The 18th Sunday after Pentecost

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, October 4, 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.

October 03 & 04, 2020

EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

First Reading: Isaiah 5:1-7

R:  A reading from Isaiah, The Fifth Chapter

The prophet sings a sad, parable-like love song about the relationship between God and Israel. In this song Israel is compared to a promising vineyard. Despite God’s loving care, the vineyard that is Israel has brought forth “wild grapes” of injustice and distress, when fine grapes of justice and righteousness were expected.

1Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2He dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it;
he expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.
3And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?
5And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.
7For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are his pleasant planting;
he expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
righteousness,
but heard a cry!

Psalm: Psalm 80:7-15

7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
8You have brought a vine | out of Egypt;
you cast out the nations and | planted it.
9You cleared the | ground for it;
it took root and | filled the land.
10The mountains were covered | by its shadow
and the towering cedar trees | by its boughs. R
11You stretched out its tendrils | to the sea
and its branches | to the river.
12Why have you broken | down its wall,
so that all who pass by pluck | off its grapes?
13The wild boar of the forest has | ravaged it,
and the beasts of the field have | grazed upon it.
14Turn now, O | God of hosts,
look | down from heaven;
15behold and | tend this vine;
preserve what your right | hand has planted. R

Second Reading: Philippians 3:4b-14

A reading from Philippians.

Paul reviews some of his supposed credentials, which no longer have any bearing in comparison to the right relationship he has been given through the death of Christ. The power of Christ’s resurrection motivates him to press on toward the ultimate goal, eternal life with Christ.

[Paul writes:] 4bIf anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him,

not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Gospel: Matthew 21:33-46

The holy gospel according to Matthew.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus tells a parable to the religious leaders who are plotting his death, revealing that their plans will, ironically, bring about the fulfillment of scripture.

[Jesus said to the people:] 33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet.

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON   Pastor Tinker

“Whose Resumé”

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

Many of us have seen the famous movie, “The Wizard of Oz”.  This movie is full of beautiful colors and interesting characters. One of the more interesting characters in the movie is the Wicked Witch of the West, and she has quite a résumé to her credit.  Let’s look at the Wicked resumé of the Wicked Witch of the West.

  • Kidnapping and harassment of children
  • Threatening people smaller than herself
  • Cruelty to animals – especially to cowardly lions
  • Damaging farm property – especially scare crows
  • Trespassing in the land of Oz
  • Casting evil spells
  • Enslaving men and flying monkeys

She was a very evil witch. In the end of the story the Wicked Witch of the West captures Dorothy and her friends, and she makes plans to kill them.

She starts with the Scarecrow.  Since he is made of straw, she chooses fire to kill him.  She catches his arm on fire.  In desperation, little Dorothy grabs a nearby bucket of water and splashes the Scarecrow.  The fire is put out, but much of the water lands on the witch.  Little did anybody know, but water melts witches.  As the Witch slowly melts away she proclaims a short form of her résumé: “Who would have thought that a good little girl like you could destroy my Beautiful Wickedness?”  Yes, her beautiful wickedness.  Even in her dying woes she tries to justify herself by her résumé.  In the end, her résumé didn’t help her, for she still died.

We attempt this as well.  We generally don’t celebrate our wickedness, but we do try to point out how good we are.  Before God and others, we sometimes point out our religious and moral résumé.  We think, and sometimes even say, things such as:

I’m basically a good person.

I’ve followed the 10 Commandments… most of the time.

I’ve never killed anybody.

I’ve never cheated on my spouse.

Often, we give these items as reasons why we are going to heaven, and why God is pleased with us.  We stack up our credentials as if we must present a résumé to God for his acceptance and eternal judgment.

In our reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippian Church we see Paul’s spiritual resumé as well.  What is different about his resumé is that he follows it up in a much different way.  He counters the popular religious ideas of his day and of our day.  Popular religion often says, “I’m basically a good person, therefore I’m going to heaven.”

We see in verses three through six of our reading from Philippians that Paul is sharing his religious resumé.  He states that he has great “reason to be confident in the flesh.”  By this he means that if he wanted to, he could have every reason to trust in human efforts to please God in order to gain heavenly acceptance.

Paul’s ancestry is in the chosen people of God.  His parents fulfilled all the laws regarding his childhood.  As an adult, he did his best to follow God’s law to the letter.  Paul was passionate to any challenges to his way of religious understanding.  He saw himself as above reproach:  nobody could challenge his goodness.

What does the Apostle Paul say to all this?  It may come as a surprise to some folks.  Paul says in verses 7-9 that all his résumé is nothing.  It is all to be put aside.  Why? All his goodness is worthless garbage in comparison to the gracious and God founded gift of a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Also, our résumé is really that we are just sinners in need of God’s love.  The death of Jesus on the cross is the thing of absolute greatest value.  This death of Jesus brings about the forgiveness of our sin.  Paul’s attempts, and also our attempts, to earn that forgiveness are all worthless.

What truly matters is that the Lord has given us the faith to trust in him.  It is free.  There is no charge and there is no act of goodness which we can perform to earn it.  Why? This is because it is beyond our ability to impart God’s love and forgiveness in our own lives. Thankfully, God has given us the opportunity to have a right and clear relationship with himself through his ultimate act of self-giving love. On that Roman Torture Cross Jesus accepted our total résumé of sin as his own.  He went to a trash heap outside the city and became the trash of our self-deluded lives.  With the trash of human sin and pride on his shoulders he died on that cross.  All our rejection of God, all our struggles and pains, all our vain efforts to earn our way to heavenly glory – all of these were put where they belonged.  In exchange Jesus offers to us his forgiveness and the invitation to be with him, now and forever.

As forgiven sinners we are invited to follow the Risen Jesus, and to become his followers.  He has invited us to follow him through life and death, and into eternal life.

In the end, our résumé is trash.  It could be our goodness, or it could be our sinfulness.  Either way, with God, it doesn’t matter.  The only résumé that matters is that of Jesus.  He is the one who showed us how to live.  He is the one who suffered and died for the forgiveness of our sin. He is the one who is risen from the dead.  He is the one who is God with us, both now and forever.

Let us pray – Loving God, help us to understand that it is only by the power of your Son, Jesus Christ, that we can receive salvation.  By your Holy Spirit strengthen our faith and help us to live thankful lives for the gracious gift of forgiveness and eternal life.  We pray this in the name of your Son, 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:  you are the God of Wonders, full of Majesty and Glory. You have drawn us together for this time of thanksgiving and prayer.  By your Spirit turn our hearts toward you and also toward our neighbor in need.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer the persecuted Christians in Iraq.  Keep them steadfast in your Word.  Help  them to stand firm in their faith despite the violence they endure. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

Your steadfast love never ceases, your mercies never come to an end.  We pray that all who mourn will receive the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray that you will bring healing, strength and hope to those who face struggles and changes of any kind, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…   We ask that your comforting Spirit strengthen all for whom we pray.   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

You are truly worthy to receive glory and honor and power.  Help all in this congregation to be faithful in worship attendance.  Give us a joy in praising you.    Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who suffer due to recent natural disasters. Help us to give of our time and resources to bring relief to those who have lost so much.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

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

Our Father, who art in heaven,

         hallowed be thy name,

         thy kingdom come,

thy will be done,

                  on earth as it is in heaven.     

Give us this day our daily bread;

and forgive us our trespasses,

         as we forgive those

                  who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

         but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

         and the power, and the glory,

         forever and ever. Amen.

 

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.                      

 

HARVEST FESTIVAL for Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine will be held on October 18 at the Carmine Hall.  No confirmation reunion will be held this year.  Worship service (no communion) will be at 10:15 a.m. with the Praise Team leading Country Gospel songs.  The kettle fried chicken dinner will be drive-through only from 11-12:30. Desserts will be available.  Tickets must be purchased in advance for $10.  Members may contact Shelby Vaughn at 979-203-4313 if they wish to take tickets to sell.  Tickets are available in the church office.  Members are also asked to take posters to place at businesses in different towns.

Raffle tickets are $10 with 6 big prizes.  Karen Roemer has those available and are also being sold in the Carmine church office.

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