Liturgy Moment: Proper 6, June 17, 2012

             Old Testament       1 Samuel 15:34–16:13
             Psalm                         Psalm 20 or Psalm 72 (UMH 795)
             New Testament     2 Corinthians 5:6–10, 14–17 (11–13)
             Gospel                       Mark 4:26–34

Call to Worship

A small mustard seed sprouts
and becomes a life-giving plant.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

The life-giving plant grows
and becomes home to the birds of the sky. 

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

The birds of the sky carry the mustard seed
to new places and a new creation begins.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be JHWH's glorious name forever;
may God's glory fill the whole earth.
Amen.

Opening Prayer

God of wonder and glory,
Your Kingdom abounds with love and mercy.  Every day you drop seeds of compassion in our hearts and show incredible patience as you wait for it to root and to grow.  Help us to provide fertile ground for your loving kindness so that we may respond fully to the call of your love and go forth planting seeds of love and mercy on your behalf.  In the name of Creator, Christ, and Spirit, Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Lord, open our hearts and minds
by the power of your Holy Spirit,
that, as the Scriptures are read
and your Word proclaimed,
we may hear with joy what you say to us today.
Amen.

Scripture Reading:  Mark 4:26-34

The Parable of the Growing Seed 

26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
(Mt 13:31–32; Lk 13:18–19)

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

The Use of Parables

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples. [1]

Response

Let us pray.

O Lord,
You are so patient with our human strivings.
Even though we desire to be in charge of the field,
            organizing the seeds,
            designating areas to be planted,
You hold us gently and help us see that your Spirit
            cannot be contained.
Your Kingdom will grow no matter how much
            we try to contain it.
Help us to see that Your Spirit moves,
            that Your Creation grows,
            and that Your Word sprouts.
Amen.

And now we bring to you, O God, Creator, Christ, and Spirit, the needs of each other and the needs of the world.

Prayers of the People

Mighty God of wonder and glory, we praise and thank you for the promise of Your Kingdom. Especially we thank you for

ministries of compassion…
love that transforms hearts…
the earth that supports us…
the Church of Christ in all nations and in all forms…

Loving God, we give you thanks.

Gracious God, we are a hurting community.  Hear the pain of your loved ones.  Especially we pray for

our political leaders…
the homeless and hungry…
those affected by incarceration…
our violent world in need of redemption…

Merciful God, hear our prayer.

For what else do we pray?

…Loving God                                  …Merciful God
We Give you thanks         Hear our prayer

Concluding Collect

Gracious God,
You show us that your seeds can sprout no matter where they are dropped.  Help us to recognize love, compassion, and justice so that when we see them sprouting we will help them to grow, bringing Your Kingdom to life.  In Your holy name we pray, Amen.

Ecumenical Lord's Prayer 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Pass the Peace

Please pass the peace that blossoms with the help of Christ.

Benediction

The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed,
            carried by the wind,
            spread by the Spirit,
growing where planted.
Go forth knowing that the Kingdom
            is carried when you love,
            spread when you show compassion,
            and grows when you blossom.
Amen.


[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989 (Mk 4:26–34). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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