Morning Prayer 7.9.20, An Ordinary Thursday after Pentecost

Even when the world news is bad we keep going:

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“Go up to the top of Pisgah and look around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.”

Evangelical Lutheran pastor Steve Klemz is retiring after 28 years at Zion Lutheran in Salt Lake City and 50 years of Gospel activism. While still a seminarian (during the Concordia/Seminex schism), he was assigned to a Black inner-city church in St. Louis whose members were beset by poverty, violence and police abuse; a day after he graduated and was ordained, they hired him as their pastor. In time he was called to a church in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, a predominantly Lutheran area, but he felt stifled. So he took a job in Salt Lake, the Mormon citadel, in hopes that being a Lutheran would mean something there. He plunged into church development and social justice issues, promoting civil rights and immigration reform, remodeling the church to provide more services to the homeless, opposing capital punishment and leading the parish to become a Reconciling congregation welcoming LGBTs. He founded an Interfaith Roundtable to bring faith leaders together during the 2002 Winter Olympics; he’s a former semipro baseball player with the Elkhart, Indiana Shamrocks and “an obnoxious Notre Dame fan,” he says. What’s next after retirement? Spending time with his family and learning to be Steve again, not Pastor Steve – as well as feeding the hungry and welcoming the stranger, the spiritual habits of a lifetime. Well done, good and faithful servant. (Francisco Kjolseth/Salt Lake Tribune)

The Lord is in the holy temple; let all the earth keep silence. Habakkuk 2:20

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.

Psalm 95:1-7

Come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving;
and raise to the Lord a shout with psalms.
For you are a great God;
you are great above all gods.
In your hand are the caverns of the earth;
and the heights of the hills are yours also.
The sea is yours, for you made it,
and your hands have molded the dry land.
Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,
and kneel before the Lord our Maker.
For you are our God,
and we are the people of your pasture, and the sheep of your hand.
Oh, that today we would hearken to your voice!

Psalm 18:1-20

1 I love you, O LORD my strength, *
O LORD my stronghold, my crag, and my haven.
2 My God, my rock in whom I put my trust, *
my shield, the horn of my salvation, and my refuge;
you are worthy of praise.
3 I will call upon the LORD, *
and so shall I be saved from my enemies.
4 The breakers of death rolled over me, *
and the torrents of oblivion made me afraid.
5 The cords of hell entangled me, *
and the snares of death were set for me.
6 I called upon the LORD in my distress *
and cried out to my God for help.
7 You heard my voice from your heavenly dwelling; *
my cry of anguish came to your ears.
8 The earth reeled and rocked; *
the roots of the mountains shook;
they reeled because of your anger.
9 Smoke rose from your nostrils
and a consuming fire out of your mouth; *
hot burning coals blazed forth from you.
10 You parted the heavens and came down *
with a storm cloud under your feet.
11 You mounted on cherubim and flew; *
you swooped on the wings of the wind.
12 You wrapped darkness about you; *
you made dark waters and thick clouds your pavilion.
13 From the brightness of your presence, through the clouds, *
burst hailstones and coals of fire.
14 O LORD, you thundered out of heaven; *
O Most High, you uttered your voice.
15 You loosed your arrows and scattered them; *
you hurled thunderbolts and routed them.
16 The beds of the seas were uncovered,
and the foundations of the world laid bare, *
at your battle cry, O LORD,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
17 You reached down from on high and grasped me; *
you drew me out of great waters.
18 You delivered me from my strong enemies
and from those who hated me; *
for they were too mighty for me.
19 They confronted me in the day of my disaster; *
but the LORD was my support.
20 You brought me out into an open place; *
you rescued me because you delighted in me.

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.

The Death of Moses, looking over the Land of Promise. Like God’s own Son, he was put to death for the sins of others. (Providence Lithograph Company, 1907)

THE LESSONS
Deuteronomy 3:18-28 (NRSV)

At that time, I [Moses] charged you as follows: “Although the LORD your God has given you this land to occupy, all your troops shall cross over armed as the vanguard of your Israelite kin. Only your wives, your children, and your livestock—I know that you have much livestock—shall stay behind in the towns that I have given to you. When the LORD gives rest to your kindred, as to you, and they too have occupied the land that the LORD your God is giving them beyond the Jordan, then each of you may return to the property that I have given to you.” And I charged Joshua as well at that time, saying: “Your own eyes have seen everything that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so the LORD will do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross. Do not fear them, for it is the LORD your God who fights for you.”

At that time, too, I entreated the LORD, saying: “O Lord GOD, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your might; what god in heaven or on earth can perform deeds and mighty acts like yours! Let me cross over to see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and the Lebanon.” But the LORD was angry with me on your account and would not heed me. The LORD said to me, “Enough from you! Never speak to me of this matter again! Go up to the top of Pisgah and look around you to the west, to the north, to the south, and to the east. Look well, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, because it is he who shall cross over at the head of this people and who shall secure their possession of the land that you will see.”

Canticle: The Song of Moses
Exodus 15:1-6, 11-13, 17-18

I will sing to the Lord, for he is lofty and uplifted; *
the horse and its rider has he hurled into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my refuge; *
the Lord has become my Savior.
This is my God and I will praise him, *
the God of my people and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a mighty warrior; *
Yahweh is his Name.
The chariots of Pharaoh and his army has he hurled into the sea;
the finest of those who bear armor have been drowned in the Red Sea.
The fathomless deep has overwhelmed them; *
they sank into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in might; *
your right hand, O Lord, has overthrown the enemy.
Who can be compared with you, O Lord, among the gods? *
who is like you, glorious in holiness,
awesome in renown, and worker of wonders?
You stretched forth your right hand; *
the earth swallowed them up.
With your constant love you led the people you redeemed; *
with your might you brought them in safety to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them *
on the mount of your possession,
The resting-place you have made for yourself, O Lord, *
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hand has established.
The Lord shall reign *
for ever and for ever.

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.

Romans 9:19-33 (NRSV)

You will say to me then, “Why then does (God) still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—including us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?

As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'” “And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they shall be called children of the living God.” And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the children of Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved; for the Lord will execute his sentence on the earth quickly and decisively.” And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left survivors to us, we would have fared like Sodom and been made like Gomorrah.”

What then are we to say? Gentiles, who did not strive for righteousness, have attained it, that is, righteousness through faith; but Israel, who did strive for the righteousness that is based on the law, did not succeed in fulfilling that law. Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Canticle: Glory to God
Gloria in excelsis

Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Ruins of the Old Sheldon Church in Beaufort County, South Carolina, an Episcopal church built by slaves and burned by Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman to help bring an end to the U.S. Civil War. (St. Helena’s ACNA, Beaufort, SC)

Matthew 24:1-14 (NRSV)

As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.” When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah!’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birthpangs.

“Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.”

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 PRAYERS

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. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance;
R. Govern and uphold them, now and always.
V. Day by day we bless you;
R. We praise your Name for ever.
V. Lord, keep us from all sin today;
R. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.
V. Lord, show us your love and mercy;
R. For we put our trust in you.
V. In you, Lord, is our hope;
R. And we shall never hope in vain.

St. Michael’s, Geneseo, New York (The Rev. Michael Hartney)

Collect of the Day: Proper 9

O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Guidance

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

U.S. Gun Violence Skyrockets; Deaths Up 22%

America’s Gun Toll
July 2-8, 2020
Source: Gun Violence Archive

Last Week’s Gun Toll as of 7.8.20

970 total gun deaths last week (vs. 879)
508 murders and unintentional deaths (vs. 417)
462 suicides (est. weekly average)

1134 people injured (vs. 976)
35 mass shootings (vs. 18)
1 mass murders (vs. 0)

16 young children killed (vs. 10)
29 young children injured (vs. 11)
25 teenagers killed (vs. 21)
87 teenagers injured (vs. 65)

1 police officers killed (vs. 1)
6 officers injured (vs. 6)
20 persons killed by police (vs. 22)
12 persons injured by police (vs. 12)

23 defensive use incidents (vs. 37)
63 unintentional shootings (vs. 40)
12 murder-suicides (vs. 14)

A Prayer to End Gun Violence

O Lord our God, we pray for the victims of the other pandemic, as gun violence ravages our homes, our streets, our businesses, schools and houses of worship. We pray for the children killed and injured, for their families and classmates. We pray for teenagers gunned down before their lives have really started. We pray for police officers who keep fighting a never-ending battle, while trying to keep themselves and everyone else safe; and we pray for an end to racial profiling in law enforcement. We pray for all who are depressed or mentally ill, wanting to hurt themselves or others, in a nation where guns are everywhere. We pray for the victims of crime who are forced to defend themselves and their loved ones. We pray for anti-violence activists and community leaders, in a time when new methods of protest and reform must be created. Let your demands for justice and cries for peace be heard, O Lord, in our legislative chambers and in our hearts; may your healing grace overtake this land, through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Please add your own intercessions, supplications and thanksgivings here.

For the Mission of the Church

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself: We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the Gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your Name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours for ever. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

God’s blessing be with us,
Christ’s peace be with us,
the Spirit’s outpouring be with us,
now and always. Amen.++

VIDEO: Take up your cross, the Savior said (Bourdon, attr. Freeman Lewis, 1825; Charles W. Everest, 1833) – Trinity Evangelical Lutheran, Worcester, Massachusetts, 2010

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