|The Coming of Elijah|
The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him. Habakkuk 2:20
Dear Jesus, look down on me this morning with sympathy, for I feel much afflicted. I have a headache and my back hurts. I did not sleep well and I did not sleep long enough. I am worried about my health, I am worried about my money, I am worried about my family. My home needs repairs. People do not give me the respect I deserve. Nobody listens to me.
There is a certain person who is driving me crazy! I don't have as much energy as I used to and I'm not sure I have enough to get everything done today that I want to do, or even, that I need to do.
The crazy and even destructive things people say in the media and the political mess in my locality and my nation make me despair. How can people be so stupid? They just seem to get worse and worse. The country is run by morons; how can people fail to elect people with some minimum of competence and honesty? Even in the churches, people cannot see or understand the most basic things about you, and the hypocrisy of so many Christians makes me half-ashamed to call myself one sometimes.
And then, Lord Christ, I realize. The world is not perfectible. There is only one place free from pain, worry, frustration, and all of the nonsense and damage that the human mind can create, and that is in your bosom. Hold me tight, Lord Jesus; give me the strength to endure the pain, give me the certainty of hope to avoid the anxiety, give me the blessed knowledge of Your coming again that I might not be stressed out about the things of this world; for they shall pass away soon enough.
And in the meantime, let me grow in you, that I might see my own wrongdoing and with the help of your Spirit, simply dissolve it away. It is in this world that Satan can find his prey, the fertile soil for evil. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, great Lord. Help me to prepare myself, I pray, in the name of Your love, Amen.
Confession and Forgiveness
Almighty Father; we enter your presence confessing the things we try to conceal from you and the things we try to conceal from others. We confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow we have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive us, the times we have made it easy for others to do wrong, the harm we have done that makes it hard for us to forgive ourselves. Lord have mercy and forgive us through Christ. Amen.
~ Paul E. Engle, Baker’s Worship Handbook
The First Reading is taken from 2 Samuel 11:1-27
[David Commits Adultery with Bathsheba] In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab with his officers and all Israel with him; they ravaged the Ammonites, and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David rose from his couch and was walking about on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; the woman was very beautiful. David sent someone to inquire about the woman. It was reported, "This is Bathsheba daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite." So David sent messengers to get her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she was purifying herself after her period.) Then she returned to her house. The woman conceived; and she sent and told David, "I am pregnant." So David sent word to Joab, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David. When Uriah came to him, David asked how Joab and the people fared, and how the war was going. Then David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house, and wash your feet." Uriah went out of the king's house, and there followed him a present from the king. But Uriah slept at the entrance of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house. When they told David, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "You have just come from a journey. Why did you not go down to your house?" Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah remain in booths; and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are camping in the open field; shall I then go to my house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do such a thing." Then David said to Uriah, "Remain here today also, and tomorrow I will send you back." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day. On the next day, David invited him to eat and drink in his presence and made him drunk; and in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.
[David Has Uriah Killed] In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die." As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well. Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting; and he instructed the messenger, "When you have finished telling the king all the news about the fighting, then, if the king's anger rises, and if he says to you, 'Why did you go so near the city to fight? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? Who killed Abimelech son of Jerubbaal? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall, so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?' then you shall say, 'Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead too.'" So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent him to tell. The messenger said to David, "The men gained an advantage over us, and came out against us in the field; but we drove them back to the entrance of the gate. Then the archers shot at your servants from the wall; some of the king's servants are dead; and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also." David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab, 'Do not let this matter trouble you, for the sword devours now one and now another; press your attack on the city, and overthrow it.' And encourage him." When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.
The Second Reading is taken from Acts 19:11-20
[The Sons of Sceva] God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims." Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit said to them in reply, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
The Holy Gospel is written in Mark 9:2-13
[The Transfiguration] Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.
[The Coming of Elijah] As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean. Then they asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" He said to them, "Elijah is indeed coming first to restore all things. How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt? But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written about him."
Psalm 83 Deus, quis similis?
1 O God, do not be silent; do not keep still nor hold your peace, O God;
2 For your enemies are in tumult, and those who hate you have lifted up their heads.
3 They take secret counsel against your people and plot against those whom you protect.
4 They have said, "Come, let us wipe them out from among the nations; let the name of Israel be remembered no more."
5 They have conspired together; they have made an alliance against you:
6 The tents of Edom and the Ishmaelites; the Moabites and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines and those who dwell in Tyre.
8 The Assyrians also have joined them, and have come to help the people of Lot.
9 Do to them as you did to Midian, to Sisera, and to Jabin at the river of Kishon:
10 They were destroyed at Endor; they became like dung upon the ground.
11 Make their leaders like Oreb and Zeëb, and all their commanders like Zebah and Zalmunna,
12 Who said, "Let us take for ourselves the fields of God as our possession."
13 O my God, make them like whirling dust and like chaff before the wind;
14 Like fire that burns down a forest, like the flame that sets mountains ablaze.
15 Drive them with your tempest and terrify them with your storm;
16 Cover their faces with shame, O LORD, that they may seek your Name.
17 Let them be disgraced and terrified for ever; let them be put to confusion and perish.
18 Let them know that you, whose Name is YAHWEH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth.
Psalm 85 Benedixisti, Domine
1 You have been gracious to your land, O LORD, you have restored the good fortune of Jacob.
2 You have forgiven the iniquity of your people and blotted out all their sins.
3 You have withdrawn all your fury and turned yourself from your wrathful indignation.
4 Restore us then, O God our Savior; let your anger depart from us.
5 Will you be displeased with us for ever? will you prolong your anger from age to age?
6 Will you not give us life again, that your people may rejoice in you?
7 Show us your mercy, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
8 I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
9 Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
10 Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.
Psalm 86 Inclina, Domine
1 Bow down your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and in misery.
2 Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; save your servant who puts his trust in you.
3 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for you are my God; I call upon you all the day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O LORD, are good and forgiving, and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer, and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O LORD, nor anything like your works.
9 All the nations you have made will come and worship you, O LORD, and glorify your Name.
10 For you are great; you do wondrous things; and you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; knit my heart to you that I may fear your Name.
12 I will thank you, O LORD my God, with all my heart, and glorify your Name for evermore.
13 For great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the nethermost Pit.
14 The arrogant rise up against me, O God, and a band of violent men seeks my life; they have not set you before their eyes.
15 But you, O LORD, are gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger, and full of kindness and truth.
16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me; give your strength to your servant; and save the child of your handmaid.
17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; because you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me.
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
O Lord Jesus Christ, give me a measure of your spirit, that I may be able to obey your teachings, to pacify anger, to pity the sinful, to moderate desire, to increase love, to put away sorrow, to cast aside pride in my accomplishments, not to be vindictive, not to fear death, always entrusting my spirit to Almighty God the Father, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, with no end. Amen.
A Prayer for Guidance
Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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.
performed by Alaska String Band
performed by Alaska String Band
Alleluia! Christ has risen.
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Christ has risen indeed. Alleluia!
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep me from falling away and will bring me with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time, 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.