Questioning through Mark: 3:20-35 – Sondra Kraak


When I called, O Lord, you answered me.



Grace and peace to you from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen


Almighty God

to whom all hearts be open

all desires known

and from whom no secrets are hidden;

Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts

by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,

that we may perfectly love you

and worthily magnify your holy name

through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Our Lord Jesus Christ said: The first commandment is this: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is the only Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. Amen. Lord, have mercy.

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God is love and we are God’s children.

There is no room for fear in love.

We love because God loved us first.

Let us confess our sins in penitence and faith.

God our Father, we confess to you

and to our fellow members in the Body of Christ

that we have sinned in thought, word and deed,

and in what we have failed to do.

We are truly sorry.

Forgive us our sins,

and deliver us from the power of evil,

for the sake of your Son who died for us, Jesus Christ, our Lord.


May the God of love and power

forgive you and free you from your sins,

heal and strengthen you by his Spirit

and raise you to new life in Christ our Lord. Amen.

GLORIA sung by Billy Dewar Riddick


O God, our hope and strength,

the source and end of all our prayers:

because our mortal nature is weak

we can do nothing good without your help;

support us with your grace,

that in keeping your commandments,

we may ever remain in your love;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, world without end. Amen

FIRST READING 1 SAMUEL 8:4-20 read by Annabelle Guthrie

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also, they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

August 16th: Bible Meditation for 1 Samuel 7–8 | Free Daily Bible Study

So, Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day, you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Choosing Tyranny over Trust | Block Island Times

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

SECOND READING 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1 read by Kate Lidwell

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture—“I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

05.10.2020 - God Is at Work - Faithlife Sermons

So, we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.,

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.


GOSPEL READING MARK 3: 20-35 read by Rev Janice Aiton

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St Mark chapter 3 beginning at verse 20

Glory to Christ our Saviour.

When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Mark 3:20-35, Intervention

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Give thanks to the Lord for his glorious gospel

Praise to Christ our Lord


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A true story I read some time ago and may have mentioned before is about a minister called Bill. He acts as if he is crazy in one particular situation, but actually what he is doing is right and noble. It goes like this: A man named Bill was a minister in Scotland. He also has been accused of being a little bit crazy. Bill does workshops for churches on clowning. Not long ago, he was in a distant city, packing up after a workshop. The phone rang. Nobody was around. He answered. “Are you the Rector?” somebody asked. “Yes, actually I am.” “Come quickly,” said the voice, “our child is dying of leukaemia.” Bill dropped everything. He ran out to his rental car and drove to the hospital. He parked the car, ran up the steps, through the double doors, and down the hall. Suddenly it hit him: he was still dressed as a clown, with a white face, red nose, orange hair, and green suspenders. He didn’t have time to change. It was an emergency. He kept going. He found the room, knocked on the door, and entered the room where a young girl in a hospital bed lay surrounded by her family. “We called for the rector, not a clown,” said the father. The child replied, “He’s better than a rector. Can he stay?” No one dared to deny her request. Bill sat on the edge of the hospital bed. He sang songs. He told Bible stories. He cradled the little girl in his arms until the end. When the last moment was approaching, she made a final request. “Would you come to my funeral?” So that’s how it happened. On the third day, crazy Bill stood with white face, red nose, orange hair, and green suspenders. He never spoke a word, yet he led the people as they laughed, and cried, and remembered the little girl’s life. A few people present thought it was wrong to have a clown at a funeral, much less lead the service. They murmured afterwards, “That rector is out of his mind! He’s crazy!” By all the proper canons of pastoral protocol, they were probably correct. But there he stood, acting as if God’s joyful power has already defeated death. Was he crazy? Or was he simply doing things so differently from the norm that he seemed crazy?

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Have you ever done things so different from the norm that you have been deemed crazy or have you accused others of being crazy or out of their mind? I remember the day when I told my father that I was quitting teaching in a prestigious school to work for God in the organisation of Scripture Union-he said- are you crazy to forgo such a good job for something so much less!! Maybe a child of yours decides not to be involved in the family business and chooses hairdressing and you say “Has he gone out of his mind?” On a dare, another friend takes a sky diving lesson and jumps out of a perfectly good airplane, and you ask, “Has she gone out of her mind?” A person of modest income decides to purchase a house obviously beyond his means, and you ask, “Has he gone out of his mind?” There are lots of situations in which we might ask that question of someone we know, but we are shocked when a member of Jesus’ family asks that question of Jesus and accuses him of being crazy: ‘He has gone out of his mind.”

Why did his family feel that Jesus was out of his mind? Jesus had left home and the carpenter’s business at Nazareth. No doubt it was a flourishing business from which he could at least have made a living and yet quite suddenly he had flung the whole thing up and gone out to be a wandering preacher. No one with any sense, they must have thought, would throw up a business where the money came in every week to become a vagrant who had nowhere even to sleep. Crazy, so they thought!

Questioning through Mark: 3:20-35 – Sondra Kraak

Crazy in his dealings with the orthodox leaders of the day! There are certain people who can do you a great deal of harm. There are people on whose right side is better to keep, people whose opposition can be very dangerous. No one, his family must have been thinking, would ever get up against the powers that be because it was obvious that in any collision with them you always came off worst. No one could take on the Scribes, the Pharisees and the orthodox leaders of the day and hope to get away with it. Crazy so they thought!

Crazy in the founding of a little society of his own- a very strange society indeed. There were some fishermen; there was a reformed tax collector; here was a fanatical nationalist. They were not the mind of people who would be any good to anyone who was set on a career path. They must have been thinking: how could anyone pick a crowd of friends like that! They were in their eyes definitely not the kind of people a prudent person would want to get mixed up with. Jesus had thrown away security, safety, status and reputation! Crazy so they thought!

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Crazy- was the general consensus of opinion but the scribes have arrived with a much more serious charge against Jesus than momentary mental maladjustment rather their contention is that Jesus’ ability to cast out demons is because Satan the prince of demons inhabits him. They accuse Jesus of being in league with Satan. This prompts Jesus to respond -‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ Just think –if there is internal dissension in a kingdom, that kingdom cannot last. If there are quarrels in that house, that house will not endure for long. If Satan is making war with his own demons, then he is finished as an effective power, because civil war has begun in the kingdom of Satan. Put it another way…Jesus said – suppose you want to rob a strong man. You have no hope of doing so until you have got the strong man under subjection- once you have him tied up- you can plunder his goods- but not until then! The defeat of the demons did not show that Jesus was in alliance with Satan- it showed that Satan’s defences had been breached. A stronger name had arrived- the conquest of Satan had begun for a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law | Daily Bible  Readings

This quote of Jesus – a house divided against itself cannot stand -doesn’t need much reflection to see the truth of this. We see countries, where there is internal conflict, torn asunder- Afghanistan/ Syria/Ukraine/ Russia, Israel/ Palestine to name a few. Time and time again politicians have cited Jesus’ quote a house divided against itself cannot stand. Abraham Lincoln used it to encourage unity during the American civil war over slavery. Dr Martin Luther King used it in relation to racism and violence. The same concept and truth applies to the United kingdom, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Similarly in our own personal homes a house that is divided against itself cannot stand- continual quarrels, disputes, grudge bearing, and hostility will result in dysfunctional relationships and brokenness. The word ‘division’ is made up of the prefix “di” which means two. That’s where we get the word divide which means to split in 2. That’s where we get the word divorce which means to make 1 into 2. That’s where we get the word dialogue which means 2 people speaking. So, division means two visions, in other words division means double vision. Double vision is not good or helpful at a national, local, church or personal level.

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At a personal level we have double vision. We are divided within ourselves; we are pulled in opposite directions. There is a going on inside each of us, a war between light and darkness, good and evil. Brian Keenan who was held hostage in Lebanon in the 1980’s said ‘In captivity I was forced to confront the man I thought I was and discovered that I was many people. And Dostoevsky said: Human nature is a mass of contradictory urges, impulses, voices all seen and heard together. Even the saints experienced this internal division- St Paul said that “the good which I want to do, I do not do; the evil which I want to avoid I find myself doing.” We have to face this internal division, and come to terms with it. Within each of us there is division, fragility, darkness and evil. What we need to do is engage in a process- a process of growth towards wholeness and unity. By the grace of God, the divided self can be made whole. Those who are unified have great strength. Those that have peace within themselves radiate it to others. Those, who don’t, project onto others the conflict going on in themselves!

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Sin divides each of us in two: part of us pulling with God and part of us pulling against God. Sin is not something we can throw off once and for all like an old garment- rather it is a condition in which we live. What is important is not so much our failures as our struggle for goodness. Once we are seriously struggling for goodness, we are facing in the right direction and we are one with Christ. We are united in him and united in love with our neighbour! May we in our personal lives, in our church and work lives remember that a house divided against itself cannot stand and so forever strive to overcome division and seek wholeness. In the world’s eyes the Christian lifestyle may seem crazy- they may say we are out of our minds in loving our enemies, praying for those that hate us, offering the other cheek, going the extra mile but the reality is that we are wise and sound in mind as we follow in our master’s footsteps. Amen.

Christ The Savior Lutheran Church


We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one substance with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven;

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,

the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father.

With the Father and the Son,

he is worshipped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism

for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Praying Moms – LRPC HOME


Lord Jesus, crowds flocked to see you.

In you they saw love, kindness and goodness.

Help us as members of your family

to reflect these great qualities,

to delight in your teaching and to do your will.

As members of your church

may we work well together with our neighbours,

share resources, respect each other and learn from one another.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

St John the Evangelist, Dumfries - The Scottish Episcopal Church

Lord Jesus, some questioned your sanity and motives.

You were confident in your God- given purposes and role.

Help us to be confident in our purpose and role

and to be distinctive in our communities

by our love and kindness.

Stand alongside leaders and elected representatives

as they grapple with complex issues

and a difficult social and economic climate.

Keep before us all a vision

of your Kingdom’s values and priorities

and guide us through challenging times

and the midst of uncertainty.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

Friend of God – What does it mean? | Seasons of Refreshing

Lord Jesus, you call servants of your will not just friends

but members of your family.

Look in compassion on all

who are suffering in your family

from illness, stress, depression, injury and weakness.

In the quiet we name to you those who are suffering

in body, mind and spirit, that are known to us.

Draw near to them and touch them at their point of need

with your inner strength, peace, hope and healing.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

Jesus Accused by His Family and by Teachers of the Law | Daily Bible  Readings

Lord Jesus, you said that a house

divided against itself cannot stand.

Unite our churches that we might

work well together

to fulfil your ministry

and mission on earth.

Raise up negotiators,

who can bring peace to divided counties,

and restore stability and peace.

We think today especially of the Middle East

and ask that hostilities might cease

and understanding and respect for one another might increase.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

Lord Jesus, you promise to watch over

your family’s coming and going.

We lift to you those, whose lives are ebbing away

and are soon coming home.

Be with them on their journey home

and comfort their family and friends.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

Lord Jesus,

we pray for all who are mourning today,

for those who have lost loved ones in road accidents,

for those who have lost loved ones through illness or tragedy

may your peace and presence be with them

and may they find in you strength and refuge.

We remember those that have an anniversary

of a death this month,

may great memories

sustain them in this sad time.

Lord of all wisdom,

let your will be done.

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Lord Jesus, we marvel at your wisdom and patience

in dealing with people

May we let your wisdom and patience

guide us in our dealings with others.

Thank you for all your friendship and companionship

and for all the gifts you daily give us.

Merciful Father accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,

our Saviour Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Do not bring us to the time of trial

but deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and for ever. Amen.


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God the Holy Trinity

make you strong in faith and love,

defend you on every side,

and guide you in truth and peace;

and the blessing of God almighty,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be among you and remain with you always. Amen


Go or stay in peace to love and serve the Lord.

In the name of Christ. Amen


St John the Evangelist, Dumfries, is a parish of the Scottish Episcopal Church also serving Methodist parishioners locally.


You can donate to St John’s by credit or debit card by following these links.

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Contemporary Service

Contemporary Service

The Contemporary Service is at 6pm, on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, followed by refreshments in the hall.


St John's Church

5 days 1 hour ago

Sunday 16th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is no Choral Evensong at 6pm

St John's Church

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Sunday 9th June 2024 is our Eucharistic Service at 11: 00am. You are most welcome to come along. Be great to see you. There is NO Contemporary Service at 6pm

St John's Church

2 weeks 5 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John’s Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John’s Church will

St John's Church

3 weeks 2 days ago

Everyone is very welcome to come along to St John's Church, Newall Terrace, Dumfries DG1 1LW, at 6pm this Sunday, 2nd June, when the choir of St John's Church will