Prepare for Worship
July 1 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 13
Readings (semicontinuous): 2 Samuel 1:1, 17-27; Psalm 130; 2 Corinthians 8:7-15; Mark 5:21-43.
David grieves the deaths of King Saul and his close friend, Jonathan (King Saul’s son), despite the numerous attempts Saul made on David’s life. In our reading, Paul encourages the Corinthians to participate in the collection his churches are organizing for Christians in Jerusalem. He points to Jesus as an example of selfless stewardship and reminds the Corinthians that Christians have received abundantly so that they can share abundantly. In our gospel lesson from Mark, we witness the tremendous faith Jairus has in Jesus to heal his daughter. Through Jesus, we are made clean and restored to new life.
Hymns: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (733); “Healer of Our Every Ill” (612); “Go, My Children, With My Blessing” (543).
July 8 – Season of Creation – Sky
Readings: Jeremiah 4:23-28; Psalm 19:1-6; Philippians 2:14-18; Mark 15:33-39.
We join our voices with the psalmist: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Amidst the desolation and despair described in the readings for Jeremiah and the account of Christ’s death upon the cross in Mark’s gospel, we hold fast to the solid and joyful assurances contained in Psalm 19.
Hymns: “Morning Has Broken” (556); “Sing Out, Earth and Skies” (reprinted from Worship & Praise); “Oh, Sing to God Above” (555).
July 15 – Season of Creation – Humanity
Readings: Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8; Philippians 2:1-8; Mark 10:41-45.
Our reading from Genesis sets the stage for the theme of humanity. In the passage from Genesis, humankind, made in the image of God, share the task of being stewards of God’s creation. Psalm 8 invites us to recognize and praise God, the sovereign ruler over all creation. Our passage from Philippians further suggests how we are to understand our relationship with God, our creator: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave … he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:58). Jesus’ words in Mark’s gospel make clear the requirements for greatness: “…but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:43-44).
Hymns: “God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens” (771); “For the Beauty of the Earth” (879); “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” (659).
July 22 – 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).
July 29 – Season of Creation – Earth
Readings: Genesis 1:1-25; Psalm 33:1-9; Romans 1:18-23; John 1:1-14.
We take a four-week break from the appointed lectionary texts in order to celebrate the Season of Creation: Earth, humanity, mountain and sky. Today, we lift up the theme of Earth. Beginning with the creation account in Genesis, Psalm 33 invites us to sing a hymn to God, our creator. Paul’s letter to the Romans speaks about God’s judgment upon sin, and in John’s gospel we are reminded that God is the sole author of creation.
Hymns: “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (836); “Touch the Earth Lightly” (739); “All You Works of God, Bless the Lord” (Music Sourcebook for ELW).