Monday Morning, 25 Nov 2019, Luke 20:1-22:6 ~ Watch out, stand firm!

Monday Morning

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

Opening –  A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Morning Reading – Luke 20:1-22:6 (NLT)

The Authority of Jesus Challenged

One day as Jesus was teaching the people and preaching the Good News in the Temple, the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?”

“Let me ask you a question first,” he replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?”

They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, the people will stone us because they are convinced John was a prophet.” So they finally replied that they didn’t know.

And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.”

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.

Taxes for Caesar

Watching for their opportunity, the leaders sent spies pretending to be honest men. They tried to get Jesus to say something that could be reported to the Roman governor so he would arrest Jesus. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you speak and teach what is right and are not influenced by what others think. You teach the way of God truthfully. Now tell us—is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

He saw through their trickery and said, “Show me a Roman coin. Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

“Well then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

So they failed to trap him by what he said in front of the people. Instead, they were amazed by his answer, and they became silent.

Discussion about Resurrection

Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, who died without children. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!”

Jesus replied, “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.

“But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”

“Well said, Teacher!” remarked some of the teachers of religious law who were standing there. And then no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

Then Jesus presented them with a question. “Why is it,” he asked, “that the Messiah is said to be the son of David? For David himself wrote in the book of Psalms:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.’

Since David called the Messiah ‘Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”

Then, with the crowds listening, he turned to his disciples and said, “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished.”

The Widow’s Offering

While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box.Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.”

Jesus Speaks about the Future

Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”

He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.

“But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But not a hair of your head will perish! By standing firm, you will win your souls.

“And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city. For those will be days of God’s vengeance, and the prophetic words of the Scriptures will be fulfilled. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. For there will be disaster in the land and great anger against this people. They will be killed by the sword or sent away as captives to all the nations of the world. And Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the period of the Gentiles comes to an end.

“And there will be strange signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And here on earth the nations will be in turmoil, perplexed by the roaring seas and strange tides. People will be terrified at what they see coming upon the earth, for the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with power and great glory. So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!”

Then he gave them this illustration: “Notice the fig tree, or any other tree. When the leaves come out, you know without being told that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that the Kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth. Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming horrors and stand before the Son of Man.”

Every day Jesus went to the Temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives. The crowds gathered at the Temple early each morning to hear him.

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, was approaching. The leading priests and teachers of religious law were plotting how to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the people’s reaction.

Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.
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Morning Reflection:

Watch out, stand firm!

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. – (Luke 21;33)
Watch out! Don’t let that day catch you unaware. – (Luke 21:34)
By standing firm, you will win your souls.– (Luke 21:19)

In today’s reading, the religious leaders challenge Jesus’ authority; they send out liars and deceivers to entrap him; and they pose theological hypotheticals they don’t believe themselves; and behind the scenes they plot to kill him. Finally they find an insider to betray him.

But Jesus’ word to his disciples, and to us, is “watch out!” What they are doing to me, they will do to you. So what should we be on the lookout for?

  • false teachers who claim to come in Jesus’ name
  • nations in turmoil with famines, plagues, and wars
  • persecution and hatred by religious and civil authorities
  • betrayal by those closest to us, family and friends
  • terror that climate changes will destroy the earth

So where is the Good News in today’s reading?

  • Jesus’ words are sure and true, now and forever
  • Jesus’ warnings are intended to prepare us for what’s coming
  • Jesus’ Spirit will give us power and wisdom to refute opposition
  • Jesus’ return will enable us to stand firm and win our souls

“So,when all these things begin to happen,stand and look up,
for your salvation is near!”

(Luke 21:28)

Questions for consideration:

  • Do you live as though Jesus’ return is imminent? Why / why not? Please explain.
  • What sort of things tend to lull you into apathy in regard to Jesus’ return? Please explain.
  • What changes can you make to prepare yourself for Jesus’ imminent return? Please explain.
  • Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you because of your faith? Please explain.
  • What effect do climate change alarmists have on your thinking? Do you believe that the end is near? Please explain.
  • Where do you need God’s help to stand firm in your faith today? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: For Christians suffering persecution

Oh Lord our God, we hunger and thirst after You, diligently seeking You, even though there are those around us who don’t comprehend Your great power, causing them to oppose us. They mock, they laugh, they degrade and they persecute us, Your children. But You are a just God and You will never leave us nor forsake us in these difficult times.

Oh Lord our God, correct those that persecute us. Help them to experience Your love, joy, peace and happiness. But, most of all, allow them to feel Your Holy presence and turn from their wicked ways. May they join the body of Christ, so that they, one day, can also dine at Your Holy table in Your mighty kingdom.

Oh Lord our God, as they persecute and belittle us, give us strength to rise above it and become mighty soldiers in the army of Christ. Help us to not take offense by it, and allow us to baffle them with kindness, love and peace so that they will one day seek to know You. We pray that all those who are persecuted will stand up and overcome the world. In Jesus mighty name Amen!
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“Stand Strong” – Hylander Singing Men

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

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

22nd Sunday after Pentecost, 10 Nov 2019, Luke 20:27-38 ~ children of the resurrection

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost

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

Opening Prayer:

God of all the living, in the resurrection of Christ Jesus You have given us the life which even death cannot destroy. Remember Your unshakeable promise and strengthen us to live in this world as Your new creation. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

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“How Great Thou Art” -Songs of Praise – Big Sing (BBC)

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Gospel Reading: Luke 20:27-38(NLT)

Discussion about Resurrection

Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife but no children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name. Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children. So the second brother married the widow, but he also died. Then the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them, who died without children. Finally, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her!”

Jesus replied, “Marriage is for people here on earth. But in the age to come, those worthy of being raised from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage. And they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection.

“But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—even Moses proved this when he wrote about the burning bush. Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, he referred to the Lord as ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead, for they are all alive to him.”
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“I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” – Mennonite Choir

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Intercession:

Gracious God of the living: hear the cries of Your children, especially those of us in great distress. Show us Your unfailing love and help us. We pray –

+ For an end to conflict in the Middle East, that Your people may live quiet, peaceful, exemplary lives….

+ For persecuted believers, that they may live courageously and be delivered from cruel, evil people…

+ For imprisoned believers and their families, that they  may trust in Your sovereignty and receive justice…

+ For displaced believers seeking refuge from enemies, that they may receive Your protection and provision….

+ For believers mourning the loss of loved ones, that they may be assured of their resurrection to eternal life….

Gracious God of the living: watch over and protect Your people. Show us Your unfailing love in wonderful ways, through Jesus Christ Your Son, who lives with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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“Heaven Is Looking Brighter” – ForeverBeSure

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Closing: (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

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

Wednesday Morning: 16 Oct 2019 – Matthew 22:23-46 ~ The Two Most Important Commandments

Wednesday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 22:23-46 (NLT)

Discussion about Resurrection

That same day Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question: “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.’ Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children, so his brother married the widow. But the second brother also died, and the third brother married her. This continued with all seven of them. Last of all, the woman also died. So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”

Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God. For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven.

“But now, as to whether there will be a resurrection of the dead—haven’t you ever read about this in the Scriptures? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ So he is the God of the living, not the dead.”

When the crowds heard him, they were astounded at his teaching.

The Most Important Commandment

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

Then, surrounded by the Pharisees, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?”

They replied, “He is the son of David.”

Jesus responded, “Then why does David, speaking under the inspiration of the Spirit, call the Messiah ‘my Lord’? For David said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’

Since David called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?”

No one could answer him. And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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Morning Reflection:

The Two Most Important Commandments

“The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

  1. “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.”
  2.  “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The Pharisee asked Jesus another controversial question to which various Scripture experts gave various answers.

The rabbis documented 613 commandments in the Mosaic Law, 248 positive and 365 negative. Since no one could possibly keep them all, they divided them into “heavy” (more important) and “light” (less important). The Pharisees taught that the Jews needed to give attention to all the laws but particularly the “heavy” ones. This Pharisee was asking which of the “heavy” ones Jesus considered the “heaviest.”

To answer, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:5 and then Leviticus 19:18.

  1. Deuteronomy 6:5 (love God) is great because it is primary, i.e. our relationship with God.
  2. Leviticus 19:18 (love People) is similar in character. i.e. our relationship with people.

The rest of the Old Testament hangs from or flows out of these two commandments. All the other laws deal with specific applications of one or the other of these two commands. The prophets consistently stressed the importance of heart reality with God and genuine love for one’s neighbor. Without these two commandments the Old Testament lacks unifying summaries.

Questions for consideration:

  • How can you put God first in your life? What would it mean for you to love God with all your heart, soul. and mind? What would change? Please explain.
  • How can you love people unselfishly? What would it mean for you to put someone else’s interests before your own? Who comes to mind? Please explain.
  • The New Testament also contains a large number of commands. Which ones are emphasized in your faith community? Which of these do you think is most important? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Of Confession – Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you 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;
we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.
We are truly sorry and we humbly repent.

For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us;
that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Of Pardon – If we confess our sins to him,
he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
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“You Don’t Love God If You Don’t Love Your Neighbor” – Rhonda Vincent

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

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

Tuesday Morning: 04 Jun 2019 – Mark 16:9-20 ~ Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.

Tuesday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 16:9-20 (NLT)

After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.

Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.

Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”

When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
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Morning Reflection:

“Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved.
But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:15-16

Just prior to his ascension, Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into every part of the world to preach the Good News – “Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again. Believe and be baptized and you will be saved.” It all seems pretty straightforward, until you begin to read various commentaries and reflect on the signs that Jesus says will accompany those who believe.

Our different understandings are important, since in many cases they have become the walls that separate believers from one another – contrary to Jesus’ command to love one another as a sign of our belonging to Him. We can disagree without becoming disagreeable; and we can love one another despite our differences.

Questions for consideration:

  • How do believing and baptism relate to each other? Are both required for salvation? Is belief alone, or baptism alone enough? How does your tradition work this out? What do you believe? Please explain.
  • How does believing relate to accompanying signs and wonders? The disciples certainly performed miracles, as did others in Jesus’ name. How about now? Does God use signs and wonders to validate the Gospel today? What do you believe?
  • And what of speaking in tongues, handling snakes, and drinking poison? How does your tradition explain these phenomena? Are they in effect today? Why? Why not? Please explain.
  • In your relationships with believers from different traditions, which do you believe is more important – being right, or being kind and loving? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for those who are doing the persecuting:

Merciful God: Open the eyes and soften the hearts of the people who have brought unfathomable suffering and abuse upon Christians around the world. Remind us again that you sent your Son to save the whole world, and that you don’t want anyone – even these people – to perish.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

My Prayer:

For Evangelists: Almighty and everlasting God – Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom, that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

For the Unity of All Believers: O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace to take to heart the grave dangers we are in through our many divisions. Deliver your Church from all enmity and prejudice, and everything that hinders us from godly union. As there is one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so make us all to be of one heart and of one mind, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and love, that with one voice we may give you praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God in everlasting glory. Amen.

For Those who Labor in Unity: Almighty God, we give you thanks for all who labor that the Church of Jesus Christ might be one: Grant that we, instructed by their example, and knit together in unity by your Spirit, may ever stand firm upon the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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“SEEKING AND SAVING” – Greg&Lizzy – #VIGIL

You’re coming through the darkness
You’re breaking through our blindness
You’re striding through the Red Sea of death
By taking on our likeness
And dying for the lifeless
You’re raising all you children from the dead
You’re raising up my heart from the dead

You’re smashing through the prison door
O God now your have made me sure
Of how your love is breaking every chain
You’re seeking out the hopeless
You’re saving all the poor
For all you’ve done there’s only one song I can sing
You’re raising up my heart from the dead

Hallelujah Hallelujah
You’re seeking and saving my heart
Hallelujah Hallelujah
You’re seeking and saving my heart

From the darkness and the ashes
We are rising we are rising
With the hosts of all the Heavens
We are rising we are rising
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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

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

Tuesday Morning: 28 May 2019 – Mark 14:32-42 ~ on the agony of Gethsemane

Tuesday Morning

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

Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)

O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 14:32-42 (NLT)

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane

They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.

When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
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Morning Reflection:

on the agony of Gethsemane

“Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you.
Please take this cup of suffering away from me.
Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” – Mark 14:32

We can’t begin to fathom the agony that Jesus experienced in Gethsemane. The physical dimension to Jesus’ suffering has been described by medical experts in excruciating detail. But what of his spiritual suffering – the prospect of bearing God’s wrath for the world’s sins and experiencing separation from His Father?

Jesus said: “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” (vs 34) The original words Mark used describe bewilderment, fear, uncertainty and anxiety. The agony that Jesus experienced was much more than any mere martyr has ever had to endure; it was unique to the Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

So how did Jesus pray?

+ Jesus expressed his confident faith in God with whom all things, consistent with His nature, are possible.
+ Jesus expressed his willing submission to God’s will, to renounce himself, as agonizing as that might be.
+ Jesus expressed his complete dependence on God to save him, whether before or after his suffering and death.

Questions for consideration:

  • Have you ever prayed for God to relieve you or a loved one from suffering? How did it work out? Please explain.
  • How do you distinguish between your will and God’s will when it comes to suffering? Please explain.
  • What does spiritual wakefulness mean to you, especially when it comes to suffering and prayer? Please explain.
  • In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes: “If we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” (Romans 8:16-18) What does that mean to you? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

The Persecuted Church: Prayer for those who are doing the persecuting:

Merciful God: Open the eyes and soften the hearts of the people who have brought unfathomable suffering and abuse upon Christians around the world. Remind us again that you sent your Son to save the whole world, and that you don’t want anyone – even these people – to perish.  I ask this in Jesus’ name, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer: For Submission to God’s WillJoseph Mercier

O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do; give me your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that you desire of me and to accept all that you permit to happen to me. Let me only know your will. Amen.

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“Go to Dark Gethsemane” – Page CXVI

Go to dark Gethsemane,
feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see,
watch with Him one hour,
Turn not from His griefs away;
Turn not from His griefs
Learn of Jesus Christ to pray.
Turn not from His griefs

See Him at the judgment hall,
beaten, bound, arraigned;
O the wormwood and the gall!
the pangs His soul sustained!!
Shun not suffering, and shame;
Oh Shun not suffering!
Learn of Christ to bear the cross.
Shun not suffering

Calvary’s mournful mountain climb;
adoring at His feet,
Mark that miracle of time,
God’s sacrifice complete
“It is finished!” hear Him cry;
Oh It is finished, done
Learn of Jesus Christ to die. It is finished, done

He wept,
we wept …
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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

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