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Emphasis Preaching Journal

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Commentary

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Calling New Disciples -- Matthew 4:1-11, Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19 -- Sandra Herrmann -- First Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
The scriptures for today bind together the beginning of sin in the world, our salvation from sin, an
Worthwhile Journey -- Genesis 12:1-4a, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, Matthew 17:1-9 -- David Coffin -- Second Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
It is the second Sunday in Lent!
Overcoming Objections -- Exodus 17:1-7, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Third Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
The Black Angel. That’s what Michael Christopher calls Herman Engel in his famous play.
Vision Test -- 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41 -- David Kalas -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Samuel was clearly impressed by what he saw.  But the question is, what could he actually see?
Rise and Shine -- Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45 -- Frank Ramirez -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Eternal life. Real life.
God’s Love Shines Through the Cross and Changes Us -- Matthew 26:14--27:66, Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 27:11-54 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Passion Sunday - A -- 2020
God’s love shines through the cross and changes us.
Beholding Glory -- John 1:(1-9) 10-18, Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-14 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Second Sunday after Christmas - A -- 2020
There are only a handful of truly great words in the English language, says one scholar.
Just Another Day -- Isaiah 42:1-9, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-17, Psalm 29 -- David Kalas -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - A -- 2020
This is the Sunday when we celebrate Jesus’ baptism. This is not Pentecost.
Something Old, Something New -- Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 -- Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - A -- 2020
There’s that old rhyme associated with weddings, “Something old, something new, something borrowed,
God Is Going Before Us -- 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Isaiah 9:1-4, Matthew 4:12-23 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - A -- 2020
The texts for the Third Sunday After Epiphany are that God goes before us.
Long Term Change -- Matthew 5:1-12, Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - A -- 2020
An epiphany is a moment of clarity.
Lifestyle Evangelism -- Matthew 5:13-20, 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16), Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12) -- Wayne Brouwer -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - A -- 2020
Fred Craddock told of a vacation encounter in the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee that moved hi
Right Turns -- Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Matthew 5:21-37 -- David Kalas -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - A -- 2020
Where you and I live, intersections are clearly marked.
Waiting for the Light to Shine -- Matthew 17:1-9, Exodus 24:12-18, 2 Peter 1:16-21 -- Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - A -- 2020
Mark Twain once said that his pious, sainted mother never missed a Sunday’s service her whole life l
Awareness of Sin and The Urgency of Repentance -- Acts 17:22-31, 1 Peter 3:13-22, John 14:15-21 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Ash Wednesday - A -- 2020
Ash Wednesday is time to stress our sorrow for sin and the way out, a chance to stimulate our awaren
All the Signs -- Isaiah 52:13--53:12, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1--19:42, Psalm 22 -- David Kalas -- Good Friday - C -- 2019
From time to time, I’ll hear someone ask a speculative question that begins, “If a space alien showe
The Magnificence Of God’s Activating, Future-oriented, Forgiving Love -- John 20:19-31, Revelation 1:4b-8, Acts 5:27-32 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Second Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
This Sunday’s lessons proclaim that God and his resurrection have their way with us.
Making Choices -- Jeremiah 2:4-13, Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16, Luke 14:1, 7-14 -- Frank Ramirez -- Proper 17 | Ordinary Time 22 - C -- 2019
As God's people we have a choice to make about what sort of covenant we want to live with.
Give Yourself Away -- John 21:1-19, Revelation 5:11-14, Acts 9:1-6 (7-20) -- Sandra Herrmann -- Third Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
After the Resurrection, Jesus met with his disciples in many places and situations.
How Devotion to God Changes Things -- Jeremiah 18:1-11, Philemon 1:1-21, Luke 14:25-33 -- Mark Ellingsen -- Proper 18 | Ordinary Time 23 - C -- 2019
The key to this Sunday’s lessons is how they aim to get us to appreciate how devotion to God changes
Lord of New Life -- Acts 9:36-43, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30 -- David Coffin -- Fourth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
In this season of new life, we are always reminded that Jesus as Lord found in the Christian scriptu
Discomforting Words -- Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Luke 15:1-10 -- Sandra Herrmann -- Proper 19 | Ordinary Time 24 - C -- 2019
Note: This installment was originally published in 2013.
Changed by Love -- John 13:31-35, Acts 11:1-8, Revelation 21:1-6 -- Wayne Brouwer -- Fifth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
The bride-to-be was obviously nervous.
What Do You Value? -- Jeremiah 8:18--9:1, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Luke 16:1-13 -- David Coffin -- Proper 20 | Ordinary Time 25 - C -- 2019
A pastor has been called to a certain congregation with one major mandate in mind: “Revitalize our y
Coming and Going -- Acts 16:9-15, Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5, John 14:23-29 -- David Kalas -- Sixth Sunday of Easter - C -- 2019
Perhaps on this holiday weekend, which culturally marks the beginning of summer, it is right for us

Communicating God's Love

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Loving God -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2011
" 'You should love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and with all your soul, and with all yo
Defusing a time bomb -- Stephen P. McCutchan -- 2010
(Information for this article is drawn with permission from the ToolBox of the Presbytery Pastora
What are you standing for? -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2008
Here's a definition I found a few days ago: "Courage means taking a stand that can get
Your presence shows God's presence -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
June 6, 1960, a week after I finished seminary, my father and my thirty-year-old brother,
Jesus wasn't like the big bad wolf -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
Do you remember the story of "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf"?
Church hospitality communicates God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2007
First United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City is directly across the street from the
God's Frisbee® dog -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
Fresh out of college and bound for seminary, Chris Symes preached in his home church a
It takes tough love to communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon -- 2006
The Reverend Danny Cavett -- director of chaplain services at the University of
Safe sanctuaries communicate God's love -- Boyce A. Bowdon
Let's imagine you are pastor of a church with an average worship attendance of 150.

Guest column

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The preacher as gracious antagonist -- Terry L. Morgan -- 2008
As a young pastor fresh from seminary in my first call, I preached carefully exegeted, well thought

Illustration

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Sermon Illustrations for Christmas 2 (2020) -- Jeremiah 31:7-14, Ephesians 1:3-14, John 1:(1-9) 10-18 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Second Sunday after Christmas - A -- 2020
Jeremiah 31:7-14
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2020) -- Isaiah 42:1-9, Acts 10:34-43, Matthew 3:13-17 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 42:1-9
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 (2020) -- Isaiah 49:1-7, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9, John 1:29-42 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 49:1-7
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 3 (2020) -- Isaiah 9:1-4, 1 Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 9:1-4
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 4 | OT 4 (2020) -- Micah 6:1-8, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, Matthew 5:1-12 -- Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - A -- 2020
Micah 6:1-8
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 5 (2020) -- Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12), 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16), Matthew 5:13-20 -- Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - A -- 2020
Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)
Sermon Illustrations For Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 (2020) -- Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9, Matthew 5:21-37 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - A -- 2020
Sirach 15:15-20
Sermon Illustrations For Transfiguration Sunday (2020) -- Exodus 24:12-18, 2 Peter 1:16-21, Matthew 17:1-9 -- Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas -- Transfiguration Sunday - A -- 2020
Exodus 24:12-18
Sermon Illustrations For Ash Wednesday (2020) -- Joel 2:1-2, 12-17, 2 Corinthians 5:20b--6:10, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21, Isaiah 58:1-12 -- Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Ash Wednesday - A -- 2020
Joel 2:1-2,12-17 
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 1 (2020) -- Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11 -- Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas -- First Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 32
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 2 (2020) -- Genesis 12:1-4a, Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17, Psalm 121 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez -- Second Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 121
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 3 (2020) -- Exodus 17:1-7, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42, Psalm 95 -- Bill Thomas, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez -- Third Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 95
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 4 (2020) -- 1 Samuel 16:1-13, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41, Psalm 23 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bill Thomas, M Adryael Tong, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates -- Fourth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 23
Sermon Illustrations For Lent 5 (2020) -- Ezekiel 37:1-14, Romans 8:6-11, John 11:1-45, Psalm 130 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Fifth Sunday in Lent - A -- 2020
Psalm 130
Sermon Illustrations For Passion Sunday (2020) -- Isaiah 50:4-9a, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26:14--27:66, Psalm 31:9-16, Matthew 27:11-54 -- Ron Love, Bill Thomas, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Frank Ramirez, M Adryael Tong -- Passion Sunday - A -- 2020
Psalm 31:9-16
Sermon Illustrations for New Year's Day (2019) -- Ecclesiastes 3:1-13, Revelation 21:1-6a, Matthew 25:31-46 -- Bill Thomas, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- New Year's Day - C -- 2019
Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany of the Lord (2019) -- Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-12, Matthew 2:1-12 -- Mark Ellingsen, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas -- Epiphany of the Lord - C -- 2019
Isaiah 60:1-6a
Sermon Illustrations for Baptism of Our Lord (2019) -- Isaiah 43:1-7, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove -- The Baptism of our Lord | Epiphany 1 | Ordinary Time 1 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 43:1-7
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 2 | OT 2 (2019) -- Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, John 2:1-11 -- Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love -- Epiphany 2 | Ordinary Time 2 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 62:1-5
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 3 (OT 3) Cycle C (2019) -- Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a, Luke 4:14-21 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 3 | Ordinary Time 3 - C -- 2019
Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 4 (OT 4) Cycle C (2019) -- Jeremiah 1:4-10, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, Luke 4:21-30 -- Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Epiphany 4 | Ordinary Time 4 - C -- 2019
Jeremiah 1:4-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 5 (OT 5) Cycle C (2019) -- Luke 5:1-11, 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13) -- Mark Ellingsen, Bob Ove, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love -- Epiphany 5 | Ordinary Time 5 - C -- 2019
Isaiah 6:1-8 (9-13)
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 6 (OT 6) Cycle C (2019) -- Jeremiah 17:5-10, 1 Corinthians 15:12-20, Luke 6:17-26 -- Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez, Ron Love, Mark Ellingsen, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove -- Epiphany 6 | Ordinary Time 6 - C -- 2019
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Sermon Illustrations for Epiphany 7 (OT 7) Cycle C (2019) -- Genesis 45:3-11, 15, 1 Corinthians 15:35-38, 42-50, Luke 6:27-38 -- Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bob Ove, Frank Ramirez, Mark Ellingsen -- Epiphany 7 | Ordinary Time 7 - C -- 2019
Genesis 45: 3-11, 15
Sermon illustrations for Transfiguration Sunday, Cycle C (2019) -- Exodus 34:29-35, 2 Corinthians 3:12--4:2, Luke 9:28-36 (37-43a) -- Bob Ove, Mark Ellingsen, Ron Love, Bonnie Bates, Bill Thomas, Frank Ramirez -- Transfiguration Sunday - C -- 2019
Exodus 34:29-35

Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

One Out of Two Americans Has Low-Income Status: Why Is There So Much Silence and What to Do About It -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2012
The title is the subject for this column, a topic that the lectionary texts for March, April, and Ma
Moderate Islam needs to take a stand -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2011
When the news broke concerning Juan Williams being fired for his comment on the O'Reiley Factor
What American Christians might do to enhance Muslim life -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The months of March, April, and May are months of repentance and celebration for Christians.
More on financial responsibility in America -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
The assigned lectionary texts for the fall invite our further attention to our economy, the federal
Are we still fighting wars? How come? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2011
These months (especially at Christmas) are the season of peace. Yes, we sing and pray for peace.
Getting real about ecology -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
The lessons for the spring are rich in socio-political opportunities for preaching.
Getting maladjusted to business as usual -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of Jesus and Christians as "maladjusted" to certain social dynamics.
Is less government really good for America? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2010
These months will likely be dominated politically by the upcoming elections and their aftermath.
Expanding political horizons in the local congregation -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2009
Wes has offered important reflections on implementing what we write about in these columns in your p
The market needs some managing -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
When it comes to economics, things haven't changed much for our nation or for the
The curse of special interests -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
I agree with my friend and boss, Wes, that a key issue for the new president, a factor that
Beyond a political diatribe: the age of bling -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Preparing sermons for Lent is a sacred challenge for every preacher that steps before their
We still need affirmative action (as long as there's sin) -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
A significant number of the assigned biblical texts for these summer months are about
The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Because we have to submit this column months ahead of the actual publication date, we
Gas prices and the war -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Although only the "political junkies" in your congregation will be interested in it, in
Somebody's child is still fighting -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
November and December are supposed to be months for giving thanks and extolling
Favoring the rich -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2006
Most of us know that Jesus and the biblical witnesses were concerned about the plight of
The naked truth about politics and Social Security -- Chester Harris
The emperor marched in the procession under the beautiful canopy, and all who saw him

Sermon

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Why God has no grandchildren -- John 8:31-36 -- Stan Purdum -- Reformation Sunday - B -- 2006
Children of pastors have their share of strange experiences. As a teenager, I went one day

The Political Pulpit

Emphasis Preaching Journal

The war in Iraq: what's next? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Click here
Our call for freedom -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
Click here
The health-care crisis: -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the
Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health. We are dismayed to
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2008
Recent reports indicate that 47 million Americans were without health insurance in the summer of 200
The health-care crisis: Are the candidates really concerned? -- Wesley T. Runk -- 2008
If there is one issue that confronts every American it is our health.
Conspicuous consumption and its politics -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Tax time and the season of Lent. There are a lot of crosses for the faithful and the
Justice in a polite church society -- Chester Harris -- 2007
C. S. Lewis' character of pen and ink, Screwtape, the imaginary mentor-uncle, offers the
Beware of virtues -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
Of course, Christians should be good citizens! That is just common sense, most
What Christians can do to help our schools -- Mark Ellingsen -- 2007
In the first weeks of September and October many members in your congregation will
Public education, an oxymoron -- Chester Harris -- 2007
Public education has become an oxymoron. Strange statement, but as I observe what it
Bread and butter issue -- Chester Harris -- 2006
I have heard the pronouncement that citizens of the United States of America must begin
Time for truth and moving beyond conspiracies -- Chester Harris -- 2006
The Political Pulpit is intended to tackle various societal issues from opposite points of
Assaults on the elderly: what politics have to do with it -- Mark Ellingsen
Time magazine predicts that a hot-button issue for the upcoming midterm
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New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Passion Sunday - A
Dean Feldmeyer
Mary Austin
Ron Love
Christopher Keating
Thomas Willadsen
George Reed
Bethany Peerbolte
Kentina Washington-Leapheart
For April 5, 2020:

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Passion Sunday - A
Mark Ellingsen
God’s love shines through the cross and changes us.

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Passion Sunday - A
Ron Love
Bill Thomas
Mark Ellingsen
Bonnie Bates
Frank Ramirez
M Adryael Tong
Psalm 31:9-16

StoryShare

Passion Sunday - A
Peter Andrew Smith
Peter forced himself to take another deep breath and sit back in his chair. He kept his breathing steady and felt himself start to calm down. There was a knock at his office door and his heart began to race. “Come in.”

Rose opened the door. “Have you got a moment?”

“What can I do for you?”

“I have a hard copy of the report that you asked for.” Rose handed him a stack of papers.

“Thanks.” Peter placed them on the desk. “Was there something else?”

Rose considered him for a moment. “Can I talk about something that’s troubling me?”

CSSPlus

Passion Sunday - A
Bethany Peerbolte
In this age of social media, the biggest thrill is getting a follower. A follower means someone likes the pictures or content you create so much they want to see everything you post. If getting a follower is the best thing that can happen, then when someone unfollows you it is devastating. For Jesus, the week of the Passion is a downhill spiral of people unfollowing him. First Judas, then the crowds, then his friends, one by one they all “click” unfollow on Jesus’s account.

SermonStudio

Passion Sunday - A
Marian R. Plant
David G. Plant
If we take away nothing new from the Passion story this year let us take away this: through it we can learn to walk in the dark and remember that the dark is as day to God.
Passion Sunday - A
Thomas A. Pilgrim
Some of you experienced the victory of World War II. Others of us have at least seen on television old newsreel footage of the celebration of victory in Europe. Then came victory over Japan and other victory parades. There were no such celebrations after the wars in Korea and Vietnam. But after the Allied victory in the Persian Gulf we attempted to make up for all of that with tremendous celebrations and victory parades. The attention of the entire nation was fixed on General Norman Schwarzkopf, who was the man of the hour.

The Village Shepherd

Passion Sunday - A
Janice B. Scott
Call to Worship:
When Jesus died, the centurion who crucified him said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" Let us worship God's Son in all our activities today.


Invitation to Confession:
Jesus, forgive us when we fail to recognise you in other people.
Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, forgive us when we let ourselves down.
Christ, have mercy.
Jesus, forgive us for all those occasions when we crucify you afresh.
Lord, have mercy.

Reading:
Matthew 27:11-54 (NRSV)

Special Occasion