October 24th, 22nd Sunday After Pentecost

A downloadable version of this page is available for anyone who would like to save or print it out.

The Faith Nurture Forum would like to thank Rev David S Cameron, Minister of New Laigh Kirk Kilmarnock, for his thoughts on the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost.

Weekly Worship, based on the Revised Common Lectionary, is for everyone – in any capacity – who is involved in creating and leading worship.

It provides liturgical material that can be used for worship in all settings. Our writers are asked to share their approaches to creating and delivering this material to equip leaders with a greater confidence and ability to reflect on their own worship practice and experience and encourage them to consider how this material might be adapted for their own context.

We would encourage continual reflection on the changing patterns of worship and spiritual practice that are emerging from disruption and how this might help identify pathways towards development and worship renewal.

We may not all be gathered in the same building, but at this time, when we need each other so much, we are invited to worship together, from where we are – knowing that God can hear us all and can blend even distant voices into one song of worship.

Introduction

October is a month with a particular focus on tackling poverty. Sunday 17 October is the United Nations' International Day for the Eradication of Poverty and 4-10 October is Challenge Poverty Week. The resources for the first four Sundays in October have been written by Priority Area congregations. You will also find more Challenge Poverty Week resources on the Priority Areas Facebook page, including videos, prayer memes and links to webinars being held throughout October, with a particular focus this year on poverty and the climate crisis. We would encourage you to share these with your congregation as a way of highlighting how the church is engaging in anti-poverty work at a local level.

Since the early 1990s the Church of Scotland has placed a priority on putting resources into the most deprived communities. However, while there is great work happening in Priority Area congregations (those in the 5% most deprived parishes), it is important to recognise that the priority for the poorest and the most marginalised is the gospel imperative facing the whole church.

During this month we are asking every congregation in the country to look at poverty in their own community. Every parish will contain people who are in poverty, even if some of it is hidden. "Deprivation Stats" have been produced to show this for every parish, and new expanded versions of these will be launched in October, including maps showing relative deprivation in your parish and its neighbours​. These can be found via the Church Finder on the Church of Scotland website and we would encourage you to use these as a conversation starter with your congregation or Kirk Session.

A key message of Challenge Poverty Week is: Too many people in Scotland are living with the constant pressure of living in poverty. As recovery from COVID-19 continues we are acutely aware that too many people are struggling to pay bills, put food on the table and take part in society.

Seventy-five years ago William Beveridge set out a plan to put an end to what he called the ‘five giants' – Poverty, Disease, Ignorance, Squalor and Idleness. It was the beginning of the Welfare State. As we look to recover from Covid socially and economically we are dealing with increased levels of hardship. Current demands on foodbanks and pastoral care are clear indications that the system is at breaking point. One in four children living in poverty is a shocking statistic and the rise in mental health issues overwhelming. Reading the daily headlines, and fearing what life is going to look like for many years; what's going to happen to our families, our towns, our nations, our world?

We may not be immediately aware of how far we wandered away from God, how life lost its meaning in pursuit of economic success, or how we got buried under the demands of social status. What is the new way we can all walk together to ensure fullness of life for everyone? We should be proud to help the poor, to help the sick and disabled, those of us who are lucky enough to be able to work. Every human person is created in the image and likeness of God and has a sacred dignity, value, and worth.

The following worship preparation provides the perspective that the Lord's goodness lies in the fact that God is near, present with God's people, whatever life may bring. God does not save them from, but is in the harsh realities of life from the perspective of eternity.

Preparation for the lectionary passages this week brings to mind our loved ones at home who need to know they can depend on us; the people of our towns who need us to be good neighbours; the people of our nation, who need our constant prayers, and our commitment to participate in political, economic and social systems; and the people of the world, who need us to embrace them and care for them, even though it may offer us no benefit, and have no real impact on our lives. Life is measured not by the trappings of wealth or power, but by lives that are healed and enriched. The God we worship and adore is our God who measures every heart and life, empowering us to follow Christ's example, turning lives around with optimism and a commitment to eradicate poverty because it is in our power to do so.

Job 42:1-6, 10-17

The book of Job is about suffering. Job provides few, if any, answers to the ‘Whys' of suffering: Why do the righteous suffer? Why does God allow suffering, particularly in the lives of those who appear to have no reason to deserve it? We all know of those who give as the reason for their rejection of Christianity and the existence of God, the sufferings of the seem­ingly innocent. Whilst the subject of apologetics devotes much of its time in responding to this difficulty, the Book of Job provides no answer. The main object lesson is that God has to take everything away from this faithful servant to reveal a deeper revelation of Godself. The presence of suffering in the life of a believer is a very great problem. It calls into question the power of faith, the presence of supernatural gifts, and the promise that those who obediently follow the Lord can expect certain blessings, including health and wealth.

Job acknowledges God's purpose, God's sovereignty. He has long had faith in God; this has now been replaced by seeing and experiencing God. Job approaches God in the same awe and wonder that he has held even in affliction. All Job has lost is restored to him, some in double measure. He is no longer shunned by his relatives. To ancient people, possessions and progeny indicated God's favour: God loves him even more dearly. Gifts are God's to give. Their absence or withdrawal is hard for a virtuous person to accept.

Job's own experience of transformation and restoration appears to drive him to a radical and innovative agency for transformation of the social order. (1)

Can we learn anything from Job's suffering? Calvin highlights the role played by Job in helping us in our own particular sufferings: 'Wherefore it is good for us to have such examples, as shows unto us how there have been other men as frail as we, who nevertheless have resisted temptations, and continued steadfastly in obedience unto God, although he have scourged them even with extremity. Thus have we here an excellent mirror'. (2)

Job does not fear God to receive a reward, but in fearing God, Job discovers the faithfulness of God, whose restoration empowers us to seek a more just way of living that overcomes the injustice of suffering.

  1. Feasting on the Word Year B Vol. 4 Season after Pentecost 2- Reign of Christ. 2013 p.197
  2. Calvin's Exposition of the Book of Job, The Banner of Truth, Derek W H Thomas 1994

Psalm 34:1-8, (19-22)

This is a thanksgiving for deliverance from trouble, traditionally attributed to David when he feigned madness before Abimelech so that the Gentile king drove him out (1 Samuel 20:10-15, where the king on whom David played this trick is King Achish of Gath). The psalm begins with a hymn of praise. The Psalmist accounts their seeking of the Lord and God's goodness in delivering them. The angel of God is said to encamp around those who fear God. This may refer to a heavenly messenger or to an extension of the Lord's power. The same faith is commended to the congregation. The Lord's goodness is extolled and the happiness/blessedness of the faithful is noted. The psalm continues with an expression of confidence that the Lord will rescue the righteous, perhaps referring to those suffering at the hands of evil people, the wicked will die, and the Lord redeems God's servants.

This reading celebrates God's gracious acts of deliverance on behalf of those who have been bruised and battered by life. The psalm is an individual song of thanksgiving but should not be construed as a personal reflection ‘I' apart from community ‘us'. (1)

The Psalmist speaks from a background of terror and trouble. They speak to people who may be broken hearted and crushed in spirit, recognising that the righteous experience many difficulties or misfortune. The Lord's goodness lies in the fact that God is near, present with God's people, whatever life may bring. God does not save them from but in the harsh realities of life. This is what leads Paul confidently to say, ‘If God is for us who is against us he who did not withhold his own son but gave him up for all of us will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against gods elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn?' (Romans 8:31-34)

The Psalmist can claim no credit for life being rich and meaningful, for all is of God. The Psalmist is a wise teacher agreeing with the words of Jeremiah 9:23-24.

23This is what the Lord says:

"Let not the wise boast of their wisdom
or the strong boast of their strength
or the rich boast of their riches,
24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:
that they have the understanding to know me,
that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,"
declares the Lord.

  1. Feasting on the word Year B Vol 4 Season after Pentecost 2- Reign of Christ, 2013 p.201
  2. The Vitality of Worship; A Commentary on the Book of Psalms, Robert Davidson, 1998 p.114

Hebrews 7:23-28

This lesson is part of a comparison between the Levitical priesthood and the priesthood of the Priest-King Melchizedek, one that is seen as prefiguring Christ's priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood (and so Christ's priesthood) is described as eternal, and unlike the Levitical priesthood is able to save for all time those who approach God through Him. By implication, Christ is described as holy and blameless, separated from sinners. Unlike other high priests He has no need to offer daily sacrifices, first for His own sin and then for others. Christ's sacrifice is once for all.

The law appoints priests subject to weakness, but the word coming later than the law appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. As an appointed Son, Jesus' priesthood is perfect. It is perfect because it is effective. All of these priestly duties, offerings and sacrifices, are conducted in order to make it possible for the believer to draw close to God, to approach the unapproachable. To know Jesus as a priest is to acknowledge Him as a constant mediator, a bridge, our way over and out and through difficult circumstances and into the presence of a loving God.

Examples from our daily lives abound. People trapped in self-destructive behaviour. We see the consequences of past actions can trap us in our communal lives, in extreme poverty in the midst of plenty, in greed and corruption in civic government, institutions and corporations, in ethnic conflicts and tensions between nations. (1) We are in constant need of God's grace and mercy and as such Jesus is making intercession on our behalf, reminding us that this grace as mercy is available to us. This is good news to those who are suffering, then and now! Jesus is ever-present to broker the relationship between humanity and God. Just as there is no limit to Jesus' priesthood, there is no limit to the grace and mercy that God extends to those who approach God.(2)

  1. Feasting of the Word Year B Vol 4 Season after Pentecost 2- Reign of Christ, 2013 page 211
  2. Commentary on Hebrews Jennifer T Kaalund

Commentary on Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9 - Working Preacher from Luther Seminary

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus enters Jericho a blind man named Bartimaeus shouts out, asking for Jesus to have mercy on him. Then Jesus calls the blind man, and asks him what he wants. When Bartimaeus answers that he wants to see, Jesus heals him, and he follows Jesus. The story of blind Bartimaeus involves two contrasts. There is the obvious clash between the appearance of this poor beggar who comes with only his need, receives sight and immediately follows Jesus, and the blind disciples who have just been portrayed as fearful and lagging far behind. There is also the disparity between this man who comes with nothing and Jesus' last encounter, with the rich man who had everything, and whose ‘everything' prevented him from taking the way of Jesus. He could not give up his ‘abundance'. The poor man, in his eagerness to follow Jesus, throws off the cloak he spread out every day to catch the coins begged, his only means of livelihood. Bartimaeus' action in discarding his cloak is powerful. The cloak is his protection, his working clothes, his fashion statement, his bank – yet he throws it away eagerly. He knows he needs something else, therefore he casts aside what he has to receive it.

In the story we see the crowd, full of the uncaring and heedless attitudes of an unreformed world, ‘Keep this nobody out the way!' ‘Tell that beggar to shut up!' (v48) Watch the way the portrayal of the crowd changes as the cross looms. This crowd is no longer merely hungry and needy, it has become mean and malevolent. Listen to the beggar with his insistent cries for help, quite deliberately naming Jesus with a Messianic title, us, "Son of David." Watch Jesus Himself, preoccupied as He is with all that lies before Him, taking time to stop and turn aside to attend to this man. By His attention, Jesus shows in actions more powerful than any words that, in the eyes of God, no one is nobody; everyone a name, a place and a value.

Bartimaeus reminds us that Jesus brings sight to the blind, even in the most unlikely, unexpected circumstances. There is yet hope for all that lies ahead. In a strange way Bartimaeus, a man with nothing who rises up and follows Jesus, fulfils the recently spoken words: "many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first." (10:31) (1)

Mark's depiction of the disciples showed even long-term followers getting in the way of God's power and purpose, when blinded by a merely human vision. But the persecuted, Gentile church for which Mark wrote would also have heard it as a message of hope: that ‘outsiders' are included in the Kingdom; that God's purpose is accomplished even on the way to a cross; that those who are broken may still lead others to faith. Like Bartimaeus, we are to risk everything to proclaim the gospel, relying on God's promises rather than visible evidence. We are all blind or broken in some way, but by the grace of God we can be healed and used to the glory of Christ. (2)

  1. Exploring the Gospel of Mark, Fischer 2003 p.151
  2. Ministry Matters™ | Sermon Options: October 28, 2018 Carol M Noren

Sermon ideas

Few British politicians who have addressed the General Assembly in the past could use Scripture in a speech to effect, except perhaps Gordon Brown, when in 2008 he said, "to ask that simple searching question: ‘Who is my neighbour?' is also to ask: in facing as we do now such a range of urgent challenges:

  • The global environment
  • The global economy
  • Eradication of world poverty
  • Nuclear proliferation, terrorism
  • And new pandemics;.

How can we discover right across the world common ground on which to act?"

The weight of expectation that rests on our country's leaders, the church and the world's religions today is enormous.

Post-pandemic we can all be caught up in the rhetoric of change and hope and desire the common effort for a better world. As long as there is hunger, poverty, disease, corruption, hatred, warfare, lies, spin and despair there will still be people who are sitting by the side of the road crying out to Jesus for mercy. People who are hurt and desperate, with little hope.

The images in our readings challenge us to reflect on the life circumstances of the world's poor and destitute who call out continuously for mercy. Most have no security blanket, no coats to keep them warm and no hope for a better life. What therefore are the words and actions of mercy to the socially and economically disadvantaged persons who live in despair in our world?

Sometimes life is so unfair we can't begin to understand it. And that's when we begin to question not just the fairness of life, but the fairness of God. Saying life isn't fair is not the same as saying God isn't fair, because God doesn't owe us anything. On the contrary, we owe God everything: our time, our talent, our money, even our very lives.

The lives we live are lives that God has given to us;
the breath we take,
the clothes on our backs,
the food on our table,
our health in its varying degrees,
the gifts of mind and body to do the jobs we've been called to do …
all of it is the gift of God.

We don't deserve any of it because God doesn't owe us a thing. And when God doesn't owe us anything, we shouldn't begrudge God's acceptance of those who seem less deserving of God's love.

In a rather negative view of the Book of Job, we have made health, wealth and happiness equal to God's blessing, and sickness, poverty and suffering to be a sign of God's curse. Jesus consistently challenged this view, and as Christ's followers we need to as well.

It is always easier to give up than to endure. It's always easier to blame others than to take responsibility for one's life but there is power in determination. When a person simply refuses to be defeated by whatever circumstances he or she has to overcome, something almost magical happens. They see with eyes of faith.

A blind beggar sitting beside the road in an act of desperation and blind faith, Bartimaeus started crying out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" People around him rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Jesus heard Bartimaeus' cry. He stopped and said to His disciples, "Call him." So they called to the blind man, "Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you."

Throwing his cloak aside, Bartimaeus jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. There comes a time for our own well-being and the well-being of those around us, we must throw aside the cloak of our suffering and leap to our feet and come to Jesus for the healing of our hearts.

When pain is permanent, it doesn't mean that we have to translate pain into permanent suffering. There is a difference. If you take time to reflect on the story of Job you will unearth that Job's greatest discovery in his life trials is his personal experience of God and the understanding that he can continue to question God and God will answer. Job confessed, "I have uttered what I did not understand. In the past I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen you with my own eyes."

God's grace is God's grace. An old proverb says:

When we get what we deserve, that is justice.
When we don't get what we deserve, that is mercy.
When we get what we don't deserve, that is grace.

This means we need to change both our understanding of God's generosity and our practices of giving, sharing and celebrating.

We need to recognise that those who are ‘blessed' receive blessing not for themselves, but for all – in order to share. Neither wealth nor poverty or health are signs of God's approval or lack of it even. They are simply realities of the world and of life.

And what of those who in their need and pain cry out to God and go on suffering?

At times, we become angry with God when God seems slow in answering our prayers. In these desperate moments, be encouraged to approach Jesus in prayer with trusting faith, as Bartimaeus did, and listen carefully to the voice of Jesus asking us: "What do you want me to do for you?" It is then that we should try telling God.

Prayers

Prayers for worship, as with any other form of prayer ought to be deliberate. It should be prepared and planned for. This can be done by focussing on the choice of readings, noting key phrases that jump out as well as issues raised within sermon preparation. Connecting the call to worship, prayers of approach and confession and prayers of petition, dedication and benediction with the theme can be done by creating a list of needs that your church and community have. Write down key biblical promises and principles that show God's will concerning these needs, especially from the texts chosen, but not exclusive to that.

Preparation is important. It is also important not to be so constrained by preparation that you would prevent the Holy Spirit from guiding the flow of your prayers. Consider giving adequate time for silence, encouraging participants in worship to offer their own prayer, spoken out loud or from within. You could invite others to be involved, ideas are helpful. They could bring their prayer requests and prayer points written down. These can be included in your delivery, indeed include those invited to contribute to say the prayers they have written aloud. A variety of voices can be powerful.

The following provides some ideas on the use of liturgical prayer based on the Lectionary themes.

(Adapted from Feasting on the Word Worship Companion Liturgies for Year B Volume 2, Kimberly Bracken Long 2015)

Call to worship

I will bless the Lord at all times,
God's praise will continually be in my mouth.

My soul makes its boast in the Lord,
let the humble hear and be glad.

O magnify the Lord with me,
let us exalt God's name together.

Come praise the Lord
All God's servants
All who serve in God's temple

Give thanks to the Lord for God's love is eternal

Let us worship giving God all praise and glory

Prayer of approach/confession

Triumphant praise and joy
These we bring as we enter Your court with praise and thanksgiving
Bowing our heads and joining in prayer
For You O God are gracious and Your mercy everlasting

This is the day You have made for worship
and we thank You for it
we thank You for each other
for the people we are and the places we have come from
for all that we shall become as we walk with You
For all You have given, we praise and worship You.

We thank You for the love of Christ encircling us,
Your Spirit guiding us,
so that we might bring our lives before You,
in praise and worship

Loving God,
You are ever at work in our lives and
striving to help and strengthen our world,
heal and comfort, forgive and restore,
undo wrongs and establish right.

Merciful God,
we have not been humble.
We have discouraged others from seeking You.
We have not sought Your wisdom.
We have been rude and selfish in our own wants and actions.
We have hurt others by intended words spoken and actions not done –
some known to us and other unknowns to us

We know what we have done
please forgive our faults

While we deserve only judgement
You offer us grace,
and the hope of life renewed.

Merciful Father
we praise You that through Jesus Christ
we are forgiven we are renewed
and through Him we are taught how to live and serve

God of restoration,
in our blindness and ignorance,
You open our eyes and lead us to truth;
in our arrogance and defiance,
You still our souls and teach us humility;
in our weakness and displacement,
You protect us and lead us home;

And so we praise You and thank You,
with all our hearts.

Through the same Jesus Christ our Lord who taught us when we pray to say
Our Father ….

Intercession

O God,
We come to You, because we know You'll hear our cry.
We come to You, because You call us near to You.
We come to You, because You deliver and save.
We come to You now with our prayers and petitions.

In the noise of voices
calling for revenge and restitution,
for judgement and punishment,
we pray for the courage to speak out
for restoration.

When grief and pain, poverty and persecution
leave people blind to grace and compassion,
we pray for the courage to carry the light
of comfort and consolation, love and forgiveness.

Where the quest to even the score
has left our world angry and wounded,
we pray for the courage to release our grievances
and seek wholeness for all.

As You intercede for us, Jesus,
we intercede for our world that all may know
the Good News of restoration in Christ.

We pray for the local and universal church.
Give us the humility to walk in Your way.
We pray for the leaders in our nation
and the nations around the world.
Give them the courage to walk in peace.
We pray for those who are in need.
Give us ears to hear their cries and be agents of Your mercy.

In our praying, heavenly loving Father,
we choose to celebrate,
in the midst of grief we because it reminds us of hope,
and brings comfort to our broken hearts;
we choose to celebrate,
in the midst of poverty because it speaks of wealth beyond material things,
and gives dignity to our humbled hearts;
we choose to celebrate,
in the midst of conflict because it turns us to peace,
and restores humanity to our angry hearts;

we choose to celebrate,
in the midst of suffering because it lightens our darkness,
and inspires strength in our fragile hearts;
we choose to celebrate,
in the midst of injustice because it defies evil,
and renews determination in our compassionate hearts;

Though crosses may loom, and opponents gather,
through our devotion to You
we choose to embrace and enjoy
for our own sake, and that of the least,
the healing power of celebration.
As we lift our own hidden prayers to You in silence,
for You hear even that which is unspoken.

(silence)

Taking comfort from our prayers
may we comfort one another through Your love
and the sharing of our experience.

God of wholeness,
we celebrate the healing You bring to us and our world,
and we celebrate the promised wholeness
that awaits all of creation
in Your eternal reign.

Hear our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

Dedication

Eternal God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
we bring dedicate our loves and the gifts we offer from our daily living
because we know
that our life and all human life rightfully belongs to You
and that everything we have we hold in trust from You.
We praise You for everything You have done for us in Jesus Christ.

Help us, and all Christ's people,
to live and speak the good news of Your love
so that all human life
finds fulfilment and flourishes in You
especially our own can be an offering to You.

Use what we offer of ourselves and our resources
to Create a Christ-guided humanity in our world and in our hearts.
We ask it in Jesus name
Amen

Benediction

With the healing love of Christ,
and the strengthening power of the Spirit
rest in the knowledge that God always provides.
Therefore give and love with a generous heart,
for this honours God who is most generous and loving

And the Blessing of Almighty God
Father Son and Holy Spirit
be with you all now and for evermore
Amen

Alternative blessing

May the God who hears your needs
and answers the cries of your hearts
be with you today and always,
a sure and certain strength.

And may the faithful love of the Creator,
the healing presence of the Christ,
the life-giving power of the Spirit
attend you this day and forevermore
Amen

A further resource for Liturgical prayer settings is The Abingdon Worship Annual edited by Mary J. Scifres and B.J. Beu, Copyright © Abingdon Press

Call to worship (Psalm 34)

Bless the Lord at all times.
Let everyone bless God.

Praise the Lord continually.
Let everyone praise Christ.

Our souls boast in the Lord.
We boast in the Spirit's greatness.

With one voice, we magnify and exalt the Lord,
for God has delivered us and made us whole.
Exalt our God, the Lord of life.

Contemporary gathering words (Mark 10)

Take heart, Christ is calling us.
He beckons us to come . . .
Come near to Him.
Stand before Christ.
"What do you want me to do?" He asks.
We have come here.
We're drawn here.
We desire to be here.
To have our sight restored.

Opening prayer (Hebrews 7, Mark 10)

Great Triune God,
through Jesus Christ,
our great and eternal High Priest,
we give You praise and consecrate ourselves to follow You.
As we worship You
and celebrate Your glorious resurrection,
open our eyes so that we may see –
open the eyes of our mind
to learning and understanding;
open the eyes of our heart,
to love and compassion;
open the eyes of our soul,
to see our spiritual selves
during our time of worship.
Amen.

Proclamation and Response

Prayer of confession (Job 42, Psalm 34, Hebrews 7, Mark 10)

Mystical, transcendent God,
there is so much of life
we simply do not know.
In our arrogance,
we utter what we do not understand.
Rescue us, O Lord, from our afflictions.
Restore us, O God, from our self-inflicted wounds.
Have mercy on us, Son of David, Son of God,
and save us by Your unending intercession.

Words of assurance (Psalm 34, Hebrews 7, Mark 10)

Cry out to Christ, our great High Priest,
for He has saved us.
Our faith has made us well, brought us forgiveness,
and granted us peace.

Passing the Peace of Christ (Job 42)

That we may come through life's ups and downs,

live to a good and full age, and see God's mercy to our children and children's children,

let us bless one another with these words of peace:

"May you live to see God's mercy to four generations."

Response to the Word (Mark 10)

Like Jesus leaving Jericho,
Your word has passed before us today.
Have mercy on us, Lord!

Others have told us to be quiet.
Many have tried to lure us away, yet we desire You.
Have mercy on us, Lord!

Then You spoke to us and called us by name,
filling us with Your word.
Have mercy on us, Lord!

You ask us what we want, what we need.
There are so many things we hold in our heart:
home, family, health, our nation —
but You know our greatest need.
Lord, let us see as You see.
Have mercy on us, Lord! Amen.

Thanksgiving and Communion

Offering prayer (Psalm 34, Job 42)

You invite us, God,
to taste and see that You are good.
Well, we have tasted
and You are truly good.
As a token of our gratitude
and a reflection of our devotion,
we give back to You from our abundance.
Multiply the gifts of our hands,
that they may double what we could do alone.
To the glory and service of Jesus, Amen.

Prayer of thanksgiving

We give You thanks this day
for the mighty and subtle ways
You work in the lives of Your people.
You are a God who restores.
You restored Job from his misery.
You restored David from his afflictions.
You restored the true meaning of priesthood.
You restored Bartimaeus's sight.
You restored the church to proper doctrine
at Nicaea.

You restored justification by faith
using Wittenberg's door.
You restored the preaching of the gospel
through Wesley.

You restore families that are broken.
You restore ministries in peril.
You restore our souls with Your Holy Spirit.
You restore the shattered hearts
that have forgotten how much
You love them.

Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
we thank You for what You have done,
are doing, and will do. Amen.

Sending Forth

Benediction (Mark 10)

Go! Your faith has made you well.
We go, knowing that our faith has been made stronger.

Go! Follow Him on the way.
We go, knowing Jesus is the way.

Alternative Material - focus on COP26

The General Assembly has endorsed the ‘Five Marks of Mission', which includes the commitment to Christian mission, "To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth." Care for the environment continues to be a core part of what it means to be a Christian, and in the context of the climate crisis our response as the Church of Scotland will be a demonstration of our commitment to working for the integrity of creation. As we approach the COP26 international climate summit being held in Glasgow in November 2021 we invite congregations, ministers and worship leaders to reflect on and communicate the following ideas:

  • The urgency and gravity of the situation, as highlighted by the recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which was described as a ‘code red for humanity', and the acknowledgement that the climate and biodiversity crisis not only represent a failure of our stewardship of God's creation but that the precipitous decline in global ecosystems threatens the wellbeing of billions of lives dependent upon them
  • The role of faith, communal worship and prayer in helping to shape our attitudes and behaviours, including to continue to have hope even (or especially) when a situation is difficult, and in particular to have the chance to remember the situation of sisters and brothers all over the world suffering from the impact of global heating
  • The practical decisions the Church has taken for itself, including to disinvest from fossil fuel companies and setting the church on a pathway to Net Zero carbon emissions by the year 2030
  • The importance of decisions by governments from countries around the world to set more ambitious carbon reductions targets, for rich countries to be generous in the sharing of wealth to support poorer nations affected by loss and damage caused by the changing climate, and for an end to government subsidies and investment in fossil fuel businesses
  • How to support young people within and outwith the Church through the Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) to raise them up and let their voices be heard

For further resources on COP26 activity from Church related organisations visit

Suggestions for hymns around the theme of care for creation and COP26

For further information about what the Church of Scotland is doing in relation to COP26 and carbon reduction, please email faithimpact@churchofscotland.org.uk

Musical suggestions

Our online music resource is on the Church of Scotland website; you can listen to samples of every song in the Church Hymnary 4th edition (CH4) and download a selection of recordings for use in worship. You will also find playlists for this week and liturgical seasons and themes on the Weekly Worship and Inspire Me tabs.

You can find further musical suggestions for this week in a range of styles on the Songs for Sunday blog from Trinity College Glasgow.

A helpful quarterly publication for Liturgical Music Suggestions is Sunday by Sunday | RSCM

a worship planning resource which follows the readings in the Common Worship Lectionary, Revised Common Lectionary (RCL). It lists suggested music for each Sunday and festival, in accordance with the themes and moods of the readings:

Singing the Psalm of the day; Hymns and songs from a wide range of styles and traditions; Anthems and vocal music, including World Music and music from Iona and Taizé; Organ music; Music for all-age worship.

For each piece you will find composers, details of sources and publishers, suggestions for liturgical use, and difficulty levels for organ and choral pieces. You can find an example from 2015 here.

The following hymns are suggestions from CH4 lend themselves to the four Lectionary passages for 22nd Sunday after Pentecost.

  • CH4 27 – "I will always bless the Lord"
  • CH4 286 – "Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord"
  • CH4 27 – "I will always bless the Lord" ­– Psalm 34
  • CH4 127 – "O worship the King, all glorious above"
  • CH4 153 – "Great is Thy faithfulness"
  • CH4 154 – "O Lord my God!" (How great Thou art)
  • CH4 249 – "We have heard a joyful sound"
  • CH4 253 – "Inspired by love and anger"
  • CH4 352 – "O for a thousand tongues to sing"
  • CH4 374 – "From heaven you came, helpless babe"
  • CH4 391 – "This your coronation"
  • CH4 394 – "He came to earth, not to be served"
  • CH4 423 – "I know that my Redeemer lives"
  • CH4 460 – "Join all the glorious names"
  • CH4 466 – "Before the throne of God above"
  • CH4 467 – "All my days I will sing this song of gladness"
  • CH4 483 – "Father of heaven, whose love profound"
  • CH4 485 – "Dear Lord and Father of mankind"
  • CH4 527 – "Lord, make us servants of your peace"
  • CH4 528 – "Make me a channel of your peace"
  • CH4 531 – "My Jesus, my saviour"
  • CH4 555 – "Amazing Grace!"
  • CH4 654 – "Lift up your hearts: I hear the summons calling"

Reflecting on our worship practice

Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the way we worship has changed and we need to reflect on the changing or newly established patterns that emerged and continue to emerge as a result of the disruption.

We can facilitate worship for all by exploring imaginative approaches to inclusion, participation and our use of technologies in ways that suit our contexts. This is not an exhaustive list, but some things we could consider are:

  • Framing various parts of the worship service in accessible language to help worshippers understand the character and purpose of each part. This is essential for creating worship for all (intergenerational worship) that reflects your community of faith.
  • Holding spaces for reflection and encouraging prayer to be articulated in verbal and non-verbal ways, individually and in online breakout rooms
  • In online formats the effective use of the chat function and microphone settings encourages active participation in prayer, e.g. saying the Lord's Prayer together unmuted, in a moment of ‘holy chaos'
  • While singing in our congregations is still restricted, we can worship corporately by using antiphonal psalm readings, creeds and participative prayers
  • Using music and the arts as part of the worship encourages the use of imagination in place of sung or spoken words
  • Use of silence, sensory and kinaesthetic practices allow for experience and expression beyond regular audio and visual mediums.

The following questions might help you develop a habit of reflecting on how we create and deliver content and its effectiveness and impact, and then applying what we learn to develop our practice.

  • How inclusive was the worship?
    Could the worship delivery and content be described as worship for all/ intergenerational? Was it sensitive to different "Spiritual Styles"?
  • How was the balance between passive and active participation?
  • How were people empowered to connect with or encounter God?
    What helped this? What hindered this?
  • How cohesive was the worship?
    Did it function well as a whole?
    How effective was each of the individual elements in fulfilling its purpose?
  • How balanced was the worship?
    What themes/topics/doctrines/areas of Christian life were included?
  • How did the worship connect with your context/contemporary issues?
    Was it relevant in the everyday lives of those attending and in the wider parish/ community?
    How well did the worship connect with local and national issues?
    How well did the worship connect with world events/issues?
  • What have I learned that can help me next time I plan and deliver worship?

Up-to-date information for churches around COVID-19 can be found in our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) advice for churches section.

You can listen to samples of every song in the Church Hymnary 4th edition (CH4) and download a selection of recordings for use in worship in our online hymnary.

You can find an introduction to spiritual styles in our worship resources section

You are free to download, project, print and circulate multiple copies of any of this material for use in worship services, bible studies, parish magazines, etc., but reproduction for commercial purposes is not permitted.

Please note that the views expressed in these materials are those of the individual writer and not necessarily the official view of the Church of Scotland, which can be laid down only by the General Assembly.