Word for the Week
Sunday, July 7 – Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
God is the source of our nourishment. Our Lord’s invitation to “take and eat . . . take and drink” is a repeated one. In the holy eucharist, in the word read and proclaimed, in the assembly of the people of God, the dominion of God has come near. Rejoice! Your name is written in heaven.
Prayer of the Day
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, you are the city that shelters us, the mother who comforts us. With your Spirit accompany us on our life’s journey, that we may spread your peace in all the world, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14
Those who returned from the exile found that the hopes for the glorious restoration of Judah were not completely fulfilled. For these disappointed people, the prophet envisions salvation in the image of a nursing woman. Mother Jerusalem and a mothering God remind the community how they are sustained and supported.
10Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her— 11that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious bosom. 12For thus says the Lord: I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm, and dandled on her knees. 13As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bodies shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants, and his indignation is against his enemies.
Psalm: Psalm 66:1-9
All the earth bows down before you and sings out your name. (Ps. 66:4)
1Be joyful in God, all you lands; be joyful, all the earth. 2Sing the glory of God’s name; sing the glory of God’s praise. 3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! Because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you. 4All the earth bows down before you, sings to you, sings out your name.” 5Come now and see the works of God, how awesome are God’s deeds toward all people. 6God turned the sea into dry land, so that they went through the water on foot, and there we rejoiced in God. 7Ruling forever in might, God keeps watch over the nations; let no rebels exalt themselves. 8Bless our God, you peoples; let the sound of praise be heard. 9Our God has kept us among the living and has not allowed our feet to slip.
Second Reading: Galatians 6:1-16
In the close of his letter to the Galatians, Paul encourages them to live as people made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Here Paul offers practical advice about how believers exercise common concern for one other in “the family of faith.”
1My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5For all must carry their own loads. 6Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.
7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Gospel: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Jesus commissions harvesters and laborers to go where he would go and do what he would do. Risking hardship and danger in exchange for the experience of great joy, they offer peace and healing as signs that the reign of God is near.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ ”
16“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
17The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Theme for the season of Pentecost (summer)
Pentecost is the season in which we celebrate the arrival and presence of God in our hearts and in our lives, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. There are many symbols and images that we use to describe and understand the Holy Spirit: the Breath of God, a mighty wind, or the Holy Ghost. One of the most vivid images we have of the Holy Spirit is a flame.
Fire gives us warmth, lights our way in the darkness, shines as a beacon of hope or a warning of danger. It also provides the heat for the process of refinement. In order to be refined, we must first be changed: The fire of the Holy Spirit melts our hardened hearts and consumes all of those things that keep us apart from God, so that we can be made as new creations, holy and wholly acceptable to God.
Throughout this season of Pentecost, we will be digging into scripture, worshiping together, and seeking out ways to live as God’s new creations, refined by fire and led by the Spirit.