Sunday, October 21, 2018

self-giving love 10-21-2018

Worship on Sunday, October 21 …



In our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” – we dive deep in understanding the fullness of self-giving love, even as it expresses itself in the lives of Christian martyrs.


╬  “You are my friends!” What a blessing!  What a gift!  Jesus claims us as friends, in the fullest sense of the word.  In doing so he, reveals the true depth of “agape,” self-giving love.  To love with the whole self.  He goes so far as to express the last full measure of that love:  to give one’s life – literally and purposefully – for the sake of another.  Today we explore that depth of that love, as it is expressed in the life of Jesus, and as we see it lived in the lives of the “martyros.”

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 
God has reached to you in Christ and called you friends!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------------
God of all, in Christ you befriend us as your own.  And you call us to reach to others with that same love and friendship.  Inspire us to love in that self-giving way we see revealed in Jesus. Amen.

READINGS -------------------------------------
First Reading:  Revelation 6:9-11
9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered for the word of God and for the testimony they had given; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, "Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long will it be before you judge and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?" 11 They were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number would be complete both of their fellow servants and of their brothers and sisters, who were soon to be killed as they themselves had been killed.

Psalm 31:11-17
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many — terror all around! — as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
17 Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord, for I call on you;

Second Reading:  Acts 6:8-15
8 Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 10 But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly instigated some men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God." 12 They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. 13 They set up false witnesses who said, "This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us." 15 And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

My chosen one … in whom is all my delight

Worship on Sunday, October 14 …

Our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” – comes to the crucial point:  it all begins with loving ourselves!




╬  “My chosen one … in whom is all my delight.” - Isaiah 42:1  We know these words.  We remember them from the prophets, speaking about God’s “anointed one.”  We remember them spoken by God over Jesus, at his baptism, at his transfiguration.  Yet we often balk at the idea of them being spoken over us.  The fact is, God does speak them over us, in our baptism, in claiming us as “God’s-own,” blessed and beloved.  The truth is, fulfilling God’s calling to love others begins there:  with accepting ourselves as God’s own, chosen, God’s delight!  Loving others begins with loving ourselves, or it really can’t begin at all.


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

I love you, and God does, too!  What about you?

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org


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

God of all, you call us to love you by loving others with our whole selves.  And yet we cannot begin except from a place of love.  Help us to accept ourselves in love, that same love you pour over us in claiming us as your own. Amen.

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

First Reading:  Joel 2:12-1
12Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; 13rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing. 14Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God.

Psalm 16
1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the LORD, "You are my LORD; I have no good apart from you."
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.
5 The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Second Reading:  1 John 4:7-21
7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.  13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.  God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Gospel:  Matthew 22:34-40
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" 37 He said to him, "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Monday, October 8, 2018

loving God with all our STRENGTH

Worship on Sunday, October 7 …


Our series – “Loving God, Loving Others” – brings us to loving God with all our STRENGTH!




╬  “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power.” - Ephesians 6:10-11 

When Jesus calls us to love, it is to love with our whole being.  That includes not only our spiritual, mental and emotional capacities, but also our sheer strength and physicality.  Our strength – the gifts and abilities, the physical power we wield – is a vital part of this whole response.  In addition to the wisdom and creativity and passion for God’s calling, there is the embodying, the “enfleshing” of that calling.  Strength addresses the “doing” of what God is about.  But strength is more than just muscle and sinew; it is conviction, character and commitment to justice, as well.  Sometimes it is defending the poor and the powerless.  Sometimes it is patient endurance.  Today we engage strength in all its forms, as it is manifest in us, and as it flows into us from God.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 

I look forward to our gathering and worship together!

- Pr. Brad Highum

bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------
God of all, you call us to love with our whole selves.  Our bodies, our strengths and capacities are gifts from you and we give you thanks.  Teach us to express your love in all that we say and do.  And help us to find our true strength in you, the source of all life and goodness, as we follow the One you send to lead us into new days, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Isaiah 40:25-31
25 To whom then will you compare me, or who is my equal? says the Holy One.  26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:  Who created these?  He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.  27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"?  28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  29 He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.  30 Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Psalm 84:4-12
4 Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
5 Happy are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.
6 As they go through the valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.
7 They go from strength to strength; the God of gods will be seen in Zion.
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!
9 Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed.
10 For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; he bestows favor and honor. No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts, happy is everyone who trusts in you.

Second Reading:  1 Corinthians 1:20-31

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.  26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

Gospel:  Luke 21:29-36
29 Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.  34 "Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."