Sunday, November 10, 2019

Gratitude for Grace Nov 10, 2019

Worship on Sunday, November 10 …


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In this Season of Thanksgiving we give thanks for the grace of God that daily enriches and blesses our lives!   

╬  Gratitude for Grace!





Paul encourages the early Christian community to approach all of life from a place of thankfulness, “giving thanks in all circumstances … holding fast to what is good.” (1Thess.5) He calls us, as people of faith, to focus always on what is good and honorable, just and true. (Phil.4) These reflect the goodness and grace of God and naturally invoke a generous spirit of gratitude inus … gratitude for a loving God, for the gift that life is, and for the hopefulness of fresh possibility.



Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 



The Gospel’s invitation to you and me is simply to live in gratitude for God’s grace!





- Pr. Brad Highum

bhighum@abidinglove.org



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





Lord, inspire us by the power of your Spirit to see the world through eyes of hopefulness.  Help us to engage life from a place of gratitude, giving thanks in all circumstances for your goodness, grace and love.  Amen.



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



First Reading:  2 Chronicles 5:11-14



11 Now when the priests came out of the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to their divisions), 12 all the levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kindred, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with one hundred twenty priests who were trumpeters. 13 It was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever," the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, 14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.



Psalm 100



1 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.

3 Know that the Lord is God.  It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.  Give thanks to him, bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.



Second Reading:  1 Thessalonians 5:13-24



13 Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise the words of prophets, 21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.  23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this.



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."

Monday, November 4, 2019

Living Lutheran



LOOKING AHEAD  to worship on Sunday, November 3 …



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 Our focus on “Living Lutheran” culminates in our celebration of the Reformation!   



 We begin our Season of Thanksgiving by celebrating the Feast of All Saints!   






╬  For All the Saints!


“We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.”  (Hebrews 12:1) This profound truth transcends time and place, an image of the past and future gathered into the present.  The generations stand in testament to the grace and goodness of God.  As our forebears before us, we in our time live out the calling of the Gospel even as we look forward in hope for the generations to come. 


Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  



We join with saints of the church militant and the church triumphant in this Festival Sunday worship!



- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org



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



God of grace, we stand today in the great cloud of witnesses, blessed by the generations who have given us life, blessed to be your people in our time and place and blessed by those who will proclaim your Gospel for generations to come.  We give you thanks in the name of the One who is light and life for us. Amen.



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



First Reading:  Deuteronomy 5:12-16



12 Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work — you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.  16 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.





Psalm 34:1-8



1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
3O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
5Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed.
6This poor soul cried, and was heard by the LORD, and was saved from every trouble.
7The angel of the LORD encamps around those who revere him, and delivers them.
8O taste and see that the LORD is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.


Second Reading:  Revelation 7:9-10,15-17



9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!"  15For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.  16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."



Gospel:  Luke 6:20-31



20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said:  "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 "Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.  "Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. 24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 "Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. "Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 "Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.  27 "But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

always reforming Oct 27,2019

LOOKING AHEAD  to worship on Sunday, October 27

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 Our focus on “Living Lutheran” culminates in our celebration of the Reformation!   





╬  Semper Reformanda

Reformation Sunday is always a threshold moment for us, as we stand in the light of our tradition and look ahead into the promise of coming days.  It is a time for remembrance and a time for prophecy, as well.  From the vantage of the present, we give thanks to God for the long and often arduous road that has led us to this day.  And we give thanks to God for shining light on the path ahead, in uncertain times.  One thing is certain:  change!  It has attended the journey at every turn thus far and is a continual calling as we go forward … Semper Reformanda! … always reforming!”

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings. 

We go forward together, always becoming the people God is calling us to be!

- Pr. Brad Highum

bhighum@abidinglove.org

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

Oh God, our help in ages past; our hope for years to come.  Give us strength and courage to embrace the opportunities of new days.  You, who have walked the road with us in times past, lead us forward in the way of your Christ.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------- 

First Reading:  Jeremiah 31:31-34

31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt — a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Psalm 105: 1-10

1 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.

2 Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works.

3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.

5 Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,

6 O offspring of his servant Abraham, children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth.

8 He is mindful of his covenant forever, of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

9 the covenant that he made with Abraham, his sworn promise to Isaac,

10 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,


Second Reading:  Romans 3:19-28

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.  21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26 it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.  27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28 For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Gospel:  John 8:31-36

31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?"  34 Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Living In Grace Oct 20,2019

worship on Sunday, October 20



 As we continue in our focus on “Living Lutheran” in this season of Reformation, we celebrate the gift of God’s unconditional love that we experience …   


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╬  Living In Grace

 The story of God’s grace in Scripture was a life-transforming revelation for Martin Luther.  In our own lives and in the lives of people everywhere, the Gospel proclamation of God’s unconditional love and claim of us all as daughters and sons is an invitation to live freely as the people we were created to be.  “Grace alone” becomes a foundation stone of Christian faith, testifying to God’s goodness, and God’s promise fulfilled in us.

 Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  


Free, unfettered, unmerited … abundant GRACE!  What wondrous love is this, O my soul!







- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org


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

Creating God, you create us in your image, you fill us with your Spirit and bless us with your abiding love as a gift of grace.  Help us to simply receive your love and live as your children, in your grace, daily.  Amen.


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

First Reading: Deuteronomy 8:17-18



17Do not say to yourself, "My power and the might of my own hand have gotten me this wealth."18But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, so that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors, as he is doing today.



Psalm 96:1-9



1 O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.
4 For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in holy splendor; tremble before him, all the earth.



Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5



1Think of us in this way, as servants of Christ and stewards of God's mysteries.2Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.3But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself.4I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.5Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive commendation from God.



Gospel: Luke 19:1-10



1He entered Jericho and was passing through it.2A man was there named Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was rich.3He was trying to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was short in stature.4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see him, because he was going to pass that way.5When Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today."6So he hurried down and was happy to welcome him.7All who saw it began to grumble and said, "He has gone to be the guest of one who is a sinner."8Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much."9Then Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham.10For the Son of Man came to seek out and to save the lost."

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Christ Alone Oct 13, 2019

Worship on Sunday, October 13

 We continue in the Season of Reformation to center ourselves in foundational elements of our theology … in this gathering:  “Christ Alone,” the invitation literally to live our lives “In Christ.”

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╬  Living In Christ

He is Messiah, the anointed one; Deliverer, Redeemer; Prince of Peace, King of Kings.  These are central pronouncements of our faith, received as sedition by worldly powers.  “Jesus is Lord” is the proclamation that true authority for the life of believers resides in Christ, the One who reveals the very heart of God.  He is the One God’s sends to shape our way of being in the world.  In the words of the old Gospel hymn: “Give me Jesus, give me Jesus!  You can have all this world, just give me Jesus!”

 Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.

As the old hymn says, Christ is made our sure foundation!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------------------
Creating God, in Christ is your fullness revealed.  We give you thanks for the gift of God-self – divinity in humanity – a gift of grace and truth and light for our lives.  Amen.

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

First Reading:  Daniel 7:13-14
13 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.  14 To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.  His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.

Psalm 118:19-26
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.

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

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

22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

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.

Second Reading:  Colossians 1:9-23
9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

Gospel:  John 1:1-5,10-18
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.  10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.  14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") 16 From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Living the Word Oct 6, 2019


Worship on Sunday, October 6


In the Season of Reformation, we center ourselves in the traditions that give shape and meaning to our spiritual lives, beginning with the centrality of Scripture …

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╬  Living the Word

As followers of Christ, we are “people of the book.” The Bible contains the word of God writ large in scripture, the written source of our beliefs and practices.  It is God-inspired with explicit and implicit teachings on our identity and calling as the people of God.  We proclaim scripture as authoritative in our lives, over against other forms of presumed authority.  In reality, it is so much more.  Scripture is our story, the story of people reaching toward God even as God reaches toward us, to know and be known. 

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.  

Our theological and liturgical traditions are a gift to a world that searching for meaning and understanding.  Let’s celebrate and proclaim together! 

- Pr. Brad Highum

bhighum@abidinglove.org

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------
Creating God, you are everywhere and always awakening us to your reality.  Thank you for the gift of Scripture, wherein your nature and truth are revealed, to guide our lives and to enlighten the world. Help us to grow deeper in its teachings and wisdom.  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------
First Reading:  2 Chronicles 34:29-33
29 Then the king sent word and gathered together all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. 30 The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small; he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord. 31 The king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, keeping his commandments, his decrees, and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. 32 Then he made all who were present in Jerusalem and in Benjamin pledge themselves to it. And the inhabitants of Jerusalem acted according to the covenant of God, the God of their ancestors. 33 Josiah took away all the abominations from all the territory that belonged to the people of Israel, and made all who were in Israel worship the Lord their God. All his days they did not turn away from following the Lord the God of their ancestors.


Psalm 40:1-8
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry.

2 He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

4 Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.

5 You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted.

6 Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear.  Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.

7 Then I said, "Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.

8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

Second Reading:  2 Timothy 3:10-17
10 Now you have observed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, 11 my persecutions, and my suffering the things that happened to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, 15 and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

Gospel:  Luke 24:44-48
44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you — that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Cost of Apostleship Sept 29,2019

Worship on Sunday, September 29


We complete our focus on our calling as Apostles with perhaps its greatest challenges ...

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╬  The Cost of Apostleship

To the apostles - the sent ones - to his followers who have embraced the way and the truth and the life of Jesus, he gives a solemn warning.  The world will resist - even violently - this way of being that calls forth love in the face of fear, that celebrates generosity in the face of greed, that honors God above empire. Who knows better than Jesus the consequences of speaking truth to power when power does not want to hear. 

Below are the Prayer of the Day and
Readings. 

Our calling as apostles is daunting, but we make our way together, abiding
in God's love and grace!

- Pr. Brad Highum
bhighum@abidinglove.org 

PRAYER OF THE DAY
-----------------------------------
Almighty God, give us strength, give us courage when life in this world
challenges our faith.  Bless us in times of struggling for justice,
defending the oppressed and the powerless, standing for your righteousness.
Lead us in the way of your Christ.  Amen.

READINGS
-------------------------------
First Reading:  Judges 2:16-19
16 Then the Lord raised up judges, who delivered them out of the power of
those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen even to their judges;
for they lusted after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned
aside from the way in which their ancestors had walked, who had obeyed the
commandments of the Lord; they did not follow their example. 18 Whenever the
Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he
delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for
the Lord would be moved to pity by their groaning because of those who
persecuted and oppressed them.

Psalm 119:149-152,160-165
149 In your steadfast love hear my voice; O Lord, in your justice preserve
my life.

150 Those who persecute me with evil purpose draw near; they are far from
your law.

151 Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true.

152 Long ago I learned from your decrees that you have established them
forever.

160 The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous
ordinances endures forever.

161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your
words.

162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.

164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous ordinances.

165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.

Second Reading:  Acts 22:1-8
1 Paul said, "Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make
before you." 2 When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew, they became
even more quiet. Then he said: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?'

Gospel:  Matthew 5:1-2,10-12

1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down,
his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them,
saying: 10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when people revile
you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my
account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in
the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.