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March 12, 2017: The Second Sunday in Lent

Collect of the Day

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of your Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Readings of the Day

First Reading

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.

Psalm 121

    I lift up my eyes to the hills; * from where is my help to come?
    My help comes from the Lord, * the maker of heaven and earth.
    He will not let your foot be moved * and he who watches over you will not fall asleep.
    Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel * shall neither slumber nor sleep;
    The Lord himself watches over you; * the Lord is your shade at your right hand,
    So that the sun shall not strike you by day, * nor the moon by night.
    The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; * it is he who shall keep you safe.
    The Lord shall watch over your going out and your coming in, * from this time forth for evermore.

Second Reading

What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness. For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith. If it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. For the law brings wrath; but where there is no law, neither is there violation. For this reason it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his descendants, not only to the adherents of the law but also to those who share the faith of Abraham (for he is the father of all of us, as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”)—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Holy Gospel

Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 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. 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.”

Canon Clive’s Sermon for today

Notes on the Readings

Today’s readings focus on the theme of journey. Whenever we travel, we undergo the pain of leaving behind familiar things and the uncertainty of a new future. In Lent, Christians remember that they are life-long “pilgrims in a strange land,” people on a journey into the future that God has prepared for us.

The Old Testament reading tells of the story of Abraham’s calling by God, and the beginning of his journey into the Promised Land. In this new and unknown place, God opened up new rivers of grace for Abraham and Sarah. In the second reading, Paul expounds on Abraham as the father of faith and as our ancestor in the faith. The journey begun by Abraham and Sarah is a journey that continues in our lives and a journey begun this Lent by all those among us who seek baptism at Easter.

Nicodemus is also interested in a journey—the journey into God’s Kingdom. Here a leading rabbi comes to discuss God’s Word with Jesus, whom he recognizes as a fellow rabbi. John tells us this was Passover season and it was accounted specially blessed for rabbis to discuss God’s Word through the night during that season. Jesus reveals the way into God’s Kingdom to be a new birth, a birth from heaven (the original text means both) through water and the Holy Spirit.

We gather to support each other in our journey, to pray for those who will be baptized, and to be nourished by Christ in his Word and Sacraments—they are our food for the journey.

The Rev. Andrew David Kruger

Deacon and Homilist: Canon Clive Oscar Sang

Seminarian: Allison Burns-LaGreca

Verger: Anthony Francis Vitale

Organist: Anthony J. Rafaniello

  • Prelude: none during Lent
  • Choir Anthem: “God So Loved the World” – John Stainer
  • Postlude: none during Lent

Audio Files

The Worship Service

10 AM: Rite Two


Prelude see above
Great Litany S # 67
Acclamation BCP 355
Kyrie S # 86
Collect of the Day BCP 218
The Lesson Genesis 12: 1-4a
Psalm Psalm 121
The Epistle Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17
Sequence Hymn H # 401
The Gospel John 3: 1-17
Sermon Canon Clive
Nicene Creed BCP 358
Prayers of the People
The Peace BCP 360


Choir Anthem see above
Offertory Hymn H # 142
Eucharistic Prayer A BCP 361
Sanctus S # 124
The Lord’s Prayer BCP 364
Agnus Dei S # 161
The Invitation BCP 364
Communion Hymns H 337, 707
Prayer over the People
Recessional Hymn H # 495
Postlude see above

Image: Nicodemus, 1973, Cameroon
from Art in the Christian Tradition,
a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.