|The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven.|
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1
Rise up, oh children of light, and let us give glory to the Lord, who alone can save our souls. O Lord, as you withdraw sleep from the eyes of my body, grant me wakefulness of mind so that I may stand before you in awe and sing your praises worthily, all of this day. Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Almighty God, since thou delayst with so much forbearance the punishments which we have deserved and daily draw on ourselves, grant that we may not indulge ourselves but carefully consider how often and in how many different ways we have provoked thy wrath against us. May we learn humbly to present ourselves to thee for pardon, and with true repentance implore thy mercy. With all our heart we desire to submit ourselves to thee, whether thou chastisest us, or according to thine infinite goodness, forgivest us. Let our condition be ever blessed, not by flattering ourselves in our apathy, but by finding thee to be our kind and bountiful Father, reconciled to us in thine only-begotten Son. Amen.
~ By Calvin, taken from Prayers of the Reformers compiled by Clyde Manschreck
The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, "See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent." Nathan said to the king, "Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you." But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, "Why have you not built me a house of cedar?" Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever. In accordance with all these words and with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.
The Second Reading is taken from Acts 18:1-11
After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together-- by trade they were tentmakers. Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, "Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles." Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue. Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people." He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.
The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 8:11-21
[The Demand for a Sign] The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, "Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side.
[The Yeast of the Pharisees and of Herod] Now the disciples had forgotten to bring any bread; and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. And he cautioned them, saying, "Watch out-- beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." They said to one another, "It is because we have no bread." And becoming aware of it, Jesus said to them, "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear? And do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" They said to him, "Twelve." "And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you collect?" And they said to him, "Seven." Then he said to them, "Do you not yet understand?"
Psalm 80 Qui regis Israel
1 Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock; shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2 In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh, stir up your strength and come to help us.
3 Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angered despite the prayers of your people?
5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6 You have made us the derision of our neighbors, and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7 Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
8 You have brought a vine out of Egypt; you cast out the nations and planted it.
9 You prepared the ground for it; it took root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered by its shadow and the towering cedar trees by its boughs.
11 You stretched out its tendrils to the Sea and its branches to the River.
12 Why have you broken down its wall, so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
13 The wild boar of the forest has ravaged it, and the beasts of the field have grazed upon it.
14 Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven; behold and tend this vine; preserve what your right hand has planted.
15 They burn it with fire like rubbish; at the rebuke of your countenance let them perish.
16 Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, and son of man you have made so strong for yourself.
17 And so will we never turn away from you; give us life, that we may call upon your Name.
18 Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.
Psalm 77 Voce mea ad Dominum
1 I will cry aloud to God; I will cry aloud, and he will hear me.
2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; my hands were stretched out by night and did not tire; I refused to be comforted.
3 I think of God, I am restless, I ponder, and my spirit faints.
4 You will not let my eyelids close; I am troubled and I cannot speak.
5 I consider the days of old; I remember the years long past;
6 I commune with my heart in the night; I ponder and search my mind.
7 Will the Lord cast me off for ever? will he no more show his favor?
8 Has his loving-kindness come to an end for ever? has his promise failed for evermore?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? has he, in his anger, withheld his compassion?
10 And I said, "My grief is this: the right hand of the Most High has lost its power."
11 I will remember the works of the LORD, and call to mind your wonders of old time.
12 I will meditate on all your acts and ponder your mighty deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is holy; who is so great a god as our God?
14 You are the God who works wonders and have declared your power among the peoples.
15 By your strength you have redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, O God; the waters saw you and trembled; the very depths were shaken.
17 The clouds poured out water; the skies thundered; your arrows flashed to and fro;
18 The sound of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.
19 Your way was in the sea, and your paths in the great waters, yet your footsteps were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Psalm 79 Deus, venerunt
1 O God, the heathen have come into your inheritance; they have profaned your holy temple; they have made Jerusalem a heap of rubble.
2 They have given the bodies of your servants as food for the birds of the air, and the flesh of your faithful ones to the beasts of the field.
3 They have shed their blood like water on every side of Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them.
4 We have become a reproach to our neighbors, an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
5 How long will you be angry, O LORD? will your fury blaze like fire for ever?
6 Pour out your wrath upon the heathen who have not known you and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon your Name.
7 For they have devoured Jacob and made his dwelling a ruin.
8 Remember not our past sins; let your compassion be swift to meet us; for we have been brought very low.
9 Help us, O God our Savior, for the glory of your Name; deliver us and forgive us our sins, for your Name's sake.
10 Why should the heathen say, "Where is their God?" Let it be known among the heathen and in our sight that you avenge the shedding of your servants' blood.
11 Let the sorrowful sighing of the prisoners come before you, and by your great might spare those who are condemned to die.
12 May the revilings with which they reviled you, O Lord, return seven-fold into their bosoms.
13 For we are your people and the sheep of your pasture; we will give you thanks for ever and show forth your praise from age to age.
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
Most blessed Christ, I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. No matter how weak or lowly I may feel, I will always remember your words: that those whom the earth despises — the stones that the builders rejected — have become the cornerstone of your church. Let me be strong in faith and strong in your Spirit; for only by You, Lord Christ, may the gates of righteousness be opened to a sinner. I pray that I may be part of the foundation of your church on earth, and that by your grace, the gates of righteousness may be opened to me and to all who confess your holy name. Amen.
Prayer when Facing a Difficult Decision
Oh Holy Spirit, Christ sent you to us for comfort and guidance when He ascended to heaven, and I ask that you be with me now. I have to make a decision and I turn to you, for even though I have made mistakes in the past, I have faith in you and truly desire that "thy will be done." Help me to empty my mind of all sinful motivation and speak to me, in the quietness of spirit, I pray. Give me grace to lead me in the path of the right decision, one that will help me to live in peace and happiness, but above all, one that will serve you, and one that I will look back upon, when my life is drawing to a close, with gratitude and thanks that I did the right thing. Amen.
(Sit quietly and listen. If your thoughts intrude, simply repeat "thy will be done" quietly.)
A Prayer for Mission
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lead Me To The Cross
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant; Make me perfect in every good work to do your will, working in me that which is well pleasing in your sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory 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.