Ever-present God, we come to you overwhelmed,
a grain of sand lost in a mighty dune. We feel alone
and unseen, powerless to resist the winds of opposition.
As the warmth of the sun meets our faces, we breathe
in the truth that we are lovingly and wonderfully made.
With you, I am whole; with you, I am fortified.
The scars of this week sting deeply: rejection, sickness,
separation, loss. We bring this hurt to your embrace,
and you envelop it in the vastness of your being.
Peace spreads through our worn out bodies
like a cool drink on a hot summer day.
In you, we are accepted; in you we are given life.
Vox family, may we be reminded today of the gifts
of all in our community. May we fight to stay together
and welcome others in. May we carry each other
and allow ourselves to be carried.
In God, we find comfort; in God, we may rest.
We pray all this in the Triune name of
Agape, God loves us,
Immanuel, God with us,
And Unity, God connects us.
We invite you to hear from the Gospel of Mark 8:31-37.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must
undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders,
the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and
after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter
and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your
mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them,
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny
themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
For those who want to save their life will lose it,
and those who lose their life for my sake,
and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.
For what will it profit them to gain the whole world
and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give
in return for their life?
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Homily and Reflection
Which relationships help us endure rejection?
Where might the Spirit be inviting us to risk rejection and wage “good conflict”?
How might the Christ story comfort us when we suffer rejection?
May the Lord bless you through the smile of a stranger.
May the Lord keep you strong in the face of rejection.
May the Lord make their face shine upon you
so brightly that all may see your hope.
May we celebrate God’s good and gracious love.
May God lift you up through the words of those around you.
May God give you peace in abundance and life everlasting.
With thanks and praise,
we pray in the name of the Holy One,
Go in peace, and live the church.
May you find belonging and community this week.
[Photo by Tools For Motivation]