Tragedy all around us, but we still find plenty of hope:
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The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
INVITATORY AND PSALTER
Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.
Christ Our Passover
1 Cor. 5:7-8; Rom. 6:9-11; 1 Cor. 15:20-22
Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us; *
therefore let us keep the feast,
Not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, *
but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Alleluia.
Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; *
death no longer has dominion over him.
The death that he died, he died to sin, once for all; *
but the life he lives, he lives to God.
So also consider yourselves dead to sin, *
and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. Alleluia.
Christ has been raised from the dead, *
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
For since by a man came death, *
by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, *
so also in Christ shall all be made alive. Alleluia.
1 LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you; *
hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
2 Incline your ear to me; *
when I call, make haste to answer me,
3 For my days drift away like smoke, *
and my bones are hot as burning coals.
4 My heart is smitten like grass and withered, *
so that I forget to eat my bread.
5 Because of the voice of my groaning *
I am but skin and bones.
6 I have become like a vulture in the wilderness, *
like an owl among the ruins.
7 I lie awake and groan; *
I am like a sparrow, lonely on a house-top.
8 My enemies revile me all day long, *
and those who scoff at me have taken an oath against me.
9 For I have eaten ashes for bread *
and mingled my drink with weeping.
10 Because of your indignation and wrath *
you have lifted me up and thrown me away.
11 My days pass away like a shadow, *
and I wither like the grass.
12 But you, O LORD, endure for ever, *
and your Name from age to age.
13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion,
for it is time to have mercy upon it; *
indeed, the appointed time has come.
14 For your servants love its very rubble, *
and are moved to pity even for its dust.
15 The nations shall fear your Name, O LORD, *
and all the kings of the earth your glory.
16 For you, O LORD, will build up Zion, *
and your glory will appear.
17 You will look with favor on the prayer of the homeless; *
you will not despise their plea.
18 Let this be written for a future generation, *
so that a people yet unborn may praise the LORD.
19 For the LORD looked down from the holy place on high; *
and from the heavens beheld the earth;
20 To hear the groan of the captive *
and to set free those condemned to die;
21 That they may declare in Zion the Name of the LORD, *
and the praise of our God in Jerusalem;
22 When the peoples are gathered together, *
and the realms also, to serve the LORD.
23 The LORD has brought down my strength before my time; *
and shortened the number of my days;
24 And I said, “O my God,
do not take me away in the midst of my days; *
your years endure throughout all generations.
25 In the beginning, O LORD, you laid the foundations of the earth, *
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
26 They shall perish, but you will endure;
they all shall wear out like a garment; *
as clothing you will change them,
and they shall be changed;
27 But you are always the same, *
and your years will never end.
28 The children of your servants shall continue, *
and their offspring shall stand fast in your sight.”
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Jeremiah 31:27-34 (NRSV)
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the LORD. In those days they shall no longer say:
“The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”
But all shall die for their own sins; the teeth of everyone who eats sour grapes shall be set on edge.
The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the LORD,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Canticle: A Song of Ezekiel
I will take you from among all nations; *
and gather you from all lands to bring you home.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you; *
and purify you from false gods and uncleanness.
A new heart I will give you *
and a new spirit put within you.
I will take the stone heart from your chest *
and give you a heart of flesh.
I will help you walk in my laws *
and cherish my commandments and do them.
You shall be my people, *
and I will be your God.
Ephesians 5:1-20 (NRSV)
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them. For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Canticle: A Song of Our Adoption
Blessed are you, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *
for you have blessed us in Christ
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
Before the world was made, you chose us to be yours in Christ, *
that we should be holy and blameless before you.
You destined us for adoption as your children through Jesus Christ, *
according to the good pleasure of your will,
To the praise of your glorious grace, *
that you have freely given us in the Beloved.
In you, we have redemption through the blood of Christ,
the forgiveness of our sins,
According to the riches of your grace *
which you have lavished upon us.
You have made known to us, in all wisdom and insight, *
the mystery of your will,
According to your good pleasure which you set forth in Christ, *
as a plan for the fullness of time,
To gather together all things in Christ, *
things in heaven and things on earth.
Matthew 9:9-17 (NRSV)
As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.
And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard this, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”
Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.”
THE APOSTLES’ CREED
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
God’s only son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Let us pray.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and for ever. Amen.
V. Help us, O God our Savior;
R. Deliver us and forgive us our sins.
V. Look upon your congregation;
R. Give to your people the blessing of peace.
V. Declare your glory among the nations;
R. And your wonders among all peoples.
V. Do not let the oppressed be shamed and turned away;
R. Never forget the lives of your poor.
V. Continue your loving-kindness to those who know you;
R. And your favor to those who are true of heart.
V. Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning;
R. So shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Collect of the Day: 7th Sunday of Easter: Sunday after Ascension Day
O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: Do not leave us comfortless, but send us your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to that place where our Savior Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
A Collect for Fridays
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.
Collect for Mission
O God, you have made of one blood all the peoples of the earth, and sent your blessed Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Grant that people everywhere may seek after you and find you; bring the nations into your fold; pour out your Spirit upon all flesh; and hasten the coming of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia, alleluia.
Thanks be to God. Alleluia, alleluia.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time and now and for ever. Amen. Jude 24-25++
VIDEO: I want to walk as a child of the light (#490, Houston, Kathleen Thomerson) – First United Methodist, Houston, 2016