|The Shepherd, by Sieger Köder, ca. 1980.|
Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Hebrews 9:24
Lord, pour your love into my heart, that I may love you above all things, and my neighbors as myself. Through Christ our Lord. Amen
The Old Testament Lesson
The Old Testament Lesson for today is taken from Ezekiel 4:1-17
And you, O mortal, take a brick and set it before you. On it portray a city, Jerusalem; and put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a ramp against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. Then take an iron plate and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel. Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it; you shall bear their punishment for the number of the days that you lie there. For I assign to you a number of days, three hundred ninety days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment; and so you shall bear the punishment of the house of Israel. When you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah; forty days I assign you, one day for each year. You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, and with your arm bared you shall prophesy against it. See, I am putting cords on you so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege. And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred ninety days, you shall eat it. The food that you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; at fixed times you shall eat it. And you shall drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; at fixed times you shall drink. You shall eat it as a barley-cake, baking it in their sight on human dung. The LORD said, "Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread, unclean, among the nations to which I will drive them." Then I said, "Ah Lord GOD! I have never defiled myself; from my youth up until now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by animals, nor has carrion flesh come into my mouth." Then he said to me, "See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." Then he said to me, Mortal, I am going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with fearfulness; and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. Lacking bread and water, they will look at one another in dismay, and waste away under their punishment.
The Epistle Lesson
The Epistle Lesson for today is taken from Hebrews 6:1-12
Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this, if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over. Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
The Holy Gospel Lesson
The Holy Gospel is written in Luke 9:51-62
When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him. On their way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make ready for him; but they did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But he turned and rebuked them. Then they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."
Psalm 89:1-18 Misericordias Domini
1 Your love, O LORD, for ever will I sing; from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2 For I am persuaded that your love is established for ever; you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3 I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4 'I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations.'"
5 The heavens bear witness to your wonders, O LORD, and to your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones;
6 For who in the skies can be compared to the LORD? who is like the LORD among the gods?
7 God is much to be feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible to all those round about him.
8 Who is like you, LORD God of hosts? O mighty LORD, your faithfulness is all around you.
9 You rule the raging of the sea and still the surging of its waves.
10 You have crushed Rahab of the deep with a deadly wound; you have scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
11 Yours are the heavens; the earth also is yours; you laid the foundations of the world and all that is in it.
12 You have made the north and the south; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in your Name.
13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand and high is your right hand.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne; love and truth go before your face.
15 Happy are the people who know the festal shout! they walk, O LORD, in the light of your presence.
16 They rejoice daily in your Name; they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17 For you are the glory of their strength, and by your favor our might is exalted.
18 Truly, the LORD is our ruler; The Holy One of Israel is our King.
Psalm 89:19-52 Tunc locutus es
19 You spoke once in vision and said to your faithful people: "I have set the crown upon a warrior and have exalted one chosen out of the people.
20 I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.
21 My hand will hold him fast and my arm will make him strong.
22 No enemy shall deceive him, nor any wicked man bring him down.
23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down those who hate him.
24 My faithfulness and love shall be with him, and he shall be victorious through my Name.
25 I shall make his dominion extend from the Great Sea to the River.
26 He will say to me, 'You are my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.'
27 I will make him my firstborn and higher than the kings of the earth.
28 I will keep my love for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him.
29 I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of heaven."
30 If his children forsake my law and do not walk according to my judgments;
31 If they break my statutes and do not keep my commandments;
32 I will punish their transgressions with a rod and their iniquities with the lash;
33 But I will not take my love from him, nor let my faithfulness prove false.
34 I will not break my covenant, nor change what has gone out of my lips.
35 Once for all I have sworn by my holiness: 'I will not lie to David.
36 His line shall endure for ever and his throne as the sun before me;
37 It shall stand fast for evermore like the moon, the abiding witness in the sky.'"
38 But you have cast off and rejected your anointed; you have become enraged at him.
39 You have broken your covenant with your servant, defiled his crown, and hurled it to the ground.
40 You have breached all his walls and laid his strongholds in ruins.
41 All who pass by despoil him; he has become the scorn of his neighbors.
42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes and made all his enemies rejoice.
43 You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not sustained him in battle.
44 You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground.
45 You have cut short the days of his youth and have covered him with shame.
46 How long will you hide yourself, O LORD? will you hide yourself for ever? how long will your anger burn like fire?
47 Remember, LORD, how short life is, how frail you have made all flesh.
48 Who can live and not see death? who can save himself from the power of the grave?
49 Where, Lord, are your loving-kindnesses of old, which you promised David in your faithfulness?
50 Remember, Lord, how your servant is mocked, how I carry in my bosom the taunts of many peoples,
51 The taunts your enemies have hurled, O LORD, which they hurled at the heels of your anointed.
52 Blessed be the LORD for evermore! Amen, I say, Amen.
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
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
Prayer for Faith
Give us, Lord, a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of you. Take from us all lukewarmness in meditation, dullness in prayer. Give us fervor and delight in thinking of you and your grace, your tender compassion towards me. The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
A Prayer for Mission
Heavenly Father, Christ left with us his instructions to spread the gospel into every nook and cranny of the world, to let others know about him and find him, to save their souls and bring them into true peace and your ultimate purpose for us. But I am so stupid and ignorant, I do not know what to say. I am so filled with a desire not to offend others that I am afraid to speak up. It is so much easier for me just to sit back and leave everything up to you, or up to professional preachers. I retreat into thinking that this is somebody else's job.
Help me dear Lord to do your work. I promise to try, but I cannot do this without your. Fill me with the fire of your Holy Spirit and give me the words and the strength, if only to witness how much you have meant to me in my own life. Give me strength to plunge straight through feelings of awkwardness or potential hostility, and to offer to you just the simplest witness before others. For I know that if I help only one person to find you, it is worth ten thousand rejections. Bless me to remember, that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
In Christ's name, I pray, Amen.
Have I Done Any Good?
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine: Glory to him from generation to generation in the Church, and in Christ Jesus for ever and ever. Amen
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.