|14 October||Psalm 22:1-15||Job 23:1-9, 16-end||Hebrews 4:12-end||Mark 10:17-31|
In last week’s readings we encountered the God of the “thrust out” who seeks to embrace and welcome in all people – particularly the vulnerable and discarded. This week, we are challenged to see not only these “hidden folks” but also our hidden selves through four passages which all have to do with the capacity to see:
- The Psalmist, David, in the midst of a time of terrible persecution and suffering feels like he is invisible to God. “Look at me,” he demands even as his enemies croon, “Now let’s see if your God will come to your rescue!” This Psalm is, furthermore, a foreshadowing of the suffering of Christ on the cross from the opening cry of “God, my God! Why would you abandon me now?” to the mocking jeers and the awful thirst and the agony of every joint in his body being pulled apart.
- Job, too, pours out his lament, his bitter complaint that he can catch no glimpse of God though he searches the four corners of the earth. He feels as though his face is covered with darkness and yet he will not be silenced.
- The rich man in Mark’s Gospel is a good man who has honoured all of God’s commandments and wants to know what more he should do to inherit eternal life. As Jesus instructs him to sell all of his possessions and give them to the poor, he is really challenging him to see and take responsibility for those who live on the periphery of his community.
- Hebrews 4:12-16 highlights how exposed and defenceless we all are before God’s eyes. Our thoughts, our secret motives, our innermost being is penetrated to the core by the Living Word.
Call to worship/Gathering prayer
Hidden folks is a hand-drawn, interactive game which involves searching for people hidden in different landscapes. A creative preface to the gathering prayer is to encourage people with devices to download the app (android and apple compatible) and play a round with those without devices assisting them.
Alternatively, any image from a magazine or newspaper containing a crowd of people could be used with instructions to spot a particular person (e.g. a lady in a hat) or to pick a person and share who you think they are and what they’re doing there based on the picture.
Before the gathering prayer, the following wondering is offered: “I wonder who we’ve forgotten to look for, who didn’t even make it into the picture?”
O God who gathers us in,
we are grateful this day for the brothers and sisters
with whom we have come – boldly and freely –
to where love is enthroned
and we are welcomed and known.
Here we receive mercy’s kiss;
here we discover the grace that we urgently need;
here we are pierced by the energising power of the Living Word.
… but …
you are the God who seeks to gather the whole world in
and the whole world is not here.
Make us mindful this day
of those we have not invited into this place of grace;
of those we have not even thought to invite:
who have been in your custody since the day they were born.
Stay close to them,
as we enthrone you with our songs and shouts of praise.
An appropriate hymn such as Together in Song 474 “Gather us in” is sung.
Prayer for the day
by John van de Laar (www. sacredise.com)
Money talks and power makes the world go around,
or so they would have us believe;
And we, forgetting that other voice,
join the march in hopes that we may find a place
among the rich and strong.
But, you, O God, feel no shame,
fear no harm
as you walk among the poorest and weakest
feeling completely at home.
Thank you for the voice of your love
that keeps singing of the power in weakness,
the wealth in simplicity,
and the freedom and safety that is found
in walking your humble, serving way.
simply seeking the Son
that Love may rise graciously to life -
both in me and through me.