Sunday: 23 August – Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18; Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21; Ephesians 5:2, 21-32; John 6:60-69 ~ Lord, to whom would we go?

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentence and Prayer:

We gather as people who have chosen to serve the Lord and walk in faith. We worship God who leads us on — and ask for strength to continue as we have begun.
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In every age, O God, You give Your people freedom to walk in faith or to turn away. Grant us grace to remain faithful to Your Holy One, whose words are spirit and life, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.
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Hymn: Jesus shall reign


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A Reading from the Old Testament:Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18 (NLT)
[Given a choice by Joshua, the people of Israel decide to serve the Lord, thus renewing the covenant.]

Then Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, including their elders, leaders, judges, and officers. So they came and presented themselves to God.

Joshua said to the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Long ago your ancestors… lived beyond the Euphrates River, and they worshiped other gods.
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But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

choose

The people replied, “We would never abandon the Lord and serve other gods. For the Lord our God is the one who rescued us and our ancestors from slavery in the land of Egypt. He performed mighty miracles before our very eyes. As we traveled through the wilderness among our enemies, he preserved us. It was the Lord who drove out the Amorites and the other nations living here in the land. So we, too, will serve the Lord, for he alone is our God.”
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A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21 (NLT)

I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together.
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But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth. The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. For the Lord protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!

Calamity will surely destroy the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
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Let Us Exalt His Name Together


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A Reading from the Letters: Ephesians 5:2, 21-32(NLT)
[St Paul uses images from the husband-wife relationship to represent Christ’s love for the Church.]

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
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And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

old couple kissing

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.
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A Reading from the Gospels: John 6:60-69 (NLT)
[After hearing Jesus describe himself as the bread of life, some of the disciples stopped following him. But Peter spoke for the loyalty of those who remained.]

Many of his disciples said, “This is very hard to understand. How can anyone accept it?”

Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what will you think if you see the Son of Man ascend to heaven again? The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But some of you do not believe me.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning which ones didn’t believe, and he knew who would betray him.) Then he said, “That is why I said that people can’t come to me unless the Father gives them to me.”

To-whom-shall-we-go-

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life. We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”
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All I Have Is Christ

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ / Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

I once was lost in darkest night / Yet thought I knew the way / The sin that promised joy and life / Had led me to the grave / I had no hope that You would own / A rebel to Your will / And if You had not loved me first / I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race / Indifferent to the cost / You looked upon my helpless state / And led me to the cross / And I beheld God’s love displayed / You suffered in my place / You bore the wrath reserved for me / Now all I know is grace

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ / Hallelujah! Jesus is my life

Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone / And live so all might see / The strength to follow Your commands / Could never come from me / Oh Father, use my ransomed life / In any way You choose / And let my song forever be / My only boast is You
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Intercessions:

Sisters and brothers, the Lord is close to the broken-hearted, so let us pray for His assistance in our time of need.

+ For the gift of faith – that we may accept and apply what Christ has taught us…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the gift of perseverance – that those who have difficulty believing may discover truth in Jesus Christ…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the gift of true love – that all married people may be as close to each other as Christ is to the Church…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the gift of wisdom – that students and teachers returning to school at this time of year may have the strength they need to glorify God in all things…. Lord, hear us.
+ For the gift of eternal life for those who have died in Christ – that the message of eternal life may be fulfilled for them…. Lord, hear us.

Lord our God, You save those whose spirits are crushed: hear our prayers and give us the gifts we need to persevere in faith, hope and love through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Hymn: Be Thou My Vision

Benediction:

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



Categories: Life around the World, Life in America, Life in Christ

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