Christmas Day, 25 Dec 2019 – Luke 2:15-20 ~ treasure and think about these things

Christmas Day

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

Opening Prayer

Good and gracious God, on this holy day You gave us Your Son, the Lord of the universe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, the Savior of all, lying in a manger. On this holy day draw us into the mystery of Your love. Join our voices with the heavenly host, that we may sing Your glory on high. Give us a place among the shepherds, that we may find the One for whom we have waited, Jesus Christ, Your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the splendour of eternal light, God for ever and ever. Amen.

“Let Us Adore” – Hillsong


Reading: Luke 2:15-20 (NLT)

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

Intercessory Prayer

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born this day of a virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. We pray especially –

+ For the peace of the whole world, and for the well-being and unity of the people of God….
+ For church leaders and all who proclaim the Good News and disciple others at home and abroad….
+ For our brothers and sisters in Christ who are persecuted for their faith at home and abroad….
+ For our nation, for our president, and for those in authority at home and abroad….
+ For all who are in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness, or any other adversity….
+ For all who grieve and mourn, to be comforted in the certain hope of the resurrection…

Heavenly Father, grant these our prayers for the sake of Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“Christmas Offering” – Paul Baloche


Blessing – Titus 2:11-13

The grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people; therefore let us turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. Live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God – looking forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

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

The 5th Sunday of Lent – 07 Apr 2019 – Luke 20:9-19 ~ The stone that the builders rejected.

Fifth Sunday of Lent

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

Opening Prayer

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 this 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.

“Shir Ha Ma’alot” – Song of Ascents (Ps 126) – Sheli Myers


Gospel Reading: Luke 20:9-19 (NLT)

Parable of the Evil Farmers

Now Jesus turned to the people again and told them this story: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to tenant farmers, and moved to another country to live for several years. At the time of the grape harvest, he sent one of his servants to collect his share of the crop. But the farmers attacked the servant, beat him up, and sent him back empty-handed. So the owner sent another servant, but they also insulted him, beat him up, and sent him away empty-handed. A third man was sent, and they wounded him and chased him away.

“‘What will I do?’ the owner asked himself. ‘I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will respect him.’

“But when the tenant farmers saw his son, they said to each other, ‘Here comes the heir to this estate. Let’s kill him and get the estate for ourselves!’ So they dragged him out of the vineyard and murdered him.

“What do you suppose the owner of the vineyard will do to them?” Jesus asked. “I’ll tell you—he will come and kill those farmers and lease the vineyard to others.”

“How terrible that such a thing should ever happen,” his listeners protested.

Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean?

‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’

Everyone who stumbles over that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush anyone it falls on.”

The teachers of religious law and the leading priests wanted to arrest Jesus immediately because they realized he was telling the story against them—they were the wicked farmers. But they were afraid of the people’s reaction.


Almighty God: Hear the prayers of your people made right with you through faith in your Son, Jesus Christ. We pray especially –

+ For the unrepentant: Merciful God, you desire not the death of sinners, but rather that they should turn to you and live. Have mercy on the unrepentant and those who do not believe. Awaken in them, by your Word and Holy Spirit, a deep sense of their sinfulness and peril. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of your Word. Grant them to know and feel that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which they must be saved, but only the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so bring them home and number them among your children, that they may be yours for ever….

+ For missionaries: Gracious God, you desire that all people be saved and come to knowledge of the truth: Prosper all those who live, preach, and teach the Gospel at home and in distant lands; protect them in all perils, support them in their loneliness, sustain them in the hour of trial; give them your abundant grace to bear faithful witness; and endue them with burning zeal and love, that they may turn many to righteousness….

+ For local congregations: Father God, strengthen and confirm the faithful; protect and guide the children; visit and relieve the sick; turn and soften the wicked; arouse the careless; recover the fallen; restore the penitent; remove all hindrances to the advancement of your truth; and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church….

+ For those suffering or weak: Compassionate God, we hold up our weaknesses to your strength, our failures to your faithfulness, our sinfulness to your perfection, our loneliness to your compassion, our pains to your agony on the cross. We pray that you will cleanse us, strengthen us, guide us, so that in all ways our lives may be lived as you would have us live without cowardice and for you alone. Show us how to live in true humility, true contrition, and true love….

Almighty God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the wills that serve you: Help us so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Press On” – Selah


Blessing – Philippians 3:13-14

Focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

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

The 4th Sunday of Lent – 31 Mar 2019 – Luke 15:11-32 ~ lost and found

Fourth Sunday of Lent

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

Opening Prayer

God of compassion, you await the sinner’s return and spread a feast to welcome home the lost.

Save us from the temptations that lead away from you, and draw us back by the constancy of your love, that we may take our place in your household and gladly share our inheritance with others.

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.

“Good Good Father” – Chris Tomlin


Gospel Reading: Luke 15:11-32 (NLT)

Parable of the Lost Son

To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.

“A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.

“When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

“Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’

“The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”


Heavenly Father: You love us and happily welcome us home from our distress in far countries.  Hear our prayers and show us your mercy –

+ That all who follow your Son, Jesus Christ, may return home to your embrace during this season  of Lent….
+ That people who have quarreled with each other may be reconciled to you and one another….
+ That families experiencing difficulties and conflict may learn to forgive one another as you have forgiven them….
+ That believing communities in every country may live in peace and be respected….
+ That believers who are suffering great persecution may be delivered from evil and their lives restored….

Heavenly Father: Show us your mercy and rescue us from the darkest places of our exile. Restore us to our families and faith communities, that heaven and earth might rejoice in our return to your household. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

“Lion and the Lamb” – Big Daddy Weave


Blessing – 1 Corinthians 5:20-21

We are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

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

The 3rd Sunday of Lent – 24 Mar 2019 – Luke 13:1-9 ~ repentance: one more chance

Third Sunday of Lent

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

Opening Prayer

God of salvation, we stand before you on holy ground, for your name is glorified and your mercy revealed wherever your mighty deeds are remembered.

Since you are holy and forbearing, turn us from every rash and shallow judgement to seek the ways of repentance.

We ask this through Christ, our deliverance and hope, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, holy and mighty God for ever and ever. Amen.

“There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” – Ben Grace (Based on the hymn by Frederick Faber)


Gospel Reading: Luke 13:1-9 (NLT)

A Call to Repentance

About this time Jesus was informed that Pilate had murdered some people from Galilee as they were offering sacrifices at the Temple. “Do you think those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other people from Galilee?” Jesus asked. “Is that why they suffered? Not at all! And you will perish, too, unless you repent of your sins and turn to God. And what about the eighteen people who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them? Were they the worst sinners in Jerusalem? No, and I tell you again that unless you repent, you will perish, too.”

Parable of the Barren Fig Tree

Then Jesus told this story: “A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’

“The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.’”


Most holy and merciful Father: We confess that we have sinned by our own fault in thought, word, and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

  • We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength.
  • We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
  • We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
  • We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us.
  • We have not been true to the mind of Christ.
  • We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against you.

  • For all our unfaithfulness and disobedience; for the pride, vanity, and hypocrisy of our lives…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our self-pity and impatience, and our envy of those we think more fortunate than ourselves…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our unrighteous anger, bitterness and resentment; for all lies, gossip, and slander against our neighbors…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our sexual impurity, our exploitation of other people, and our failure to give of ourselves in love…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our intemperate pursuit of worldly goods and comforts…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our dishonesty in daily life and work, our ingratitude for your gifts, and our failure to heed your call…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our wastefulness and misuse of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For all false judgments, for prejudice and contempt of others, and for all uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our negligence in prayer and worship; for our presumption and abuse of your means of grace…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For seeking the praise of others rather than the approval of God…. Lord, have mercy.
  • For our failure to commend the faith that is in us…. Lord, have mercy.

Show favor to your people, O Lord, who turn to you in true repentance. For you are a merciful God, full of compassion, long-suffering, and abounding in steadfast love. You spare when we deserve punishment, and in your wrath you remember mercy. Spare your people, good Lord, spare us; in the multitude of your mercies, look upon us and forgive us; through the all-sufficient sacrifice of your blessed Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

“Come Ye Sinners” – Jami Smith


Blessing – Psalm 102:17-18

The love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!

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

The 2nd Sunday of Lent – 17 Mar 2019 – Luke 13:22-35 ~ Always pressing on toward Jerusalem.

Second Sunday of Lent

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

Opening Prayer

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, for ever and ever. Amen.

“Be Thou My Vision” – Noel Richards


Gospel Reading: Luke 13:22-35 (NLT)

The Narrow Door

Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he went, always pressing on toward Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”

He replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail. When the master of the house has locked the door, it will be too late. You will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Lord, open the door for us!’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘But we ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ And he will reply, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you or where you come from. Get away from me, all you who do evil.’

“There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, for you will see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you will be thrown out. And people will come from all over the world—from east and west, north and south—to take their places in the Kingdom of God. And note this: Some who seem least important now will be the greatest then, and some who are the greatest now will be least important then.”

Jesus Grieves over Jerusalem

At that time some Pharisees said to him, “Get away from here if you want to live! Herod Antipas wants to kill you!”

Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose. Yes, today, tomorrow, and the next day I must proceed on my way. For it wouldn’t do for a prophet of God to be killed except in Jerusalem!

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Prayer: St Patrick (389-461)- in resolute discipleship, a call to stand.

I call all heaven to witness today that I have put on Christ, I choose no other Lord than the Maker of heaven and earth. This day I walk with Him and He will walk with me. Watch over, and protect me:

+ In life’s choices and circumstance….
+ In my coming and going, in light and darkness….
+ In hesitancy and fear, uncertainty and rebellion….
+ In testing and pain, in danger and doubt….
+ In bearing good news, in breaking new ground….
+ Alone or with others, be they friend or enemy….
+ In carrying your light, in combating darkness….
+ In healing and freedom and life-giving blessing….
+ In comfort or challenge, to rescue and save….
+ In all my beginnings, and at each ending….

Watch over, and protect me. In the name of the Protecting Father, in the name of the Conquering Son, and in the name of the Liberating Spirit, I arise today. Amen.

“Christ Be All Around Me” – All Sons & Daughters


Blessing – an Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face; the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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