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Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 2018 (Year B)

Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Fifth Sunday after Pentecost 2018 (Year B)

A Calm Heart in Troubled Waters
“The Lord is our refuge and help in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9-20). With God, the impossible becomes possible (1 Samuel 17:1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49). What have we to fear, knowing God has power even over the wind and waves (Mark 4:35-41)? Let us open our hearts to the Lord, trusting him for all things (2 Corinthians 6:1-13).” -Thomas Oden, Ancient Christian Devotional   
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What is the Revised Common Lectionary?

The Revised Common Lectionary is a three-year cycle of Holy Scripture readings that follow the Sundays, festivals, and seasons of the Christian liturgical year.  It was compiled in 1992 by the ecumenical Consultation on Common Texts to provide a balanced scriptural guide for weekly worship that ensures exposure to the main themes of Christian faith and worship. It is ecumenical in nature and overlaps heavily with the Roman Catholic lectionary.

Four texts are assigned for each Sunday and festival:

  • The first reading usually comes from the Old Testament but is replaced by a reading from Acts during the season of Easter
  • Psalm(s)
  • A reading from an Epistle or other New Testament writing
  • A reading from a Gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John).

The three-year lectionary cycle (A, B, and C) focuses on different portions of the Gospels in each year:

  • Matthew in Year A
  • Mark in Year B
  • Luke in Year C
  • John featured at certain times in each year

Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Christ the King 2017 (Year A)

Liturgy Letter Newsletter – Christ the King 2017 (Year A)

Our King and Shepherd

God made us and we are His (Psalm 100), the sheep of His pasture who worship Him and take comfort in his guidance (Psalm 95). Our Good Shepherd will look after, and search for, His lost sheep (Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24). We pray for wisdom and enlightenment so that we may know Christ better (Ephesians 1: 15-23), longing for Christ to come and say, “You who are blessed, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world (Matthew 25:31-46).”

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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

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

The Liturgy Letter- Ninth Sunday after Pentecost 2017 (Year A)

God’s Mercy

Jacob deeply desired that God would bless him (Genesis 32:22-32). We can count on God to watch over those who love him with compassion and mercy (Psalm 17 and Psalm 145); Paul mourned that so many of the Jews did not acknowledge Christ (Romans 9:1-5). Jesus cares for our earthly needs and has power over all things, as evinced in the feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21). -Thomas Oden in Ancient Christian Devotional 

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

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

Pursuing the Kingdom of God with Patience and Trust

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 seek God’s kingdom with all the faith they have, wisely pursuing what will last (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52).

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

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

God Keeps His Promises and Saves His Children

From the beginning, God has kept the covenant promises he made to His children and their offspring (Genesis 28:10-19a). He knows us better than we know ourselves (Psalm 139) and through His greatness has offered us mercy and hope (Psalm 86). The Holy Spirit bears witness that we are God’s children through Christ (Romans 8:12-25). All of the creation is waiting for Christ to come again and eradicate the things that destroy life (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). We wait patiently in the midst of suffering because, as the children of God, we have hope.  

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“Easter Monday” by Christina Rossetti

Easter Morning
“Easter Morning” Caspar David Friedrich [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



Out in the rain a world is growing green,
On half the trees quick buds are seen
Where glued-up buds have been.
Out in the rain God’s Acre stretches green,
Its harvest quick tho’ still unseen:
For there the Life hath been.

If Christ hath died His brethren well may die,
Sing in the gate of death, lay by
This life without a sigh:
For Christ hath died and good it is to die;
To sleep whenso He lays us by,
Then wake without a sigh.

Yea, Christ hath died, yea, Christ is risen again:
Wherefore both life and death grow plain
To us who wax and wane;
For Christ Who rose shall die no more again:
Amen: till He makes all things plain
Let us wax on and wane.

Patrick: Bishop and Missionary of Ireland

St. PatrickA Prayer of St. Patrick

Permit us not, O Lord, to hear your word in vain. Convince us of its truth, cause us to feel its power and bind us to yourself with chords of faith and hope and love that never shall be broken. We bind to ourselves today, you our God: your power to hold us, your wisdom to teach us, your word to give us speech, your presence to defend us, this day and every day; in the name of the blessed Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to whom be the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and forever. Amen.

Further Resources

The Canticle of St. Patrick 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ within me,  Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left….

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.