Introduction & Welcome
Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!
and all the time! God is good!
November begins with All Saints Day and ends in or near Advent, when we anticipate Christ’s coming again. It is fitting, then, that the readings today tell of the final resurrection and the end time. In the turmoil of hope, fear, and disbelief that these predictions provoke in us, Hebrews sounds a note of confident trust. Christ makes a way for us where there is no way, and we walk it confidently, our hearts and bodies washed in baptismal water, trusting the one who has promised forgiveness. The more we see the last day approaching, the more important it is to meet together to provoke one another to love.
Confession and Forgiveness
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
In the name of the Father,
and of the ☩ Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
Have mercy on us, O God.
We confess that we have sinned against you
and against our neighbor.
We have built walls instead of tables
and have turned away the stranger.
We have sought glory for ourselves
and have treasured that which does not satisfy.
Help us to love as you love,
to welcome those you send,
and to treasure mercy and justice.
Turn us from our ways to your ways,
and free us to serve those in need. Amen.
God, who makes all things new,
forgives your sins for ☩ Jesus’ sake
and remembers them no more.
Lift up your heads and your hearts.
Yours is the kingdom of God.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, your sovereign purpose brings salvation to birth. Give us faith to be steadfast amid the tumults of this world, trusting that your kingdom comes and your will is done through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading: Daniel 12:1-3
The book of Daniel is an example of apocalyptic literature, which is full of strange visions and symbolism. Arising during times of great persecution, apocalyptic literature is concerned with God’s revelation about the end time and the coming kingdom of God, when God will vindicate the righteous who have been persecuted.
1“At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. 2Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”
Psalm: Psalm 16
My heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope. (Ps. 16:9)
1Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you;
I have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, my good above all other.”
2All my delight is in the godly that are in the land,
upon those who are noble among the people.
3But those who run after other gods
shall have their troubles multiplied.
4I will not pour out drink offerings to such gods,
never take their names upon my lips.
5O Lord, you are my portion and my cup;
it is you who uphold my lot.
6My boundaries enclose a pleasant land;
indeed, I have a rich inheritance.
7I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
my heart teaches me night after night.
8I have set the Lord always before me;
because God is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices;
my body also shall rest in hope.
10For you will not abandon me to the grave,
nor let your holy one see the pit.
11You will show me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Second Reading: Hebrews 10:11-14 [15-18] 19-25
Images of worship and sacrifice are used throughout Hebrews to highlight what Christ has uniquely accomplished through his death. Because we have received forgiveness through Christ’s death, we live with sincere hearts by trusting in God’s promises and encouraging love and good works from each other.
11Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” 13and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. [15And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
16“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds,”
17he also adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.]
19Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Alleluia. Be alert at all times,* praying that you may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. Alleluia. (Luke 23:36)
Gospel: Mark 13:1-8
In the last week of his life, Jesus warned his disciples concerning trials that were to come upon them and upon the world. He exhorts the listener: Do not be alarmed.
1As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
3When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”
Meditation by David O’Brien
Have you ever had the pleasure of visiting our nation’s capital? Washington DC is a very interesting place. The towering Washington Monument and the Greek columns of the Jefferson Monument are both very impressive to see. The White House, where the president lives, has seen some of the world’s most important dignitaries throughout its existence. And the Capitol Building has an impressive collection of statues and other artwork. These buildings themselves are often considered architectural works of art themselves, let alone the history that they represent.
But you don’t have to leave the City of Toledo to see some impressive architecture. The downtown branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library does a remarkable job of mixing older styles with newer. They regularly host public speakers and community events. The University of Toledo also has its share of beautiful, older buildings.
Now imagine that you’re in or near one of these buildings and someone tells you that they will be toppled over so that nothing will be left but rubble. How would that make you feel?
Christ’s disciples find themselves in that position in today’s Gospel reading. Jesus and his disciples were leaving one of the most impressive buildings of their time. The temple in Jerusalem. Invading armies had destroyed the temple twice and King Herod had rebuilt and expanded the building’s complex. This was one of the most beautiful buildings in the world at the time. The disciples could not help but be overwhelmed at the sight of it all. Then Jesus says something that completely surprised them. “Do you see these great buildings?” he said. “There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down”. This was almost akin to sacrilege. After all, the temple was more than a building. It was the center of Jewish worship in the world. It was also a symbol of their culture and of their status as God’s chosen people.
If you were in New York as a tourist, and looking at the World Trade Center prior to September 11, 2001, and someone told you that these towers would be knocked down in less than a day, I imagine you’d be quite shocked. The Trade Center was, after all, a symbol of the United States economic power. To some people, it was like a place of worship. Now take that shocked feeling and multiply it by some large number. That might begin to illustrate how the disciples and the rest of the Jewish community may have felt on hearing Christ’s words.
I think that what Jesus was getting at was how transitory the things of this life are. To the disciple’s way of thinking, the temple was going to be there forever, but Jesus saw it as something temporary and not to be troubled over. How often do we get caught up in the importance of things that just don’t last? And how often do we tend to take some things for granted that could be taken away in the blink of an eye? In this country, we live in nice houses with clean, running water. We have all sorts of electronic gadgets that make our lives easier. We also have freedom of movement that is unprecedented in human history. In most of history, none of this was the case and it remains that way in large parts of the world. Yet people still live happy lives without cars that can take them on long trips, or without fancy TV’s or indoor plumbing.
The point is that the things we value in this life will pass, but we should never lose sight of the fact that one day, when we are in heaven with our savior, we will have all that we need. The things that we think we need now will be a distant memory.
Prayers of Intercession
Eternal God, you hold firm amid the changes of this world. Hear us now as we pray for the church, the world, and everyone in need.
A brief silence.
God our creator, you show us the path of life. Bless faithful people everywhere with humility as they extend compassion to those who have experienced harm in religious spaces. Cultivate healthy congregations that tell of and enact your reconciling love. Lead Daniel & Elizabeth, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our constant, you love our universe from beginning to end. As the seasons change, protect animals that migrate and hibernate. Bring them safely to a sheltered place and a more abundant season. Thank you for the blessings of this harvest time. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our ruler, you write your law on human minds and hearts. Give wisdom to all elected leaders and officials to govern with insight and compassion. Make them mindful of the well-being of all people so that your world will flourish. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our stronghold, you are present amid disaster. We pray for those affected by natural disasters. Come to the aid of all survivors of earthquakes, famines, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires, and the first responders who support them. Calm their fear, supply their need, and be the solid ground beneath their feet. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our guide, you are greater than we can imagine. Surround congregations with your expansive inclusion. Be present in the midst of disagreements, differences, and questions. Unite people of diverse viewpoints in the love of Christ. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our Father, hear now the petitions we bring before you, either aloud or in the quiet contemplation of our hearts. We also offer petitions for those on our prayer list. God in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our beginning and our end, your beloved people shine like the brightness of the sky. We thank you for the lives of all who rest in your eternal mercy, from famous saints to the people we have loved. Assure us of your resurrection promise. God, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God our hope and strength, we entrust to you all for whom we pray. Remain with us always, through Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours,
now and forever. Amen.
God, the beginning and the end,
who has written your name in the book of life,
☩ bless and keep you in grace and peace
from this time forth and forevermore.
Led on by the saints before us,
go in peace to serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.