23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Theme: Purified conscience; worshipping the living God?
God of love,
you have taught us that without love
whatever we do is worth nothing:
pour into our hearts your most excellent gift of love,
and by it impel us to care for our sisters and brothers;
through Jesus Christ our Lord;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God in glory everlasting. Amen
READING from Ruth 1: 1-18
1 Long ago, in the days before Israel had a king, there was a famine in the land.
2 So, a man named Elimelech, who belonged to the clan of Ephrath and who lived in Bethlehem in Judah, went with his wife Naomi and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion to live for a while in the country of Moab.
While they were living there,
3 Elimelech died, and Naomi was left alone with her two sons,
4 who married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth.
About ten years later
5 Mahlon and Chilion also died, and Naomi was left all alone, without husband or sons.
6 Some time later Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops; so she got ready to leave Moab with her daughters-in-law.
7 They started out together to go back to Judah, but on the way
8 she said to them, “Go back home and stay with your mothers. May the Lord be as good to you as you have been to me and to those who have died.
9 And may the Lord make it possible for each of you to marry again and have a home.”
16 But Ruth answered, “Don’t ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
17 Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the Lord’s worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!”
READING from Hebrews 9: 11-14
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!
THE GOSPEL according to Mark 12: 28-34
28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”
29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;
30 you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’;
33 and ‘to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength,’ and ‘to love one’s neighbour as oneself,’ –this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
PRAYER for COVID
Author of life, Saviour of the nations
COVID is humbling, your grace is sufficient.
The deaths, we mourn;
For the recoveries, we give thanks;
The compassionate care, we applaud;
For the vaccines, we are grateful;
For compliance, we plead;
For the common good, we pray;
In the healing name of Jesus. Amen
© Rodney Whiteman – 29/04/2021.
Jesus Christ shed his own blood to win freedom for us.
As our high priest, he has gone into the presence of God
and obtained for us eternal redemption,
purifying us from all guilt,
and freeing us to worship the living God.
Sisters and Brothers,
your sins are forgiven;
be at peace.
Go in peace with courage, to love and serve the Lord.
In the name of Christ. Amen.