Genuine repentance and pretentious piety stand in stark contrast in the gospel and all around us. All creation stands in need of God’s forgiveness. Keep the faith. God’s people—“all who have longed for his appearing”—shall be accounted righteous for Jesus’ sake. Our God is merciful to sinners. For all this the assembly glorifies God forever.
Serving this Week:
Communion: Betty B.
Usher: Keith L.
Communion Alter Care: Betty B.
Counter: Betty B.
Fellowship: Kim I.
Readings this week:
First Reading: Jeremiah 14:7-10, 19-22
In a time of drought, the people pray for mercy, repenting of their sins and the sins of their ancestors. They appeal to God to remember the covenant, to show forth God’s power, and to heal their land by sending life-giving rain.
7Although our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, for your name’s sake;
our apostasies indeed are many,
and we have sinned against you.
8O hope of Israel,
its savior in time of trouble,
why should you be like a stranger in the land,
like a traveler turning aside for the night?
9Why should you be like someone confused,
like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?
Yet you, O Lord, are in the midst of us,
and we are called by your name;
do not forsake us!
10Thus says the Lord concerning this people:
Truly they have loved to wander,
they have not restrained their feet;
therefore the Lord does not accept them,
now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.
19Have you completely rejected Judah?
Does your heart loathe Zion?
Why have you struck us down
so that there is no healing for us?
We look for peace, but find no good;
for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.
20We acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,
the iniquity of our ancestors,
for we have sinned against you.
21Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;
do not dishonor your glorious throne;
remember and do not break your covenant with us.
22Can any idols of the nations bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God?
We set our hope on you,
for it is you who do all this.
First Reading (alternate): Sirach 35:12-17
The author of this wisdom book urges his audience to give generously to God. He also asserts that God is a just judge who does not show partiality but listens to the prayers of the oppressed and the poor.
12Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
and as generously as you can afford.
13For the Lord is the one who repays,
and he will repay you sevenfold.
14Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it;
15and do not rely on a dishonest sacrifice;
for the Lord is the judge,
and with him there is no partiality.
16He will not show partiality to the poor;
but he will listen to the prayer of one who is wronged.
17He will not ignore the supplication of the orphan,
or the widow when she pours out her complaint.
Psalm: Psalm 84:1-7
Happy are the people whose strength is in you. (Ps. 84:5)
1How dear to me | is your dwelling,
O | Lord of hosts!
2My soul has a desire and longing for the courts | of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the | living God.
3Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest where she may | lay her young,
by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king | and my God.
4Happy are they who dwell | in your house!
They will always be | praising you. R
5Happy are the people whose strength | is in you,
whose hearts are set on the | pilgrims’ way.
6Those who go through the balsam valley will find it a | place of springs,
for the early rains have covered it with | pools of water.
7They will climb from | height to height,
and the God of gods will be | seen in Zion. R
Second Reading: 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
The conclusion of this letter to a young minister offers a final perspective on life from one who is now facing death. Though others have let him down, Paul is sure of his faith in the Lord, who has stood by him and lent him strength.
6As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
16At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Gospel: Luke 18:9-14
The coming reign of God will involve unexpected reversals of fortune with judgment rooted in mercy. Jesus tells a parable in which the one who humbles himself is exalted and the one who exalts his own righteousness is humbled.
9[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt:10“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ 13But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”