Sunday, September 16, 2018

God’s call to love with our whole hearts

THIS SUNDAY we move ahead in our series “Loving God, Loving Others” as we unpack God’s call to love with our whole hearts.

╬  “Loving God, Loving Others!”  The calling to love God with the whole of our being is central to Jesus’ life and teaching.  He draws upon the ancient wisdom tradition of Moses in proclaiming the “greatest commandment”:  to love God with all that we are, loving others as we would be loved ourselves.  That’s heart, soul, mind and strength.  To love with our whole hearts is the calling to unlock the emotional love metaphorically seated in the “heart” of our being.  The heart symbolizes the life dwelling in the body.  Heart love is the capacity to connect deeply and empathetically with something or someone beyond us; perhaps to give another greater priority then our very selves.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

Let’s gather in worship to celebrate heart love as a gift from God!

- Pr. Brad Highum

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

God of all, open our hearts to share the love that you have planted and nourished there.  Set us free to love you whole-heartedly and so to love others and your creation.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Leviticus 19:17-18
17 You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Psalm 51:1-2,6-7,10-12
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.

Second Reading:  Acts 2:22-28
22 "You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know — 23 this man, handed over to you according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law. 24 But God raised him up, having freed him from death, because it was impossible for him to be held in its power. 25 For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption.  28 You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.'

Gospel:  John 14:26-31
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. 28 You heard me say to you, 'I am going away, and I am coming to you.' If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us be on our way.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hear O Israel Sept 9, 2018

Worship on Sunday, September 9 …

It’s Rally Day and our Service Sunday!  AND we begin an new series in worship focusing on “Loving God/Loving Others!”

 “Hear, O Israel!”  

╬  The calling to love God with the whole of our being is the foundation of Biblical tradition and practice.  It is central to Jesus’ ministry.  Jesus teaches this love in a variety of different contexts in the Gospels as “the greatest commandment” and as “the key to inheriting eternal life.”  In Jesus’ spiritual heritage, it is the morning prayer of the Israelites: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.  You shall love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)  Just as it was in Jesus’ time, this is the essential calling of God upon our lives today.  When he teaches on this truth, Jesus always connects it with loving others … “love your neighbor as yourself.” For him, the two are inextricably linked:  we love God best when we love others as we would be loved ourselves.

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.

Blessings to all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -------------------
God of grace, your calling on us is to love. Teach us to love with the whole of our being. Teach us to love as we have first been loved, in Christ.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Deuteronomy 6:1-9
6:1 Now this is the commandment — the statutes and the ordinances — that the Lord your God charged me to teach you to observe in the land that you are about to cross into and occupy, 2 so that you and your children and your children's children may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life, and keep all his decrees and his commandments that I am commanding you, so that your days may be long. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe them diligently, so that it may go well with you, and so that you may multiply greatly in a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, has promised you.  4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6 Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. 7 Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, 9 and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 119:33-40
33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will observe it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart.
35 Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.
36 Turn my heart to your decrees, and not to selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
38 Confirm to your servant your promise, which is for those who fear you.
39 Turn away the disgrace that I dread, for your ordinances are good.
40 See, I have longed for your precepts; in your righteousness give me life.

Second Reading:  Romans 13:8-10
8 Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet"; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

Gospel:  Mark 12:28-34
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that Jesus answered them well, the scribe asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The first is, 'Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32 Then the scribe said to him, "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that 'he is one, and besides him there is no other'; 33 and 'to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,' and 'to love one's neighbor as oneself,' — this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Celebrating our work! Sept 2, 2018

Worship on Sunday, September 2 …

We are blessed to have our own Director of Children’s and Youth Ministry Julia Miller sharing a message:  Sabbath:  “Celebrating our work!”

╬ “The food that endures for eternal life!”  Being sabbath people and pursuing our work and commitments and vocations in life are NOT mutually exclusive.  All that God reveals of sabbath – Hebrew testament and Christian witness, alike – attests to our calling to be God’s people always and everywhere; at work, at home, at church, at play.  It is the very balance of spiritual sustenance and daily work that sabbath observance promotes.  We can engage in work and service that is meaningful to us and contributes to the world God loves AS the sabbath people of God.

Readings and the Prayer of the Day are below.  We thank our Synodically Authorized Minister Reggie Kikta for presiding at Communion this day!

Blessings to all!
- Pr. Brad Highum

Prayer of the Day:
God of life and all creation, may all that we do be to your glory, and for the sake of the world you love.  Help us to understand our work as vocation, that all we put our hands to might become a prayer of thanksgiving in service.  May our work be hallowed as offering to you, as communion with you and as celebration of our gifts in you.  Amen.


First Reading:  Deuteronomy 28:1-6
28 If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; 2 all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God:  3 Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field.  4 Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock.  5 Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.  6 Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.

Psalm 90:14-17
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad as many days as we have been afflicted, and as many years as we have seen evil.
16 Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.
17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish for us the work of our hands – O prosper the work of our hands!

Second Reading:  Romans 5:1-5
5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Gospel:  John 6:25-36
25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" 26 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." 28 Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." 30 So they said to him, "What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."  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.