Call to Worship from Micah 6:8
Holy One, you have told us what is good.
So this day we seek to do justice,
To love kindness,
And to walk humbly with you.
Glory be to the Creator, and to the Christ, and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. Amen.
Opening Scripture: Psalm 37: 1-6; 23-24
Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Holy One, and do good;
so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in God,
who will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Holy One;
trust in God, and God will act.
6 God will make your vindication shine like the light,
and the justice of your cause like the noonday. . . .
23 Our steps are made firm by the Holy One,
when God delights in our way;
24 though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,
for the Holy One holds us by the hand. . . .
Collect (from the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
Scripture: Matthew 16:21-28
From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
27 “For the Son of Humanity is to come with his angels in the glory of God, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Meditation: by Sarah Dylan Breuer
Let’s be clear about who this “Christ,” this anointed one, is: he’s Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified as a threat to the order of families and of the Empire. This Jesus, is the one the God of Israel chose as the Son of Man, judge of the nations, who repays evildoers by calling down forgiveness rather than fire. And so believing that the nations will be judged can bring freedom from fear, when we believe that the judge is Jesus. We can be at peace even when we’re in conflict with the authorities of this world when we’re in the care of the Prince of Peace. We don’t have to prove to anyone, even ourselves, that we’re worthy of love if we take in that Jesus loved us without regard for deserving.
As we follow Jesus, things will change — us, our relationships, our world. Change means losing things as they were, but if we’ve caught Jesus’ vision for how God is redeeming the world, we know that what we gain is of far greater value than the chains we lose.
Offering Our Prayers
Holy One, we thank you for your presence with us. We take delight in you. Hear now our prayers of thanksgiving. [offer prayers of gratitude with response: God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]
Holy One, you hold us by the hand; incline your ear to us and receive these concerns we carry in our hearts . . . [offer prayers of intercession with response: In your mercy . . . God hear our prayer.]
Deliver us, O God,
from any hesitation
to take a stand for justice.
May we never run
from our responsibility
In You, O God,
we find the strength
to confront the forces of evil,
the courage to stand for
and speak Your truth
no matter what the cost.
You are our way,
our truth, our life,
our integrity forever.
Holy are You,
O Blessed Indwelling,
now and forever.
–Miriam Therese Winter, WomanWord: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter, p. 141
Benediction (from Kathy Galloway)
The love of the faithful Creator,
the peace of the wounded Healer,
the joy of the challenging Spirit,
the hope of the Three in One
surround and encourage you,
this morning, this day, and forever. Amen