Almighty God, whose son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he be known, worshiped, and, obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord , who with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, lives and reigns now and forever. Amen
Isaiah 49:1-7 . . . the servant of the Lord reflects moving of his mission – its sorrows and frustrations – and God’s high calling and promise to be with him.
Psalm 40:1-1 1 . . . A prayer of deliverance and a son of thanksgiving.
Corinthians 0119 . . . Paul greets the members of the new Christian community in Corinth and offers thanksgiving for their growth in Christ
John 1:29-42 . . . Joh the Baptist declares who Jesus is. The next day two of John’s followers become disciples of Jesus.
Perhaps you are familiar with the Irish rock band U2’s song lyrics, “I have climbed highest mountain, I have run through the fields…but I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, ” begins Jim Somerville, pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. Somerville continues, in today’s gospel reading. Jesus asks the question directly, “What are you looking for?” If you cannot answer this question or even if you think you have it figured out, listen as Somerville explores this question and gives his opinion on how to answer this age-old question.
Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Isaiah 42:1-9 . . . the mission of the Lord’s servant, the one whom God has chosen to bring forth justice and salvation
Psalm 29 . . . God is like a mighty thunderstorm
Acts 10:34-45 . . . Peter recognizes that good news, which Jesus began to proclaim after his baptism, now extends to all people.
Matthew 3:13-17 . . . the story of Jesus’ baptism
Dr. Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday, summarizes the account of Jesus’s birth according to the gospel of Matthew. Then he focuses on verse 17 of today’s passage, “And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’” At this point, Jesus has done nothing to please or displease God. Yet God still chooses him, his beloved son, to fulfill God’s mission. Have you ever thought of yourself in light of today’s passage? Listen as Somerville explores how our identity is found in Christ’s identity as God’s chosen, beloved son of God
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Sirach 24: 1-12 . . . Wisdom is personified as an attribute of God permeating the creation and found among all the people of earth.
Wisdom of Solomon 10:15-21 . . . Wisdom, an attribute of God’s person and character, is praised for her wondrous work I the midst of God’s people.
Ephesians 1:3-14 . . . praise to God for God’s blessings, together with thanksgiving and prayers that these spiritual graces may be continued.
John 1:1-18 . . . a hymn to God’s Word, the expression of god’s very being and the creative power of all life, who has now become flesh and lived among us.
“To live as God’s children in the world is hard. It means choosing the kinds of things Jesus chose,” says Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia. But how do we choose Jesus’ way?
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your son Jesus Christ, at his coming , may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Isaiah 7:10-16 . . . the prophet Isaiah insists that King Ahaz of Judah will receive a sign from God, whether he wants it or not, the sign of a young women bearing a son to be called Emmanuel.
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 . . . A lament and a plea to the Lord, the shepherd of Israel, that God will turn away divine anger and restore the people
Romans 1:1-7 . . . Paul greets the new disciples in Rome and summarizes the gospel message
Matthew 1:18-25 . . . the story of the birth of Jesus
“What are you dreaming about this Christmas?” asks Father Michael Renninger, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Virginia. In today’s passage, Gospel reading we find Mary and Joseph dreaming, perhaps dreaming about their future life together…until Mary tells Joseph that she is with child. Joseph’s dream has turned into a nightmare…until God gives him another dream. God’s dream for Joseph is larger than Joseph could ever imagine. Listen as Renninger explains how Joseph’s dream changed his life and how God’s dream can change our lives as well.
Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen
Isaiahh 35:1-10 . . . the prophet envisions a time of abundance and healing for Israel l
Psalm 14:5-10 . . . A hymn of praise to the Lord, who forms the world and rules in justice, who heals and cares for the needy
Canticle (Magnificat) . , , Mary offers a song to praise God who has looked with favor upon her and who has lifted up the lowly and brought down the powerful
James 5:7-10 . . . an exhortation to patient expectation in preparation for the coming of the Lord
Matthew 11:2-11. . . Jesus responds to a question from John the Baptist about his mission and then describes John’s ministry
Ryan Ahlgrim is pastor of First Mennonite Church in Richmond, Virginia, and a remarkable preacher. He doesn’t use notes; he just stands and delivers. The sermon title is, “You’ll Have to Ask My Neighbor.”
Collect: Second Sunday of Advent
Merciful God, who sent your messengers, the prophets, to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Isaiah 11:1-10 . . . The prophet foresees a time when God will bring forth a righteous judge and a new spirit of peace in the world.
Psalm 72: 1-7, 18-19 . . . The psalm ask that God endow the king with compassionate justice and righteousness, and that his reign may extend over all nations and throughout all generations.
“But still, he is a really nice guy…the tell-tale words we use too often to soften the unkind things we say about others.” David Lose, Senior Pastor of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, says that today’s passage, Matthew 3:1-12, is a biblical version of this phrase. Lose says that the gospel writers don’t quite know what to make of John the Baptist. Listen as Lose explores how the author of Matthew uses the person of John the Baptist in a unique way to point to Jesus
Collect: Thanksgiving Day
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Deuteronomy 26:1-11 . . . the Lord’s mighty salvation of Israel from slavery in Egypt is recalled, and the people are bid to offer in thanksgiving the first fruits of their fields.
Psalm 100 . . . A call to praise and to offer thanksgiving to the LORD.
Philippians 4:4-9 . . . Paul invite the new disciples at Philippi to exult in the Lord, who is near at hand.
The Sermon by Rev. Colleen Ogle
of Kings Ave, United Methodist Church
Collect: The First Sunday of Advent
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Isaiah 2: 1-5 . . . the prophet sets forth a majestic vision of a time when people throughout the world will worship the Lord and live in peace with one another
Roman 13: 11-14 . . . Paul urges a way of life in full awareness of the nearness of salvation.
Matthew 24: 36-44 . . . Jesus tells his disciples of the need for readiness because the Son of Man will come at a day and hour which no one knows.
“Imagine a world where Christmas doesn’t come on December 25, but with the first snowfall of the year,” begins Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and co-founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday. In this sermon from Matthew 24:36-44 he says: “It would be strange, wouldn’t it, living in a world like that? It would be so different from the scheduled way we celebrate Christmas now. But it would be much more like that unscheduled first Christmas, and almost exactly like the unscheduled second coming of Christ. ‘But about that day and hour no one knows,’ Jesus says, ‘neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’”
Collect: Proper 29 (and The Third Week of the Seven Week Advent)
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-behaved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the people of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Jeremiah 23:1-6 . . . the Lord denounces the rulers who have so poorly shepherded the people of Israel. God will gather the flock together and give them new shepherd, especially a just ruler in the line to David.
Luke 1:68-79 (Song of Zechariah) . . . the child will be called the prophet of the Most-High and will make a way to the Lord
Colossians 1;11-20 . . . Paul prays that the Colossians may be strengthened to meet whatever is to come, and he praises the Son as the visible likeness of the invisible God, through whom all things were created. He is the head of his body, the church, and the source of its life.
Luke 23:33-43 . . . Jesus, as he hangs upon the cross, is mocked as the Christ and the King of the Jews. To a thief crucified with him he promises Paradise.
Sermon by Kristin Adkins Whitesides
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Heaven helps those who help themselves,” says Rev. Dr. Kristin Adkins Whitesides, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Winchester, Virginia. The self-help industry is worth about $10 billion according to market researchers. But today, on Reign of Christ or Christ the King Sunday, Whitesides preaches on Luke 23:33-43, giving Christians a different view of how we can be saved, and it is not through “self-help.”
. . . or The Second Week of the Seven-week Advent
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.
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.