From the Pastor:           “First Responders”   Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.


September 26, 2021

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost




Invocation: Good morning and welcome!

Lord of joy and mercy, be with us this day as we seek your voice and your guidance. Remove the obstacles that block our commitment and help us to truly be your disciples; for we ask this in Christ’s Name. AMEN.


Call to Worship

L: Sometimes we wonder how we have gotten through some difficult situations.
P: God has been with us, lifting and comforting our spirits.
L: We struggle and worry.
P: God’s loving presence sustains and strengthens us.
L: Listen for God’s call to you.
P: Lord, we are listening and seeking your guidance. AMEN.


Words of Welcome and Parish News


Gathering song


Silent meditation and prayer                                                              Prayer Focus: Compassion


The Lord’s Prayer

      Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.


The New Testament Gospel Lesson:                                                            Mark 9:38-50

           38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” 39But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. 40Whoever is not against us is for us. 41For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward. 42If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. 43If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. 47And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, 48where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched. 49For everyone will be salted with fire. 50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”



The Message                                      “First Responders”                          Rev. Marshall Murphy Jr.

What comes to mind when you think about first responders? Police officers, EMT workers, emergency room personnel, and fire departments.   They are people who go into various conditions and situations to provide assistance to save lives.  Now this verse has some similarity: 38John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” Some people want to help! Some people need to help because this helps them get through the day. I think there is a unique message that’s moving in this Gospel today. How wonderful and grand it is when people want to assist people. But can you imagine what was on the disciple’s minds when they actually tried to stop someone from doing good. We need to ponder over their reactions.  We have many missions in the Detroit metro area. Can you imagine there are things we can do for others? We can show compassion, kindness, and help those in need. I often wonder do we become selective in doing good works based on who the people are in society? What would happen if various denominations and non-denominational groups started the conversation the disciples did in front of Jesus? Baptist said you can’t, the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, etc. When you enter an emergency room what would happen if people said we can’t assist you because the Methodist get served first? I’m glad we have ecumenical relationships. But what are some stumbling blocks we may put in the path of people? Biases hinder a person from receiving assistance from the Lord. Women have always taken the lead in many ministries in the church. Especially, the call for social justice. Various science fiction novels and movies take a path that life. In Star Trek, remember there was always this tension, but, on the flip side Science Fiction has moved us to see life is more than humanity. Now let’s think about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. Peter is taken back that Jesus would do such an action. Then the parable about the Good Samaritan. Now the question arises why didn’t the two individuals stop? We could be someone’s first responder to answering questions about Jesus. Furthermore, we should be concerned about building relationships with any biases. We are blessed that God gives every full access to love unconditionally in life. Can you be a first responder?


Offertory Prayer:     Jesus Christ is on our side, offering us the love of God—a love that gives us all we have, a love that makes us all we are. Jesus Christ is with us in every circumstance, suffering with us when we are in trouble, and rejoicing with us when we are glad. The generosity of Christ calls us to lives of gratitude and generosity. In Jesus Christ we are given new life. Let us celebrate this life by giving generously to the work of God’s redeeming love.                                       Amen


Offertory Music


Doxology:                                                                                                                     UMH 95


Unison Prayer of Dedication: Giving God, we can never match your generosity. When we are in need, you are at our side, present to us even in our darkest moments. You rescue us from harm. Make us into a people who celebrate your goodness, drawing others into the celebration of your many blessings. Amen


Closing Music:





Sending Forth:

God, make the words we have heard a living word in the core of our being.
Help us put our faith in no other power than the power of your saving love.
Make us the agents of your love, blocking no one’s entrance into the presence of your love and grace.
Through Christ, enable us to be at peace with one another and to salt the earth with the power of your peace. Amen.

Recessional (Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the


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