Act of Worship at Home
Reading Mark 9: 30-37
Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection
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.
Who Is the Greatest?
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 about 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.’
It is SO wonderful to watch a toddler discovering the world! A world for them stuffed full of light and colour, of one excitement after another. For most of us it’s probably hard to remember but that is what we were like once. We were just like that child, full of completely unselfconscious excitement for what the world held, for the discovery of what each day would bring.
But slowly, as we grow up things begin to change. We get hurt and are let down by those we thought we could trust and slowly at first and then more rapidly the joy and simplicity of childhood begin to leave us.
We start to get clever, more sophisticated and we learn to manipulate situations and people. Things start to become less clear as black and white merge into grey, and the bright colours of childhood turn into the dark, mixed up colours of adulthood. Love changes from being unconditional to demanding.
Above all we become ever more conscious of ourselves, from thinking about and exploring the wonder of the world around us as we grow we increasingly think about ourselves, about where we fit in, about how other people think about us.
In something called the “Executive Edge” newsletter, a management-consultant called Ken Blanchard
retells the story of a little girl named Schia. When Schia was 4 years old, her baby brother was born.
“Little Schia began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. They worried that, like many jealous 4-year-olds, she might want to hit or shake him, so they said no.”
Over time, though, since Schia wasn’t showing signs of jealousy, they changed their minds and decided to let Schia have some time on her own with the baby.
“Elated, Schia went into the baby’s room and pushed the door closed behind her, but it stayed opened a crack – just enough for her curious parents to watch and listen. As they watched they saw little Schia
walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his, and say, ‘Baby, tell me what God feels like.
‘Coz I’m starting to forget.'”
Perhaps as we grow we forget, we begin to loose track of what is truly important, until as an adult the most important thing is ourselves and how other people see us.
The disciples had been arguing about which one of them was the greatest. And in Jesus’ words to his disciples we can hear the words of any father or mother “What are you arguing about THIS time!”
There is an embarrassed silence as they realise how silly their argument has been. The disciples have lost their focus, even as they follow Jesus on the road they are no longer focusing on the loving God he is revealing to them, but on which one of them is most important.
A young child can say more to us about what it is like to be a child of God than a thousand sermons.
How do we find the child within us? Perhaps we need to start by letting go of all the baggage.
To stop looking over our shoulders and wondering what we look like to other people.
Perhaps we need to let the hurt be taken away, knowing that within the arms of God we are completely safe. And in knowing that allow ourself to be open and honest, to rediscover the joy and excitement in life. And in that child trundling around the shop or the waiting room we just may see an image of God.
Time of Prayer
Lord, help me to be your child and to give you all that I am.
Lord, we look for you in the helpless baby who trusts us to meet all her needs, in the child who challenges us with his questions and exhausts us with boundless energy, in the teenager who rejects our values and disturbs our peace, in the old man who slows our path as we hurry on the street, in the person begging bothering us at the corner, in our colleagues at work and the people next door. Show us your face, Lord.
Lord you know our deepest thoughts, our human griefs and anxieties.
We bring to you those whose minds are troubled, whose bodies are in pain and who are low in spirit.
We pray for all those who are finding life difficult, people struggling to make ends meet, seeking new opportunities, weighed down with burdens. We pray for all who feel unloved, lonely people, away from home and friends, families facing separation or divorce. We pray for little children whose minds and emotions have been wounded by adults who have hurt, abandoned or abused them.
Give them the confidence and the help to share their problems and to recover hope and strength.
We pray for all who want a better life, for healing of past wounds, those who are afraid of life itself.
Lord, give them strength to trust in your love.
We pray for those who are sad, people who are sick, at home or in hospital, worried for themselves or someone they love, worried about bad news, or lost in bereavement.
Lord, you love each and every person; help those we have thought of in our prayers, to know your love,
that their lives are enriched and fulfilled, and they are free to love others.
In the name of Jesus Christ, who once took children on his knee, we pray in loving compassion for the children of all ages of our own time. Amen.
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven to earth come down!
fix in us thy humble dwelling,
all thy faithful mercies crown.
Jesus, thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation,
enter every trembling heart.
Come, almighty to deliver,
let us all thy grace receive;
suddenly return, and never,
never more thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve thee as thy hosts above,
pray, and praise thee without ceasing,
glory in thy perfect love.
Finish then thy new creation,
pure and spotless let us be;
let us see thy great salvation
perfectly restored in thee!
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place;
till we cast our crowns before thee,
lost in wonder, love and praise.
Let us go from here in the knowledge that truly we are children of God and are loved by God.
And may the blessing of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with us all, this day and forever more. Amen.