31 March 2019 Fourth Sunday after Lent

Sentence: God has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and given us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18

Collect: God of compassion, you are slow to anger, and full of mercy, welcoming sinners who return to you with penitent hearts: receive in your loving embrace all who come home to you, and seat them at your bountiful table, that, with all your children, they may feast with delight on all that satisfies the hungry heart. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A reading from Joshua 5:2-12.

2At that time the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.’ 3So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth. 4Now this is why he did so: all those who came out of Egypt – all the men of military age – died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. 5All the people that came out had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wilderness during the journey from Egypt had not. 6The Israelites had moved about in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were of military age when they left Egypt had died, since they had not obeyed the Lord. For the Lord had sworn to them that they would not see the land that he had solemnly promised their ancestors to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey. 7So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. 8And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. 9Then the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ So the place has been called Gilgal to this day. 10On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.

****** Psalm 32 (page 252) ******

A reading from the second letter of Paul to the  Corinthians 5:16-21

16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The Gospel of St Luke Chapter 15: 11-32.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ

11Jesus continued: ‘There was a man who had two sons. 12The younger one said to his father, “Father, give me my share of the estate.” So he divided his property between them. 13‘Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17‘When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” 20So he got up and went to his father. ‘But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms round him and kissed him. 21‘The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” 22‘But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. 25‘Meanwhile, the elder son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27“Your brother has come,” he replied, “and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.” 28‘The elder brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29But he answered his father, “Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!” 31‘ “My son,” the father said, “you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”’