Sunday, March 18, 2018

I am the light of the world Mar 18, 2018

Worship on Sunday, March 18

We’ve gone in search of those places where we may grow closer to God and God grows closer to us.  As we continue this Lenten journey, we must not forget “US!”  People and relationships can be the center of some of our most profound presence with the divine.
Image result for rise and shine and give god the glory

╬ “I am the light of the world.”  Jesus says it, and we believe him.  Of course!  The One God sends to reveal the Way, the truth and life for all who will believe is, indeed, the light of God shining in the world.  But then Jesus says something far more challenging.  “You are the light of the world.”  He says that the light of God is within each of us, and God wants that light to shine for the world to see.  We begin to understand ourselves – our calling – to be mediators, channels, vessels of God’s grace … even “thin places” though which God draws close. 

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

You are light, to me, to our congregation and to the world God loves!

Love and blessings,

- Pr. Brad Highum

Mobile:  512-914-6238

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------------------

God of life, we offer ourselves to you as agents of your grace and goodness in the world.  By the power of your Spirit, be at work in us as you see fit, to share your love in all that we say and do. Amen

READINGS ----------------------------------------

First Reading:  Ezekiel 36:22-29

22 Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Psalm 51:1-2,6-12

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Second Reading:  Ephesians 2:13-22

13 Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15 He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16 and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17 So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18 for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21 In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Gospel:  John 15:9-17

9 As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Where two or three gather

Worship on Sunday, March 11

As we explore those spaces and circumstances where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us, we come to understand the people of God gathered in worship as a “thin place!”

╬ Where two or three gather … 
Jesus promises presence.  “Where two or three gather in my name, I am there among them.”  (Matthew 18:20)  We gather in worship seeking presence with God in the Word and sacraments and prayers of our liturgy.  We celebrate God’s grace in our baptism and the fellowship of God’s table, in song and prayer in offering and reflecting on Scripture.  Worship is a “thin place” where God forms us as people of faith and sends us in mission for the sake of the world.  We gather here to know ourselves “en theos,” in God.

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

Our weekly and special gatherings for worship are a blessing to me and our whole community, thanks in large part to all of you!

Love and blessings,
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -------------------

God of life, we seek you at the center of our gathering here.  Speak to us in your Word.  Refresh us in remembrance of your grace in baptism.  Restore us and renew us in the blessing of your table.  Draw close to us in worship that we may find ourselves in you.  Amen

READINGS ---------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 56:1-8
6 Thus says the Lord: Maintain justice, and do what is right, for soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance be revealed. 2 Happy is the mortal who does this, the one who holds it fast, who keeps the sabbath, not profaning it, and refrains from doing any evil. 3 Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, "The Lord will surely separate me from his people"; and do not let the eunuch say, "I am just a dry tree." 4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, 5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.  6 And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant — 7 these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.8 Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.

Psalm 27:1-5
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh — my adversaries and foes — they shall stumble and fall.

3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident.

4 One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock.

Second Reading:  Revelation 19:6-10
6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying out, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.  7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; 8 to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure" —  for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.  9 And the angel said to me, "Write this:  Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of God." 10 Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your comrades who hold the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

Gospel:  John 14:18-24
18 "I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them." 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?" 23 Jesus answered him, "Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.”

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sacred Spaces 3-4-2018

Worship on Sunday, March 4

Our exploration of “thin places” – where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us – continues with SACRED SPACES … Symbols, Places, Devotions.

╬ Sacred Spaces
Perhaps it is the Sanctuary, here at Abiding Love; perhaps at the church where you grew up.  Places where a sense of the “numinous” – the presence of the divine – comes easily.  Places where re-visiting re-connects you with pivotal times in your life.  Places which have become sacred in your experience.  Sacred space can be a place where you go, or it may be created by what you do when you are there.  Sacred spaces are thin places, maybe for a lot of people, or maybe for you alone.  But we are blessed by them, because God meets us there!

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day. 
Where is sacred space for you in your life?  Let’s explore together!

Love and blessings,
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -------------------

God of grace, lead us to sacred spaces.  Help us to find you there, and to find ourselves more truly there. We long for communion, heart-to-heart presence with you.  Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 3:1-6

3 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3 Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." 4 When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." 5 Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." 6 He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Psalm 46:4-11

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 13:9-13

For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Gospel:  John 9:1-12

As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" 3 Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." 6 When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man's eyes, 7 saying to him, "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam" (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, "Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?" 9 Some were saying, "It is he." Others were saying, "No, but it is someone like him." He kept saying, "I am the man." 10 But they kept asking him, "Then how were your eyes opened?" 11 He answered, "The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' Then I went and washed and received my sight." 12 They said to him, "Where is he?" He said, "I do not know."

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Creation 2-25-2018

Worship on Sunday, February 25

As we explore the “thin places” where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us, we begin with the “great outdoors.”

╬ Creation
 “Creation is the primary and most perfect revelation of the Divine."-Thomas Aquinas
All creation is infused with the presence of the Creator.  The Psalmist affirms, “The heavens show forth the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (Psalm 19:1)  The original testament of God is the creation itself.  Nature is the everywhere-and-always “thin place” where we can find respite for the cares and complexity of life and rest ourselves in the loving embrace of God. 

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We seek to grow closer and deeper in presence with God, and nowhere is God found more surely than in nature!  Go outside … with your shoes off!

Love and blessings,

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------

Creator, source and ground of all being, we give thanks for the wonder, the beauty and the mystery of the natural world.  We seek you there, we long for you there.  We are blessed by the closeness to you that nature affords us.  Amen.

READINGS -------------------------

First Reading:  Genesis 1:26-31

26 Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."  27 So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28 God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." 29 God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Psalm 145:1-9

1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you, and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 The might of your awesome deeds shall be proclaimed, and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness, and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.

Second Reading:  Romans 8:18-24

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Gospel:  Matthew 6:25-33

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you — you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear?' 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Thin Places 02-18-2018

Worship on Sunday, February 18

In Lent we seek the “thin places” where we grow closer to God and God grows closer to us.

╬ Thin Places

Heaven and earth seem to touch.  We have that profound sense that we are a part of something vast and beyond us, yet intimately close.  In certain spaces and times and circumstances, the veil of separateness becomes gossamer thin.  The realm of the mundane and the realm of the divine come ultimately close.  We are drawn vitally close to God, and God to us.  In thin places, all becomes sacred, all becomes an expression of the divine.  Creation itself is realized as “a transparency through which the light of God shines.”   

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are entering into a Lenten journey together, where we will focus on lives lived in closer connection and presence, with God, with one another and with the world God loves!  It’s a blessing to make this journey with you!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------

God of grace, we hold to your promise that when we seek you with all our hearts, it is you we will find.  Draw near to us as we reach to you.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------

First Reading:  Ezekiel 3:22-24

22 The hand of the Lord was upon me there, and he said to me, "Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you." 23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the Lord was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.  24 Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet and the Lord spoke to me.

Psalm 27:7-11,13-14

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry to you, be gracious to me and answer me!
8 "Come," my heart says, "seek his face!" Your face, Lord, do I seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me. Do not turn your servant away in anger, you who have been my help.
10 If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path.
13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Second Reading:  Acts 17:24-28

24 The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals, life and breath and all things. 26 From one ancestor God made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27 and that they would seek God and perhaps feel their way toward him, and find him — though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28 For 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we too are his offspring.'

Gospel:  Matthew 14:22-27

22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25 And early in the morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, "Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Transfiguration 2-11-2018

Worship on February 11
Our Epiphany focus on The Way culminates in the celebration of Transfiguration …

╬ The Mountaintop

The Transfiguration is a pivotal experience in the lives of Jesus’ disciples and all who travel on the Way.  It profoundly captures the deeper meanings of our whole celebration of Epiphany – the revealing, the “making-known” of God.  The Gospels describe a mystical, mountaintop experience in which certain of Jesus’ followers see him transfigured:  his appearance changes, he looks different to them; they see him in a new light.  It is an invitation to awaken to the true reality of Jesus as the One promised by the prophets – Emmanuel in Hebrew, “God with us,” in the flesh.  And it is an invitation for them – and for us – to be transformed ourselves by that revealed identity.

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are blessed by the mountaintop experience as we prepare to descend to the vale of Lent that awaits us.  Peace to you all as we make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------------
Almighty God, the resplendent light of your truth shines from the mountaintop into our hearts. Awaken us in the transfiguration of your Son to the transformation you seek to work in all of us.  Illuminate the world with your image, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------------------------
First Reading:  2 Kings 2:1-13

2 Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel." But Elisha said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they went down to Bethel. 3 The company of prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he said, "Yes, I know; keep silent." 4 Elijah said to him, "Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So they came to Jericho. 5 The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, "Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?" And he answered, "Yes, I know; be silent."  6 Then Elijah said to him, "Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan." But he said, "As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you." So the two of them went on.  7 Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. 8 Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.  9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you." Elisha said, "Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit." 10 He responded, "You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not." 11 As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. 12 Elisha kept watching and crying out, "Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!" But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.

Psalm 50:1-6

1 The mighty one, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.
3 Our God comes and does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, and a mighty tempest all around him.
4 He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people.
5 "Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!"
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge.

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 4:3-6

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Gospel:  Mark 9:2-10

2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, "This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!" 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.  9 As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Way of the Kingdom Feb 4 2018

Worship on February 4

We continue in our exploration of The Way, 
with a focus on …

╬ The Way of the Kingdom

“The kingdom of God is at hand.”  With this revelation, Jesus begins his evangelism – his proclamation of the Good News – in all four of the Biblical Gospels.  The kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven, is central to all of his teaching and ministry.  The rule and reign of God in the world is what he comes to announce and to bring about through a Way of faith and action he calls forth from all who will believe.  He tells us the kingdom of God is at hand, among us, within us!  And his loving invitation is simply to repent, to “turn” and embrace it.

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

We are called to boldly live into the “already, but not yet” of God’s kingdom.  What a blessing to make our way together!

- Pr. Brad Highum


Rule in our lives, Lord.  Rule in our world, so that your Way of justice and compassion, unity and peace might prevail among all people and throughout creation.  Amen.

READINGS ------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 19:1-6

19 On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. 2 They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. 3 Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites."

Psalm 145:10-18

10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your faithful shall bless you.
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom, and tell of your power,
12 to make known to all people your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.  The Lord is faithful in all his words, and gracious in all his deeds.
14 The Lord upholds all who are falling, and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand, satisfying the desire of every living thing.
17 The Lord is just in all his ways, and kind in all his doings.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Second Reading:  Ephesians 4:17-24

17 Now this I affirm and insist on in the Lord: you must no longer live as the Gentiles live, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance and hardness of heart. 19 They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 That is not the way you learned Christ! 21 For surely you have heard about him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus. 22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Gospel:  John 3:1-10

3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God." 3 Jesus answered him, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." 4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" 5 Jesus answered, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, 'You must be born from above.' 8 The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." 9 Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" 10 Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?