Readings, Devotion, Prayers and Announcements for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, Ascension Sunday, May 24, 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 24, 2020
The Ascension of our Lord Sunday
First Reading: Acts 1:1-11
A reading from Acts.
Before he is lifted into heaven, Jesus promises that the missionary work of the disciples will spread out from Jerusalem to all the world. His words provide an outline of the book of Acts.
[Luke writes:] 1In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 9When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. 11They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm: Psalm 47
1Clap your hands, all you peoples;
shout to God with a joyful sound.
2For the Lord Most High is to be feared:
a great king over all the earth,
3who subdues the peoples under us,
and the nations under our feet;
4who chooses our inheritance for us,
the pride of Jacob, whom God loves.
5God has gone up with a shout,
the Lord with the sound of the ram’s horn.
6Sing praises to God, sing praises;
sing praises to our king, sing praises.
7For God is king of all the earth;
sing praises with a song.
8God reigns over the nations;
God is enthroned on high.
9The nobles of the peoples have gathered as the people of the God of Abraham.
The rulers of the earth belong to God, who is highly exalted.
Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23
A reading from Ephesians.
The risen and exalted Christ reigns over the entire universe. The author of Ephesians prays that we are given the wisdom to know the power of the risen Christ and the empowering hope that the knowledge of this inheritance provides.
15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Gospel: Luke 24:44-53
The holy gospel according to Luke. Glory to you, O Lord.
On the day of his ascension, Jesus leaves his disciples with a commission, a blessing, and a promise of the Holy Spirit.
44[Jesus said to the eleven and those with them,] “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
50Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God.
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
“God’s Goal – Our Goal”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Mass media have changed our world. The big transition started with the printing press over 500 years ago. Books and pamphlets were everywhere. Transportation improvements over the centuries made these spread faster and further. Communications improvements in the 1800’s such as the telegraph and telephone spread information even further.
In the late 1920’s movies started having sound with them. At the same time broadcast radio was taking off and stations were started across the country. A couple decades later television became a national reality. This put even more information and entertainment into our homes. In the past few decades the internet has grown to where most people have access to news, information and entertainment in homes, offices and public places. The past decade or so has put the internet into Smartphones, so now many have this available pretty much wherever and whenever.
While not exactly a parallel effect, the Ascension of Jesus kicked off a radical and positive change for life and faith. The Ascension took place on the 40th day since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. That 40th day this year was this past Thursday. Since we normally gather on the weekend, we celebrate this event today. We heard two accounts of this in the books of Luke and Acts. In Acts we have this description of the Ascension: Jesus said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as (the Apostles) were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” We see that Jesus gives them a job to do, promises them the Holy Spirit, and then ascends out of their sight.
Along with others I have wondered why Jesus chose to ascend like this. He was alive beyond death, never to die again, and was with his people. He could still be here with us, leading the church in perfection and love. The purpose of the Ascension of Jesus has to do with how he is with us in different ways now that he is ascended. It is similar the changes in the way we receive information and entertainment which I noted earlier.
Think about this: Jesus is God with us, yet he is also just one person. He entered human life and died on the cross to meet us in our sin and death. On the cross he brought about the forgiveness of our sin. Through his rising he leads us to life with him, both now and forever. This is all central to our faith and life with God.
Jesus could have stayed around like he did in those 40 days after his rising from the dead. He could have easily kept on teaching and ministering to people. He could have been an inspiring preacher and could have drawn crowds for the past 2000 years. But he didn’t. And that is actually a very good thing. Had he done that the church would likely have stayed a very small group on Jewish followers in the Holy Land. I believe he knew this, and he had a greater plan for the Good News and for his followers. Because he did it the way he did, the Church is now a worldwide movement of close to 3 Billion people.
Jesus did at least four things to execute his plan to spread the Gospel. The four things would bring the ministry and teachings of Jesus to the ends of the earth. Jesus would go away from us in one way, but then he would be with us all the time in other ways. Here are the 4 things he did:
- He taught the disciples about the way of God. This became the New Testament. We continue to read and teach from this today.
- He gave them the Sacraments. We have the power and presence of Jesus Christ through Baptism and the Holy Communion. These words and elements bring the Good News and the forgiveness of our sin by God. Our congregations are drawn together and unified by these Sacraments.
- He organized and commissioned pastoral leaders – the Apostles. They would train more pastoral leaders who would bring Word of God and the forgiveness of sin to people. Instead of just one pastoral leader – Jesus – there are literally millions of pastors, priests and ministers around the world. Each pastor has the call to offer us the Word of God and the forgiveness of sin. Each is called to help us know and serve God and neighbor.
- He promised his Holy Spirit. The giving of the Holy Spirit is promised many times, including in John 14:25-26: Jesus said, “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” With the Holy Spirit of Jesus in the world our Lord is not bound to just one location. Jesus can be in every church for worship, fellowship time and Bible Study. He can be with each of us in prayer. He can be with us as we serve our neighbors in need. He can be with those who need to understand the Gospel. He can be with those who are facing difficulty of any form, or who are suffering for the Gospel.
Here is something else to consider: Some churches have set off fireworks on the evening of Ascension. I think it is a great image. A limited image, but it is a start. A firework goes up into the sky, seemingly out of our sight. That is like Jesus going up out of our sight. Then, suddenly, there is a fiery explosion. That is like the day of Pentecost, which took place 10 days after the Ascension. The Holy Spirit makes a grand, fiery and powerful arrival. The presence of Jesus in Spirit is brought to the church, and the Spirit is then shared with all who would believe. The fire of a firework lasts, at most, a few seconds. The fire and influence of the Holy Spirit continues to this very day.
This burst of life for the Church stirs and empowers us to live out God’s goal for us. Here I bring in the Catechism of the Church of England. In the section on the Church it makes note of the mission of the Church. Here is part of what we read there:
- Why is the Church described as apostolic?
- The Church is apostolic, because it continues in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles and is sent to carry out Christ’s mission to all people.
- What is the mission of the Church?
- The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.
- How does the Church pursue its mission?
- The Church pursues its mission as it prays and worships, proclaims the Gospel, and promotes justice, peace, and love.
- Through whom does the Church carry out its mission?
- The church carries out its mission through the ministry of all its members.
The Ascension of Jesus sets in motion God’s grand plan. This is to bring the Good News of Jesus to others. God’s goal is that fulfilling this plan becomes our goal. With God’s provision we can be part of this great mission in the world.
On this Ascension Day celebration, we give thanks that Jesus did leave us. He left so that he could give the world even more. He gave us his teachings, the Sacraments, the Ministry of pastors and forgiveness, and the Holy Spirit. Through these he makes it possible for the message and ministry of Christ to be brought to people all over the world.
Amazing and Mighty Lord, we praise you as the God of all creation. As we celebrate the Ascension of your Son, Jesus Christ, help us to understand the great things you have in store for us. By your Holy Spirit enliven our faith and help us to be steadfast in you. We pray this in the most Holy Name of 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.
Loving God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we pray for the spread of the Holy Gospel to people of every language, tribe, and nation. Help all pastors, deacons, teachers, missionaries, and the whole people of God, to speak to others of the Word of salvation and new life in Christ. Stir your Holy Spirit in the lives of those who hear the message of the Gospel so they, too, will have new life in Christ Jesus. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We pray for all faithful Christians in this congregation and throughout the world. Grant us the grace of the Holy Spirit, both to fight against the snares and lures of our ancient enemies, and to carry out good works through congregations and communities. Help us joyfully to continue our partnership with the AMEN Food Pantry. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We pray for all who will be graduating from high school, college or university. Grant them an assurance of faith as they enter a new season of their lives. Draw them to a renewed connection with your church as they move toward new endeavors of life. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We pray for those who are in mourning, [especially the family and friends of …], that our gracious heavenly Father would comfort them in their sorrow with the hope given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior. By your compassion dry their tears and help their sorrow be turned to joy. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We pray for those who are sick, suffering from COVID19 illness, undergoing surgery, or suffering any other affliction, especially those we name aloud or in quiet prayer… We pray that you, our great and heavenly Physician, would grant them healing, strength and renewed hope. 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.
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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.
Sympathy – Peggy Rodgers, Waldeck Community Member.
REMEMBER IN PRAYER: Susan Ray (recent knee replacement surgery); Brad & Patti (Hart) Eilers (both quarantined with COVID-19); 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.
MEMORIAL DAY SERVICE The Carmine EDC along with Quade-Werchan American Legion Post 338 will sponsor a drive-in or drive-up, stay in your vehicle Memorial Day Service of Remembrance at the Carmine Muehlbrad-Albers City Park tomorrow, Monday, May 25, beginning at 9:30 a.m. Due to social distancing, those attending will be asked to remain in their vehicles or be appropriately distanced within the park grounds. There will not be any type of formal service and refreshments will not be served.
At 9:30 a.m., the flag will be lowered with taps played by Jennifer Mohr. Names of deceased veterans will be read, followed by Taps played again. All leave the park, and the flag will be raised by post members back to full staff at noon.
MEMORIAL DAY is being observed tomorrow. Today we remember the deceased veterans of our congregation with a list of their names; and are thankful for their service to our country.
WORSHIP SERVICES will begin June 6 & 7. Limitations will be listed in the June newsletter and possibly in next Sunday’s bulletin.
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.
HERITAGE COMMITTEE of the Carmine Chamber of Commerce will not meet on June 4 as planned. Next meeting will be Wed., Sept., 2 at 10 a.m. The topic will be “Educational Memories” from the old school. Questions and discussions are welcome. Please invite others interested in the history of the are to join the session.
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.
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.
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 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.