Sunday, July 15, 2018

renewal and refreshment July 15,2018

Worship on Sunday, July 15 …

We begin a new series focused on Sabbath, finding renewal and refreshment in the midst of life.

“In the Beginning …”

╬  “Remember the Sabbath!”  It’s one of the primary and central commandments given to a wayward, wandering people as God begins to form them in community.  Sabbath is the invitation to balance and sufficiency in the face of striving and desire.  It is the gift of presence, peace and renewal in a complex and often chaotic world.  Sabbath is a practice of healing and wholeness which God seeks for each and all.

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below. 

I’m really looking forward to exploring this theme with you and our whole community!

 Blessings of sabbath to you all,



- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org



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

Lord of life, help us to grow deeper in our understanding of sabbath, as you proclaim it for the well-being of the world. Help us to be diligent in our practice of sufficiency, peace and wholeness in you. Amen.

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

First Reading:  Genesis 1:26-2:3
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.  2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.



Responsive Reading:  Ecclesiastes 2:24-3:8
2:24 There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God;
25 for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
26 For to the one who pleases him God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy; but to the sinner he gives the work of gathering and heaping. This is vanity and a chasing after wind.
3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Second Reading:  Hebrews 4:1-11
4 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "As in my anger I swore, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. 4 For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." 5 And again in this place it says, "They shall not enter my rest." 6 Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he sets a certain day — "today" — saying through David much later, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."  8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not speak later about another day. 9 So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God's rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39
29 As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. 31 He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.   32 That evening, at sunset, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. 33 And the whole city was gathered around the door. 34 And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.  35 In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, "Everyone is searching for you." 38 He answered, "Let us go on to the neighboring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do." 39 And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

To be a person - July 8, 2018

Worship on Sunday, July 8 …

We bring our focus on The Power of Story to a conclusion with an exploration of:  “The Gospel According To …”

╬  “To be a person,” said the Danish writer Isak Dineson, “is to have a story to tell.”  And to be a Christian is to experience our story illuminated by the revelation of God in Christ.  You have a story that is uniquely your own, even as it is informed and framed by your faith.  It is, in itself, a “gospel.”  It is the “good news” as it has been experienced by you, in your journey.  It is the Gospel of Your Life and it is the greatest gift of faith you have to offer the world.

Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

You know, I could hang with this topic for a while; it’s been a rich conversation and congregational response has been strong.  But I look forward to us moving on to “Sabbath,” as well.  There will be more to say about “story” as we go.



Blessings all,

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------
God of all, you write your gospel on our hearts and invite us to live from there.  May our lives reflect the ongoing revelation of your grace and goodness for all the world to see. Amen.

READINGS ------------------------
First Reading:  Genesis 32:22-32
22 The same night he got up and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and likewise everything that he had. 24 Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he struck him on the hip socket; and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, "Let me go, for the day is breaking." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." 27 So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28 Then the man said, "You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked him, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And there he blessed him. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved." 31 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.

Psalm 40:3-5,9-10
3 God has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; many will hear it and will trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed are the ones who make the Lord their trust, and do not respect the proud, nor turn aside to lies.
5 Many, O Lord my God, are your wonderful works which you have done; if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.
9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness in the great assembly; indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, you yourself know.
10 I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your lovingkindness and your truth from the great assembly.

Second Reading:  Acts 22:3-21
3 "I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. 4 I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment.  6 "While I was on my way and approaching Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone about me. 7 I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?' 8 I answered, 'Who are you, Lord?' Then he said to me, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.' 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 I asked, 'What am I to do, Lord?' The Lord said to me, 'Get up and go to Damascus; there you will be told everything that has been assigned to you to do.' 11 Since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, those who were with me took my hand and led me to Damascus.  12 "A certain Ananias, who was a devout man according to the law and well spoken of by all the Jews living there, 13 came to me; and standing beside me, he said, 'Brother Saul, regain your sight!' In that very hour I regained my sight and saw him. 14 Then he said, 'The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice; 15 for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.'  17 "After I had returned to Jerusalem and while I was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw Jesus saying to me, 'Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.' 19 And I said, 'Lord, they themselves know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And while the blood of your witness Stephen was shed, I myself was standing by, approving and keeping the coats of those who killed him.' 21 Then he said to me, 'Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.'"

Gospel:  Mark 8:34-9:1

34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." 9 1 And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Worship on Sunday - July 1, 2018

Worship on Sunday, July 1 …  as we continue to explore the power of story in sharing and nurturing faith, we turn our attention to a vital role each of us is called to:  sharing the story of the Gospel in our own way, in our own place and time.

╬ Always be ready to share the hope that is within you! (1 Peter 3:15)  It is a part of our calling, as people of faith, the share the truth as God has revealed it to us.  To witness, to testify, to prophecy … to share the Gospel, especially with those who have not heard.  That can be challenging enough, but it is all the harder to do that important work of evangelism in a decidedly “short-attention-span” culture.  Could you do it, with a sparsity of language, ultimate impact in, say, seven words?


Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.


Blessings to all!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------
God of all, your Word is life. Teach us to share the greatest of stories … the love story you are telling the world in your Gospel of redemption, healing and peace. Amen.

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

First Reading:  Numbers 11:24-30
24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. 25 Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.  26 Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, stop them!" 29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!"

Psalm 57:5,6-11
5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.  Let your glory be over all the earth.
7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast.  I will sing and make melody.
8 Awake, my soul!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn.
9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.
10 For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens; your faithfulness extends to the clouds.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.  Let your glory be over all the earth.

Second Reading:  Acts 1:1-11
1 In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. "This," he said, "is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."  6 So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9 When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11 They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven."

Gospel:  Luke 1:1-4
1 Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Power of Story June 24,2018

Worship on Sunday, June 24 …

We are well into our focus on the Power of Story to shape our lives and faith.  We turn to the wisdom of our Hebrew forbearers in engaging the Four-Fold Song, an old Rabbinic teaching about the way God draws us forth from our focus on self, to a broader care for community, humanity and the whole of creation.

╬ The power of story is deeply rooted in all of human history, as it is in Jesus’ story-telling culture and in our own time.  He learns early on the conjuring, transforming power stories can have on hearers.  From our earliest days, life-shaping stories are “re-membered” and shared in poetry and song.  The invitation to us all is to expand our repertoire of stories:  from the deeply personal songs of ourselves, to the broader songs of our communities of shared identity, to the burgeoning song of humanity as a whole and on to the grandest themes of creation itself.



 Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

We’re hearing good response from our people on this theme and our worship gatherings!  What a blessing!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org


PRAYER OF THE DAY --------------
God of life, call us out.  Draw us forth from singing the songs of ourselves, to embrace the larger stories of our community, of all people, of all creation. Amen.

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

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 4:31-40
31 Because the Lord your God is a merciful God, he will neither abandon you nor destroy you; he will not forget the covenant with your ancestors that he swore to them.  32 For ask now about former ages, long before your own, ever since the day that God created human beings on the earth; ask from one end of heaven to the other: has anything so great as this ever happened or has its like ever been heard of? 33 Has any people ever heard the voice of a god speaking out of a fire, as you have heard, and lived? 34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by terrifying displays of power, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes? 35 To you it was shown so that you would acknowledge that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him. 36 From heaven he made you hear his voice to discipline you. On earth he showed you his great fire, while you heard his words coming out of the fire. 37 And because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants after them. He brought you out of Egypt with his own presence, by his great power, 38 driving out before you nations greater and mightier than yourselves, to bring you in, giving you their land for a possession, as it is still today. 39 So acknowledge today and take to heart that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. 40 Keep his statutes and his commandments, which I am commanding you today for your own well-being and that of your descendants after you, so that you may long remain in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for all time.

Psalm 67
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
2 that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.
3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth.
5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.
6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us.
7 May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Second Reading:  Colossians 3:12-17
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:  John 13:31-35
31 Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.' 34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Stories We Don’t Like! June 17, 2018

Worship on Sunday, June 17 …  Father’s Day!!

As we continue in our exploration of the Power of Story, we focus on Jesus’ teaching with parables … but this time around, on ,,,
Stories We Don’t Like!

With many parables Jesus spoke the word to them,as much as they could understand.  He did not say
anything to them without using a parable.       - Mark 4:33
If anyone knows the power of stories it’s Jesus.  Most of his teaching is done with stories.  He answers most questions with stories.  He guides us into the mysteries of God with powerful parables and stories.  “The Kingdom of Heaven is like …”  “There was a man who had two sons …”  “A sower went out to sow seed.”   The challenge comes when he’s telling us something we don’t want to hear.  There are plenty of times when Jesus compels us to confront our own biases or fears with stories.  Sometimes  Jesus tells us stories we don’t like!



Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.

Blessings and peace to you all!
- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------
Compassionate God, help us to hold to the truth, even when it is hard to hear.  Teach us the lessons we need to learn through the power of stories, even when  they’re stories we don’t like. Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------
First Reading:  Jonah 3:6-4:5
6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. 8 Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. 9 Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish."  10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.  4:1 But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord and said, "O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3 And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4 And the Lord said, "What right have you to be angry?" 5 Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.

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:  Philippians 1:18-30
18 Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance. 20 It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be put to shame in any way, but that by my speaking with all boldness, Christ will be exalted now as always in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23 I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24 but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25 Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26 so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.  27 Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28 and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing. 29 For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well — 30 since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

Gospel:  Matthew 20:1-16
20 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4 and he said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.' So they went. 5 When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. 6 And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, 'Why are you standing here idle all day?' 7 They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard.' 8 When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, 'Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.' 9 When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, 'These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.' 13 But he replied to one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last."

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Song of Your Soul June 10,2018

Worship on Sunday, June 10 …

As we explore the power of story, we engage a traditional tale from African culture that speaks to us about the …


  Song of Your Soul

╬ There is a story that is distinctly yours.  It is unique in all of human history.  Your story is interwoven with countless others, but it is yours alone.  There has never been nor will be another quite like it.  It is unique in all the world, unique in the sight of God.  It is a song that sounds at the deepest levels of yourself … it is the song of your soul.  It is the anthem of who you are.  And it will remind you if ever you forget.

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are attached.  PLEASE NOTE:  I have shortened the Gospel reading for the day.

The world needs to hear the song of your soul!

Blessings to all,

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

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



God of life and new beginnings, teach us the song of creation, teach us the song of life, teach us the song of our days, teach us the song of our soul. Amen.

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

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 30:15-20

15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.

Psalm  32

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord, "and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Second Reading:  2 Corinthians 5:16-21

16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. 17 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Gospel:  Luke 15:11-24

11 Then Jesus said, "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of the property that will belong to me.' So he divided his property between them. 13 A few days later the younger son gathered all he had and traveled to a distant country, and there he squandered his property in dissolute living. 14 When he had spent everything, a severe famine took place throughout that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed the pigs. 16 He would gladly have filled himself with the pods that the pigs were eating; and no one gave him anything. 17 But when he came to himself he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have bread enough and to spare, but here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands." ' 20 So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him. 21 Then the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his slaves, 'Quickly, bring out a robe — the best one — and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!' And they began to celebrate. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Telling the Truth June 3,2018

Worship on Sunday, June 3 …

We begin to delve deep in the power of story exemplified in Pilate’s interrogation of Jesus and the drama of Nathan and King David.


╬ Telling the Truth!  It seems that even Truth has been relativized today.  As Pilate says to Jesus, “What is truth?”  Yet truth remains truth, even in an age of perception-as-reality and “alternative facts.”  Truth is intrinsic to the well-being and integrity of human community.  But telling the truth challenges us all from time to time.  “Speaking truth to power” can be fearful, even dangerous.  That’s where the element of story comes into play.  Story can be a powerful way of communicating deep truths with the greatest effect and impact. 

The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

Let’s have some fun with this topic, and discover a thing or two along the way!

Blessings all,
- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org



  
PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------------
God of light and life, we give you thanks for the gift of your Spirit, the Spirit of Truth at the very center of our being.  Guide us by the power of your Spirit in living truth, speaking truth, demanding truth and settling for nothing less or otherwise.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------------
First Reading:  2 Sam 11:14-18,26-27
14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, so that he may be struck down and die." 16 As Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant warriors. 17 The men of the city came out and fought with Joab; and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite was killed as well. 18 Then Joab sent and told David all the news about the fighting.  26 When the wife of Uriah heard that her husband was dead, she made lamentation for him. 27 When the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife, and bore him a son.

Psalm 86:11-17
11 Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14 O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
15 But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant.
17 Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

Second Reading:  Ephesians 4:11-16
11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

Gospel:  John 18:33-38
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" 35 Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" 36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here." 37 Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." 38 Pilate asked him, "What is truth?"

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Holy Trinity: A Love Story May 27,2018

Worship on Sunday, May 27 … Holy Trinity Sunday!

We stand at the threshold as the Time of the Gospel leads us into the Time of the Church.  We celebrate the entry into the Pentecost Season with the Feast of Holy Trinity.  And we engage all of this through the frame of our series focus:  The Power of Story.


╬ Holy Trinity: A Love Story!  The unfolding story of the Bible traces  the ongoing revelation of God in the midst of the world.  “In the beginning …” God is manifest in creation itself – the “first testament” of God.  God forms and blesses a people.  God reveals God-self in a person.  God in-dwells people, a spirit of fire within.  The story reveals God as Father // Son // Spirit.  But there is even greater power for the people of God as we enter into the story ourselves, embracing the active forces of these “persons” of Trinity:  participating in the ongoing-ness of creation, in embodying the goodness of God and co-operating with God in the transformation of the world!




The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below. 

I look forward to worshiping with you on these festival Sundays!

God’s blessings and peace,

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------
Almighty Creator and ever-living God:  we praise you, eternal Three-in-One, and we give you thanks, majestic One-in-Three.  Keep us steadfast in faith, guide us in this journey of life, and bring us into your presence, where you live in endless joy and love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Isaiah 6:1-9
6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said:  "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory."  4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: "Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!"  6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: "Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out." 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!"

Psalm 29
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace!

Second Reading:  Romans 8:12-17
12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh — 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ — if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

Gospel:  John 3:1-17
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? 11 "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. 17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Spirit of Truth is Within Us, May 20,2018

Worship on May 20 … PENTECOST SUNDAY!


Pentecost

╬ The Spirit of Truth is Within Us!  Pentecost has been a festival of the people of God from ancient times.  For us, it has become a special celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the very presence of God-self at the center of our being.  John’s Gospel proclaims that the Spirit of Truth abides with us and will be in us, revealing God’s wisdom in the midst of our lives.  It is a gift to be treasured and celebrated with each new day.  It is a gift to be shared.  And it is the power of the Spirit that gives us the language to share the grace and goodness of God with a wandering, searching world.



 Below are Readings and the Prayer of the Day.  NOTE that the Gospel reading has been amended for this Sunday.

We will celebrate together the gift of the Holy Spirit, in us, in our community and in the lives of our Confirmands who make their Affirmation of Baptism this day!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ---------------
God of grace, we give you thanks for the gift of your self at the very center of our being.  May we be guided by the power and wisdom of your spirit as we seek to live your way in the world.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Acts 2:1-21
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.  5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs — in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." 12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" 13 But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine." 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. 15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:  17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.  18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.  19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.  20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.  21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

Psalm 104:24-35
24 O Lord, how manifold are your works!  In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
25 Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
26 There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season;
28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
30 When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works —
32 who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
35 Bless the Lord, O my soul.  Praise the Lord!

Second Reading:  Romans 8:22-27
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. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Gospel:  John 14:15-17, 23-27
15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17 This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. 23"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.  25 "I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.