Word for the Week and Seasonal Theeme

Thursday, March 29, 2018 Maundy Thursday


With nightfall our Lenten observance comes to an end, and we gather with Christians around the world to celebrate the Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection. At the heart of the Maundy Thursday liturgy is Jesus’ commandment to love one another. As Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, we are called to follow his example as we humbly care for one another, especially the poor and the unloved. At the Lord’s table we remember Jesus’ sacrifice of his life, even as we are called to offer ourselves in love for the life of the world.

Prayer of the Day

Eternal God, in the sharing of a meal your Son established a new covenant for all people, and in the washing of feet he showed us the dignity of service. Grant that by the power of your Holy Spirit these signs of our life in faith may speak again to our hearts, feed our spirits, and refresh our bodies, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Exodus 12:1-4 [5-10] 11-14

Israel remembered its deliverance from slavery in Egypt by celebrating the festival of Passover. This festival featured the Passover lamb, whose blood was used as a sign to protect God’s people from the threat of death. The early church described the Lord’s supper using imagery from the Passover, especially in portraying Jesus as the lamb who delivers God’s people from sin and death.

Psalm: Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

I will lift the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. (Ps. 116:13)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

In the bread and cup of the Lord’s supper, we experience intimate fellowship with Christ and with one another, because it involves his body given for us and the new covenant in his blood. Faithful participation in this meal is a living proclamation of Christ’s death until he comes in the future.

Gospel: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

The story of the last supper in John’s gospel recalls a remarkable event not mentioned elsewhere: Jesus performs the duty of a slave, washing the feet of his disciples and urging them to do the same for one another.


Friday, March 30, 2018 Good Friday


At the heart of the Good Friday liturgy is the passion according to John, which proclaims Jesus as a triumphant king who reigns from the cross. The ancient title for this day—the triumph of the cross—reminds us that the church gathers not to mourn this day but to celebrate Christ’s life-giving passion and to find strength and hope in the tree of life. In the ancient bidding prayer we offer petitions for all the world for whom Christ died. Today’s liturgy culminates in the Easter Vigil tomorrow evening.

Prayer of the Day

Merciful God, your Son was lifted up on the cross to draw all people to himself. Grant that we who have been born out of his wounded side may at all times find mercy in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 52:13–53:12

The fourth servant poem promises ultimate vindication for the servant, who made his life an offering for sin. The early church saw in the servant’s pouring himself out to death and being numbered with the transgressors important keys for understanding the death of Jesus.

Psalm: Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Ps. 22:1)

Second Reading: Hebrews 10:16-25

In the death of Jesus, forgiveness of sins is worked and access to God is established. Hence, when we gather together for worship and when we love others we experience anew the benefits of Jesus’ death.

Gospel: John 18:1–19:42

On Good Friday, the story of Jesus’ passion—from his arrest to his burial—is read in its entirety from the Gospel of John.


Theme for the season of Lent

Once for All: Instantly Saved, Gradually Sanctified
Lent is a time for us to turn our hearts and minds back to God, to witness Jesus’ ministry, to walk with him on his path to the cross, and to offer our worship and praise for God’s overwhelming gift of grace.

The price has been paid … Once for All
1 Peter 3:18a – For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. 

Salvation is gifted, not earned … Instantly Saved
The chorus in our Lenten confession song encompasses the depths of the gifts of God’s grace:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

Our faith practices put into action … Gradually Sanctified
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

May we each walk our Lenten journeys confident in God’s steadfast love and faithfulness.


Sunday, April 1, 2018 Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day


This year may be the one in which John’s resurrection account is likely to be chosen over Mark’s, perhaps because Mark’s gospel ends so abruptly, with astonishment and fear rather than joyful proclamation. Yet Mark may speak to our experience more directly than the other gospels. Corinthians and Acts fill out the story by telling of appearances of the risen Christ. Peter says we “ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” And so do we, in a foretaste of the mountaintop feast where death will be no more.

Prayer of the Day

God of mercy, we no longer look for Jesus among the dead, for he is alive and has become the Lord of life. Increase in our minds and hearts the risen life we share with Christ, and help us to grow as your people toward the fullness of eternal life with you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Acts 10:34-43

Peter crosses the immense religious and social boundary that separates Jews from Gentiles in order to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, so that God’s forgiveness in Jesus’ name would reach out to the Gentiles just as it had to Jews.

Psalm: Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Ps. 118:24)

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11

The core of the Christian faith and Paul’s preaching is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As the crucified and risen Christ appeared to the earliest of his followers, so we experience the presence of the risen Lord in the preaching of this faith.

Gospel: Mark 16:1-8

The resurrection of Jesus is announced, and the response is one of terror and amazement.

Theme for the season of Easter

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Now what?

As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection throughout the season of Easter, we remember the journey of reflection that we have taken through the forty days of Lent. We remember the promise that Christ died Once for All, and we rejoice in the overwhelming ecstasy of the resurrection and the promise that God has conquered death and sin and raised us all to new life.

God is the one who claims us in the waters of baptism. God is the one who loves us first, inspiring us to love one another and our fellow travelers along life’s pathway. God is the one who promises us peace in the absence of fear, who promises the full measure of joy, who promises to know us and to call us by name.

Through Jesus’ death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, God is the one who fulfills these promises and shows us what it means to be Divinely United in Peace and Love.

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