The 6th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 12, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

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 12, 2020

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-13

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 55th chapter.

God’s word to Israel’s exiles is as sure and effective as never-failing precipitation. Their return to the Holy Land in a new exodus is cheered on by singing mountains and by trees that clap their hands.  And now the reading.

10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 65:1-13

R:  Psalm 65, portions read responsively by verse.

1You are to be praised, O God, in Zion;
to you shall vows be fulfilled.
2To you, the one who answers prayer,
to you all flesh shall come.
3Our sins are stronger than we are,
but you blot out our transgressions.
4Happy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there!
They will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple. 
5Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation,
O hope of all the ends of the earth and of the oceans far away.
6You make firm the mountains by your power;
you are girded about with might.
7You still the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the peoples.
8Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs;
you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy. 
9You visit the earth and water it abundantly; you make it very plenteous; the river of God is full of water.
You prepare the grain, for so you provide for the earth.
10You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
11You crown the year with your goodness,
and your paths overflow with plenty.
12May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing,
and the hills be clothed with joy.
13May the meadows cover themselves with flocks, and the valleys cloak themselves with grain;
let them shout for joy and sing. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 8:1-11

R:  A reading from Romans, the 8th chapter.

There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ. God sent Christ to accomplish what the law was unable to do: condemn sin and free us from its death-dealing ways. The Spirit now empowers proper actions and values in our lives and gives us the promise of resurrected life.     And now the reading.

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 13th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

In Matthew’s gospel, both Jesus and his disciples “sow the seed” of God’s word by proclaiming the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Now, in a memorable parable, Jesus explains why this good news produces different results in those who hear. And now the reading.

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly,

since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!”

18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

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

 

Devotion

“In Christ – in the Spirit”

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

My biggest early victory in life was in 5th grade.  I was the States and Capitals champion of Miss Gostesnic’s class.  I beat out every others student in my class.  In the end I was up against the teacher for some reason.  I was doing well until one moment.  The teacher asked me, “Virginia.”  Somehow in that moment of stress I forgot, “Richmond.”  44 years later, I have never forgotten, “Richmond.”  Still, I was victorious among my peers.  And I am victorious in remembering, “Richmond,” all these years later.

In our relationship with God, victory is of absolute importance.  Our personal victory is not at stake.  Rather, it is God’s power and grace which win over sin and death.  In our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, we have a portion of a joyful chapter which expresses where the true victory is.    That victory is in God’s power.  What God has done is always greater than that of sin, death, evil, and as Paul calls it, “the flesh”.

It is interesting to note something about our passage.  There is a subtle message in this passage of scripture.  If one counts the occurrences of the words ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ one will see an interesting reality. Paul uses the word ‘flesh’ 10 times in the passage.  He uses the word ‘spirit’ 11 times. So is Paul saying that the ‘spirit’ beats out ‘flesh’ by a score of 11 to 10?  Yes, in a sense.  His use of these words helps to illustrate God’s victory over the flesh, over sin and over death. No matter how much wrong and sin is in our lives, God’s loving goodness is always more abundant.

The image of “my cup runneth over” shows this. Consider the cup to be a measure of the negative influence of the Flesh.  The water is the Spirit and God’s goodness for us.  No matter how big the cup becomes, there is always more than enough water, or the Spirit, to fill the cup to overflowing.

It is very important to note that Paul is not saying that our flesh and bodies are something bad or in need of destruction.  Rather, the consistent witness of God’s Word is that our bodies are good, and these are part of the very good creation of humanity.  Flesh, in the context of Paul’s writings, is an image for the destructive influence of sin in our lives.

The Spirit and God’s loving forgiveness have a very important role.  These are there to comfort us in our distress and sin.  These also work to transform our lives so that we can more fully follow the way of Christ.  Who we are, what we are, and how we live, all become different.  We are moved away from living a life of sin, death, and evil.  We leave a life guided by “the flesh”. The Spirit moves us into the new life of victory over the destructive spiritual forces in our lives.  All of this is made possible and founded in the upside-down victory of God through Jesus Christ.  Out of his love for us God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ.  By God’s love, God the Son became flesh and lived among us.  Even though he was totally innocent of any crime, Jesus was arrested by his enemies.  He was beaten, ridiculed, and executed on a Roman torture cross.  The ruling authorities felt they had the victory over this problematic leader, but they were wrong.

Our victory over the flesh is founded in the work of Jesus Christ.  Through his death and his rising from the dead, we are given the power of new life.  Our whole selves, our flesh included, are made new because of the faith that is given to us.  We get to live lives founded in his forgiveness of our sin.  By God’s grace we get to live out this victory.

God’s victory is for us no matter what.  Remember, as Paul says, “There is therefore, now no condemnation, for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  God’s loving victory is lived out in many and various ways.  It is lived out as our lives our guided by the spirit, rather than the flesh.  God’s Victory is shown as we are living by the Spirit.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a person confesses sin to God

*a person shows a simple kindness to a stranger

*a person steps out of an immoral relationship

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a father leads his family in the faith through prayer, service and life in the Church.

*a mother prays for her family

*siblings of any age work to resolve conflicts between each other.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*God’s people feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit those who are sick and in prison

*a local congregation seeks to address the needs of the least of these in their community.

*a student in school supports those who are pushed aside, bullied or lonely.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*Disciples gather for study

*Disciples faithfully receive the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion

*Disciples are joyfully generous with their God given resources.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a person is at the end of the rope in despair, and realizes he or she always has God’s grace.

*a person has a true change of mind about sin, and seeks to make the changes necessary for faithfulness

*a person tells another about the hope he or she has in Jesus Christ.

The ways in which God’s victory is lived out in our lives can go on and on.

Remember, God is victorious in our lives. God has won so that we can live by the Holy Spirit.  Because of what God has done for us life is different, better and truly victorious both now and forever.

Let us pray – Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, source of all life and victory.  Help us to live by your Spirit.  Help us to live in Christ.  As we respond to your mercy, guide us toward works of love and generosity for the sake of the Good News.  We pray this in the 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, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We pray that the Church be empowered to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth of the Gospel.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray that the Church be given the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit so that your mission will be done through our work. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We remember in prayer those members of our armed forces.  Strengthen them in their service that they may be protected from every danger of body and soul, and that they may not lose heart in the midst of ongoing turmoil and strife. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We pray for all in this congregation that we may be strengthened through the gifts of Word and Sacrament.  Help those suffering great temptation, that they might put away fear and live in confident faith in the rock of our salvation.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We ask that you hear the prayers of the elderly, those in nursing homes, and those needing care for chronic illness.  We pray that in their weakness you would hear them and bring them peace.  We pray that you would give comfort and strength to those who are lonely, sick, or dying especially to…  and those whom we now name aloud or in quiet prayer…  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the saints who have gone before us and who know fully what for us is yet to be, (especially…).  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

 

LORD’S PRAYER 

 

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.

 

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