CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Through water and the Spirit God gives us new life. Let us confess our sin, that we may be renewed in the covenant of baptism.
Silence for reflection and self-examination.
Strong and faithful God,
we confess that we have not lived as the body of Christ in the world. We have veiled our hearts from your light. We have resisted your call to follow. We have failed to exercise your gift of love. Forgive us for the sake of Christ, heal us with your abundant grace, and help us walk as children of light. Amen
In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ came among us to proclaim release to the captives, to let the oppressed go free. Today the promise is fulfilled: God forgives you all your sins. May the Holy Spirit strengthen you to follow Christ in newness of life. Amen
CHILDREN’S MESSAGE - Blessing of the Backpacks
as we get ready to start another year in school, we ask your blessing on these backpacks, and especially on these children who will wear them.
As they do the very important work of being students,
bless them with:
eagerness to learn, that their world may grow large;
respect for teachers and students,
that they may form healthy relationships;
bless them with love for nature, that they may
become caretakers of your creation;
bless them with happiness when learning is easy
and stick-to-it-iveness when it is hard;
bless them with faith in Jesus as their best teacher
and closest friend.
We ask that you would protect these, your own children.
Watch over them and keep them safe as they
travel to and from school.
As they learn, help them also to discover
the different gifts that you have given each one of them
to be used in your work in the world.
As they hear the many voices that will fill their days,
help them to listen most carefully for your voice,
the one that tells them you will love them always,
no matter what.
We ask this in Jesus’ name.
Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS006385.
THE FIRST LESSON: Isaiah 50:4–9a
The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word. Morning by morning he wakens —wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord GOD has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.
The Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me. It is the Lord GOD who helps me; who will declare me guilty?
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
I love the LORD, who has heard my voice, and listened to my supplication,
for the LORD has given ear to me whenever I called.
The cords of death entangled me; the anguish of the grave came upon me; I came to grief
Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I pray you, save my life."
Gracious is the LORD and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The LORD watches over the innocent; I was brought low, and God saved me.
Turn again to your rest, O my soul.
For the LORD has dealt well with you.
For you have rescued my life from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling;
I will walk in the presence of the LORD in the land of the living.
THE SECOND 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.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray. O God, through suffering and rejection you bring forth our salvation, and by the glory of the cross you transform our lives. Grant that for the sake of the gospel we may turn from the lure of evil, take up our cross, and follow your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY: Mark 8:27–38
The holy gospel according to Saint Mark. Glory to you, O Lord.
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."
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON “Who Are You?” Pastor Phil Wold