The 9th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, August 2, 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 Sunday sermon.

 

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.

 

AUGUST 2, 2020

THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-5

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

God invites Israel to a great feast at which both food and drink are free. God also promises to make an everlasting covenant with all peoples, with promises that previously had been limited to Israel. As David was a witness to the nations, these nations shall now acknowledge the ways in which God has glorified Israel.

And now the reading.

1Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

 

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

R:  Psalm 145, 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. 
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17You are righteous in all your ways
and loving in all your works. 
18You are near to all who call upon you,
to all who call upon you faithfully.

19You fulfill the desire of those who fear you;
you hear their cry and save them.
20You watch over all those who love you,
but all the wicked you shall destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord;
let all flesh bless God’s holy name forever and ever. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5

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

This begins a new section in Paul’s letter in which he will deal with the place of Israel in God’s saving plan. He opens by highlighting how Israel’s heritage and legacy include being God’s children, having God’s covenants, being given God’s law, participating in worship of God, and receiving divine promises.

And now the reading.

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 14th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After John the Baptist is murdered, Jesus desires a time of solitude. Still, his compassion for others will not allow him to dismiss those who need him, and he is moved to perform one of his greatest miracles.

And now the reading.

13Now when Jesus heard [about the beheading of John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Sea of Galilee EilersSea of Galilee photo, courtesy of Nancy Eilers

Devotion

“The Greatest Meal”

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

In 2005 I went to visit a man named Howard Seitz.  He was in his last week or so of life before his death from cancer. While visiting with Howard, his wife, Mildred, made some pizza for the two of us to eat.  It was simple, and we were quiet as we ate in his room.  It was the two of us appreciating our food, our friendship, and God’s gift of that day.  It was a wonderful abundance in a time of difficulty.

Today we hear the story of the Feeding of the 5000.  This is the one ministry miracle of Jesus which is in each of the 4 Gospel books.  We hear about how the people listening to Jesus’ teaching were hungry after so much time without food.  The disciples suggest the people just leave, but Jesus tells them to give the people something to eat.  All they can muster up are 5 small loaves of bread and two fish.  Jesus takes these, gives thanks and blesses them, and this miraculously becomes enough food to feed many thousands of people.  There were even a dozen basketfuls of leftovers.

This event was, in part, about giving the people food.  But it was about so much more.  Just as so much in the Bible is about something more, so was this.  This event points us toward the greater feast to come.  Our reading from Isaiah 55 tells a bit about this.  It teaches us that the greater things God has in store for us are in the context of a communal meal in eternity.  This message is shown again in some way in the teachings of Jesus and in the visions shown us in the book of Revelation.  We are invited to connect with God through these delightful meals.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in the center of it all, and we are with God and his people as we feast in great joy.

Ultimately, this miracle and the visions of eternity are not really about food at all.  Rather, these are about our connection with God.  With this wonderful connection with God and the meal we get the benefit of knowing our Lord and appreciating all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus teaches us that life is more than about figuring where our next meal is coming from.  Even though life is to be more than about food, God continues to use food to help us be connected with him.  The most wonderful thing we have in this life which uses food for this purpose is the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion.  This is a foretaste to a truly great meal.  That truly great meal is yet to come.

In First Corinthians, chapter 11, we are pointed to that greatest meal.  When Paul teaches about the Holy Communion, he states the following: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

So, in the Holy Communion, we have a small piece of bread and a small drink of wine.  We are connected with the Lord, and we are blessed with the forgiveness of our sin.  On its own, the meal of bread and wine is not very satisfying.  Author Donna Tartt notes the following about rituals such as Holy Communion: “…any religious ritual is arbitrary unless one is able to see past it to a deeper meaning.”

Holy Communion gets its meaning and depth by getting us connected with God’s Word, God’s promises, and the feast to come.

God’s Word shows us that this greatest meal is about the suffering and death on the cross of Jesus for our sin.  The Word tells us that God’s forgiveness is brought to us by this meal. The Word is what ties everything together in this Sacrament.

In First Holy Communion Class I teach about the four parts of our Lutheran Understanding of the Sacrament.  These are:

The Elements – the Bread and the Wine

The Congregation – the people of God gathered

The Pastor – who leads and teaches about what this holy meal is all about, sort of like a coach with a team.

The Word of God – which is God’s power brought to bear on the gathering of the other three parts.  It is what reminds us again and again about the Promises of the Lord.

 

God’s Promises assure us that we are forgiven of our sin, and that our future is in God’s good and gracious care.

The Feast to Come is our eternal fellowship with the Lord.  Over and over in scripture this wonderful eternity with God is expressed as the greatest and grandest meal of all.  It is like a marriage feast, but so much better.

Weddings are wonderful events, yet these also can point to our greater connection with our loving God.  This is part of the Marriage Blessing I use at many weddings:

“Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your heavenly home, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

Wedding and the feasts which often follow are wonderful events.  As Christians, these point to the greatest meal of all.  These are small celebrations which remind us over and over again that God loves and forgives us.  Like that meal of pizza which I enjoyed with my friend Howard, these grand meals remind us that together we get to have a relationship with the Lord.  These show us that God will keep providing for our spiritual journey with the Lord, both now and forever.

Let us pray:  God of Grace and Glory, we give thank for the meals in our lives, both daily bread and grand celebrations.  Help us each day to see that these give us a small foretaste of the greater things you have for us in eternity.  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.

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you seek us out in the midst of our broken lives.  Help us to respond to you with worship and praise.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the leaders of our city.  Guide our mayor, city council and city administrator in their leadership.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for your strength and presence for those who mourn.  Help us to offer care and support for those who remember those who rest in you.   (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We ask that you would bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  We pray that you will be their help and their shield.   Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We pray for the ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response.  Help this cooperative relief agency to bring help to those whose lives have been shattered by natural disasters.    Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. 

By your mercy we ask that you help us to grow in our service to our neighbors in need.  Stir in us renewed joy in giving sacrificially of our time, care and resources for the benefit of others. 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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