Worship at St. Martin’s

With an emphasis on beautiful liturgy and excellence in music, worship at St. Martin’s provides an opportunity to give thanks and praise to God. Rite I is the form regularly used. All baptized Christians are welcome to receive Holy Eucharist in the Episcopal Church.

Worship Services

Sundays

8 a.m. Holy Eucharist, The Church
Spoken service with sermon

9 a.m. Holy Eucharist (September 2, 16 and 30) or Morning Prayer (September 9 and 23), The Church
Family service with hymns, anthems and full Choir; feast days and other special events may affect the 9 a.m. worship schedule.

9:15 a.m. Family Table, Holy Eucharist, Old Church
Family-friendly contemporary worship

11:15 a.m. Holy Eucharist, The Church
Traditional service with hymns, anthems and full Choir

11:15 a.m. The Altar, Holy Eucharist, Old Church
Contemporary worship for all ages
Click here to watch our first anniversary video.

6 p.m. Holy Eucharist, The Church
Traditional service with hymns, Choir and organist; casual attire

Healing prayer, or prayer for any need, is offered after each service in The Church in the Patron’s Chapel located to the left of the Altar.

Child care is available for infants – pre-K for all Sunday morning services.

Copies of Sunday sermons are available through St. Martin’s Bookstore & Gift Shoppe for just $4. Click here to hear recent sermons.

Wednesdays

7 a.m. Holy Eucharist
Chapel

Noon Holy Eucharist followed by the Sacrament of Healing (Holy Unction)
Chapel

6 p.m. Holy Eucharist*
Chapel
(*This service will be held at 5:30 p.m. in The Church on Wednesdays, February 21 and 28, and March 14 and 21 for the Wednesday Evening Adult Lenten Series.)

Healing Prayer Service

First Wednesday of the month
5 – 6 p.m.
Old Church
St. Martin’s chapter of the Order of St. Luke the Physician holds a healing prayer service for anyone in need of prayer for themselves, friends or family. All interested Parishioners are invited to come and take part in this service, as well as bring anyone else who would like to receive prayer, anointing and the laying on of hands.

Click here for more information about the Order of St. Luke.

Worship Information

How to Receive Holy Eucharist
All Christians baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are welcome at the Lord’s Table. Come to the altar rail as the ushers direct and take the next available place. Our custom is to kneel at the rail, but you may stand if it is more comfortable. After receiving communion, please return to your pew. If you are unable to come to the altar rail, tell one of the ushers and a priest will bring communion to you.

Receiving the Bread and Wine
After receiving the wafer, you may immediately consume it, or you may hold it and intinct (dip) it into the wine; please notice the intinction vessel on the lip of the chalice. To take the wine directly from the chalice, gently guide it to your lips. If you are wearing lipstick, we ask that you please blot your lips before receiving. Gluten-free wafers also are available.

Receiving the Bread Alone
Receiving either the bread or wine alone is considered full communion. Simply come forward to the altar rail and cross your arms across your chest as a signal to the priest.

Receiving a Blessing
If you or your children would prefer to receive a blessing rather than communion, simply come forward to the altar rail and cross your arms across your chest as a signal to the priest.

All Children Are Welcome at the Lord’s Table
All baptized Christians – no matter their age – are encouraged to come to the altar rail for Holy Communion. Our young ones have a few options:

  • Some children prefer to receive only the bread. Receiving either the bread or wine is considered full communion.
  • Those children who prefer not to receive communion may receive a blessing instead by immediately crossing their arms across their chest.
  • Some parents allow their children to receive communion only after they have completed instruction in their third-grade year. Please note that we do offer Communion Instruction for children in third grade, and/or any child who has not previously had the instruction and is older than third grade. Children are encouraged to participate in this class to deepen their understanding of the high point of the worship experience.

All Children Are Welcome in Church
Children bring much richness to our worship community with new ways of seeing familiar rituals. Children also can bring awkward questions and unexpected comments! Here are a few ways to make church a more pleasant experience for everyone:

  • Come early to get a good seat, preferably where children can see.
  • Share your Worship Booklet with young ones and help them follow along with the prayers and music.
  • Be realistic. Young children cannot be expected to sit quietly all the time. Elementary-age children, however, have longer attention spans and can be expected to participate fully in the liturgy with your help.
  • Do some homework. Spend time helping your child become familiar or even memorize some of the prayers and responses. Being able to participate helps them feel included.
  • Children’s activity sheets and coloring pencils are available in the Narthex of The Church to occupy little hands and make church a more welcoming place for children. These sheets have a word search, Bible verse and other activities that coincide with the lesson of the day to keep your children busy during the worship service. 
  • Do not feel embarrassed if you need to take your child out for a while.
Acolyte Information

The order of acolytes is one of the most ancient ministries in the church. The word “acolyte” means “follower” or “one who helps.” In addition to carrying flags, banners, torches and crosses during the service, acolytes also assist the Clergy of St. Martin’s with preparing the altar for Holy Communion. These are important and vital roles that are central to our worship at St. Martin’s, and help to develop a sense of reverence and understanding for the tradition of the Episcopal worship service.

The St. Martin’s Acolyte Ministry requires a one-year commitment. We try our best to schedule you to serve at the service time of your choice. Depending on the number of acolytes, you will serve one to two times per month.

Students in 4th – 6th grades are invited to serve at our Family Table Sunday worship service at 9:15 a.m. in the Old Church.

Students in 6th – 12th grades are invited to serve in The Church for Sunday worship services at 8 a.m., 9 a.m., 11:15 a.m. or 6 p.m.

If you would like to serve as an acolyte, click here to sign up. (must be filled out on a computer)

Training for Acolytes in The Church
Sundays, September 16 or September 23
10:15 – 11 a.m., Master acolyte training
The Church
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.*, Training for all acolytes
Vestry Conference Room
All 6th – 12th grade students are welcome! One training session is mandatory for all acolytes. If you are new or interested in joining the Acolyte Ministry, contact Barbara Piana at email hidden; JavaScript is required. *Lunch is provided.

For more information about being an acolyte for:
Family Table service in the Old Church (4th – 6th graders), contact Beth Ollenburger at 713-830-4146 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.
Worship services in The Church (7th – 12th graders), contact Barbara Piana at 713-830-4116 or email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Special Services

Blessing of the Animals Service

Sunday, September 30
5 p.m.
Lawn outside the Wayside Chapel
Whether your favorite pet has feathers or fur, two wings or four legs, all are invited to a special service in honor of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. The service is followed by a Clergy blessing of all creatures great and small. Please be sure to keep your pets on leashes or in cages. The service will not be held in the event of rain. During the Blessing of the Animals Service, Outreach will have a pet food drive. Please bring canned or packaged pet food that will be donated to Pet Patrol.


Thanksgiving Day Service

Thursday, November 22
10 a.m.
The Church
Holy Eucharist is celebrated as we gather to rejoice, be cheerful and give thanks for God’s many blessings.


Blue Christmas: A Service of Wholeness and Healing

Wednesday, December 5
5 p.m.
Old Church
The holidays are times of joy and celebration – yet sometimes that’s the opposite of where life has taken us. Whether it’s a first Christmas without a loved one, a mental illness that is stressed by the holidays or other personal struggles we’re facing, there are a variety of reasons why we can find this time of year a struggle. Yet God is not just with those who celebrate: the Cross reminds us he’s right there with those who mourn too. (Matthew 5:4) This December’s Order of St. Luke healing service will offer space to bring to God whatever is on your heart and to reflect on this truth – God has not forgotten you. Prayer ministry will be available after the service.


Feast of Lights Service

Sunday, January 6
6 p.m.
The Church
This beautiful candlelight service takes the light of Christ into the world literally with our actions and symbolically through candles.


Scout Sunday

Sunday, February 10
9 a.m.
The Church
St. Martin’s recognizes our Scouts and leaders for this special service. Scouts and Scoutmasters from the church-sponsored Scout Troop 354 and Cub Scout Pack 354 attend the service and act as ushers, greeters and flag bearers. They also participate in the service as lay readers and oblationers.

Weekly Lectionary Readings

The Church

Sunday, September 16

The Lesson
Psalm 116:1-8
1 I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.

2 The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.

3 Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: *
“O Lord, I pray you, save my life.”

4 Gracious is the Lord and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.

5 The Lord watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and he helped me.

6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul, *
for the Lord has treated you well.

7 For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.

8 I will walk in the presence of the Lord *
in the land of the living.

The Gospel
Mark 8:27-38
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Sunday, September 9

The Lesson
James 2:1-17
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

The Gospel
Mark 7:24-37
Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Sunday, September 2

The Lesson
Psalm 15
1 Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle?
who may abide upon your holy hill?

2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right,
who speaks the truth from his heart.

3 There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend;
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.

4 In his sight the wicked is rejected,
but he honors those who fear the Lord.

5 He has sworn to do no wrong
and does not take back his word.

6 He does not give his money in hope of gain,
nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.

7 Whoever does these things
shall never be overthrown.

The Gospel
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Sunday, August 26

The Lesson
Ephesians 6:10-20
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

The Gospel
John 6:56-69
Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Family Table

Sunday, September 16

The Lesson
Psalm 19:7-14
7 The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.

8 The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures for ever; *
the judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.

11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.

13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

The Gospel
Mark 8:27-38
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Sunday, September 9

The Lesson
Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favour is better than silver or gold.

The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.

Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.

Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.

Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate;

for the Lord pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.

The Gospel
Mark 7:24-37
Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Sunday, September 2

The Lesson
James 1:17-27
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.

If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The Gospel
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Sunday, August 26

The Lesson
Ephesians 6:10-20
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

The Gospel
John 6:56-69
Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Altar

Sunday, September 16

The Lesson
James 3:1-12
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue– a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

The Gospel
Mark 8:31-38
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Sunday, September 9

The Lesson
Psalm 146
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, O my soul! *
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.

3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.

4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the Lord their God;

5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps his promise for ever;

6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
and food to those who hunger.

7 The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; *
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

8 The Lord loves the righteous;
the Lord cares for the stranger; *
he sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.

9 The Lord shall reign for ever, *
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
Hallelujah!

The Gospel
Mark 7:24-37
Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Sunday, September 2

The Lesson
James 1:17-27
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.

If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

The Gospel
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,

‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’

You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”

Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Sunday, August 26

The Lesson
Ephesians 6:10-20
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

The Gospel
John 6:56-69
Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”