Lectionary - Ordinary Sunday 26 Year B

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Esther 7:1-6,9-10;9:20-22 Esther obtains relief for her people
Psalm 124 Our help is in the name of the Lord
James 5:13-20 The prayer of faith
Mark 9:38-50 Whoever is not against us is for us

Suggested Hymns (From Denis Towner. TIS = Together in Song; AHB = Australian Hymn Book; SA = Sing Alleluia)
Hymns for Sunday 26, Yr.B
lesson hymn TIS AHB SA
Ps A mighty fortress is our God 103 8
G All hail the power of Jesus' name 224 159
G At the name of Jesus 231 170
E Be thou my guardian and my guide 498
G Be thou my vision 547 455
O Beyond the mist and doubt 13
G Blessed Jesus at your word 437 352
Ps By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered 617 15
G Dear Father Lord of humankind 598 519
E Dear Lord, for all in pain 612
E Father hear the prayer we offer 510
E Father now we come, well knowing 32
E/G Father of heaven whose love profound 131 60
G For the beauty of the earth 137 77
G God is our song and every singer blest 646 38
O God of freedom, God of justice 667 42
G God of grace and God of glory 611 543
G Great is your faithfulness 154
O Guide me O my great Redeemer 569 478
G Help us accept each other 648
G How sweet the name of Jesus sounds 223 158
G I heard the voice of Jesus say 585 500
I sing the almighty power of God 119 40
O I the Lord of sea and sky 658
E Jesus' hands were kind hands 236 178
G Jesus the first and last 154
G Jesus where'er thy people meet 448 372
G Joyful joyful, we adore you 152
G Lord Jesus we belong to you 686
Lord keep us steadfast in your word 436
G Lord of all hopefulness Lord of all joy 613 546
G Make me a channel of your peace 607 66
Ps Now Israel may say, and that in truth 79 23
O Now thank we all our God 106 14
E O Christ the healer, we have come 638
E O God of Bethel by whose hand 564 49
E O Master let me walk with thee 601 522
Ps O worship the King all-glorious above 133 67
O/Ps Our God our help in ages past 47 46
G Praise my soul, the King of heaven 134 68
Seek ye first the kingdom of God 745 75
O/E Sing praise to God who reigns above 110 27
G Son of God eternal Saviour 606 529
G Spirit divine attend our prayers 406 377
G Strengthen for service Lord the hands 496 417
O Tell out my soul, the greatness of the Lord 161 109
Ps The Lord is my light and salvation in life 79
G There's a Spirit in the air 414
O/Ps Through all the changing scenes of life 112 30
E What a friend we have in Jesus 590 165
G When all your mercies, O my God 39
O Who would true valour see 561 467
O You are my hiding place 754
E Your arm O Lord, in days of old 167

Other Possible Hymns
(Numbers refer to The Australian Hymn Book and Sing Alleluia.)
SA 14 TIS 650 Brother, sister, let me serve you
188 (TIS 237) Hail Redeemer, King divine
557 (TIS 626) Lord of creation, to you be all praise

Sermon summary (Click here for complete sermon)

Inclusive and exclusive loyalty

Whoever is not against us is for us. (Mark 9:40). Jesus corrected the disciples when they wanted to stop someone who was not one of them from using the name of Christ. Our immediate response is to think that he is telling us all that we should be careful not to exclude people who want to join themselves to Christ and use his power for good. We know that Jesus was a friend of outcasts and sinners. So we are quick to see the "inclusive" meaning of those words of Jesus: Whoever is not against us is for us. Unless they are clearly enemies it appears we should treat them as if they one with us. But there was another saying of Jesus: Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30). There you have a more "exclusive" emphasis on loyalty to Christ.

We all have some experience of the difference between an inclusive attitude and an exclusive loyalty to a group. Marriage is a good example of an exclusive kind of loyalty. On the other hand when it comes to welcoming children into a family, we readily accept an new addition.

Being a follower of Jesus can give people a strong sense of their own identity. Indeed you could even say that to belong to Christ, to be "in Christ", to be a member of his body, is the only identity we need. People from all sorts of different backgrounds, different colours and nationalities, etc., can make up a great diversity in the church. That is a theme commonly proclaimed and believed, almost as if it were the gospel the itself. But the gospel is not the same thing as saying that all sorts of different people can be included in a Christian fellowship. There is a text from Paul that has been greatly overworked in recent years "There is no longer Jew or Greek, ...." It is not about people with different identities being included in the one body. It does not say there are Jews and Greeks, slave and free, etc., but that people are no longer to be seen as Jews or Greeks etc. It is Christ who gives his people a name that is above all names.

We find stories from the early church illustrating their understanding of how the name of Christ may be taken. One of these from Acts 19:13-17 is similar to the Mark passage, but with the opposite outcome. One clue is in the difference between magic and prayer. But there is also a question about the circumstances of when it is appropriate to be "inclusive" and when it is necessary to be "exclusive" if our identity with Christ is to be true to him. Much depends upon whether people are trying to advance the cause of Christ or to stand in his way. Sometimes is a necessary to confess his name in the face of hostility, and that could well mark a Christian out as "exclusive" (Matthew 12:30). At other times a much more liberal attitude can be taken (Mark 9:39-40).

Christians in non-Western societies have known hostility far greater than any most of us are likely to have experienced. Our situation is becoming more like theirs. So the challenge of the Matthew alternative "Whoever is not with me is against me" will be a real one, and quite different from the more inclusive and apparently liberal saying in Mark "Whoever is not against us is for us". But the inclusive version is no less a challenge, for it is all too easy to adopt a defensive and negative attitude when the generosity of God in Christ should be the focus in meeting human needs.

The inclusive emphasis is an important theme in the field of social welfare, in the kind of human services which are delivered by numerous church agencies. When these services are offered by the church in a diverse, pluralistic society, Christians often have to work with non-believers. It would be easy to make serious errors of judgment either way, compromising the message on the one hand or on the other of being too exclusive and failing to give the cup of water in the name of Christ as he commanded.

As in many of these problems, our situation is not unique. Numbers 11:26-29 is very similar. Mark even has John playing same part with Jesus that Joshua played there with Moses. Paul have been aware of how the Spirit may come upon people who are not recognized when he wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 12:3). It was not a question of belonging to the right party, but of being inspired by God to recognize Jesus as Lord. But we also remember that Jesus said it was not good enough simply to call him Lord (Matthew 7:21). His Lordship does not need only to be confessed, but often it must be acknowledged in what people do. We need to keep word and deed together, while remembering that Jesus often let the deed proclaim the word: and when the deed does proclaim the word about Jesus, then, Whoever is not against us is for us.

Order of Service - Ordinary 26 Year B - | DB Home | RCL Resources Index | Questions and Comments |

The Gathering of the People of God


Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. [Psalm 124:8]
Let us worship God who gave made us in thanksgiving for all that we enjoy of his gifts of life.
In the name of Christ. Amen.

HYMN Praise my soul, the King of heaven TIS 134 AHB 68
Eternal God, Lord of heaven and earth, we praise you for your greatness. Your wisdom is seen in all your works. Your grace and truth are revealed in Jesus Christ your Son. Your presence and power are given to us through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, O blessed Trinity, we worship and adore you for ever and ever. Amen.

O God,
we confess the blindness that is not even aware of sinning;
the pride that dares not admit that it is wrong;
the selfishness that can see nothing but its own will;
the righteousness that knows no fault;
the callousness that has ceased to care;
the defiance that does not regret its own sins;
the evasion that always tries to make excuses;
the coldness of heart that is too hardened to repent.
God, we are sinners; be merciful to us.

God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us. -- Romans 5:8
Hear then Christ's word of grace: Your sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God


Service of the Word

OLD TESTAMENT Esther 7:1-6,9-10;9:20-22 Esther obtains relief for her people
PSALM 124 Our help is in the name of the Lord
EPISTLE James 5:13-20 The prayer of faith
GOSPEL Mark 9:38-50 Whoever is not against us is for us
HYMN Great is your faithfulness TIS154
Father, we pray for the holy catholic Church;
that we all may be one.
Grant that every member of the church
may truly and humbly serve you;
that your name may be glorified by all people.
We pray for all ministers of the gospel;
that they may faithfully proclaim your Word
and administer your holy sacraments.
We pray for all who govern and hold authority
in the nations of the world;
that there may be justice and peace on the earth.
Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
that our works may find favour in your sight.
Have compassion on those who suffer
from any grief or trouble;
that they may be delivered from their distress
We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
may we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.
Let us pray for our community
for the life and worship of this congregation
and for those whose needs are known to us.....

Let us pray for ourselves.....


The Sacrament of the Lord's Supper

HYMN Make me a channel of your peace TIS 607 SA 66

The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Thanks and praise ..... in the eternal hymn: [SA 100c and 100d]
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.
We thank you ....

THE LORD'S PRAYER [Front of hymn book]
THE LAMB OF GOD [Sing Alleluia 100e]

The Sending Forth of the People of God

HYMN At the name of Jesus TIS 231 AHB170
DISMISSAL Go in peace to love and serve the Lord:
In the name of Christ. Amen.

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