Ps 32, Isa 1, 2 Thess 1,Lk 19 – Zaccheaus

Zacchaeus is on the menu today, along with some blunt speaking from Isaiah and Psalm 32.

Resources for other texts are available through the search boxes on the side menu or the menus at the top. Or via the links below. And of course, your liturgy resources based on lectionary texts.

Your Nativity and Advent books are also available from Amazon, or your favourite on-line or bricks-and-mortar bookshops. Signed copied (subject to stock) available.

Walking to Bethlehem (Amazon #1 bestseller!) has been used by several church as their Advent reflections. If you want to do that, just ask. I’m happy to oblige in most circumstances.

Isaiah 1

It’s coming, you know. No matter how much we cover our ears with our hands and sing “la la la”, it’s still coming.

We have Harvest to distract us for a while, and I suppose there’s Remembrance too, but once that is out of the way there will be no avoiding the awful truth: Christmas is coming.

There. I’ve said it. Feels better with it out in open, doesn’t it?

Christmas. That time of a thousand church services, special assemblies, nativities, Christingles and Carols by candlelight. The busy, busy, busy of churchiness. Decorating the font, making sure there are enough mince pies for the civic reception (the mayor is going to be there, don’t you know?) and checking that everyone who thinks they should be reading a lesson on Christmas Eve gets a slot.

It’s good to be back to a ‘normal’ Christmas after the disruption and heartache of the Covid restrictions, but is there a lesson we could learn from having those very stripped-back services? Could we look at what we do and check it still matches the why?

Isaiah was thinking about just that question in his chapter 1. Here are verses 13-17 in The Message. I’m just going to leave it on the table and sidle quietly away …

“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.
When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.

Other Resources

What does Zacchaeus teach us? – Ian Paul

Lost It! – Look See Pray

Nasty Zac and the Cake Fest (sketch)

Ps 32 liturgy resources

Isa 1 liturgy resources

Liturgy for Proper 26

Psalm 32:1-7, Isaiah 1:10-18, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12

Confession and Absolution

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

For day and night your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.

Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found;
surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.

You are my hiding place;
    you will protect me from trouble
    and surround me with songs of deliverance.


Hear the words of the Lord:
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Forgive us Lord.
Forgive us and help us.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Forgive us Lord.
Forgive us and help us.

Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
Forgive us Lord.
Forgive us and help us.

‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’
says the Lord.
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

Gracious Lord,
We receive your forgiveness through Jesus
and pledge ourselves to live in your new life.

Blessing and Dismissal

May our God make you worthy of his call.
May God fulfil by his power every good resolve and work of faith.
May God be glorified in you
and may the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ
through the Spirit who lives in you,
be ever upon you and those who you love.


Go in God’s strength
to love for his praise and glory.


New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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