SILENCE AND CENTERING (2 MINUTES)
Psalm 46:10 (NLT)
“Be still, and know that I am God I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Heavenly Father, we come to confession as a community of believers, admitting that we do not always live as the body of Christ. We isolate ourselves from one another, we gossip, we criticize, we speak words of pain, and we harbor grudges. Forgive us for the many ways we fail in our relationships with others and with You. As we seek to be a covenant community, we ask that You help us to pursue deep relationships with one another, to restore what is broken, to give grace even when it might not be deserved. Help us to forgive just as You forgave us. And help us to love each other as You have loved us. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
1 So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. 2 You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.
6 You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” 7 For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? 8 And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today? 9 But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children—
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.
Lord God, You know the great evils that lurk in our hearts by nature, defiling us from within. Pour out Your Holy Spirit on all Your baptized people, that He may constantly cleanse our hearts by faith. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Remember, kind Father, in Your infinite mercy all whom You have called to preach Your Word. Keep them from adding to it or taking away from it, but give them grace to proclaim among us Your whole counsel in Christ Jesus. Ever raise up new workers for Your harvest fields, and prosper the preaching and teaching of Your Law and promises throughout the world. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Look in compassion on all who bear public office in our land. Give them wisdom, courage and integrity. Destroy and hinder in our common life all that is not pleasing to You, and prosper with Your blessing all that accords with Your will. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
On this Labor Day weekend, we praise You especially for Your gift of work in our many callings. Free us from thinking of that gift as drudgery. Help us to welcome labor with joy as an opportunity to be a blessing to our neighbors. Remember especially all who desire work but can find no gainful employment, as well as those no longer able to work as they would like. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Wise and holy One, You instruct Your people not to forget Your great works and diligently to make them known to their children. Prosper the instruction of young people in the faith throughout Your Church, that they may grow to lead lives of faith and courage and remain faithful to Christ all their days. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We place into Your hands today Your servants who are passing through difficult times [especially all we have been asked to remember at this altar: _______________]. Make them strong in You and in the strength of Your might. Arm them with the full armor of God, that they may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having done all, to stand firm, waiting with confidence for Your deliverance. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Holy Father, we know that since nothing outside us going in can defile us, even more we know that there is something coming from outside and going in that makes us clean: the very body and blood of Your beloved Son. Give us faith to welcome Him with joy as He comes to us in this Eucharist, forgiving, cleansing and restoring us. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lastly, Lord God, we offer You our thanks and praise for Your servants who finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors. Bring us with them to the unutterable joys of Your new heavens and new earth at the day of our Savior’s glorious appearing. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
1 Now when the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, 2 they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. 3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; 4 and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles. ) 5 So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6 He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’ 8 You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”
21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”