Third Week After Epiphany, Sunday, January 23, 2022
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
All the people of Israel gathered together in the square by the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the teacher to bring out the Book of the Teachings of Moses, which the LORD had given to Israel.
So on the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought out the Teachings for the crowd. Men, women, and all who could listen and understand had gathered. At the square by the Water Gate Ezra read the Teachings out loud from early morning until noon to the men, women, and everyone who could listen and understand. All the people listened carefully to the Book of the Teachings.
Ezra opened the book in full view of everyone, because he was above them. As he opened it, all the people stood up. Ezra praised the LORD, the great God, and all the people held up their hands and said, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.
They read from the Book of the Teachings of God and explained what it meant so the people understood what was being read.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher, and the Levites who were teaching said to all the people, “This is a holy day to the LORD your God. Don’t be sad or cry.” All the people had been crying as they listened to the words of the Teachings.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy good food and sweet drinks. Send some to people who have none, because today is a holy day to the Lord. Don’t be sad, because the joy of the LORD will make you strong.”
(New Century Version (NCV))
Loving Divine Family,
We enter your sacred prayer space praising you and celebrating your word and guidance. We sing holy praises to you. We rise in ceremony and receive your word and blessing. Only with this start to our day can we step forward and discern the sacredness of other people and be our best selves. Only after this time with you can we feel the depth and wonder of your mystery around us.
Praise to You, Almighty Creator. What joy and delight you experience when we come to listen to stories of your mighty deeds and love for us! Thank you for the invitation to leave the comfort of Babylon for the rubble of Jerusalem, where we can be restored to who you created us to be. Thank you, LORD, for showering us with blessings and asking us to share and include others so we can experience community and love. Thank you that the joy of the LORD makes us strong.
I hear your word and receive your blessing today, Loving Yahweh, and thank you for…
We are filled with gratitude, worship, and communion because of your mystery. We step onto the path you have prepared for us because of this sacred time with you. May we remember to remember your grace and tender mercies through the day and continue to thank you.
With joy we praise you!
Cherie and Donovan Mutschler