Holy God, we come before you thankful that you love us as we are. We are creatures of your hand; we are a community formed by your Spirit. You are the potter; we are the clay. With your sure and loving hands, shape us, through the grace of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
Almighty and merciful God, forgive those times when we are inconsistent in our faith; for those times we have fallen short of your desires for our life. Forgive any hurt we have caused, and any help we have withheld from those in need. Strengthen and sustain us. Lead us to strengthen and sustain others, as you use us to discover and do your will, in Christ’s spirit. Accept this prayer that we offer together this morning, and hear our individual prayers which we offer in the silence of our hearts . . .
First Lesson: Mark 1: 9-15 NRSV
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
Second Lesson: Mark 9: 17-29 NRSV
Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you are able! —All things can be done for the one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
- No. 421 -The Church of Christ in Every Age
- No. 76 – My Song Is Love Unknown
- No. 281 – Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
Solo performance by Kathy Fisk, soprano
“Wilderness even with our Doubts” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer