Lectionary (Year B): 2 Samuel 7:1-14a or Jeremiah 23:1-6; Psalm 23; Ephesians 2:11-22; Mark 6:30-34, 53-56
Theme: “People Seen Through the Eyes of Jesus”
Message: “Our Motive for Mission”
What was it that drew crowds to Jesus and Jesus to the multitudes, the crowds, the masses? Was it not the compassion that He had for them all…the hungry, the sick, the poor, the lost, the seekers? And is that not the case today, as well? As the body of Christ in the world today our motivation for ministry, for our worship, for our service to others, for our daily decisions, is it not to reflect the compassion of our Lord for our hurting, suffering world and to offer hope and change?
“Much ink has been spilled over the decline of formerly mainline churches (that’s us). A zillion reasons are given: the loss of Protestant Christianity’s primacy in American culture, a loss of trust in institutions, crises of leadership, children’s sports on Sundays, and on and on. Many of which are true.
Here’s the real reason your church is in decline: you’re not doing evangelism.
When was the last time you told somebody, somebody who didn’t already know, about your commitment to God, or about the strength you’ve gotten from your church, or about the goodness you’ve found in the Christian life? How many people have you invited to join you for church in the last year? When was the last time your Facebook status had to do with God?”
Quinn G. Caldwell
Quinn G. Caldwell is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ.
Film, other visual aids:
“Awakenings,” 1990. Dr. Sayer sees “trauma patients” as “victims” of their situation in which they are viewed by the hospital staff statically. He has compassion on those people whom others are just “treating with medication” instead of seeing their potential for healing.
Music: “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” “Gentle Shepherd,” “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” “Shepherd of Love,” “The Lord’s My Shepherd”
Gracious and compassionate God, we thank you this morning for caring about us. But we also pause to give thanks that your love and concern go far beyond us to embrace a host of others, both those whom we might expect and those we might not expect. Help us to be bridges to a world that you have great compassion for, and to whom your Son, Jesus, demonstrated that compassion through healing and teaching. Enrich us now by your Word and Spirit in that teaching, through our worship. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Gracious Lord, help us to look at the world through the eyes of Jesus, our Savior, and the Savior of the world.
This day we pray for all those around us, beside us, and within our view, who are like “sheep without a shepherd.” Help us to do what we can to bring them to the shepherd of our souls, who loved us and gave himself for us.
Today we think specifically of our neighbors, literally and figuratively; those who live next door and across the street, those with whom we work and play, those next to us in the check-out line, and at the pharmacy, and those who sit by us in the doctor’s office or at the dentist. Bless those who are seeking and not finding, who are yearning and not being spiritually fulfilled, the last and the lost, and those who have it all, but don’t have what they need. May we not be as quick to judge as to give hope and to share a word or gesture of compassion when we can. Open our eyes, Lord, and help us to see the face of Jesus in every face and to do unto them as we would do unto you. We can’t do it by ourselves but you equip us through your Spirit to be the love of Christ let loose in the world in which we live and move and have our being. This we ask in the strong name of the One of taught us to pray…Our Father…
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.