February 7, 2021

Proclaim wholeness
Bradenton-Sarasota Congregation Online Worship
February 7, 2021

Call to Worship:

How good it is to sing praises to our God, for God is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. God determines the number of the stars; God gives to all of them their names.

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; God’s understanding is beyond measure.

Praise the Lord:  You Raise Me Up by the Color Music Children’s Choir

Prayer for Peace:

Gracious God,

Our prayer to you this day is for peace and healing. We seek you out to help us in our endeavors to be more peaceful people. We seek the conflicts that surrounds us every day, nearby and far, and we seek to be a more peaceful people. We ask you to help us find ways to spread your peace. We also come today, aware of how much healing needs healing to take place in us and in those we love., as well as in those we have never met. We seek to follow Christ’s example and we seek to have you use us as your healers. Help us find ways to bring peace and healing to this world, as Jesus has taught us to do.

We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Pray for Peace by Reba McEntire

Scripture Reading:

The scripture for today, Mark 1:29-39, tells of Jesus healing. Why do you think Jesus healed the sick? As disciples we also want to find ways to help heal others. With all that has changed the world with COVID-19, there are so many that need healing in many ways, including depression and loneliness. We can be healers by making and sending cards to those people in any situation and continue to pray for them.

Communion Message  by High Priest Rick Jones

The Gospel of Mark talks about Jesus as a healer. It reminded me of a recent Netflix movie that Leah and I watched. In the movie a young man had the gift of healing that was inherited. At first this young man didn’t anything to do with his gift. The burden and responsibility of this gift were in his mind too much for him endure. As the movie evolved, he would be required to accept this gift or it would be taken away from him permanently. He denied acceptance of his gift until some he loved was in need of a healing and he was that person’s only hope. The love that he felt for the person who needed his help was more important to him than his desire not be known as a healer and all the responsibility that would come with this gift. The moral of the story was, of course, there is great joy in helping others. The joy that I’m sure Jesus felt as he went about his healing.

The Gospel of Mark 1:29–39 offers two healing stories, an intentional time of prayer and a reaffirmation of Jesus’ mission. First, Jesus heals Simon’s mother-in-law. She has a fever, is confined to her bed, and unable to greet and serve her quests. Jesus immediately goes to her and heals her by taking her hand and lifting her up. Second, people from the village come to Simon’s home to have their illnesses and demonic possessions healed. Jesus’ healing of all who came to him, again demonstrates the unconditional love our Savior has for all.

The morning after the healing miracles, Jesus goes to a deserted place to pray. He then invites his disciples to go with him to Galilee. There Jesus continued his healing and teachings of the message of God’s generous love for all his creation.

When Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law, he made her whole. His touch changed her state of illness to wholeness. Touch is an intimate action between people. When Jesus touches, he brings the other person into a relationship with him.

The woman responded by ministering as a faithful disciple. She greeted, cared for, and fed her guests. Some may think she fulfilled her social and domestic duties. In contrast, consider that Simon’s mother-in-law responded to Jesus’ invitation to come, be healed and serve. She opened her home to family, Jesus and the disciples. She created a gathering place for the community of believers to be in relationship with one another. In addition, she opened her home to the entire village, modeling Jesus’ invitation to come and be healed. She received the gift of wholeness and shared the joy of gratefulness through her servant ministry.

The next morning, Jesus rose in the dark and went to a deserted place to pray. Jesus understood how critical it was to stay connected with God. We are reminded to follow Jesus’ example. Daily connection with our creator is essential for faithfulness.

The disciples were frustrated by Jesus’ absence. They wanted more healings. They didn’t understand nor appreciate the importance of daily prayer and meditation. While Jesus’ invitation was to all to come and be healed, he had to remind them that his mission also involved preaching and teaching the gospel throughout all of Galilee. To do this it was important for Jesus to stay connected with his Father in Heaven.

Jesus demonstrated the power of touch in bringing wholeness and healing to his disciples. When we look at the sacraments in the Community of Christ, we see many of them included the ministry of touch. We lay hands for the healing of the sick. We confirm, ordain, and offer blessings by laying our hands on the person’s head. We bless babies by holding them. We baptize through holding. There is power in Jesus’ healing touch, and we are representatives of Christ and bring Christ’s healing in the world through loving touch. Just like Simon’s mother-in-law, we are also called love and serve others.

To do this we would do well to remember Jesus’ example and spend time daily in prayer and meditation to remain connected with our Heavenly Father, filling ourselves with the spirit so that those we come in contact with will experience through us the love and that can only come from our Father in Heaven. It was Christ’s mission and it is our mission. Just like in the movie for service to others, Joy will be our reward.

Disciples’ Generous Response:

Faithful disciples respond to an increasing awareness of the abundance generosity of God by sharing according to the desires of their hearts; not by commandment or constraint. Break free of the shackles of conventional culture that mainly promote self-serving interests. Give generously according to your true capacity. Eternal joy and peace await those who grow in the grace of generosity that flows from compassionate hearts without thought of return. Could it be otherwise in the domain of God, who eternally gives all for the sake of creation? — Doctrine and Covenants 163:9

During this time we focus on aligning our heart with God’s heart.

Sending Forth:  Send Forth A Dove

We go forth to be God’s Presence in the World.

This service was prepared by Leah and Rick Jones.