Monday, February 8, 2016

Why the creed(s) in public worship?

Twenty-five years after releasing A Soundtrack for the Close of the Age with a simple, unadorned statement of "The Apostles' Creed" as the first track — probably the least successful marketing strategy of all time (of course, that was not the intent) — I ran across this statement that, better than I have ever been able to put into words, explains why the Creed deserved (and deserves) such a prominent place:
"A declaration of personal trust and allegiance is in reality a high form of worship; to recite a creed is no barren and dry test of orthodoxy; it is a loving outburst of a loyal heart, and a claim to receive the blessing promised to members of Christ, children of God, and heirs of heaven. The well-instructed Christian will on no account part with creeds as portions of public worship." — Bishop Harvey Goodwin, The Foundations of the Creed, p. 11; quoted in A. J. Worlledge, Prayer: The Oxford Library of Practical Theology, 2nd ed. (London, New York, Bombay: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1902), p. 73

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Transfiguration Sunday

Job 36:24-37:24
Psalm 11
Matthew 8:5-13 OR John 4:43-54
Jude (OR Hebrews 13:9-14, 17-25, if Transfiguration preempts Fifth OT)


Almighty God, surrounded with golden splendor, you are awesome in your majesty! Who can look upon you in your radiance? You load the clouds with moisture and from your chamber come the whirlwind and the rain. They turn round and round by your guidance, and accomplish on the earth all that you command. You say, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and the showers serve as a sign to everyone, so that all whom you have made may know you are God. Whether for correction, or for your creation, or for love, you cause it to happen, thus providing for people everywhere and giving food from heaven in abundance. Therefore, we praise you, O God. We give you thanks, O Lord, even as we seek sanctuary in you, our refuge; even as we take shelter in your holy loving presence, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Beloved of God.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time*

Job 33:1-33
Psalm 34:11-18
Matthew 12:1-21 OR Mark 3:7-19 OR Luke 6:1-16
Hebrews 12:(1-3) 4-17


Praise be to you, O Lord of the Sabbath, for you have made the Sabbath for our sake, taking in to account our need for refreshment, renewal, and rest! Yet you have also called us to be disciplined, and you discipline those whom you love, and chastise every child whom you accept. Thank you, LORD, that even your discipline, though it may seem painful rather than pleasant at the time, is a sign of your love and acceptance. Therefore, come! Receive our praise and teach us! Grant each of us a teachable spirit, not concerning ourselves, for the moment, with what our neighbors need to hear, but listening to your voice speaking to our own particular need. Instruct and inspire us, correct and admonish us, that we may share in your holiness, and trust in the knowledge that you only ever discipline us for our good.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

Job 32:1-22
Psalm 89:5-18; 38-52
Hebrews 11:(1-3) 4-7, 17-28 (39-40)
Luke 5:27-39


CALL TO WORSHIP [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]                                
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
            For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD?
            Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD?
The LORD is a God feared in the council of the holy ones,
great and awesome above all that are around him!
            O LORD God of hosts, who is as mighty as you?
            Your faithfulness, O LORD, surrounds you!
Happy are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance!
            Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Isaiah 26:7-27:1 
Psalm 109
Hebrews 10:1-4, 10-14, 26-39
Matthew 8:1-4; 9:1-8 OR Luke 5:12-26

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has come with authority to forgive sins, and with power to perform miracles so as to confirm the good news of forgiveness: In a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay; and those who have been made righteous in him will live by faith. Therefore, have faith. Let nothing cause you to shrink back and so be lost, but have confidence in God, and stand firm among those who share faith in the Lord and so are saved. For in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Baptism of the Lord/First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Leviticus 16:1-34
Psalm 69
Matthew 14:1-12
Hebrews 9:1-28

Lord God of Hosts, in whose beloved Son Jesus Christ we are joined together through the one baptism, begun in the Jordan and completed on the cross, draw near and refresh us with your presence, restore us to the joy of your salvation, for our prayer is to you alone, O Lord. May this be an acceptable time, O God, for you speak to us and answer us in the abundance of your steadfast love, for though we are yours through the waters of regeneration, yet there remain many forces in this world that threaten to overwhelm and swallow us up. Do not hide your face from your servants in distress, but reveal yourself and make haste to answer us; with your faithful help rescue us from sinking in the mire of this dying world. Draw near and redeem your people; set us free from every enemy, every entrapment, every temptation, and every snare. Deliver us from the deep waters into the new life that Christ alone offers us, who is at once the Lamb of God and the High Priest of the new and better and everlasting covenant. This we ask in Jesus’ name. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Epiphany (January 6)

Deuteronomy 4:9-24 (25-31) 32-40                    
Psalm 75 OR Psalm 76
1John 2:3-29
John 5:31-47

Let the Word that you have heard from the beginning abide in you! For this is the good news: If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. As the word of God abides in you, your sins are forgiven on account of his name, and you have overcome the evil one. Therefore, receive the Spirit of the Lord, who has promised you eternal life. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Second Sunday of Christmas

Exodus 25:1-40
Psalm 73
Matthew 11: (1-11) 12-24 (25-30) OR Luke 7:18-35
Hebrews 8:1-13

Our Holy and Gracious God, truly you are good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But we confess that we have harbored envy, pride, and bitterness in our hearts. We have seen how the wicked seem to prosper, at least for a time, yet we have often failed to see the slippery slopes on which you have placed them. Forgive us, O God, for our foolishness, for our ignorance and blindness, for desiring things that are contrary to your will, for being untrue to the circle of your children. For there is nothing on earth worth desiring above you, and we have no hope of heaven apart from you. Forgive us, O God, and lead us ever more deeply into your will, for it is good for us to be near you, and to have Christ Jesus, your Son, as our refuge.