Augustine on Psalm 145

“The framework of creation, this most perfectly ordered beauty, ascending from lowest to highest, descending from highest to lowest, never broken, but tempered together of things unlike, all praises God. Wherefore then doth all praise God? Because when thou considerest it, and seest its beauty, thou in it praisest God. The beauty of the earth is a kind of voice of the dumb earth…And this which thou has found in it, is the very voice of its confession, that thou praise the Creator. When thou hast thought on the universal beauty of this world, doth not its very beauty as it were with one voice answer thee, ‘I made not myself, God made me’?”

-St. Augustine

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Blessed and Broken

Jacob was broken and blessed by an awe-inspiring divine encounter (Genesis 32:22-32). The Lord is gracious to those who call upon his steadfast love and will satisfy those who seek his face (Psalm 145:8-9,14-21 and Psalm 17:1-7,15). He is overflowing with grace and promises good gifts to many nations (Isaiah 55:1-5). Through Israel, Jesus the Messiah was revealed to the world as the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises (Romans 9:1-5). Jesus demonstrated God’s grace by overwhelmingly satisfying the hunger of the crowds. The loaves were blessed, broken, and miraculously multiplied.  An apt metaphor for his own life, death, and resurrection (Matthew 14:13-21).

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Eighth Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Pursuing the Kingdom of God

Jacob suffered wrong and sacrificed much to win Rachel’s hand in marriage (Genesis 29:15-28). Wisdom and fulfillment are often the fruit of patient waiting and righteous pursuits (Psalm 128 and 1 Kings 3:5-12). These things may seem out of grasp, but we can still trust God to fulfill his covenant and bring about his purposes in the end (Psalm 105:1-11 and Romans 8:26-39), even in spite of human oppression and unfulfilled desires (Psalm 119:129-136). Followers of Christ are called to wholeheartedly seek God’s kingdom, wisely pursuing that which will last (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Seventh Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Glimpses of Glory

Jacob experienced a glimpse of God’s glory and a reminder that God keeps his promises (Genesis 28:10-19a). God eradicates all darkness and knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139). Do not fear (Isaiah 44:6-8)! God’s steadfast love offers mercy and favor (Psalm 86). The Holy Spirit bears witness that we are God’s children through Christ (Romans 8:12-25). All creation patiently waits for evil to be defeated at the end of the age (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43).  

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Sixth Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Planted in Good Soil

Unrestrained appetites can cause God’s people to turn away from the things that are most important (Genesis 25:19-34). Those who are in Christ Jesus have been set free from the law of sin and death and called to walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the desires of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-11). God’s Word illumines a righteous path (Psalm 119:105-112) and waters a seed of everlasting hope (Isaiah 55:10-13). We must acknowledge our need for His forgiveness and blessing (Psalm 65:1-13), for a seed planted in fertile soil produces good fruit (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Rest for the Weary

God raises up those who are humble (Psalm 145:8-14) and surprises his loved ones with companionship (Song of Solomon 2:8-13) and the promise of future blessings (Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67 and Psalm 45:10-17). In the context of God’s care, we struggle to be released from the burdens that we place on ourselves and are prone to do the things that we shouldn’t do (Romans 7:15-25a). In the midst of this struggle, Christ still invites us to serve him in humility. He is the King of Peace (Zechariah 9:9-12), and in his service, we will find rest and strength for the journey (Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30). 

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fourth Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Counting on God’s Promises

Abraham demonstrated complete faith in God’s promises and God provided redemption and life (Genesis 22:1-14). Like the saints who came before us, we may bear pain in our souls and question how long we will have to endure trials, but we will remember God’s faithfulness and confess his steadfast love (Psalm 13 and Psalm 89). Even in exile, God sends a word of peace that he will fulfill in time (Jeremiah 28:5-9). Remember that through Christ we have been freed from sin and we live under grace. Therefore, present your whole life and body to God (Romans 6:12-23) by fleeing from sin and offering hospitality in Christ’s name to others (Matthew 10:40-42).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Third Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Nothing to Fear

God cares for those who are treated unjustly. They are offered living water and assurance of God’s grace (Genesis 21:8-21). Call to God in the day of trouble. He rules the world and all nations shall bow before him (Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17). Violence, destruction, and terror may surround God’s people, but evildoers will not prevail (Jeremiah 20:7-13). Cry out to God, and at the acceptable time, he will answer in accord with his steadfast love (Psalm 69:7-18). Those who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death. Since he has been raised from the dead death no longer holds authority for those who have been found in him (Romans 6:1b-11). Jesus’ followers need not fear anything, for they are precious to God and freed to follow him, even when it requires sacrifice (Matthew 10: 24-39). 

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Second Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (Year A)

Courageously Proclaiming the Grace of God

God’s promises are often fulfilled in mysterious and unexpected ways. Like Abraham and Sarah, we walk in faith, patiently waiting on God and trusting in his word (Genesis 18:1-15, 21:1-7). He leads his children out of bondage and makes them his treasured possession (Exodus 19:2-8a). Sing praise to God (Psalm 100) and actively commit yourself to the Lord, acknowledging his good gifts (Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19) and the grace he has provided through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1-8). The disciples of Jesus are sent to courageously proclaim the good news in the midst of persecution and danger (Matthew 9:35-10:8).

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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Trinity Sunday 2020 (Year A)

Testimony of New Creation

The glorious life of the Trinity created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1-2:4a). God has not abandoned his creation and continues to uphold and sustain all life (Psalm 8). In response to this grace, Christians are called to gratitude, peace, and love (2 Corinthians 13:11-13). Jesus has promised to never leave his disciples as they live in his name and bear witness to his authority (Matthew 28:16-20). 

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