First Reading: Jeremiah 11:18-20

Today’s reading tells of the suffering of the prophet Jeremiah, who announced God’s word to Judah but was met with intense opposition and persecution. Jeremiah continues to trust in God in the midst of his suffering.
18It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
  then you showed me their evil deeds.
19But I was like a gentle lamb
  led to the slaughter.
 And I did not know it was against me
  that they devised schemes, saying,
 “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
  let us cut him off from the land of the living,
  so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
  who try the heart and the mind,
 let me see your retribution upon them,
  for to you I have committed my cause.
 

Psalm: Psalm 54

God is my helper; it is the Lord who sustains my life. (Ps. 54:4)
1Save me, O God, | by your name;
  in your might, de- | fend my cause.
2Hear my | prayer, O God;
  give ear to the words | of my mouth.
3For strangers have risen up against me, and the ruthless have | sought my life,
  those who have no re- | gard for God.
4Behold, God | is my helper;
  it is the Lord who sus- | tains my life. R
5Render evil to those who | spy on me;
  in your faithful- | ness, destroy them.
6I will offer you a | freewill sacrifice
  and praise your name, O Lord, for | it is good.
7For you have rescued me from | every trouble,
  and my eye looks down | on my enemies. R
 

Second Reading: James 3:13--4:3, 7-8a

The wisdom God gives unites our hearts and minds. Instead of living to satisfy our own wants and desires, we manifest this wisdom in peace, gentleness, mercy, and impartiality toward others.
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.4:

1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8aDraw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

 

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

Jesus’ teaching and action in this text are directed to the church whenever it is seduced by the world’s definition of greatness: prestige, power, influence, and money. The antidote to such a concern for greatness is servanthood.
30[Jesus and the disciples went on] and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it;31for 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.” 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
33Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

 

Prayers of Intercession

The prayers are prepared locally for each occasion. The following examples may be adapted or used as appropriate.
Freed by God in Christ to live and love and serve, we pray for the church, those in need, and all of God’s beloved creation.
A brief silence.
 
Gracious God, you gather congregations together by the power of your word. Bless leaders with the gifts of wisdom and discernment as they seek to make your church the community for which you long. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Creative God, blue whales and honeybees sing the goodness of the earth. Glaciers and deserts declare your greatness. Make us good stewards of our home for the generations to come. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Sovereign God, you raise up governments to protect the widow and orphan. Bless citizens with wisdom and discernment as they choose leaders. Inspire leaders to always seek the common good. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Loving God, you desire health and wholeness. Reconcile the conflicts and disputes among us. Teach us to heal the trauma of racism and poverty. Break our hearts open to all those who suffer and mourn (especially). Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Welcoming God, you place children among us. Teach us to honor the children in our midst and to pay attention to what they can teach us about who you are. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Here other intercessions may be offered.
 
You surround us with a cloud of witnesses who announce the good news of abundant life to a sad and needy world. Make us a pilgrim people, always telling the story of your lovingkindness. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.

 

Into your wide embrace, gracious God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your boundless mercy through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
Amen.