The 11th Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Pharisee

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 16, 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 16, 2020

ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 56th chapter.

The prophet calls upon Israel to do justice in view of God’s imminent intervention to save. Righteousness and obedience define who belongs to the Israelite community—not race, nationality, or any other category. And now the reading.

1Thus says the Lord:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.

6And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
and hold fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.
8Thus says the Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
besides those already gathered.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 67

R:  Psalm 67, read responsively by verse.

1May God be merciful to us and bless us;
may the light of God’s face shine upon us.
2Let your way be known upon earth,
your saving health among all nations.
3Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations on earth.                                           
5Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
6The earth has brought forth its increase;
God, our own God, has blessed us.
7May God give us blessing,
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

R:  A reading from Romans, the 11th chapter.

God has not rejected Israel. Rather, the call and gifts of God are irrevocable so that, while all have been disobedient, God has mercy upon all.  And now the reading.

[Paul writes:] 1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2aGod has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 15:10-28

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 15th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus teaches his disciples that true purity is a matter of the heart rather than outward religious observances. Almost immediately, this teaching is tested when a woman considered to be a religious outsider approaches him for help.

10[Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the

Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”]
21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

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

 

Devotion

“God’s Goodness for Us”

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

Calculators are great tools.  These tiny computers help us deal with our various simple and complicated math needs.  With just a few taps on the keys you can balance your checkbook, figure percentages, compare prices, or do some quite complicated calculations.

Over the years I have heard school aged youth make some statement like this: “I don’t need to learn this math, I’ve got a calculator.”  Whenever I hear that I have to laugh.  I’ve learned that one cannot rely upon the answer of a calculator.  Sure, they device is doing the math correctly, but operator error is common and frequent.  If the source material was in error, then the results will be in error.

In today’s reading we have a teaching of Jesus about what truly defiles a person.  Many were concerned about the purity laws of Judaism, especially in regard to food and hand washing.  Jesus basically states that these are secondary considerations.  What really matters is what our internal and spiritual life is about and how that expresses itself in what we say and do.

As we reflect on this story, we can see that the connection between who we are and what we do is important. If we are in bondage to sin and death, then that will come out in our lives.  If we are more connected to God and his way, that will also show in our lives.

Jesus’ teaching invites us to a consider some things:

1)  that our inner thoughts and motives need to be godly;

2) that our actions matter;

3) that we have the greatest resource to make it possible to live in God’s most excellent way.

And, finally 4), that we are all people who need God’s help and forgiveness.

Our account in Matthew is in the context of an argument regarding purity laws in the Jewish religion and culture. The Pharisees, or teachers of the law, made a big deal about proper purity and cleanliness before eating.  The general idea of cleanliness is not challenged by Jesus. Jesus, in his typical way, broadens the discussion to regard the way that God wills his people to live. I believe Jesus is saying that life is about a connection with God which leads to us to express sacrificial love, compassion and forgiveness.

At issue here is that we need to focus on our faith connection with the Lord.  The Lord is concerned about what is happening in our spiritual heart.  As that is healed and redirected, we begin to live and speak in ways which honor the Lord and are a blessing to others.

The only way we can truly have any faithful connection with God’s healing and forgiveness is through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  God knew that inside our spiritual hearts we are broken, foul and filled with mixed motivations.  What is inside us is not pure or holy.  Through Jesus’ suffering and death, he meets us in the depths of our souls.  He enters our lives and meets us at the cross.  What is lost and wrong and unclean inside us is brought to the cross.  All of this is forgiven by Jesus.  All of what is tainting our action and faith dies with Jesus on the cross.  Through his rising from the dead he grants to us a new and right spirit.

St. Paul writes about this in Romans chapter 6.  We read:  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  God has acted for us, and we get a fresh start on life.  From that wonderful new start we get to live the new and most excellent way of Jesus.

There is system of thought which helps connect the work and Word of God with how we live.  It uses the phrase, “Because; therefore.”   This teaches us that Because God has done such great things for us, therefore we are called to live according to his ways.  Because Jesus served others and gave himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin, we are called to serve others and to give of ourselves for their benefit.

As we study God’s Word more deeply we come to see this pattern.  We see that God has done great things for us. The logical response to what God has done is to worship God and serve others.  With our reconnection with God through Jesus Christ we get to have our internal faith and motivation purified by the Spirit.  We then go forward in life spurred on and guided to action by what God has first done for us.

As we receive God’s goodness, we are given the opportunity to follow his most excellent way.  We are invited to receive the goodness of God in Jesus Christ, and then to express this goodness in thought, word and deed.  We are invited to respond to what God has first done for us in our spiritual life by expressing our lives with worship of God and serve to others.

 

Let us pray – Loving God, your Good News is for us and for of humanity.   Help us to receive the good news of Jesus Christ more fully in our lives.  By your Spirit transform our knowledge of this message into action which is blessing to others.  We pray this in your most 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.

 

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, your grace is sufficient for us, your mercy is everlasting.  Receive our prayers, our praise, and our heartfelt thanksgivings.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

In the midst of our brokenness and sin we come to you seeking your forgiveness.  Graciously restore us to fellowship with you and one another. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We lift in prayer the martyrs and persecuted Christians of all ages in Syria and Iraq.  Be with all who follow the Way of Jesus Christ.  Help us to stand firm in faith.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for your strength and presence for those who face difficult grief.  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.

 

We pray that you would bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and those we now name aloud or in quiet prayer… Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

Other petitions may be added here.

 

We look to you in the midst of the heat of summer.  We pray that you will provide refreshing rain and favorable weather for all.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray that you would help us to grow in our joy in giving.  By your Spirit open our spiritual hearts for the joy of generous giving.  Receive our tithes and offerings for your glory and service in the world. 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.

 

BLOOD DRIVE is scheduled for next Sunday, August 23 from 9:30 – 2 in the Fellowship Hall at Martin Luther in Carmine.  Appointments will be required to donate.  This is to keep group sizes small.  It is in conjunction with Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Round Top.

Go to the MLLC website to make an appointment:

https://mllccarmine.com/2020/08/06/blood-drive-august-23/

Or, you may contact Kelly Hardin at 832-212-2799 or email her at khardin@giveblood.org

There is a great need for blood, so please consider giving the Gift of Life.

 

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF Three 40-foot shipping containers with LWR items were lost in the Beirut, Lebanon port explosion.  Lost were:  22,000 quilts; 100 cartons of school kits; 300 cartons of personal care kits; and 125 cartons of baby care kits.  They are in need of donations.  To make a monetary contribution go to the MLLC website with the following link:

https://mllccarmine.com/2020/08/10/beirut-explosion-and-lutheran-world-relief/

 

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