Proper 15 (Year C)

Summary & Song

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

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 5) | Multitracks

Author of Faith in Me

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

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

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

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

Lectionary Readings

Jeremiah 23:23–29

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

Psalm 82

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:29—12:2

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

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

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

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

Luke 12:49–56

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 82:8

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

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Hebrews 12:1-2

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

Affirmation of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 14 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 15:1–6

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

Psalm 33:12–22

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

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

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

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

Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16

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

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

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

Luke 12:32–40

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 33:20-22

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

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

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

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Luke 12:32-40

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Hebrews 11:1–3, 8–16

Brothers and sisters, what do believe concerning faith?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 13 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–23

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

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

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

Psalm 49:1–12

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

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

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

Colossians 3:1–11

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

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

Luke 12:13–21

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Colossians 3:1-4

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

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

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

Call to Confession

Based on Colossians 3:5

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

Prayer of Confession

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

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

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Colossians 3:3, 10

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 3:5-11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 12 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 18:20–32

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

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

Psalm 138

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

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

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

Colossians 2:6–19

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

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

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

Luke 11:1–13

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

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 138:4-5

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

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

Prayer of Adoration

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

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 2:8-14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 11 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Genesis 18:1–10a

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

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

Psalm 15

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

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

Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Colossians 1:15–28

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

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

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

Luke 10:38–42

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Luke 10:38-42

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

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 15

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Colossians 1:15–20

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 10 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Deuteronomy 30:9–14

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

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

Psalm 25:1–10

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

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

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

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

Colossians 1:1–14

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

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

Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

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

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

Luke 10:25–37

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 25:8-10

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

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

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

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Colossians 1:1-14

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Deuteronomy 30:14; Luke 10:27

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

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

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

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Proper 9 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 66:10–14

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

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

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

Psalm 66:1–9

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

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

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

Galatians 6:1–16

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

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

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

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

Luke 10:1–11, 16–20

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 66:1-2, 4-5

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

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

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

Prayer of Intercession

Based on Luke 10:1–11, 16–20

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

Affirmation of Faith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 8 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

1 Kings 19:15–16, 19–21

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

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

Psalm 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Galatians 5:1, 13–25

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

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

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

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

Luke 9:51–62

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 16:7-8

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

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

Prayer of Adoration

Based on Psalm 16

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Galatians 5:1, 13–25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Proper 7 (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 65:1–9

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

Psalm 22:19–28

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

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

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

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

Galatians 3:23–29

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

Luke 8:26–39

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 22:27-28

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

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

Prayer of Renewal

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Galatians 3:26, 28

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

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

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

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Trinity Sunday (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31

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

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

Psalm 8

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 5:1–5

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

John 16:12–15

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 8:1-5, 9

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

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

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

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

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Based on Romans 5:1-5

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on John 16:12-15

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

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

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

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

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Day of Pentecost (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Acts 2:1–21

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

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

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

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

Psalm 104:24–35

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

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

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

Romans 8:14–17

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

John 14:8–17, 25–27

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

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Acts 2:17; Psalm 104:31-33

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

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

Prayer of Renewal

Based on John 14:8–17, 25–27

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Romans 8:14-17

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

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

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

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

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Ascension of the Lord (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

ACTS 1:1-11

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

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

PSALM 47

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

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

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

EPHESIANS 1:15-23

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

LUKE 24:44-53

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Psalm 47

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

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

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

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

Let us worship our ascended Lord.

Prayer of Confession

Based on Ephesians 1:17-21

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

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

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Luke 24:46-47

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Acts 1:1-11

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

We believe that after he suffered, 

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

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

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

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

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Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Acts 16:9–15

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

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

Psalm 67

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

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

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

Revelation 21:10, 21:22—22:5

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

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

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

John 14:23–29

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

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 67:4-5

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

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

Prayer of Renewal

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on 21:10, 22-27

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

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

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

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

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

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Fifth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

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

Lectionary Readings

Acts 11:1–18

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

Psalm 148

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revelation 21:1–6

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

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

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

John 13:31–35

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based Psalm 148:1-5

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

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

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

Let us worship the Lord!

Prayer of Renewal

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Revelation 21:1-6

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

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

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

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

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

“See, I am making all things new.

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

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Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd, Year C)

Summary & Song

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

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 2)

Psalm 23 (The Lord’s My Shepherd)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lectionary Readings

Acts 9:36–43

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

Psalm 23

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

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

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

Revelation 7:9–17

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 10:22–30

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

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Revelation 7:9-12

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

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

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

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

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Based on Psalm 23

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

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

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

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

Affirmation of Faith

Based on John 10:27-28

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

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

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Third Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Saul sees a blinding light and is converted on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-20). The psalmist sings: O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; my soul praises you (Psalm 30). The apostle John writes: The choirs of heaven sing: Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Amen! In John we read about a miraculous catch of fish; Jesus tells Simon Peter: Feed my sheep (John 21:1-19).

Lectionary Readings

Acts 9:1–20

1 Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

10 Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; 16 I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

Psalm 30

1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.

8 To you, O Lord, I cried,
and to the Lord I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
12 so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Revelation 5:11–14

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 singing with full voice,

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might
forever and ever!”

14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

John 21:1–19

1 After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. 2 Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. 8 But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

9 When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” 19 (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 30:4-5

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.

Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.

Call to Confession

Based on Psalm 30:2

Because our God hears our cries and heals us,
let us come and confess our sins before him.

Prayer of Confession

Based on Acts 9:1-20; John 21:15-17

Holy God, we confess that, like Saul,
we often go about our lives with misdirected zeal.
Thinking we are ministering in your name,
we harbor murder and hatred in our hearts.
Forgive us, O God, and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
Show us your glory and, by your grace,
remove our spiritual blindness that we would see
all the ways we fail to love you and others.
Like Peter, restore us and make us whole.
Help us to feed your sheep, care for the hurting,
and reach out to the lost with good news of new life. Amen.

Assurance of Forgiveness

Based on Psalm 30:11

Forgiving God, you turn our mourning into dancing;
you remove our sin and shame and clothe us with joy and gladness.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Revelation 5:11-13

What do we believe concerning John’s vision of heaven?

We believe he heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne
and the living creatures and the elders.

We believe they numbered myriads of myriads
and thousands of thousands, and were singing with full voice,

Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power
and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!

We believe he heard every creature in heaven and on earth
and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,

To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

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Second Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday Peter stands trial before the council: we must obey God (Acts 5:27–32). The psalmist sings: Praise the Lord! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! (Psalm 150) The apostle John writes: Jesus is coming; I am the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord (Revelation 1:4–8). In John, Jesus shares the Holy Spirit; a week later, he appears to Thomas (John 20:19–31).

Lectionary Readings

Acts 5:27–32

27 When they had brought them, they had them stand before the council. The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you are determined to bring this man’s blood on us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than any human authority. 30 The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”

Psalm 150

1 Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!
2 Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

3 Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
4 Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
5 Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
6 Let everything that breathes praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

Revelation 1:4–8

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Look! He is coming with the clouds;
every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

So it is to be. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

John 20:19–31

19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Psalm 150

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty firmament!

Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his surpassing greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound;
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!

Praise him with clanging cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Prayer of Renewal

Based on John 20:19-31

Lord Jesus, we are grateful
that you are present among your people;
that you have given us the Holy Spirit
to be our Advocate and Teacher.
Help us to forgive others as we have been forgiven.
As with Thomas, remove our doubts
and fears and grant us peace.
Give us faith to believe in what we do not see;
that we may have life in your name. Amen.

Affirmation of Fatih

Based on Revelation 1:5-8

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

We believe that Jesus loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
and has made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father.

We believe all glory and dominion belong to him forever and ever.

We believe that one day he will be coming with the clouds;
and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;
and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.

We believe Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega,
the one who is and who was and who is to come.

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Easter Sunday (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday, God promises a new creation, where all creatures will live in safety (Isaiah 65:17-25). The psalmist declares: I will not die, I will live; this is the day that the Lord has made (Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24). The apostle Paul writes: As death came through Adam, resurrection comes through Christ (1 Corinthians 15:19–26). In Luke, women find Jesus’ tomb empty; he has been raised from the dead (Luke 24:1–12).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 65:17–25

17 For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
24 Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.

Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

14 The Lord is my strength and my might;
he has become my salvation.

15 There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
16 the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has punished me severely,
but he did not give me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

1 Corinthians 15:19–26

19 If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. 21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; 22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Luke 24:1–12

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Isaiah 65:17-18

I am about to create new heavens and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Luke 24:1-9; Psalm 118:14

Risen Lord,
we know that you are making all things new,
but too often, like the women who first came to the empty tomb,
we are perplexed and confused by your ways.
We doubt your goodness and the promises in your word.
Fill us with faith to believe all that you have revealed
to us about your grace and your steadfast love.
May we sing boldly with the psalmist:
The Lord is our strength and our might;
he has become our salvation;
through Jesus Christ, our living Savior. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based 1 Corinthians 15:20-25

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning the resurrection?

We believe that Christ was raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have died.

We believe that since death came through a human being,
the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;
for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

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Palm Sunday (Year C)

Summary

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet writes: The Lord God helps me; who will declare me guilty? (Isaiah 50:4-9a) The psalmist sings: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29). The apostle Paul writes: Seek the mind of Christ, who was humble, but exalted by God (Philippians 2:5-11). In Luke, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a colt; the disciples praise God with joy (Luke 19:28-40).

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 50:4–9a

4 The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
6 I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.

7 The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8 he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9 It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?
All of them will wear out like a garment;
the moth will eat them up.

Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29

1 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his steadfast love endures forever!

2 Let Israel say,
“His steadfast love endures forever.”

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the Lord.

20 This is the gate of the Lord;
the righteous shall enter through it.

21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!
O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!

26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God,
and he has given us light.
Bind the festal procession with branches,
up to the horns of the altar.

28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God, I will extol you.

29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.

Philippians 2:5–11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

9 Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Luke 19:28–40

28 After he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.

29 When he had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32 So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 They said, “The Lord needs it.” 35 Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, 38 saying,

“Blessed is the king
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven,
and glory in the highest heaven!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Based on Luke 19:29–38

LEADER:
When Jesus had come near Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you, and as you enter it you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it.’” So those who were sent departed and found it as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord needs it.” Then they brought it to Jesus; and after throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road. As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

PEOPLE:
“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Prayer of Adoration

Based on Psalm 118:1–2, 21-24, 26, 29

O Lord, we give you thanks for you are good;
your steadfast love endures forever!
We thank you that you answer us
and have become our salvation.
We know that Jesus, who was rejected,
has become the chief cornerstone.
This is your doing, O Lord,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

As your people, may we proclaim:
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
And give us hearts that declare:
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We give you thanks for you are good,
your steadfast love endures forever.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Philippians 2:5–11

Brothers and sisters, what do we believe concerning
the humility and exaltation of Christ Jesus?

We believe that Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.

We believe that, being found in human form,
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

We believe, therefore, that God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

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Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

Summary & Song

In the readings for this Sunday the prophet writes: I am about to do a new thing, says the Lord; do you perceive it? (Isaiah 43:16-21) The psalmist sings: When the Lord restored our fortunes, we shouted with joy (Psalm 126). The apostle Paul writes: Knowing Christ Jesus as Lord, I regard everything else as loss (Philippians 3:4b-14). In John, Mary anoints Jesus feet with perfume at the home of Lazarus (John 12:1-8).

Lead Sheet, Lead Sheet (capo 1), Lead Sheet (capo 3) | Multitracks

Psalm 126 (When God First Brought Us Back)

Words by Carl P. Daw, Jr. (Based on Psalm 126 / Traditional American Melody
Arranged by Paxson Jeancake, 2019

When God first brought us back from exile we were as dazed as those who dream.
Then were our mouths brimming with laughter; joy from our lips gushed like a stream.
The godless cried in envious wonder, “Look what the Lord has done for them!”
Indeed our God has greatly blessed us; rejoice and sing, Jerusalem!

Once more, O Lord, restore Your people; come with your saving help again,
as to the brook-beds in the desert, You bring the sweet, reviving rain.
Let those who sow with tears and sighing sing as they reap and joy proclaim:
May those who weep when seed is scattered, gather their sheaves and praise Your name.

Lectionary Readings

Isaiah 43:16–21

16 Thus says the Lord,
who makes a way in the sea,
a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings out chariot and horse,
army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
19 I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
20 The wild animals will honor me,
the jackals and the ostriches;
for I give water in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
21 the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

Psalm 126

1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.

4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
carrying their sheaves.

Philippians 3:4b–14

If anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

7 Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11 if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 12:1–8

1 Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 2 There they gave a dinner for him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at the table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and the money given to the poor?” 6 (He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he kept the common purse and used to steal what was put into it.) 7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial. 8 You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

Liturgical Elements

Call to Worship

Isaiah 43:18-19, 20b-21

Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert,
to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself
so that they might declare my praise.

Prayer of Renewal

Based on Psalm 126:4-6; John 12:1-8

Restore us, O Lord,
like streams in the desert.
May those who plant in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
Like Mary, may we be extravagant
in our love and worship of you.
Give us generous hearts
that long to serve our neighbors
and reach out to those who do not know you.
In your holy name we pray. Amen.

Affirmation of Faith

Based on Philippians 3:7-14

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

We believe that whatever gains we had,
these we have come to regard as loss because of Christ.

We regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of
knowing Christ Jesus our Lord,
being found in him,
not having a righteousness of our own that comes from the law,
but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith.

We want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection
and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,
that we may attain the resurrection from the dead.

We do not believe that we have already obtained this or have already reached the goal;
but we press on to make it our own, because Christ Jesus has made us his own.

Forgetting what lies behind, we strain forward to what lies ahead,
and we press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

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