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Lydda–pictured 1954 Where Peter Raised Tabbitha from the Dead

A Meditation

It’s often exhilarating to do something risky, although I’m increasingly cranky about it. Just as a silly example, jaywalking has lost virtually all the allure it had when I was young and impatient, and I thought traffic signals were only for other people. I’m the aging man who now sticks to the slow lane.

Peter in Sunday’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles raises Tabbitha, a disciple, from the dead. She lives in a small village called Lydda near ancient Joppa, located west of Jerusalem. We assume that Peter saw Jesus do this most powerful of miracles. Peter knew that he was not Jesus. He found that out when he tried walking on water. Trying to raise someone from the dead seems reckless. Imagine the courage and the faith it takes to try. Failure would cause broken hearts, anger, and hurt. Gentle, rambunctious Peter didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not through failing this. Jesus taught him to have faith. Peter successfully ministers to Tabbitha enabling her to continue her life of generosity.

Stepping up when we’re called often causes a lump in our throats, or well it should. Again it’s not about trying and failing. It’s about failing and hurting someone else. Following Jesus isn’t some kind of sport. Although, it is rather like climbing the face of El Capitan. Best not to try unless you’re really, really committed, with an unfatho-mable amount of trust and grit. Going forward past a certain point is counterintuitively easier than going backward.

It’s whether we believe that Jesus has got this. Even as I write this, I can feel my heart beginning to race—not pleasantly. If you want to take a risk, let courage flow from Jesus through your fingertips and steady grip. Throw caution to the winds by doing something good.

Pastor Neil

GATHERING

Celebrant ☩Alleluia! Christ is risen.
People The Lord has risen indeed. Alleluia!

Beloved God, as we approach your Presence, guide and stir us with your Holy Spirit, that we may become one body, one spirit in Jesus Christ our Savior. Chiefly are we bound to praise you for the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us, and has taken away the sin of the world. By his death he has destroyed death, and by his rising to life again he has won for us everlasting life. Amen.

THE COLLECT OF THE DAY

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice, we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

 

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD
The First Lesson
Acts 9:36-43
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity. At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs. Since Lydda [where she lived] was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.” So, Peter got up and went with them.
When he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up. He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling in the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive. This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.

 

The Second Lesson
Revelation 7:9–17

I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and might
be to our God forever and ever!
Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God,
and worship him day and night within his temple,
and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat;
for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

THE PSALM READ IN UNISON
Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name’s sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; * for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

THE GOSPEL
Celebrant The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, according to John.
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
John 10:22-30
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So, the Jewish crowd gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
Celebrant The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

SERMON PASTOR NEIL

THE NICENE CREED

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son, he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Celebrant
In calling forth creation from the void, God, you revealed yourself in human form. You manifest your concern for your whole universe. Hear the world’s needs, as we bring the matters of our hearts before you.

Leader

Pour out your life-giving Spirit on your holy church throughout the world and equip its members to boldly proclaim their common faith and your bountiful blessings across the earth. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Let your Spirit move over our unruly time and heal its people broken in spirit and body. Bring peace to a weary and struggling world. Intercede and bring peace to Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the streets of Baltimore. Help those suffering mental illness, broken families, and homelessness.

Protect Mother Earth from human neglect and destruction. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Create a changed hearts within us. Pull us away from all oncoming catastrophes of our own making. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Burn out all that is evil in us; consecrate us for holy service and empower us to work toward the salvation of the world. Give us energy and insight for our mission. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Renew the faith of all those who call you Lord, so that we may devote ourselves to worship, teaching, and prayer—all to reveal your grace to a fragile humanity. Give noble purpose to our secular leaders, and a desire to do justice in the land and in the world. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Be with those who are dying and ill, and their families and loved ones. Bless the pastoral ministries of this congregation. Safeguard immigrants and refugees. Provide solace and healing to those beleaguered by the reality of their lives. Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

We especially pray for those we in our hearts and minds silently name now. (Pause) Lord, in your mercy: Hear our prayer.

Celebrant
Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all
things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord
of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth,
divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A CONFESSION OF OUR SINS TO GOD
Celebrant Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
Silence will be kept
Minister and People Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Almighty God have mercy on you, ☩ forgive you all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all
goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in
eternal life. Amen.
THE PEACE
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Celebrant It is indeed right and salutary that we should in all times and in all places give thanks to you, holy Lord, Almighty Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. But chiefly are we bound to praise you for the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who was sacrificed for us, and has taken away the sin of the world. By his death he has destroyed death, and by his rising to life again he has won for us everlasting life. Therefore, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, we praise your name and join them by saying:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. ☩ Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.

He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself,
in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole
world.

On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given ☩ thanks to you and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my Body, which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given ☩ thanks, he gave it to them, and said, “Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me.”

Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of our faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. ☩ Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the
Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him.

Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ.

Together: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and forever. Amen.

And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to pray:

THE LORD’S PRAYER

People Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

A CALL TO COMMUNION

Celebrant The gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you, and feed on him in your hearts by faith, with thanksgiving. This is God’s table, and at God’s banquet, all God’s children are welcome—without exception!
Celebrant will distribute communion to people in their chairs.

THE GENERAL THANKSGIVING

Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted us as living members of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed us with spiritual food in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood. Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

THE BLESSING

Celebrant Sisters and brothers, we go out into the world in peace. We live and walk as part of God’s beloved community. May God help us all to be of good courage, to hold on to what is good, and to return to no one an evil for an evil. Strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, aid the suffering, do justice, honor all people, and let our gentleness be known by everyone. May God, who raised our Lord Jesus from death, lift us up and restore us to wholeness. And may God bless us all, ☩ in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Celebrant Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
People Thanks be to God.