04 28 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: Thy Holy Wings
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kW7YcUy-iEE
FIRST READING: Micah 7:14-20 (CEV)
A reading from Micah
Lead your people, Lord! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago. I, the Lord, will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt. Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear, because of their fear of me, your Lord and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust.
The people said: Our God, no one is like you. We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt. You don’t stay angry forever; you’re glad to have pity and pleased to be merciful. You will trample on our sins and throw them in the sea. You will keep your word and be faithful to Jacob and to Abraham, as you promised our ancestors many years ago.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL: Mark 14:26-31 (CEV)
A reading from: Mark
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus said to his disciples, “All of you will reject me, as the Scriptures say, ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I am raised to life, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter spoke up, “Even if all the others reject you, I never will!” Jesus replied, “This very night before a rooster crows twice, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” But Peter was so sure of himself that he said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never say that I don’t know you!” All the others said the same thing.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
This is Mark’s version of when Jesus predicts Peter’s denial. They are among the olive trees on the Mount of Olives, outside the city. Notice that it is not just Peter who will reject him, but all of them. They will all scatter, like sheep without a shepherd scatter in fear.
Despite his professions that he won’t, Peter does deny that he knows Jesus. As soon as he heard the cock crow, he remembered the conversation, and he wept with grief and shame. Where are the disciples during the crucifixion? Not there. They are in hiding out of fear. They don’t trust enough to be seen by the Jews or the Romans.
Mark’s gospel doesn’t include stories of the resurrection beyond the women discovering the empty tomb. So, we need to look at other gospels. In this case, I was thinking about the story in John where Jesus charges Peter with loving the sheep.
This picture gives us the sense that Jesus takes Peter aside for a private conversation. Jesus makes it clear that Peter is forgiven. But we know human nature, and that for the rest of his life, Peter will be haunted by these denials. Jesus knows this, and wants Peter to know that he is really and truly forgiven.
In our own lives, there are always moments that we wish we could take back. There are things we have said, things we have done or failed to do, that bring shame to our hearts. They haunt us, and remind us we are sinful beings. We may even have encountered consequences for these regrets, these sins.
Jesus wants us to know that we are no different from Peter. We are forgiven; our hearts should let these regrets go, accept God’s grace, and be free of guilt and shame. Let’s believe in the promise Micah declares: God freely forgives our sin and guilt. God doesn’t stay angry forever; God is glad to have pity and pleased to be merciful. 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: There Is a Balm in Gilead
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZCMyhchbYI
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