The 17th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, September 27, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We continue to offer in-person and Facebook Live services following the normal Sunday 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.  The Saturday 6:00 p.m. service at MLLC is in-person only.

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.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2020

SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

R:  A reading from Ezekiel, the 18th Chapter.

Ezekiel challenges those who think they cannot change because of what their parents were and did, or who think they cannot reverse their own previous behavior. God insistently invites people to turn and live.

And now the reading.

1The word of the Lord came to me: 2What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? 3As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die.
25Yet you say, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, “The way of the Lord is unfair.” O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 25:1-9

R: Psalm 25, read responsively by verse.

1To you, O Lord,
I lift up my soul.

2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3Let none who look to you be put to shame;
rather let those be put to shame who are treacherous.
4Show me your ways, O Lord,
and teach me your paths. 
5Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long.
6Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love,
for they are from everlasting.
7Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;
remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your goodness, O Lord.
8You are gracious and up-right, O Lord;
therefore you teach sinners in your way.
9You lead the lowly in justice
and teach the lowly your way. 

Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-13

R: A reading from Philippians, the 2nd chapter.

As part of a call for harmony rather than self-seeking, Paul uses a very early Christian hymn that extols the selflessness of Christ in his obedient death on the cross. Christ’s selfless perspective is to be the essential perspective we share as the foundation for Christian accord.

And now the reading.

1If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.
9Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

*Gospel: Matthew 21:23-32

P: The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 21st chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After driving the moneychangers out of the temple (21:12), Jesus begins teaching there. His authority is questioned by the religious leaders, who are supposed to be in charge of the temple.

And now the reading.

23When [Jesus] entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” 24Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ 26But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
28“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.”

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

 

 

Devotion

Shared Brain Cells

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

Have you ever heard of, “Shared Brain Cells?”  This is a description of how two or more people think very much alike.  So, it is not about literally sharing cells with another person.  The figurative idea of, “Shared Brain Cells,” might be that the pair or group respond to a question the same way.  Sometimes they will come up the same idea for an event, a theme, or a party without consulting the other.  I have heard of this happening with married couples, close friends, twins, siblings, and the like. They would have, in a sense, the same mind about many things.

In today’s reading from Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi he calls on the Christians to have same mind as Jesus Christ.  Paul writes, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”  Here in chapter 2 Paul is teaching the people to live God’s most excellent way.  He reminds us that we are called to live differently because of what Jesus has done on the cross.  Here is what Paul writes about this:

“If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

This is clearly about how we are called to conduct ourselves as believers in the community of faith.  God, through the Apostle Paul, invites us to be seeking common ground on issues, working together positively, and ultimately seeking the best for others.

This new mindset is more than just “being nice or good.”  Actually, if you think the Christian faith is about “being nice or good,” you are mistaken.

Our faith in Christ is about being restored to fellowship with God.

Our faith about the forgiveness of sin.

Our faith is about the Holy Spirit creating a new and caring community of believers.

Our Faith is about being a blessing to others.

This is all to the glory of God.  Together, these things will result in good and loving actions, but that is the fruit of our relationship with the Lord.  Paul teaches about this in Galatians 5:22-23, where he writes, “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”

This new mindset about which Paul teaches is founded in the saving work of Jesus Christ.  That is why Paul goes into the longer statement about Jesus’ life and ministry in today’s reading.  Our lives of unity and humility are provided by what Jesus has done for us.  He willingly humbled himself for our sake.

God the Son humbled himself in that God became human.  He humbled himself and became like the least of the world so that he might look out for the best interests of others.  Those others are the people of every race and language, of all generations.  Those others are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and love.  Those others are you and me.

For the sake of all people, he met us in what comes to all of us:  death.  Jesus met us in death when he died on that cruel cross.  In his great humility he there willingly received our just wages for our sinful ways.  In exchange he gave us his perfection and then led us through death into new and eternal life in him.

In response to his humble love for us, we grow to live with his mindset.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we grow to live seeking the best for one another and for our neighbors by humbling ourselves for their sake.

Jesus lived a loving servant life without limit, and he invites us to live following his example. As we look back on the ministry of Jesus, we remember in John chapter 13 how Jesus served his disciples by washing their feet at the Last Supper.  He took on that humble servant’s job to show them and us how to live out love in the community of faith.  In conclusion he points out how they are to live when he says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

As we love one another we grow to have the mindset of Jesus Christ.  We do not really need “Shared Brain Cells” to do it.  We have something much better.  We have the Holy Spirit, the saving work of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ, and the example of Jesus to show us how to live.  These together help us to have the mindset of Christ.

Let us pray – Lord God, your grace is sufficient for us.  We give thanks for giving yourself for us through your Son’s death on the cross.  By your Holy Spirit help us grow to have the mindset of Jesus Christ in whose name we pray.  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 are worthy of all honor and glory and praise.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Grant peace and comfort to those who mourn, (especially the family and friends of …) Help us to care for one another in our time of loss.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

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

Other petitions may be added here.

Guide and protect all who work in medical and emergency services.  Help them to be ready to serve all in our time of need. Be with all who have suffered due to recent disasters, conflicts, and outbreaks of disease.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer your people around the world. Grant renewed hope to your persecuted people in Syria.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Stir us to renewed commitment to daily reading of your Holy Word.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will guide and enrich our learning and growth as your disciples. 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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