First Sunday of Lent
Today, all over the world, people are beginning their preparation period for baptism at Easter. We too look forward to renewing our baptismal vows on the celebration of Easter.
+ In the name the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
God of the covenant, as the forty days of deluge swept away the world’s corruption and watered new beginnings of righteousness and life, so in the saving flood of baptism your people are washed clean and born again. Throughout these forty days, we beg you, unseal for us the wellspring of your grace, cleanse our hearts of all that is not holy, and cause your gift of new life to flourish once again. Grant this through Christ, our liberator from sin, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever.
A Reading from the Old testament:Genesis 9:8-15 (NLT)
Then God told Noah and his sons, “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, and with all the animals that were on the boat with you — the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals — every living creature on earth. Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 25:4-9 (NLT)
Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way.
A Reading from the Letters: 1 Pt 3:18-22 (NLT)
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.
So he went and preached to the spirits in prison — those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)
A Reading from the Gospels: Mark 1:12-15 (NLT)
The Spirit then compelled Jesus to go into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Satan for forty days. He was out among the wild animals, and angels took care of him.
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
As we begin our lenten journey toward Easter, let us remember all those in need.
+ For Christian leaders throughout the world — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For peace and reconciliation, particularly in the Middle East and Africa — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For Christians suffering persecution, particularly in the Middle East and Africa — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the hungry, the poor, the displaced, and the homeless — we pray…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who have died recently – we particularly remember our Egyptian Coptic brothers in faith: +Milad Makeen Zaky +Abanub Ayad Atiya +Maged Solaimain Shehata +Yusuf Shukry Yunan +Kirollos Shokry Fawzy +Bishoy Astafanus Kamel +Somaily Astafanus Kamel +Malak Ibrahim Sinweet +Tawadros Yusuf Tawadros +Girgis Milad Sinweet +Mina Fayez Aziz +Hany Abdelmesih Salib +Bishoy Adel Khalaf +Samuel Alham Wilson +Ezat Bishri Naseef +Loqa Nagaty +Gaber Munir Adly +Esam Badir Samir +Malak Farag Abram +Sameh Salah Faruq +And the one whose name we do not know, a “Worker from Awr village.” Lord, hear us.
God of goodness, You have shown love from the dawn of creation; make us know Your ways and strengthen us on our journey to Easter, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24-25)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen