The watchword for the week:
Jesus says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Praise the Lord and give thanks to Him for all his mercies.
In Jesus Christ God grants us the forgiveness of sin and shows us a new way of living.
We seek to respond to that love by following the way of the cross.
We will rejoice and worship God with all our heart.
Hear now the call of God to draw near to His loving embrace.
We will rest ourselves in God and do all that He asks.
1 Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity,
and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.
2 Prove me, O Lord, and try me;
test my heart and mind.
3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in faithfulness to you.
4 I do not sit with the worthless,
nor do I consort with hypocrites;
5 I hate the company of evildoers,
and will not sit with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands in innocence,
and go around your altar, O Lord,
7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving,
and telling all your wondrous deeds.
8 O Lord, I love the house in which you dwell,
and the place where your glory abides.
Let us humbly confess our sins.
As we think of the life of Jesus we are awed by the sacrifice that he made on our behalf. By accepting the way of the cross he took upon himself the sin of the world. With this love fixed in our minds and as we read the words of this week’s Psalm we confess that we have not always lived up to the standard that you have set for us. We have often shunned the way of the cross and a life of integrity for what seemed like an easy path. Gracious God, by what we have both said and done, and by what we have left undone, we have not always been your followers and for that we are truly sorry. Strengthen us as we resolve to live more responsively to your gracious intent toward us and the world.
My friends, the Biblical message is clear: Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again that we might live in newness of life; new life both here and in the world yet to come. Let us give thanks to God.
Praise be to you triune God, for you have lovingly created us, compassionately redeemed us, and graciously empower us to live the life of the cross. Amen.
Take time now for reading the Daily Texts or a passage of Scripture. Pause to ponder words or phrases that happen to catch your spirit today. Then spend some time praying for the needs of our hurting world. When you are ready, please continue with the prayer as follows:
Together let us affirm our faith in the words of the Nicene Creed.
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Let us go from here, take up the cross, and live a life that gives witness to that which we believe.
Thanks be to God. Amen.