Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

 . . .  or The Second Week of the Seven-week Advent

Collects:

Proper 28

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen

Second Week of the Seven-week Advent

O Lord our God, you gave your law that righteousness might abound: Put  it into our hearts to love justice for others as much as we desire it for ourselves \, that, as we know you to be our judge, so we may welcome your reign as it is manifested through Jesus Christ our savior, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise forever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 65:17-25 . . . a blessed time when God will overcome many of life’s shortcomings and frustrations
Canticle, First song of Isaiah . . . the vindication of those who have placed their confidence in the Lord God
2 Thessalonians 3;6-13 . . . Paul deals with the problem of those who are so expectant that the Lord will come soon and are so meddlesome in the affairs of others that they have given up their daily work.
Luke 21: 5-19 . . . the disciples are forewarned of the destruction of the Jewish temple and of great upheavals in the natural and supernatural order that must take place before the end of history.
The Sermon

Imagine being called into your boss’s office and being told that you’re just not cut out for your position, the one you had dreamed about as a child. Michael Renninger pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia tells of how he was called into the priest’s office at his monastery and told that he would never be a priest because he “did not have what it takes.” Renninger says, “my world collapsed around me.” He gives us a personal take on Luke 21:5-19, Jesus’s prediction of the destruction of the temple. Listen as he preaches on how painful endings are not the end and how this passage challenges us to look at the world differently.

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

. . . or the First  Sunday of the Seven-week Advent

Collect: Proper 27

O God, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might  destroy the works of the devil and make us the children of God and heirs of eternal life:  Grant us , we beseech thee, that having this hope, we may purify ourselves even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end.  Amen

-Or-

Collect: Prayer for the First Sunday of the Seven-week Advent

Eternal God, your Word of wisdom goes forth and does not return empty: Grant us such knowledge and love of you that we may percieve your presence and all creation and every creature; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, now and forever. Amen.

Haggai 1:15-2:9 . . . Haggai summons Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and Joshua, the high priest, to attend to the reconstruction of the temple in Jerusalem, laid to waste some fifty years earlier.
Psalm 145:1-15, 17-21 . . . Praise to the Lord, who is mighty in deeds yet tender and compassionate
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 . . . a correction to a misunderstanding about the day of the Lord,” which some in the early Christian community feared had already arrived
Luke 20:27-38 . . . the Sadducees ask a question about the resurrection.  Jesus replies that resurrection means a different existence from earthly life, and that it depends on a God who has a personal and living relationship with all people

 

Sermon

Ryan Ahlgrim, Pastor of First Mennonite Church in Richmond, Virginia,  asks, “Is it either you trust in life after death or you’re committed to living out God’s reign now on Earth?” In his sermon, Ahlgrim shows us that “these two things that we trust in and do are intimately connected with each other.” Listen as he explains the relationship between these two priorities and how it affects our lives as believers.

Twenty-first Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 26

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4 . . . the prophet bitterly complains to the Lord about the injustice and violence in the world.  God answers that justice will come in time; meanwhile, the righteous will live by faithfulness and loyalty
Psalm 119:137-144 . . . an acknowledgement of God as source of all truth and righteousness and a prayer of understanding.
Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 . . .  Together with Silvanus and Timothy, Paul greets the new disciples in Thessalonica.  He offers thanks to god for the increase of their faith under persecution and assures them of his prayers.
Luke 19:1-10 . . . Jesus answers a question concerning the chief command of the law by reciting the double commandment to love God and one’s neighbor.
The Sermon

The incomparable Barbara Lundblad, the Joe R. Engle Professor of Preaching Emerita at Union Theological Seminary in New York, is our featured preacher this week, and she is preaching the story of Zacchaeus

Twentieth Sunday After Pentecost

Proper 25

Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Joel 2:23-32 . . . the prophet pictures a time of great joy and gladness
Psalm 65 . . . a psalm of praise and thanksgiving
2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 . . . Paul, believing that his death is near, closes his letter to Timothy and looks forward with great faith to the heavenly kingdom.
Luke 18:9-14 . . . the story of the Pharisee who trust in his righteousness and the sinful tax collector.
Sermon: “Never Enough

What does it mean to be “justified,” and how does it feel compared to being “righteous”?  David J. Lose, Senior Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota and former seminary president and professor of preaching, has good answers in this week’s sermon and I think you are going to want to hear them. Click here.

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 24

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Jeremiah 31:27-34 . . . the prophet foresees a new covenant which God will make with the Lord’s own people,  a covenant written not on tablets of stone but on human hearts.
PSALM 119:97 – 104 . . . A celebration of the wisdom that comes from meditation upon God’s law.
2 Timothy 3:14-4:5 . . . Paul exhorts Timothy to continue calmly and diligently with his ministry, teaching from the scriptures and preaching the word of God.
Luke 18:1-8 . . . Jesus tells a comic parable about a judge who was so pestered by woman that he finally gave to her pleas.
Sermon

Rev. Dr. Judy Kincaid, pastor of Little Elk Creek Lutheran Church in Menomonie, Wisconsin, once asked her children what they wanted to be when they grow up. Her ten year old son said that he wanted to be eight feet tall and her three year old daughter said that she wanted to be a big brown snake. Kincaid reminds us that maybe it is a good thing that God does not answer all of our prayers. She continues, “There are times in my life when I’ve prayed faithfully and persistently for things I did not get. I bet it’s the same for you. Why is that?” Listen as Kincaid preaches on the parable of the persistent widow from Luke 18:1-8, reminding us to pray and not give up, even when we do not get the things we want

Eighteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 23

Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Jeremiah 29: 1-7. . . the prophet offers surprising counsel from Jerusalem to the elders, priest, and prophets now in exile in Babylon
Psalm 66:1-12 . . . A hymn of praise and thanksgiving
2 Timothy 2: 8-15 . . . Paul bids Timothy to be a faithful worker, reminding himself and others of Jesus’ resurrection and the new life that is to be known by him
Luke 17: 11-19 . . . Jesus’s command brings about the cleansing pf ten lepers, but only one, a Samaritan, returns to give thanks.
Sermon

In October, a month that often focuses on stewardship in churches, it could be tempting for a pastor to use today’s passage, Luke 17:11-19, the story of the ten lepers, to preach on tithing. Ten go out healed and only one comes back to offer thanks to Jesus. However, Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday, says that he doesn’t think that is what this passage is about. He asks, “So, what is this passage really about?” Listen as Somerville explains the significance of this one healed leper, a Samaritan, laying at the feet of Jesus.

Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 22

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Lamentations 1:1-6 . . .  Recalling the fall of Jerusalem and the exile of her people to Babylon.
Psalm 137 . . . lament in exile, with longing for Zion and desire for vengeance
2 Timothy 1:1-14 . . . the opening letter of Paul to his friend and coworker Timothy, whom he keeps always in his prayers.
LUKE 17: 5-10. . . Jesus tells his disciples of faith’s great power, and reminds them that servants must not expect special privileges or thanks merely for doing their duty.
Sermon by Jim Somerville

“If I were making a list of all the things I wish Jesus never said, this saying about having faith the size of a mustard seed would be near the top…because it makes people think of faith as a quantity,” begins Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond, Virginia’s, First Baptist Church and Co-founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. Somerville asks us to reshape our thoughts about Luke 17:5-10, not in terms of quantity of faith, but in terms of in whom we put our faith. Listen as he flashes out how we might go about doing this and how it can impact our lives

Sixteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 21

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity:  Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we , running to obtain your promise, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit , one God, for ever and ever.  Amen

Jeremiah 32:1-3, 6-15 . . . Confined in King Zedekiah’s palace in Jerusalem for Prophesying King Zedekiah’s capture by the Chaldeans and the fall of Jerusalem, engages in a prophetic action.
Psalm 91:1-6, 14-16 . . . A hymn of trust in the Lord
1 Timothy 6:6-19 . . . Paul exhorts Timothy to be strong with virtues in the race of faith, waiting for the appearance of the Lord Jesus.  He warns against the love of money and instructs the rich to be generous and store up the treasure of true life.
Luke 16:19-31 . . . the story of the life and death of a rich man at whose gate lay a poor beggar by the name of Lazarus.
Sermon

Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia, paints a picture for us of the parable in Luke 16:19-31. What can we learn from the rich?  What could he have done differently? How can we respond differently?

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 20

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Jeremiah 8:18-9:1 . . .  the prophet laments both the heavy word that it is his duty to carry to the people, and the stubborn resistance of the people to repentance
Psalm 79:1-9 . . .  petition for the Lord’s help and deliverance
1 Timothy 2:1-7 . . . disciples are called upon to pray for all, including political rulers, so that Christians may lead peaceable and moral lives.  It is God’s will that everyone should find salvation.
Luke 16: 1-13 . . . the story of the steward who, when dismissed for mismanagement, showed himself to be very shrewd.  This is followed by teaching about Mammon, that is, worldly wealth.
Sermon . . .

How would you like to be liberated and set free from the hold that money has on your life? Brian McLaren–speaker, activist, and bestselling author, explains how to make this happen in today’s sermon from Luke 16:1-13. McLaren explains that today’s parable is a continuation of the three from Luke 15, the lost sheep, lost coin, and lost son. These next two parables begin…”there was a rich man.” McLaren explains the historical and economic history surrounding the passage and how understanding this context helps make this parable much more accessible to us. He says, “This passage proclaims a kingdom of God that has an economic system…one in which everyone matters…Love God and you will see everything else in a new value system.” Listen and find out what this new value system is and how it can liberate you from the hold money might have on your life.

Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Collect: Proper 19

O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts;  through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Jeremiah 4: 11-12, 22-28. . .  The Prophet’s oracle is for a devastating judgement
Psalm 14 . . . for the cynical and disbelieving who trample the poor; yet the Lord will prevail
1 Timothy 1:12-17 . . . Paul gives thanks to the Lord Jesus and praise to God for salvation of sinners, among whom Paul has led the way.
Luke 15: 1-10 . . . Jesus tells the two parables of the finding of the lost sheep and the lost coin.
Sermon

Most of us can recite Psalm 23 from memory…”The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” In today’s sermon from Luke 15:1-10, New Testament scholar, author, professor, and preacher, Scott Spencer, gives us a different perspective on the 23rd Psalm. He says, “The Lord is my seeking shepherd and sweeper, I shall not be lost.” He continues, “Such a composite picture expands our vision of God alongside the familiar shepherd image from Psalm 23 and the father figure from the final lost parable (the Prodigal Son).” Listen as Spencer explains the connection between the three parables and the 23rd Psalm and how it can impact the way we view God as shepherd in our lives