Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Occasion: 
Proper 19
Sunday, September 17, 2017
Year (cycle): 
A
The Collect: 

O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Old Testament: 
Exodus 14:19-31 [Alternate: Genesis 50:15-21]

19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.’

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.’ 27So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Alternate:

15 Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ 16So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17“Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ 19But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

Psalm: 
Psalm 114 or Exodus 15:1b-11,20-21 [Alternate: Psalm 103:(1-7), 8-13]

1 Hallelujah!
  When Israel came out of Egypt, *
       the house of Jacob from a people of strange speech,
2 Judah became God's sanctuary *
       and Israel his dominion.
3 The sea beheld it and fled; *
       Jordan turned and went back.
4 The mountains skipped like rams, *
       and the little hills like young sheep.
5 What ailed you, O sea, that you fled? *
       O Jordan, that you turned back?
6 You mountains, that you skipped like rams? *
       you little hills like young sheep?
7 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, *
       at the presence of the God of Jacob,
8 Who turned the hard rock into a pool of water *
       and flint-stone into a flowing spring.

or

1 ‘I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
   horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my might,
   and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
   my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3 The Lord is a warrior;
   the Lord is his name.

4 ‘Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
   his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.
5 The floods covered them;
   they went down into the depths like a stone.
6 Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—
   your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;
   you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
8 At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,
   the floods stood up in a heap;
   the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
9 The enemy said, “I will pursue, I will overtake,
   I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
   I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.”
10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;
   they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 ‘Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
   Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
   awesome in splendour, doing wonders?

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21And Miriam sang to them:
‘Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.’

Alternate:

1 [Bless the Lord, O my soul, *
       and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, *
       and forget not all his benefits.
3 He forgives all your sins *
       and heals all your infirmities;
4 He redeems your life from the grave *
       and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;
5 He satisfies you with good things, *
       and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.
6 The Lord executes righteousness *
       and judgment for all who are oppressed.
7 He made his ways known to Moses *
       and his works to the children of Israel.]
8 The Lord is full of compassion and mercy, *
       slow to anger and of great kindness.
9 He will not always accuse us, *
       nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, *
       nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, *
       so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, *
       so far has he removed our sins from us.
13 As a father cares for his children, *
       so does the Lord care for those who fear him.

Epistle: 
Romans 14:1-12

1 Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. 11For it is written,
‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
   and every tongue shall give praise to God.’
12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

Gospel: 
Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ 22Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” 29Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. 31When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

The Old Testament, New Testament and Gospels readings are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, 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.

The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.