Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, July 5, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

Please note that we have had some issues with the mllccarmine.com web site.  Things are working better now.  We are sorry for any delays and changes in typical patterns with the devotions and sharing of information.

We resumed in-person services on the weekend of June 6-7, following the normal schedule for both MLLC and Waldeck.  The Facebook Live services will be offered on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. from Waldeck, and at 10:00 a.m. from MLLC.

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

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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.

 

July 5, 2020

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-12

R:  A reading from Zechariah, the 9th chapter.

The coming messianic king will inaugurate an era of disarmament and prosperity. Because of God’s covenant with Israel, the people are designated as “prisoners of hope.” And now the reading.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.

 

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-14

R:  Psalm 145, portions read responsively by verse.

8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9Lord, you are good to all,
and your compassion is over all your works. 
10All your works shall praise you, O Lord,
and your faithful ones shall bless you.
11They shall tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your power,
12that all people may know of your power
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.
You, Lord, are faithful in all your words, and loving in all your works.
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 7:15-25a

R:  A reading from Romans, the 7th chapter.

Life captive to sin is a catch-22 existence in which we know good but do not do it and do things we know to be wrong. Through Jesus Christ, God has set us free from such a futile existence. And now the reading.

15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25aThanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

*Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 11th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus chides people who find fault with both his ministry and that of John the Baptist. He thanks God that wisdom and intelligence are not needed to receive what God has to offer. And now the reading.

[Jesus spoke to the crowd saying:] 16“To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.

 

Devotion

“Release, by Victor Hugo”

By Pastor David Tinker

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the Victor Hugo’s book, Les Misérables, we meet the lead character, Jean Valjean.  Jean was on parole from prison.  He was soon arrested on suspicion of stealing silver candlesticks from the local Roman Catholic bishop.  Jean had stolen the items when he stayed at the bishop’s house the night before.  Rather than pressing charges, the Bishop tells the police that the items were gifts from the bishop. The bishop forgives Jean Valjean, gives him more silver items and sends him on his way.  Through this interaction the bishop offers Jean a new relationship with God.  The bishop helps Jean understand forgiveness of sin.  Jean Valjean carries this truth and goodness with him as he goes his way.  With this new start he hopes to live a good life and to follow God’s ways.  There is one problem, along the way, Jean needs some more money.  So, as he is traveling through the countryside he robs a young chimney sweep.

For many years following this, Jean struggles with his inner debate. Should he do God’s will or sin against God and others.  In many ways he does do the right thing.  He uses his skills and wealth to help many people by providing jobs and assistance.  He also struggles with sin, wrong actions, and that he is always under suspicion as a convicted felon.  Who will rescue him from this struggle?  Who alone, but God.

Looking at our lives we know the right thing to do, but we don’t always do it.  We are hypocrites and are inconsistent in how we live our faith. Even St. Paul had struggled with knowing the right, but not always doing the right.   We want to follow the way of Jesus, yet we struggle each day to do so.  We see in today’s reading that Paul needed rescuing just as much as we do today.  Thankfully Jesus Christ does rescue us.  He does this by pulling alongside us in faith, taking on our burden of sin, forgiving our sin, and showing us the way to go.

The struggle of saying one thing and doing another creates a great burden in our lives.  We try to be good.  We want others to see God’s goodness.  In our reality of sin we are often inconsistent at best.  Luther spoke of this reality in this way: “Simul Iustus et Peccator”. In English, this means:  We are at the same time Saint and Sinner.  We are forgiven of our sin by God, yet we sometimes do the very things we know are wrong.  There is a struggle inside of us.  Even though we struggle between the two, God provides both faith and hope.

We are blessed with faith in the work of Jesus Christ. He is the one who suffered on the cross for the forgiveness of our Sin.  By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit, we trust in that work of God for our future in this life.

There is hope for us as well.  Two sources of hope include:  the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and the sure promises of Jesus for our future with him.  Together these provide hope that God will lead us into the future as loved and forgiven people.  We have hope that our life now and tomorrow is in God’s care.  In sure and certain hope we look to Jesus Christ, God the Son, to rescue us from our sinful struggle.

The solution to our struggle is resting in the saving power of God in Jesus Christ.  We see this as St. Paul notes in our reading from Romans.  “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  The Lord knows we are powerless to solve this problem.  It takes daily power and goodness from the Lord for us to work through this struggle in our lives.  We give thanks that God has stepped in with his power for us.  God has granted us faith in him, and has sent his Holy Spirit into our lives so we can trust in him.   We get to strive to live faithfully because of what God has first done for us.  We move forward seeking to know God, and to follow in the way of Jesus.

When Jesus rescues us, helps us, and guides us, we are no longer separated from God.  This is true even when we struggle with wanting to do God’s will, while turning back and doing the very opposite. God knows that we struggle to do the right thing, yet we all too often do the wrong.  To address this and to assure us, St. Paul makes the following statement just after our reading from Romans ends.  In the first verse of chapter 8 Paul writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Who will rescue us?  Who in heaven or on earth will pull us out of the rubbish pile of life?  Who will call us to himself when we have turned against God, even though we say we are his followers?

Who else but Jesus Christ himself?  He calls us out of our inconsistent, burdensome and broken ways and into a new relationship with himself.  Each and every day he is there for us, guiding us, assuring us of his forgiveness, and stirring us toward his most excellent way.  Luther talks about this in the Small Catechism when he teaches us about baptism.  He writes, “(Baptism) signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

All this is to bring us more fully “into Christ”.  All of us who are “In Christ”, are in a friendship with Jesus where we know him as our rescuer, Lord and friend.  He says again and again, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Let us pray – Loving God, you are full of patience and understanding.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will enable us to understand all that you have done for us.  We give thanks that, no matter what our struggles and burdens may be, you are there to take the full brunt of these things for us.  This we pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

*Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence.

Eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are the founder of our faith and the giver of all good gifts.  We come before you with thankful hearts and worshipful spirits.  Draw us to yourself and receive our praise.  Lord, in your mercy,            Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who suffer in mind, body or spirit, and for those facing difficult decisions, especially…  and also those whom we name before you…  Bring comfort and healing, strength and hope, and faithful discernment to all for whom we pray.  Lord, in your mercy,           Hear our prayer.

Grant our president and governor wisdom in their leadership.  Guide them to seek the benefit of those they serve over benefits for themselves.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the blessings of this nation.  Help us to strive together as one people toward liberty and justice for all in this land.  We give thanks for those who have risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for our freedom.  Lord, in your mercy,         Hear our prayer.

We entrust to you all who have entered their rest in you, (especially…  ) .  Help us to care for those who are bereaved.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #27061.
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.

 

Announcements:

 

Vacation Bible School at MLLC for 2020 has been cancelled.  This is due to concerns regarding the COVID19 pandemic.

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