Asides

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

21st Sunday After Pentecost

 

Work for Justice, Release our Attachment and Trust Jesus to form Us into a People of Compassion.

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

Job 23:1-9, 16-17. . .  Job  wants God to hear his case in person.

Psalm 22:1-15 . . . The Cry of the Forsaken

Hebrews 4:12-16 . . . only through Jesus can the kingdom come — as our apostle and high priest, he builds us into “God’s house.”

Mark 10:17-31 . . . Jesus advises a wealthy man who seeks God to obey God’s commandments and to detach from his possessions and focus fully on God.

A Sermon by The Rev. Jason Micheli, Pastor of Annandale United Methodist Church in Annandale, Virginia.  The Ten Commandments in relationship to the gospel. 

20th Sunday after Pentecost

The richness of interdependence

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 good 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

Job 1:1, 2:1-10 . . . stricken with suffering by Satan to test his faithfulness to God.

Psalm 26 . . . A Prayer For Level Ground

or

Genesis 2:18-24 & Psalm 8 . . .  describes the complementary nature of man and woman as God originally intended it at creation.

Hebrews 1:1-4, 2:5-12 . . . the relationship of Jesus to God, to God’s creation and to humanity.

Mark 10:2-16 . . . the importance of caring for those most likely to be abandoned

Jim Somerville, Pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Co-Founder of A Sermon for Every Sunday, preaches this week’s Gospel text from Mark 10:2-16. “There are times when the lectionary forces the preacher to consider texts he or she would rather avoid,” Somerville says. “This Sunday is one of those times.” Is divorce a sin? Is re-marriage adultery? Don’t we wish Jesus had kept these thoughts to himself?

 

18th Sunday After After Pentecost

Humility, Compassion and Service

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

Proverbs 31:10-31. . .  praises the ideal wife.

Psalm 1 . . . Life’s Journey: two contrasting ways to live and the teaching they provide

and/or

Wisdom 1:16—2:1, 12-22 . . .  (alternate Canticle) gives voice to the ungodly, who experience the goodness of the righteous as an unwelcome reminder of their selfishness.

James 3:13—4:3, 7-8a. . . reminds us that humility and peaceableness show the wisdom of God.

Mark 9:30-37, , ,  contrasts the disciples’ battle over privilege with Jesus’ proclamation of his radical approach to discipleship—placing ourselves at the disposal of the lowliest of the kingdom.

In today’s sermon, Ginger Gaines-Cirelli, Senior Pastor of the historic Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, DC, preaches on Mark 9:30-37  “Why do so many of us get bogged down in keeping things from changing?

16th Sunday After Pentecost

God’s power to heal and restore.

Collect: Proper 18

Grant us, O Lord, to trust in you with all our hearts; for as you always resist the proud who confide in their own strength, so you never forsake those who make their boast of your mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23 . . .  reminds us that God rewards just behavior.

Psalm 125 . . . God produces the condition of stability, and faith in the “Unmoved  Mover” of the world?

or

Isaiah 35:4-7 and Psalm 146. . . looks ahead to when God will bring healing to God’s people and to the land

and

James 2:1-10, (11-13) 14-17. . . God’s gift of inner, spiritual wholeness, a wholeness that results in outward acts of purity and kindness.

Mark 7:24-37. . . Jesus transforms a man’s silent world by healing his deafness and a speech impediment.

Ryan Ahlgrim, Pastor of First Mennonite Church in Richmond, Virginia, preaches the story of the Syrophoenician Woman from Mark 7:24-37.    “Even Jesus Changes His Mind.”