Today’s Readings and Hymns: (Click on each blue arrow to expand/collapse each section.)
I was ready to be sought out by those who did not ask,
to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here I am, here I am,”
to a nation that did not call on my name.
I held out my hands all day long
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and offering incense on bricks;
who sit inside tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat swine’s flesh,
with broth of abominable things in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all day long.
See, it is written before me:
I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their laps
their iniquities and their ancestors’ iniquities together,
says the Lord;
because they offered incense on the mountains
and reviled me on the hills,
I will measure into their laps
full payment for their actions.
Thus says the Lord:
As the wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, “Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,”
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth descendants from Jacob,
and from Judah inheritors of my mountains;
my chosen shall inherit it,
and my servants shall settle there.
But you, O Lord, be not far away;
O my help, hasten to my aid.
Deliver me from the sword,
my life from the power of the dog.
Save me from the lion’s mouth!
From the horns of wild bulls you have rescued me.
I will declare your name to my people;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, give praise! All you of Jacob’s line, give glory.
Stand in awe of the Lord, all you offspring of Israel.
For the Lord does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty; neither is the Lord’s face hidden from them;
but when they cry out, the Lord hears them.
From you comes my praise in the great assembly;
I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
Let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord;
all the families of nations shall bow before God.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
who rules over the nations.
23Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. 27As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
26Then [Jesus and his disciples] arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27As he stepped out on land, a man of the city who had demons met him. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he did not live in a house but in the tombs. 28When he saw Jesus, he fell down before him and shouted at the top of his voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me”—29for Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many times it had seized him; he was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the wilds.) 30Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” He said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31They begged him not to order them to go back into the abyss.
32Now there on the hillside a large herd of swine was feeding; and the demons begged Jesus to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. 33Then the demons came out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.
34When the swineherds saw what had happened, they ran off and told it in the city and in the country. 35Then people came out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. 36Those who had seen it told them how the one who had been possessed by demons had been healed. 37Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them; for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. 38The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him; but Jesus sent him away, saying, 39“Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” So he went away, proclaiming throughout the city how much Jesus had done for him.
Rise, shine, you people! Christ the Lord has entered our human story; God in him is centered. He comes to us, by death and sin surrounded, with grace unbounded.
See how he sends the pow’rs of evil reeling; he brings us freedom, light and life and healing. All men and women, who by guilt are driven, now are forgiven.
Come, celebrate; your banners high unfurling, your songs and prayers against the darkness hurling. To all the world go out and tell the story of Jesus’ glory.
Tell how the Father sent the Son to save us. Tell of the Son, who life and freedom gave us. Tell how the Spirit calls from ev’ry nation God’s new creation.
Praise the One who breaks the darkness with a liberating light; praise the One who frees the pris’ners, turning blindness into sight. Praise the One who preached the gospel, healing ev’ry dread disease, calming storms and feeding thousands with the very bread of peace.
Praise the One who blessed the children with a strong yet gentle word; praise the One who drove out demons with a piercing, two-edged sword. Praise the One who brings cool water to the desert’s burning sand; from this well comes living water quenching thirst in ev’ry land.
Praise the one true love incarnate: Christ, who suffered in our place; Jesus died and rose for many that we may know God by grace. Let us sing for joy and gladness, seeing what our God has done. Praise the one redeeming glory; praise the One who makes us one.
The church of Christ, in ev’ry age beset by change, but Spirit-led, must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead.
Across the world, across the street, the victims of injustice cry for shelter and for bread to eat, and never live before they die.
Then let the servant church arise, a caring church that longs to be a partner in Christ’s sacrifice, and clothed in Christ’s humanity.
We have no mission but to serve in full obedience to our Lord; to care for all, without reserve, and spread his liberating word.
Worship Leaders: Pastor Colleen Cox, Christy Werner, Madison Werner
Music: Deb Jenks (organ and piano), Madison Werner (piano)
View and print the pre-reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Pre-reader’s Version View and print the reader’s version of this Sunday’s children’s bulletin: Reader’s Version
The radio program Sing for Joy follows the weekly Sunday lectionary through music and reflection. To listen, click here: Sing for Joy. Program host Pastor Bruce Benson ties the biblical readings of the day with musical selections from a number of sources brought together by Dr. John Ferguson, retired professor of organ and church music. The program is produced by St. Olaf College.