Introduction & Welcome
Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!
and all the time! God is good!
A woman finds healing by touching Jesus’ cloak, and a girl is restored to life when he takes her by the hand. In both cases a boundary is crossed: in Jesus’ time the hemorrhaging woman was considered ritually unclean, polluting others by her touch, and anyone who touched a corpse also became unclean. In Mark’s gospel Jesus breaks down barriers, from his first meal at a tax collector’s house to his last breath on the cross as the temple curtain is torn in two. We dare to touch Jesus in our “uncleanness” and to live as a community that defines no one as an outsider.
Confession and Forgiveness
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be the holy Trinity,☩ one God,
the God of manna,
the God of miracles,
the God of mercy.
Drawn to Christ and seeking God’s abundance,
let us confess our sin.
Silence is kept for reflection.
God, our provider,
It is hard to believe there is enough to share.
We question your ways when they differ from the ways of the world in which we live.
We turn to our own understanding rather than trusting in you.
We take offense at your teachings and your ways.
Turn us again to you.
Where else can we turn?
Share with us the words of eternal life and feed us for life in the world.
Beloved people of God:
in Jesus, the manna from heaven, you are fed and nourished.
By Jesus, the worker of miracles, there is always more than enough.
Through Jesus, ☩ the bread of life, you are shown God’s mercy:
you are forgiven and loved into abundant life.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, we implore you to hear the prayers of your people. Be our strong defense against all harm and danger, that we may live and grow in faith and hope, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading: Lamentations 3:22-33
The book of Lamentations is one of our most important sources of information about the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587 BC. Though the people admit that God’s judgment was just, today’s reading declares a fervent trust that God will not leave them forever.
22The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
23they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
26It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
27It is good for one to bear
the yoke in youth,
28to sit alone in silence
when the Lord has imposed it,
29to put one’s mouth to the dust
(there may yet be hope),
30to give one’s cheek to the smiter,
and be filled with insults.
31For the Lord will not
32Although he causes grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33for he does not willingly afflict
or grieve anyone.
Psalm: Psalm 30
I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up. (Ps. 30:1)
1I will exalt you, O Lord, because you have lifted me up
and have not let my enemies triumph over me.
2O Lord my God, I cried out to you,
and you restored me to health.
3You brought me up, O Lord, from the dead;
you restored my life as I was going down to the grave.
4Sing praise to the Lord, all you faithful;
give thanks in holy remembrance.
5God’s wrath is short; God’s favor lasts a lifetime.
Weeping spends the night, but joy comes in the morning.
6While I felt secure, I said,
“I shall never be disturbed.
7You, Lord, with your favor, made me as strong as the mountains.”
Then you hid your face, and I was filled with fear.
8I cried to you, O Lord;
I pleaded with my Lord, saying,
9“What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you or declare your faithfulness?
10Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
11You have turned my wailing into dancing;
you have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
12Therefore my heart sings to you without ceasing;
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 8:7-15
Paul encourages the Corinthians to honor their commitment to participate in the collection his churches are organizing for the Christians in Jerusalem. He presents Jesus as an example of selfless stewardship and reminds them that Christians have received abundantly so that they can share abundantly.
7Now as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in utmost eagerness, and in our love for you—so we want you to excel also in this generous undertaking.
8I do not say this as a command, but I am testing the genuineness of your love against the earnestness of others. 9For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. 10And in this matter I am giving my advice: it is appropriate for you who began last year not only to do something but even to desire to do something—11now finish doing it, so that your eagerness may be matched by completing it according to your means. 12For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has—not according to what one does not have. 13I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between 14your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. 15As it is written,
“The one who had much did not have too much,
and the one who had little did not have too little.”
Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has abolished death* and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Alleluia. (2 Tim. 1:10)
Gospel: Mark 5:21-43
Jairus, a respected leader, begs Jesus to heal his daughter. A woman with a hemorrhage was considered ritually unclean and treated as an outcast. Both Jairus and the unnamed woman come to Jesus in faith, believing in his power to heal and bring life out of death.
21When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. 22Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet 23and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” 24So he went with him.
And a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him. 25Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. 26She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. 27She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” 29Immediately her hemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’ ” 32He looked all around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. 34He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. 38When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha cum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” 42And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. 43He strictly ordered them that no one should know this and told them to give her something to eat.
Meditation by David O’Brien
Dear God, I come to you as a sinner who is undeserving of your grace and presence. I repent all my sins and ask you to forgive me so that my request may be heard by you. Lord, have mercy on me and fill me with your grace. Wash me with the blood of your son Jesus Christ that I may give glory to Your Name.
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. God’s mercy is poured out on us all of the time. I feel as though God’s mercy has been shown to me all of my life. I have received so many blessings that I have done nothing to deserve. In fact, God would be well within His rights to condemn me as the sinner that I am. But the Lord God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The first reading today is an appeal to the reader to trust in the Lord’s mercy. This book was written around the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians. The people of Israel had turned away from God and were reaping the just consequences of that sin. The author of this book, however, is calling the people back to the Lord, reassuring them of His mercies. While God’s discipline may be their current circumstance, it will not last forever. The Psalm also talks about God’s mercy when it’s undeserved. The Psalmist says that he felt secure and would never be disturbed but when the Lord hid His face from him, he was filled with fear. But he also presents us with a hopeful message. “God’s wrath is short; God’s favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping spends the night, but joy comes in the morning.”
I think there’s a great deal of Lamentations and the Psalm that could be applied to us today. Think back to January or February of 2020. Economically, the US was doing pretty well. But we had become a greedy bunch, not wanting to share our prosperity with people less fortunate than us. We wanted to close our borders to people fleeing economic hardship and political oppression. Policies were enacted that cut aid to those very countries where people needed our help the most. And when people showed up at our nations’ doorstep, we turned a blind eye to their suffering, telling them to go back to the same conditions they were trying to leave. Then the pandemic hit. Six hundred thousand people lost their lives in the US alone to this disease. Our health system, which had often been hailed as the most advanced in the world, was helpless to stop the wave after wave of illness and death. It devastated our economy as well, causing businesses to be closed and people here to lose their livelihoods. Our economy, the largest in the world, was brought to a standstill because of this virus. The Lord has been merciful to us in that He has allowed us to develop effective vaccines against this disease. Now that we have the vaccines, and they seem to be taking effect, we are presented with other challenges in regard to COVID. Several nations don’t have enough vaccine to get to their people. Some might ask why this is a problem for us, but I think that’s incredibly short sighted. This virus started, scientists think, in China. It spread across the world with alarming speed. Along the way, it has mutated into various strains, some more contagious and deadly. If we allow it to remain in a remote part of the world, we will give it time to mutate even further. Perhaps it will develop into a strain that our precious vaccine will not be able to protect us against and it will start to spread again. How long before that new strain reaches our shores and the whole process starts over again? Will we go back to our selfish ways or will we share the blessing that God has given us in the form of the vaccine?
God’s mercy is often shown in unexpected situations. The woman who was healed by touching Jesus’ cloak had faith that she would be healed, but would anyone else have thought so if she had told them her plan? I think even Jesus was surprised by this act of hers because He turned to the crowds and asked who had touched Him. I don’t think it surprised Him that she was healed, because He had felt the power leave him and He knew the power of faith in God, but I expect that the woman’s friends and the crowd around them were pretty astonished at how easily she was healed. Then there’s the part about Jairus’ daughter. While Jesus was on His way to heal her, word was sent that she had already died. None of the people who were at Jairus’ home thought that she could be healed from death. They even laughed at Jesus when He told them to stop weeping because she was not dead, but only sleeping. But boy were they surprised when the little girl got up at Jesus command and starting walking around!
May we all look for God’s mercy where it’s unexpected, even when it’s undeserved. When we receive God’s mercy, may we all be wise enough to share that blessing with others, so that we may truly bless the world by being God’s grace.
Prayers of Intercession
Let us come before the triune God in prayer.
A brief silence.
God of hope, the ministry of your church extends across borders, from nearby neighbors to far and distant countries. Accompany all those who labor eagerly in service of the gospel, especially Elizabeth and Daniel, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor, that through your good news all might experience transformation. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Almighty God, we give you thanks for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the land that provides our food. Guard all species of plants and animals from harsh changes in climate and empower us to protect all you have made. Help us to be good stewards of the world You’ve graciously loaned to us. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Righteous God, we pray for nations and their leaders. Give them a spirit of compassion and steer them towards a fair distribution of resources; that none among us would have too much or too little. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God of healing, your touch has the power to make us whole. We pray for those suffering from physical or mental illness. Embrace those who are sick, especially those on our prayer lists. Surround them with your unwavering presence. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
We pray for this assembly and all those gathered together in worship, whether here physically or in spirit. Revive our spirits, renew our relationships, and rekindle our faith, that we might experience resurrection in this community. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
We give thanks for the faithful ancestors in every age whose lives have pointed us towards you. Envelop them in your love, that we may be reunited with one another in the last days. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
We lift our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your abiding grace.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.* On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.
The blessing of God,
who provides for us, feeds us, and journeys with us,
☩ be upon you now and forever.
Go in peace. You are the body of Christ.
Thanks be to God.