simple white fading png image
notre dame montreal

Worship, Prayer and Bible Resources

27 Sunday in Ordinary, Year B, Green


We read this week in Mark's Gospel that people brought  children to Jesus for his blessing. The disciples were not pleased and spoke sternly to these people. I suppose we can understand why the disciples were less than enthusiastic about children. These little people had no money, no power, no strength, how could they contribute towards the establishment of the new Kingdom Jesus was talking about? Indeed children can be a nuisance, they are noisy, distracting and get in the way, better to keep them in the crèche.

Apparently instead of being grateful for the opportunity for a little peace Jesus was actually was indignant. This is understandable, Jesus has spent time healing the leper, a paralytic, a man with a withered hand, a demoniac, a little girl and a woman, a Gentile woman's daughter, a deaf man, a blind man, and a little boy. In his ministry, everything has pointed to his devotion to the powerless and vulnerable, but the disciples have missed the point. Far from distracting from his work, Jesus knows that children are exactly the right people to demonstrate what his kingdom is all about. It is because the children have nothing to offer that they are so special. They can only accept the kingdom as a gift, they are totally dependent on the Father. They come with empty hands and trusting hearts. They are totally dependent on God's grace, and that is the only way to receive God's kingdom.

Opening Sentence

He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10


Collect Prayer for the Day— Before we read we pray

O God, forasmuch as without you we are not able to please you; mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. CW

Faithful Lord, whose steadfast love never ceases and whose mercies never come to an end: grant us the grace to trust you and to receive the gifts of your love, new every morning, in Jesus Christ our Lord. CW


creation_chagallFirst Bible Reading  Job 1.1; 2.1-10

There was once a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job. That man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

One day the heavenly beings came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD. The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.’ Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Skin for skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, he is in your power; only spare his life.’

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and inflicted loathsome sores on Job from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. Job took a potsherd with which to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes.

Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.’ But he said to her, ‘You speak as any foolish woman would speak. Shall we receive the good at the hand of God, and not receive the bad?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips. NRSV

Alternate Reading (Related) Genesis 2: 18-24

The LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. NRSV

Second Reading Hebrews Chapter 1:1-4, 2:5-12

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere, ‘What are human beings that you are mindful of them, or mortals, that you care for them? You have made them for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned them with glory and honour, subjecting all things under their feet.’ Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying, ‘I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.’ NRSV

Gospel Reading Mark 10:2-16

Some Pharisees came, and to test Jesus they asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’ He answered them, ‘What did Moses command you?’ They said, ‘Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.’ But Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.”“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’

Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. Jesus said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.’

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. NRSV

Post Communion Sentence

Holy and blessed God, you have fed us with the body and blood of your Son and filled us with your Holy Spirit: may we honour you, not only with our lips but in lives dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ our Lord. CW


God has a very high view of people. After all he created us - a little less than God - as Hebrews has it, quoting psalm 8. We are meant to have dominion over everything as the crown of creation – in the image of God ! This applies to men, to women and to children. Mark 10 shows us Jesus as the champion of women against the customs of his time – Jesus sees women as people equal with men in the sight of God – chattels ! And he made time for children.

But this ideal of what people should be is different from the present reality, which is so often the dark tragic story of failure. Endowed with knowledge we have invented destruction. Given freedom, we have chosen slavery.
C.G. Jung wrote; ‘We are unable to suppress many of our emotions; we cannot change a bad mood into a good one and we cannot command our dreams to come and go.

Made for mastery, people are slaves to fears. Made for peace and joy, hearts are so often in torment. Made for love, people hate, made for strength, people are too weak to throw off the shackles of sin.’

So we see hatred between races and groups, all sorts of divisions and chaos. We are in a real sense in bondage to sin and death. As Hebrews 2 /8 says ‘At present we do not see everything subject to him.’ Rather, we abuse the planet.

Then Hebrews shows us how the actual can be changed into the ideal. But we see Jesus. He changes things by his sufferings and his glory he can make us what we were meant to be, and without him, can never be. He can do this because he has ‘tested death for everyone.’ His death was the defeat of sin and glorious promise to all who believe. And it’s the wonder of his grace that he is ‘not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters too ! ‘ That is how much we all mean to God. Richard Ledger  


The state of humanity is often linked to ‘The Fall’ in Genesis and the doctrine of original sin proves the sinfulness of all humankind. Steve Chalk in his book ‘The Last Message of Jesus’ points out that Jesus believed in original goodness ! God declared that all his creation, including humankind, was very good, and it is the original goodness that Jesus seeks out in us. He isn’t denying that our relationship with God is in need of restoring and reconciliation, but he is rejecting any idea that we, or anyone else, are ‘beyond the pale’, beyond the reach of God’s love. Steve Chalke reckons that it is a serious mistake to see humanity as inherently evil and steeped in original sin, instead of inherently made in God’s image and so bathed in original goodness, however hidden it may become. He say that the doctrine of original sin was borne out of Augustine’s view that the material world and everything in it was evil and corrupt. This ‘fallenness’ Augustine said was like a virus that is passed on. The Eastern Church especially followed the teaching of Irenaeus who believed that all people were God’s image bearers and though flawed, were like flowers in bud, slowly coaxed into full bloom by God’s love. Now there’s a thought !

So how do we view other people ? Especially those different from us. What about people who do ‘bad’ things ? Do we write them off – condemn them? Or could God’s love slowly coax them into full bloom ? Isn’t this what we are praying for when we pray, ‘Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven’ ? Everything – everyone – made new in Christ. One of my favourite Bible passages is the parable of the prodigal son – sometimes called the parable of the loving father. Do look it up in Luke 15. A story of amazing grace. Richard Ledger


Hymns and Psalms

  1. Ye servants of God

  2. Majesty

  3. God has spoken by his prophets

  4. Lift high the cross

  5. We have a gospel to proclaim


Prayers for Sunday and the week ahead

Blessing and honour and thanksgiving and praise, more than we can utter, more than we can conceive, be unto Thee, O holy and glorious Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, by all angels, by all men, and all creatures for ever and ever Amen. (Thomas Ken 17th Century)

Thanks be to thee, Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast won for us, for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for us. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may we know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee nearly, day by day Amen. (Richard of Chichester, 13th Century)

Eternal God, light of the minds that knows you, the life of the souls that loves you, strength of the wills that serve you; help us so to know you that we may truly love you, so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve in perfect freedom. (Pope Gelasius, 8th Century.)

Dear Master, in whose life I see all that I long, but fail to be, let your clear light for ever shine to shame and guide this life of mine. Though what I dream and what I do in poor days are always true, help me oppressed by things undone, dear Lord, whose deeds and dreams were one. (John Hunter, 19th Century)

Bless our land, O Lord, may we be a nation of laughter and joy, of justice and reconciliation, of peace and unity, of compassion, caring and sharing. (Desmond Tutu, 20th Century.)

Additional Material



Thinking about Divorce

The often repeated claim that the correct Biblical norm for relationships is for a man and a woman in marriage, seems to run contrary to the many great spiritual leaders such as Abraham, King David and Solomon. In the Old Testament the men are able to have sex with wives, concubines and slave girls. The emphasis seems to be placed more upon having children than fidelity to a monogamous relationship.  Even the birth line of Jesus himself involves incest to produce a child when Lot has sex with his two daughters and the resulting offspring come to be Moab and Bennami.(Genesis 19:30)

Marriage and divorce are equally divisive subjects. Some Christians and churches follow the teaching of Jesus in Mark 10:11 that divorce and remarriage are tantamount to adultery. Other churches follow the teaching of Jesus in Matthew which allows for divorce and remarriage under certain circumstances (Matt 19:9).



Turner was one of Britain’s greatest artists. It has been said that before Turner, nobody painted sunsets. He taught people to “really see” sunsets, even though they were so obvious. In Turner’s water scenes, both the water and the sky are filled with brilliant, golden and hazy light, and it is difficult to see where the water finishes and the sky begins. Living at the same time as Turner was another English painter, John Constable, who saw and painted the beauty in ordinary country scenes. He said: “There is nothing ugly; I never saw an ugly thing in my life. Let the form of an object be what it may - light, shade and perspective will always make it beautiful.” Both artists remind us that the physical world and the spiritual are not separate, but overlap and are inter-mingled - the “veil” between them is thin. God’s coming to us as a human being reminds us that it is not helpful to try to draw lines between what is “sacred” and what is “secular”.


Time to Pray
Take time to think…
It is the source of power.
Take time to play…
It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to laugh…
It is the music of the soul
Take time to pray…
It is the greatest power on Earth.
Words written on the wall of the Missionaries of Charity children’s home, Calcutta, India

God provides
You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plants for people to use,
to bring forth food from the earth, and wine to gladden the human heart,
oil to make the face shine and bread to strengthen the human heart
Psalm 104:14-15

Love of others
Eternal goodness, you want me to gaze into you and see that you love me. You love me freely and you want me to love and serve my neighbours with the same love, offering them my prayers and my possessions, as far as in me lies. O God, come to my assistance.
St Catherine of Siena (1347-80) Italy

Lord of the elements and changing seasons, keep me in the hollow of your hand. When I am tossed to and fro by the winds of adversity and the blasts of sickness and misunderstanding, still my racing heart, quieten my troubled mind.
Brother Ramon (b1935)

Writing a letter
Just as day declines to evening, so often after some little pleasure my heart declines into depression. Everything seems dull, every action feels like a burden. If anyone speaks, I scarcely listen. If anyone knocks, I scarcely hear. My heart is hard as flint. Then I go into the field to meditate, to read the holy scriptures and I write down my deepest thoughts in a letter to you. And suddenly your grace, dear Jesus, shatters the darkness with daylight, lifts the burden, relieves the tension. Soon tears follow sighs, and heavenly joy floods over me with tears. Aelred of Rievaulx (c1110-67)

God in every breath
Dear God, be all my love, all my hope and all my endeavour; let my thoughts and words emanate from you, let my daily life be lived in you, and let every breath I take be filled with joy for you. Amen.
After St. John Cassian (c360-435) Scythia.


1 God has spoken-by his prophets,
Spoken his unchanging word,
Each from age to age proclaiming
God, the one, the righteous Lord.
'Mid the world's despair and turmoil
One firm anchor holds us fast:
God is King, his throne eternal,
God the first, and God the last.

2 God has spoken-by Christ Jesus,
Christ, the everlasting Son,
Brightness of the Father's glory,
With the Father ever one;
Spoken by the Word incarnate,
God from God, ere time began,
Light from Light, to earth descending,
Man, revealing God to man.

3 God is speaking-by his Spirit,
Speaking to the hearts of men,
In the age-long word expounding
God's own message, now as then,
Through the rise and fall of nations
One sure faith yet standing fast;
God still speaks, his word unchanging,
God the first, and God the last.