After Pentecost| Wednesday – 27 July 2022: Psalm 55:16-23; Esther 7:7-8:17; Matthew 5:43-48 ~ Pray for those who persecute you!

After Pentecost| Wednesday – 27 July 2022

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

Opening:

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 down 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, for ever and ever. Amen.

“You have heard the law that says,
‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.
But I say, love your enemies!
Pray for those who persecute you!”
(Matthew 5:43-44)

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Psalms Reading: Psalm 55 – Poor Bishop Hooper

give ear to my prayer god
do not hide from my cries
give heed with your answer
for i’m overwhelmed, i’m overwhelmed
my heart it keeps pounding
inside of my chest
with the terrors of death around me fear surrounding
and i can’t stop from trembling

oh had i wings, had i wings
had i wings i would fly away and find a place to rest
oh had i wings, had i wings
had i wings i could find some quiet in this wilderness

come and confuse lord
divide these evil ways
for i have seen violence and oppressions
in the city night and day
not by a stranger
but by my dearest friend
what sweet fellowship we once enjoyed
now burns with bitterness

oh had i wings, had i wings
had i wings i would fly away and find a place to rest
oh had i wings, had i wings
had i wings i could find some quiet in this wilderness

smooth and enticing
but his heart was war
softer than oil were his words
yet they were ready drawn swords
these men of bloodshed
and deceit will see their end
but cast your burden on the lord
and he’ll sustain you yet again
cast your burden on the lord
and he’ll sustain you yet again

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OT Reading: Esther 7:7-8:17 (NLT)

7:7 Then the king jumped to his feet in a rage and went out into the palace garden.

Haman, however, stayed behind to plead for his life with Queen Esther, for he knew that the king intended to kill him. In despair he fell on the couch where Queen Esther was reclining, just as the king was returning from the palace garden.

The king exclaimed, “Will he even assault the queen right here in the palace, before my very eyes?” And as soon as the king spoke, his attendants covered Haman’s face, signaling his doom.

Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard. He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”

“Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered. So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.

A Decree to Help the Jews

8:1 On that same day King Xerxes gave the property of Haman, the enemy of the Jews, to Queen Esther. Then Mordecai was brought before the king, for Esther had told the king how they were related. The king took off his signet ring—which he had taken back from Haman—and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther appointed Mordecai to be in charge of Haman’s property.

Then Esther went again before the king, falling down at his feet and begging him with tears to stop the evil plot devised by Haman the Agagite against the Jews. Again the king held out the gold scepter to Esther. So she rose and stood before him.

Esther said, “If it please the king, and if I have found favor with him, and if he thinks it is right, and if I am pleasing to him, let there be a decree that reverses the orders of Haman son of Hammedatha the Agagite, who ordered that Jews throughout all the king’s provinces should be destroyed. For how can I endure to see my people and my family slaughtered and destroyed?”

Then King Xerxes said to Queen Esther and Mordecai the Jew, “I have given Esther the property of Haman, and he has been impaled on a pole because he tried to destroy the Jews. Now go ahead and send a message to the Jews in the king’s name, telling them whatever you want, and seal it with the king’s signet ring. But remember that whatever has already been written in the king’s name and sealed with his signet ring can never be revoked.”

So on June 25 the king’s secretaries were summoned, and a decree was written exactly as Mordecai dictated. It was sent to the Jews and to the highest officers, the governors, and the nobles of all the 127 provinces stretching from India to Ethiopia. The decree was written in the scripts and languages of all the peoples of the empire, including that of the Jews. The decree was written in the name of King Xerxes and sealed with the king’s signet ring. Mordecai sent the dispatches by swift messengers, who rode fast horses especially bred for the king’s service.

The king’s decree gave the Jews in every city authority to unite to defend their lives. They were allowed to kill, slaughter, and annihilate anyone of any nationality or province who might attack them or their children and wives, and to take the property of their enemies. The day chosen for this event throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes was March 7 of the next year.

A copy of this decree was to be issued as law in every province and proclaimed to all peoples, so that the Jews would be ready to take revenge on their enemies on the appointed day. So urged on by the king’s command, the messengers rode out swiftly on fast horses bred for the king’s service. The same decree was also proclaimed in the fortress of Susa.

Then Mordecai left the king’s presence, wearing the royal robe of blue and white, the great crown of gold, and an outer cloak of fine linen and purple. And the people of Susa celebrated the new decree. The Jews were filled with joy and gladness and were honored everywhere. In every province and city, wherever the king’s decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced and had a great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday. And many of the people of the land became Jews themselves, for they feared what the Jews might do to them.

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For Such a Time as This (Esther’s Song) LIVE | Marty Goetz & Misha at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills

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NT Reading: Matthew 5:43-48 (NLT)

Teaching about Love for Enemies

5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

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Love Your EnemiesKyle Sigmon

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Prayer: ACNA | BCP2019

+ Most loving Father, you will us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on the One who cares for us. Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested unto us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

+ O God, the Creator of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you in Jesus Christ; in whose Name we pray. Amen.

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Closing: FaithandWorship.com | John Birch

God’s love surround us, God’s Spirit guide us,
God’s whisper cheer us, God’s peace calm us,
God’s shield protect us, God’s wisdom arm us,
wherever God may lead us.

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

Wednesday Morning: 21 Aug 2019 – Matthew 5:33-48 Jesus’ teaching on Vows, Revenge, and Love for Enemies.

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 5:33-48 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount (Continued)

Teaching about Vows

“You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Teaching about Revenge

“You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus’ teaching on Love for Enemies.

I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

– Matthew 5:44-45 –

Living by Kingdom standards involves a dramatic transformation of our thinking, our feelings, and our actions. Nowhere is this more evident than in Jesus’ teaching on loving our enemies. It’s not just a matter of going through the motions; God looks at our hearts and examines our motives as well.

Heartfelt love of enemies involves doing them good and praying for them. And that takes a work of God within us – an extreme makeover by God’s Word and Spirit – to move us from self-preservation to self-sacrifice, from meanness to generosity, from coldness to warmth, from distance to proximity – if not physically, at least emotionally.

Kingdom living is truly upside-down from the way the world lives and responds to enemies – with anger, hatred and retaliation. And prayer for the good of our enemies is one means of grace that facilitates that change in us as well as them.

Questions for consideration:

  • When you think of your enemies, who comes to mind? Why do you consider them your enemies? Please explain.
  • How have they harmed you? How have they hurt you? Please explain.
  • How have your enemies affected your thinking, your feelings, and your behavior? Please explain.
  • Has God changed the way way you think, feel, or behave towards them? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to pray for them? How would you pray for their good? Please explain.
  • What would it take for you to be reconciled with them? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Our Enemies

God of Grace and Glory: Have mercy on us all, and especially forgive our enemies – those who have slandered and persecuted us, those who seek to destroy us, those who defame Your Holy Name. Fill us with Your Spirit, that we may love them as Jesus commanded us. Lead us all from falsehood to truth: deliver us all from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time turn all our hearts to You, and enable us all to stand reconciled before you through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“Love Your Enemies”” – Tom Blakely

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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

Daily Reading: 13 June – The Teachings of Jesus – Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

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

E100:12.a – The Teachings of Jesus

Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5  One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890 Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle Bjergprædiken, Denmark
The Sermon on the Mount
Carl Bloch, 1890
Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle
Bjergprædiken, Denmark

Teaching about Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Teaching about the Law

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Teaching about Anger

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery

27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows

33 “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. 35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Christ crowned with thorns Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620 Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Christ crowned with thorns
Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Teaching about Revenge

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

Matthew 6  “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“Beatitudes” – Lydia Shaw (Bethel Church)

Dialogued Prayer on the Beatitudes

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Keep us from being preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of justice.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Help us not to be ruthless with one another, and to eliminate the discord and violence that exists in the world around us.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Give us patience under our own burdens and concern about the burdens of others.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled.” Make us thirst for you, the fountain of all holiness, and actively spread your influence in our private lives and in society.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Grant that we may be quick to forgive and slow to condemn.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” Free us from our senses and our evil desires, and fix our eyes on you.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Aid us to make peace in our families, in our country, and in the world.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for the kingdom of heaven in theirs.” Make us willing to suffer for the sake of right rather than to practice injustice, discrimination or oppression of our neighbors.

Closing Sentence

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

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