Invitation — Psalm 115:1
"Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness."
Bible Song — Psalm 30:1-5, 11-12
I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning...
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
Bible Reading — Matthew 5:43-48
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Remind yourself you are in God's presence and read again ... notice how God might be speaking to you through his Word — dwell on a word or phrase that jumps out at you ... let your heart respond to God in prayer ... take refreshment in God's presence.
- that the church will work for the common good, for the benefit of all people
- for care, love, and community to be experienced in the church
- for those who celebrate a renewed faith commitment or profession of faith
Prayer — WSC 194
Forgiving God, it seems you ask the impossible. I'd prefer to exclude my enemies from my life and your grace, to keep them locked up in my imagination as monsters. But really, then, who's the imprisoned one? Free me from my hostile heart through the sacrifice of Jesus, assure me that I'm accepted as your beloved, and embolden me to forgive others from the heart. Amen.
Blessing — Numbers 6:24-26
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."