Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
“Who do you say I am?”
Throughout the Old Testament, there are many who have proclaimed God. They proclaimed His might, His power, His creation, they proclaimed who God is. The prophets did this on behalf of God who first proclaimed Himself to them. The Judges did this. The Kings did this. In fact King David did this so much that we have an entire Book filled with songs of praise to our Lord, Psalms. There is no shortage of holy proclamations about our Father in Heaven.
In the New Testament, the tradition continues, and Paul, the author of many of the letters found in the New Testament, was no stranger to proclaiming the greatness of the Father. He, like his many predecessors, glorified the greatness of the Creator and His awesome power and grace and mercy. But Paul went one step further; in Romans he proclaimed this:
“ 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to [even] them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
Paul went one step further and proclaimed quite clearly that all believe in God, that there is no such thing as a true atheist, but rather those who choose to exchange the Truth for a lie. In a sense, he is proclaiming that all are secretly like the prophets in that all are subconsciously aware of the greatness of the Father. Yet, because of the complete corruption of sin within our lives we have given up what God has made obvious and instead chose to make for ourselves gods and serve these creations whether that is dumb idols or even humanity itself. Out of human narcissism, even though we know God, we pretend to be wise and thus prove ourselves to be fools.
It is because of this complete corruption of sin that many of us choose to follow the great lie. It is because of this complete corruption of sin that many don’t want to see the Truth, can’t see the Truth. It is because of this complete corruption of sin that for many it is almost as if a veil has been placed over our eyes and what we see is not the whole world. This is why Jesus tells Peter that it is not out of flesh and blood that he proclaims Jesus as Christ. Flesh and blood has been completely corrupted by sin and though all may know of God, we can’t even fathom a piece of God. We may know a little bit about God, a mere awareness may be all that we have, but this corruption has locked us away from seeing the whole Truth, the ability to see that Jesus is Christ.
Then, this man of Nazareth shows up and performs miracles, and teaches with such brilliance and knowledge of Scripture. He speaks and there is authority behind his words. This man must truly be a great man. Many may perceive him to be this John the Baptist that they heard about. Others may believe this is Elijah back on earth, descended from Heaven. And still others may perceive him to be Jeremiah or another prophet. But God? No, who in their right mind would claim he is God and truly believe it sincerely in their hearts? Jesus may be a great man, but he is still a man; plus, God is God.
There is an impossibility to proclaim Jesus is God, that Jesus is Christ. We are spiritual incapable of proclaiming this, not because of human ineptitude but because of the chains of sin which force us to not recognize this. We may all know of God, but sin prevents us from acknowledging the depth of God, most especially that Jesus is He. It is impossible for us. It would take a miracle for us to make not that mental leap, but spiritual leap to acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. We, by our own devices can’t make that leap, for we will fail, but, by the grace of God, and only by the grace of God, we may succeed.
Through flesh and blood we cannot proclaim Christ as Lord. It is only through the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father, can we truly believe, have faith, and loudly proclaim Jesus is Christ.
This is why Jesus tells Peter, after proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, that, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in Heaven.”
A miracle did happen that day, Peter proclaimed Jesus is Christ, and he truly believed the words that he said. He didn’t do this from his own will, but God’s will. For on that day, Peter was truly blessed. God the Father gifted him with a revelation and it is because of this gift, not because of his own will, that Jesus also blessed Peter with his name, which means Rock, “for on this Rock I will build my church.” Outside of being the first of the twelve disciples, there was nothing special about him, just like there was nothing special about the Hebrews and Israel, but God still gifted him with faith and it is because of this faith that Jesus gives him the name Peter and proclaims that Peter, who proclaimed Jesus, would be the strong foundation that the church was to be built upon.
Yet Christ said a most curious thing after proclaiming this, he told his disciples not to tell anyone else. Why? The reason is two-fold. The first is because of sin which would block others from understanding, leading to misunderstanding and even generating hatred that could lead towards the untimely deaths of the disciples. The other is because Christ had yet to die for the sake of our sins. But after His death and resurrection, Christ null and voids this command and instead commands his disciples to proclaim the Good News, that Christ has died for our sins and that through him and his glorious resurrection we are indeed saved.
Thus, after his resurrection, through this Great commission, Jesus Christ has opened the means of Salvation. That through the proclamation of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit may enter into us and provide for us the miracle necessary to have faith and believe that Jesus is Christ, and, through this faith, have Salvation.
And because today is a communion Sunday, we see this through the Daily Bread, this Holy Sacrament, for whereas through our flesh and blood we not only can’t believe in Jesus Christ, but also can’t maintain our faith, through His flesh and blood, through the bread and wine presented here today we are blessed with the spiritual sustenance necessary to maintain our faith in Jesus Christ.
So who do you say Jesus is?
Do you say Christ? If you say Christ, and you sincerely believe this and have faith in the promises he has made, then let it be known you are indeed saved. I say again, if you proclaim and have faith that Jesus is Christ, then let it be known the reason you can say this is because you are saved.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, you are great and amazing and above all things. Through you we are truly blessed, for you have gifted us with your Son who died on the cross for our salvation, and you have gifted us with your Holy Spirit who provides for us the faith in your Son who is Christ, our Redeemer, Savior, Lord, and God. In your Name we pray, Amen.
Scripture Readings for June 21st
SCRIPTURE READINGS FOR JUNE 21, 2020 PENTECOST 3
LAY READER: Linda Holcomb
THE FIRST LESSON: 1st SAMUEL 16:1-7
THE WORD OF THE LORD
16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 4 Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
HERE ENDS THE READING OF THE FIRST LESSON
PSALMODY: PSALM 139:1-18
P O Lord, you have searched me and known me! C You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar.
P You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. C Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
P You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. C Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
P Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? C If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
P If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, C even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
P If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” C even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
P For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. C I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
P My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. C Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
P How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! C If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
THE SECOND LESSON: HEBREWS 4:12-14
THE WORD OF THE LORD
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Jesus the Great High Priest. 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
HERE ENDS THE READING OF THE SECOND LESSON
THE GOSPEL: ST. MATTHEW 7:21-23
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
HERE ENDS TODAY’S GOSPEL READING
PENTECOST EVENING PRAYER and Readings for May31-June6
PENTECOST EVENING PRAYER
The Holy Ghost
I recently participated in an on-line liturgy that used the King James English version of the Apostles’ Creed. That version refers to the “Holy Ghost”, rather than the more modern “Holy Spirit”. “Ghost” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “gast”, which developed into the word “ghost”. “Gast” had in it the meaning of the Old Norse word, “gustr”, which became the English “gust”, “the sudden movement of the wind which sends the earth behind the plough into a whirligig, lifts the hat, and blows the leaves around.” H.W. Baker expresses it in the hymn “O Holy Ghost, Thy People Bless”, when he writes...”True wind of heaven, from south to north, for joy or chastening blow”. We miss much of the significance of Pentecost when we only think of the gentle Holy Spirit, our comforter, and overlook the “mighty rushing wind” that blew through the room where the disciples were praying on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit is the GUST that swings us around to look upon God and to redirect our ways. REB
+ + + + + +
Verses: Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. THE LIGHT NO DARKENESS CAN OVERCOME. Stay with us Lord for it is evening, AND THE DAY IS ALMOST OVER. Let your light scatter the darkness AND ILLUMINE YOUR CHURCH. Send forth your Holy Spirit, AND RENEW THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Come, Creator Spirit, INFLAME OUR WAITING HEARTS.
A candle may be lighted.
Prayer for Light Blessed are you, O Lord, Redeemer God. You destroyed the bonds of death and from the darkness of the tomb drew forth the Light of the World. Led through the waters of death, we become the children of light singing our “Alleluia” and dancing to the music of new life. Pour out your Spirit upon us that dreams and visions bring us ever closer to the kingdom of Jesus Christ, our risen Savior. Through him and in the Holy Spirit all glory and honor are yours, almighty Father, this night and forever. AMEN.
Reading Choose one of the readings for the week. Acts 2:1-21 Numbers 11:24-30 Genesis 11:1-9 I Corinthians 12:3b-13 John 20:19-23 John 7:37-39
Verses: The gift of the Holy Spirit is wisdom and understanding, resourcefulness and spiritual strength, knowledge, true godliness and holy reverence. GRANT US YOUR SEVEN-FOLD GIFT, O HOLY SPIRIT.
Among the mysteries of our Christian faith, the Holy Spirit has certainly inspired a sizable amount of devotional poetry. The hymn text that follows is a portion of a poem written in Italian by Bianco da Siena, a Tuscan who died in Venice in 1434, and about whom virtually nothing is known, save these exquisite lines:
Come down, O Love divine,
Seek Thou this soul of mine, And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing. O Comforter draw near, withn my soul appear, And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.
The first stanza introduces an image that is found throughout the hymn: the Holy Spirit as fire. On the day of Pentecost, “tongues of fire” were seen above the heads of the apostles. Human experience of fire is ambivalent: it warms and cheers, and it also burns and consumes. In this verse, the poet invites the “Comforter” (one of the Biblical euphemisms for the Holy Spirit) to “draw near” and “kindle” our hearts with a “holy flame”.
O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn Dust and ashes in its heat consuming. And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight, And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.
Now that the fire has been kindled it is invited to “freely burn”, which is always a risky proposition. Burns cause pain. But what is it that we are asking to be destroyed by the Spirit’s “heat consuming’? “Earthly passions”; sinful desires that, in the language of the baptismal liturgy, “draw us from the love of God”. These “earthly passions”- greed, lust, covetousness, anger, pride – need to be destroyed in us if we are to live in Christ and Christ in us.
Then one of the benign properties of fire is invoked – that of providing light; light that is at the same time “glorious” and a practical source of illumination, providing light to the path on which we walk. Indeed, guidance is one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit.
Let holy charity Mine outward vesture be, And lowliness become my inner clothing True lowliness of heart, Which takes the humbler part, And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.
And so the yearning strong, With which the soul will long, Shall far outpass the power of human telling; For none can guess its grace Till Love create a space wherein the Holy Spirit makes a dwelling.
All this fire and light is eventually bound to make some changes in the soul which has invited and welcomed it. To be clothed with holy charity and to wear humility as our “inner clothing” is a sign of the Spirit’s indwelling. Likewise, to be truly sorry for our sins so that we weep over them and loathe them (A little more than just repeating the Prayer of Confession is called for here.) is sign of a renewing of our spirit by the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit’s ministry produces a “yearning strong” for more of the same, a yearning that cannot be adequately articulated in human language, and can be known only by others who have been possessed by the same yearning to have the Spirit come and take up residence within us..
Danial Hayden Martins This is also a favorite hymn of Pastor Butcher.
Prayer for the church, for your family and community, for all in sorrow, need or distress, sickness or trouble. Pray especially for a cure for the covid 19 virus, for all medical workers, and the recovery of all infected by the virus.
Concluding Prayers Come, Holy Spirit! Rain on our dry and dusty lives. Wash away our sin and heal our wounded spirits. Kindle within us the fire of your love and burn away our apathy. With your warmth bend our rigidity, and guide our wandering feet. AMEN.
O Heaven King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who is everywhere and fills all things, Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life, come and abide in us, cleanse us from every impurity and save our souls, O Good One. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. AMEN.
Unless the eye catch fire, God will not be seen. Unless the ear catch fire, God will not be heard. Unless the tongue catch fire, God will not be named. Unless the mind catch fire, God will not be known. Unless heart catch fire, God will not be loved.
Blessing: To God be honor and glory forever and ever! AMEN. Praise the Lord. THE LORD’S NAME BE PRAISED.
PRAYER OF THE DAY, We Hear God's Word
Prayer Of The Day
Lord God of all nations, You have revealed Your will to Your people and promised Your help to us all. Help us to hear and to do what You command, that the darkness may be overcome by the power of Your light; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
We Hear God's Word
THE FIRST LESSON EPHESIANS 2:11-22
THE WORD OF THE LORD
Therefore rememberthat at one timeyou Gentiles in the flesh, called "the uncircumcision" by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands-remember that you were at that time seperated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off were brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himselfone new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundationof the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
HERE ENDS THE READING OF THE FIRST LESSON
PSALMODY PSALM 133
P Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! C It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!
PIt is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing.
THE SECOND LESSON HEBREWS 10:19-25
THE WORD OF THE LORD
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God. let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from and evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us cosider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
HERE ENDS THE READING OF THE SECOND LESSON
C ALLELUIA, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Alleluia. Alleluia
GOSPEL P The Holy Gospel is writtenin the 16th chaptert of St Matthew beginnin g at the 13th verse.
C Glory to you, O Lord
ST. MATTHEW 16:13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his deciples, "Who do people say that the son of Man is?"And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."He said to them," But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, :You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you lose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Then he strictly charhged the deciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
HERE ENDS THE GOSPEL READING FOR TODAY
C PRAISE TO YOU O CHRIST
Pentecost Morning Prayer And Readings for week of Pentacost (May31-June6) Part1
PENTECOST MORNING PRAYER
In the celebration of Pentecost the church remembers the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus, which equipped them to “go into all the world” proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. The roots of the Pentecost observance are in the Jewish festival of Shavout – the 50th day – of which the Greek word “Pentecost” is the equivalent. Shavout is the 50th day after the start of Passover and celebrated the first fruits of the harvest. The Christian Pentecost is the 50th day after Easter celebrating the first fruits of the resurrection of Christ. . Pentecost celebrates the empowerment of the church for its mission. It is the reversal of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). At Babel God confused the languages of the people to keep them from doing a sinful work. At Pentecost God made the various languages of the world intelligible to all so that the glorious work of proclaiming the message of Christ could be accomplished no matter what language was used to proclaim it. The Holy Spirit comes to heal all divisions and to create a new unity in Christ. The Spirit moves us beyond the divisions created by language, race, and nationality. Red is color for the day symbolizing the tongues of fire that touched each of the apostles in the upper room on the day of Pentecost; the enthusiasm of the disciples; and the sacrifices of the Christian martyrs who carried the Gospel to the world in spite of personal cost.
O Lord, open my lips. AND MY MOUTH SHALL PROCLAIM YOUR PRAISE. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses to the ends of the earth. COME, HOLY SPIRT, FILL THE HEARTS OF YOUR FAITHFUL AND KINDLE IN THEM THE FIRE OF YOUR LOVE.
Hymn Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire; Thou the anointing Spirit art, who doth thy seven-fold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above is comfort, life and fire of love, Enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight. Teach us to know the Father, Son and Thee, of both, to be but one, That through the ages all along this may be our endless song: Praise to Thine eternal merit, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Readings for the week of Pentecost, May 31 – June 6. Read one of the readings, followed by the Psalm. Deuteronomy 16: 9-11 Acts 2:1-21 1Coritnithians 12:3b-13 Numbers 11:24-30 St. John 20:19-23 St. John 7:37-39
Psalm O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. YONDER IS THE SEA, GREAT AND WIDE, WITH LIVING THINGS TO GREAT TO NUMBER, CREATURES BOTH SMALL AND GREAT. There move the ships, and there is Leviathan, which you have made for the sport of it. ALL OF THEM LOOK TO YOU TO GIVE THEM THEIR FOOD IN DUE SEASON. You give it to them; they gather it; you open your hand, and they are filled with good things. YOU HIDE YOUR FACE, AND THEY ARE TERRIFIED; YOU TAKE AWAY THEIR BREATH, AND THEY DIE AND RETURN TO THEIR DUST. You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; and so you renew the face of the earth. MAY YOUR GLORY, O LORD, ENDURE FOREVER; MAY YOU REJOICE IN ALL YOUR WORKS. You look at the earth and it trembles; you touch the mountains and they smoke. I WILL SING TO THE LORD AS LONG AS I LIVE; I WILL PRIASE MY GOD WHILE I HAVE MY BEING. May these words of mine please you; I will rejoice in the Lord. BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL. HALLELUJAH! Psalm 104:24-34,35b
Verses: The fruit of the Spirt is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. PRODUCE IN US YOUR HARVEST, O HOLY SPIRIT.
Prayers Eternal god, by your Holy Spirit you have given life to all the earth, and brought new life to Christ’s church. You have blessed your people with wondrous gifts, and we praise you for all you share with us. Especially we thank you for those who proclaim your Word and sacraments… those who lead in your church… those who wait on others in need, especially those caring for those suffering from covid 19… those who teach and share wisdom and truth… those who represent the church in civil matters… those who provide music and art… those who work for the unity of the church… those who do menial tasks… those who care for children… those who visit and care for the lonely and the elderly… those who do research to find cures for disease, especially those seeking a vaccine for covid 19… and for all those who serve others by whatever name their service is called.
Merciful God, by your Holy Spirit you have claimed us to be your people in the world, and you have empowered us to show your love. We pray for those we would serve in Christ’s name. Especially we pray for those who are poor and hungry and homeless… those who live in fear of unemployment and job loss and those who have already experienced it… those who suffer from the covid 19 virus… those family member who wait and watch with those who are sick…nations torn by strife and warfare… refugees and victims of oppression…the imprisoned and confined…the illiterate and ignorant… those abandoned and outcast…those who carry the burden of government… those persecuted for their faith in Christ… all those in need, distress, or pain, by whatever name their suffering may be called.
Silent prayers. True and only Light, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, send your Spirit into our lives with the power of the wind. Open the horizons of our minds by the flame of your wisdom. Loosen our tongues to show your praise, for only in your Spirit can we proclaim your words of peace and love, and acclaim Jesus as Lord. Amen.
Blessing: May Almighty God, who enlightened the minds of the disciples by pouring out upon them the Holy Spirit, make you rich with his blessings, that you may abound more and more in the Spirit. AMEN. May God, who sent the Holy Spirit as a flame of fire that rested upon the heads of the disciples, burn out all evil from your hearts, and make them to shine with the pure light of his presence. AMEN. May God, who by the Holy Spirt caused those of many tongues to proclaim Jesus as Lord, strengthen your faith and send you out to bear witness to him in word and deed. AMEN. And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you forever. ALLELUIA! AMEN!