Sunday, January 15, 2017

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

ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
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 8, 2017

Baptism of the Lord/First Sunday in Ordinary Time

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


      
                                   
OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
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. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany (January 6)

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

ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
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 1, 2017

The First Sunday of Christmas

Genesis 14:1-24
Matthew 8:14-34 OR Mark 5:1-20
Hebrews 7:1-28

     

PRAYER OF CONFESSION [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O Christ our Savior, yours in the power of an indestructible life! Yet we are mortal, compromised by sin, easily distracted from you, easily attracted by and accommodated to the surrounding culture. Saving Lord, save us from ourselves, and from every sinful thing that would come between us and you. Cut off every path of retreat from you, that as you draw us to yourself, we would not draw back, but lean forward into your presence, enter your rest, and learn to enjoy eternal fellowship with you, our true King of Peace, our true King of Righteousness!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve


   

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20 OR 7:1-14 OR Ezekiel 33:23-33
Matthew 12:22-50 OR Luke 11:14-36 (37-54)
James 1:17-27

OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Holy and Loving God, by your Holy Spirit, your son Jesus Christ came to expose the darkness of this world, to cast out demons, to deal death to death, and to inaugurate your new heavenly reign in the midst of our languishing earthly reality. Christ Jesus, the only begotten, has declared that everyone who does your will is his brother and sister, and he has blessed all who hear your word and obey it! Indeed, he himself is the Word of God. Help us, therefore, this night and always, to hear and receive him and all the good news concerning him, that we might forever be occupied with the true joy of hearts: Jesus Christ, the Son of David; greater than Solomon, greater than Jonah, greater than all, he is the Word and the Wisdom that gives life!

NOTE ON THE LECTIONS: These lections may seem peculiar for a Christmas Eve service, but I would urge the preacher to consider the possibilities that arise in light of the implicit logos Christology evident in the Epistle of James, in lieu of the more explicit logos Christology of the Johannine literature, then view the other texts through that theology of the Word. The contrast between careless, foolish, vain human speech and the divine and "implanted" word of truth is one that I think frames the whole feast of the Incarnation and the prospect of Epiphany (or Christophany) rather well, actually. In other words, do not be put off by the seeming lack of Christmas themes here. No, there are no nativity stories included, but neither is there a need to preach in isolation from them. The primary consideration, I think, is to approach these lections, not as though they have nothing to say of Christmas, but in the very light of Christmas itself, the Revelation of God in the Incarnation of Jesus: God's saving, embodied speech to the world. Let Christmas have its sway over these texts and vice versa, and new insights will undoubtedly emerge. Ezekiel will remind us that God's revelation is not merely beautiful, but true. Jesus and James will call us to live the faith and not merely profess it. The light of Christ shining amidst the darkness will be understood, not merely esthetically, but in terms of his mission to overthrow the cosmic forces of evil. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Numbers 14:1-25
Psalm 144
John 3:22-38
Hebrews 5:11—6:20

    

OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O LORD of heaven, come down! Let your lightning flash and scatter the darkness! Send out your arrows and rout your enemies. Stretch out your hand from on high, and set this people free from those who speak lies and those who love violence. For you, O LORD, are above all and your testimony is true! Your Son, whom you have sent, has spoken the words he has heard from you, our heavenly Father. May he give to each of us, and to your church, your Holy Spirit without measure.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent

Joshua 23:1-16

      


DECLARATION OF FORGIVENESS [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
It is the Lord your God who has fought on your behalf, keeping your foes and enemies at bay. It is Christ Jesus himself, the Son of God, who has done all things well, and fulfilled God’s promise of a Savior. Therefore, hold fast to the Lord your God, and be very steadfast to observe and do all that he has commanded you, for by the grace of Jesus Christ we are forgiven and saved.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Second Sunday of Advent


OPENING PRAYER [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
You, O God, are the builder of the all things, and Christ Jesus, your Son, the faithful builder of your house, even as he serves as its head and cornerstone. Help us, O Lord, as partners with Christ, to be the house in which you dwell, that we may hold firm to faith and hope until the end, with boldness and unwavering confidence in you. Show your holiness, O God, to this assembly, among this people where your glory abides, in Jesus' name.