Liturgy / Oct 8, 2017

Since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,

with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

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Father thank you that you are a God who invites his children to speak. We pray for the whole people of God hidden in Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

For believers throughout the world who endure physical harm because they follow our Lord Jesus, shelter them this week;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the families of those killed in Las Vegas this week; would they know you are near; would you draw them to yourself;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the people of Puerto Rico, as they continue to rebuild from the shambles of the island; would you be a strong provider for them;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For victims of violence in Chicago—would you heal, preserve and protect; for perpetrators of violence—would they repent;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the Church in Chicago; would we fight against the fear that makes us misers with our time, our resources, and our spirit toward fellow humans;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the congregations of Legacy Fellowship as they gather in homes around the city; grant them unity and wisdom;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
For the people of The Painted Door; would generosity mark our relationships;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.
And for all who come to the feast of Jesus this morning, for the hearing of our ears, rejoicing of our minds, and stillness of our souls;
God of all mercy... hear our prayer.

Gracious Father, these are our requests. We trust in your mercy made known through your Son, Jesus, Christ our Lord. Amen.

We lie, cheat, and cut ethical corners quite often when we think we can get away with it, and then we use our moral thinking to manage our reputations and justify ourselves to others.
— Jonathan Haidt

Romans 1:16-17
The Gospel of Jesus Christ rescues people from the most deadly trap of the human frame -- self-righteousness. Because in Jesus, the righteousness of God is revealed. Jesus shows us a righteousness of shimmering light that renders our conceptions of our own decency rather dark by comparison. We are not righteous. We have within us, each one, all of the shadowy material responsible for the world's great evils. Dark seeds of bitterness, envy, malice, and fear are planted in the soil of our broken flesh. And when watered in the rain of politics and culture, they sprout into racism, classism, fascism, and lies. We are the enemies we claim to oppose. But a true righteousness has emerged from within this soup of human ruin. And he is Christ Jesus -- the righteousness of heaven breaking into our twisted history. His righteousness is ours to walk in, if only we would forsake every confidence in ourselves and receive his life as our own.

Father, we have forgotten to stir up one another to love and good works.
We have neglected to meet together, following the patterns of this world and failing to encourage one another.
Rescue us from this ongoing and deliberate folly. Save us from our sin and its ruin.

Great is the punishment we deserve. We have spurned the Son of God, profaned his blood, and outraged the Spirit of grace. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Father, remind us of our better and abiding possession. Grant us the confidence faith, and its great reward. 

We have need of endurance, so that in doing the will of God we may receive what is promised. For, "Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him."
We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.