Sunday, February 12, 2023

The Holy Communion on the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany, February 12, 10:30 a.m.

  The livestream may be found here.

FIRST READING: At the conclusion of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses gives his final instructions to the people of Israel before they cross over the Jordan into the Promised Land without him. He presents them with a choice: if they will live in the covenant that God has made, they will prosper and be secure; if they choose not to live in the covenant, they will perish.


PSALM: The implied singer of Psalm 119 is a young man who means to make the law of God his spouse, as it were. The first eight-verse section begins with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, ‘Aleph,’ and each subsequent section begins with the succeeding letter, all the way to the last letter, ‘Taw.’ The one-hundred seventy-six verses were probably not meant to be prayed all at once. One way to pray this psalm is by praying eight verses each morning, noon, and evening, beginning Sunday morning (either omitting 73-80 or including them on Tuesday evening) and concluding Saturday evening.


SECOND READING: Paul continues to admonish the Corinthian church concerning their factionalism: their identification with one or another apostle to the exclusion of Christ and unity in him. Until they have unlearned this, they cannot proceed to more mature faith – they are like a child who is not yet ready to be weaned.


GOSPEL: In the section of the Sermon on the Mount that we read last week, Jesus told the disciples that their righteousness needed to ‘exceed’ the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, who were known for their scrupulous observance of the Law. Here we see what he means. He teaches the disciples not simply to address the visible symptoms of sin (murder and adultery, in his examples) but also the root causes (anger, lust). His prohibition of no-fault divorce exposes the fact that the oppression of the helpless can occur even though one has obeyed the letter of the law. His prohibition of swearing oaths directs the disciples to make all their words trustworthy.    


OPENING MUSIC         O Christ, Our Hope – J.G. Walther (Two Settings)

Now that the Daylight Fills the Sky – Carl Schalk





The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.


In the name of the Father, and of the X Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Silence for reflection and self-examination.


Most merciful God,

  we confess that we are in bondage to sin

  and cannot free ourselves.

  We have sinned against you

  in thought, word, and deed,

  by what we have done

  and by what we have left undone.

  We have not loved you with our whole heart;

  we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

  For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us,

   renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk

   in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen


Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his

sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the

Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore declare to you the

entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, 

and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.







I will go to the altar of God;

  the God of my joy and gladness.


WHymn             Green LBW 268              Now that the Daylight Fills the Sky



The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.                                                                             2 Corinthians 13:13




The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


All-seeing God, you alone judge rightly our inmost thoughts.

  Teach us to observe your law from the heart

  even as we keep it outwardly.

Purify our desires, calm every anger, and reconcile us to one another.

  Then our worship at your altar will give you perfect praise.

We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.           




God laid down his commandments that we should fully keep them.

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.

Psalm 119:4


FIRST READING        Deuteronomy 30:15-20


 [Moses said to the people:] 15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If 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. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I 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. 19I 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, 20loving 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.


the Word of the Lord.  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 119:1-8


1 Happy are they whose | way is blameless,*

                who walk in the law | of the Lord!

2 Happy are they who observe | his decrees*

                and seek him with | all their hearts!

3 Who never do | any wrong,*

                but always walk | in his ways.

4 You laid down | your commandments,*

                that we should | fully keep them.

5 Oh, that my ways were made | so direct*

                that I might | keep your statutes!

6 Then I should not be | put to shame,*

                when I regard all | your commandments.

7 I will thank you with an | unfeigned heart,*

                when I have learned your | righteous judgments.

8 I will | keep your statutes;*

                do not utter- | ly forsake me.                                                  



SECOND READING                     1 Corinthians 3:1-9


1Brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, 3for 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? 4For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely human?
5What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8The one who plants and the one who waters have a common purpose, and each will receive wages according to the labor of each. 9For we are God’s servants, working together; you are God’s field, God’s building.


the Word of the Lord.                                                             Thanks be to God.



VERSE     John 6:68                                                Setting by David Schack

Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.



Gospel             Matthew 5:21-37


The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.             Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said to the disciples:] 21“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ 22But 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. 23So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come 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. 26Truly I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
27“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If 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. 30And 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.

     31“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But 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.
33“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.’ 34But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                               Praise to you, O Christ.






WHYMN OF THE DAY       Green LBW 300                   O Christ, Our Hope


1      O Christ, our hope, our hearts’ desire,

        creation’s mighty Lord,

        redeemer of the fallen world,

        by holy love outpoured,

        by holy love outpoured:


2      How vast your mercy to accept

        the burden of our sin,

        and bow your head in cruel death

        to make us clean within,

        to make us clean within.


3      But now the bonds of death are burst,

        the ransom has been paid;

        you now ascend the Father’s throne

        in robes of light arrayed,

        in robes of light arrayed.


4     Oh, let your mighty love prevail

        to purge us of our pride,

        that we may stand before your throne

        by mercy purified,

        by mercy purified.


5      Christ Jesus, be our present joy,

        our future great reward;

        our only glory, may it be

        to glory in the Lord,

        to glory in the Lord!


6      All praise to you, ascended Lord;

        all glory ever be

        to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

        through all eternity,

        through all eternity!


Text: Latin hymn, c. 8th cent.; tr. John Chandler, 1806-1876, adapt.


CONFESSION OF FAITH                                                              Apostles’ Creed


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

                creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

                He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                and born of the virgin Mary.

                He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

                                was crucified, died, and was buried.

                He descended into hell.

                On the third day he rose again.

                He ascended into heaven,

                                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

                He will come again 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. Amen




Called as disciples of Jesus to prayer and praise, let us pray in the Spirit to the Father.


Holy Lord, turn us from every false god and every loveless act to seek your way of life.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


Empower your Church in mission to the world. Give pastors, teachers, and missionaries your strength, wisdom, and zeal.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


Grant that all of your people may be energized for ministry in their workplaces, schools, homes, congregations, and communities.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


Guide all who are in positions of responsibility, that they may exercise their offices with prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. 


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


Let your Spirit of peace calm the passions and angers of the peoples. Bring an end to wars and reconcile the races to each other.


Silence is kept.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.





We ask you, most good and gracious Father, to give relief to all who suffer and comfort to those who mourn.


The Pastor reads the names submitted for prayer.

The People may intercede for others aloud or in silence.


Lord, have mercy.

  Lord, have mercy.


We remember our loved ones and the saints who have striven to do your good and gracious will.


Silence is kept.


Lord, we give thanks.

   Lord, we give thanks.


Father, receive these prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings through Jesus Christ, our Lord.




The peace of the Lord be with you always.             And also with you.


The People exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




Psalm 54:4, 6-7                                               Setting by Barry L. Bobb

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good. For you have delivered me from every trouble.



Father, look upon the face of Jesus Christ your Son,

who gave up his life to set all people free.

  From the rising of the sun to its setting,

  may your name be great among the nations,

  and in every place a pure sacrifice of praise be offered to your glory.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through Christ our Lord. Blameless before you, he taught the way of purity, and calls us to seek the better righteousness, that we might be among those who choose the life which is in him. And so with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:

The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


You are indeed holy, almighty and merciful God;

                you are most holy, and great is the majesty of your glory.

You so loved the world that you gave your only Son,

                that whoever believes in him

may not perish but have eternal life.

Having come into the world, he fulfilled for us your holy will

                and accomplished our salvation.


In the night in which he was betrayed,

                our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;

                broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:

                Take and eat; this is my body, given for you.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,

                and gave it for all to drink, saying:

                This cup is the new covenant in my blood,

                shed for you and for all people

for the forgiveness of sin.

Do this for the remembrance of me.


Remembering, therefore, his salutary command,

                his life-giving Passion and death,

                his glorious resurrection and ascension,

and his promise to come again,

                we give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

                not as we ought, but as we are able;

                and we implore you mercifully

to accept our praise and thanksgiving,

                and, with your Word and Holy Spirit,

to bless us, your servants,

                and these your own gifts of bread and wine;

                that we and all who share

in the body and blood of your Son

                may be filled with heavenly peace and joy,

                and, receiving the forgiveness of sin,

may be sanctified in soul and body,

                and have our portion with all your saints.


All honor and glory are yours, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

in your holy Church, now and forever.


In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


Christ is in our midst.

                By the power of the Spirit,

                we pray to his Father, saying:



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                                  

Matthew 6:9-15


God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess.

  Thanks be to God.                                                  Deuteronomy 30:16


We adore Christ, present in bread and wine.




Choir                    Day by Day - Text/ Carolina Sandell Berg; tr. Robert Leaf;

        Music/ Oskar Ahnfelt


Day by day, your mercies, Lord, attend me,                           

bringing comfort to my anxious soul.                                      

Day by day, the blessings, Lord, you send me                                       

draw me nearer to my heavenly goal.                                       

Love divine, beyond all mortal measures,                                                                                

brings to naught the burdens of my quest;                   

Savior, lead me to the home I treasure, 

where at last I’ll find eternal rest.


Day by day, I know you will provide me                                
strength to serve and wisdom to obey;                                    

I will seek your loving will to guide me                                                   

o’er the paths I struggle day by day.                                         

I will fear no evil of the morrow,                                                                

I will trust in your enduring grace.                                           

Savior, help me bear life’s pain and sorrow                                                                             

till in glory I behold your face.


Oh, what joy to know that you are near me                                                            

when my burdens grow too great to bear;                                

oh, what joy to know that you will hear me                                                                           

when I come, O Lord, to you in prayer.                                                

Day by day, no matter what betide me,                                                                                    

you will hold me ever in your hand.                                                

Savior, with your presence here to guide me,                                                                         

I will reach at last the promised land.


 When all have received, the People stand at the direction of the pastor.


The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.    




Almighty God,

you gave your Son both as a sacrifice for sin

and a model of the godly life. 

Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving,

and to conform our lives to his;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.







Silence for meditation.



The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look upon you with favor X and give you peace.




Green LBW 487              Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                                 

  Thanks be to God!

Lutheran Book of Worship Daily Scripture Readings


Monday, February 13: Isaiah 63:1-6; 1 Timothy 1:1-17; Mark 11:1-11

Tuesday, February 14: Isaiah 63:7-14; 1 Timothy 1:18-2:8; Mark 11:12-26

Wednesday, February 15: Isaiah 63:15-64:9; 1 Timothy 3:1-16; Mark 11:27-12:12

Thursday, February 16: Isaiah 65:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-16; Mark 12:13-27

Friday, February 17: Isaiah 65:17-25; 1 Timothy 5:17-22; Mark 12:28-34

Saturday, February 18: Isaiah 66:1-6; 1 Timothy 6:6-21; Mark 12:35-44

Sunday, February 19: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; 2 Corinthians 3:1-9; John 12:27-36a



From Sundays and Copyright 2023 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Prayer of the Day from Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language,

copyright 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy. All rights reserved.

James, Laura. Sermon on the Mount, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved February 6, 2023]. Original source: Laura James,

Agnus Day appears with the permission of




St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship – 10:30 am