Grace Northeast Sunday Sermons
Building Blocks of Faith — Why Did Jesus Die?

Building Blocks of Faith — Why Did Jesus Die?

July 18, 2019

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

L: See, says the Lord, my servant shall prosper;
he shall be exalted and lifted up.

A: There were many who were astonished at him—
his appearance so disfigured that he looked less than human--

L: but even more will the nations be amazed at him.
Kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
they will witness things they never saw before,
and consider things they had never heard.

A: Who has believed what we have witnessed?
See how the strength of the Lord has been revealed!

L: For the servant grew up before God like a young seed,
like a root out of dry ground;

A: he had no majesty to make us admire him,
nothing in his appearance to make us honor him.

L: He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and familiar with sin;

A: like someone from whom others turn away their faces,
he was despised, and we thought him of no worth.

L: Surely he has borne our sins and carried our sicknesses;

A: yet we accounted him unwanted,
struck down by God, and afflicted.

L: But he was wounded for our sins,
crushed for our own wrongs;

A: upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.

L: All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,

A: and the Lord has laid on him the sin of us all.

L: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;

A: like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

L: By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?

A: For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the sins of my people.

L: They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there were no lies in his mouth.

A: When you make his life an offering for sin,
he shall see the fruits of his work, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.

L: Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction in his own wisdom.

A: The righteous one, the servant of God,
shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their sins.

L: Therefore God will give him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide treasures with the strong;

A: because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the sinners;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made a way for the broken.

 

Hebrews 9:24-28

Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands -- a mere copy of the true sanctuary of God -- but he entered into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. And he did not enter that sanctuary to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then Jesus would have had to suffer again and again since the beginning of the world. No - he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by sacrificing himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

John 11:45-53

Many of the Judeans saw how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and believed in him. But some of them went to the religious leaders and told them what he had done. So the priests and religious elite called a council meeting, and said, “What do we do? This man is performing miracle after miracle. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy temple and our whole nation of people.” But the high priest said, “You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest he was prophesying: Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but to gather into one all the scattered children of God. So from that day on they planned to put him to death.

Building Blocks of Faith — Who Was Jesus?

Building Blocks of Faith — Who Was Jesus?

July 8, 2019

First Reading: Mark 1:1-15

This is the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Remember how the prophet Isaiah wrote: “I am sending my messenger to prepare the way for you; he will be the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths smooth.’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a washing of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him, and were washed by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. John proclaimed, “There is one more powerful than I, and he is coming after me; I am not worthy even to stoop down and untie his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

At that time the man named Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee. He was washed by John in the Jordan. And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn open and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” That same Spirit then drove him out into the wilderness, where he stayed for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was with wild beasts, and angels waited on him.

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Gospel Reading: Luke 4:16-21

Jesus, filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, returned to his home country of Galilee. Stories about him spread through all the surrounding area. He began teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him and what he had to say.

He came to Nazareth, where he had been raised. On the sabbath day, as usual, he went to the synagogue. He stood up to read the scripture, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.

He unrolled the scroll and found the verse that began:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because God has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
The Lord has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture is being fulfilled in your hearing.”

Building Blocks of Faith: Who is God?

Building Blocks of Faith: Who is God?

July 1, 2019

The first reading was a children's Bible version of the first creation story.

Second reading: 1 John 4:7-13,16b-21

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; 
everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 
Whoever does not love does not know God, 
because God is love. 
God’s love was revealed among us in this way:
God sent the only Son into the world 
so that we might live through him. 
This is love, not that we loved God, 
but that God loved us and sent the Son 
to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
Beloved, since God loved us so much, 
we also ought to love one another. 
No one has ever seen God; 
but if we love one another, God lives in us, 
and God’s love is perfected in us.

God is love.
Those who dwell in love dwell in God, 
and God dwells in them. 
Love has been perfected among us like this,
so that we can be confident when we stand before God,
because just as God is love, so are we in the world.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
Fear has to do with punishment,
and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 
We love because God first loved us.
Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their fellow people, are liars;
for those who do not love another person whom they have seen, 
cannot love God whom they have not seen. 

The commandment we have from God is this: 
those who love God must also love their fellow people.

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. The Father removes any branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit. Every branch that bears fruit is pruned to make it bear even more fruit. You have already been pruned by the word that I have spoken to you. Now, dwell in me as I dwell in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it dwells in and stays connected to the vine, neither can you unless you dwell in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who dwell in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not dwell in me is thrown away, like a branch, and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you dwell in me, and my words dwell in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

Building Blocks of Faith: Theology of the Cross - June 23, 2019

Building Blocks of Faith: Theology of the Cross - June 23, 2019

June 23, 2019
Romans 6:1-11

Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 9:18-25

Once when Jesus was praying alone, with only the disciples near him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the ancient prophets risen from the dead.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.”

He sternly ordered and commanded them not to tell anyone, saying, “The Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?"

Father God & Men of Heart

Father God & Men of Heart

June 17, 2019
HEBREW BIBLE EXODUS 3:1-15 
Leader:  The first reading is from the book of Exodus, 
and is read responsively.

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro; he led the flock through the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire, out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, but it was not consumed by the fire. Then Moses said, 

All:  “I will stop to look at this, 
and find out why the bush has not burned up.” 

When the Lord saw that he had turned aside, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, 

All:  “Here I am.” 

Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Then God said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have seen the misery of my people who are slaves in Egypt; I have heard their cry under the cruelty of their masters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and wide land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” But Moses said to God, 

All:  “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, 
and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 

God said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this very mountain.” But Moses said to God, 

All: “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, 
‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ 
and they ask me, ‘What is God’s name?’ 
what shall I say to them?” 

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” God added, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you. The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’. This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.”

Leader: The Word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.

✠ THE GOOD NEWS Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 

Leader:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the gospel of Luke, the fifteenth chapter.
All:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Now all the tax collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So he told them this parable: 

“There was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the property that will be mine when you die.’ And the father did so. A few days later, the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered all he had in extravagant living. 

When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and the son found himself in need of food and money. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. He longed for even a scrap of the food the pigs had, but no one gave him anything. He came to his senses and said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough to eat, and here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands.”’ 

So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was filled with compassion; he ran to him, hugged him, and kissed his face. Then the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick, bring out a robe—the best one—and put it on him! Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ 

And they began to celebrate. Now his elder son was in the field; and when he came towards the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. He replied, ‘Your brother has returned, and your father has killed the fatted calf, because he has got his son back safe and sound.’ Then the older was furious and refused to go inside. His father came out and begged him, but he answered, ‘Listen! For all these years I have been working like a slave for you, and I have never disobeyed your command; yet you have never given me even a young goat to kill and eat with my friends. But when this son of yours came back, who has devoured your property with extravagance, you killed the fatted calf for him!’ Then the father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found.’”

SERMON Pastor Emmy

A CELEBRATION OF MEN OF HEART

Leader:  On this day when fathers and men are uplifted and celebrated, we join our voices both with those who grieve and those who rejoice, remembering the many fathers of faith who came before us.

Leader:  We remember every man who held his newborn child and found it to be the greatest gift and the hardest task of all. We celebrate with you.
All:  May the God who bears new life in us inspire love in you.

Leader:  We remember fathers who, like Jarius the synagogue leader, have sat beside the beds of children who were sick, and cried out to God on their behalf. We pray alongside you.
All:  May the God who fathers each of us be a source of life for you.

Leader: We remember men who have sought to become fathers and yet, through many life circumstances, find themselves without children to care for. May you, like the Jewish leader Mordecai and the Ethiopian eunuch, find that in your faithfulness to God you bear children of hope to the whole world.
All:  May the God who fathers each of us be a source of life for you.

Leader: We grieve alongside men who, like David and Job, have buried their own children, and alongside men who, like Jacob, have lost their wives well before it seemed fair. We mourn with you.
All:  May the God who fathers each of us be a source of life for you.

Leader: We remember children who face this day, whether for the first time or for the fiftieth time, without a beloved father. May you, like Joseph son of Jacob, know with confidence that your father’s life is honored and his legacies remembered. We mourn with you.
All:  May the God who fathers each of us be a source of life for you.

Leader:  We remember those who face this day in pain from fathers who did not celebrate and uplift the image of God in their children. We celebrate those who, like Esau the brother of Jacob and Joseph Jacob’s son, refuse to continue the cycle of manipulation and abuse, but instead choose to step into reconciliation and healing. We celebrate with you.
All:  May the God who bears new life in us inspire love in you.

Leader: We remember and give thanks for men who, like Joseph the father of Jesus, have made a family through adoption and stepfatherhood. We celebrate with you.
All:  May the God who bears new life in us inspire love in you.

Leader: We remember all those who have found freedom and new life in the difficult process of divorce. We celebrate with you.
All:  May the God who bears new life in us inspire love in you.

Leader: We remember King David and the poets and prophets, who in their mourning and in their celebrating were unafraid to show the fullness of emotion. We celebrate with you.
All:  May the God who bears new life in us inspire love in you.

Leader: We lift up all your children, O God, who have reflected, in ways large and small, your overwhelming compassion. Wherever we may be this day, in grief or joy, may we find ourselves turned towards You, whom Jesus spoke of as a wastefully extravagant father, lavishing us with joy and peace.
All: Amen.

Barriers Down at Pentecost — June 9, 2019

Barriers Down at Pentecost — June 9, 2019

June 10, 2019

HEBREW BIBLE Joel 2:21-29
Leader: The Hebrew Bible reading is from the book of Joel and is read responsively.

Leader: The prophet Joel spoke:
Do not fear, O earth and soil; be glad and rejoice,
for the Lord has done great things!
Do not fear, you cattle of the field and farm,
for the pastures of the wilderness are green;
All: the fig tree bears fruit, the vineyards produce more than ever.
O children of Zion, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God.

Leader: For God has poured down for you abundant rain,
both early and late rains, just as done in days of old.
Your threshing floors shall be full of grain,
the barrels shall overflow with wine and oil.
All: We shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord our God,
who has dealt wondrously with us.

Leader: My people, God says, shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other.
All: And we your people shall never again be put to shame.

Leader: Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions.
Even on the male and female slaves,
in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

Leader: The word of the Lord. All: Thanks be to God.

THE GOOD NEWS Acts 2:1-21, 32-42
Leader: The good news of God’s work in the world, according to the Acts of the Apostles, the second chapter.
All: Glory to you, O Lord.

When the day of Pentecost had come, it was fifty days after the celebration of Passover and the raising of Jesus from the dead. The disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of an overpowering wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Tongues of fire appeared among them, and a flame rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them the power to do.

At this time there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. At the sound of the wind and the languages, the crowd gathered in shock; each one heard the disciples speaking in their own language. Amazed and astonished, they asked,

All: Aren’t these people speaking all from Galilee?
How is it that each of us hear them
in language we can understand?
We come from every corner of the earth,
and yet in our own language we hear
how they proclaim God’s deeds of power.”

Leader: Everyone gathered was amazed and perplexed, asking each other, “What does this mean?” But others sneered and said, “They are just filled with new wine.”

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

‘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.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

Now when they heard this, the people were cut to the heart and said to Peter and to the other apostles,

All: “What should we do?”

Leader: Peter said to them, “Turn away from everything you have done wrong, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone to whom the Lord our God calls.”

So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to the family of believers. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Leader: This is the good news of God’s work in the world.
All: Praise to you, O Christ.

Guest Preacher: Jessica Putland

Guest Preacher: Jessica Putland

June 3, 2019

Acts 16:16-34

The author writes: One day, as we were going to the women’s place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination; she brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews, and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to lock them up as securely as he could. Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he assumed all the prisoners had escaped, and he drew his sword. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself! We are all still here.” The jailer called for torches so that he could see, and rushing into the cell, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out of the cell, and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.

 

Psalm 97

The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;
let every island be glad.
Clouds and darkness surround the Lord;
righteousness and justice are the foundations of God’s throne.

Fire goes before the Lord, burning up enemies on every side.
Lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.

The mountains melt like wax before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens declare your righteousness, O Lord,
and all people see your glory.

The holy city hears and is glad;
the towns and villages rejoice.

For you are the Lord,
most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all other gods.

You who love the Lord, reject evil!
God guards the lives of the faithful
and rescues them from the hand of the wicked.

Rejoice in the Lord, all you righteous,
and give thanks to God’s holy name.

 

John 17:1, 11, 15, 20-24

After his last dinner with the disciples, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Now I am no longer in the world, but my disciples are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name, so that they may be one, as you and I are one. I am not asking you to take them away from the world, but I ask you to protect them from evil. I ask not only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me because of their words, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may those who believe also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me, I have given my disciples, so that they may be one, as you and I are one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

 

Invited Service — May 26, 2019

Invited Service — May 26, 2019

May 28, 2019
FIRST READING Acts 16:9-15 

L:  The first reading is from the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

Paul and Timothy continued to travel throughout the regions around the Mediterranean. One night, Paul had a vision: he saw a man from Macedonia, calling out to him and saying: “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” We immediately headed for Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news there.

We set sail with a straight course from city to city, ending in Philippi, which is a leading city of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We stayed there for a number of days. On the Sabbath, we went through the gate by the river, where we had heard there was a Jewish place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. A woman named Lydia, not a Jew but still a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from a nearby city and a trader of purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what Paul said. She and her whole household were baptized, and then she urged us: “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And so we did, and we continued to join the other women at the place of prayer.

L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God.

SECOND READING Revelation 21:10, 22-22:5 

L:  The second reading is from the book of Revelation.

The revelator writes: And in the spirit an angel carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. 

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 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. No longer will there be any kind of curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and all the servants of God will worship together; they will see God’s face, and the name of God will be on their foreheads. 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. 

L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God.

 
THE GOOD NEWS John 14:23-27

L:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the gospel of John, chapter fourteen.        
A:  Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus said to his disciples, “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. 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.

“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Father will send another in my name: the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will teach you everything, and remind you of everything I said to you when I was with you. 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; do not let them be afraid.”

L: This is the gospel, the good news of our Lord.
A: Praise to you, O Christ.

Making Space — May 19, 2019

Making Space — May 19, 2019

May 20, 2019
FIRST READING Acts 11:1-18
 
The apostles and the believers in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, saying, “Why did you visit and eat with uncircumcised men?” 
 
Peter explained: “Before all that happened, I was praying, and I saw a vision. It looked like a large sheet coming down from heaven, lowered by its four corners. I stared at it, and I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air -- all kinds of unclean animals. Then I heard a voice: ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ I protested, ‘No, Lord! Nothing unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call unclean.’ This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 
 
“At that very moment three Gentile men arrived at the house, looking for me. The Spirit told me to go with them and not to draw lines between them and us. Six fellow believers also went, and we entered a man’s house, a centurion named Cornelius. He told us how he had seen an angel who told him, ‘Send to Joppa and find a believer named Peter; he will give you a message of salvation.’ And as I began to preach, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as it had upon us; they began to speak in tongues and praise our God. Then I remembered how Jesus, when he was with us, had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ So then, if God gave these uncircumcised people the same gift given to us when we believed in Jesus, who was I to hinder God?” When the believers heard this, they were silenced, and then they praised God, saying, “God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.” 
 
 
SECOND READING Revelation 21:1-6
 
The revelator writes: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, beautiful like a bride on her wedding day.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
 
“See, the home of God is among people.
God will dwell with them, and they will be God’s people.
God will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for everything old has passed away.”
 
And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 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.”
 
 
THE GOOD NEWS John 13:31-35
 
After Jesus had washed the feet of the disciples, and Judas had left them, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in God, and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the religious leaders so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow.’ 
 
But I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” 
 
The Diversity of Valor — May 12, 2019

The Diversity of Valor — May 12, 2019

May 13, 2019
Hebrew Bible: Proverbs 31:10-31  
 
L:  The Hebrew Bible reading is from the book of Proverbs, and is read responsively.
 
L:  A woman of valor, who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
A:  Her husband’s heart will trust in her,
   and with her he will have all he needs.
L:  She brings him good and not trouble
   all the days of her life.
A:  She seeks out wool and flax;
   she works joyfully with her hands.
L:  She is like a fleet of merchant ships, bringing food from a distance.
A:  She gets up while it is still night,
   providing food for her household.
L:  She surveys a field and acquires it;
   from her own resources, she plants a vineyard.
A:  She works energetically;
   her arms are powerful.
L:  She rejoices that her trading is successful;
   she doesn’t put out her lamp, but works into the evening.
A:  She puts her hands to the spindle; 
    her palms grasp the loom.
L:  She reaches out to the needy;
   she stretches out her hands to the poor.
A:  She doesn’t fear for her household when it snows,
   because they are all dressed in warm clothes.
L:  She makes bedspreads for herself;
   fine linen and purple are her clothing.
A:  Strength and honor are her clothing;
   she is confident about the future.
L:  Her mouth is full of wisdom;
   compassionate teaching is on her tongue.
A:  She is vigilant over the activities of her household;
   she doesn’t eat the food of laziness.
L:  Her children bless her;
   her husband praises her:
A:  “Many women act competently,
   but you surpass them all!”
Let her share in the results of her work;
   let her deeds praise her in the city gates.
 
L: The Word of the Lord. A: Thanks be to God. 
 
✠ The Good News Acts 9:36-43 
 
L:  The good news of Jesus Christ, according to the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter nine.         
A:  Glory to you, O Lord. 
 
Peter was staying with the believers in Joppa, preaching the good news of Jesus Christ raised from the dead. Now in Joppa, a town nearby, there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha; in Greek her name was Dorcas. (Both words meant “gazelle.”) She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. 
 
While Peter was staying in Lydda, Tabitha suddenly became sick and quickly died. When her friends and family had prepared her body, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples sent two men to Peter, asking, “Please come to us immediately.” Peter 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. 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. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
 
L: This is the gospel, the good news of our Lord.
A: Praise to you, O Christ.