Liturgies Online Now Available As Digital Download - YEAR A Liturgies, YEAR B Liturgies, YEAR C Liturgies, or all 3 Years in one complete digital download. These all include complete Orders of Service based on the Common Lectionary for The Liturgical Years in one download.
CALL TO WORSHIP
Prayer of Approach - Hymns - Prayer of Adoration and Praise - Readings from Old Testament - Epistle - Gospel - A Word with the Young - Prayer of Confession - Sermon - Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession - Offertory Prayer - Benediction
Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22; Psalm 124; James 5:13-20; Mark 9:38-50.
Additional resources for Pentecost 18B: BE OUR FREEDOM, LORD. Ed. Terry C.Falla, Openbook Publishers, Adelaide,South Australia, 1994; Uniting in Worship: Leader’s Book. Joint Board of Christian Education, Melbourne, Victoria, 1988.
CALL TO WORSHIPB Psalm 124 Verse 8 NRSV
Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
TIS 111/AHB 28: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation”
PRAYER OF PRAISE AND ADORATION: (based on above hymn and call to worship)
Eternal God - you who possess all power in heaven and earth - care for us. The immensity of such blessing is almost too much for us to grasp. With all the breath and life within us, we come with praises before you, O God.…
TIS 716: “Father, we adore you” Sung as a round
SUGGESTION FOR CHILDREN’S TALK: The reading from Esther – Esther 7:1-6, 9-10; 9:20-22 is long and possibly difficult for children to grasp so what follows is very brief synopsis to serve as an introduction to a woman who displayed great courage and is still remembered with annual celebrations by Jewish people today.
You could almost begin the story of Esther with “Once upon a time...” as it resembles – as many fairy tales do - the conflict between evil and good.
A long, long time ago a Jewish woman called Esther became the queen of Persia because of her beauty. The king did not know that she was not Persian as he would not have accepted her as queen if he had. Many Jewish people had been captured years before and forced to live in Persia; some of their descendants still lived there. Esther found out about a plot to kill all the Jewish people living in Persia and she took a huge risk to asking the king to spare her people, which he did. The Jewish people celebrated their survival for two days and this is still celebrated by them today…
Esther displayed great courage in doing what she did, she was exposing the fact that she was not Persian and so was risking being killed herself…
We are always to be looking for ways to do faith-full things - following Jesus’ example such as: treating everyone as equal - being kind and caring - being interested in and informed about what goes on in our own and other countries and trying to identify how to help those who lack much of what we take for granted - clean water, food, medicine etc. The next hymn gives us a clue as to how to behave.
TIS 681/ BE OUR FREEDOM, LORD pp 432,433 : “Lord let me see, see more and more, see the beauty of a person, not the colour of the skin”
TIS 629/AHB 558: “When I needed a neighbour...” Even if these hymns were sung last week would be good to sing either again.
PRAYER OF CONFESSION:
Today, O God, we ponder what you say to us through scripture and wonder what has changed. In the story of Esther, we hear about the abuse of power and the exploitation of women….
Forgive us if our actions, or lack of action, have contributed to continuing
powerlessness in people’s lives.
A time of silence to contemplate these words….
ASSURANCE OF FORGIVENESS:
James entreats us to “confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that we may be healed….
In that belief, I declare to you, in Jesus Christ we are healed and forgiven.
Thanks be to God!
EPISTLE: James 5:13-20
GOSPEL: Mark 9:38-50
In following the lectionary, the set bible readings chosen by the church to be read each week, the great challenge each week is trying to discern how God is addressing us through these particular passages.
The words of James in today’s epistle reading “Are any among you suffering? They should pray.” These words reminded me of a very special time when James would perhaps have extolled a whole congregation for their behaviour.
This happened during a Maundy Thursday service some years ago - when a whole congregation experienced a deep sense of the Holy. Mind you, the ‘whole’ congregation in this rural church on a cool Thursday evening only consisted of about a dozen people. A dozen faithful people. The liturgy was the normal Maundy Thursday one, which included prayers, singing a few hymns, sharing in Holy Communion and extinguishing the candles in the Tenebrae part of the service. It is always a moving service and people leave quietly when it is over. However, on this occasion, as people were leaving after the service, a woman was arriving. Part of a farming family and a faithful member of this church, she lived quite a distance away and had to drive along dusty, unmade dirt roads to reach the church. We all knew that her teenage son, Glenn, was dying with cancer at the time. She was heard to say to those outside that she must have got the time wrong, and someone replied, “No, no, you’re just in time”, and with that, the whole congregation turned around, came back into the church, and took their seats. The glasses were refilled, the remains of the broken loaf rescued, the candles relit, and the service repeated. The first earlier service had been meaningful, the second time, it was unforgettable. The same prayers and the same hymns and the sharing again in the Lord’s Supper was just different. There was an awareness of a deep sense of the holiness – the sacredness - of the occasion – the service seemed to take on a life of its own. I will always believe that the breath of the Spirit infused and inspired anew the words of the liturgy, the prayers, the singing, the awful extinguishing of the candles. The entire service really became a prayer for the church community and especially for the suffering woman, her son and their whole family. It felt as though the service had become our actual attendance at Jesus’ last supper with his disciples.…
The early church was a singing church – always ready to burst into song. There was a joy in their hearts which emerged in songs of praise for the grace and mercy of God. And in the Christian church, from the beginning until now, there has been the music of songs of praise, for the Christian’s joy is based on love.
James would have agreed with a sign in a cathedral in America, which reads “The one who sings, prays twice.” 2 …
Wendy Wright in an article entitled ‘Sing to the Lord a New Song’ wrote that “singing is one medium through which our hearts and minds are formed. It is one very powerful way in which we become re-made in the image of God, one way in which the Christ story enters our lives and become the narrative through which our own stories unfold. To truly sing a new song to the Lord is to open ourselves to transformation of the most profound sort.” 3….
Jesus then goes on to critique those who cause others to stumble, to sin, in the strongest possible terms. So – what does all that mean to us if we really desire to be disciples of Christ – proclaimers of the Word in our communities. It means that in the face of life’s serious conflicts and challenges, in the face of life’s pain and its joys, we believe that the gospel shapes the disciple. At the heart of our discipleship has to be a willingness to live the gospel, to transfer its meaning and its demands into the day-by-day situations of our current existence….
TIS 422: “Come, Holy Spirit, come!”
TIS 110: “Sing praise to God who reigns above” alternate tune TIS 479
TIS 596/AHB 515: “Fill my whole life, O Lord my God”
TIS 686: “Lord Jesus we belong to you”
SUGGESTIONS FOR PRAYERS OF THANKSGIVING AND INTERCESSION
“Between already and not yet” on page 208 of Be our Freedom, Lord.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Bless these gifts, O God, for we offer them and our lives to be used to proclaim the good news of Jesus in ways that empower people’s lives. May our faith be so evident through our deeds and our words that others are brought to faith and lives are transformed. This we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen
TIS 245/AHB 189: “We have a gospel to proclaim”
TIS 626: “ Lord of creation, to you be al praise!”
TIS 658/ “I, the Lord of sea and sky” (Here I am, Lord)
Go, blessed by the unlimited grace of God,
the unconditional love of Jesus Christ,
and the unquenchable flame of the Holy Spirit.
TIS 755: “You shall go out with joy”
William Barclay, The Gospel of John Vol 1 (Edinburgh: The Saint Andrew Press, 1974) pp122,123.
Wendy M Wright, “Sing to the Lord a New Song” in WEAVINGS Vol.VI, Number 5 The Psalms (Nashville TN: The Upper Room, 1991) page 7
Wendy M Wright, page 7