This Week’s Theme
The One Appointed to Judge the Living and the Dead
Luke, the author of Acts, shows his view of the importance of this story, as it is told in great detail and repeated in chapter 11, and again referred to in the Jerusalem council meeting in Acts 15. Peter’s proclamation of the Gospel to Cornelius and his household represents a major turning point in the Church’s life – the opening of the door of the Gospel to Gentiles.
Peter’s presentation to Cornelius’s company sketches the core of the Gospel’s claims, the Good News concerning Christ beginning from Galilee after John’s baptisms, and God’s anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. Jesus went about “doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (v.38). Peter asserted that he and the apostles were witnesses of the entire saga of Jesus in Judea and in Jerusalem, having borne witness of Jesus’s death by crucifixion. Yet, “God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead”) (vv. 40-41). God commanded the witnesses to “preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (vv. 42-43).
In the middle of Peter saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household, confirming that the same gift of the Spirit was being given to Gentiles through the Gospel. Indeed, God has appointed Jesus to be the judge of the living and the dead, and now forgiveness and new life are being offered in his name to whomever will receive it, Jew or Gentile.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Eternal God, thank you for showing that you are not a God of partiality; with Cornelius and his company you revealed your love for all people. Indeed, you have appointed Jesus to be the Judge of the living and the dead, and are offering to all people forgiveness in his name. We acknowledge him as Lord and King, and Savior and Judge of all. In his name we pray, 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
Lectionary Readings for the Day
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, you are the Savior of the world, and the Judge of the living and the dead. Now, through your name, those who come to you will experience forgiveness and grace; those who reject God’s offer in you will also meet you as Judge and Lord. Have mercy upon us; pour out your grace on us that we may believe and be forgiven, in your name. Amen.
Affirmation for the Day
Jesus died by being hung on a tree (of crucifixion), yet God raised him up on the third day to new life again.
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Jesus is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Light of the Gospel
2 Corinthians 4.1-6