PPF Liturgical Resources for Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sunday, July 4, 2021, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10; Psalm 48; 2 Corinthians 12:2-10; Mark 6:1-13

Land Acknowledgement

  • Consider beginning your worship service with an acknowledgement of the indigenous people and watershed of the land your congregation is meeting upon.
  • In connection with the text, consider a Biblical land acknowledgement: Jerusalem was built on the land once inhabited by the Jebusites.

Hymn Suggestions

Glory to God 340 “This is My Song”
Glory to God 100 “Canticle of the Turning”

Call to Worship by Rev. Aric Clark, PPF Co-Moderator

(from Psalm 48)
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
We do not worship God’s holy mountain.
We do not worship the city on the hill.
We ponder your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.
But the temple is not your body.
Neither statue, nor flag, nor symbol of any kind are a match for you.
Your name, O God, like your praise, reaches to the ends of the earth.
No borders or maps define you.
No nation on Earth can claim you for themselves.
Of what can we say, “This is God!”
Only love.
We come to worship love.

Prayer of Confession by Rev. Aric Clark, PPF Co-Moderator

Patient Redeemer,
we come to you distraught,
as people who have mistaken the outward form for your living spirit.
Like the wanderers in the desert who mistook the golden calf for your holy presence.
Like the frightened people who told the judges they wanted a king in place of a God.
Like the psalmist who mistook a sacred mountain
and a walled city for the safety of belonging to you.
We have mistaken allegiance to our nation for righteousness
and allowed ourselves to be taken captive by ideologies hostile to your peace.
Forgive our wandering hearts God,
and save us from idols stitched by human hands.
Renew within us the humility of soul that desires communion
with all your children from every tribe and creed, by the power of your holy Spirit.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Sermon Starters/Thoughts on the Text

  • 2 Samuel 5:1-5, 9-10
    • The lectionary skips over the part where the conquest happens: the foundation of the capital city is based on conquest and displacement, specifically targeting the vulnerable.
      • Water (God’s creation) is used as the entry point.
      • The lame and blind are killed.
      • David’s relationship with his city is based on glorification, dominance, and victory.
      • We have a tendency to whitewash the terror and violence out of our own stories, too.
  • Psalm 48
    • City and God have been blended together, similar to how God and the temple are sometimes conflated.
    • Think about how Christianity and America get conflated, and suddenly we’re worshipping our hometown.
      • In order to get to a place of pride, we forget the part about the conquest that established the city.
  • Mark 6:1-13
    • We tend to read the Gospel as though we are the disciples/heroes in the story. Which characters do we really sound like here?
      • Are we the ones going out taking as little as possible? Or are we the ones not welcoming the disciples?
        • Our cities are full of anti-homeless infrastructure, a lack of public access to bathrooms/showers, signs saying not to give people money etc.
        • How are we called to welcome, and how are we doing that?
      • Think about how we use power as a country.
        • America aligns with the elders in this story– when we don’t feed the hungry, don’t care for and share natural resources, don’t welcome the stranger, vote against living wages, uphold policies of mass incarceration– we are not honoring the prophet.
    • It’s the disciples’ job to be Christ-like now. What does it mean to be faithful to the Gospel and to our call?
      • Jesus sets himself up for rejection, modeling this for the disciples. Faithfulness is not measured by acceptance vs. rejection; Jesus is rejected for showing up in an unexpected, unpopular way.
      • As followers of Jesus, we stand up against war, violence, homophobia, racism, climate change, all of which is at odds with cultural norms when people think about American Christians.
      • Jesus shows an example of being faithful to the Gospel and ministry, not cultural norms and expectations.
    • Even our closest loved ones can disappoint us, and we have to be ready to be firm and have integrity.
      • People who raised Jesus are now treating him like he’s crazy and giving up on him, rejecting him; this is commentary on integrity in belief and vocation when the system that raised us lacks integrity.
    • The journey as disciples requires us to take less than we think we need.
      • Seek hospitality, but don’t look around and wait for the best offer.
      • Don’t overstay your welcome.
      • Don’t be afraid of rejection.
      • Take only what you really need.
        • This is pushback against a capitalist system!
        • This also counters the American ideal of “rugged individualism”. Jesus sends people out with as little as possible– they have to rely on and cooperate with others.

Prayers of the People by Rev. Jessie Light-Wells, PPF Activist Council Member

Creator God,
In the cradle of two rivers, you created humanity in your image.
In groves of sycamores and oaks, amidst olive and citrus trees, you knit us together.
We are your bone and flesh, united across borders and boundaries,
continents and oceans, one human family given life and breath by you.
Thank you, holy one, for breath, for life.

We admit on this day that we have made a mess of your good creation.
We have exploited the lands and the waters
that our indigenous siblings faithfully shepherded;
we have inflicted mortal wounds in our mining, extracting, and polluting.
We have ravaged your creation from sea to rising sea.

And on this day when we claim our independence, our freedom from colonization,
We recognize that we have merely become that which we sought to flee.
We are a nation of fortified borders and walls in the desert,
of cages and prisons and inhumane policies.
We are a nation built on enslavement and deep-seated racism and militarized policing.
We are a nation that demands
that our poor sacrifice everything while our rich are rewarded.

We confess that we have made an idol of our nation state.
We confess that we have played god,
painting ourselves as the ultimate judge
of who should access the full rights and benefits of the American dream.
We confess that we have worshiped white supremacy,
bowed down before our guns, and made a sacrament of violence.
We confess that we have crucified our hometown prophets.

On this day when many claim independence, we instead claim our dependence on you.
God, shed your grace on us.
Like seedlings who have met the blazing sun, we need your mercy.
Usher us into the shady grove of sycamores and oaks.
Plant us by the stream of your compassion.
Cleanse us with living waters.
Prune us of our supremacist propensities.

Creator God, knowing your unmerited grace,
We pray for courage to act faithfully, according to your will.
Give us courage to speak against injustice,
to build collective power that acts in solidarity with those who suffered the most,
and to abolish unjust systems.

Most of all, give us the courage to dream with you
and to envision your kin-dom on earth.
As we seek to move toward your vision for creation restored,
We pray for our neighbors across the nation and around the world.
We pray for comfort for those in grief;
Healing for the sick;
Binding up for the broken-hearted;
Nourishment for the hungry;
Soothing of souls for the afflicted.
Solidarity for the marginalized.
Just as we depend on you, help us depend on one another.
Breathing as one body, let us now pray the prayer you taught us…

Thanks to rev. abby mohaupt, Annica Gage, and Rev. Aric Clark for preparing meditations on the lectionary text, and thanks to Rev. Lyndsey McCall-Gillam, Barbara Kellem-Scott, Schaunel Steinnagel, and Rev. Nate Taylor for their contributions.