4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. 5The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.” 6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died. 7The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.” 9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.
1O sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done marvelous things.
His right hand and his holy arm
have gotten him victory.
2The LORD has made known his victory;
he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness
to the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.
4Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises.
5Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and the sound of melody.
Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38
1Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings form of old.
34When he killed them, they sought for him;
they repented and sought God earnestly.
35They remembered that God was their rock,
the Most High God their redeemer.
36But they flattered him with their mouths;
they lied to him with their tongues.
37Their heart was not steadfast toward him;
they were not true to his covenant.
38Yet he, being compassionate,
forgave their iniquity,
and did not destroy them;
often he restrained his anger,
and did not stir up all his wrath.
1 Corinthians 1:18-24
18For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Gospel John 3:13-17
13“No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
16“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
- Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
- Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying close attention to the deep breath.
- As you settle into the breath, allow the cross to come into your focus.
- What wisdom do you see in the cross?
- How is this reflected in your life?
- How is this reflected in your neighbor?
- How is this reflected in the world?
- What wisdom do you need from the cross today?
- What wisdom does your neighbor need from the cross today?
- What wisdom does the world need from the cross today?
- What do you need to let go to accept this wisdom?
- Do you hear a message from God?
- Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
- Share as you feel led in the reply box below.
Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Friday, September 14, 2012, the Festival of the Holy Cross Time, Year B
Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38
1 Corinthians 1:18-24
If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD