Week 49, Reformation Day, Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

The greatest commandment of God focuses on our moral duty to love God. Above all other precepts, duties, and commands, the crowning law of all is the command to love God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving God with one’s whole being summarizes all other duties, and anchors all that God demands and requires of humankind. As Jesus taught us, it is truly the first and the great command, followed by the second, to love one’s neighbor as oneself. All other commands in Scripture hinge on these two commands alone (Mark 12.29-32).

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Almighty God, in Jesus Christ you called disciples and prayed for them to be joined in faith. We pray for Christian churches from which we are separated. Let us never be so sure of ourselves that we condemn the faith of others or refuse reunion with them, but make us ever ready to reach out for more truth, so that your church may be one in the Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ 719 (Common Book of Worship, p. 812)

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

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)

Gloria Patri
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.

Chronological Reading for the Day
Sunday: Acts 21.37-23.35

Lectionary Readings
Psalm: Ps. 119.1-8
OT: Deut. 6.1-9
Gospel: Mark 12.28-34
NT: Heb. 9.11-14

(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

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.

Almighty and everlasting God, Who does enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the Saints, grant to our minds the same faith and power of love; that as we rejoice in their triumphs, we may profit by their examples; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ Gothic Missal, A.D. 1680 (Fox, p. 235)

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Teach us, Holy Spirit of God, how to love God with all of our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves.

Weekly Reflection on the Sovereign Love of God
So God himself, the incarnate Word, takes up residence (unites) with our fallen self so that he, God, now as a man, can reverse the human condition. He lifts, so to speak, all our sin and rebellion into himself. He lives the perfect life—the life God wanted for us in obedience to his created purpose—and reverses the life of fallen humanity. He pays the penalty for sin on the cross. He defeats the devil. He conquers hell. He re-creates. He does all this so that when we trust in him, he is in us and we in him.

~ Robert E. Webber and John Witvliet, Ancient-Future Worship (Ancient-Future): Proclaiming and Enacting God’s Narrative. Elec. Edition, Loc. 451.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Lord Reigns, Psalm 93

Book Reading
Heine, Classical Christian Doctrine

Special Church Year Services
All Saints Day: Monday, November 1, 2021

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