Wednesday, May 24, 2017

I am The Way of the Lord - May 28

Worship on May 28 -  I AM  The Way of the Lord

The early followers of Jesus referred to themselves as “people of the Way.”  They identified themselves as disciples of the Christ, the messiah of God.  Obeying Christ’s command, they ordered their lives and actions according to “the Way of the Lord.”  They understood that true discipleship is less a set of beliefs than it is a Way of being in the world, a Way characterized by the goodness and love, forgiveness and compassion embodied in Christ … a way and a truth that leads to life!

We ourselves are people of the Way … called to live and love and serve in the example of Christ.  Let’s celebrates that and dedicate ourselves in worship to our true identity in Christ!

click here to listen to the late service 
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I am the good shepherd May 21

Worship on May 21 -  I AM  The Good Shepherd


╬ “My own know me!” 

In one of the most widely known of the “I AM” revelations, Jesus draws upon the agrarian imagery of the people … the shepherd, guarding and guiding the flock.  It is an image that God reveals through the prophets, as in Ezekiel: “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep.”  It is also an image that also resonates with the tradition of David – the Shepherd King.  Today, Jesus powerfully interprets this rich image and tradition in his own person, his life and ministry.  “I am the Good Shepherd,” he says; the One who comes that we might have life and have it in fullness


click here to listen to the late service 
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

I AM Light - May 14

Worship on Sunday, May 14 …

As we continue to explore the “I AM” statements of Jesus in John’s Gospel, we turn our attention to the profound image of LIGHT.

╬ “The light of the world.”

John’s Gospel begins with a re-telling of the magisterial creation story of Genesis.  In the beginning is I AM.  This source and ground of all being speaks light and it shines forth in the darkness.  As we learn in John’s account – in this ongoing revelation – this light that shines has particularity, has identity, has “personhood.”  It is the logos – the Word – the full and complete revelation of the nature and wisdom of God.  In this light is life, John says.  And this life becomes the light of all humanity.  Jesus has much to teach us about God and God’s revelation in him.  “I am the light of the world,” he says; heresy to some, rich blessing to others.  And then he says something all the more audacious … “You are the light!”


click here to listen to the late service 
click here to listen to the early service 


The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

You are the light of the world!  Let it shine!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

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

God of all creation, you speak and light shines.  May that light be life for us, life to be lived in the light of your Christ.  Shine in him, shine in us, shine for the world to see.  Amen.

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

First Reading:   Genesis 1:1-5

1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Psalm 36:5-10

5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!  All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your salvation to the upright of heart!

Second Reading:   Ephesians 2:13-22

13 But 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 8:12-20

12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." 13 Then the Pharisees said to him, "You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid." 14 Jesus answered, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge by human standards; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. 18 I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf." 19 Then they said to him, "Where is your Father?" Jesus answered, "You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also." 20 He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

4th Sunday of Easter: I AM – Vine

Sunday May 7, 2016   "I AM – Vine"
╬  “I am the true vine!” 
Jesus uses images of vines and vine dressing – resonant in the life of the people – to reveal powerful truths about life in God.  They speak to us, as well, about living faithfully today … trusting ourselves to the ministry of the Vine Dresser; abiding in the One who is at once the source and unity of all people and all creation. 


click here to listen to the late service 
click here to listen to the early service 

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


God of all creation, you send your Christ as the true vine that keeps us connected with you and one another.  Help us to find our strength, our sustenance and our calling in staying connected to the true vine.  Amen.



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



First Reading:   Hosea 14:4-7



4 I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them.  5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.   6 His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.  7 They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.



Psalm 80:7-15



7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
11 It sent out its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it, and all that move in the field feed on it.
14 Turn again, O God of hosts; look down from heaven, and see.
15 Have regard for this vine, the stock that your right hand planted. 

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 3:1-9


3 And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? 4 For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely human?  5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9 For we are God's servants, working together; you are God's field, God's building.




Gospel:   John 15:1-9



15 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine dresser. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples. 




Sunday, April 30, 2017

I AM - Take and eat! April 30

My friends, we move forward in the Eastertide with our focus on the “I AM” revelations of Jesus. 


╬  “Take and eat!”

Bread.  The “staff of life” for most societies and cultures the world over, throughout history.  And yet, something so common takes on profound significance in Scripture.  For the Israelites, bread became symbolic of the whole of God’s provision:  the very word of God upon which the people were to feed day and night.  “"How sweet are thy words unto my taste!” says the Psalmist, “sweeter than honey to my mouth!" (Psalm 119:103)  Torah, the wisdom and teachings of God, became for the people “the bread of life.”  We begin to see how challenging it is for them as Jesus reinterprets this powerful symbol in his own life and being:  “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” he says, “I am the bread of life.”

click here to listen to the late service 
click here to listen to the early service 

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day. 

Special thanks to Melvin Sanders, along with Di Brophy and Terry Wyatt, for the “I AM” that seems to float in the air above our chancel!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

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

God of all creation, your Word is bread for us.  Feed us on your Word in Scripture as our wisdom for living.  Feed us on your Word incarnate in Christ, blessed, broken and shared out that we may have life.  Amen.

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

First Reading:   Exodus 3:1-15

1 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.  9 The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt." 11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" 12 He said, "I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."  13 But Moses said to God, "If I come to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I Am Who I Am." He said further, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'I Am has sent me to you.'" 15 God also said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you':  This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.

Psalm 138

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything.
3 On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul.
4 All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth.
5 They shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Second Reading:   Hebrews 9:1-5

9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was constructed, the first one, in which were the lampstand, the table, and the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a tent called the Holy of Holies. 4 In it stood the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which there were a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat.

Gospel:   John 6:35-51

35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; 38 for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day." 41 Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." 42 They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my body."

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Great deliverance! April 23

Worship on the Second Sunday of Easter, April 23 …

My friends, as we continue our celebration of Resurrection and re-birth, we begin a new series:  “I AM.”  In the shining light of the Resurrection, we are reminded of the profound teachings of Jesus during his living ministry among us … how our hearts burned within us as he taught us, leading us ever deeper into the truth of God.  We remember how he appropriated powerful elements of the religious tradition and revealed their new and deeper meanings and import for our lives.  “I am the water of life.”  “I am the bread of life.”  “I am light of the world.”  In the glory of the Eastertide, we will explore these “I AM” statements and teachings for all they reveal about God’s Christ, about us, and about our calling to live as God’s people today.

On Sunday, April 23 …

╬  “Great deliverance!”

Easter dawn finds two of Jesus’ disciples headed out of town.  They are leaving Jerusalem behind.  Leaving behind all of the tumultuous, tragic and mystifying events of recent days.  They are journeying back, in a sense, to a place that is glorified in the history and traditions of the People.  They are returning to a place that symbolizes the “Great Deliverance” they had hoped God would bring about through Jesus.  In the aftermath of Jesus’ death, they are retreating to the last place that meant victory for them, the defeat of their oppressors, deliverance by the very hand of God, freedom!  They are headed back, back to Emmaus, back to the beginning.  And we’re invited to make the journey with them as we gather today.

click here to listen to the late service 
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The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

This is truly a blessed season as we “process” all that has occurred in the light of God’s revelation in Christ.

Blessings and peace to you all,

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org


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

God of new beginnings, lead us ever forward.  By the power of your Spirit grant us the vision and the courage and the grace to follow your Christ, the Resurrected One, now and in the time to come.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  1 Maccabees 3:6-11,19-25

6 At daybreak Judas appeared in the plain with three thousand men, but they did not have armor and swords such as they desired. 7 And they saw the camp of the Gentiles, strong and fortified, with cavalry all around it; and these men were trained in war. 8 But Judas said to those who were with him, "Do not fear their numbers or be afraid when they charge. 9 Remember how our ancestors were saved at the Red Sea, when Pharaoh with his forces pursued them. 10 And now, let us cry to Heaven, to see whether he will favor us and remember his covenant with our ancestors and crush this army before us today. 11 Then all the Gentiles will know that there is one who redeems and saves Israel."  

19 Just as Judas was finishing this speech, a detachment appeared, coming out of the hills. 20 They saw that their army had been put to flight, and that the Jews were burning the camp, for the smoke that was seen showed what had happened. 21 When they perceived this, they were greatly frightened, and when they also saw the army of Judas drawn up in the plain for battle, 22 they all fled into the land of the Philistines. 23 Then Judas returned to plunder the camp, and they seized a great amount of gold and silver, and cloth dyed blue and sea purple, and great riches. 24 On their return they sang hymns and praises to Heaven — "For he is good, for his mercy endures forever." 25 Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

Psalm  114

1 When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
2 Judah became God's sanctuary, Israel his dominion.
3 The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
5 Why is it, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan, that you turn back?
6 O mountains, that you skip like rams? O hills, like lambs?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Second Reading:  1 Peter 1:22-25

22 Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. 23 You have been born anew, not of  perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For "All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever."  That word is the good news that was announced to you.

Gospel:  Luke 24:13-35

13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, "What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?" They stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, "Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?" 19 He asked them, "What things?" They replied, "The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. 22 Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, 23 and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him." 25 Then he said to them, "Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! 26 Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?" 27 Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

28 As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, "Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over." So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?" 33 That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying, "The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!" 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

I am he, the one who is speaking to you - Easter Sunday

My friends, the glory of the Easter celebration is upon us! 

╬ “I am he, the one who is speaking to you …”

Overcome by emotion, in the glory of the moment, those who have been closest to Jesus in his ministry are challenged to recognize the resurrected Christ.  It reminds us of instances along our journey with him when the full reality – his true identity – is revealed.  In that instant, everything changes.  The world is made new. And we who have been blessed to see are raised to new life in him.

click here to listen to the late service 
click here to listen to the early service 


The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below. *** Please note the change in the Revelation reading for the Second Lesson.

I look forward to our festival worship on this day of days!

Blessings to you all,

- Pr. Brad Highum

bhighum@abidinglove.org


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

God of grace, in the resurrection of Christ you have put to death forever anything that can separate us from you.  In raising your Christ as Lord of Life, you have raised us to live resurrected lives in him.  Open our eyes to see him in the midst of the world.  Open our hearts to receive him as your gift of light and love for a world in need.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Isaiah 65:17-25

17 For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. 19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. 20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.   23 They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord — and their descendants as well. 24 Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear.  25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent — its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain.


Psalm 118:1,14-24

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever
The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my salvation.

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous: "The right hand of the Lord does valiantly; the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."

I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.  Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.  This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Second Reading – Revelation 1:4-8,12-18

Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.  7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail.  So it is to be. Amen. 8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.  12 I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force.  17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last. 18 I am he, the living one. I was dead, and see, I am alive forever and ever.”

Gospel:  John 20:1-18

20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." 3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him." 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away." 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabbouni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, 'I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Triumphal Entry April 9

WORSHIP on April 9 … Palm Sunday!

We begin our observance of Holy Week with Jesus’ arrival at Jerusalem for the Passover Feast!

╬ “Triumphal Entry”     
The arrival of Jesus and his followers for the Passover celebration evokes a tumultuous response from the people of Jerusalem.  The very nature of his entry into the city calls to mind heroic images from their past … from the promise of the prophets and from their historic struggle against the powers of empire.  It begins a series of events that bring hope to an oppressed people even as they threaten to provoke the ruling Roman authority.  But it is for this that Jesus has come:  to proclaim God’s truth and God’s sovereignty at the center of power.  He will fulfill this divine calling, regardless of consequence.  Today we enter into Jerusalem and into the celebrations of Holy Week as Jesus leads us to the cross and beyond.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.


Blessings all,

- Pastor Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

click here to listen to the early service 

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

Sovereign God, you have established your rule in the human heart through the servanthood of Jesus Christ.  By your Spirit, keep us in the joyful procession of those who with their tongues confess Jesus as Lord and with their lives praise him as Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Zechariah 9:9-10,16-17

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. 10 He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.  16 On that day the Lord their God will save them for they are the flock of his people; for like the jewels of a crown they shall shine on his land. 17 For what goodness and beauty are his! Grain shall make the young men flourish, and new wine the young women.

Psalm 118:24-29

24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord!  O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.  We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light.  Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

Second Reading:  Philippians 2:5-11

5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, 8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross.  9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Gospel:  Matthew 21:1-17

21 When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, just say this, 'The Lord needs them.' And he will send them immediately." 4 This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey." 6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7 they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"  10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, "Who is this?" 11 The crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee."  12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a den of robbers." 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became angry 16 and said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself'?"  17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

There shall be one flock April 2

Worship on Sunday, April 2 …

We complete our Lent focus – “Who’s My Neighbor?” – as we contemplate some of Jesus’ most powerful teaching about God’s will for unity and inclusivity in all creation.

╬ “There shall be one flock!”
In a world of sharp divisions and rigid hierarchies, the Gospel revealed in Jesus is about unity, equality.  In a culture of in-groups and out-casts, Jesus teaches radical inclusivity.  He holds to the proclamation of the ancient prophets that God’s house – the “oikos,” the household of God – is to be a house of prayer for the nations … for all people!  He universalizes his family, saying that whoever does God’s will are brother and sister and mother to him.  And he testifies to God’s larger purpose:  that God has called him to gather sheep from many folds; so that there will be one flock, and one shepherd.  In him is God’s ultimate will revealed – God’s plan for the fullness of time:  the unity of all things, things in heaven and things in earth. (Ephesians 1:9-10)

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.  *** Please note the alternate Gospel text selected for the day.

I pray that this series has been a blessing to our congregation and has invited us into a larger understanding of who are “neighbors” are … of the will of God for whole human community.

Blessings to you all,

- Pastor Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

click here to listen to the early service 

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

God of all, you reveal in Christ your vision of unity, of inclusivity, of mutual love, compassion and peace.  Call forth these generous natures in us, that we might walk in your will, to the fulfillment of your purpose, to the glory of your holy name.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Isaiah 56:1-8

56 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 69:9-15

9 It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I humbled my soul with fasting, they insulted me for doing so.
11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
12 I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. 
14 With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.
15 Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.

Second Reading:   Revelation 21:24-22:5

24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.  22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Gospel:  Mark 3:21-25,31-34

21 When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind." 22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons." 23 And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, "How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.  31 Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. 32 A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, "Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you." 33 And he replied, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34 And looking at those who sat around him, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bear with one another in love March 26

Worship on Sunday, March 26, the 4th Sunday in Lent …

Our exploration of God’s call to love our neighbors as ourselves turns to a story about the healing of ten lepers …

╬  Bear with one another in love.”

The illuminating story of Jesus healing the ten lepers winds its way through traditional understandings and religious practices of the Jews, and a radical new revelation of what it means to love neighbor as self.  Luke’s Gospel relates it among a host of other sayings and teachings and parables of Jesus.  They all share in common features of breaking down old prejudices and breaking through barriers that separate people, one from one another. This is in mind for Paul as he proclaims that old divisions are gone – between Jew and gentile, between slave and free, between male and female – all giving way to Jesus’ vision of common humanity, each loving others as we would be loved.  As Paul says, “Christ is all, and in all!”

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 

The song “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” is playing in my head as I write.  Perhaps there is something we can do with that on such a fitting Sunday.

Blessings to you all as we continue this Lenten journey together!

- Pastor Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

Here is a bulletin cover image.  Attached are Sermon and Reflection Slides.  Below are the Prayer of the day and Readings.

Blessings to you all as we make this Lenten journey together!


- Pastor Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org
click here to listen to the early service 


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

God of all, teach us the truth of our shared humanity.  Teach us the unity that you are calling forth in all the world.  Teach us to overcome the fears and prejudice that divide us.  Teach us that all are one in you.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Numbers 12:10-15

10 When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam had become leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam and saw that she was leprous. 11 Then Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, do not punish us for a sin that we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like one stillborn, whose flesh is half consumed when it comes out of its mother's womb." 13 And Moses cried to the Lord, "O God, please heal her." 14 But the Lord said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and after that she may be brought in again." 15 So Miriam was shut out of the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out on the march until Miriam had been brought in again.

Psalm 69:1-8
1 Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck.
2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.
3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
4 More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; many are those who would destroy me, my enemies who accuse me falsely.  What I did not steal must I now restore?
5 O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
6 Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord God of hosts; do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, O God of Israel
7 It is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face.
8 I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother's children.

Second Reading:  Colossians 3:9-17

9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10 and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11 In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!  12 As God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Gospel:  Luke 17:11-19

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 14 When he saw them, he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, "Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" 19 Then he said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."