christ’s divinity or humanity? How does your answer reflect your relationship with God and Christ?
  3. What is your understanding of Christ’s death on the cross for our sins? How does Christ’s death provide salvation?
  4. How does the idea of sacrifice relate to your life as a disciple in today’s world? How does it relate to the outreach of a vibrant, passionate congregation?

 

 

SACRED SPACE: A RESOURCE FOR SMALL-GROUP MINISTRY

Year B Letters

Ordinary Time, Proper 22

Hebrews 1:1–4; 2:5–12 NRSVUE

 

Gathering

Welcome

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, “Till All the Jails Are Empty,” Community of Christ Sings 303, by Carl P. Daw Jr.

...in classroom, church, and office,
in shops or on the street;
in every place where people thrive or starve or hide or meet:
God has work for us to do.

Servant God, sometimes we forget that you serve as often as you lead. You are the lawyer working to make the system just. You are the teacher empowering the timid youth. You are the kind coworker standing up for the ignored new employee. You are the scientist working for a more sustainable future. You are the volunteer unlocking the doors and cleaning the floors. You arrive early and stay late. You see beauty and wonder in it all!

When we grow tired of working for peace, remind us that seeds crack before they sprout into tiny leaves, which take many sunrises and sunsets to grow and to produce fruit. Open our eyes to see the beauty in the work, that we would be energized to do your good and beautiful work of bringing peace to our world!

In the name of the One who sows seeds with us, Jesus. Amen.

Spiritual Practice

Unity

Our Enduring Principle for this week’s spiritual practice is 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.

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 showed compassion for when you felt sad or were suffering? Who rejoiced with you in good things?

Invite people to share.

Whom 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

Hebrews 1:1–4; 2:5–12

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

…Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are humans that you are mindful of them
    or mortals that you care for them?
You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned them with glory and honor, subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

The book of Hebrews begins by stressing the divinity of Jesus Christ and his role as God’s Son. Christ is God’s heir, creator of the universe, reflecting God’s glory and the “imprint of God’s very being.”

Here we find the divine Christ (superior to the angels) balanced by the human Christ (a little lower than the angels). The paradox corrects the portrait of Christ that appears untouchable and unsympathetic to the everyday problems of human existence. Yet he, too, has suffered, been humiliated, experienced death, and therefore, becomes approachable.

Jesus “sanctifies” his followers, transforming our flaws and brokenness into holiness. Christians, who receive sanctification, call God “Father,” “Mother,” or “Parent.” Thus, Jesus called his followers “brothers and sisters,” confirming the capacity of ordinary people to have the same relationship with God that Jesus had. Through Christ, we are united to God and one another as a spiritual family.

Questions

  1. How is the imprint of God visible in your life?
  2. Are you more comfortable with Christ’s divinity or humanity?
  3. How do you find Christ “approachable?”
  4. How would you describe your relationship with God?

Sending

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 20, “God Within God Around”

Closing Prayer

 

Optional Additions Depending on Group

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

 

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

—1 Corinthians 11:23–26 NRSV

Communion Statement

All are welcome at Christ’s table. The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a sacrament in which we remember the life, death, resurrection, and continuing presence of Jesus Christ. In Community of Christ, we also experience Communion as an opportunity to renew our baptismal covenant and to be formed as disciples who live Christ’s mission. Others may have different or added understandings within their faith traditions. We invite all who participate in the Lord’s Supper to do so in the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

We share in Communion as an expression of blessing, healing, peace, and community. In preparation let’s sing from Community of Christ Sings (select one):

515 “In these Moments We Remember”

516 “Coming Together for Wine and for Bread”

521 “Let Us Break Bread Together”

525 “Small Is the Table”

528 “Eat This Bread”


 

Thoughts for Children

You will need:

  • simple puzzle printed on cardstock and then cut

As participants sit, give each a piece of the puzzle. Tell them to hold onto it until a little later.

Say: Today’s scripture explores different ways God speaks to us. In Community of Christ, we believe in something called Continuing Revelation. This means we believe God still is speaking to us today. One way we discern what God is saying is in consultation with community. This means that we don’t assume we have God’s full message on our own. Instead we recognize that we are part of a prophetic people who work together to understand God’s words. It’s almost like putting together a puzzle. Each of us has a different piece to contribute, but it takes all of us working together to get the full picture.

Ask: Do you think we all can work together to complete this puzzle and see what God wants us to know?

Work together to complete the puzzle, all participants contributing their pieces. Once it is all together, the puzzle reveals a message of love.


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