The Ascension of Jesus, by Gustav Doré.
Readings, Devotion, Prayers and Announcements for the Sixth Sunday of Easter, May 17, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church
As we are not able to meet due as usual to health and safety concerns, yet we are still finding ways to share and celebrate our faith together.
Below are the readings, prayers, and various announcements for this Sunday and this week. The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.
Remember Your Regular Offerings
For both of our congregations, Waldeck and MLLC, please remember that our expenses continue even when we are unable to meet as usual. Please make a point to give your offerings as you would on a typical week. Here are some ideas of what to do:
For Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ledbetter:
– send your offering by mail to the church office – Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church; 6915 Waldeck Church Lane; Ledbetter, TX 78946
– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.
For MLLC in Carmine:
– send your offering by mail to the church office – MLLC, P O BOX 362, Carmine, TX 78932-0362
– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.
– give offerings through the church web site: mllccarmine.com/online-giving This page has a link to our secure giving page. Offerings can be made by bank draft, debit card, or credit card through this special web site.
YouTube Video Link
May 17, 2020
Sixth Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 17:22-31
A reading from Acts.
In Athens, Paul faces the challenge of proclaiming the gospel to Greeks who know nothing of either Jewish or Christian tradition. He proclaims that the “unknown god” whom they worship is the true Lord of heaven and earth who will judge the world with justice through Jesus, whom God has raised from the dead.
22Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. 23For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, 25nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. 26From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, 27so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. 28For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said,
‘For we too are his offspring.’
29Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. 30While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm: Psalm 66:8-20
8Bless our God, you peoples;
let the sound of praise be heard.
9Our God has kept us among the living
and has not allowed our feet to slip.
10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us just as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid heavy burdens upon our backs.
12You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water,
but you brought us out into a place of refreshment.
13I will enter your house with burnt offerings
and will pay you my vows—
14those that I promised with my lips
and spoke with my mouth when I was in trouble.
15I will offer you burnt offerings of fatlings with the smoke of rams;
I will give you oxen and goats.
16Come and listen, all you who believe,
and I will tell you what God has done for me.
17I called out to God with my mouth,
and praised the Lord with my tongue.
18If I had cherished evil in my heart,
the Lord would not have heard me;
19but in truth God has heard me
and has attended to the sound of my prayer.
20Blessed be God, who has not rejected my prayer,
nor withheld unfailing love from me.
Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:13-22
A reading from 1 Peter.
The author of 1 Peter encourages Christians to remain faithful even in the face of defamation and persecution. In baptism we are made clean to act in accordance with what is right.
13Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good? 14But even if you do suffer for doing what is right, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear, and do not be intimidated, 15but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if suffering should be God’s will, than to suffer for doing evil. 18For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you—not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Gospel: John 14:15-21
The holy gospel according to John. Glory to you, O Lord.
In final words to his disciples on the night of his arrest, Jesus encourages obedience to his commandments and speaks of the Spirit, who will be with them forever.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] 15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.
18“I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
Pastor David J. Tinker
“But Wait, There’s More”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you ever watched one of those Infomercials? An infomercial is one of those half hour commercials for some product or line of products. Some of the items offered for sale are quite fascinating, while others are obviously junk. There is a certain pattern which I have noticed in these Infomercials. The main product is being talked about by the announcer. He or she shows us all the wonderful things which the widget can do. It can cut a tin can and a tomato. It can clean any surface. It can entertain you for hours. The announcer gets us transfixed on the item and gives us a price: just 5 easy payments of $19.95. Then comes the fun part. The announcer will say something such as, “But wait! There’s more!” Then the announcer will go on to tell us about the thing-a-ma-jig which comes with the widget. It can do all sorts of other things too. After getting us excited about the widget and the thing-a-ma-jig, the announcer says again, “But wait! There’s more!” If we call in the next 20 minutes, we can, for that same low price, also add on a what-cha-ma-call-it.
It seems as though we can get everything for that same low price. The announcer promises us everything we want, even if we don’t really need it at all.
In our Gospel Reading for today we have a promise of Jesus for his Apostles, for the Church, and for us today. This is much greater and wonderful than anything ever offered on an infomercial. Even great than that is the truth that God offers us this good gift freely out of his love for us. He promises that he will grant his Holy Spirit to us. We read in verses 16 and 17, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
This promise is given to assure the followers of Jesus that they will be granted a strong and ongoing connection with God beyond the moment. The Holy Spirit was and is already present to draw people to the Good News of Jesus. The calling of the Apostles was an expression of the Holy Spirit’s work. Our calling to follow Jesus is a present-day expression of the Holy Spirit’s work.
There is something deeper which Jesus is promising. Yes, the calling of God for our lives is a powerful and deep thing. In a sense, Jesus is announcing a greater expression of the Holy Spirit. This giving of the Holy Spirit is about our growing relationship with God. It is about the assurance of the presence of Jesus in our lives, even after he has ascended out of our sight.
The promise of Jesus is a both/and announcement. He is promising something which counters that old adage: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” That adage means that it is not possible to have both of two seemingly counter realities. It you have your cake on the plate, you can’t also have that same piece in your stomach. Either you have it on the plate, or you have eaten it.
In a beautiful way, Jesus is saying that, in his case, you can sort of have both. You can have the benefits of his ascension out of our sight, and you can have his presence in your life.
The benefit of the Ascension is that the ministry of Jesus is not limited to where he, an individual, can be. The Holy Spirit is given so that the ministry of Jesus is spread throughout the world. Jesus talks about this in John, chapter 4, as worshiping the Father in Spirit and Truth.
This is also how he will be with us. This giving of the Holy Spirit, this stirring of the Holy Spirit in the world, bring Jesus to us. This is the, “But wait, there’s more,” aspect. We get the Holy Spirit, and in many and various ways, we get Jesus as well.
Here are some of the main ways we get Jesus in our lives today.
Holy Communion – Jesus is in, with and under the bread and wine. We understand that he is truly present in these elements and the Word of God. Our weekly gatherings for Word and Sacrament are, in part, a rehearsal for this eternity with God. We call is a foretaste of the feast to come. In eternity we will no longer be concerned about what takes so much of our time now. Instead we will delight in being in the presence of Almighty God. We will be worshipping God in his fullness, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We are also connected to the eternal and holy worship of the Lord. We are spiritually lifted into the throne room of God. We pray, “Lift up your hearts, we lift them to the Lord.” In this, we are praying about being in that most holy place, and we are connected with that in the here and now.
Holy Baptism – By the Word and the Water, we are united with Jesus in his suffering, death and resurrection.
The Word of God – the message of the Word connects us with Jesus. It presents Jesus to us. It is Jesus in a sense.
The Holy Spirit – builds our faith and draws us closer to Jesus.
Service to others – As we serve others, we are serving Jesus. We are closer to Jesus when we serve those who are most vulnerable in the world, the hungry, the thirsty, those lacking clothing and warmth, those who are sick, those in prison, those who are lonely and separated from others.
In our Fellowship – We get to be part of the presence of Jesus for others. We get to be part of the way the Lord builds up life and love and fellowship among the community of Christians.
In all these good things we are reminded that there is always so much more to what we may first see or sense or know about our relationship with God. The various things offered for sale in Infomercials are certainly nothing compared with the beautiful, glorious, loving and beneficial things which the Lord provides for us in Jesus. Day by day we get to receive God’s offer to reconnect with him. In this we gain a great understanding of the many and various ways that our Lord Jesus is with us. As we go through our life with the Spirit presence and guidance, we are reminded again, “But wait, there’s more.”
Let us pray – Good and generous Lord, you provide all we need for faith and life. Help each of us to receive graciously your blessings and to respond with joyful service. This we pray in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
*Prayers of Intercession
A: Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.
A brief silence.
Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are the source of our faith and the one whom we worship. We pray that you will receive our prayers and thanksgivings. Lord, in your mercy,
Hear our prayer.
We lift before you all who struggle with grief. Grant us a faithful measure of compassion for those who face difficult losses. (We especially lift in prayer the family and friends of… ) Lord in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Other petitions may be added here.
We pray for all who suffer and struggle with any ailment or distress. We lift before you all those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer… Bring comfort and healing to all for whom we pray. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We give you thanks for the ministry of music in this congregation. Grant continued joy in service to the Tone Chimes Choir as they proclaim your glory among us. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Your Church around the world continues to witness to your goodness and mercy. We remember in prayer the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Central African Republic. Strengthen them in their witness during these difficult days in their homeland. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We give thanks for your provision of rain for all who need it. We pray that you will continue to provide the water needed for all of creation. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
You lead us to faithfulness in witness and service. We give you thanks for 118 years of ministry through the people of Martin Luther Lutheran Church. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Guide us in lives of faith and service. Stir us to greater generosity as we use and give your provision for your glory, and for the benefit of those in need. Help us to care for those who are struggling and suffering due to the current health crisis. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
P: Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
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New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Waldeck Prayer List: Linda Brown, London Gaskins, Phillip Procell, Brian Shaffer, Sandra Gest, Barbara Spence, April Weyand, Fritz Schoenst, Alicia McQuaig, Diana Garik Poentisch, Sally Beettner, Carrie Oltmann, Robin Hardin, Beverly Drescher.
MLLC Prayer List: Brad & Patti (Hart) Eilers (Brad recently hospitalized, Patti ill); Megan Hart Burch (daughter of Patti & Brad, cancer and chemotherapy); Ruby Renck (recent surgery); Angie Colpetzer (recent surgery); Carol Mertz Leitzel, Janet Schnell Beckworth (both friends of Praise Team leader Jolene Wickel, health concerns and in hospitals); Ricky Eckert (brother of Ronnie Eckert, health concerns); Kalisa Pomykal (Paula Barrick’s sister, medical concerns); Kenny Lorenz (former member Robert Hinze’s relative, serious burns and numerous health concerns); Nancy Pietsch (former RT-C teacher, health concerns); Johnny Dunham (health concerns); Joyce Kelley (friend, health concerns); Jack Walsh (friend of Wade Eilers, chemotherapy); Robert Vaughn (at Texas Neurology, thankful for extended stay for rehab); Edna Mae Krivacka (friend of Ed Eargle and Carol Carmean, back home, health concerns)
Sympathy to the families of Bill Clarke (friend of Daryl & Susan Ray); Sylvia Braun Hughey (Floyd Braun’s sister); Carrie Bozarth (friend of Sedalia Ullrich); Ruth Hueske (friend from Brenham); Nelson Neutzler (friend from Burton); Verlene Citzler (aunt of Leonita Sanders)
The Ongoing Prayer Concerns may be found in the monthly newsletter.
A.M.E.N. May is the month that we collect for the food pantry in La Grange. You may either send or bring by your monetary donations. You may also bring non-perishable food items to the church. The box is in the narthex.
RECYCLING TRAILER is now back at the Carmine Hall on Thursdays from noon until 4 p.m. They are in Ledbetter the same day from 8:30 – 11 a.m. behind the Ledbetter Hall.
OUTREACH/CARE COMMITTEE A person is needed to serve on the Church Council for the Outreach/Care Committee position. You would only need to attend meetings and serve as a liaison, as someone has volunteered to serve as the chairman. Please consider serving in this role.
WORSHIP SERVICES are suspended until further notice.
WELCA BANQUET set for June 3 has been postponed.
OFFERING ENVELOPES may be mailed to the church at PO Box 362, Carmine, TX 78932. You may also give online. Check the http://mlllccarmine/online-giving/ website for more information. Thanks to all who have continued to make contributions.
CONFIRMATION will be postponed and a new date set when services resume.
LUTHERAN MISSION APPEAL envelopes are designated for Lutheran Disaster Response of the ELCA. You may send contributions in the mail, or bring it by the office, with the check made out to MLLC and in the memo line, put Lutheran Disaster Response. You may also go to the website to donate. http://mlllccarmine/online-giving/ When you go to this page, click on the link for the giving site. On that page you will see a line for disaster relief – Lutheran Disaster Response That is where you can indicate your gift amount through the online giving.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at MLLC has been postponed to August 2-6, 2020 from 5:30 – 7:45 p.m., with the theme Rocky Railway. See the codes in the May newsletter to register your child and to volunteer.
Registration is also available at the church web site: https://mllccarmine.com/vacation-bible-school-2020/
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top is postponing VBS indefinitely. It may still be cancelled, but they are waiting to see how things go this summer. There are registration forms in the narthex and church office. For more information contact Stacy Eilers at 979-639-1897.