Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence
“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10
There are many ways to be unfaithful to what we have become through baptism,
to our commitment and our obedience to God.
We offer God now our prayers of repentance.
We confess to you, living God,
our failure to live as brothers and sisters, and as your children.
We confess to you, loving God,
that we have not loved you as you have loved us.
We confess to you, gracious God,
that we have doubted your word and failed to obey its teaching.
We confess to you, merciful God,
our desire to own you and contain you within our doctrines and theologies.
We confess to you, almighty God,
that we do not acknowledge you as Lord of all the earth.
Forgive us and redeem us for we have not allowed your presence to shine among us.
There are many ways in which we have failed
in our commitment and obedience to our fellow men and women.
We turn towards our neighbors and our friends
and offer them our prayers of repentance.
FIRST READING: Psalm 16
Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
3 I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
4 Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.
5 Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
7 I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful[b] one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? (Luke 6:41)
Having read this verse, are you tempted to check the mirror for your own “wooden beam”? We all have one—or maybe two or three. Maybe it’s bitterness, resentment, or a grudge. Maybe it’s a critical spirit or a natural bent toward negativity. No matter what it is, it’s weighty. And Jesus says that if we don’t recognize that plank in our own eye, we really shouldn’t try to remove the “splinter” in someone else’s eye.
Why? Because Jesus wants us to be able to bless each other, but it’s hard to do that when our vision is obstructed by our sin—or by a lack of awareness of our sin. And so he tells us to remove whatever may be getting in our way.
That might seem impossible at times. But the Holy Spirit, who knows you through and through, can help you remove your wooden beams, even if they seem especially heavy. Sometimes he will bring those beams into sharp relief during your day. Or he might help you recognize some negative tendency in the way you relate to people and give you clarity on where you need his help to change.
So if you notice times that you’re being overly critical or impatient, take it to the Lord. Ask the Spirit to help you remove that beam as you sit quietly in prayer. Listen for thoughts that help you understand why you might be thinking or acting that way. Jot down those thoughts and ask the Spirit to help you correct them. Maybe discuss them with a trusted friend or even bring them to Confession. Do whatever you think will help you remove that wooden beam.
If God shows you a beam, he will help you to remove it in the most encouraging way possible. And that’s how he wants you to respond when you see a splinter in another person’s eye. A heart that wants to help others is a blessing from the Lord, but it comes with responsibility: to see as he sees and to love as he loves.
“Holy Spirit, remove the beam in my eye today so that I might build up the body of Christ.”
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.
Heavenly Father, You have had mercy upon us by sending Your only begotten Son to atone for our sins on the cross. Grant that we may receive Your forgiveness, life and salvation with thanksgiving. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of justice, You teach that those who engage in the sins of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom of God. Crucify our flesh with its passions and desires. Grant that we may be led by the Spirit in repentance, trusting that we are forgiven of our past sins and cleansed of all unrighteousness. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord God, guide us by Your Spirit, that we may engage in the fruit of the Spirit. Bless us that we may love Your truth, sing praises to Your name and walk in Your ways. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of truth, You reveal Your will and ways in Holy Scripture. Bless all Your children, that they may grow in knowledge and understanding. Bless especially the children in our Sunday school and catechism classes, that they may rejoice in Your truth and receive Your Word with joy and faithfulness. Grant that all teachers may faithfully lead Your lambs to their Savior. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Almighty God, grant Your protection upon our land and people. Deliver us from violence and discord. Grant safety to all who work to bring peace to our land, including those in law enforcement and members in the armed forces. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Lord of life, You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The lepers came to Your Son for mercy. Send Your merciful hand upon the sick and needy [including ____________]. Grant that their sicknesses would be turned to health and their troubles to joy. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Good Lord, Your Son instituted the salutary gift of the Lord’s Supper. Send Your blessing upon all who receive the body and blood of Jesus for their forgiveness. Grant thankful hearts that praise Your name to all who receive the Sacrament this day. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26New International Version
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which 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 the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.