Holy Week

Easter Evening

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 25:6-9

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
 a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
 of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
 the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
 the sheet that is spread over all nations;
 he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
 and the disgrace of his people
he will take away from all the earth,
 for the Lord has spoken.¹

It will be said on that day,
 Lo, this is our God;
we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
 let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

¹Paul refers to this verse in writing to the Corinthians affirming the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12-18). We are assured in Revelation 7:13-17 that God will wipe away every tear of those who are saved.

Psalm 114

When Israel went out from Egypt,
 the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God's sanctuary,
 Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;
 Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
 the hills like lambs.

Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
 O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
 O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
 at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
 the flint into a spring of water.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8

Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 24:13-49

Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things that have taken place there in these days?” He asked them, “What things?” They replied, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and leaders handed him over to be condemned to death and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place. Moreover, some women of our group astounded us. They were at the tomb early this morning, and when they did not find his body there, they came back and told us that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but they did not see him.” Then he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have declared! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures.

The Blood of Christ (Stations of the Cross)

As they came near the village to which they were going, he walked ahead as if he were going on. But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?” That same hour they got up and returned to Jerusalem; and they found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and he has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he had been made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Years ABC Easter Evening

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Supper at Emmaus by Matthias Stom (at Museum of Grenoble), via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Easter Morning

New Testament Lesson: Acts 10:34-43

(The alternate reading, Isaiah 65:17-25, is below)

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 65:17-25

(The alternate reading, Acts 10:34-43, is above)

For I am about to create new heavens
 and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
 or come to mind.¹

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
 and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
 and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
 or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it an infant
 that lives but a few days,
 or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
 and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
 they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
 they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
 and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
 or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
 and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
 while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
 the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
 but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
 on all my holy mountain,
  says the Lord.

¹In 2 Peter 3, a new heaven and a new earth are part of Christ's return. In Revelation 21 part of John's vision is of a new heaven and a new earth.

Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
 his steadfast love endures forever!

Let Israel say,
 “His steadfast love endures forever.”

There are glad songs of victory in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly;
 the right hand of the Lord is exalted;
 the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.”
I shall not die, but I shall live,
 and recount the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord has punished me severely,
 but he did not give me over to death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
 that I may enter through them
 and give thanks to the Lord.

This is the gate of the Lord;
 the righteous shall enter through it.

I thank you that you have answered me
 and have become my salvation.
The stone that the builders rejected
 has become the chief cornerstone.¹

This is the Lord's doing;
 it is marvelous in our eyes.²

This is the day that the Lord has made;
 let us rejoice and be glad in it.³

¹Peter, when called before the Council with John, says Christ is the chief cornerstone. See Acts 4:1-22. In 1 Peter 2:1-10 Peter calls Christ the living stone and recites this verse.
²These two verses are quoted in whole or in part in the parable of the wicked tenants, found in
Matthew 21:33-45, Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 15:19-26

(The reading from Acts shown above may be used in place of the epistle.)

If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Empty tomb.jpg

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 20:1-18

(The alternate reading, Luke 24:1-12, is below)

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord;” and she told them that he had said these things to her.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 24:1-12

(The alternate reading, John 20:1-18, is above.)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they [the women who had come with him from Galilee] came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Years ABC Holy Week Easter Morning

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Angel at the empty tomb image from St. Paul Orthodox Church by Flickr user bobosh_t via Flickr, used under CC 2.0 license.

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Easter Vigil

1

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 1:1-2:4a

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle,and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

So God created humankind in his image,
 in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.¹

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”² God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.³

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.

¹Jesus quotes this verse in his teaching about divorce, in Matthew 19:3-9 and Mark 10:6-12.
²Paul refers to this verse indirectly in his thanks for the
Colossians.
³This verse is quoted in a passage about the rest God has promised, found in
Hebrews 4:1-11.

Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

who alone does great wonders,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;

It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
 for his steadfast love endures forever;
who gives food to all flesh,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

O give thanks to the God of heaven,
 for his steadfast love endures forever.

2

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” and Noah did all that the Lord had commanded him.

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah's wife and the three wives of his sons entered the ark, they and every wild animal of every kind, and all domestic animals of every kind, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every bird of every kind—every bird, every winged creature. They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.

The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters swelled and increased greatly on the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters.

At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth. Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground; but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark; and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth. Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.

In the six hundred first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. Then God said to Noah, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons' wives.

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
 a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
 though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
 though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
 the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
 God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
 he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
 the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord;
 see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
 he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
 he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
 I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
 the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

3

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Genesis 22:1-18

After these things God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac; he cut the wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place in the distance that God had shown him. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place far away. Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; the boy and I will go over there; we will worship, and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “The fire and the wood are here, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God himself will provide the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” And Abraham looked up and saw a ram, caught in a thicket by its horns. Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place “The Lord will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, “By myself I have sworn, says the Lord: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Psalm 16

Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
 I have no good apart from you.”

As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble,
 in whom is all my delight.

Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
 their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
 or take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
 you hold my lot.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
 I have a goodly heritage.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
 in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
 because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
 my body also rests secure.
For you do not give me up to Sheol,
 or let your faithful one see the Pit.¹

You show me the path of life.
 In your presence there is fullness of joy;
 in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
²

¹Paul refers to this verse indirectly in his address to the synagogue in Antioch of Pisdia (Acts 3:13-43).
²Peter quotes the entire bolded passage in his address to the crowd on Pentecost (
Acts 2:14-36).

4

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21

As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”

The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh's horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
 horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 15:1b-13, 17-18

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
 horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my might,
 and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
 my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
 the Lord is his name.

“Pharaoh's chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
 his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
The floods covered them;
 they went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—
 your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;
 you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,
 the floods stood up in a heap;
 the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
 I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
 I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’
You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;
 they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
 Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
 awesome in splendor, doing wonders?
You stretched out your right hand,
 the earth swallowed them.

“In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;
 you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.

“You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,
 the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,
 the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

5

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 55:1-11

Ho, everyone who thirsts,
 come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
 come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
 without money and without price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
 and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
 and delight yourselves in rich food.
Incline your ear, and come to me;
 listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
 my steadfast, sure love for David.¹

See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
 a leader and commander for the peoples.
See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
 and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
 for he has glorified you.

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
 call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake their way,
 and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them,
 and to our God,
 for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
 nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
 so are my ways higher than your ways
 and my thoughts than your thoughts.

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
 and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
 giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
 it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
 and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

¹Paul uses this verse in his argument that Christ will live forever. See Acts 13:26-41.

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 12:2-6

Surely God is my salvation;
 I will trust, and will not be afraid,
for the Lord God is my strength and my might;
 he has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

Give thanks to the Lord,
 call on his name;
make known his deeds among the nations;
 proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing praises to the Lord,
 for he has done gloriously;
let this be known in all the earth.
Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion,
 for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.

6

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Proverbs 8:1-8, 19-21; 9:4b-6

Does not wisdom call,
 and does not understanding raise her voice?
On the heights, beside the way,
 at the crossroads she takes her stand;
beside the gates in front of the town,
 at the entrance of the portals she cries out:
“To you, O people, I call,
 and my cry is to all that live.
O simple ones, learn prudence;
 acquire intelligence, you who lack it.
Hear, for I will speak noble things,
 and from my lips will come what is right;
for my mouth will utter truth;
 wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are righteous;
 there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.”

My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold,
 and my yield than choice silver.
I walk in the way of righteousness,
 along the paths of justice,
endowing with wealth those who love me,
 and filling their treasuries.

To those without sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread
 and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Lay aside immaturity, and live,
 and walk in the way of insight.”

Psalm 19

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
 and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
 and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
 their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
 and their words to the end of the world.¹

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
 and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
 and its circuit to the end of them;
and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
 reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
 making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
 rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
 enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord
 are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
 even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
 and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is your servant warned;
 in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
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.

Let the words of my mouth
 and the meditation of my heart
 be acceptable to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

¹Paul quotes this verse in a discussion of the rejection of Christ by some Jews (Romans 10:5-21).

7

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Ezekiel 36:24-28

I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.¹ A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

¹We are to approach the sanctuary with a true heart and fullness of faith, because we have been forgiven through the sprinkling of water. See Hebrews 10:19-25.

Psalms 42 and 43

As a deer longs for flowing streams,
 so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
 for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
 the face of God?
My tears have been my food
 day and night,
while people say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

These things I remember, as I pour out my soul:
how I went with the throng,
 and led them in procession to the house of God,
with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,
 a multitude keeping festival.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
 therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
 from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
 at the thunder of your cataracts;
all your waves and your billows
 have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
 and at night his song is with me,
 a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,
 “Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because the enemy oppresses me?”
As with a deadly wound in my body,
 my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me continually,
 “Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
 against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me!
For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
 why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
 because of the oppression of the enemy?

O send out your light and your truth;
 let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
 and to your dwelling.
Then I will go to the altar of God,
 to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
 O God, my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
 and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
 my help and my God.

8

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Ezekiel 37:1-14

The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act,” says the Lord.

Psalm 143

Hear my prayer, O Lord;
 give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
 answer me in your righteousness.
Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
 for no one living is righteous before you.¹

For the enemy has pursued me,
 crushing my life to the ground,
 making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
 my heart within me is appalled.

I remember the days of old,
 I think about all your deeds,
 I meditate on the works of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
 my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah

Answer me quickly, O Lord;
 my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
 or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
 for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
 for to you I lift up my soul.

Save me, O Lord,
 from my enemies;
 I have fled to you for refuge.
Teach me to do your will,
 for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.

For your name's sake, O Lord,
 preserve my life.
 In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
 and destroy all my adversaries,
 for I am your servant.

¹Paul uses this verse to show that none of us is righteous (Romans 3:9-20) and that both Jews and Gentiles are saved by faith (Galatians 2:15-21).

9

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Twelve Prophets: Zephaniah 3:14-20

Sing aloud, O daughter Zion;
 shout, O Israel!
Rejoice and exult with all your heart,
 O daughter Jerusalem!
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you,
 he has turned away your enemies.
The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
 you shall fear disaster no more.
On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
Do not fear, O Zion;
 do not let your hands grow weak.
The Lord, your God, is in your midst,
 a warrior who gives victory;
he will rejoice over you with gladness,
 he will renew you in his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing
 as on a day of festival.
I will remove disaster from you,
 so that you will not bear reproach for it.
I will deal with all your oppressors
 at that time.
And I will save the lame
 and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise
 and renown in all the earth.
At that time I will bring you home,
 at the time when I gather you;
for I will make you renowned and praised
 among all the peoples of the earth,
when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.

Psalm 98

O sing to the Lord a new song,
 for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
 have gotten him victory.
The Lord has made known his victory;
 he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
He has remembered his steadfast love
 and faithfulness
 to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
 the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
 break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
 with the lyre and the sound of melody.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
 make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
 the world and those who live in it.
Let the floods clap their hands;
 let the hills sing together for joy
at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
 to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
 and the peoples with equity.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Romans 6:3-11

Easter Vigil.jpg

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 114

When Israel went out from Egypt,
 the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became God's sanctuary,
 Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled;
 Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
 the hills like lambs.

Why is it, O sea, that you flee?
 O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
 O hills, like lambs?

Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
 at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
 the flint into a spring of water.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Luke 24:1-12

There are parallel passages at Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, and John 20:1-10.

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

Years ABC Holy Week Easter Vigil

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Harrowing of Hell in the Narthex of Hosios Loukas, 11th Century, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Holy Saturday Morning

(The Easter Vigil readings are in a separate post/mailing)

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Job 14:1-14

(The alternate reading, Lamentations 3:1-9 and 19-24 is below)

[Job is speaking]

“A mortal, born of woman,
 few of days and full of trouble,
comes up like a flower and withers,
 flees like a shadow and does not last.
Do you fix your eyes on such a one?
 Do you bring me into judgment with you?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
 No one can.
Since their days are determined,
 and the number of their months is known to you,
 and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass,
look away from them, and desist,
 that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days.

For there is hope for a tree,
 if it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
 and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grows old in the earth,
 and its stump dies in the ground,
yet at the scent of water it will bud
 and put forth branches like a young plant.
But mortals die, and are laid low;
 humans expire, and where are they?
As waters fail from a lake,
 and a river wastes away and dries up,
so mortals lie down and do not rise again;
 until the heavens are no more,
 they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep.
Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
 that you would conceal me until your wrath is past,
 that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me!
If mortals die, will they live again?
 All the days of my service I would wait
 until my release should come.”

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Writings: Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-24

(The alternate reading, Job 14:1-14, is above)

I am one who has seen affliction
 under the rod of God's wrath;
 he has driven and brought me
 into darkness without any light;
against me alone he turns his hand,
 again and again, all day long.

He has made my flesh and my skin waste away,
 and broken my bones;
he has besieged and enveloped me
 with bitterness and tribulation;
he has made me sit in darkness
 like the dead of long ago.

He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
 he has put heavy chains on me;
though I call and cry for help,
 he shuts out my prayer;
he has blocked my ways with hewn stones,
 he has made my paths crooked.

The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
 is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
 and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
 and therefore I have hope:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
 his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
 great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.
 “therefore I will hope in him.”

Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16

In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
 do not let me ever be put to shame;
 in your righteousness deliver me.
Incline your ear to me;
 rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
 a strong fortress to save me.

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
 for your name's sake lead me and guide me,
take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
 for you are my refuge.

My times are in your hand;
 deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
 save me in your steadfast love.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 4:1-8

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does.

The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.

Deposition.jpg

New Testament Gospel Lesson: Matthew 27:57-66

(The alternate reading, John 19:38-42, is below)

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that imposter said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 19:38-42

(The alternate reading, Matthew 27:57-66, is above)

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Years ABC Holy Week Saturday morning

Bible verses from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Image credit: Disposition by Rogier van der Weyden (in the Prado Museum) via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Good Friday

Good Friday.jpg

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 52:13-53:12

See, my servant shall prosper;
 he shall be exalted and lifted up,
 and shall be very high.
Just as there were many who were astonished at him
 —so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance,
 and his form beyond that of mortals—
so he shall startle many nations;
 kings shall shut their mouths because of him;
for that which had not been told them they shall see,
 and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.¹

Who has believed what we have heard?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?²

For he grew up before him like a young plant,
 and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
 nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by others;
 a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
 he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities
 and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
 struck down by God, and afflicted.³

But he was wounded for our transgressions,
 crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
 and by his bruises we are healed.*
All we like sheep have gone astray;
 we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
 the iniquity of us all.*

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
 yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
 and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
 so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
 Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
 stricken for the transgression of my people.§

They made his grave with the wicked
 and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence
 and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
 he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
 Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
 The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
 and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
 and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
 and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
 and made intercession for the transgressors.¶

¹Paul cites this verse twice, once in Romans 15:14-21, where he quotes this verse in giving his reasons for writing boldly, and in 1 Corinthians 2:6-13, where he writes of the true wisdom of God.
²As
John 13:37-43 says, this prophecy was fulfilled in Christ. Paul uses this verse in proclaiming our faith in Romans 10:14-21.
³This prophecy is fulfilled when Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law in
Matthew 8:14-17.
*These two verses are cited in
1 Peter 2:24-25 as examples of Christ's suffering.
§These are the verses that the Ethiopian eunuch is reading when he encounters Philip on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza (
Acts 8:26-40).
¶This passage is cited in
Mark 15:28 about Jesus being mocked while on the cross (Mark 15:28 is not included in all translations), in Jesus' final talk with the apostles (Luke 22:30-38), indirectly in Hebrews 23-28, which explains that Christ bears our sins, and indirectly in 1 Peter 2:18-25, which sets Christ's suffering as an example for us.

Psalm 22

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?¹
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
 and by night, but find no rest.
Yet you are holy,
 enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted;
 they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried, and were saved;
 in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm, and not human;
 scorned by others, and despised by the people.
All who see me mock at me;
 they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;²

“Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver–
 let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”³

Yet it was you who took me from the womb;
 you kept me safe on my mother's breast.
On you I was cast from my birth,
 and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
Do not be far from me,
 for trouble is near
 and there is no one to help.

Many bulls encircle me,
 strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
they open wide their mouths at me,
 like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,
 and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
 it is melted within my breast;
my mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
 and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
 you lay me in the dust of death.

For dogs are all around me;
 a company of evildoers encircles me.
My hands and feet have shriveled;
I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me;
they divide my clothes among themselves,
 and for my clothing they cast lots.*

But you, O Lord, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
Deliver my soul from the sword,
 my life from the power of the dog!
Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.¶
I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters;
 in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
You who fear the Lord, praise him!†

All you offspring of Jacob,
 glorify him; stand in awe of him,
 all you offspring of Israel!
For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted;
 he did not hide his face from me,
 but heard when I cried to him.

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
 my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
 and all the families of the nations shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
 and he rules over the nations.
To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
 before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
 and I shall live for him.
Posterity will serve him;
 future generations will be told about the Lord,
 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
 saying that he has done it.

¹Jesus says these words from the cross in Matthew's and in Mark's accounts of Jesus' death and the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 27:45-54), (Mark 15:33-39).
² This takes place at Jesus' crucifixion, as told in
Matthew 27:38-44.
³These mocking words are directed at Jesus in
Matthew 27:38-44 and in Luke 22:33-43.
*This prophecy is fulfilled in
John 19:17-30.
¶Paul alludes to this verse in his account to Timothy of his persecution (
2 Timothy 4:16-18).
†The author of Hebrews writes that Christ's sacrifice is for all. See
Hebrews 2:10-14

.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 10:16-25

(The alternate reading, Hebrews 4:14-16 and 5:7-9, is below)

“This is the covenant that I will make with them
 after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
 and I will write them on their minds,”
he also adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary 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 approach 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 to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

(The alternate reading, Hebrews 10:16-25, is above)

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 18:1-19:42

After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus replied, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they stepped back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken, “I did not lose a single one of those whom you gave me.”¹ Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave's name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself.

Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to Pilate's headquarters. It was early in the morning. They themselves did not enter the headquarters, so as to avoid ritual defilement and to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him according to your law.” The Jews replied, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death.” (This was to fulfill what Jesus had said when he indicated the kind of death he was to die.)

My kingdom is not from here..

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no case against him. But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover. Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” They shouted in reply, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a bandit.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.”

When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge's bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfill what the scripture says,

“They divided my clothes among themselves,
 and for my clothing they cast lots.”²

And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the sabbath, especially because that sabbath was a day of great solemnity. So they asked Pilate to have the legs of the crucified men broken and the bodies removed. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.”³ And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”*

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

¹John 6:9   ²Psalm 22:18   ³Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, Psalm 34:20   *Zechariah 12:10

Years ABC Holy Week Good Friday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

Image credit: 

Image credits: Good Friday image licensed from Creationswap.com
Throne of Grace by Orcagna in the National Museum in Warsaw, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Holy Thursday

Hebrew Scripture Torah Lesson: Exodus 12:1-14

There are parallel passages at Leviticus 23:4-8, Numbers 28:16-25, and Deuteronomy 16:1-8.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.

Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19

I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice
 and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
 therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

What shall I return to the Lord
 for all his bounty to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
 and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
 in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord
 is the death of his faithful ones.
O Lord, I am your servant;
 I am your servant, the child of your serving girl.
 You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice
 and call on the name of the Lord
¹.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
 in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord,
 in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

¹This verse is nearly quoted in Hebrews 13:1-16 (specifically in verse 15), which concerns service well-pleasing to God.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 13:1-17, 31b-35

Foot washing.JPG

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The devil had already put it into the heart of Judas son of Simon Iscariot to betray him. And during supper Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you. Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

“Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Years ABC Holy Week Thursday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: Painting of the Foot Washing photograph from the interior of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona by © José Luiz Bernardes Ribeiro . This image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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Wednesday of Holy Week

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 50:4-9a

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.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
 and I was not rebellious,
 I did not turn backward.
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.
¹

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;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
 Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
 Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
 who will declare me guilty?

¹This verse is indirectly referred to in Jesus' prediction of his passion at Matthew 20:17-19, Mark 10:32-34, and Luke 18:31-34.

Psalm 70

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me.
 O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and confusion
 who seek my life.
Let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
 who desire to hurt me.
Let those who say, “Aha, Aha!”
 turn back because of their shame.

Let all who seek you
 rejoice and be glad in you.
Let those who love your salvation
 say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
 hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
 O Lord, do not delay!

New Testament Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 13:21-32

The Last Supper

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “Do quickly what you are going to do.” Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the festival”; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.”

Years ABC Holy Week Wednesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Image credit: The Last Supper by Carl Bloch, via Wikimedia Commons. This is a public domain image.

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Tuesday of Holy Week

Hebrew Scripture Lesson from the Latter Prophets: Isaiah 49:1-7

Listen to me, O coastlands,
 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.
He 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.
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel,
 in whom I will be glorified.”
But 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.”

And 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—
 he says,

“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.”

I will give you as a light to the nations.

Thus 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.”

Psalm 71:1-14

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
 let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me;
 incline your ear to me and save me.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
 a strong fortress, to save me,
 for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
 from the grasp of the unjust and cruel.
For you, O Lord, are my hope,
 my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Upon you I have leaned from my birth;
 it was you who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you.

I have been like a portent to many,
 but you are my strong refuge.
My mouth is filled with your praise,
 and with your glory all day long.
Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
 do not forsake me when my strength is spent.
For my enemies speak concerning me,
 and those who watch for my life consult together.
They say, “Pursue and seize that person
 whom God has forsaken,
 for there is no one to deliver.”

O God, do not be far from me;
 O my God, make haste to help me!
Let my accusers be put to shame and consumed;
 let those who seek to hurt me
 be covered with scorn and disgrace.
But I will hope continually,
 and will praise you yet more and more.

New Testament Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

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. For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
 and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”¹

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? 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. For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

¹Isaiah 29:14

New Testament Gospel Lesson: John 12:20-36

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 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. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.

“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. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die. The crowd answered him, “We have heard from the law that the Messiah remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” Jesus said to them, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.”

After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them.

Years ABC Holy Week Tuesday

Selections from Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 1995 by the Consultation on Common Texts.

Unless otherwise indicated, Bible text is from Holy Bible New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All right reserved.

Footnotes in the Christian Scriptures that show where a passage from the Hebrew Scripture is used are from The The Holy Bible: New International Version ® (NIV®), copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. When text is taken from the NIV, the passage ends with (NIV) and the foregoing copyright notice applies.

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