04 14 2021
Evening Prayer (Vespers)
You may wish to light a candle and place it before you as you begin.
when we call, O God.
Be gracious to us and hear our prayer.
When we are disturbed, may we not sin,
but ponder things on our beds, and be silent.
HYMN: See What a Morning (Resurrection Song)
PSALM: Psalm 135:1-7
1Hallelujah! Praise the name of the LORD;
give praise, you servants of the LORD,
2you who stand in the house of the LORD,
in the courts of the house of our God.
3Praise the LORD, for the LORD is good;
sing praises to God's name, for it is lovely!
4For the LORD has chosen Jacob,
and Israel for a possession.
5For I know that the LORD is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
6Whatever the LORD pleases, the LORD does,
in the heavens and on the earth,
in the seas and all the deeps,
7raising up clouds from the ends of the earth;
making lightning for the rain,
and bringing out the wind from its storehouse.
GOSPEL: Mark 12:18-27
A reading from: Mark
18 The Sadducees did not believe that people would rise to life after death. So some of them came to Jesus and said: 19 Teacher, Moses wrote that if a married man dies and has no children, his brother should marry the widow. Their first son would then be thought of as the son of the dead brother. 20 There were once seven brothers. The first one married, but died without having any children. 21 The second brother married his brother’s widow, and he also died without having children. The same thing happened to the third brother, 22 and finally to all seven brothers. At last the woman died. 23 When God raises people from death, whose wife will this woman be? After all, she had been married to all seven brothers.
24 Jesus answered: You are completely wrong! You don’t know what the Scriptures teach. And you don’t know anything about the power of God. 25 When God raises people to life, they won’t marry. They will be like the angels in heaven. 26 You surely know about people being raised to life. You know that in the story about Moses and the burning bush, God said, “I am the God worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” 27 He isn’t the God of the dead, but of the living. You Sadducees are all wrong.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
There were several religious groups in Israel at the time of Jesus. They were rather like political parties today. While they usually opposed each other, there were times when they cooperated to accomplish something.
The Pharisees believed in a resurrection in the final days, which we hear from Martha and Mary, the sisters of Lazarus. The Sadducees disagreed, and were adamant that there is no such thing as resurrection. So, you should live today the way God wants you to live.
The leaders of both groups come to Jesus with questions intended to clarify what he believes, and trap him so they can get rid of him, and get back to normal life. This time, the Sadduces devise a preposterous question for him. What if a woman marries and is widowed seven times? Who is her husband in the resurrection?
Jesus basically declares that they don’t understand the scriptures nor what God wants from them. They don’t realize that they are putting limits on God’s power, who is beyond the limits of human imagination. Basically, he says to them, “You are wrong!”
We do have stories of people who have had near death experiences, who describe a white light, being welcomed by family, and a feeling of intense love. Many who have such an experience come back to life changed. They express a desire to pass on the love they felt to others.
Since we don’t know what the world of the resurrection looks like or will be like, let’s live like Jesus in this world. Let’s live with the secure hope, the trust in Jesus’ promises, that God is more powerful than death. Let’s offer to others the love that Jesus offers to us. Amen
Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets,
but in these last days, God has spoken to us by the Son.
In peace let us pray to the Lord, saying, “We pray to you, Lord.”
That this evening may be holy, good, and peaceful, We pray to you, Lord.
That the work we have done this day and the people we have met may bring us closer to you, We pray to you, Lord.
That we may be forgiven our sins and offences, We pray to you, Lord.
That we may hear and respond to your call to peace and justice, We pray to you, Lord.
That you will sustain the faith and hope of the weary, the lonely, and the oppressed, We pray to you, Lord.
That you will strengthen us in your service, and fill our hearts with longing for your kingdom, We pray to you, Lord.
Other prayer petitions may be offered here.
For all this and more, We pray to you, Lord. Amen.
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.
HYMN: Jesus Christ Is Risen Today
Christ is alive
and has met us here.
Now let us meet God’s Spirit + among friends, strangers,
and in all of creation. Amen.
Scripture from Common English Bible © 2012
Liturgy from ELW Annual Liturgy License 26504; and from Abingdon Worship Annual 2021