Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, September 13, 2020 — 15th Sunday After Pentecost

The Daily Readings
 SUNDAY, September 13, 2020 — 15th Sunday After Pentecost
 Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
 The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

Opening Sentences
The passages from Exodus and Matthew share the theme of deliverance. Neither the Israelites nor the slave in Jesus’ parable do anything to earn their deliverance—it is offered in grace and mercy. The Israelites respond with a song of praise to God. The slave, however, does not show grace or mercy and is punished. Romans offers a theme of being set apart. Just as we have received grace, mercy, and forgiveness, we, who are in Christ, are set apart to do likewise.

Opening Prayer
In this moment, gracious God, you have called us away from the world to a place and a time where we can commune with you and with one another. Hallow this communion, we pray. Calm our anxious spirits, that we may be set apart to hear your word of truth through which we receive grace to bring about the obedience of faith. Open us to the reality of your all-embracing love, both in this place and in the wider world. May we, by our words and actions, be bearers of your kingdom, in the name and Spirit of the Christ. Amen.

Prayer of Confession
Just like Peter, Lord, we want to get all “legalistic” about forgiveness. We want to know if one time to forgive someone is sufficient. We might even be willing to extend forgiveness twice, but we have a tendency to follow the adage, “Once burned, twice shy.” Teach us to be humble and merciful. Remind us of the many ways in which you have offered, time and time again, your forgiving love to us. Heal our wounds and bind up our brokenness. For we ask this in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon
In the name of Jesus Christ, each one of us has received healing mercies. We are now given opportunities to offer forgiveness and redemption to one another. May the peace of Jesus Christ be with us all. Amen.

First Reading
Israel delivered at the sea
The great work of deliverance is attributed to God and God alone. Literally, the passage refers to “the mighty hand of the Lord” (v. 31), which powerfully acted on behalf of his people and broke the shackles of their slavery. The people clearly understood the might of God displayed in this act because they responded in awestruck fear. The great work of a great God propelled Israel into their subsequent journey toward the promised land.

Throughout human history the strong arm of the Lord has worked on behalf of his people. He gave them victory and delivered them from the dire circumstances caused by their sinful rebellion (Ps 89:13; 118:15–24), foreshadowing the climactic moment when God broke into human history through the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ perfect life, substitutionary death and victorious resurrection accomplish a far greater work of deliverance than the exodus from Egypt. Christ’s work accomplished a “great” salvation for all his people (Heb 2:3). Like the nation of Israel responded, our proper response to the great work accomplished by this great God is awestruck worship.
14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:

20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.

24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.

27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.

31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.

Tremble O earth
Our God is the God of all creation. He split the Red Sea and parted the Jordan River (v. 3). He made the mountains and earth shake (vv. 4, 7). He turned solid rock into springs of water (v. 8). Marking moments in Israel’s history, the psalmist focused his meditation entirely on God’s power and majesty. This is the second of six Passover prayers sung by devout Israelites.

As you pray, consider how Jesus can bring a spring of living water from hardened hearts (John 4:10, 14). Ask Him to do that among your loved ones who have turned away from God. Use this psalm as a guide to praise God for His awesome power.
114:1 When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language;

2 Judah was his sanctuary, and Israel his dominion.

3 The sea saw it, and fled: Jordan was driven back.

4 The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

5 What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest? thou Jordan, that thou wast driven back?

6 Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like lambs?

7 Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob;

8 Which turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters.

Second Reading
When brothers and sisters judge each other
Paul took the “Jesus Movement” all across the Roman Empire in the First Century CE. He brought the message of the Risen Christ to people and places far away from the Jewish communities where Jesus lived and taught. People of diverse practices and backgrounds around the Mediterranean world were drawn to new communities founded by Paul. Conflicts often arose in those communities about what constituted faithful practices: was it necessary for a Gentile follower of Jesus to first become a Jew, and follow Jewish Law? Or, could a Gentile follow Jesus without first adopting a Jewish way of life, including dietary practices and Sabbath observance? These conflicts were serious, and could potentially tear communities apart. In his letter, Paul does not take a side. Instead, he encourages all in the community to keep eyes on what is important: faithfulness to Jesus, thanksgiving to God, leaving judgment to God. Within this view, many different ways of following Jesus are possible.
14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

The Gospel
A parable of forgiveness
To help Peter understand the meaning of forgiveness, Jesus told this parable about a king who compassionately forgave a servant’s huge debt (v. 27). Later, the servant who had been set free refused to forgive a friend’s small debt and sent the man to jail (v. 30). By telling this parable, Jesus made it clear to Peter that he hadn’t realized the immensity of his own sin—sin that God would forgive through Jesus’ death on the cross. If Peter had been humble enough to see his true brokenness, he never would have asked Jesus the question.

Take a moment to consider the size of your sin. Then thank God for size of His forgiveness.
18:21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Here end the Readings

Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostles’ Creed

  • I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
  • I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
  • I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us;. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Holy Communion

A nondenominational serving of bread and wine
Many churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.

As you have been forgiven, now go into a world that needs your forgiving, healing touch. Bring peace and hope to others, sharing God’s love with them. 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, King James Version (KJV).

The Daily Bible Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year A. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, we will be in Year B. The year which ended at Advent 2019 was Year C. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts.
The Daily Bible Readings
SUNDAY, September 13, 2020 — 15th Sunday After Pentecost
Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
The Holy Bible, King James Version (KJV)

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