Holy Cross Day 2017

Today celebrates the cross as a symbol of Christ’s triumph over death. The history behind this day can be traced back to the time of Constantine. Holy Cross Day is celebrated on September 14th because it was on this day in 335 A.D. that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was dedicated in Jerusalem.

Lectionary Readings for Holy Cross

The Sign of the Cross

Many Christian traditions use the sign of the cross as a physical act of prayer that brings to mind Christ’s sacrifice and the continuing call to discipleship. This practice has a rich history. Here is an extended quote from James Keifer explaining its historical and biblical significance:

Sign of the Cross“Tertullian, in his De Corona (3:2), written around AD 211, says that Christians seldom do anything significant without making the sign of the cross. Certainly, by his time the practice was well established. Justin Martyr, in chapters 55 and 60 of his First Apology (Defence of the Christian Faith, addressed to the Emperor Antoninus Pius and therefore written between 148 and 155 AD), refers to the cross as a standard Christian symbol, but not explicitly to tracing the sign of the cross as a devotional gesture… Continue reading Holy Cross Day 2017

The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

God’s Care, Mercy, and Forgiveness

“The Lord protects his people; just as he brought them safely out of Egypt (Exodus 14:19-31), so he will care for us. We praise God for his justice, healing, mercy, and love (Psalm 103:1-13 and Psalm 114), knowing that as Christians, we must consider the feelings of others (Romans 14:1-12). In the same way, God has forgiven us much, we are to forgive others with generosity (Matthew 18:21-35).” -Thomas Oden  

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The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

Walking Together on Paths of Righteousness

“The power of Christ’s precious blood is seen in the Passover, as are other symbols of the faith (Exodus 12:1-14). We pray for God to help us better understand his instructions so we can wholeheartedly walk in the right paths on our spiritual journey (Psalm 119:33-40). We pledge to confront in love our fellow Christians who fall away from the faith in some way (Matthew 18:15-20). We cast off the works of darkness to walk in the light of love (Romans 13:8-14).” -Thomas Oden  

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The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

Holiness, Truth, and Love

God is holy: more awesome than we can imagine or comprehend (Exodus 3:1-15). He has graciously revealed himself and called us to trust him. We respond in gratitude by choosing to walk in truth and love (Psalm 26). Remembering God’s faithfulness and promises (Psalm 105 & Jeremiah 15:15-21), we pursue love, joy, and patience in the midst of our adversaries. Like Jesus, we are to take up our cross and overcome evil with good (Romans 12:9-21). Jesus’ rebuke of Peter reminds us that God’s ways are often counterintuitive to our ways (Matthew 16:21-28). We follow Jesus by practicing self-giving love that cultivates true life. 

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

Protection and Help

“God showed his care for the Israelites through raising up Moses to lead them out of Egypt (Exodus 1:8–2:10). We are grateful for God’s protection in the past and continuing help for the present and future (Psalm 124 / Psalm 138). We confess Christ, the Son of the living God and author of our salvation (Matthew 16:13-20), and offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-8).” -Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter – Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude

After many years, Joseph is given the opportunity to reconcile with his brothers. This profound act of forgiveness prefigures the cross of Christ (Genesis 45:1-15). God has been gracious to us (Psalm 67). In gratitude, we pursue unity with others; especially believers (Psalm 133). God wants us to avoid hypocrisy, cultivate pure hearts, and demonstrate a humble faith (Matthew 15:10-20, 21-28). Even though we fall into disobedience, God bestows His generous mercy upon us through Christ (Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

The Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

God’s Peace, Justice, and Salvation

The story of Joseph has many parallels with the life of Christ (Genesis 37:14-, 12-28). As Joseph was thrown into the pit by his brothers, so Christ was crucified by His own, descended into the dead, and was resurrected so that we might live. This is good news and we must tell others (Romans 10:5-15)! The life, death, and resurrection of Christ have fulfilled the allusions we find to him in the Old Testament (Psalm 105). He is the embodiment of peace, salvation, and justice (Psalm 85). Like Joseph and Peter, we need not fear when we are sinking. He has promised to be with us and will help us when our faith is weak (Matthew 14:22-33).

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