Holy God, our strength and our redeemer, by your Spirit hold us forever, that through your grace we may worship you and faithfully serve you, follow you and joyfully find you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Here the servant, identified as Israel, speaks for herself and describes her honored mission. Called before her birth like Jeremiah and John the Baptist, the servant is not only to restore Israel. The servant’s ultimate assignment is to bring news of God’s victory to the ends of the earth. God in faithfulness has chosen Israel for this task.
1Listen to me,
pay attention, you peoples from far away!
The Lord called me before I was born,
while I was in my mother’s womb he named me.
2He made my mouth like a sharp sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me away.
3And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”
4But I said, “I have labored in vain,
I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;
yet surely my cause is with the Lord,
and my reward with my God.”
5And now the Lord says,
who formed me in the womb to be his servant,
to bring Jacob back to him,
and that Israel might be gathered to him,
for I am honored in the sight of the Lord,
and my God has become my strength—
“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob
and to restore the survivors of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
7Thus says the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One,
to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nations,
the slave of rulers,
“Kings shall see and stand up,
princes, and they shall prostrate themselves,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
I love to do your will, O my God. (Ps. 40:8)
1I waited patiently up- | on the Lord,
who stooped to me and | heard my cry.
2The Lord lifted me out of the desolate pit, out of the | miry clay,
and set my feet upon a high cliff, making my | footing sure.
3The Lord put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise | to our God;
many shall see, and stand in awe, and put their trust | in the Lord.
4Happy are they who trust | in the Lord!
They do not turn to enemies or to those who | follow lies. R
5Great are the wonders you have done, O Lord my God! In your plans for us, none can be com- | pared with you!
Oh, that I could make them known and tell them! But they are more than | I can count.
6Sacrifice and offering you do | not desire;
you have opened my ears: burnt-offering and sin-offering you have | not required. R
7And so I said, “Here I | am; I come.
In the scroll of the book it is writ- | ten of me:
8‘I love to do your will, | O my God;
your law is | deep within me.’ ”
9I proclaimed righteousness in the | great assembly;
I have not restrained my lips, O | Lord, you know.
10I have not hidden your righteousness in my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and | your deliverance;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and truth from the | great assembly.
11You are the Lord; do not withhold your compas- | sion from me;
may your steadfast love and your truth continually | keep me safe. R
Though God’s church in Corinth is a fractious congregation beset with many conflicts, Paul opens this letter by spotlighting the multiple ways God has enriched and sustained its life as part of the divine call into the fellowship of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of
God, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
John the Baptist’s witness to Jesus initiates a chain of testimony as his disciples begin to share with others what they have found.
29[John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him and declared,
“Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!30This is he of whom I
said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him;
but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to
Israel.” 32And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven
like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see
the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I myself have seen and
have testified that this is the Son of God.”
35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
The prayers are prepared locally for each occasion. The following examples may be adapted or used as appropriate.
Called together through water and the Word, we boldly pray for the church, the world, and all who long to hear God’s voice.
A brief silence.
Faithful God, thank you for the testimony of disciples throughout the generations and for opportunities to proclaim your mercy. Reveal your truth and glory to all who ponder your word of life. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Creating God, we marvel at the abundance of the world you have made. Give us confidence in our calling to be stewards of the earth so that our lives are in fellowship with all creation. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Almighty God, we are thankful for all who have marched for justice and advocated for peace. Entrust our elected leaders (especially) with strength, wisdom, and a discerning spirit, so that both our words and our actions serve you. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God of hope, thank you for your constant presence as you walk with your children through challenges of joblessness, homelessness, grief, and sickness. Gather your community around all who need your healing power, that they find strength in you (especially). Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God of persistence, we glory in the gifts of our church leaders. Bless and strengthen our council members, staff, pastors, worship leaders, and all those who offer their gifts to this community, that our work together would serve your mission. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
Living God, we give thanks for the whole communion of saints, each called in their own time to serve you (especially Henry, Bishop of Uppsala). Inspire our lives with their testimony. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
[We place our prayers before you, God, united in your Spirit; through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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