Lectionary (Year A): Revised Common Lectionary: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 12-23; Matthew 5:38-48
Theme: “Loving Offensively”
Message: “Extraordinary Living by Loving”
“Instead of allowing yourself to be so unhappy, just let your love grow as God wants it to grow; seek goodness in others, love more persons more; love them more impersonally, more unselfishly, without thought of return. The return, never fear, will take care of itself.” – Henry Drummond
“Oh, how skilful grows the hand
That obeyeth love’s command;
It is the heart, and not the brain
That to the highest doth attain,
And he who follows love’s behest
Far exceedeth all the rest.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I still can recall reading in Time magazine about President Gerald Ford who was once introduced by a celebrity at a banquet. The man who introduced the President indulged in remarks that bordered on insult. As the President took the podium the people were ready for him to “get back” at the person who introduced him. Instead, President Ford spoke of what a fine man he was, and how this man actually was capable of being President. You could just feel the love going to the President from the audience for the way he had turned the tables in a positive direction.
Music: “Lord, Speak to Me that I May Speak,” “O Jesus, I Have Promised,”“They’ll Know We Are Christians by our Love”
Leader: May the mind of Christ my Savior live in us from day to day.
People: May the Word of God dwell richly in our hearts from hour to hour.
Leader: May the love of Jesus fill us as the waters fill the sea.
People: May His beauty rest upon us as we seek to make a difference; so that all may see God in us.
Prayer of Confession:
Unison: Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord. Let your ears be attentive to our confessions, for if you, O Lord, should keep a record of our failures, who of us could stand? We wait for you, O Lord, and in your promises of grace and forgiveness we hope. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen
Assurance of Pardon:
Hope in the Lord, for with God there is steadfast love. God’s love will never let us go. Believe this good news and go forth to live in peace.
Lord, through your Holy Spirit we pray today that you will give us the power to love…a son who has disappointed us, a daughter who has hurt us, a parent who has dealt with us mistakenly, an in-law who has insulted us, a brother who has bullied us, a sister who has lied about us, or a former friend who seems to have forgotten us, or a fellow church member who has spoken harshly of us, or a neighbor who has offended us. Today we pray for extraordinary love in our lives, remembering the haunting question of our Lord, “What more have you done than others?” Give us the grace to show just a little bit in our little worlds this week of how Christ loved. Amen
Offertory: In the spirit of our Lord who said it is more blessed to give than to receive, let us bring to the Lord our tithes and offerings.
Benediction: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all. (1 Thess. 3:12)