As people, as a group, as a community of faith – we gather in our place.
To listen, to speak, to worship, to pray, to be with God.
Because we know – it is out of God’s authority, it is out of God’s love, that we live.
Confession & Words of Assurance
Healing Spirit, You call us and move us ever closer into communion with You and each other.
Yet we strain at Your guidance, we try to break away and do it ourselves. We feel our strength and imagine to be all powerful. We rejoice in our life and imagine ourselves to be immortal. We know our talents and want to be independent rather than depend on You. Before we know it we have turned from Your instructions and direction for our lives and are caught up in actions and values that don’t honour You.
Lord, forgive us and free us. Open our eyes to Your wisdom so we will show true leadership and service. Open our hearts that we may learn that neither race nor tribe, culture nor religion, or any other divides that we encounter, are barriers to separate us. We are all one family in Your love.
This is Good News: God does not mock us when we fail to trust, but invites us into a deeper relationship. God does not shame us when our faith waivers, but challenges us to be strengthened by God’s promises. God’s purpose is not to tear us down…but to build us up. So let’s give thanks to God!
Misunderstandings about Jesus
Mark 3 20 Jesus entered a house. A crowd gathered again so that it was impossible for him and his followers even to eat. 21 When his family heard what was happening, they came to take control of him. They were saying, “He’s out of his mind!”
22 The legal experts came down from Jerusalem. Over and over they charged, “He’s possessed by Beelzebul. He throws out demons with the authority of the ruler of demons.”
23 When Jesus called them together he spoke to them in a parable: “How can Satan throw Satan out? 24 A kingdom involved in civil war will collapse.25 And a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 26 If Satan rebels against himself and is divided, then he can’t endure. He’s done for. 27 No one gets into the house of a strong person and steals anything without first tying up the strong person. Only then can the house be burglarized. 28 I assure you that human beings will be forgiven for everything, for all sins and insults of every kind. 29 But whoever insults the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. That person is guilty of a sin with consequences that last forever.” 30 He said this because the legal experts were saying, “He’s possessed by an evil spirit.”
31 His mother and brothers and sisters arrived. They stood outside and sent word to him, calling for him. 32 A crowd was seated around him, and those sent to him said, “Look, your mother, brothers, and sisters are outside looking for you.”
33 He replied, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” 34 Looking around at those seated around him in a circle, he said, “Look, here are my mother and my brothers. 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother, sister, and mother.”
Heavenly Parent, You call us to be Your friends and to make friends of others – more even, to recognize in them our brothers and sisters, Your family in Christ. So we pray for ourselves and for the world and its people:
We pray for all areas in the world where deep divisions run between ethnic groups because of race, religion or past history. Lord, help Your people to be your friends and to make friends – Your family in Christ. And help us know how to hold each other up and show a different way, Your way, as we mourn the atrocities committed by past and present churches claiming Your name.
We pray for our communities where different traditions shape different outlooks on things. Lord, help Your people listen well to each other that we may learn to live together knowing that though different we are Your family in Christ.
We pray for our own families where growing up is difficult, where harsh words spoken in anger are not easily taken back, and hurtful or thoughtless actions are endangering relationships. Lord, empower Your children to be patient, slow to anger and to become wise in their speaking and acting as Your family in Christ.
All of these prayers and so may more we pull together and pray the prayer tradition has taught us…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Go now and dare to be God’s colourful community in a world that prefers grey.
Dare to stand out in a world that prefers conformity.
Dare to live in a world that seeks death.
Dare to be God’s in a world that thinks it is its own.
Thanks be to God.