Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Lectionary Readings

Ezekiel 17:22-24

22 Thus says the Lord God:

I myself will take a sprig
    from the lofty top of a cedar;
    I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
    from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
    on a high and lofty mountain.
23 On the mountain height of Israel
    I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
    and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
    in the shade of its branches will nest
    winged creatures of every kind.
24 All the trees of the field shall know
    that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
    I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
    and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
    I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4, 12-15

A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath Day.

1 It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2 to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night,
3 to the music of the lute and the harp,
    to the melody of the lyre.
4 For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
    at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

12 The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
    and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 They are planted in the house of the Lord;
    they flourish in the courts of our God.
14 In old age they still produce fruit;
    they are always green and full of sap,
15 showing that the Lord is upright;
    he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

2 Corinthians 5:6-17

6 So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10 For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.

11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. 15 And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Mark 4:26-34

26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”

30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 92:1-4

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
    to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
    and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
    to the melody of the lyre.

For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
    at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

Prayer of Intercession

Based on Mark 4:26-32; Ezekiel 17:24; 2 Corinthians 5:6-9

Jesus, our High Priest, we come to you praying for
the Church, your kingdom, our communities, and those in need.

We pray for the Church...

As your people in Christ, we are a new creation.
The old life is gone; a new life has begun.
Help us to live out this new life in our relationships
with you, with ourselves, and with one another.
Edify and strengthen us in word and in deed.

We pray for your kingdom...

Take the small seeds of new beginnings
and grow them into strong, flourishing trees
with branches reaching out into our community, our nation, and our world.

Do your work of kingdom reversal:
bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree.
Dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.
Give us bold faith to play our part in scattering seed; 
then watching with expectancy for the power of your Spirit,
at work night and day, to bring growth and vitality.

We pray for our community...

Bring about justice and peace.
Make our schools, workplaces, and our homes safe for all to thrive.
Tear down walls of hostility and prejudice.

We pray for those in need...

for those in financial difficulty, we ask for provision;
for those with physical ailments, we ask for healing and comfort;
for those battling addictions, we pray for honesty and disclosure;
for those in the darkness of depression, we ask for rays of hope;
for those who have lost loved ones, we ask for your abiding presence and peace.

Through all circumstances, Lord, we are always confident;
even though we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord. We walk by faith, not by sight.
Whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please you.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

We believe that the love of Christ urges us on,
because we are convinced that one has died for all;
therefore all have died.

We believe Christ died for all,
so that those who live might live no longer for themselves,
but for him who died and was raised for them.

We regard no one from a human point of view;
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required