Sermon: Jesus in the Synagogue; Terror and Hardheartedness – Mark 3:1-6, Psalm 143:3-8

If I was making a movie of this story, I’d start with a shot of Jesus and a few of his disciples walking up a dirt road in the bright sun.  They’re talking among themselves, but Jesus is looking ahead.  The camera pans around…”What is he looking at?”  It’s a road lined with white clay buildings, women scattered here and there.  No one is working, because it’s the Sabbath.  They look at Jesus and his followers with curiosity. There are no men on the street. At the end, at the top of the hill is a building set apart a bit.  The door is open, but you can’t see in.  A closeup then of Jesus’ face, there’s a determination around his eyes….

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Believing in Resurrection Congregational Prayer

God of life,
thank you for empty tombs
and Jesus Christ, risen and alive.
Thank you that death does not have the final word, ever.
We pray for all who find it difficult to believe in resurrection
this Easter morning:
victims of natural disasters, or terrorism,
those who are caught in financial hardship, or webs of addiction,
those who are struggling with sickness or are weighed down with depression.
Especially we pray for people on the edge of terrorist attacks,
people who feel that violence is the answer that will bring change,
people with guns and bombs and plans to use them…

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Prayer for the Terror-Stricken

God of the afflicted:
On this anniversary of [the Montreal massacre
where a man who declared feminists his enemy
opened fire in a school,
killing fourteen, wounding fourteen]
on this day we turn to you.
We pray for healing for all affected by acts of terror.
Terror from a bomb, or a gun,
or a knife, or a rope, or a body,
terror from any force poised for cruelty….
You know what happened next.
Be with all who are picking up,

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Surveillance: A poem about the suspects of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Walking through the crowd with your backpacks
surrounded by happy people on race day,
you weave your way purposefully
down the street
around the corner,
you know where you are going.

I want to reach out
from my vantage point on high
I want to call you by name so you look
I would reach out and put a hand on your cheek
like your mother
I would look in your eyes
looking for the good boy,
I would hold that gaze

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Prayer after a Mass Shooting

God, we are broken.
Broken by violence,
broken by grief,
broken by confusion.
Our hearts are with people in _________
devastated by a terrible crime.
We are lamenting with those who have lost loved ones,
feeling for those who are traumatized,
wondering in disbelief.
We pray for the family of the person who committed the crime
as they mourn for him, and try to comprehend his deeds.

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Save Us: A Prayer for Hostages and Captors

Hear now, God, the prayer of hostages!

Prayers spoken through teeth clenched in fear,

prayers courageously floating on a tide of despair,

prayers that are a slender thread of hope.

Lord, we join our voices with all captives,

crying for freedom and return.

We cry for an end to the nightmare

of each soul in captivity….

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About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner www.leadinginworship.com” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at carol@leadinginworship.com

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