Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Sunday Lectionary Readings for SUNDAY, February 16, 2020 — 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, February 16, 2020 — 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)

God’s Field
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

Opening Statement
Today’s readings challenge us to choose life. As the church, we are called to focus on what God’s kingdom requires, what it blesses, and how the worshiping community is to live out its distinct calling to be the body of Christ. Moses reminds the people of their covenant to worship God alone and to walk in the ways of the Lord. Paul helps the congregation at Corinth to understand and reframe its views of leadership, particularly in relation to understanding the gift of growth that comes through the power of the Spirit. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus begins to move his followers from their assumptions about the ways of God: “You have heard that it was said. . .” to the ways of the gospel: “but I say to you. . . .” The teachings of Jesus confront us with choices, each carrying its own unique consequences. Jesus calls us to choose the practices that will bring God glory and honor.

Opening Prayer
(based on Deuteronomy 30, Matthew 5)
Holy Spirit, guide us as we walk in faith, and guard us against the powers that would draw us away from your love. Help us live according to your commandments, that we might live long in the land you have prepared for us. Prompt us to seek you with our whole heart and guide us to walk in your ways, that we may carry out the vows of the covenant we share. May our words and deeds bring life and faith to others, as we hold fast to the gift of faith. Be near us each and every day, and bless us with your light, that our days may be filled with grace. Amen.

The Collect
(from the Book of Common Prayers)
O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers; and because in our weakness we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, that in keeping your commandments we may please you both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
(based on Deuteronomy 30, 1 Corinthians 3)
Loving God, you call us to walk in your ways, observe your commandments, and love you as you have loved us. You offer us a community of abundant blessing, with rich soil to promote dynamic growth. Yet we often turn away from you to satisfy our own wants and desires. We forsake the way of love and forgiveness, giving in to petty jealousies and quarreling, and surrendering our lofty ideals to our baser inclinations. Forgive us, O God. When we flee from your embrace, draw us into community with you and with one another. Shower us with the cleansing waters of humility, that we may reclaim our purpose and find nourishment and growth in labors of love to bring your kingdom in our midst.

Words of Assurance
(based on Deuteronomy 30, 1 Corinthians 3)
God is alive and at work nurturing our growth, nourishing our needs, and reconciling us to one another. God hears the confessions of our hearts and forgives generously, sharing love with all who follow in God’s ways. It is through God’s amazing grace that we are forgiven.

Prayer of the Day
O God, strength of all who hope in you, because we are weak mortals we accomplish nothing good without you. Help us to see and understand the things we ought to do, and give us grace and power to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

First Reading
Choose life
30:15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. 16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Happy are those who walk in the law
1  Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
     who walk according to the law of the Lord.
2  Blessed are those who keep his statutes
     and seek him with all their heart—
3  they do no wrong
     but follow his ways.
4  You have laid down precepts
     that are to be fully obeyed.
5  Oh, that my ways were steadfast
     in obeying your decrees!
6  Then I would not be put to shame
     when I consider all your commands.
7  I will praise you with an upright heart
     as I learn your righteous laws.
8  I will obey your decrees;
     do not utterly forsake me.

Second Reading
God gives the growth
3:1 Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?

5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

Gospel Acclamation
(based on Matthew 4:14)
Alleluia. You are the light of the world. A city set upon a hill cannot be hid. Alleluia.

The Gospel
The teaching of Christ: forgiveness
5:21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

31 “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

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.

(based on Deuteronomy 30)
As we journey out into the world, may each of us walk in the light of God’s ways, striving to be blameless and just. May our hearts be vessels of God’s love and may the Lord bless us in the land that we are entering. Hold fast. Do not be led astray, and may the love of God be yours this day and forevermore. Go now in peace. Amen.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]

The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, February 16, 2020 — 6th Sunday after the Epiphany
God’s Field
Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37

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