Readings
February 16, 2020

FIRST LESSON                                                                         Deuteronomy 30:15-20
Lector     A reading from the Book of Deuteronomy.
 
Moses said, “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the LORD your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”
 
Lector      Hear what the Spirit is saying to God’s people.
People    Thanks be to God.
 

SECOND LESSON                                                                      1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Lector     A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.
 
Brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.
 
Lector       Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
People     Thanks be to God.
 

GOSPEL                                                                                     Matthew 5:21-37
 
Priest       The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, according to Saint Matthew.
People     Glory to you, Lord Christ.
 
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way to court with him, or your accuser may hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Again, you have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but carry out the vows you have made to the Lord.’ But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”
 
Priest         The Gospel of the Lord
People     Praise to you, Lord Christ.
 

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

Our gracious God calls us to be ministers of reconciliation in our world. Acknowledging our Lord’s command, let us place our prayers before God saying: Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For the courage to live out God’s commandments, graciously and without reservation, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For faithful preachers of the word, that by the Holy Spirit, they may open the ears of those who hear the good news of salvation and their eyes to the loveliness of God’s wisdom, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For those chosen to govern peoples and nations, that God grant them the wisdom to promote the welfare of their people and the courage to work towards true peace, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For those who suffer from any form of oppression, that their tormentors learn to fear God’s will and follow God’s love, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For all who are sick and in need of our prayers that through our loving concern that they be comforted in their distress, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
For those who have yearned to see God face to face, and all who have died, that they may receive eternal rest, let us pray to the Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.
 
      (Here other intercessions may be offered.)
 
Loving God, in your unsearchable wisdom you command us to do what is right and good, so that through faith-filled action we may come to recognize your loving concern for us. May we always be single-minded in carrying out your commands, especially to be reconciled with one another, and to approach your holy table in peace and unity. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.