Weekly Evangelectionary for Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lectionary (Year B): 2 Samuel 5:1-5 or Ezekiel 2:1-5; Psalm 48 or 123; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13

Theme: No faith…no miracles

Message: “Jesus Left the Room”

There is a sense in which this title, “Jesus left the room” is a good thing.  Jesus has left the church to bring the message of the gospel to everyone, outsiders as well as insiders, and he sends his disciples out into the world to act as leaven to the rest of the world.  The word, Go is primary for the people closest to Jesus, then, and now.

But there is another way in which this title can be a haunting one for those who consider Jesus our Savior and Lord, and that is the occasion which Mark sets before us in the gospel reading today: “And they took offense at him…And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.  And he marveled because of their unbelief.”

Those closest to Jesus failed to understand Him!  That is a really scary statement for those of us who are familiar with Jesus and consider ourselves to be part of his family, his disciples, his followers, his people.

No faith…no miracles!  It seems to be the heart of this occasion reported by all of the gospel writers.

“Familiarity breeds contempt,” the old saying goes.  That was true for Jesus’ own family, his neighbors, and the people one would think would be impressed with him and his message of hope.  Yet, it appears otherwise, and that should trouble us to the point of asking ourselves whether we are skeptical, sarcastic, and actually “taking offense” at the words and actions of our Lord.

Is the fact that we aren’t seeing many miracles these days the result of a lack of faith on the part of those who know him best, as it was in Jesus day?

Is Jesus amazed at our “lack of faith” today?  And is He choosing to go elsewhere as a result?

Quote(s):

“We derive more and more of our morals, ethics, images, and dreams from the stories we let amuse us and much more day after day, night after night.  The news channels report on fires, famines and floods; wars and crimes (is there a difference?) all over the world, natural and structural disasters, massive depression of persons in flooded cities, corrupt CEOs and elected government officials, excessive profits of oil companies and more children in poverty than ever before, outrageous greed followed by hideous envy, fears, terrors—and who is Lord?  It doesn’t take a holocaust to doubt his presence.”  (Walter W. Harms, retired pastor)

Film, other visual aids

“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” a current film on life in a poor delta community in Louisiana.

Music:

“When Morning Gilds the Skies,” “Jesus is All the World to Me,” “Just A Closer Walk with Thee,” “Give of Your Best to the Master,” and “Be Thou My Vision”

Opening Prayer

Gracious God: We come to you this morning to gather for worship, turning to you in faith, seeking a sense of your transforming presence; turning to you in gratitude recalling all you’ve done for us, and turning to you in gladness, for the goodness and joy of the gospel you bring to us, and allow us to bring to others in and through our lives of fruitful service.

Intercessory:

Today in our prayers we remember those who are growing old among us, our senior citizens.  Especially we remember in our prayers those with particular health problems, those of a chronic nature and those who have just been diagnosed.  We pray for healing and we pray for grace when the healing doesn’t come as quickly as we would have it, or when it doesn’t come as quickly as we would have it, or when It doesn’t come at all.  We pray for those who are lonely, those living alone, or, in a retirement home, but who may feel isolated and forgotten.  For those who have recently lost their mate we pray for enabling grace to move on into a different time in their lives with confidence that the adventure with you will continue.  And for those who are still active and interested in all life offers, even to those in the latter hears, we pray for ways for them to express their discipleship and their abiding interest in life, and love and their faith in you.  We pray for those who have served your kingdom faithfully through the years, that they may be aware of your presence and will feel the warmth of your love, a love which comes to us all through the love and care of others.

Benediction:

In your distress, may you find peace.  In your anxiety, may you find hope.  In your victories may you find joy.  And in your faith, may you find fulfillment.  Amen

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