Reflecting on the Seventeenth
Sunday after Pentecost
Year A

Daily Readings for Wednesday
September 30, 2020

Prayer

Welcoming God, 

you receive and bless all 

who come to you in humility. 

Show us our false pride, 

that we may repent of all conceit and arrogance 

and, caring for one another, 

may honor Jesus 

to the glory of your name. Amen.

 

Psalm 42

Hope in God, the rock

 

As a deer longs for flowing streams,

so my soul longs for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God,

for the living God.

When shall I come and behold

the face of God?

My tears have been my food

day and night,

while people say to me continually,

“Where is your God?”

These things I remember,

as I pour out my soul:

how I went with the throng,

and led them in procession to the house of God,

with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,

a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my help and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;

therefore I remember you

from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,

from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep

at the thunder of your cataracts;

all your waves and your billows

have gone over me.

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,

and at night his song is with me,

a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God, my rock,

“Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I walk about mournfully

because the enemy oppresses me?”

As with a deadly wound in my body,

my adversaries taunt me,

while they say to me continually,

“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,

and why are you disquieted within me?

Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,

my help and my God.

 

Exodus 19:9b-25

The people prepare for covenant

 

When Moses had told the words of the people to the Lord, the Lord said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes and prepare for the third day, because on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. No hand shall touch them, but they shall be stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.” So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

 

On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. They took their stand at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder. When the Lorddescended upon Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain, the Lord summoned Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people not to break through to the Lord to look; otherwise many of them will perish. Even the priests who approach the Lord must consecrate themselves or the Lord will break out against them.” Moses said to the Lord, “The people are not permitted to come up to Mount Sinai; for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and keep it holy.’” The Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you; but do not let either the priests or the people break through to come up to the Lord; otherwise he will break out against them.” So Moses went down to the people and told them.

 

Matthew 9:2-8

Jesus’ authority to forgive and heal

 

And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

 

 

Prayer

God of our salvation, 

we falter before the demands of your word 

and turn away from your call to life. 

Pour out your mercy on us 

as you showed mercy to your people of old, 

that we may turn from our sinfulness 

and walk the path of self-emptying love 

made known in Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Psalm 28

Prayer to do God’s will

 

To you, O Lord, I call;

my rock, do not refuse to hear me,

for if you are silent to me,

I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.

Hear the voice of my supplication,

as I cry to you for help,

as I lift up my hands

toward your most holy sanctuary.

Do not drag me away with the wicked,

with those who are workers of evil,

who speak peace with their neighbors,

while mischief is in their hearts.

Repay them according to their work,

and according to the evil of their deeds;

repay them according to the work of their hands;

render them their due reward.

Because they do not regard the works of the Lord,

or the work of his hands,

he will break them down and build them up no more.

Blessed be the Lord,

for he has heard the sound of my pleadings.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;

in him my heart trusts;

so I am helped, and my heart exults,

and with my song I give thanks to him.

The Lord is the strength of his people;

he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

O save your people, and bless your heritage;

be their shepherd, and carry them forever.

 

Judges 16:23-31

Samson prays to do God’s will

 

Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to rejoice; for they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” When the people saw him, they praised their god; for they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, the ravager of our country, who has killed many of us.” And when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, and let him entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. They made him stand between the pillars; and Samson said to the attendant who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, so that I may lean against them.” Now the house was full of men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson performed.

 

Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “Lord God, remember me and strengthen me only this once, O God, so that with this one act of revenge I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes.” And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He strained with all his might; and the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So those he killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his life. Then his brothers and all his family came down and took him and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years.

 

Matthew 9:2-8

Jesus’ authority to forgive and heal

 

And just then some people were carrying a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” Then some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic—“Stand up, take your bed and go to your home.” And he stood up and went to his home. When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings.

 

 

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Prayer reprinted from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers, © 2002 Consultation on Common Texts. Reproduced by permission.

Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reproduced by permission. No further reproduction allowed without the written permission of Augsburg Fortress.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.