This Week’s Theme
Unless You Repent
The question of how fate is involved in our lives (fate as the controlling power affecting people’s lives making them subject to both tragedy and death) was a common issue at the time of Jesus’s ministry. During one segment of his journeys he met folk who mentioned how some Galileans were slaughtered by Pilate, who had mingled their own blood with their sacrifices. Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
The power of the Lord’s reply to fate is strong and final. While some may speculate on questions of tragedy or judgment because of sinfulness and guilt, Jesus says that since we are all equally culpable to God, no one can ascribe fate to anyone. All of us are liable to hurt and harm because of the fall, and everyone is eligible for salvation and rescue; all are guilty before the Lord. No person or group is exempt from the need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. Unless we repent, each one of us, we all will face judgment, and no one can save themselves. The Gospel is truly good news for the world.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, our Father, since all of us have sinned and fallen short of your glory, let us not judge others as more deserving of your judgment than we are. Unless we too repent and come to your Son, we too will perish. Open our hearts to you, and let us not judge our neighbors as unworthy of the Gospel. Thank you for your love, for all of us. In Christ’s name, amen.
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, Amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: 2 Sam. 12.26-14.33
Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 63.1-8
OT: Isa. 55.1-9
Gospel: Luke 13.1-9
NT: 1 Cor. 10.1-13
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick 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.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Lord Jesus, enable us not to view others as deserving of your judgment, while we view ourselves as worthy only of your mercy and love. Unless we too repent and come to you, we too will perish. You are the way, the truth, and the life for all of us, everywhere. Thank you for the universal appeal of your Gospel. Draw us near to you, even as we admit our need of your grace for our salvation. In your name we pray, amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Fate is not in control of human destiny. God Almighty is Lord of all.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Unless we all repent, we will all likewise perish.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
It Is Written
Metaxas, Martin Luther