Watch Now

13th Sunday after Pentecost

Take Up Your Cross

Morning Prayer with Sacrament Reserved


Under the weight of your hand I sat alone                           Jeremiah 15:17

Do not repay anyone evil for evil                                         Romans 12:17


The Invitatory and Psalter

V.  O Lord, open thou our lips,
R.  And our mouths shall show forth your praise.
V.  Glory be to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
R.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Alleluia

Jubilate Psalm 100[1]

1 Be joyful in the LORD, all you lands; *
serve the LORD with gladness and come before his presence with a song.

2 Know this: The LORD himself is God; he himself has made us; we are his *.
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.

3 Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise; *
give thanks to him and call upon his Name.

4 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; *
and his faithfulness endures from age to age.
The mercy of the Lord is everlasting. Come let us adore him.


Psalm 26:1-8

26:1 Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.

26:2 Prove me, O LORD, and try me; test my heart and mind.

26:3 For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in faithfulness to you.

26:4 I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites;

26:5 I hate the company of evildoers, and will not sit with the wicked.

26:6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go around your altar, O LORD,

26:7 singing aloud a song of thanksgiving, and telling all your wondrous deeds.

26:8 O LORD, I love the house in which you dwell, and the place where your glory abides

The mercy of the Lord is everlasting. Come let us adore him.


The Old Testament Lesson:                                             Jeremiah 15:15-21

15:15 O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance do not take me away; know that on your account I suffer insult.

15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.

15:17 I did not sit in the company of merrymakers, nor did I rejoice; under the weight of your hand I sat alone, for you had filled me with indignation.

15:18 Why is my pain unceasing, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail.

15:19 Therefore thus says the LORD: If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall serve as my mouth. It is they who will turn to you, not you who will turn to them.

15:20 And I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you, but they shall not prevail over you, for I am with you to save you and deliver you, says the LORD.

15:21 I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked, and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


Hymn:     Morning has broken            Eleanor Farjeon                      Hymnal 1982 # 8

Morning has broken like the first morning,
blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning!
Praise for them, springing fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain’s new fall sunlit from heaven,
like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
sprung in completeness where his feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight! Mine is the morning
born of the one light Eden saw play!
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s re-creation of the new day!


The New Testament Lesson:                                                Romans 12:9-21

12:9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good;

12:10 Love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.

12:11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord.

12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.

12:13 Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

12:14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.

12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

12:16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all.

12:18 If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.

12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

12:20 No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”

12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.


 To the Name of our salvation        Oriel               Hymnal 1982 # 248

 To the Name of our salvation laud and honor let us pay,
which for many a generation hid in God’s foreknowledge lay;
but with holy exultation we may sing aloud today.

Jesus is the Name we treasure; Name beyond what words can tell;
Name of gladness, Name of pleasure, ear and heart delighting well;
Name of sweetness, passing measure, saving us from sin and hell.

‘Tis the Name that whoso preacheth speaks like music to the ear;
who in prayer this Name beseecheth sweetest comfort findeth near;
who its perfect wisdom reacheth, heavenly joy possesseth here.

Therefore we, in love adoring, this most blesséd Name revere,
holy Jesus, thee imploring so to write it in us here
that hereafter, heavenward soaring, we may sing with angels there.


The Gospel Lesson:                                     Matthew 16:21-28

16:21 From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

16:22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.”

16:23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

16:24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

16:25 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.

16:26 For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

16:27 “For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done.

16:28 Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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


Sermon: Get Thee Behind Me?

 “It’s not the having; it’s the reaching,” goes a line from one of my favorite country songs. “It’s not the heaven; it’s the preaching,” goes the next – and amiright? Oh, yeah. How good it feels to be a sinner just on the edge of being saved, knowing that the man upstairs and the gal or fella with the collar has almost got you – and how good it feels to be the fella or gal with the collar on who’s just about to get that sinner to repent, confess, lay a burden down and be free of it, finally, free at last, thank God Almighty.

Getting what you want can be good, but nothing feels better than just before you actually get it. You haven’t yet, but know you will. It’s exquisite. You might have to work that little bit more to get whatever it is over the finish line, win the race, put the last touches of spice and glitter on the dish, stretch just a little bit further than you thought you could. That makes it all the sweeter when you do, when you cross that line, put the exquisite platter down, run the extra mile, even if there’s always something of a let-down once you do.

This gospel starts off that way. Jesus, as we heard last week, had just gotten what he wanted – Peter, never sounding much sharper than a pound of wet leather, had just figured out who Jesus was, and was all the more convinced of it and committed to him because of it. He’d come a long way since he got out of that boat and sank, faithless, like a stone. He sat there quietly while Jesus explained exactly what that meant by saying: “You are Cephas (Peter), and on this rock I will build my church.” Jesus thought he had him, now, and it must’ve felt great.

So he tells him, and them, the next thing: I gotta go up Jerusalem, and it ain’t gonna be pretty, but it is what it is. I’ll be persecuted, kangaroo-courted, and eventually put to death, but will rise on the third day, so don’t worry. I got this. It won’t be easy, but because I’ve heard them say out loud who I am, I think you can handle it. He thinks, finally I can share my burden with them, my fear, my worry about this task that was appointed to me, this cup I must drain to the lees. It won’t be easy to get through it, but I think I can manage if at least these people understand why it is, why it must be, he thought. I finally have what I’ve always needed: people who understand me, who support me, and who will carry this forward when I’m gone. At last.

Then it all comes crashing down. Why? Peter, of course. Except this time Peter is not unreasonably objecting to all this. He simply finds it impossible to accept his rabbi’s calm, measured explanation that they’re all going to Jerusalem because he, Jesus, that rabbi, has to be killed. It’s all part of God’s plan, don’t you know, but Peter does not know God’s plan and so objects to it, as would we all. Exasperated, Jesus rebukes him – but, I have to say, a bit more harshly than he deserved.

Get thee behind me, Satan, indeed.

Why so harsh? Becausea Jesus was deeply disappointed, and also because he was tempted, must’ve been, to give in, to not go, to not drink that cup, to not bear those wounds, to not gasp out those seven last words, endure the agony and bloody sweat, the crown of thorns, the lying rulers, the sponge soaked in sour wine, the nails, the spear, the whole bit. Is there no other way? How many times he must’ve said this in the boat, in the wild, on his own, to himself and to his Father, the one whom only he only knew and to whom he was the way. How many times – then here comes Peter, tempting him like the devil himself: Jesus, cry out to these stones and they will rise up for you, or at least turn into food so you can fight on, win this thing, show them in the big city for the liars and frauds they really are. It would’ve been so easy…

So Jesus snaps: “Get thee behind me, Satan!” It’s what psychologists call “projection”, for whatever else Peter is, he is not the Father of Lies, the Tempter, the Deceiver, the fallen angel who told God to his face that God couldn’t simultaneously make his creation both consistently good and authentically free. So Jesus projects, hurling insults at Peter because he’s hearing in Peter’s words the temptation he’d felt all his adult life: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way; You Don’t Have to Die to Set Them Free. The moment after he was baptized, and understood the meaning of the words, “This is my beloved Son,” the Accuser, the Tempter was right there beside him, testing him to see if he understood and could resist. You remember the temptations, right? They boil down to a hard-to-resist suggestion that if you won’t use your power to help yourself, Jesus, at least use it to help everybody else – I mean, really use it. Not just healing a palsied limb here, opening the eyes of one born blind there, casting out this demon or stopping that flow of blood, forgiving this sin or that wrongdoing. Instead: take over, set things right, tikkun olam, make the kingdom of heaven reign and rule on earth as it is and does in heaven, show them how it’s done. “No,” Jesus says to anyone within earshot, but mostly to himself, “No. That’s how we fall. That’s how we fail. To think that way is to set our minds on human things, not divine ones. We must let things get as bad as they can possibly get, and let people become as wicked as they can possibly become. Then we hit them.”

How did Peter set this off again? He said, “Jesus, I don’t want you to suffer, be tortured, be wrongly convicted, and then killed.” More simply, he said, “Jesus, I don’t want you to die.”

For this, you call him Satan? In front of everybody?

Normally, we hold it good to save lives and alleviate suffering, particularly human suffering. If you’re working in medicine, in fire-and-rescue, in disaster prevention and relief, in building safe and affordable housing, feeding the hungry, comforting those who mourn, etc., etc., – you are doing good. Who among us would not praise such activity? Jesus certainly does – value those who heal the hurts of the world, and work most of the time to heal them, too, in what he does and in what he says, from “Blessed are the peacemakers” to “You brood of vipers!”, his curses on those who add troubles to already troubled lives.

Yet sometimes we hold it good to risk lives in order to achieve some higher purpose. If you work in medicine and put yourself as risk – say, from the coronavirus, even – or if you fight fires or floods and put yourself at risk – we praise that, too, even though you might suffer as a result of trying to ease the sufferings of others. If you are among those who are called to protect and serve, or to fulfill an oath to protect the nation from all enemies, foreign and domestic, you put your life on the line for something that is not necessarily more valuable than it, per se, but without which your life would not be safe at all. If you are a person who intervenes to break up a fight and get shot and paralyzed or killed in the process, you have clearly put your life on the line, been willing to risk it on behalf of others – and say his name: Jacob Blake, yet another Black man gunned down by police – shot in the back while walking away from them and with his children watching, shot for no good reason and a whole host of bad ones – if you, though imperfect, try to do good you might well suffer for it, unjustly, and for the rest of your life. But you might, might do good – or good might come in the wake of what you risk, suffer, and lose.

Of course, so might evil.

We have also to say two other names, the names of two men shot to death in the misery and violence that has come upon Kenosha, WI, in the midst of protests that arose in the wake of the no-way-to-justify-it shooting of Jacob Blake. Those names are: Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum. Mr. Hubert was trying to save someone from being shot, and so in essence took a bullet the killer meant for no-one in particular, and in general for anyone whom the killer decided had lost the right to keep breathing and should now lose the ability. All I know about Mr. Rosenbaum is that he leaves behind a fiancée and a young daughter. Both men loved and were loved. Each man is dead because of an ill-motivated, aggrieved, and deeply misled teen with a big gun chose to shoot to kill – after walking toward the police with his big gun in his hand and hate in his face and facing no consequence, white privilege being what it is. This killer is in custody and may yet face justice – but his victims, unlike Jesus, will not rise on the third day, or even the fourth. They are gone forever, just like Peter thought Jesus would be if the plan Jesus laid before them was not changed.

I, like you, am tired of reading these names – I mean, tired of learning someone’s name only after that person has suffered or died as the victim of someone with a gun who had no good reason to shoot with it but who shot with it anyway. I’m tired that the list of shooters and the shot keeps growing, tired of imagining and writing elegies for the latter and laments for the existence of the former, tired of trying to make sense of two truths that don’t make sense together: It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way and It Just Doesn’t Stop.

“What might have been, and what has been, point to one end, which is always present” (T.S. Eliot again, from the 1st of his Four Quartets, “Burnt Norton”). All that could have been, all that might have been, have led to what is – what has been done and now cannot be undone.

Is it wrong to wish, to long that things had been done differently? Is it wrong to long, to wish that people had made better choices? That in the future they will, because others have not? It doesn’t feel wrong to wish that, though it does make me feel a bit helpless. It makes me ask a question like Paul asked in Romans: who will save us from these agents of death? Paul had asked, “Who will save me from this body of death?” by which he meant a body that could sin, suffer, and die, but also live, thrive, and know joy. The answer to his question is much the same as the answer to mine: anyone who can. Who can save us, and who will? Whoever it is, could they please, please, please just get on with it?

Tace et face, as the saying goes in Latin, the motto of (among other things) the 25th Artillery: be silent and act. That is, be quiet and just do it.

But do what? Jesus did the hard part, which is what he’s screaming at Peter and them about is to come and not to be denied: by his dying on the cross for our sins and by his rising again give warning that the powers of sin and death are broken. What we have to do is simple to say: whatever we can. Jesus has a few ideas about that, too.

“Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me:” Except that sounds like we’re all being frog-marched up Calvary hill to die as he did, which would make no sense since his sacrifice on the cross was an oblation once offered for the salvation of all. Thus, the ‘cross’ must be a metaphor. For what? For whatever the world unjustly sets upon our shoulders as a load we should not have to bear and that might kill us, but that triumphing over, or at least with, might do great good. A whole sermon could be preached on that verse, and many have been. Suffice it to say that every cross is a burden we should not have to bear but that, in the mysterious providence of an inscrutable God, we nonetheless have to.

“If you lose your life for my sake you will find it:” give yourself over to things divine – not that things human lack importance, just permanence. The life you save today, another may take tomorrow. The eyes you open this morning may by night be closed again. All the treasures on earth we build up may turn to rust or fire in an instant. All the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty hundred years of unrequited toil may be sunk in a war to free the bondsman, and all of us, from those who held him in bonds. We might die in the course of trying to do good or just trying to live our lives in a world where certain people don’t want us to. We might, like Peter, die as a martyr in the service of one whom we saw die and then rise again. We might, like Paul, die as a martyr in the service of one whom we never saw live or die, but knew in our hearts to be our Lord and our God. We might die just as we get everything we ever wanted, or as we are just about to, and then what would it matter? So long as we did not and do not lose our soul, our essence, our purpose and reason for being, it doesn’t matter what else we lose.

If we do lose that soul, it doesn’t matter whether we have gained or even saved the entire world – we are lost, and will be as though we never were. Jesus warns against that – not against selfishness only, though he warns against that, but irrelevance, impermanence, and taking as permanent that which never is. He knew deep down that he could save the world all at once – in his own time, and for that time only. If he did that, it would not last beyond him. The times in which he ruled would become, and be remembered as, a Golden Age, but like all such times, it would end. Having used his power to make all things right, he would’ve taken from everybody else the power to do it themselves. For that is who can save us in this life, if not in the next: we, us, us’uns, you and I, and all whom we know.

At least two of the three men who were shot this week in Kenosha were trying to help other people when they were shot, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the third one was as well. The one who killed the last two I named, as I said, is in custody, and will get his three hots and a cot (as they say) while in jail, and his day in court, along with the adulation from the rightists and revanchists who tend cheer for the worst among us, and whom it seems it is our particular cross to bear in this season of our national life and toil. Their deceits, malevolence, and incompetence might well focus us, as people of faith, on what we should do in response, how we might bear our cross as well as bear witness to it not only with our lips, but in our lives.

One way – actually, several ways to do that we find outlined in that portion of Romans we heard this morning. Thirteen verses of very good advice, and any one of which could make for a sermon in its own right. Hate what is evil, love and cling to what is good. “Let love be genuine, bless those who curse you, rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Give people what they need, do not seek vengeance, feed even your enemies, never lag in zeal for the Lord. Be kind, be humble, do not repay evil for evil, and live as people of peace. Do not be selfish, do not be bitter, do not give in to lies, do not foster hatred or division. If we live that we in darkened times when too many of the powers that be do exactly none of those things, we will stand out as those who are and will be both good and free. Crosses might come to those who live this way, along with other burdens, but they are ones we should be glad to bear, just as Jesus told Peter and his disciples they had to. In any event, we cannot avoid them, and so we might as well accept them. We might even, as we live without bitterness but with much love, be able to heal the hurts of at least part of the world. We might lose our lives for His sake – for the sake of love and justice, mercy and compassion, kindness and forthrightness, truth and goodness. No greater love is there, of course, than to put one’s life on the line for what is loving and good and just.

Peter, you wish Jesus had said instead of calling him Satan – Peter, that’s what I’m trying to do here, and that’s what my going up to Jerusalem will mean, in the end. If you’re not going to help with that, at least get out of the way. But I’d be much happier if you got behind me, had my back, stayed in line, and remained on side. I can’t do this without you, can’t love the world without you help me make it last, & I need you to be here to do it when I’m gone. Can you do that for me? Will you?

May we answer “Yes” to both questions when he asks it of us, as he has, and as he will. Amen.


A Statement of Faith, A Song of God’s Love (1 John 4:7-11)

Beloved, let us love one another, *
for love is of God.
Whoever does not love does not know God, *
for God is Love.
In this the love of God was revealed among us, *
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us *
and sent his Son that sins might be forgiven.
Beloved, since God loved us so much, *
we ought also to love one another.
For if we love one another, God abides in us, *
and God’s love will be perfected in us.

A Collect for 13th Pentecost (Proper 17)

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

A Collect for Sundays

O God our King, by the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ on the first day of the week, you conquered sin, put death to flight, and gave us the hope of everlasting life: Redeem all our days by this victory; forgive our sins, banish our fears, make us bold to praise you and to do your will; and steel us to wait for the consummation of your kingdom on the last great Day; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Collect for Mercy and Healing

God of mercy and healing, you who hear the cries of those in need, receive these petitions of your people that all who are troubled may know peace, comfort, and courage. Life-giving God, heal our lives, that we may acknowledge your wonderful deeds and offer you thanks from generation to generation through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A Prayer after St. Alphonsus

O Jesus, you are present to us in the blessed sacrament. We love you above all things, and desire to receive you into our souls. Since we cannot at this time share your sacrament, let your spirit dwell within our hearts. Let us welcome you as one already with us, making us one body and one spirit, never to be parted from you. Amen.


Closing Hymn: Take my life and let it be    Francis Ridley Havargal   Hymnal 1982 # 707


Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee;
take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of thy love;
take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King;
take my intellect, and use every power as thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.


The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Hymn: Spirit of the Living God    Daniel Iverson, alt.

Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.
Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.


 About Episcopal Worship and this Service

August 6 is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which commemorates Jesus’ unveiling as the Son of God, and his radical change of appearance while in the presence of Peter, James, and John on a mountaintop.

The Gospel of Matthew records that Jesus “was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.” At this moment Moses and Elijah appeared, and they were talking with Jesus. Peter, misunderstanding the meaning of this manifestation, offered to make three “booths” (or “dwellings”) for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. A bright cloud overshadowed them and a voice from the cloud stated, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” The disciples fell on their faces in awe, but Jesus encouraged them to arise and “have no fear.” When the disciples looked up, they saw only Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8).

The Transfiguration is also mentioned in two other gospel accounts (Mark 9:2-8 and Luke 9:28- 36) and is referred to in the Second Letter of Peter, which records that “we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” and “we were with him on the holy mountain” (2 Peter 1:16-18).

The Transfiguration is a pivotal moment because it revealed Christ’s glory prior to the crucifixion, and it anticipated his resurrection and ascension. It also prefigures the glorification of human nature in Christ. Some think that the setting on the mountain is significant because it becomes the point where human nature meets God, with Jesus acting as a point of connection between heaven and earth.

Christian worship is designed to have the congregation gather for prayer, lessons, the Eucharist, and song. In times of contagion and quarantine, the community may not gather or share the Eucharist. We have adapted this service to the conditions of the time, celebrating Morning Prayer in the Presence of the Reserved Sacrament, honoring God with our daily office prayers, thanksgivings, lessons, canticles, and hymns.

We give thanks this morning for our reader, Kim Hazel, for our organist and music director, Beresford Coker; and for our video compiler and editor, Gabriel Wilkins.


Resources (available for free online)

Book of Common Prayer,

Enriching Our Worship 1,

Enriching Our Worship 2,

These resources contain the prayers and worship services used in The Episcopal Church and by Episcopalians in their daily devotions.

The Revised Common Lectionary and Daily Office,

This source shows the readings assigned for use in Sunday worship and for daily office use for each day of the year, with links to online biblical texts.

Hymnal 1982:

Hymnal 1940:

Lift Every Voice and Sing II:

Wonder, Love, and Praise:


The Episcopal Church:

Episcopal News Service:

The Episcopal Diocese of Washington:

St. Mark’s, Fairland:


A Prayer in Times of Sickness and Contagion

Heavenly Father, giver of life and health, source of all wisdom and peace: Comfort and relieve your servants who suffer from sickness or fear, give your power of healing to those who minister to their needs, and let your grace be with all those who work to protect us from contagion and disease. May we be strengthened against any weakness, sickness, fear, and doubt, and place our confidence in your loving care through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


[1] Or Venite, Psalm 95