The readings for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost (06 September 2020) are: Exodus 12:1-14; Psalm 149; Romans 13:8-14; and Matthew 18:15-20.
The Exodus reading is the main one for today’s sermon, as we continue our journey through the Old Testament from Genesis into Exodus.
God speaks to Moses and Aaron in Egypt about The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Rev. Geoff McKee explains the significance of The Passover for the Old and New Testaments – and for present-day Christians.
C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters help us understand the issues here too. We must avoid building up a firm attachment to this world by getting too comfortable in it because that will “unravel our souls from heaven”.
Read on to take in the four Lectionary readings for this week, prayers, Geoff’s audio sermon and a musical selection from Kath.
Exodus 12:1-14 ( New International Version)
The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread
12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
1 Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.
2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
3 Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
4 For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
6 May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands,
7 to inflict vengeance on the nations
and punishment on the peoples,
8 to bind their kings with fetters,
their nobles with shackles of iron,
9 to carry out the sentence written against them—
this is the glory of all his faithful people.
Praise the Lord.
Love Fulfils the Law
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Day Is Near
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Dealing With Sin in the Church
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Cry out, shout aloud, for the Holy One of Israel is among you in majesty. Isaiah 12:6
Lord God, you adorn the poor, binding rulers in chains and allowing the people to rejoice. Rise up, O God, anew, adorn Your creation, bind all that seeks to destroy it, that we may not perish, but live.
O God, often it seems we have to eat bitter herbs as the Angel of Death has not passed over us; we grieve those who have died from Covid-19, lives lost from all over our land, old and young, fit and frail, care-worker and bus driver, nurse and doctor.
As we grieve we have to accept our complicity, our failure to plan, our failure to learn the lessons, our failure to care for our world, and our failure to treat nature and animal life with respect.
Forgive us, good Lord, and help us to turn our sorrow into action, our failure into change, our guilt into grace.
Lord God, the source of all mercy, has sent the Holy Spirit amongst us for the forgiveness of sins, the equipping of the saints and the fine tuning of our hearts. May we know that we are forgiven, know too that we, with all of humanity, need to use the grace of forgiveness to be an energy of change.
NOTE: The above audio is in mp3 format and is also downloadable, if you wish to listen at a time when you may not have a reliable internet connection. Other devices are available but, on a PC, for example, if you right-click on the 3 vertical dots at the right side of the audio player, the drop-down menu should offer the option to “Save as…”
Prayers of Intercession
All-knowing God, you know our needs before we name them in prayer. All-caring God, you care enough to hear our prayers anyway, knowing that all we truly need is your love. All-loving God, hear now these prayers that name the needs of your people.
Your people need health when afflicted by illness, undergoing surgery, enduring addiction, struggling with conditions visible and yet often not seen by others.
Your people need peace in the midst of war, abuse, conflict, wherever injustice robs the innocent of settled joy.
Your people need hope when facing job loss, divorce, prejudice, wherever darkness threatens to engulf.
Your people need blessing in nourishing relationships, in birth and new beginnings which reveal your power to create anew. Your whole creation needs your powerful presence.
All-powerful God, the need is so great; we rejoice that you are greater.
Hear these prayers we offer in the name of Jesus’ Christ, our Lord who taught us to pray…
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
I selected Behold the Lamb (by Stuart Townend and the Gettys) as it is a special hymn which means so much regarding the different aspects of communion.
The Communion Hymn remembers and celebrates Christ’s death through eating the bread and drinking the wine and, as we share this together, we know we are all one in Christ.
Last but not least, the song speaks of the proclamation of Christ’s return.