OT 9 – 2nd Sunday After Pentecost

June 2,2024

Lectionary Texts

1 Samuel 3.1-20 — God calls Samuel in the temple.

Psalm 139 — You know me from the inside.
          See two paraphrases of Psalm 139 here and here, and a meditation on it here.

2 Corinthians 4.5-12 — God’s light shines in us, but we have this treasure in earthen jars. We are afflicted but not crushed…

Mark 2.23 – 3.6 — David and the bread of presence. “Sabbath was made for humankind, not humankind for the sabbath.” Jesus heals the man with the withered hand.

Preaching Thoughts

1 Samuel
       It’s usually only afterward that we realize it has been God talking to us. Especially if that voice is a call— a vocation—to some kind of service or self-giving. Even if that work is our love and passion, we often doubt it meets God’s delight. Until we answer the call…

2 Corinthians
I love the paradox of Paul’s image that we are simple clay jars—cheap, imperfect and fragile, even—filled with incredibly precious and eternal stuff. The light of God shines in us; it’s the light, not the jar, that matters. But we take care of that breakable jar, for the sake of the light. It’s typical for people to doubt themselves as bearers of God’s light, and to judge others for being inadequate; but the good news is that the light is always carried in cracked, imperfect jars. Yes, your jar is flawed. Of course. But the light in you is holy. It’s there because God says “Let there be light.” And that light created in you is as real and powerful as the Big Bang. Let it shine. And don’t mind those people who are so afraid of their own light, and afraid of their own cracks and imperfections, that they project their fear onto you and belittle you. Never mind them. You have the Light. Shine it.

   The legalists fault Jesus for playing loose with the law of God. But That’s not what Jesus is doing. It’s not just that he tends to the spirit, not the letter of the law; in fact he takes the law to a higher level. About healing on the sabbath the Pharisees ask “Is it legal or not?” But Jesus asks What’s the sabbath for? ”Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm?” It’s about surrendering to the power of God, right? Therefore it’s about healing, isn’t it? Well, then, this is lawful. (He does the same thing with the bent over woman in Luke 13. The sabbath is about liberation, right? Well, then the sabbath is the perfect time to liberate this woman.) Jesus invites us not just to “obey” the laws of God but to think through what those laws are for. They’re for healing and liberation. The way to follow God’s commandments is to heal and liberate, no matter what the “rules” say.

Call to Worship

1. [2 Corinthians]
Leader: In the beginning was the Word,
All: and the word was love.
God said “Let there be light,
and all things came from the light of love.

We are created in the light of your love,
and it shines in us.
God of mercy, we open our hearts to your light.
May the sun of your love rise in us and shine in us always. Amen.

2. [1 Samuel]
Leader: God of truth, in darkness and unknowing, you call us.
All: Here we are; we are listening.
God of love, you call us by name.
Here we are. Speak to us.
God of justice, you call us to your work.
Here we are. Send us.
God of mercy, re-form us by your Word.
Gracious God, we worship you with open hearts.

3. [Mark]
Leader: God of love, we are broken people.
All: You reach out to us in love.
We have doubts and expectations; we put limits on your love.
Yet you reach out to us in love.
Touch our brokenness; heal our wounds.
Gracious God, restore our wholeness.
We open ourselves to you.

4. [Psalm 139. Also appropriate for a response/affirmation. ]
Leader: O God, you have searched us and known us.
All: Where could we flee from your presence?
Even at the farthest ends of the world, you are there.
Even in darkness your light shines.
You have formed us; you know us from the inside.
How unimaginable are your thoughts, O God.
Search us, O God, and know our hearts.
Lead us in the way everlasting.

Leader: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was the light of life.
All: O God, let your light shine in us.
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world;
let your light so shine that others may see and glorify God.”
O God, let your light shine in us.
Sleeper, awake, and rise from the dead, and God will shine upon you.
O God, let your light shine in us.

Collect / Prayer of the Day

Holy Mystery, you fashion us out of love; you create us with your grace. We shine with the light of your presence. Strengthen the clay pots of our faith, that we may hold your light faithfully and share it lovingly in the name of Christ. Amen.

God of grace, we are broken people; only you can heal us. Yet we are held back by our own doubts and fears, our judgments and expectations. Set us free from the imprisonment of our own minds, to trust your grace, to stretch out our hands to you and be made well. Amen.

Listening Prayer

(suitable as a Collect, preparation for hearing scriptures, or invitation to prayer)

Holy Mystery,
in the darkness and silence of our prayer
you call to us.
Help us to listen and to hear.
Help us to respond.

Prayer of Confession

Pastor: The grace of God is with you.
Congregation: And also with you.
Trusting in God’s tender mercy, we open ourselves in honesty to God.

God of love, help us to see ourselves with the eyes of love,
to see what in us is loving,
and what is not loving.

God, we recall when we have been in harmony with you, or with life, and we give thanks. [silent prayer…]
We recall when we have been out of harmony, and we seek your grace. [silent prayer…]
God of mercy, in Christ you have shown us your grace.
Forgive us, heal us, and perfect your love in us. [silent prayer…]


2 Corinthians 4. 5-12

Leader: We do not proclaim ourselves.
We proclaim Jesus Christ as our Sovereign.
We are one another’s servants for Jesus’ sake.
All: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
has shone in our hearts also
so the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
will shine in our own faces as well.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be clear
that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
we have difficulties, but we do not despair;

we are opposed but not abandoned;
we are struck down, but not destroyed.
We bear in our bodies the death of Jesus,
so that in our bodies the life of Jesu
s may also be clear.

Eucharistic Prayer

[After the introduction, the body of the prayer may be read responsively with the presiding leader(s) and congregation, or by the leader(s) alone.]

God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

God is with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your heart.
We lift them up to God.
Let us give thanks to the Holy One, our God.
It is good and beautiful to give God our praise.

We thank you, God, for In the beginning you said “Let there be light.”
And your light shines in us.
We are wondrously made.
You know us inside and out, and are with us always.
Even in the farthest places you are with us;
even in the darkest times you are light.
You set us free from all that enslaves us,
and ask us to set one another free.
In the inner darkness of our hearts you call us by name.
And so we come to your table to be made whole,
singing your praise:

            [Sanctus, spoken or sung:]
        Holy, holy, holy One, God of power and might,
        heaven and earth are full of your glory.
        Hosanna in the highest.
        Blessed is the one who comes in the name of God.
        Hosanna in the highest.
               [or alternate version]

Blessed are all who come in your name,
and blessed is Jesus, your Christ.
He taught even those who threatened him;
he healed even when opposed,
he fed even when there was no food.

He loved even at the cost of his life,
and asks us to do the same.
Under an oppressive power he was crucified,
but by your infinite grace he was raised from the dead.

     (The Blessing and Covenant) *
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.
Therefore, remembering these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
we offer ourselves as a living and holy sacrifice,
in union with Christ’s offering for us,
as we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

             [Memorial Acclamation, spoken or sung:]
        Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
        Dying, Christ destroyed our death. Rising, Christ restores our life.
        Christ will come again in glory.
             [or alternative]

Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and cup,
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Spirit on us,
that we may be for the world the Body of Christ.

By your Spirit in us may we hear your call and respond.
May we be the clay jars your light shines in.

Here we are; send us.
Send us with courage and compassion no matter the cost,
to heal and to bless,
for the sake of the wholeness of the world.

     [Spoken or sung]

* The Blessing and Covenant
[I usually don’t print the words. I want people to be looking at the bread, not their bulletins.]

On the night in which he gave himself for us
Jesus took bread, blessed it,. broke it, and gave it to his disciples,saying,
“Take and eat; this is my body.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup,
blessed it with thanks and gave it to them, saying,
“Drink of this, all of you. This is my blood,
poured out for you and for many, in a new Covenant,
which is the forgiveness of sin.”
As long as we break this bread and share this cup
we remember his death and resurrection, until he comes again.

Prayer of Dedication / Sending / after Communion

[Adapt as needed.]
Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) Shine in us with your love. Send us, as beams of your light, into the world, for the sake of all Creation, in the name of Christ. Amen.

Gracious God, we thank you for (the mystery that you give yourself to us / this mystery in which you have given yourself to us.) You have reached out and made us whole. Your light shines in us. You have called us, not to do harm, but to do good. By your Spirit in us it is always the right time to heal. Send us, to heal, to serve, to love, in the name of Christ and the power of your Spirit. Amen.

Suggested Songs

(Click on titles to view, and hear an audio clip, on the Music page)

Christ Our Healer
(Tune: Joyful, Joyful…
or HOLY MANNA … or BEECHER (Love Divine, All Loves Excelling)

Christ, our healer, you have touched us, reaching through the dark divide,
healing broken hearts and bodies, casting death’s old shroud aside:
raised us from our bed of sorrows, put your arm around our pain,
raising us to new tomorrows, bringing us to life again.

Christ, our teacher, in our healing you have given us your gift:
grace to bless, your love revealing, pow’r to heal and hope to lift.
In your Spirit, your forgiveness, your compassion we embrace
ev’ry wounded, shamed or silenced child of God with gentle grace.

Christ, our savior, you are going on to every town and field,
on to every land and people, on until the world is healed.
Use us in the whole world’s mending, use us as your healing hands,
’till as one the world, made whole, takes up its mat with joy and stands.

Jesus, My Healer      (Tune: Fairest Lord Jesus)

Jesus, my healer, come to me and touch me;
lay your hand upon my soul.
All of my woundedness gently embrace and bless
and, though I’m broken, make me whole.

Source of our healing, God, our Re-Creator,
your deep joy is to raise and bless.
Your faithful promises and all our trusting hope
are stronger than our dark distress.

Spirit of healing, move among your people
to bear the blessing that flows from you:
with tender love to bless the world’s brokenness
and share the grace that made us new.

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