God, your mercy and love astounds us.
We continually struggle to grasp the idea
of unconditional love, all the while, asking
to experience your love and grace more fully.
Today, we offer our lives afresh.
Enable us to see where you are
active and to be used by you.
When life is hard may we learn to praise you.
When life is busy may we learn to praise you.
In the noise and in the calm, may our lives be
worship to you.
When we are often tempted by this world,
when we are tempted to be our own light,
and when our failures overwhelm our being,
may your grace be our shield.
Your will is good, perfect and pleasing.
Let us see where you have been faithful
in the past, and help us trust and follow
you with our future.
We worship and pray in the name
of God, the Creator,
of Christ, the Savior,
and of the Holy Spirit, our Breath of Life.
We invite you to hear from a reading in Matthew 16:13-18.
“Now when Jesus came into the district of
Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others
Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah,
the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered
him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,
but my Father in heaven. And I tell you, you are
Peter, and on this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.
The Good News of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
The grass withers and the flower fades,
but the Word of the Lord endures forever. Amen.
Sermon and Reflection
How does reflecting on God as Jesus help restore my trust?
As my trust in God increases, how will that change the way I respond to my enemies?
Vox family, as we begin this week,
may you be surrounded by love –
Love that gives you strength to face
deep divisions and disagreements.
Love that shows you kindness when
you admit that you’re wrong.
Love that covers over your judgement so that
you’re free to pass this love to your enemies,
neighbors, families, coworkers, and friends.
May this love empower you to forgive –
not just those who have wronged you,
but also yourselves, for as much as we
can love, we have been shown a love
that is a thousand times greater.
In the name of God, the Creator,
Christ, the Risen One,
and the Holy Spirit, the Breath of Life.
[Photo by Magriet Zwarthoed @ Flickr]