Ash Wednesday; Year B (2/14/2018)

Lessons:
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
or
Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17
2nd Corinthians 5:20b-6:10
St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

[Jesus said,] 6.1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Jesus Said Beware…

“Jesus said beware…” So begins the Gospel lesson I read every single year at Ash Wednesday worship. It seems a fitting beginning for this particular teaching section from Jesus about piety, discipleship, humility and true faithfulness. It seems a fitting beginning for the season of Lent — this time of honest, forthright self-evaluation. It seems a fitting opener for our Ash Wednesday conversation about the role these disciplines need to play in our lives and in our faithfulness.

So let’s start with the most obvious question: What is Jesus so worried about that he warns us to beware? In a phrase: the dangers of practicing our faith. This is familiar territory for Lutherans. In the 16th Century, Martin Luther cautioned us against any notion that somehow our faithfulness is what causes us to receive God’s grace. He would say, today, that we can’t earn our way into heaven. There is nothing we can do that causes God to love us any more or any less. We are, in the words of the Apostle Paul, saved by God’s grace, and nothing else. (more…)

Good Friday; Year A (4/14/2017

Texts:
Isaiah 52:13—53:12
Psalm 22 (1)
Hebrews 10:16-25 or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
St. John 18:1—19:42

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, look with loving mercy on your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, to be given over to the hands of sinners, and to suffer death on the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (more…)

Maundy Thursday; Year A (4/110/17)

Texts:
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10) 11-14
Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19 (13)
1st Corinthians 11:23-26
St. John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Prayer of the Day:
Holy God, source of all love, on the night of his betrayal, Jesus gave us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us. Write this commandment in our hearts, and give us the will to serve others as he was the servant of all, your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (more…)

Passion Sunday / Palm Sunday; Year A (4/9/2017)

Texts:
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Philippians 2:5-11
St. Matthew 21:1-11 (Processional Gospel)
St. Matthew 26:14 – 27:66 or St. Matthew 27:11-54

Prayer of the Day:
Everlasting God, in your endless love for the human race you sent our Lord Jesus Christ to take on our nature and to suffer death on the cross. In your mercy enable us to share in his obedience to your will and in the glorious victory of his resurrection, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (more…)

The Fifth Sunday in Lent; Year A (4/2/17)

Texts:
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Psalm 130
Romans 8:6-11
St. John 11:1-45

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty God, your Son came into the world to free us all from sin and death. Breathe upon us the power of your Spirit, that we may be raised to new life in Christ and serve you in righteousness all our days, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

(more…)

The Fourth Sunday in Lent; Year A (3/26/2017)

Texts:
1st Samuel 16:1-13
Psalm 23
Ephesians 5:8-14
St. John 9:1-41

Prayer of the Day:
Bend your ear to our prayers, Lord Christ, and come among us. By your gracious life and death for us, bring light into the darkness of our hearts, and anoint us with your Spirit, for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (more…)

The Third Sunday in Lent; Year A (3/19/2017)

Texts:
Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 95
Romans 5:1-11
St. John 4:5-42

Prayer of the Day:
Merciful God, the fountain of living water, you quench our thirst and wash away our sin. Give us this water always. Bring us to drink from the well that flows with the beauty of your truth through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (more…)

The Second Sunday in Lent; Year A (3/12/2017)

Texts:
Genesis 12:1-4a
Psalm 121
Romans 4:1-5, 13-17
St. John 3:1-17

Prayer of the Day:
O God, our leader and guide, in the waters of baptism you bring us to new birth to live as your children. Strengthen our faith in your promises, that by your Spirit we may lift up your life to all the world through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (more…)

The First Sunday in Lent; Year A (3/5/2017)

Texts:
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7
Psalm 32
Romans 5:12-19
St. Matthew 4:1-11

Prayer of the Day:
Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises.  Keep us steadfast in your Word and, when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

4:1 Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3 The tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ”7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; 9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ”11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him.


St. Matthew 4:1-11, New Revised Standard Version Bible (C) 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

Ash Wednesday; Year A (3/1/2017)

Texts:
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12
Psalm 51:1-17 (1)
2nd Corinthians 5:20b—6:10
St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

Prayer of the Day:
Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and honest hearts, so that, truly repenting of our sins, we may receive from you, the God of all mercy, full pardon and forgiveness through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

6.1 [Jesus said,] “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

16 “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


St. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.