Prepare for Worship
July 29 – Season of Creation – Mountain
Readings: Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 48:1-11; Romans 8:28-39; Mark 16:14-18.
“They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD” (Isaiah 65:25). This concluding verse from Isaiah appointed for today speaks of God’s new creation where all will be at peace. In Romans, we hear the beautiful words of assurance that “…nothing else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 39). In Mark’s gospel, Jesus appeared to the disciples and commanded them to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15).
Hymns: “God, the Sculptor of the Mountains” (736); “Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil” (721); “You Shall Go Out With Joy” (reprinted from Worship & Praise).
Aug. 5 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 18
Readings (semicontinuous): 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a; Psalm 51:1-12; Ephesians 4:1-16; John 6:24-35.
During the Sundays of August, we return to the appointed semicontinuous readings from Year B of the Revised Common Lectionary. We rejoin the narrative with the story of God, sending the prophet Nathan to call King David to repentance. King David abused his authority when he took Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and orchestrated the killing of Uriah. Themes of unity and diversity are explored in our reading from Ephesians. Our unity in Christ is found in the one body, Spirit, Lord, faith and baptism that equips the church for ministry. In John’s gospel, Jesus offers himself as the bread of heaven and calls each of us into relationship with him in order to better understand the Triune God.
Hymns: “As We Gather at Your Table” (522); “I’m a-Goin’-a Eat at the Welcome Table” (reprint from This Far By Faith); “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” (536).
Aug. 12 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 19
Readings (semicontinuous): 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33; Psalm 130; Ephesians 4:25-5:2; John 6:35, 41-51.
The repentance of King David marks the beginning of a troubled period for his family. Absalom, having organized an army to take his father’s throne, is defeated by those loyal to David. Despite this betrayal, King David is still concerned about the wellbeing of his son, Absalom. The New Testament lesson from Ephesians invites us to consider how the Spirit works within us to show God’s love and forgiveness – a love first shown to us through the death and resurrection of Christ.
Hymns: “You Are Holy” (525); “Bread of Life, Our Host and Meal” (467); “Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer” (618).
Aug. 19 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 20
Readings (semicontinuous): 1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Psalm 111; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58.
At the death of King David, Solomon, son of David and Bathsheba, becomes King over Israel. Solomon asks for and is granted wisdom. Wisdom figures prominently throughout the readings for today. True wisdom connects our life in Christ with the needs of our neighbor. “Wisdom prepares a feast, sets her table and invites all to come and eat her bread and drink her wine” (Sundays & Seasons, p. 241). In John’s gospel, Jesus reveals himself as the true “bread of life” and invites us to this shared meal of forgiveness and new life.
Hymns: “Voices Raised to You” (845); “I Am the Bread of Life” (485); “Let All Things Now Living” (881).
Aug. 26 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 21
Readings (semicontinuous): 1 Kings 8:[1,6,10-11] 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69.
We reach the conclusion of the semicontinuous series of readings with the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem. In the passage from the Old Testament, Solomon prays for the fulfillment of God’s promises to David and for God to hear the prayers of God’s people. The reading from Ephesians calls us to equip ourselves with the full armor of God – truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the gift of salvation and the Spirit-inspired Word of God. John’s gospel includes one of the “hard sayings” of Jesus – that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. In faith, Peter responds, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Hymns: “Come, Thou Almighty King” (408); “O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts” (658); “Lead On, O King Eternal” (805).