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March 8, 2015 — Third Sunday in Lent
The first reading: Exodus 20:1-17 (NRSV)
20:1 Then God spoke all these words:
2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
3 you shall have no other gods before me.
4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me,
6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work.
10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns.
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.
12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
13 You shall not murder.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
15 You shall not steal.
16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
The Psalm: Psalm 19:1-14 (NRSV)
19:1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the LORD are sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
The second reading: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NRSV)
1:18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart."
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe.
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom,
23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.
The Gospel: John 2:13-22 (NRSV)
2:13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.
15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.
16 He told those who were selling the doves, "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
18 The Jews then said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?"
19 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
20 The Jews then said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?"
21 But he was speaking of the temple of his body.
22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
March 15, 2015 — Fourth Sunday in Lent
The first reading: Numbers 21:4-9 (NRSV)
21:4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.
5 The people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food."
6 Then the LORD sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.
7 The people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people.
8 And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live."
9 So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.
The Psalm: Psalm 107:1-3;17-22 (NRSV)
Psalm 107:1-3;17-22
107:1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, those he redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Psalm 107:17-22
107:17 Some were sick through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities endured affliction;
18 they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress;
20 he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
21 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wonderful works to humankind.
22 And let them offer thanksgiving sacrifices, and tell of his deeds with songs of joy.
The second reading: Ephesians 2:1-10 (NRSV)
2:1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.
3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us
5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—
9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
The Gospel: John 3:14-21 (NRSV)
3:14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 "Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.
21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."
March 22, 2015 — Fifth Sunday in Lent
The first reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NRSV)
31:31 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD.
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the LORD," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
The Psalm: Psalm 51:1-12 (NRSV)
51:1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
The second reading: Hebrews 5:5-10 (NRSV)
5:5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you";
6 as he says also in another place, "You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;
9 and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,
10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Gospel: John 12:20-33 (NRSV)
12:20 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks.
21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus."
22 Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.
23 Jesus answered them, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25 Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
26 Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
27 "Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.
28 Father, glorify your name." Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
29 The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, "An angel has spoken to him."
30 Jesus answered, "This voice has come for your sake, not for mine.
31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.
32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
33 He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.
March 29, 2015 — Palm Sunday
Procession with Palms: Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)
11:1 When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples
2 and said to them, "Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.
3 If anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' just say this, 'The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.'"
4 They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it,
5 some of the bystanders said to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt?"
6 They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it.
7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.
8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.
9 Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"
11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The first reading: Isaiah 50:4-9 (NRSV)
50:4 The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens— wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
5 The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.
6 I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
7 The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8 he who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.
9 It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty? All of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up.
The Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16 (NRSV)
31:9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.
13 For I hear the whispering of many— terror all around!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.
14 But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God."
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
The second reading: Philippians 2:5-11 (NRSV)
2:5 Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited,
7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form,
8 he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The Gospel: Mark 14:1-15:27 (NRSV)
14:1 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him;
2 for they said, "Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people."
3 While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head.
4 But some were there who said to one another in anger, "Why was the ointment wasted in this way?
5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they scolded her.
6 But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me.
7 For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.
8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.
9 Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her."
10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
13 So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
14 and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'
15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."
16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve.
18 And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me."
19 They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, "Surely, not I?"
20 He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.
21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born."
22 While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."
23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.
24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
25 Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'
28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee."
29 Peter said to him, "Even though all become deserters, I will not."
30 Jesus said to him, "Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times."
31 But he said vehemently, "Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you." And all of them said the same.
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray."
33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated.
34 And he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake."
35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
36 He said, "Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want."
37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour?
38 Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.
40 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him.
41 He came a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand."
43 Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard."
45 So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him.
46 Then they laid hands on him and arrested him.
47 But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 Then Jesus said to them, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit?
49 Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled."
50 All of them deserted him and fled.
51 A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him,
52 but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
53 They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled.
54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.
56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree.
57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying,
58 "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'"
59 But even on this point their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?"
61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?"
62 Jesus said, "I am; and 'you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,' and 'coming with the clouds of heaven.'"
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "Why do we still need witnesses?
64 You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?" All of them condemned him as deserving death.
65 Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, "Prophesy!" The guards also took him over and beat him.
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by.
67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, "You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth."
68 But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed.
69 And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them."
70 But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, "Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean."
71 But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, "I do not know this man you are talking about."
72 At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.
15:1 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
2 Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "You say so."
3 Then the chief priests accused him of many things.
4 Pilate asked him again, "Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you."
5 But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.
6 Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked.
7 Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection.
8 So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom.
9 Then he answered them, "Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?"
10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
12 Pilate spoke to them again, "Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?"
13 They shouted back, "Crucify him!"
14 Pilate asked them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify him!"
15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.
16 Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor's headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort.
17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him.
18 And they began saluting him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
19 They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.
20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.
22 Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull).
23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it.
24 And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
25 It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
26 The inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews."
27 And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.
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