Proper 20 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Amos writes: The wealthy pursue their own interests and trample upon the poor (Amos 8:4–7). The psalmist sings: Blessed be the name of the Lord, who raises the poor from the dust (Psalm 113). The apostle Paul shares instructions on prayer; there is one God, and Jesus is our mediator (1 Timothy 2:1–7). In Luke, Jesus shares the story of a dishonest manager; you cannot serve God and wealth (Luke 16:1–13).

Lectionary Readings

Amos 8:4–7

4 Hear this, you that trample on the needy,
    and bring to ruin the poor of the land,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over
    so that we may sell grain;
and the sabbath,
    so that we may offer wheat for sale?
We will make the ephah small and the shekel great,
    and practice deceit with false balances,
6 buying the poor for silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals,
    and selling the sweepings of the wheat.”

7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord;
    praise the name of the Lord.

2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
    from this time on and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting
    the name of the Lord is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
    and his glory above the heavens.

5 Who is like the Lord our God,
    who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
    on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust,
    and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
    with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home,
    making her the joyous mother of children.
Praise the Lord!

1 Timothy 2:1–7

1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For

there is one God;
    there is also one mediator between God and humankind,
Christ Jesus, himself human,
6     who gave himself a ransom for all

—this was attested at the right time. 7 For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Luke 16:1–13

1 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. 2 So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ 3 Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ 7 Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ 8 And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. 9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

10 “Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. 11 If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? 13 No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 113:1-3

Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord; praise the name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time on and forevermore.

From the rising of the sun to its setting
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

Prayer of Intercession

Based on Amos 8:4; Psalm 113:5-7

Merciful God,
help us to treat everyone
with dignity and respect,
as fellow image bearers.
May we not trample on the needy,
nor bring to ruin the poor of our towns and cities.
Give us your heart for those in need,
that we may help raise the poor from the dust,
and lift the needy from desperate circumstances.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 1 Timothy 2:1-6

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning prayer and the intercessory role of Christ?

We believe that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings
should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions,
so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

We believe this kind of prayer is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We believe there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind,
Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all.

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Proper 19 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday God’s wrath burns hot after seeing the golden calf; but Moses intercedes (Exodus 32:7-14). The psalmist sings: Have mercy, O God; I have sinned against you; wash me clean (Psalm 51:1–10). The apostle Paul writes: Christ came to save sinners; God’s grace has overflowed for me (1 Timothy 1:12–17). In Luke, Jesus tells the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin (Luke 15:1–10).

Lectionary Readings

Exodus 32:7–14

7 The Lord said to Moses, “Go down at once! Your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have acted perversely; 8 they have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them; they have cast for themselves an image of a calf, and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, how stiff-necked they are. 10 Now let me alone, so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; and of you I will make a great nation.”

11 But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, ‘It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’” 14 And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.

Psalm 51:1–10

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
    and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
    and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
    a sinner when my mother conceived me.

6 You desire truth in the inward being;
    therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and put a new and right spirit within me.

1 Timothy 1:12–17

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 15:1–10

1 Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. 2 And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

3 So he told them this parable: 4 “Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? 5 When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

8 “Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? 9 When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 10 Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

1 Timothy 1:17

To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession

Psalm 51:1-2, 6-7, 10

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purify me from my sins, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on 1 Timothy 1:15

The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Receive his mercy and know that your sins are forgiven.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Luke 15:1-10

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the salvation of sinners?

We believe there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

We believe there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

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Proper 18 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Moses writes: Choose life and prosperity or death and adversity; obey the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). The psalmist sings: Those who delight in God’s law will prosper like trees by the water (Deuteronomy 30:15–20). The apostle Paul writes to Philemon about Onesimus: welcome him as a brother (Philemon 1–21). In Luke, Jesus explains the cost of discipleship by speaking of towers and battles (Luke 14:25–33).

Lectionary Readings

Deuteronomy 30:15–20

15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm 1

1 Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

4 The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Philemon 1–21

1 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, 2 to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God 5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother.

8 For this reason, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do your duty, 9 yet I would rather appeal to you on the basis of love—and I, Paul, do this as an old man, and now also as a prisoner of Christ Jesus. 10 I am appealing to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become during my imprisonment. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful both to you and to me. 12 I am sending him, that is, my own heart, back to you. 13 I wanted to keep him with me, so that he might be of service to me in your place during my imprisonment for the gospel; 14 but I preferred to do nothing without your consent, in order that your good deed might be voluntary and not something forced. 15 Perhaps this is the reason he was separated from you for a while, so that you might have him back forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, a beloved brother—especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

17 So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand: I will repay it. I say nothing about your owing me even your own self. 20 Yes, brother, let me have this benefit from you in the Lord! Refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I am writing to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Luke 14:25–33

25 Now large crowds were traveling with him; and he turned and said to them, 26 “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace. 33 So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Philemon 3-7

As we join in worship may we receive grace and peace
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

May our love for all the saints and our faith toward the Lord Jesus increase.
May we receive joy and encouragement and may our hearts be refreshed.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Luke 14:25-33; Deuteronomy 30:15-16, 20

Loving Savior,
may we count the cost of being your disciple,
and be willing to give up all of our possessions to follow you.
Fill us, renew us, and grant us the desire
to choose life and abundance today.
Help us to love you, to walk in your ways, 
to observe your commandments, 
and to hold fast to you in all circumstances.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Psalm 1:1-3

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe
concerning the blessings of God?

We believe we are blessed when we
do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but our delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law we meditate day and night.

We believe that when we obey God’s ways
we are like trees planted by streams of water,
which bear fruit in its season, 
and whose leaves do not wither.

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Proper 17 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Solomon writes: Do not put yourself in the place of honor; wait for an invitation (Proverbs 25:6–7). The psalmist sings: Happy and prosperous are those who give generously and trust God (Psalm 112). The author of Hebrews writes: Show hospitality and share what you have; praise God through Jesus (Hebrews 13:1–8, 15–16). In Luke, Jesus teaches lessons at a banquet: the humble will be exalted (Luke 14:1, 7–14).

Lectionary Readings

Proverbs 25:6–7

6 Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great;
7 for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

Psalm 112

1 Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.
2 Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright;
they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
5 It is well with those who deal generously and lend,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 For the righteous will never be moved;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They are not afraid of evil tidings;
their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have distributed freely, they have given to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn is exalted in honor.
10 The wicked see it and are angry;
they gnash their teeth and melt away;
the desire of the wicked comes to nothing.

Hebrews 13:1–8, 15–16

13 Let mutual love continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured. 4 Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” 6 So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”

7 Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God to you; consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Luke 14:1, 7–14

14 On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.

7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; 9 and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 112:1-2

Praise the Lord!
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who greatly delight in his commandments.

Their descendants will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 112:1-10

Gracious Lord,
help us to delight in your commandments.
May we rise in the darkness as a light
and be gracious, merciful, and righteous.
We want to be a generous people
who conduct their affairs with justice,
and who know the joy of giving to those in need.
Keep us from all fear and evil;
may our hearts remain steady, firm, and secure in You.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Hebrews 13:1-8

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning loving relationships and contentment?

We believe that we are to let mutual love continue. 

We believe we should not neglect to show hospitality to strangers

We believe we are to remember those who are in prison,
as though we were in prison with them;
those who are being persecuted,
as though we ourselves were being persecuted. 

We believe marriage is to be held in honor by all,
and that the marriage bed should be kept undefiled;
for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 

We believe we are to keep our lives free from the love of money,
and be content with what we have.

We believe we are to remember our leaders,
consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.

We believe  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

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Proper 16 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Isaiah writes: Remove the yoke; help the poor; refrain from trampling the Sabbath (Isaiah 58:9b–14). The psalmist sings: Bless the Lord, O my soul; the Lord forgives, heals, and redeems (Psalm 103:1–8). The author of Hebrews writes: Worship with reverence and awe; our God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:18–29). In Luke, Jesus heals a woman on the Sabbath; a synagogue leader objects (Luke 13:10–17).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 58:9b–14

9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
    the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
10 if you offer your food to the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
    and your gloom be like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
    and satisfy your needs in parched places,
    and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
    like a spring of water,
    whose waters never fail.
12 Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
    you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
    the restorer of streets to live in.

13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath,
    from pursuing your own interests on my holy day;
if you call the sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    serving your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Jacob,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Psalm 103:1–8

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and do not forget all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

6 The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

Hebrews 12:18–29

18 You have not come to something that can be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that not another word be spoken to them. 20 (For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned to death.” 21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”) 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse the one who is speaking; for if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less will we escape if we reject the one who warns from heaven! 26 At that time his voice shook the earth; but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of what is shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe; 29 for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

Luke 13:10–17

10 Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And just then there appeared a woman with a spirit that had crippled her for eighteen years. She was bent over and was quite unable to stand up straight. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” 13 When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God. 14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, “There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.” 15 But the Lord answered him and said, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger, and lead it away to give it water? 16 And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be set free from this bondage on the sabbath day?” 17 When he said this, all his opponents were put to shame; and the entire crowd was rejoicing at all the wonderful things that he was doing.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 103:1–5

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits—
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Isaiah 58:9b–14

Redeeming Lord,
we call on you; we cry to you for help.
Help us not to point fingers, speaking evil of others,
but offer our food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,

May you guide us continually,
and satisfy our needs in parched places.
We want to be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water, whose waters never fail.
Help us to raise up the foundations
of many generations and to bring restoration.

Keep us from trampling the sabbath,
from pursuing our own interests on your holy day.
May we call the sabbath a delight and honor it,
not going our own ways, serving our own interests,
or pursuing our own affairs.
By doing this, we shall take delight in You.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Hebrews 12:22–24, 28

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the mystery of our participation in heavenly assembly?

We believe we have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 
and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven,
and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood
that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

We believe, therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken,
we are to offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe;
for indeed our God is a consuming fire.

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Proper 15 (Year C)

Summary & Song

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Jeremiah writes: Who can hide from me? My word is like fire, says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:23–29). The psalmist sings: God stands in judgment; rise up, O God, to judge the earth! (Psalm 82) The author of Hebrews writes: We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses; Jesus perfects our faith (Hebrews 11:29—12:2). In Luke, Jesus warns of division and trouble to come: I came to bring fire (Luke 12:49–56).

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 5) | Multitracks

Author of Faith in Me

Words by Paxson Jeancake / Music by Paxson and Allison Jeancake, 2019
Based on Hebrews 11:29-12:2

Surrounded by saints; by those who have gone before me.
I’m running this race, letting go of the things that deceive me.
I’m looking to You; I’m fixing my eyes on You, Lord.

You’re the Author of faith in me, Giver of life.
Your love has a hold on me that I can’t deny.
There’s no higher power, nothing You won’t supply.
Author of faith in me, Author of faith in me.

I can face all my fears and cast all my cares on You, Lord.
There’s a hope in my heart; assurance that You are with me.
I’m anchored in You; You are my one foundation.

Lectionary Readings

Jeremiah 23:23–29

23 Am I a God near by, says the Lord, and not a God far off? 24 Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them? says the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? says the Lord. 25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!” 26 How long? Will the hearts of the prophets ever turn back—those who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart? 27 They plan to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, just as their ancestors forgot my name for Baal. 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let the one who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? says the Lord. 29 Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?

Psalm 82

1 God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk around in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I say, “You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.”

8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!

Hebrews 11:29—12:2

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Luke 12:49–56

49 “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! 52 From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 they will be divided:

father against son
and son against father,
mother against daughter
and daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

54 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain’; and so it happens. 55 And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens. 56 You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 82:8

Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
for all the nations belong to you!

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Hebrews 12:1-2

Holy God,
since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Hebrews 11:29-34, 39-40

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the power of faith?

We believe that, by faith, God’s people passed through the Red Sea
as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.

We believe that, by faith, the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.

We believe that, by faith, Rahab the prostitute did not perish
with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

We believe that, by faith, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel and the prophets—
conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness,
became mighty in war, and put foreign armies to flight.

We believe that all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

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Proper 14 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday God promises Abram many descendants; Abram believes the Lord (Genesis 15:1–6). The psalmist sings: Happy are those whose God is the Lord; God is our help and hope (Psalm 33:12–22). The author of Hebrews writes: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for; Abraham is an example (Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16). In Luke, Jesus says: Where your treasure is, there is your heart also; be alert and ready (Luke 12:32–40).

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 15:1–6

1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4 But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” 5 He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Psalm 33:12–22

12 Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all humankind.
14 From where he sits enthroned he watches
all the inhabitants of the earth—
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all,
and observes all their deeds.
16 A king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
and by its great might it cannot save.

18 Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 to deliver their soul from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.

20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
21 Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born, “as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

13 All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, 14 for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

Luke 12:32–40

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; 36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 33:20-22

Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.

Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Luke 12:32-40

Gracious Lord,
help us not to be afraid.
Give us grace to be generous
in our giving and in our love for others.
May we live with a readiness for your return,
with hearts set, not on this world, but on you;
for where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16

Brothers and sisters, what do believe concerning faith?

We believe that faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the conviction of things not seen.

We believe it was by faith that our ancestors received approval.

We believe it is by faith that we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God,
so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

We believe it was by faith that Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.

We believe it was by faith that he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised,
as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

We believe it was by faith that he received power of procreation, even though he was too old—
and Sarah herself was barren—because he considered him faithful who had promised.

We believe, therefore from one person, and this one as good as dead, descendants were born,
“as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.”

We believe that all of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth, for people who speak in this way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.

We believe that If they had been thinking of the land that they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; indeed, he has prepared a city for them.

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Proper 13 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday, the author of Ecclesiastes asks: What do mortals gain from their toil under the sun? All is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–23). The psalmist sings: The gift of life has no price; the great and the lowly will all perish (Psalm 49:1–12). The apostle Paul writes: If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above (Colossians 3:1–11). In Luke, Jesus says: Be on guard against greed; life does not come from your possessions (Luke 12:13–21).

Lectionary Readings

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–23

2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.

12 I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13 applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14 I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.

18 I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19 —and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20 So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21 because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23 For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.

Psalm 49:1–12

1 Hear this, all you peoples;
give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
2 both low and high,
rich and poor together.
3 My mouth shall speak wisdom;
the meditation of my heart shall be understanding.
4 I will incline my ear to a proverb;
I will solve my riddle to the music of the harp.

5 Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
6 those who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?
7 Truly, no ransom avails for one’s life,
there is no price one can give to God for it.
8 For the ransom of life is costly,
and can never suffice,
9 that one should live on forever
and never see the grave.

10 When we look at the wise, they die;
fool and dolt perish together
and leave their wealth to others.
11 Their graves are their homes forever,
their dwelling places to all generations,
though they named lands their own.
12 Mortals cannot abide in their pomp;
they are like the animals that perish.

Colossians 3:1–11

1 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7 These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8 But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Luke 12:13–21

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16 Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17 And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Colossians 3:1-4

If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth,
for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

Let us worship the Lord with our hearts and minds fixed on things that are above.

Call to Confession

Based on Colossians 3:5

By God’s grace, let us confess our sins,
seeking to put to death all that is earthly.

Prayer of Confession

Based on Luke 12:13-21; Psalm 49:1-12; Ecclesiastes 2:18-23

Gracious God,
help us to be on your guard
against all kinds of greed.
Forgive us for putting our trust
in wealth and boasting of our riches
for our lives do not consist
in the abundance of possessions.
Forgive us for storing up treasures for ourselves,
but not being generous toward you.
By your grace help us to see the vanity in selfish labor
for in the end, we will leave our possessions with others. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Colossians 3:3, 10

Hear the good news of the gospel:
You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
You have been clothed with the new self,
which is being renewed through your relationship with your Creator.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 3:5-11

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning evil desires?

We believe we are to put to death whatever is earthly:
fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry).

We believe that on account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient;
and these are the ways we also once followed, when we were living that life.

We believe that we must get rid of all such things—
anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from our mouths.

We believe we are not lie to one another,
seeing that we have stripped off the old self with its practices
and have clothed ourselves with the new self,
which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.

We believe that In our renewal there is no longer
Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

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Proper 12 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Abraham intercedes with the Lord to spare the city of Sodom (Genesis 18:20–32). The psalmist sings: I give you thanks, O Lord; though I walk in trouble, you deliver me (Psalm 138). The apostle Paul writes: Live your lives in the faith of Christ; do not let anyone condemn you (Colossians 2:6–19). In Luke, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray, and teaches them about prayer (Luke 11:1–13).

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 18:20–32

20 Then the Lord said, “How great is the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah and how very grave their sin! 21 I must go down and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me; and if not, I will know.”

22 So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, while Abraham remained standing before the Lord. 23 Then Abraham came near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26 And the Lordsaid, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will forgive the whole place for their sake.” 27 Abraham answered, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 Again he spoke to him, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31 He said, “Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32 Then he said, “Oh do not let the Lord be angry if I speak just once more. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.”

Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness;
for you have exalted your name and your word
above everything.
3 On the day I called, you answered me,
you increased my strength of soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5 They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly;
but the haughty he perceives from far away.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Colossians 2:6–19

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12 when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, 14 erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

16 Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. 17 These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Do not let anyone disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, dwelling on visions, puffed up without cause by a human way of thinking, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows with a growth that is from God.

Luke 11:1–13

11 He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.”

5 And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; 6 for a friend of mine has arrived, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 And he answers from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence he will get up and give him whatever he needs.

9 “So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12 Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 138:4-5

All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth.

They shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.

Prayer of Adoration

Based on Luke 11:2-4, 9-10

Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us.
And do not bring us to the time of trial.

We know that if we ask, it will be given to us;
if we search, we will find;
if we knock, the door will be opened for us.
For everyone who asks receives,
and everyone who searches finds,
and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 2:8-14

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
false teachings, the person of Christ, baptism and salvation?

We believe that no one should take us captive through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe,
and not according to Christ.

We believe that in Christ the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
and we have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.

We believe that in him we were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision,
by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ.

We believe that when we were buried with him in baptism,
we were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

We believe that when we were dead in our trespasses and the uncircumcision of our flesh,
God made us alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record
that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross.

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Proper 11 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday three visitors appear to Abraham; soon Sarah will have a son (Genesis 18:1–10a). The psalmist sings: Who may abide in God’s tent? Only those who do what is right (Psalm 15). The apostle Paul writes: Christ is the image of the invisible God; now the mystery is revealed (Colossians 1:15–28). In Luke, Mary sits and listens to Jesus, while Martha is busy with many tasks (Luke 10:38–42).

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 18:1–10a

1 The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. 3 He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7 Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

9 They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him.

Psalm 15

1 O Lord, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?

2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
3 who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach against their neighbors;
4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the Lord;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
5 who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Colossians 1:15–28

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

21 And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

24 I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. 25 I became its servant according to God’s commission that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 It is he whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Luke 10:38–42

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Luke 10:38-42

O Lord, as we draw near to you in worship,
give us undivided hearts.
Remove our worries and distractions,
that we may bow before you,
listening to your voice, choosing your ways. Amen.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 15

Merciful God,
help us to be those who walk blamelessly,
and do what is right.
We desire to speak the truth from our hearts;
and not slander with our tongues.
By your grace, may we do no evil to our friends,
nor take up a reproach against our neighbors.
May we despise evil, in all its various forms
but honor those who fear the Lord.
Remove our greed; may we not lend money at interest,
nor take a bribe against the innocent.
As we grow in holiness, by your grace,
may we find a firm foundation in you. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 1:15–20

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the authority of Christ?

We believe Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.

We believe he himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

We believe he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything.

We believe that in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

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Proper 10 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday we learn: The word is near to you, in your mouth and heart for you to observe (Deuteronomy 30:9–14). The psalmist sings: Lead me in your truth, O Lord, and teach me; you are my salvation (Psalm 25:1–10). The apostle Paul writes to the Colossians: we pray that you lead lives worthy of the Lord (Colossians 1:1–14). In Luke we read about the great commandment and a good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

Lectionary Readings

Deuteronomy 30:9–14

9 and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, 10 when you obey the Lord your God by observing his commandments and decrees that are written in this book of the law, because you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

11 Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?” 14 No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.

Psalm 25:1–10

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

6 Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!

8 Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Colossians 1:1–14

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

2 To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

3 In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 6 that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 7 This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 8 and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 10:25–37

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”

29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[b] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 25:8-10

Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Colossians 1:1-14

Faithful God,
strengthen our faith in your Son, Christ Jesus,
and give us love for all the saints,
because of the hope laid up for us in heaven.
We want the gospel to bear fruit among us
as we truly comprehend the grace of God.
Fill us with the knowledge of your will
in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that we may lead lives that are pleasing to you.

Make us strong with all the strength
that comes from your glorious power,
and may we be prepared to endure everything
with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to you,
for you have rescued us from the power of darkness
and transferred us into the kingdom of your beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Deuteronomy 30:14; Luke 10:27

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the word of God and the law of God?

We believe the word is very near to us;
it is in our mouth and in our heart for us to observe.

We believe we shall love the Lord our God
with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength,
and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.

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Proper 9 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet writes: Rejoice with Jerusalem; I will bless and comfort her, says the Lord (Isaiah 66:10–14). The psalmist sings: Make a joyful noise to God; come and see what God has done (Psalm 66:1–9). The apostle Paul writes: Bear one another’s burdens; in this way you fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1–16). In Luke, Jesus appoints seventy, sending them out as laborers into the harvest (Luke 10:1–11, 16–20).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 66:10–14

10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her—
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious bosom.

12 For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,
and dandled on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14 You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bodies shall flourish like the grass;
and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants,
and his indignation is against his enemies.

Psalm 66:1–9

1 Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
2 sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
4 All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.” Selah

5 Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
6 He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
7 who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves. Selah

8 Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
9 who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.

Galatians 6:1–16

1 My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4 All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5 For all must carry their own loads.

6 Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.

7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

11 See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14 May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16 As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Luke 10:1–11, 16–20

1 After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6 And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7 Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18 He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19 See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 66:1-2, 4-5

Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise.

All the earth worships you;
and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.

Prayer of Intercession

Based on Luke 10:1–11, 16–20

Loving God,
you send us out into the world
to carry the good news of
the gospel to those around us.
We know that the harvest is plentiful,
but the laborers are few.
May we be obedient to your call,
living each day as your messengers of peace.
Give us wisdom and faith for we know
we will encounter acceptance and salvation
as well as resistance and rejection.
Give us strength and authority over the evil one,
and may your kingdom come with power. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Galatians 6:1-2, 7-10

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
restoration and bearing one another’s burdens?

We believe that if anyone is detected in a transgression,
we who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.

We believe we are to bear one another’s burdens,
and in this way we will fulfill the law of Christ.

We believe that we will reap whatever we sow.
If we sow to our own flesh, we will reap corruption from the flesh;
but if we sow to the Spirit, we will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

We believe we are not to grow weary in doing what is right;
whenever we have an opportunity, we should work for the good of all,
and especially for those of the family of faith.

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Proper 8 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Elisha leaves his family and his oxen to follow the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 19:15–16, 19–21). The psalmist sings: Protect me, O God; you show me the path of life and fullness of joy (Psalm 16). The apostle Paul writes: Christ has set us free; live by the Spirit, not the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:1, 13–25). In Luke, Jesus turns toward Jerusalem and warns those who would follow him (Luke 9:51–62).

Lectionary Readings

1 Kings 19:15–16, 19–21

15 Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16 Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place.

19 So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle over him. 20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?” 21 He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out and followed Elijah, and became his servant.

Psalm 16

1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
in whom is all my delight.

4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.

5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.

7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol,
or let your faithful one see the Pit.

11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Galatians 5:1, 13–25

1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. 14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[c]drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Luke 9:51–62

51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; 53 but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. 54 When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 Then they went on to another village.

57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 16:7-8

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.

I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Prayer of Adoration

Based on Psalm 16

Loving God,
in you we take refuge.
You are our chosen portion
and our cup; you hold our lot.
We bless you, Lord, for you give us counsel.
May we keep you always before us;
so that we shall not be moved.
May our hearts be glad,
and may our souls rejoice;
may our bodies rest secure.
In your mercy show us the path of life.
Lord, in your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Galatians 5:1, 13–25

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
our freedom in Christ and our life in the Spirit?

We believe that for freedom Christ has set us free. However, we are to use our freedom,
not as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but to love one another.

We also believe that we are to live by the Spirit and not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent us from doing what we want.

We believe the works of the flesh are fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.

By contrast, we believe the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

We believe that If we live by the Spirit, we should also be guided by the Spirit.

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Proper 7 (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the Lord says: I will repay their iniquity, but I will not destroy them (Isaiah 65:1–9). The psalmist sings: The Lord did not despise or forsake me; I will praise the Lord (Psalm 22:19–28). The apostle Paul writes: In Christ there is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female (Galatians 3:23–29). In Luke, Jesus casts out a man’s demons and they enter a herd of swine (Luke 8:26–39).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 65:1–9

1 I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.
2 I held out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
3 a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and offering incense on bricks;
4 who sit inside tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat swine’s flesh,
with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
5 who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day long.
6 See, it is written before me:
I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their laps
7 their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains
and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
full payment for their actions.
8 Thus says the Lord:
As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, “Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,”
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
9 I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall settle there.

Psalm 22:19–28

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor
the affliction of the afflicted;
he did not hide his face from me,
but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.

Galatians 3:23–29

23 Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

Luke 8:26–39

26 Then they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”— 29 for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30 Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.

32 Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33 Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

34 When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35 Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36 Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37 Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 22:27-28

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.

For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Isaiah 65:1-2; Psalm 22:19; Luke 8:34-39

Lord Jesus, we confess that
we are often a rebellious people
who follow our own devices and
walk in a way that is not good.
O Lord, in our rebellion,
draw near to us and come to our aid.
When we are plagued by
spiritual oppression, secrecy, and addictions,
we need you to come to us and heal us.
Bring us out of darkness, restore us,
and put us in a healthy state of mind.
And may we be faithful to declare
all that you have done for us.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Galatians 3:26, 28

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning our identity in Christ?

We believe that in Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith.

We believe there is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free,
male and female; for all of us are one in Christ Jesus.

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Trinity Sunday (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the author of Proverbs writes: Does not wisdom call? I was present at the beginning of creation (Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31). The psalmist sings: O Sovereign Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8). The apostle Paul writes: God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:1-5). In John, Jesus says: The Spirit will guide you; all that the Father has is mine (John 16:12-15).

Lectionary Readings

Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31

1 Does not wisdom call,
and does not understanding raise her voice?
2 On the heights, beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
4 “To you, O people, I call,
and my cry is to all that live.

22 The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,
or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30 then I was beside him, like a master worker;
and I was daily his delight,
rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
and delighting in the human race.

Psalm 8

1 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.
6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet,
7 all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Sovereign,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Romans 5:1–5

1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

John 16:12–15

12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 8:1-5, 9

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
and crowned them with glory and honor.

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Based on Romans 5:1-5

Triune God,
we are grateful that we are justified by faith,
and that we have peace with with you.
We stand in your grace, and we boast
in our hope of sharing in your glory.
We also boast in our sufferings,
knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character,
and character produces hope.
Thank you, Lord, that this hope does not disappoint us,
because your love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on John 16:12-15

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the Holy Spirit?

We believe that the Spirit guides us into all the truth.

We believe that he does not speak on his own,
but he speaks whatever he hears and
declares to us the things that are to come.

We believe that he glorifies Jesus because
the Spirit takes what is Christ’s and declares it to us.

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Day of Pentecost (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday God pours out the Spirit upon the earth on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:1-11). The psalmist sings: The Lord of creation sends forth the Spirit to renew the earth (Psalm 104:24–34, 35b). The apostle Paul writes: In the Spirit, we are children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:14–17). In John, we read that Jesus and the Father are one; the Father will send the Holy Spirit (John 14:8–17, 25–27).

Lectionary Readings

Acts 2:1–21

1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day.
21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Psalm 104:24–35

24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide,
creeping things innumerable are there,
living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships,
and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

27 These all look to you
to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit,[a] they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth,
and let the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

Romans 8:14–17

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

John 14:8–17, 25–27

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.

25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Acts 2:17; Psalm 104:31-33

In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works—
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on John 14:8–17, 25–27

Lord Jesus, as children of God,
if we know you, we know the Father.
We are grateful that your word still speaks to us,
leading us and guiding us.
We are thankful that when we ask
for anything in your name
you hear us and answer our prayers.
Help us to keep your commandments out of love for you.
Thank you for our Advocate, the promised Holy Spirit,
who leads us into all truth, and who abides with us forever.
In your name we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Romans 8:14-17

What do we believe concerning our adoption as sons daughters of God?

We believe that all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

We believe, therefore, that we did not receive a spirit of slavery
to fall back into fear, but we have received a spirit of adoption.

We believe that when we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is that very Spirit
bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—
if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

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Ascension of the Lord (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday, Jesus ascends into heaven forty days after his resurrection (Acts 1:1-11). The psalmist declares: Clap, shout, and sing with joy: the Lord reigns over all the earth (Psalm 47). Paul tells us that Christ is seated at God’s right hand, above every earthly power (Ephesians 1:15-23). In Luke, Jesus interprets the Scriptures; then he is carried up into heaven (Luke 24:44-53).

Lectionary Readings

ACTS 1:1-11

1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

PSALM 47

1 Clap your hands, all you peoples;
    shout to God with loud songs of joy.
2 For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome,
    a great king over all the earth.
3 He subdued peoples under us,
    and nations under our feet.
4 He chose our heritage for us,
    the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah

5 God has gone up with a shout,
    the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises.
7 For God is the king of all the earth;
    sing praises with a psalm.

8 God is king over the nations;
    God sits on his holy throne.
9 The princes of the peoples gather
    as the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God;
    he is highly exalted.

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

LUKE 24:44-53

44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53 and they were continually in the temple blessing God.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Psalm 47

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.
For the Lord, the Most High, is awesome, a great king over all the earth.

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
God has gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.

Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
God is king over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our King, sing praises.

Let us worship our ascended Lord.

Prayer of Confession

Based on Ephesians 1:17-21

Father of glory,
we confess that we often disregard your power at work in our lives.
Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation as we come to know Christ.
We confess that we often forget your promises.
Enlighten the eyes of our heart that we may know the hope to which you have called us,
the riches of Christ’s glorious inheritance among his people,
and the immeasurable greatness of Christ’s power for us who believe.

We thank you that you put this power to work in Christ
when you raised him from the dead and seated him
at your right hand in the heavenly places.
Help us to live in light of Christ’s greatness every day-
to acknowledge that he is far above
all rule and authority and power and dominion,
and that his name is above every name,
not only in this age, but also in the age to come.
For the glory of your ascended Son. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Luke 24:46-47

Brothers and sisters, Jesus came to suffer
and to rise from the dead on the third day;
to bring repentance and forgiveness of sins in his name.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Acts 1:1-11

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
the earthly appearances and the heavenly ascension of our Lord?

We believe that after he suffered, 

Jesus presented himself alive to the apostles by many convincing proofs.

We believe that he appeared to them during forty days
and spoke about the kingdom of God.

We believe that, like the apostles, we receive power through the Holy Spirit,
and that we, the church, are called to be Christ’s witnesses to the ends of the earth.

We believe that Jesus, who was taken up to heaven, will come again in the same way he departed.

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Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Lydia and her household are baptized after hearing Paul in Macedonia (Acts 16:9-15). The psalmist sings: May God be gracious and bless us; let the whole earth praise God (Psalm 67). In Revelation, we read of John’s vision of the holy city; the river of life flows from God’s throne (Revelation 21:10, 21:22—22:5). In the Gospel of John, Jesus says: Keep my word; the Spirit will teach you; I give you peace (John 14:23-29).

Lectionary Readings

Acts 16:9–15

9 During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11 We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13 On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14 A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15 When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm 67

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us, Selah
2 that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

6 The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Revelation 21:10, 21:22—22:5

10 And in the spirit[a] he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.

22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 14:23–29

23 Jesus answered him, “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 67:4-5

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on John 14:23-29; Psalm 67:7

Sovereign Lord,
help us to keep your word.
May our Advocate, the Holy Spirit,
teach us in all things and remind us
of your presence and power, and may he give us peace.
Let not our hearts be troubled, nor let us be be afraid,
for we know that you are seated with the Father in heaven,
and that you are with us and for us and will never leave us.
May you continue to bless us, O Lord,
and may all the ends of the earth praise your name. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 21:10, 22-27

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning John’s vision of the holy city?

We believe the spirit carried John away to a great,
high mountain and showed him the holy city Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God.

We believe he saw no temple in the city,
for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.

We believe the nations will walk by its light,
and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.

We believe people will bring into the city the glory and the honor of the nations.
Nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood,
but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

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Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Peter has a vision about unclean food; God’s gift of life is for all (Acts 11:1–18). The psalmist sings: Praise the Lord, all creation! God is exalted in heaven and earth (Psalm 148). The apostle John writes about a new heaven and earth; a holy city; God’s home is among mortals (Revelation 21:1–6). In the Gospel of John Jesus gives a new commandment: love one another as I love you (John 13:31–35).

Lectionary Readings

Acts 11:1–18

1 Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3 saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4 Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6 As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7 I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10 This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11 At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12 The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13 He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14 he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

Psalm 148

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
4 Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

5 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.
6 He established them forever and ever;
he fixed their bounds, which cannot be passed.

7 Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deeps,
8 fire and hail, snow and frost,
stormy wind fulfilling his command!

9 Mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars!
10 Wild animals and all cattle,
creeping things and flying birds!

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all rulers of the earth!
12 Young men and women alike,
old and young together!

13 Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for his name alone is exalted;
his glory is above earth and heaven.
14 He has raised up a horn for his people,
praise for all his faithful,
for the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!

Revelation 21:1–6

21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

John 13:31–35

31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based Psalm 148:1-5

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his host!

Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens,
and you waters above the heavens!

Let them praise the name of the Lord,
for he commanded and they were created.

Let us worship the Lord!

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Acts 11:1-18; John 13:34-35

Lord Jesus,
we know you bring life and salvation
to all who call on your name.
We thank you that you do not count
anyone greater than another,
for the ground is level at the foot of the cross.
We are all in need of your
cleansing blood and forgiving grace.
Help us to live in light of your redemption.
and to love one another just as you have loved us.
May the world know that we are your disciples
by the love we have for one another.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Revelation 21:1-6

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe
concerning John’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth?

We believe he saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem,
coming down out of heaven from God,
prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

We believe he heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.”

We believe he heard the one who was seated on the throne say,

“See, I am making all things new.

It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

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Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd, Year C)

Summary & Song

In the readings for this Sunday Peter raises Tabitha from the dead; many believe in the Lord (Acts 9:36–43). The psalmist sings: The Lord is my shepherd, leading, protecting, and feeding me (Psalm 23). In Revelation, the redeemed worship at the throne of the Lamb, their shepherd (Revelation 7:9–17). In John, Jesus says: My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me (John 10:22–30).

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 2)

Psalm 23 (The Lord’s My Shepherd)

Based on the Scottish Psalter (1650) / Music by Carl Glaser (ca. 1800)
Arranged by Paxson Jeancake, 2003

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want; He makes me down to lie
in pastures green, He leadeth me, the quiet waters by.

My soul, He does restore again, and me to walk does make,
within the paths of righteousness, e’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through death’s dark vale, yet will I fear no ill;
for Thou art with my and Thy rod and staff, my comfort still.

A table Thou has furnished me in presence of my foes;
my head, Thou dost, with oil anoint, and my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy, all my life, shall surely follow me,
and in God’s house, forevermore, my dwelling place shall be.

Lectionary Readings

Acts 9:36–43

36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas.She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 37 At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” 39 So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them. 40 Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. 41 He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. 42 This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.

Revelation 7:9–17

9 After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11 And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16 They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
17 for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

John 10:22–30

22 At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. 24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; 26 but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Revelation 7:9-12

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count,
from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages,
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white,
with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures,
and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Based on Psalm 23

Jesus, you are my Good Shepherd, I shall not want.
You let me rest in green pastures;
you lead me beside still waters; you restore my soul.
You lead me in right paths for your name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on John 10:27-28

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning Jesus, our Good Shepherd?

We believe his sheep, his people, hear his voice. He knows them, and they follow him.
We believe he will give them eternal life, and they will never perish.
We believe that no one will snatch them out of his hand.

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