Isaiah 6:8-13 OR Ezekiel 17:22-24 OR 31:1-18 OR Daniel 4:1-37
Matthew 13:10-17 (18-33) 34-35 OR Mark 4:1-25 OR Luke 8:4-25; 13:18-21
Ephesians 4:17-25 (4:26-5:1-2) 5:3-7 OR 2Peter 2:1-22
PRAYER OF CONFESSION [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
O God our Father, you sent your Son, your holy seed, into the world, speaking parables and proclaiming what had been hidden from the foundation of the world. Yet, we confess, though we have heard much, we have listened little; though we have seen much, we have perceived little. Our hearts have grown dull, and our ears are hard of hearing; we have often shut our eyes, and in doing so, closed ourselves off from the healing that you would give us, if we were simply to turn to you. So now we turn to you, in earnest, asking your forgiveness. May we never again shy away from the narrow gate, or be like the newly-washed sow that soon trots off to wallow in the mud. Let not your word be snatched from our hearts, neither let it be rootless or choked by the cares, the riches, and the pleasures of the world. Help us to endure in times of testing, and to pay attention to how we listen to and receive you, for we have had enough more than enough of our dullness, deafness, and sin, and we would have your kingdom come among us; we would have your Son, Jesus Christ, reign over us, no longer concealed in parables, but manifest and glorified, for every eye to see.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON [from GREATER ATTENTION: LERW, YEAR D]
Hear the good news! The LORD knows how to rescue the godly from trial. In Christ Jesus, the holy seed, God has spoken, and he will accomplish his redeeming purpose for those who trust in him. What is more, he has revealed to you the secrets of the kingdom of heaven! Blessed are you who have heard the truth and received it! For to those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. Therefore, live as those on whom the good seed has fallen, as those who, having heard the word, now hold it fast in an honest and good heart and bear fruit with patient endurance. Let your light shine, so that others may see it. Let no greed or impurity of any kind even be mentioned among you, as is proper among the saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving! For though no impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), will have any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God, you who belong to Christ stand to share in his inheritance with him and with all the saints who have been forgiven, recreated, and redeemed. Praise the LORD!