|The Parable of the Wicked Tenants|
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
O Lord Jesus Christ, draw thou our hearts unto thee; join them together in inseparable love, that we may abide in thee, and thou in us, and that the everlasting covenant between us may stand sure forever. O wound our hearts with the fiery darts of thy piercing love. Let them pierce through all our slothful members and inward powers, that we, being happily wounded, may so become whole and sound. Let us have no lover but thyself alone; let us seek no joy nor comfort except in thee. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Holy god, Lord most gracious!
Rebuke us not in your anger, nor chasten us in your wrath!
Holy you have called us to come to you.
We feel unworthy, for we have failed you again and again.
We feel like running away, yet you keep calling us.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Holy God, Father most gracious!
Rebuke us not in your anger, nor chasten us in your wrath!
Heal us from our sin, for we are troubled.
Deliver us for the sake of your steadfast love.
Our sins trouble us, O God.
We are troubled by how they have hurt others.
We are troubled by how they have hurt us.
Your ways are right! O righteous God!
And whenever we have refused to follow them
we have found out how right they are.
Have mercy on us, O God.
Holy God, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
have mercy on us for the sake of your Son,
who died to free us from our sins.
To you be honor and glory! Amen.
~ The Book of Common Worship (1932)
The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 18:9-18
Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak. His head caught fast in the oak, and he was left hanging between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. A man saw it, and told Joab, "I saw Absalom hanging in an oak." Joab said to the man who told him, "What, you saw him! Why then did you not strike him there to the ground? I would have been glad to give you ten pieces of silver and a belt." But the man said to Joab, "Even if I felt in my hand the weight of a thousand pieces of silver, I would not raise my hand against the king's son; for in our hearing the king commanded you and Abishai and Ittai, saying: For my sake protect the young man Absalom! On the other hand, if I had dealt treacherously against his life (and there is nothing hidden from the king), then you yourself would have stood aloof." Joab said, "I will not waste time like this with you." He took three spears in his hand, and thrust them into the heart of Absalom, while he was still alive in the oak. And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him, and killed him. Then Joab sounded the trumpet, and the troops came back from pursuing Israel, for Joab restrained the troops. They took Absalom, threw him into a great pit in the forest, and raised over him a very great heap of stones. Meanwhile all the Israelites fled to their homes. Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself a pillar that is in the King's Valley, for he said, "I have no son to keep my name in remembrance" he called the pillar by his own name. It is called Absalom's Monument to this day.
The Second Reading is taken from Acts 23:12-24
[The Plot to Kill Paul]
In the morning the Jews joined in a conspiracy and bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. There were more than forty who joined in this conspiracy. They went to the chief priests and elders and said, "We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food until we have killed Paul. Now then, you and the council must notify the tribune to bring him down to you, on the pretext that you want to make a more thorough examination of his case. And we are ready to do away with him before he arrives." Now the son of Paul's sister heard about the ambush; so he went and gained entrance to the barracks and told Paul. Paul called one of the centurions and said, "Take this young man to the tribune, for he has something to report to him." So he took him, brought him to the tribune, and said, "The prisoner Paul called me and asked me to bring this young man to you; he has something to tell you." The tribune took him by the hand, drew him aside privately, and asked, "What is it that you have to report to me?" He answered, "The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down to the council tomorrow, as though they were going to inquire more thoroughly into his case. But do not be persuaded by them, for more than forty of their men are lying in ambush for him. They have bound themselves by an oath neither to eat nor drink until they kill him. They are ready now and are waiting for your consent." So the tribune dismissed the young man, ordering him, "Tell no one that you have informed me of this."
[Paul Sent to Felix the Governor]
Then he summoned two of the centurions and said, "Get ready to leave by nine o'clock tonight for Caesarea with two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen. Also provide mounts for Paul to ride, and take him safely to Felix the governor."
The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 11:27-12:12
[Jesus’ Authority Is Questioned]
Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said, "By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me." They argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But shall we say, 'Of human origin'?"-- they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
[The Parable of the Wicked Tenants]
Then he began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a pit for the wine press, and built a watchtower; then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. When the season came, he sent a slave to the tenants to collect from them his share of the produce of the vineyard. But they seized him, and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent another slave to them; this one they beat over the head and insulted. Then he sent another, and that one they killed. And so it was with many others; some they beat, and others they killed. He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' But those tenants said to one another, 'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. Have you not read this scripture: 'The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord's doing, and it is amazing in our eyes'?" When they realized that he had told this parable against them, they wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowd. So they left him and went away.
Psalm 120 Ad Dominum
1 When I was in trouble, I called to the LORD; I called to the LORD, and he answered me.
2 Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips and from the deceitful tongue.
3 What shall be done to you, and what more besides, O you deceitful tongue?
4 The sharpened arrows of a warrior, along with hot glowing coals.
5 How hateful it is that I must lodge in Meshech and dwell among the tents of Kedar!
6 Too long have I had to live among the enemies of peace.
7 I am on the side of peace, but when I speak of it, they are for war.
Psalm 121 Levavi oculos
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep;
5 The LORD himself watches over you; the LORD is your shade at your right hand,
6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; it is he who shall keep you safe.
8 The LORD shall watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time forth for evermore.
Psalm 122 Lætatus sum
1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD."
2 Now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city that is at unity with itself;
4 To which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, the assembly of Israel, to praise the Name of the LORD.
5 For there are the thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: "May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls and quietness within your towers.
8 For my brethren and companions' sake, I pray for your prosperity.
9 Because of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek to do you good."
Psalm 123 Ad te levavi oculos meos
1 To you I lift up my eyes, to you enthroned in the heavens.
2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their masters, and the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress,
3 So our eyes look to the LORD our God, until he show us his mercy.
4 Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy, for we have had more than enough of contempt,
5 Too much of the scorn of the indolent rich, and of the derision of the proud.
Psalm 124 Nisi quia Dominus
1 If the LORD had not been on our side, let Israel now say;
2 If the LORD had not been on our side, when enemies rose up against us;
3 Then would they have swallowed us up alive in their fierce anger toward us;
4 Then would the waters have overwhelmed us and the torrent gone over us;
5 Then would the raging waters have gone right over us.
6 Blessed be the LORD! he has not given us over to be a prey for their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken, and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the Name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.
Psalm 125 Qui confidunt
1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever.
2 The hills stand about Jerusalem; so does the LORD stand round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
3 The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just, so that the just shall not put their hands to evil.
4 Show your goodness, O LORD, to those who are good and to those who are true of heart.
5 As for those who turn aside to crooked ways, the LORD will lead them away with the evildoers; but peace be upon Israel.
Psalm 126 In convertendo
1 When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream.
2 Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy.
3 Then they said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
4 The LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad indeed.
5 Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like the watercourses of the Negev.
6 Those who sowed with tears will reap with songs of joy.
7 Those who go out weeping, carrying the seed, will come again with joy, shouldering their sheaves.
Psalm 127 Nisi Dominus
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, their labor is in vain who build it.
2 Unless the LORD watches over the city, in vain the watchman keeps his vigil.
3 It is in vain that you rise so early and go to bed so late; vain, too, to eat the bread of toil, for he gives to his beloved sleep.
4 Children are a heritage from the LORD, and the fruit of the womb is a gift.
5 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.
6 Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! he shall not be put to shame when he contends with his enemies in the gate.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayer of the Day
Glory to You, Lord God, bringing from the depth of the earth an endless variety of colors, tastes and scents;
Glory to You for the warmth and tenderness of the world of nature;
Glory to You for the numberless creatures around us;
Glory to You for the depths of Your wisdom, the whole world a living sign of it;
Glory to You: on my knees, I kiss the traces of Your unseen hand;
Glory to You, enlightening us with the clearness of eternal life;
Glory to You for the hope of the unutterable, imperishable beauty of immortality;
Glory to You, O God, from age to age.
A Prayer for Peace
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries; through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for Mission
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth and in all gentleness and in all freedom from anger and forbearance and steadfastness and patient endurance and purity. Amen.
~ Polycarp of Smyrna (69-156)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.