Texts: 2 Kings 5:1-14 and Psalm 30 or Isaiah 66:10-14 and Psalm 66:1-9; Galatians 6:1-16, Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Message: “The Tie That Binds”
In his closing thoughts to the Galatian congregation he formed early in his ministry, and following his description of the fruits of the Spirit, the Apostle Paul describes the essence of the fellowship of the body of Christ, the church.
The obligation to care for the body of Christ does not fall alone on the professional clergy, but on the whole body. Life in the fellowship of Christ is not a solo, but a chorus, and we’re all in the choir!
The Apostle Paul says that if a person does slip, the real Christian duty is to get the person on his or her feet again. The whole atmosphere of the Word lays the stress not on punishment, but on the cure. People don’t need judgment , they need love and understanding and support when they fall or drop the ball. Jesus, always saw in the person, regardless of their sin, not what they were, but what they could be.
Finally, we are to do good to all people, Paul reminds us. This summer for nine weeks more than a hundred cyclists are biking across the United States raising more than a million dollars “Cycling to end poverty.” (See seatosea.org) The “Sea-to-Sea” project includes men, women, youth, middle-aged and even some elderly folk: all trying to live out what the Apostle Paul inspires us to do in this passage. The beat goes on!
“We share our mutual woes, Our mutual burdens bear; And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear” Blest Be The Tie That Binds, v. 3
The Liturgy for the Reception of New Members in the Reformed Church in America new members asks them to respond to this question: “Do you promise to walk in the spirit of Christian love with the congregation, seeking the things that make for unity, purity, and peace?”
Describing the nature of the Christian Community in contrast to a secular community, Dr. Paul Fuhrman, professor at Columbia Theological Seminary commented: “Society’s community is based on the dollar. Take the dollar out of New York and what is left? Nothing!”
A man once told John Wesley: “If Christianity does not make a person friendly it will not make him anything.”
“The Tie That Binds” hymn was written by John Fawcett, who began as a Methodist, later became a Baptist pastor in a small town in England in the late 1600’s. The reason this hymn is sung throughout Christendom is that it so beautifully takes the basics of New Testament teaching about the fellowship of the church and reminds us just what the essence of the church is all about, and how we are relating to one another as fellow believers and disciples of Jesus.”
The spokes in a wheel are closer together as they come closer to the hub of the wheel. And the nearer we come to Christ the nearer we come to one another in the fellowship.
“We Are God’s People,” “They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our love,” “The Family of God,” “Blest Be the Tie That Binds”
Eternal God, our Loving Lord and Savior: We come to you this morning, not alone, but together with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you for making us one in Him. Thank you for calling us to be a people who love and follow Jesus in word and in action. Give us the grace this day to listen you together and then obey in the mission of serving you and one another. And we’ll give you the glory. Amen
Prayer of Confession
Forgive us, Father, not only for our failures,
but also for our unwillingness to take responsibility.
We have blamed others, we have blamed our genes,
We have blamed our tempers, we have blamed society.
We have shrugged and said, “Nobody is perfect.”
Pardon us, we pray, and help us to be honest with ourselves and others.
Through Christ, our Lord, we pray.
Words of Assurance
Take heart, for God sees us,
Loves us, pardons us, and guides us.
We pray today for our families, our friends, ourselves, and others during this time of summer vacation.
We pray for our children and grandchildren who are taking a break from their school studies. May this be a time of relaxation and freedom so they can return in the fall refreshed and ready for another term of school.
We pray for young adults and others who will be using this time to seek employment, or will be working in interim employment in preparation for the greater responsibilities of the future.
We pray for us who will be vacationing as a family, that this time will be a time of bonding, of renewed love, of new understanding of new commitment.
We pray for ourselves as individuals, this this time of leisure and less stress will lead to greater self-understanding, a time to reevaluate our goals, and a time to receive healing for our souls.
In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. –Matthew 7:12
O lord, may the words of our mouths, and the desires of our hearts, and the work of our hands, and the resources of our lives, be used to enrich your Kingdom. Amen.
In your difficulties may you find strength.
In your service may you find satisfaction.
In your success may you find joy.
In your faith may you find peace.
(Prayers and other worship items courtesy of Leroy Koopman @ Liturgical Publications. Subscribers are permitted to reprint material in non-profit publications only; all other reproduction is prohibited. 2013 Liturgical Publications Inc, LPi Resource Center, P.O. Box 510817, New Berlin, WE 53151-0817, 1-800-950-9952 ext. 2469)