Call to Worship (from Psalm 96)
O sing to God a new song; sing to the Holy One, all the earth.
For great is our God and greatly to be praised.
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 Psalm (Psalm 40:1-3, 8-11)
I waited patiently for Yahweh,
who inclined to me and heard my cry;
Who drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure;
Who put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in God.
I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”
I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
see, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O God.
I have not hidden your saving help within my heart,
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.
Do not, O Lord, withhold
your mercy from me;
let your steadfast love and your faithfulness
keep me safe forever.
Collect (source: Alcuin of York, Mass of Wisdom)
Holy Wisdom, in your loving kindness you created and restored us when we were lost: inspire us with your truth, that we may love you with our whole minds and run to you with open hearts, through Christ our Savior. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.[j] “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii,[k] gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Silent and/or Spoken Reflections
Meditation: from Amy-Jill Levine
The best explanation I have heard for the refusal of the priest and the Levite to come to the aid of the man in the ditch comes from Martin Luther King Jr., who preached: “I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible these men were afraid…. And so the first question that the priest [and] the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’… But then the good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’” King went on, “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?” King then went to Memphis, and it was there he was assassinated. There are bandits on the road.
Offering Our Prayers
God who puts a new song in our hearts, we offer our thanks for your steadfast love and faithfulness. [Offer prayers of gratitude with response: God of life, . . . we give you thanks.]
Holy God on whom we wait, do not withhold your mercy, but hear our prayers for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our world. [Offer prayers of intercession with response: God, in your mercy . . . Hear our prayer.]
Concluding Affirmation (from the New Zealand Prayer Book)
You, O God, are supreme and holy.
You create our world and give us life.
Your purpose overarches everything we do.
You have always been with us.
You are God.
You, O God, are infinitely generous,
good beyond all measure.
You came to us before we came to you.
You have revealed and proved
your love for us in Jesus Christ,
who lived and died and rose again.
You are with us now.
You are God.
You, O God, are Holy Spirit.
You empower us to be your gospel in the world.
You reconcile and heal; you overcome death.
You are our God. We worship you.
May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah and Hagar, and of Jesus Christ born of our sister Mary, and of the Holy Spirit, who broods over the world as a mother over her children, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.