25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 20 Sep 2020: Jonah 3:10-4:11, Matthew 20:1-16 ~ God is merciful and compassionate.

The 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 20 Sep 2020

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

Opening:

O Lord, you have taught us that without love, all our deeds are worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you; grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The Lord is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

The Lord is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.
(Psalm 145: 8-9)

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“Psalm 145” – (Amen) – Jon Buller

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Collect for Purity

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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A Reading from the Old Testament: Jonah 3:10-4:11 (NLT)

When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Mercy

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

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Halleluyah -Exodus Road Band

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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 20:1-16 (NLT)

Parable of the Vineyard Workers

“For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

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Just As I Am, without One Plea – Koine

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Prayer:

+ For the Church Universal

Gracious Father, we pray for your holy Church Universal. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

+ For the Church’s Mission

O God, our heavenly Father, you manifested your love by sending your only-begotten Son into the world, that all might live through him: Pour out your Spirit on your Church, that we may fulfill his command to preach the Gospel to all people. Send forth laborers into your harvest; defend them in all dangers and temptations; and hasten the time when the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in, and faithful Israel shall be saved; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

+ For the Spirit of Evangelism

Almighty God our Savior, you desire that none should perish, and you have taught us through your Son that there is great joy in heaven over every sinner who repents: Grant that our hearts may ache for a lost and broken world. May your Holy Spirit work through our words, deeds, and prayers, that the lost may be found and the dead made alive, and that all your redeemed may rejoice around your throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“I Stand Here” – Exodus Road Band

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Closing – Phil 1:27 (NLT)

Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then… [you will] stand together with one spirit and one purpose, [and] fight together for the faith, which is the Good News.

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

The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 13 Sep 2020: Sirach* 27:30-28:7, Psalm 103:1-14, Matt 18:21-35 ~ Mercy received / Mercy given!

The 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 13 Sep 2020

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

Opening:

O God most high, you are slow to anger and rich in compassion. Keep alive in us the memory of your mercy, that our angers may be calmed and our resentments dispelled. May we discover the forgiveness promised to those who forgive and become a people rich in mercy. 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.

May I never forget the good things The Lord does for me.
He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
(Psalm 103: 2-4)

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“God of Grace and God of Glory” – First Plymouth Church, Lincoln Nebraska

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Collect for Purity

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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A Reading from the Apocrypha: Sirach 27:30- 28:7 (Anglicised (NRSVA)

Anger and Vengeance

27:30 Anger and wrath, these also are abominations,
yet a sinner holds on to them.

28:1 The vengeful will face the Lord’s vengeance,
for he keeps a strict account of their sins.

2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done,
and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.

3 Does anyone harbor anger against another,
and expect healing from the Lord?

4 If someone has no mercy towards another like himself,
can he then seek pardon for his own sins?

5 If a mere mortal harbors wrath,
who will make an atoning sacrifice for his sins?

6 Remember the end of your life, and set enmity aside;
remember corruption and death, and be true to the commandments.

7 Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor;
remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook faults.

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“Psalm 103” (Bless The Lord) – Slavic Center Tacoma

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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 18:21-35 (NLT)

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

“Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

“But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

“But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

“His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

“When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

“That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

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Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive –  Koine

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Prayer to Forgive OthersKathryn Shirey

O Heavenly Father, as you have forgiven me, help me to forgive those who have sinned against me. For we are all sinners and we all fall short of your glory.

Help me to let go of the anger, resentment, bitterness, and hurt to forgive those who have hurt me. I need your help, O Lord, for the hurts are great and it’s hard to forgive.

Help me to fill my heart with love, because you first loved us. Lead me to live a life of love and forgiveness, learning to see others through your eyes, Lord. I leave my hurting heart at your feet, Lord, and ask for your help to heal my heart and lead me to forgiveness.

O Lord, help me to forgive those who have sinned against me, or against those I hold most dear; I ask through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

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His Mercy Is More – The Acappella Company

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Closing – Romans 14:7-8 (NLT)

We don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves.
If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord.
So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 

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

The 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 06 Sep 2020: Ezekiel 33:1-11, Matthew 18:15-20 ~ turn from your wicked ways and live

The 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 06 Sep 2020

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

Opening:

O Lord God, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Sovereign Lord says: “I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people.
I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live.”

(Ezekiel 33:11)

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“To God Be The Glory” – The Celebration Choir

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A Reading from the Old Testament: Ezekiel 33:1-11 (NLT)

 Ezekiel as Israel’s Watchman

Once again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’

“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.

The Watchman’s Message

“Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?

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“Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus” – The Celebration Choir

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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 18:15-20 (NLT)

Correcting Another Believer

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”

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Psalm 119:33-40 –  The Corner Room

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Prayer

Repentance:

Almighty God, my heavenly Father: I have sinned against you, through my own fault, in thought, and word, and deed, and in what I have left undone. For the sake of your Son my Lord Jesus Christ, forgive me all my offenses; and grant that I may serve you in newness of life, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

Evangelism:

Almighty God my Savior, you desire that none should perish, and you have taught me through your Son that there is great joy in heaven over every sinner who repents: Grant that my heart may ache for a lost and broken world. May your Holy Spirit work through my words, deeds, and prayers, that the lost may be found and the dead made alive, and that all your redeemed may rejoice around your throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Enemies:

O God, the Creator of all, whose Son commanded me to love my enemies: Lead them and me from prejudice to truth; deliver them and me 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.

Joy in the End:

 Lord Jesus, be mindful of your promise. Think of me, your servant, and when I shall depart, speak to my spirit these loving words: “Today you shall be with me in joy.” O Lord Jesus Christ, remember me, your servant who trusts in you, when my tongue cannot speak, when the sight of my eyes fails, and when my ears are stopped. Let my spirit always rejoice in you and be joyful about my salvation, which you, through your death, have purchased for me. Amen.

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We’re Marching To Zion – The Celebration Choir

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Closing – Romans 12:12, 14-17-18, 21 (NLT)

+ Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
+ Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.
+ Never pay back evil with more evil.
+ Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.
+ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen

The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 30 Aug 2020: Jeremiah 15:19-21, Psalm 26, Matthew 16:21-27 ~ “What is your soul worth?

The 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 30 Aug 2020

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

Opening:

O Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow after us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way,
take up your cross, and follow me.”
(Matthew 16:16-24)

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A Mighty Fortress Is Our God – (Virtual Choir #4)

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A Reading from the Old Testament: Jeremiah 15:19-21 (NLT)

The Lord responds:

“If you return to me, I will restore you
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!
They will fight against you like an attacking army,
but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”

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Psalm 26 – Caryn Borland

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A Reading from the Gospels: Matthew 16:21-27 (NLT)

Take Up Your Cross

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.

But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds.

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Prayer

Almighty God: Our help in ages past, our hope in years to come. You are our shield and defender against wicked people, and the schemes of Satan. Protect us and rescue us. We pray especially –

+ For Christians who suffer — that they may not give up….
Lord, hear us.
_ For all who are criticized for doing the right thing — that they may hold firm….
Lord, hear us.
+ For the grace to support each other in the hardships of life – that our burdens may be shared….
Lord, hear us.
+ For all who are suffering because of the pandemic – that they may be comforted….
Lord, hear us.
+ For all who struggle with illness, of mind or body – that they may be healed….
Lord, hear us.
+ For all who are suffering the effects of civil unrest – that their families and communities may be restored….
Lord, hear us.

Almighty God: Our help in ages past, our hope for years to come; you have disarmed every “power and principality” through Jesus’ death on the cross. Help us to take up our own crosses every day, and follow him, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It’s in his name we pray. Amen.

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Defend Us – Jessica Di Giovanni

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Closing – Romans 12:1-2 (NLT)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen