Lectionary -- Ordinary Sunday 25 (Pentecost +15) Year B

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Proverbs 31:10-31 A capable wife
Psalm 1 Happy are those who delight in the law of the Lord
James 3:13 to 4:3, 7-8a The wisdom from above
Mark 9:30-37 Who is the greatest? Welcome the child among you.

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)
Hymns for Sunday 25, Yr.B
lesson hymn TIS AHB SA
G A man there lived in Galilee 235 176
O A prophet woman broke a jar 696
G And now O Father, mindful of the love 519 440
E Blest are the pure in heart 448 376
E Brother, sister, let me serve you 650 14
E Christ is alive! Let Christians sing 387 18
E Christ is the world's true light 238 179
G Fold to your heart your sister and your brother 587 503
O For the beauty of the earth 137 77
O For the fruits of all creation 168 37
O Forth in your name, O Lord, I go 571 480
G From heaven you came, helpless babe 256
E Help us accept each other 648
E In Christ there is no east or west 459 391
G Jesus Christ is waiting 665
G Jesus friend of little children 524
G Jesus loves me, this I know 229 166
G Kneels at the feet of his friends 640 561
E Make me a channel of your peace 607 66
G O Master, let me walk with thee 661 522
O O perfect love, all human thought transcending 603 526
E Praise to the Holiest in the height 141 79
G Take my life and let it be 599 520
G Teach me my God and King 458
G We sing the praise of him who died 347 262
G What a friend we have in Jesus 590 165
O Woman in the night 661
G You servants of God, your Master proclaim 215 144

Sermon summary (click here for complete sermon)

Welcoming the child among us

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, "Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." {36} Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, {37} "Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me." (Mark 9:35-37)

Yes, I know it's the time of the Olympics and we enjoy watching competition for first place. We can think some more about that, but Jesus was not talking about striving for excellence. His concern was about the disciples competing for positions of influence in the kingdom.

Jesus spoke to them about being servants of all rather than being first of all. He might have offered the child as an example to reinforce what he was saying about leaders needing to be servants. But in Mark's telling of the story, Jesus did not actually make the connection to his lesson about humility and service in what he said about the child, not here, although Matthew's gospel has words from Jesus that look as if they could have belonged to the same incident (Matthew 18:1-4).That is a clear straight forward message, " unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". We can see that also in what Mark wrote, even if Mark does not actually include those words, but I wonder if there is not something else going on here.

After the saying about the child being an example of humility there is another of a different kind about accepting the child (Matthew 18:4-5; cf Mark 9:37). To welcome the child in the name of Christ is to welcome Christ, and that means that at the same time we welcome "the one who sent me", that is, we welcome God into our lives. "In my name" means because of regard for me and who I am.. To accept the child in the name of Christ is to accept the person and the work of Christ. Please don't be sidetracked into humanistic sentiment as if this were simply some encouragement to be kind to children!

Ah, but, you will say, isn't there something about letting the little children come to him. Yes, indeed (Mark 10:13-15). In the previous saying, in my name, in the sense of "in my cause", means much the same as saying "for the sake of the kingdom of God". It is about entering into a relationship with Christ and thus with God who sent him.

There were other occasions on which Jesus spoke of how we should treat those whom he called his "little ones"(Matthew 10:42; Mark 9:41-42). Jesus even called his disciples his children at times (Mark 10:24; John 21:5). Much same imperative to care is found in the sayings of Jesus in Matthew 25 when Jesus was telling them of how he himself might be served by our serving anyone in need (Matthew 25:44-45). In the same way, relationships among the disciples of Jesus should have that quality of welcoming the child among us. So being the servant of all is part of the call to the disciples welcome the child among them.

Its is not exactly the most popular message right now, but we must acknowledge that a call to Christian discipleship is a call to live in way that is counter-cultural. Competition is said to be good. It depends on your attitude and values; but don't be deceived, there is a great deal of paganism in all this worship of human idols.

Here too is that "wisdom from above" that James wrote of in the epistle for today (James 3:16-18). Such wisdom was incarnate in Jesus Christ, who came "from above"; and the reward is even greater when we learn to welcome the child among us for it takes us beyond peace in this world to peace with God (Mark 9:37).

Order of Service - Ordinary 25 Year B - | DB Home | RCL Resources Index | Questions and Comments |

The Gathering of the People of God

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:7 etc)
Let us worship God,
In the name of Christ. Amen.

HYMN For the fruits of all creation TIS 168 SA 37

Let us glorify and adore the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
Almighty God the Father, gracious Lord of all, whose glory knows no bounds: we worship and adore you.
Lord Jesus Christ the Son, eternal Word of God, whose mercy never ends: we worship and adore you.
Most good and loving Spirit, source of power and life, whose goodness lasts for ever: we worship and adore you.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit: one eternal God, resplendent in brightness, radiant in purity, inconceivable in majesty, to you we give all blessing, glory, honour and power, always, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.

Loving God, Lord of the Church, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word and deed: we have not loved you with all our heart or served you with all our strength; we have been blind to the vision of a renewed world and deaf to your call to costly discipleship; we have been indifferent to the suffering of others and unwilling to forgive one another. In your mercy, Lord, pardon and restore us, that together in the ministry of Christ we may serve you with joy all the days of our life. Amen.

If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1 John 1:9]
Hear then Christ's word of grace to us:
Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

Now to him who loved us, gave us
every pledge that love could give,
freely shed his blood to save us,
gave his life that we might live,
be the kingdom, and dominion,
and the glory evermore.


Service of the Word

INTRODUCTION OF THEME: Welcoming the child - more than humility
OLD TESTAMENT Proverbs 31:10-31 A capable wife
PSALM 1 Happy are those who delight in the law of the Lord
EPISTLE James 3:13 to 4:3, 7-8a The wisdom from above
GOSPEL Mark 9:30-37 Who is the greatest? Welcome the child among you.

HYMN A man there lived in Galilee TIS 235 AHB176
HYMN O Master, let me walk with thee TIS 601

SHARING TIME [Notices, celebrations, requests for intercessions]

God and Father of all, you have willed that the last should be first, and you have made a little child the measure of your kingdom. Give us that wisdom which is from above, that we may welcome the word of your Son and understand that, in your sight, the greatest of all is the one who serves. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who fives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

For those who are unemployed
God of compassion, we remember those who suffer want and anxiety because they have no work. Guide the people of this land to use our wealth so that all may find fulfilling employment and receive just payment for their labour; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For those who are disabled
God of compassion, in Jesus Christ you cared for those who were blind or deaf, crippled or slow to learn. Though all of us need help, give special care to those who are disabled, particularly those we name in silence. By our concern may they know the love you have for them, and come to trust you; through Jesus Christ who came to heal.
[From Uniting in Worship]

THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of the Hymn Book]

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN Make me a channel of your peace TIS 607 SA 66
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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