Invitation — Romans 5:5
"God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Bible Song — Psalm 125
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
so the Lord surrounds his people
both now and forevermore.
The scepter of the wicked will not remain
over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
their hands to do evil.
Lord, do good to those who are good,
to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
the Lord will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be on Israel.
Bible Reading — Acts 15:1-2, 6-11
Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question...
The apostles and elders met to consider this question. After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are."
Leisurely read again ... is there a word or idea that stirred within you? Linger over it and give it your attention ... is there something about the reading you'd like to ask God about? Pray your life to God ... take a moment to rest in God's presence.
- for the Christlike ability to deny ourselves and serve others
- for the commitment to do justice and show mercy
- for those suffering from racism
Prayer — BC 9
Creator of color, Lord of variety, forgive our attempts to make your church fit a bland oneness. Differences frighten us, so we instinctively downplay them — which only reveals our ignorance of the gospel and you. Thank you, triune God, for showing in yourself something so refreshingly different, a unity that is not uniformity but a refreshing diversity of one God and three persons. Amen.
Blessing — 2 Corinthians 13:14
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."