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).
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.