Almighty God, we know that you are not limited by the houses of worship which we build with our hands, but rather that your love always shelters our worshipfulness. Bless and consecrate our gathering in this place and the love we share in this time. May your touch of peace be upon our restless hearts, and may we always in greater reverence find you in our midst, even when we find you in the least likely of our sisters and brothers. Amen.
Prayer of Confession:
Gracious God, settle our hearts and our minds and lift from us our burdens. Hear our prayers for our family, our friends, our world, and for ourselves. Enable us on this day to put away the things that hurt and hinder, and accept anew the things that help all people of faith. Be with us in your love that we may be your children, at one with all those who hear your voice and who follow in your way. Renew us with life that is full of joy, assured by the presence of a Savior who knows our lot and cares for us always, for Christ is our help and our hope. Amen.
Old Testament Lesson: II Kings 5: 1-14 NRSV (source)
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.” But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.
Gospel Lesson: Mark 9: 30-37 NRSV (source)
They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
- No. 376 – Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
- No. 374 – Lord, Make Us Servants of Your Peace
- Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service (See Insert)
“Playing Second Fiddle” – Rev. Scott G. Loomer