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  • Healing the Outsider
    to tell anyone what had happened but only to show himself to the priest There was a practical reason for this warning that is clearly shown in how the crowds became too large for Jesus to move about freely and he had to retreat to the countryside but there is also a spiritual purpose in the warning Jesus wanted people to understand that his healing was related to the restoration of wholeness in relationship to God it was about the coming of the Kingdom of God People could easily be so caught up in wonder of the signs that they might not see the deeper meaning He was constantly on his guard against this danger and sometimes rebuked people seeking strange sights that were a cause for wonder That was a problem too with the approach of the man to Jesus he saw the power to work wonders but he did not know what was in the heart of Jesus whether he would care If you choose was his expression of doubt Clearly Jesus did care I do choose he said apparently with emphasis as if the man should have know that he would care When Mark says in the version you usually see that Jesus then was moved with pity it makes sense It expresses the emotion of compassion that we would expect him to have But strangely while the majority of manuscripts say that Jesus was moved with pity there are some ancient manuscripts which say that he was angry So it then reads Moved with anger Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him I do choose Be made clean Many scholars regard this as more likely to be the original wording If he was angry it can hardly be that he angry because the man dared to approach him or that he broke the law in doing so Jesus welcomed outcasts and rebuked the Pharisees for putting the letter of the law above human need It is more likely that he was angry at the man for his lack of understanding the spiritual nature of the healing that he sought Perhaps too he was concerned about his doubt that Jesus would grant his wish He could also have had this source of anger heightened by the injustice of the man being so poorly treated by others around him by his social ostracism and the self centred notions of racial purity that went with it There was cause for anger in much from which the man suffered In a more general and spiritual sense you could say that he was angry with the powers of evil which had to be overcome for the man to fully healed and set free in body community and spirit There was a sense in which the request that the man made required Jesus the Messiah to go into battle and his healing was another victory over the powers of evil You don t have to know how

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  • Lectionary resources Lent 1 Year B
    Are we not tempted as Adam and Eve were you will be like God Genesis 3 4 5 Do we need sometimes to come apart from the concerns of daily life and face the question do we want to be like God It was because people were in rebellion against God that Jesus went on after his time in the wilderness to begin his public ministry with a call to repentance Mark 1 15 Repent and believe the good news The covenant with all creatures Going back to the days of Noah in that obscure saying in 1 Peter 3 20 cf Apostles Creed and Ephesians 4 9b also has significance We read today about the covenant God made with all living creatures after the great flood Genesis 9 9 10 A sinful world had been destroyed by the flood and only a few survived but now God promised not destroy all life in that way again and the rainbow is the sign of that general covenant with all creatures It is not hard to see how human sinfulness our rebellion against God damages creation Our wilful ways seeking our own immediate satisfactions despoils the earth Jesus came with the message Repent and believe the good news DB Home RCL Resources Index Questions and Comments The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP Let us worship God For Christ also suffered for sins once for all the righteous for the unrighteous in order to bring you to God He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit 1 Peter 3 18 Therefore we give glory to God who raised him up and gave us the promise of salvation Amen HYMN 84 Glory be to God the Father PRAYER OF ADORATION CONFESSION Most merciful God we confess to you and to one another that we have sinned by our own fault in thought word and deed by what we have done and by what we have left undone We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength We have not loved our neighbours as ourselves We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven Have mercy on us Lord We have been deaf to your call to serve as Christ served us We have not been true to the mind of Christ We have grieved the Holy Spirit Have mercy on us Lord DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through him John 3 17 Dear friends the gospel by which we seek to live states unequivocally that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord On the authority of this gospel I declare to all who truly repent in Jesus Christ you are forgiven for which we give glory to the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever Amen DOXOLOGY

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  • Repent and believe
    difference there is belief in God and a willingness to trust in God The alternative is rebellion against God and trust in ourselves That rebellion is sin We should not think of sin in a childish way as breaking a few petty rules though there are some things that are wrong Real sin is the business of grown up men and women who have the ability to rebel with a serious intention to trust in themselves rather than God In this we are certainly different from Jesus who was equal with God but chose to live as if he were not while we are not equal to God but often try to live as if we was because people were in rebellion against God that Jesus after his time in the wilderness began his public ministry with a call to repentance saying The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God has come near repent and believe in the good news Mark 1 15 Repent and believe the good news Why repent Why was it necessary to repent if they were to believe the good news Why could they not simply have believed that the Kingdom of God was near Why not just accept the good gifts of God Why not go straight into celebrating the good news There is a cheap and nasty celebration of the goodness of God that sometimes substitutes for Christian worship True repentance is not very popular Forgiveness is OK though many will say not if you have been hurt too much and confession in some sense might be allowed but repentance is more than saying you are sorry and its not about the virtue of feeling guilty which is not very virtuous but about changing your ways Repentance is about turning around and going in another direction Fundamentally it is about recognizing that you have rebelled against God and turning around and going back to him That is what Jesus meant when he said Repent Turn around and welcome the Kingdom of God Be glad it is upon you Don t run away but turn around and welcome it You will not be able to believe the truth about God if you keep going in the wrong direction There is an interesting passage about rebellion against God in the epistle for today In 1 Peter we read of how Christ suffered for sins was put death but made alive in the Spirit and then went to make a proclamation to the spirits who had rebelled against God who in former times did not obey when God waited patiently in the days of Noah during the building of the ark in which a few that is eight persons were saved through water 1 Peter 3 20 That is very obscure imagery It reminds us of that part in the Apostles Creed where it is says He descended to the dead or literally to Sheol the realm of the dead There is something similar in Paul

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  • 30 and Mark 9 39 40 When can we co operate and when must stand apart As the anti Christian elements of Western society become more dominant it will be increasingly important that believers in Christ are able confess their belief in him publically Not to be ashamed of Jesus will sometimes require believers to speak up among friends or family or in public institutions letting it be known where we stand but there is more to it It can mean a martyr s death Sharing the cross also means sharing the shame of the cross and that is much more common Finally Jesus had spoken of himself previously as the Son of Man who must suffer Mark 8 31 take the image of the vision of Daniel Daniel 7 13 14 to portray himself as a victorious Son of Man coming is glory Mark 8 38 when he warns about not being ashamed of him So the call not to be ashamed of him in spite of his shame for humanity is a call coming to us from one who will in future meet us in triumph There we may share his glory DB Home RCL Resources Index Questions and Comments Order of Service including the Sacrament of Baptism Lent 2 Year B The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP HYMN 27 Sing praise to God who reigns above PRAYER OF ADORATION God how great you are CONFESSION What have we done wrong 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 DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS 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 DOXOLOGY Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit As it was in the beginning is now and will be for ever Amen WELCOME AND GREETING EACH OTHER Sacrament of Baptism INTRODUCTION SCRIPTURE READING Romans 6 1 5 United with him in a resurrection like his PRESENTATION Introduced by an elder THE MEANING OF BAPTISM The minister explains the purpose and asks the parents N and N what do you ask of God s church for N We ask that he be baptised into the faith and family of Jesus Christ In the light of the covenant promise and of your request I ask you now

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  • let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven These quotes all from the Sermon on the Mount just show how hard it is to settle anything merely by quoting proof texts Even the devil can do that as he demonstrated during the temptations of Christ which we remembered last week You do need to think about it and test your understanding in the light of scripture as a whole with Christ himself as the key There is truth in all these texts about both secrecy and courageous witness and the way that truth is best held together is seen in the life of Christ himself The gospel reading for today comes after the confession by Peter of Jesus as the Messiah Jesus told them not to tell anyone about him No no light held up high no city on the hill at that stage they were not to rush into the market place there and then and proclaim it for all to hear Mark 8 31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering and be rejected by the elders the chief priests and the scribes and be killed and after three days rise again Then follows the marvelously revealing passage in which Peter dares to rebuke Jesus for saying that he must be rejected and put to death with the result that Jesus calls him Satan for he thinks as men think not as God thinks It is fairly obvious that they did not understand what kind of king or Messiah he was There was good reason for them to be told to keep quiet about him They would have been sure to get it wrong and in any case the time was not right As for humility quietness and bold public declaration he would show how it could all be held together precisely in how he went through the ordeal of the cross for which he now began to prepare them He had to show them by his own example so that they would later remember his invitation to his followers take up their own cross Mark 8 34 He called the crowd with his disciples and said to them If any want to become my followers let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me See that he is now back with the crowd after being alone with the disciples when they were talking about his being the Messiah He now speaks openly but he is obviously still giving a lesson to the disciples who would be keenly aware of what he has said about his impending death But here now in the public address we have a more general lesson on the way of humble service Mark 8 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it and those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it This then is the context of the text with which we began Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes He will honour those who are not ashamed to confess faith in him when it means that they are in danger of sharing the way of the cross with him those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it but not those who are ashamed of him There are clear circumstances in which it is impossible to keep quite and still be faithful to Christ that is when he is under attack when the holy one of God is called evil then anyone who is not for him is against him Matthew 12 30 Whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters That was said when his opponents said that Jesus was using the powers of a devil to cast out demons evil to overcome evil At other times a much more liberal attitude can be taken as when it is possible to co operate with other people of good will in human service whether or not they are believers as seen when the disciples complained that someone who was not one of them was using the name of Jesus to cast out demons Mark 9 39 40 But Jesus said Do not stop him for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me 40 Whoever is not against us is for us Whoever is not with me is against me or Whoever is not against us is for us It is surprising how easily people will recall one of these sayings and forget the other one depending upon what they wish to prove at the time Both are part of the teaching of Jesus and both have their proper place in Christian witness it all depends on how Christ is being seen at the time Is he being honoured or dishonoured There is much of both in our society today There is still a sufficient remnant of Christian belief and practice for the service of humanity to be publically acknowledged as a work of Christ At the same time there is a pervasive culture of self seeking with much concern for self esteem self expression and self realization etc not to mention self satisfaction in possessions popularity and power it is a culture over which the words of Jesus hang with a weighty challenge those who want to save their life will lose it It is a general truth a public truth that will become clear for all to see in time Meanwhile those who would be followers of Jesus must leave self behind let them deny themselves and take up

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  • Lectionary resources Lent 3 Year B
    The way John tells the story seems at first a simple straight forward case of zeal for the Lord s house John 2 13 16 People have sometimes taken this to be justification for righteous anger which we all feel at times when we perceive some great injustice see the new hymn in the order of service Inspired by love an anger Access to God for all his children We know from many other things that Jesus did that he wanted people of all nations to be accepted as children of God that he had special concern for the poor and that he disapproved the superior exclusive attitudes of the religious leaders of the time So it makes sense that he would have had a sense of justice combined with a religious zeal for the proper worship of God when some were excluded For ancient examples see Isaiah 56 3 6 8 Jeremiah 7 11 compare Mark 11 17 the temple and people of Israel were to be a means of blessing to all nations 1 Kings 8 41 43 Zechariah 14 21 Genesis 18 18 22 18 26 4 The deeper meaning You might say that an exclusive attitude on the part of the authorities is reason enough for the zeal with which Jesus cleansed the temple Jesus knew that more needed to be done than to provide an example of firm action to deal with privileges which were unfair Was there to be a new temple to replace the old one John 2 21 Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up John 2 18 19 The resurrection was the sign of his authority Later the understanding of his body as the temple of the Holy Spirit developed 1 Corinthians 3 16 and see 1 Corinthians 12 27 Remember as we prepare to celebrate Easter that the new body of the resurrection came through his sacrificial death It was a new covenant in his blood See Psalms 69 7 9 Hebrews 9 11 to 10 18 Revelation 21 1 4 DB Home RCL Resources Index Questions and Comments Order of Service Lent 3 Year B The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP The heavens are telling the glory of God The law of the LORD is perfect reviving the soul Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you O LORD my rock and my redeemer Psalms 19 1 7 14 HYMN TIS 101 AHB 5 Come you people come adore him PRAYER OF ADORATION We praise you loving and eternal God for your love of all people expressed in the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ We praise you for his commitment to justice his zeal for true worship of you and his willingness to replace all other sacrifices with the sacrifice of his own life In his name we offer you our worship Amen CONFESSION In three parts concluding Lord have

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  • Cleansing the Temple
    all who keep the sabbath and do not profane it and hold fast my covenant 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples 8 Thus says the Lord GOD who gathers the outcasts of Israel I will gather others to them besides those already gathered Isaiah 56 6 8 Many people would have known this and some might even have recalled the prayer which King Solomon said at the dedication of the first temple a thousand years before He prayed that God might bless the people of Israel with his presence and accept their offerings in the temple and then he brought to God his concern that people of other nations might know and worship him there Likewise when a foreigner who is not of your people Israel comes from a distant land because of your name 42 for they shall hear of your great name your mighty hand and your outstretched arm when a foreigner comes and prays toward this house 43 then hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you as do your people Israel and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built 1 Kings 8 41 43 It was a continual struggle for those who believed that they were the chosen people in a special relationship with God God intended to bless other nations through them but it was often forgotten But from time to time the prophets called them back to this purpose of God for them and looked forward to its fulfilment The people of the time of Jesus might have forgotten but they could be reminded and they were forcibly reminded by the dramatic action that Jesus took The prophecy of Zechariah even concludes with the words And there shall no longer be traders in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day Zechariah 14 21 Zechariah looked forward to a time after a time of judgement when families of all nations would go up to Jerusalem to worship 14 16 17 and when the sacred and privileged would no longer be divided from the ordinary things of life in the worship of the people so that even the cooking pots in the ordinary houses of the people would be as sacred as the vessels before the alter when they were used to praise God So one thing we can say about the actions of Jesus is that in his attack on the traders and the privileges they represented is that he was at one with the ancient prophets in understanding the original purpose of the temple and covenant that God had made with his people God had promised Abraham that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his descendants seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him Genesis 18 18 and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves because you have obeyed my voice Genesis 22 18 I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and will give to your offspring all these lands and all the nations of the earth shall gain blessing for themselves through your offspring Genesis 26 4 It was great injustice to exclude those who wished to come That has all sorts of social implications People who are thought less worthy less acceptable to God are likely to be deprived also of earthly things like land and livelihood and perhaps of their children and basic human rights Such attitudes are at the root of racial prejudice and the defence of unjustified privilege in our day as much as at any time in the past Jesus would still drive away the money changers who reduce the dignity of any class of human beings and deny their place in the scheme of things The deeper meaning You might say that is reason enough for the zeal with which Jesus cleansed the temple But there is more to it than that It is not even the central message of the event in the way that John tells it Jesus knew that more needed to be done than to provide an example of firm action to deal with privileges which were unfair We might be called at times to stand with him against exploitation and I believe there is plenty of need for that today but if such political and social action is all we try to do then we will be broken by the effort We will lose if we attempt to overcome the powers of evil by our own will and courage We need Christ to be in there with us and that is where the deeper significance of what he did in the temple comes out As with many things in John s Gospel there are layers upon layers of meaning in the sign s that Jesus gave of who he was and what he was doing The cleansing of the temple is one of the signs which John puts at the beginning of his account of the good news He picked several amazing things that Jesus did at various times in his ministry and put them at the beginning by way of introduction as you might see in a movie which puts some major event in the opening scene and then goes back to tell the story which makes sense of it In fact the cleansing of the temple we are told by Matthew Mark and Luke occurred in the last week of his life just after Jesus

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  • Lectionary Resources for Lent 4 B
    very symbolic story about people who rebelled against God even wondering if they might not be better off back in slavery from which God had saved them The word translated poisonous the Lord sent poisonous snakes also means fiery So the image Moses made was of a fiery serpent There are other places where fiery serpents or flying fiery serpents figure in strange code like the saying of the prophet Isaiah eg 14 29 about the threat of a foreign army Those sayings deal with real threats to life and well being What Moses did was to make the image of the threat a kind of promise of escape Then there is a more strange use of the idea of fiery things helping people to be reconciled to God In Isaiah s vision of God in the Temple when he was called to become a prophet a fiery being called a Seraph a kind of angel flew to him with a burning coal from the alter which touched his lips and his sins were forgiven The strange image of an agent of God bringing forgiveness and reconciliation is taken up again in the gospel After speaking with Nicodemus about making a new start in life being born again Jesus who came from God likens himself to the image of the snake the fiery serpent that Moses had set up in the wilderness for the people to look at and be assured of their escape from death John 3 14 15 By taking himself the form of the rebel Jesus liberated humanity by looking to him on the cross the antidote to their poison was found What more I could say about the cost of it and the wonder of our salvation is better said in the poem which is called Pieta Order of service Lent 4 Year B DB Home RCL Resources Index The Gathering of the People of God CALL TO WORSHIP The Lord be with you And also with you Lift up your hearts We lift them up to the Lord O give thanks to the LORD for he is good for his steadfast love endures forever Psalms 107 1 HYMN 85 To God be the glory great things he has done PRAYER OF ADORATION O come let us adore him Christ the Lord Lord Jesus preaching good tidings to the people proclaiming release to captives setting at liberty those who are bound We adore you Lord Jesus friend of the outcast and the poor feeder of the hungry healer of the sick We adore you Lord Jesus denouncing the oppressor exposing the hypocrite overcoming evil with good We adore you Lord Jesus pattern of gentleness teacher of holiness prophet of the kingdom We adore you Lord Jesus dying to save us from our sin rising to give us eternal life ascending to prepare our heavenly home We adore you CONFESSION Most merciful God we confess that we have sinned against you and our neighbour We have taken

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