The Birth, life and ministry of the Jesus is the greatest expression of God being with us. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.
Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 9, 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
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 9, 2020
THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18
R: A reading from 1 Kings, the 19th chapter.
On Mount Horeb, where God had appeared to Moses with typical signs of God’s presence—earthquake, wind, and fire—Elijah now experienced God in “sheer silence.” God assured Elijah that he is not the only faithful believer. Seven thousand Israelites are still loyal. God instructed Elijah to anoint two men as kings and to anoint Elisha as his own successor.
9At [Horeb, the mount of God,][Elijah] came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
11He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
Psalm: Psalm 85:8-13
8I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.
9Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
that your glory may dwell in our land.
10Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
13Righteousness shall go before the Lord
and shall prepare for God a pathway.
Second Reading: Romans 10:5-15
R: A reading from Romans the 10th chapter.
A right relationship with God is not something we achieve by heroic efforts. It is a gift received in the proclamation whose content is Jesus Christ. This proclaimed word creates our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence Christian proclamation is an indispensable component of God’s saving actions.
5Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
*Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33
The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 14th chapter.
Glory to you, O Lord.
Matthew’s gospel typically portrays Jesus’ disciples as people of “little faith,” who fail despite their best intentions. In this story, Matthew shows how Jesus comes to the disciples when they are in trouble and sustains them in their time of fear and doubt.
22[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds.23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.
When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the
morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
“God is With Us”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a traditional story about trusting in God. A man was stranded on his roof during a massive flood. The flood waters were rising all around him. In fear for his life he prayed and asked him to save him from the rising waters. Suddenly a neighbor came by in a boat. The neighbor encouraged the man to climb down from the roof into the boat so they could escape the dangerous flood. But the man on the roof replied that he had prayed and had complete faith that God would protect him and save him. Therefore, no thanks for the boat ride.
Several hours passed and then the sheriff’s deputy came by in another boat. By this time the waters were lapping at the eaves of the roof. Still the man refused the help and insisted on staying at his home. He was sure that God would not allow any harm to come to him, and would save him from the flood waters.
Later a National Guard helicopter arrived to lift him from the roof. By this point the man was perched atop his chimney because the flood waters had risen so high as to cover his roof. But still the man would not take the rescue line lowered to him. He screamed at the rescue crew that God would save him from the flood. Soon afterward the helicopter left, the house collapsed and the man drowned in the flood waters.
Later the man found himself in heaven, standing before the Lord. Even so, he was quite exasperated. The man confronted God and said, “Lord, how could you have failed me? I put faith in you, and I bore testimony to that faith again and again. Why didn’t you save me from the flood?”
To this the Lord answered, “What do you mean? I sent two boats and a helicopter to save you. What more did you want me to do?”
One of the struggles of people throughout time is that we often look for powerful signs and wonders from God, yet miss out on what God is doing right now for us. Maybe this problem comes because we lack the faith to recognize that God is present and active with us in simply amazing ways each day.
Gospel Reading: A dramatic sign of God’s presence and power – Jesus walking on the water.
In today’s reading from First Kings we see that Elijah doesn’t get it at first. The powerful signs are not really God’s presence. God was not in the earthquake, the strong wind, or the fire. Rather, God was present in the sound of sheer silence, or the “Still Small Voice”. In that quiet moment, God is there, speaking to Elijah, assuring him of the prophet’s call, and sending him to live out his ministry.
Our Lord is with us today in many ways, including the quiet and simple moments. Here are some examples:
In the quiet of the end of our day as we pause to pray– God is there.
In the reading of God’s word, individually, or with others– God is there.
In the sharing of the Holy Communion– God is there.
In the kind and encouraging words we share with others– God is there.
In the fellowship we have with others– God is there.
In those whom we serve in any way– God is there.
In the most difficult moments of loss – God is there.
In the singing of joyful songs in worship – God is there.
In the times when we remember all that God has done for us through Jesus’ death on the cross and in his rising from the dead– God is there.
In all this, we give thanks that God first loves us and seeks us out. A faithful response to God loving us is to utilize disciplines of the Christian life. I have shared many times about the Six Marks of Discipleship. As a reminder, these are:
I will strive to…
*Read the Bible daily
*Serve at and beyond Martin Luther Lutheran Church or Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church
*Be in Relationship with others to encourage spiritual growth
*Give of my time, talents and resources in a generous manner and to the glory of God
We practice these Marks of Discipleship or spiritual disciplines because these are part of God’s gifts which help us to be transformed into the image of Christ. The core purpose of these and any other Christian spiritual discipline is to become more like Jesus. We don’t do these for the mere sake of doing them. It always goes back to the core purpose – to be with God and to be transformed by the presence of God. The Holy Spirit does this work in us. As we engage in any of these Marks of Discipleship, we are stepping into the reality that we are being worked on by God. We are being transformed by God into something else. As we spend time with God in these Marks of Discipleship, we are becoming more like the company we keep. We are becoming more and more holy as God is with us, and as we are united with Jesus.
I encourage you to reflect on your own lives and to ponder where God has been present in the ordinary and quiet and powerful points of each week. As you do, remember that our God loves each of us with a love which surpasses all understanding. His love draws us to himself, and in this, we are becoming more and more like Jesus. We are becoming what he designed us to be in this life and forever more. For this we give thanks.
Let us pray – Lord God Almighty, you are amazing beyond measure. We praise you because you are the God who loves us, forgives us, and leads us toward our eternal home. By your Holy Spirit enable us to see and to believe that you are present with us each day. Transform our hearts and wills so that we grow to rejoice in the simple and quiet ways you bless us each and every day. This we pray in Jesus’ holy name. 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, your mercy is everlasting and your grace is sufficient for us. Draw us to a closer walk following the way of Jesus. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We lift in prayer all of those who mourn. Draw us together in care for those who have suffered a recent loss. (We especially remember the family and friends of …) Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
We ask that you 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 World Relief. Help us as we work with this organization to bring comfort and care to those who face difficulty. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.
Other petitions may be added here.
Grant us greater joy as we encourage faith in the lives of others. Help us to reach out with your Good News so that our neighbors will know what you have done for them. We pray that your Holy Spirit will open their spiritual hearts to receive this Gospel. 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.