Category Archives: Lent

Holy Week I: Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday –  our hope to match the suffering

The first days of Holy Week confirm: there are some things worth living for, even if we find ourselves having to die for them as well.

Monday

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not us to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other that the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.  Amen (BCP p220)

Isaiah 42:1-9 . . . the mission of the Lord’s servant, the one whom God has chosen to bring forth justice and salvation

Psalm 36:5-11 . . . the expansive love of God expressed in faithfulness and justice.  God is a river of delight in whose light we see light.

Hebrews 9:11-15 . . .  Christ has inaugurated a new covenant, accomplishing all that was anticipated by the rites and rituals of the first covenant, that is, redemption from sin and transgression and the purification of conscience for the right worship of the living God.

John 12:1-11 . . . Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anoints Jesus’ feet with costly perfume.

Tuesday

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life:  Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (BCP p220)

Isaiah 49:1-7 . . . The servant of the Lord reflects movingly on his mission – its sorrows and frustration – and God’s high calling and promise to be with him.

Psalm 71:1-14 . . . God will continue to be my refuge and stronghold

1 Corinthians 1:18-31 . . .  Paul directs the attention of the Corinthians to God’s way of using what is weak and lowly – even what the world regards as foolish – to accomplish the divine purposes.

John 12:20-36 . . . Jesus presents teaching concerning the meaning of his death.  After his prayer to God a voice from heaven is heard.

Wednesday

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon:  Give us grace to accept joyfully and sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen (BCP p220)

Isaiah 50: 4-9a . . . the servant who speaks for the Lord and suffers persecution, but still trust in God’s help and vindication.

Psalm 70 . . . help and vindication

Hebrews 13:1-3 . . . The author exhorts hearers to persevere in the face of adversity.

John 13:21-32 . . . Jesus is troubled by the knowledge of Judas’ impending betrayal but tells his disciples that God is at work in the glorification of the Son of Man.

The scriptures of the opening days of Holy week prepare us in another way for the approaching end of Jesus’ life – and our own.

Readings and Sermons for Palm Sunday

Collect: Palm Sunday

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

The Liturgy of the Palms

Luke 19:28-40 . . . Jesus, his long journey finally over, approaches the holy city of Jerusalem, while his disciples hail him as the king who comes in the Lord’s name.

Psalm 118 1-2, 19-29 . . . A festivals hymn sung in procession in praise of the Lord’s salvation

A Sermon for every Sunday: “needing a donkey?”
Jim Somerville says “I was not very good at Math as a student, but every once in a while, I got a problem right,” Somerville says. On Palm Sunday the crowds got it right; they celebrated Jesus as the King that he was, shouting “Hosanna!” and welcoming him to the capital city.
The Liturgy of the Passion
“(There is quite a) distance between apparent public success and personal commitment.   Jesus stays the course until the end, we see, and so must we, despite all other pressures, both internal and social, to the contrary. .  .  .  (Here) we trace the struggle, one scene at a time, between the Word of God and the ways of the world.
Joan Chittister

Isaiah 50:4-9. . . Our reading tells of the servant who speaks for the Lord and suffers persecution, but still trust in God’s help and vindication.

Psalm 31:9-16 . . . A psalm of trust by one who looks to the Lord for mercy and protection.

Philippians 2:5-11 . . . From one of the earliest Christian hymns we hear how Christ Jesus accepted the condition of a servant, was  obedient even to the  of death, and was then given the name above every name.

Luke 23:1-49 . . .  the story of the events of Jesus’ final hours: his arrest, trial, passion, and death.

Palm Sunday Homily at the Cathedral,

Bishop Robert Barron

Readings and Sermon for the Fifth Sunday in Lent

“To follow Jesus is to live, no matter how many deaths we face in life.”

Joan Chittister

Collect: Fifth Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners:  Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Isaiah 43:16-21 . . . The same Lord who brought the people through the Red Sea waters and crushed the army of the Egyptians will do a new thing in this day when God will bring the people home through the wilderness.

Psalm 126 . . . A song of hope and jy sung to the Lord, who restores the fortunes of Go’s people

Philippians 3:4b-14 . . . The apostle Paul can boast of his religious background yet nothing matters in comparison with knowing Christ as his Lord.

John 12: 1-8 . . . Jesus, but a few days before his passion, is at supper with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary when Mary anoints his feet with costly ointment

There was a place called Bethany…the house of the afflicted,” begins Rachel May, pastor of Boulevard United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In John 12:1-8, Jesus is at the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus…

Readings and Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

“(God) invites us to open our eyes, too, to be willing to begin again, to forget the past — however bad it has been for us — and come back to God knowing that mercy is already ours.”
Joan Chittister

Collect: Fourth Sunday in Lent

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread,  that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Joshua 5:9-12

Psalm 32

2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Luke 15:1-3, 16-32

Why does the story of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32 resonate with so many of us? Carla Pratt Keyes, pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, says, “I think its the way this story taps into the human yearning for home. Home as more than a place, but home as yearning to belong, to be known and loved, to be whole.” How do we go home again?  By walking the way of forgiveness.  But where do we find the courage and humility to walk that road?

Readings and Sermon for Third Sunday in Lent

“If we are to fullfill the Gospel ourselves, we have some witnessing, some cleansing, and some extra work of our own to do, in this life.” Joan Chittister


Collect: Third Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves:  Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Isaiah55: 1-9

Psalm 63

1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Luke 13:1-9

Sermon:  
A sermon from Luke 13:1-9 for the Third Sunday in Lent by the Rev. Rachel May, Pastor of Boulevard United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia

Second Sunday in Lent

Collect: Second Sunday in Lent

    O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent  hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever.  Amen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Genesis 15-12, 17-18 

God’s Covenant with Abram

15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”[a] And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and the Lord[b] reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,

Psalm 27

Triumphant Song of Confidence of David

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
    to devour my flesh—
my adversaries and foes—
    they shall stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war rise up against me,
    yet I will be confident.

One thing I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
to live in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord,
    and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will set me high on a rock.

Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent  sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
    be gracious to me and answer me!
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, do I seek.
   Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger,  you who have been my help. Do not cast me off, do not forsake me,  O God of my salvation!


10 If my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will take me up.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.

13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of theLord in the land of the living.


14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

Philippians 3:17-4:1 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

17 Brothers and sisters,[a] join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship[b] is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humiliation[c] that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,[d] by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself. Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[e] whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

Luke 13:31-35 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Lament over Jerusalem

31 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me,[a] ‘Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33 Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.’ 34 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35 See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when[b] you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

Or

Luke 9:28-36 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Transfiguration

28 Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus[a]took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white. 30 Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. 31 They appeared in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake,[b] they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 Just as they were leaving him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings,[c] one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. 34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my Son, my Chosen;[d] listen to him!” 36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

A Sermon

Will Willimon believes that you can tell a great deal about people by what they consider to be humorous, funny, and delightful. However, he also believes that “grief, tears, and lament, are unfailing indicators of what we value most.” In today’s passage, Luke 13:31-35, Jesus laments over the state of Jerusalem. Jesus does not lament over Herod’s plans for him or over his eventual fate in Jerusalem, but over the state of Jerusalem. What can we learn from Jesus’ lament? And when is the last time you wept over your own city? FREE high-definition downloads suitable for projecting in worship are available on our website at

Fifth Sunday in Lent

Our covenant relationship to God through Jesus.

Collect: Fifth Sunday in Lent

Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Jeremiah 31:31-34. . . The prophet Jeremiah tells us that God looks forward to a new relationship with God’s people—a relationship of intimacy, forgiveness and faithfulness.

Psalm 51:1-13. . .  A prayer from a broken Spirit

or

Psalm 119:9-16 . . .  Song of a  Pilgrim

Hebrews 5:5-10 . . . The author of Hebrews describes the action of God that makes this relationship possible: through his suffering and submission, Jesus becomes the source of our salvation

John 12:20-33 . . .  the final chapter in Jesus’ suffering and submission begins as Jesus faces his crucifixion.

Sermon by   Dr. Amy K. Butler, Senior Minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, preaches a sermon from John 12:22-30 called, “Celebrity Sighting.” She says, “Once I had dinner in the very same restaurant where Bruce Springsteen was having dinner with his family. My friends asked the maitre d’ if we could sneak a peek, but alas–no luck. We didn’t have an ‘in’ like the Greeks did, who told Philip (a Greek name) that they wished to see Jesus.”

Fourth Sunday in Lent

Celebrate God’s mercy

Collect: Fourth Sunday in Lent

Gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ came down from heaven to be the true bread which gives life to the world: Evermore give us this bread, that he may live in us, and we in him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Numbers 21:4-9 . . . God delivers the people from poisonous serpents.

Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22 . . . The Mystery of God’s Limitless Mercy

Ephesians 2:1-10 . . . God has graciously done it all, lifting us out of sin’s grave and preparing us to do good works.

John 3:14-21 . . . Jesus is God’s gift to us, the ultimate expression of God’s mercy and love.

Sermon by  Fr Bill Cieslak of the Franciscan Renewal Center

Nicodemus’ Search for the ‘Soul of Theology‘ by Fr. Thomas Rosica

 

3rd Sunday in Lent

An invitation to a renewed commitment to our covenant relationship with God

Collect: Third Sunday in Lent[i]

Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Exodus 20:1-17;  . . . the Ten Commandments become the standard of life for God’s people.

Psalm 19 . . . A Hymn To the Universe

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 . . . Paul assures his Corinthian community that their commitment to Christ, though foolish to the world, is the powerful core of Christian faith.

John 2:13-22 . . . Jesus’ passionate love for God ignites his anger against those who treat God’s house with disrespect.

Sermon on the Ten Commandments,  Rev. Fr. Chito Dimaranan SDB

Sermon on the Gospel, by Carla Pratt Keyes, Pastor of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches a sermon called “When Jesus Found His ‘Why‘,”

2nd Sunday in Lent

Trust in God’s faithfulness

Collect: Second Sunday in Lent

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from thy ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of thy Word, Jesus Christ thy Son; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Genesis 17:1-7. . .  God affirms his faithfulness to Abraham.

Psalm 22:22-30. . . The Cry of the Forsaken

Romans 4:13-25. . . Paul appeals to Abraham as an example of justification by faith not works.

Mark 8:31-38. . . Jesus speaks openly and unambiguously about his death.  So, what does it mean to pick up one’s cross and follow? Is to boldly walk in love in the midst of sin, fear or whatever obstacle to God?

Sermon by Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday, preaches his most-requested sermon, “The Class of ’77,”