Proper 28 (Year C)

Sunday between November 13 and November 19 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Malachi writes: The sun of righteousness will rise with healing for the faithful (Malachi 4:1–2a). The psalmist sings: Make a joyful noise to the Lord; give thanks for God’s victory (Psalm 98). The apostle Paul writes: Do not be idle; follow this example and work for your daily bread (2 Thessalonians 3:6–13). In Luke, Jesus says that the temple will fall; a great trial is coming; God will supply wisdom (Luke 21:5–19).

Lectionary Readings

Malachi 4:1–2a

1 See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.

Psalm 98

1 O sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
    have gotten him victory.
2 The Lord has made known his victory;
    he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
    to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
    the victory of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
    break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5 Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
    with the lyre and the sound of melody.
6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

7 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
    the world and those who live in it.
8 Let the floods clap their hands;
    let the hills sing together for joy
9 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity.

2 Thessalonians 3:6–13

6 Now we command you, beloved, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from believers who are living in idleness and not according to the tradition that they received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, 8 and we did not eat anyone’s bread without paying for it; but with toil and labor we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you. 9 This was not because we do not have that right, but in order to give you an example to imitate. 10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat. 11 For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. 12 Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 13 Brothers and sisters, do not be weary in doing what is right.

Luke 21:5–19

5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.

9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 98:4-6

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.

Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.

With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Prayer of Intercession

Based on Malachi 4:1-2; Luke 21:5-19

Sovereign Lord,
we know that the day is coming,
when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be no more;
and when all those who revere your name
shall be filled with great joy, finding healing in your wings.

We know that as that day draws near, we will see
nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues;
and there will be dreadful warnings and great signs from heaven.

May we not be led astray, but stand firm in your truth.
Give us words and a wisdom that none of our opponents
will be able to withstand or contradict. 
If we are betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends;
if we are hated by all because of your name, give us courage and fill us with faith;
for we know that by our endurance we will gain our souls.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 12-13

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning hard work and doing what is right?

We believe that we are to keep away from believers who are living in idleness.
We believe we are to work quietly and earn our own living;
not growing weary in doing what is right.

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Proper 27 (Year C)

Sunday between November 6 and November 12 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Job writes: I know that my Redeemer lives; at the last I will see my God (Job 19:23–27a). The psalmist sings: Hear a just cause, O Lord; guard me as the apple of your eye (Psalm 17:1–9). The apostle Paul writes: Do not be deceived; stand firm and hold fast to our traditions (2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17). In Luke, the Sadducees ask Jesus a question about marriage and resurrection (Luke 20:27–38).

Lectionary Readings

Job 19:23–27a

23 “O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
24 O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
26 and after my skin has been thus destroyed,
then in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see on my side,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.

Psalm 17:1–9

1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry;
    give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit.
2 From you let my vindication come;
    let your eyes see the right.

3 If you try my heart, if you visit me by night,
    if you test me, you will find no wickedness in me;
    my mouth does not transgress.
4 As for what others do, by the word of your lips
    I have avoided the ways of the violent.
5 My steps have held fast to your paths;
    my feet have not slipped.

6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
    incline your ear to me, hear my words.
7 Wondrously show your steadfast love,
    O savior of those who seek refuge
    from their adversaries at your right hand.

8 Guard me as the apple of the eye;
    hide me in the shadow of your wings,
9 from the wicked who despoil me,
    my deadly enemies who surround me.

2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17

1 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you?

13 But we must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, 17 comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word.

Luke 20:27–38

27 Some Sadducees, those who say there is no resurrection, came to him 28 and asked him a question, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no children, the man shall marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers; the first married, and died childless; 30 then the second 31 and the third married her, and so in the same way all seven died childless. 32 Finally the woman also died. 33 In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be? For the seven had married her.”

34 Jesus said to them, “Those who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage; 35 but those who are considered worthy of a place in that age and in the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. 36 Indeed they cannot die anymore, because they are like angels and are children of God, being children of the resurrection. 37 And the fact that the dead are raised Moses himself showed, in the story about the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living; for to him all of them are alive.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 17:6-7

I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God;
incline your ear to me, hear my words.

Wondrously show your steadfast love,
O savior of those who seek refuge
from their adversaries at your right hand.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 17:8; 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 17; Luke 20:37-38

Lord Jesus,
guard us and hide us
in the shadow of your wings.
Help us to stand firm and hold fast
to the truths that we have been taught.
Comfort our hearts and strengthen them
in every good work and word.
As your children, who will one day be raised to new life,
may we know you as the God of Abraham,
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob -
the God not of the dead, but of the living;
for to you all of them are alive.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Job 19:25, 27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
the coming of the Lord and our being gathered together with him?

We believe that our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth;
and we shall behold him with our eyes.

We believe that the day of the Lord will not come until the rebellion comes first
and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction.

We believe that he opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship,
so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God.

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Proper 26 (Year C)

Sunday between October 30 and November 5 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Isaiah writes: Wash and make yourselves clean; learn to do good and seek justice (Isaiah 1:10–18). The psalmist sings: Happy are those whose sin is forgiven; I will confess to the Lord (Psalm 32:1–7). The apostle Paul writes to the Thessalonians: I give thanks for your faith and pray for you (2 Thessalonians 1:1–4, 11–12). In Luke, Zacchaeus, a tax collector, wants to see Jesus; Jesus visits his home.

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 1:10–18

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
    you rulers of Sodom!
Listen to the teaching of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
11 What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats.

12 When you come to appear before me,
    who asked this from your hand?
    Trample my courts no more;
13 bringing offerings is futile;
    incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation—
    I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity.
14 Your new moons and your appointed festivals
    my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me,
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you stretch out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your doings
    from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
    rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
    plead for the widow.

18 Come now, let us argue it out,
    says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.

Psalm 32:1–7

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
    whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
    through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let all who are faithful
    offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
    shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

2 Thessalonians 1:1–4, 11–12

1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,

To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

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

3 We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4 Therefore we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith during all your persecutions and the afflictions that you are enduring.

11 To this end we always pray for you, asking that our God will make you worthy of his call and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 19:1–10

19 He entered Jericho and was passing through it. 2 A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich. 3 He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him. 7 All who saw it began to grumble and said, “He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner.” 8 Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” 9 Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 32:7

You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;

you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.

Call to Confession

Psalm 32:3-5

While I kept silence, my body wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Let us pray to the Lord.

Prayer of Confession

Based on Isaiah 1:10-17

Merciful God,
we confess that we can be self-righteous
and full of religious activity,
while our hearts are far from you.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit,
may we cease to do evil and learn to do good.
Help us to seek justice, rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Isaiah 1:18; Luke 19:10

Hear the good news of the gospel:
though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
thanksgiving, faith, prayer, and persecution?

We believe that we must always give thanks to God
when brothers and sisters are growing abundantly in faith
and when their love for one another is increasing. 

We believe the church is to exemplify steadfastness
and faith during times of persecution and affliction.

We believe we are to pray and ask that our God will make us worthy of his call
and will fulfill by his power every good resolve and work of faith,
so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in us, and we in him,
according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Proper 25 (Year C)

Sunday between October 23 and October 29 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Jeremiah writes: we acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord; we set our hope on you (Jeremiah 14:7–10, 19–22). The psalmist sings: How lovely is your dwelling place; my heart and flesh sing for joy (Psalm 84:1–7). The apostle Paul writes: I have fought the good fight and kept the faith; God stands by me (2 Timothy 4:6–8, 16–18). In Luke, Jesus tells a parable: the prayers of a Pharisee and a tax collector (Luke 18:9–14).

Lectionary Readings

Jeremiah 14:7–10, 19–22

7 Although our iniquities testify against us,
    act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our apostasies indeed are many,
    and we have sinned against you.
8 O hope of Israel,
    its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler turning aside for the night?
9 Why should you be like someone confused,
    like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
    and we are called by your name;
    do not forsake us!

10 Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander,
    they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them,
    now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins.

19 Have you completely rejected Judah?
Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace, but find no good;
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
20 We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
21 Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Can any idols of the nations bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for it is you who do all this.

Psalm 84:1–7

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
    O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, indeed it faints
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
    to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
    my King and my God.
4 Happy are those who live in your house,
    ever singing your praise.Selah

5 Happy are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca
    they make it a place of springs;
    the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
    the God of gods will be seen in Zion.

2 Timothy 4:6–8, 16–18

6 As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 18:9–14

9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 84:1-2

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Luke 18:9-14; Psalm 84:5-7; 2 Timothy 4:7

Gracious Lord,
help us not to think too highly ourselves,
but in our humility confess to you
that we are sinners who need your mercy.
May we find our refuge in strength in you alone.
As we go through the valleys of trial and struggle,
make them a place of springs, renewing the dry ground of our hearts.
When our time for departure comes, like Paul,
may we be able to say that we have fought the good fight,
we have finished the race, we have kept the faith.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Luke 18:14

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning pride and humility?

We believe that all who exalt themselves will be humbled,
but all who humble themselves will be exalted.

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Proper 24 (Year C)

Sunday between October 16 and October 22 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Jacob wrestles with a stranger at night and seeks God’s blessing (Genesis 32:22–31). The psalmist sings: My help comes from the Lord, who guards me day and night (Psalm 121). The apostle Paul writes: Continue in your faith; be persistent in proclaiming the gospel (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5). In Luke, Jesus shares a parable about a widow and an unjust judge; his encouragement is to pray always and do not lose heart (Luke 18:1-8).

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 32:22–31

22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.

2 Timothy 3:14—4:5

14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: 2 proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. 5 As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.

Luke 18:1–8

1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. 3 In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ 4 For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? 8 I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 121:1-2

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 121:3-8; Luke 18:1-2, 7-8

Almighty God,
we can draw near to you at any time in prayer.
Though our lives may be in chaos,
we can rest in knowing that you neither slumber nor sleep.
You are our keeper; you watch over us day and night.
You keep us from all evil; you watch over our lives:
our going out and our coming in, now and forever. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the instructive nature of God’s word?

We believe that God’s word is able to instruct us for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 

We believe that all scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

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Proper 23 (Year C)

Sunday between October 9 and October 15 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Elisha tells Naaman to wash in the Jordan; he is cured of leprosy (2 Kings 5:1–3, 7–15c). The psalmist sings: I give thanks with my whole heart; great are the works of the Lord (Psalm 111). The apostle Paul writes: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead; that is my gospel (2 Timothy 2:8–15). In Luke, Jesus heals ten people with leprosy; only one returns to give thanks (Luke 17:11–19).

Lectionary Readings

2 Kings 5:1–3, 7–15c

5 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy. 2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 3 She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”

8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.” 9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy! 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage. 13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.

15 Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.”

Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever.

2 Timothy 2:8–15

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11 The saying is sure:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

Luke 17:11–19

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 111:1-3

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 111:7-10; 2 Kings 5:8-15; Luke 17:11-19

Merciful God,
the works of your hands are faithful and just;
all of your commandments are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
You sent redemption to your people;
you have commanded your covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is your name.
Give us thankful hearts that respond to all
the ways you bring healing and restoration into our lives.
May we not let pride get in the way of obeying you,
but may our lives reveal that reverence for your name
is the beginning of wisdom and understanding.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 2 Timothy 2:11-13

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning our relationship with Jesus?

We believe that if we have died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.

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Proper 22 (Year C)

Sunday between October 2 and October 8 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Habakkuk writes: Write the vision; make it plain: the righteous live by their faith (Habakkuk 1:1–4; 2:1–4). The psalmist sings: Commit your way to the Lord; trust in God, who will act (Psalm 37:1–9). The apostle Paul writes: Rekindle your faith; guard the good treasure entrusted to you (2 Timothy 1:1–14). In Luke, Jesus says: If you had faith like a mustard seed, you could uproot this tree (Luke 17:5–10).

Lectionary Readings

Habakkuk 1:1–4; 2:1–4

1 The oracle that the prophet Habakkuk saw.

2 O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
    and you will not save?
3 Why do you make me see wrongdoing
    and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
4 So the law becomes slack
    and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
    therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

1 I will stand at my watchpost,
and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
2 Then the Lord answered me and said:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that a runner may read it.
3 For there is still a vision for the appointed time;
it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it;
it will surely come, it will not delay.
4 Look at the proud!
Their spirit is not right in them,
but the righteous live by their faith.

Psalm 37:1–9

1 Do not fret because of the wicked;
    do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,
    and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,
    and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
    do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
    over those who carry out evil devices.

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
    Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

2 Timothy 1:1–14

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

2 To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.

8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, 12 and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. 13 Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

Luke 17:5–10

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 The Lord replied, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7 “Who among you would say to your slave who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here at once and take your place at the table’? 8 Would you not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, put on your apron and serve me while I eat and drink; later you may eat and drink’? 9 Do you thank the slave for doing what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!’”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 37:3-4

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.

Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Habakkuk 2:4; Psalm 37:5-9; Luke 17:6

Sovereign Lord,
you tell us that the righteous shall live by faith.
Help us to exercise our faith, however small,
with the assurance that you are able to do
abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine.
May we commit our way to you
and trust that you will act on our behalf.
May we not resent those we prosper through evil means,
but be still before you, waiting patiently
for the greater blessing of your presence and peace.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 2 Timothy 1:8-10, 13-14

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
our suffering for and holding to the sound teaching of the gospel?

We believe we should not be ashamed of suffering
for the gospel, but should rely on the power of God,
who saved us and called us with a holy calling,
not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace.

We believe this grace was given to us in Christ Jesus
before the ages began, but it has now been revealed
through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus,
who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

We believe we are to hold to the standard
of sound teaching that we have in God’s word
and guard this good news that has been entrusted to us,
with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us.

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Proper 21 (Year C)

Sunday between September 25 and October 1 inclusive

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet Amos writes: Those with idle and comfortable lives will be first to go into exile (Amos 6:1a, 4–7). The psalmist sings: Do not put your trust in princes; God does justice for the oppressed (Psalm 146). The apostle Paul writes: The love of money is the root of evil; be rich in good works instead (1 Timothy 6:6–19). In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Hades (Luke 16:19–31).

Lectionary Readings

Amos 6:1a, 4–7

1 Alas for those who are at ease in Zion,
and for those who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
the notables of the first of the nations,
to whom the house of Israel resorts!

4 Alas for those who lie on beds of ivory,
and lounge on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock,
and calves from the stall;
5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp,
and like David improvise on instruments of music;
6 who drink wine from bowls,
and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
7 Therefore they shall now be the first to go into exile,
and the revelry of the loungers shall pass away.

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

3 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
4 When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7     who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8     the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10 The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

1 Timothy 6:6–19

6 Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; 7 for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; 8 but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.

11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will bring about at the right time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. 16 It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.

17 As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 19 thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life.

Luke 16:19–31

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ 27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 146:1-2, 10

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Amos 6:1, 6; Psalm 146:3-7; 1 Timothy 6:18-19

Holy God,
may our hope be only in you.
Forgive us when we become complacent
and forget your power, your might,
and your heart for those in need.
You are the one who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them.
You keep your promises forever;
you execute justice for the oppressed;
and you give food to the hungry.
Help us to be vessels of your grace,
not setting our hearts on the uncertainty of wealth,
but seeking the riches of good works and generosity,
that we may take hold of that which is truly life.
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 1 Timothy 6:6-8, 10-11, 18-19

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning godliness and contentment?

We believe there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment;
for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it;
but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 

We believe the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil;
thus, we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 

We believe we are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, 
thus storing up for ourselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future,
so that we may take hold of the life that really is life.

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Proper 20 (Year C)

Sunday between September 18 and September 24 inclusive

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)

Sunday between September 11 and September 17 inclusive

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)

Sunday between September 4 and September 10 inclusive

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)

Sunday between August 28 and September 3 inclusive

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)

Sunday between August 21 and August 27 inclusive

Summary & Song

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).

Lead Sheet | Lead Sheet (capo 2) | Multitracks

All That Is Within Me

Words and Music by Paxson Jeancake, 2017
Based on Psalm 103:1

Father of unfailing love, Your grace and goodness are enough.
Each day I wake to mercies new; my heart is filled with gratitude.

No matter heights or valleys, low,
I know that I can say

Let all that is within me bless Your name;
every broken part, every breath I take.
Let all that is within me; all I’ve been through.
Shepherd of my soul I can sing to You
with all that is within me; all that is within me.

Every tear, every fear, I don’t face them on my own.
Every road, every load of this journey I’ve been on.
All the joy, all the pain, and all that comes my way,
I bring to You; I bring to You.

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)

Sunday between August 14 and August 20 inclusive

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

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.

You’re the Author of faith in me, Giver of life.
Your love has a hold on me that I can’t deny.
You’ll finish the work that You began in my heart.
Author of faith in me, Author of faith in me.

Surrounded by saints; the witness my wand’ring heart needs.
I’m trusting Your ways and running this race marked for me.
Your promise is true;, so I’ll fix my eyes on You, Lord.

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)

Sunday between August 7 and August 13 inclusive

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)

Sunday between July 31 and August 6 inclusive

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)

Sunday between July 24 and July 30 inclusive

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)

Sunday between July 17 and July 23 inclusive

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)

Sunday between July 10 and July 16 inclusive

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)

Sunday between July 3 and July 9 inclusive

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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