Proper 4 (Year B)

(Sunday between May 29 and June 4 inclusive)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday, the Lord commands us to observe the sabbath day and keep it holy (Deuteronomy 5:12-15). The psalmist declares: Sing aloud to God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt (Psalm 81:1-10). Paul writes: We have this treasure in clay jars; the life of Jesus is revealed in you (2 Corinthians 4:5-12). In Mark, Jesus declares that the sabbath was made for humankind, and that he is Lord of the sabbath (Mark 2:23-3:6).

Lectionary Readings

Deuteronomy 5:12-15

12 Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.

Psalm 81:1-10

1 Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.
2 Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.
3 Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.
4 For it is a statute for Israel,
an ordinance of the God of Jacob.
5 He made it a decree in Joseph,
when he went out over the land of Egypt.

I hear a voice I had not known:
6 “I relieved your shoulder of the burden;
your hands were freed from the basket.
7 In distress you called, and I rescued you;
I answered you in the secret place of thunder;
I tested you at the waters of Meribah.Selah
8 Hear, O my people, while I admonish you;
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
9 There shall be no strange god among you;
you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
10 I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.

2 Corinthians 4:5-12

5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

7 But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Mark 2:23-3:6

23 One sabbath he was going through the grainfields; and as they made their way his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 The Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

1 Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand. 2 They watched him to see whether he would cure him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him. 3 And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come forward.” 4 Then he said to them, “Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 He looked around at them with anger; he was grieved at their hardness of heart and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Psalm 81:1-3, 10

Sing aloud to God our strength;
shout for joy to the God of Jacob.

Raise a song, sound the tambourine,
the sweet lyre with the harp.

Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the full moon, on our festal day.

For I am the Lord your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.

Let us worship the Lord.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

Holy God,
you brought light out of darkness.
Shine in our hearts to give us
the light of the knowledge of your glory
in the face of Jesus Christ.

We are only fragile jars of clay.
Remind us that all power comes from you and not ourselves.
Though we face trials and afflictions, we are not crushed;
though we may feel confused and perplexed, we do not despair;
though we may experience persecution, you are always with us.

Help us put to death all that is not pleasing to you,
so that the life of Christ may become more and more evident in us. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Mark 2:23-3:6

We believe God created a rhythm in creation -
one day in seven for sabbath rest.

We believe the sabbath was made for humankind,
and not humankind for the sabbath. 
We further affirm that the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.

We believe the sabbath brings us opportunities
to do good and not harm; to bring life, not destroy it.

Song of Response

Song Chart

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