Christmas Boxes for Seafarer for 2020

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Christmas Boxes for Port of Houston Seafarers – Loving Our Neighbors

By Pastor David Tinker

We have heard that the Seafarers Christmas Boxes are needed more now than ever.  The men on the ships are more isolated than usual due to the COVID19 pandemic.  Our love for these neighbors will help them know the love of God and make life less difficult.  We will be collecting items and preparing the Christmas Boxes for the Port of Houston Seafarers.  The goal for this year is 100+ boxes.  Items may be placed in the room across from the main church office. The Packing Day for the Boxes for Seafarers is Monday, November 23, at 6:00 p.m.  The work will take place in the Parlor.  All are invited to participate.

For this year (2020), please gather items such as these for the men on the ships – you can buy things throughout the year and drop these off at any time.  There is a large blue storage bin for this purpose in the room directly across from the church office.  Our goal in 2020 is to pack and deliver 100+ boxes.

The Men in Mission Group does not need boxes this year.  These were provided by Home Depot in Brenham.  See the rest of this list for requested items.

On personal care items, consider giving a regular size rather than the small, travel size.  Most importantly, consider what you would enjoy receiving.  This is a ministry of love.

Remember to love your neighbor as yourself.

Address books
Band-aids (fabric)
Baseball caps – new condition only, not used please.
2021 Calendars
Comb
Dental Floss
Antiperspirant/deodorant
Disposable razors
Flashlight and batteries
Kleenex – small packs
Lip balm
Lotion
Nail clippers
Gold Bond cream
Gold Bond powder
Hot Chocolate (individual serving size)
Needles and thread
Q-tips
Shaving cream
Soap
Shampoo
Toothbrush
Toothpaste
Gum and hard candy
Key chains
Pocket-sized notebooks
Mechanical pencils
Pens
Playing cards
Microwave popcorn (individual packages)
Socks
Sudoku books
Texas souvenirs
T-shirts
USB flash drives
Word search books

Christmas Boxes 2014 working 2

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The 16th Sunday after Pentcost

St John Chrysostom Icon
A mosaic of St. John Chrysostom at the Christian Church Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (Constantinople), Turkey.  He was the Archbishop of Constantinople around the year AD 400.

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, September 13, 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.

First Reading: Jonah 3:10–4:11

R:  A reading from Jonah, the 3rd chapter.

After Jonah’s short sermon in 3:4, the Ninevites all repented and God decided to spare the city. Jonah objected to this and became even more angry when God ordered a worm to destroy a plant that was providing shade. The book ends with a question that challenges any who are not ready to forgive: You, Jonah, are all worked up about a bush, but shouldn’t I be concerned about a hundred and twenty thousand Ninevites?

And now the reading.

10When God saw what [the people of Ninevah] did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
4:1But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
6The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” 10Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 145:1-8

R:  Psalm 145, read responsively by verse.

1I will exalt you, my God and king,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2Every day will I bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!
There is no end to your greatness.
4One generation shall praise your works to another
and shall declare your power. 
5I will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty
and all your marvelous works.
6They shall tell of the might of your wondrous acts,
and I will recount your greatness.
7They shall publish the remembrance of your great goodness;
they shall sing joyfully of your righteousness.
8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 

Second Reading: Philippians 1:21-30

R:  A reading from Philippians, the 1st chapter.

Paul writes to the Philippians from prison. Though he is uncertain about the outcome of his imprisonment, he is committed to the ministry of the gospel and calls on the Philippians to live lives that reflect and enhance the gospel mission.

And now the reading.

21For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. 22If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. 23I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; 24but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. 25Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, 26so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
27Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, 28and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. 29For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—30since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

*Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 20th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus tells a parable about God’s generosity, challenging the common assumption that God rewards people according to what they have earned or deserve.

And now the reading.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 1“The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. 3When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; 4and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. 5When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. 6And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ 7They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ 8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ 9When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

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

SEPTEMBER 20, 2020

16th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

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

There is an ancient tradition of Christianity, especially in the Easter Orthodox Church.  Every year on the Saturday of Easter Weekend, at the Great Vigil of Easter, a specific sermon is read aloud.  It is the “Pascha Sermon of St. John Chrysostom.”  St. John Chrysostom was known for his great preaching and public speaking.  He was one of the most prominent of the Early Church Fathers.  John served as the Archbishop of Constantinople around the year 400.

Most of us never get to hear this special sermon in its usual context at the Vigil of Easter.  It is notable that one of the major scriptural references he makes is from this day’s readings.  He references today’s Gospel reading from Matthew numerous times.  It is important to remember that this was written to be shared at the end of the Lenten Fast, and at the beginning of the Resurrection Celebration.

Let us hear the words of this great leader of the church, St. John Chrysostom.

The Pascha Homily of St. John Chrysostom

If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.  If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.

And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.

Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages.

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, Heavenly Father, we praise you for your abundant mercy.  We worship you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  We bow before you in reverent prayer.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We remember those who rest in you, (including…)  Help us to care for one another in our time of loss.  Guide us to give an accounting of the hope which you have placed in us.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer the persecuted Christians throughout the world.  Keep them steadfast in your Word, and protect the thousands of Christians who are in prison due to their faith in you. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

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

We pray for all who care for fields, orchards, vineyards, and livestock.  Help them to be good stewards of your provision.  Grant them safety and favorable weather as they work on our behalf.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for this congregation and our ministry together.  Turn our hearts toward you and help us to be generous in the sharing of our resources of time, finances and spiritual gifts.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

You are the source of abundant love and mercy.  Guide and enrich the ministries of the Lutheran Disaster Response.  Help us work together to bring relief and recovery to those who have suffered due to natural disasters.  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.

The 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Slate with students

Students from the past using slates in school.

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, September 13, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We continue to offer in-person services 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.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

15th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Genesis 50:15-21

R:  A reading from Genesis, the 50th chapter.

After Jacob’s death the brothers of Joseph begged for forgiveness for the crime they had done against him. You intended to do me harm, Joseph said, but God used this as an opportunity to do good and save many lives.

15Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” 16So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, 17‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” 19But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? 20Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. 21So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm: Psalm 103:1-13

R:  Psalm 103, read responsively by verse.

1Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name.

2Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all God’s benefits—
3who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases;
4who redeems your life from the grave
and crowns you with steadfast love and mercy; 
5who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like an eagle’s.
6O Lord, you provide vindication
and justice for all who are oppressed.

7You made known your ways to Moses
and your works to the children of Israel.

8Lord, you are full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love; 
9you will not always accuse us,
nor will you keep your anger forever.
10You have not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor repaid us according to our iniquities.
11For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so great is your steadfast love for those who fear you.
12As far as the east is from the west,
so far have you removed our transgressions from us.
13As a father has compassion for his children,
so you have compassion for those who fear you, O Lord. 

Second Reading: Romans 14:1-12

R:  A reading from Romans, the 14th chapter.

This Christian community has significant struggles with diversity. Here Paul helps us understand that despite different practices in worship and personal piety, we do not judge one another. All Christians belong to the Lord Jesus Christ who died for all of us and will judge each of us.

1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. 2Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. 3Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. 4Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord

that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. 6Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.
7We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. 8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so

then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11For it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.”
12So then, each of us will be accountable to God.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 18th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

When Peter asks about the limits of forgiveness, Jesus responds with a parable that suggests human forgiveness should mirror the unlimited mercy of God.

21Peter came and said to [Jesus], “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
23“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26So the slave fell on his knees before

him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that

had taken place. 32Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as

I had mercy on you?’ 34And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

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

 

Devotion

“Clean Slate, Courtesy of Jesus”

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

My parents started school in the 1930s.  My father was even in a one room schoolhouse.  Back then they used what are called, “slates,” for doing parts of their school work.  These were thin layers of a stone called slate which is cut to form a small chalk or marker board.  They used chalk to write words or complete math problems.  It was a way for students to have an easy to use and easy to clean writing surface.

The term, “Clean Slate,” comes from these work surfaces for students.  They could do their work and then clean it off with water or a cloth.  Then they had a fresh surface to write again.  Thus, a, “clean slate.”

With the forgiveness of our sin by God we are given a, “clean slate,” of sorts.  If the slate records our sinful thoughts, words, and deeds, then the loving work of God in Jesus washes away the record of sin.  Instead of remembering our sin, the Lord chooses to forgive and clean away the eternal record of our sin.  Each and every day, as we confess our sin to God and as we offer forgiveness of the sin of others against us, we are getting that clean slate.  God acts.  We respond.  God cleans the slate.

As we think about this, maybe that is what Jesus had in mind when he increased the number of times to forgive to 77 times.  But who is counting?  If forgiveness means wiping away the deed, then we are always going back to one.  It is to be forgiven, once and for all.

In today’s reading from the book of Matthew we have an encounter between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus had been speaking about reconciliation between church members when Peter came to him.  Peter’s question was this, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive?  As many as seven times?”

Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but I tell you, seventy-seven times.”

Here in this passage Jesus teaches us that forgiveness is foundational to community in Christ.  Yes, acknowledge the sin, but also forgive.  Put it behind yourself and get on with living in community.  Sadly, sometimes in our sinful and broken condition, we can neither forgive nor accept forgiveness.  In doing so, we hurt the church.  To move on well with our life together in the church we need both to forgive and to accept forgiveness.

Throughout the years I have never heard anybody come to the end of their life and say they wished they had spent more time holding grudges or refusing to forgive others.  Rather, they have said the opposite.  They wish they had been more forgiving of others, and of themselves.

The value and power of forgiveness in life is accentuated by the teaching story, or parable, which Jesus shares in today’s Gospel reading.  He tells the story of a king who calls in his accounts with his administrator slaves.  At one point a slave who owes the king ten thousand talents of godl was brought to him.  Now to give you perspective, 10,000 talents of gold was 750,000 pounds of gold, or 12,000,000 ounces of gold.  At the current approximate price of gold of $1935.00 per ounce, that man owed the king $ 23,220,000,000.00 – twenty-three billion, two hundred twenty million dollars.  Of course, Jesus is using hyperbole to make the point with this wildly large amount of personal debt.

So, this slave who owes over twenty-three billion dollars begins to beg the king from more time to pay the debt.  In response, the king forgives the entire amount of this enormous debt.  Later, the forgiven slave encounters a fellow slave who owes him 100 denarii, which is about $10,000 in today’s money in our American economy.  The slave could not pay the full amount immediately, so the previously forgiven slave has the second slave put in debtor’s prison.

When the king found this out, he summoned the forgiven slave and said, “You wicked slave!  I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.  Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?”    Immediately the king threw the wicked slave into the dungeon for torture until he could pay back his debt of over 23 billion dollars.

The main message of the story is this:  God’s forgiveness of our sin is beyond generous and grand.  There is nothing we can do to earn it, nor can we ever imagine paying the Lord back for what he has done for us.  God’s forgiveness of our sin is founded in God’s love and in the death of God the Son, Jesus Christ.  God, the Son, went to the cross and died our death for our forgiveness.  He made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  After that he was raised to eternal life.  Founded in his love and forgiveness, we are called to follow him through this life as well.

Even if we supposedly could do enough good things to pay back the debt of our sin, it doesn’t work that way.  If life with God were about paying him back for our sin, then we would never get around to the life he has prepared for us.  We would miss out on the joy of living in friendship with God and following his most excellent way.  You see, God loves us and he joyfully grants us all we need to know him both now and in eternity.  Within the forgiven life we are called to a better way. God has called us to follow his way, and to forgive as we have ourselves been forgiven.

Retired United Methodist Pastor Sara Owen-Gemoets tells of how living the forgiven life works for the benefit of us and for the benefit of others.  She said, “This parable of the unmerciful servant illustrates beautifully the “echo effect”.  The ‘echo effect’ means that we receive back in life exactly what we give out.  Try it sometime.  Go around and tell everyone how horrible they are and that you hate them.  Shake you fist at people and make obscene gestures on the highway.  What do you imagine you’ll receive in return?

Then flip it around.  Spend a few days paying people compliments; tell them you love them.  Do random acts of kindness.  Then what do you think you’ll receive in return?  This parable is a great example of the ‘echo effect’.  What we give out in life is exactly what we receive in return.  “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.””

My prayer for all of us is that we will live the forgiven life:  one where sin and offenses are put behind us; one where we bless others have we have been blessed by God; one where we work for reconciliation in the community of faith.  All of this matters for two reasons:

1)   This is a faithful and appropriate response to God’s forgiveness and love in our lives.

2)   This sets the tone for life within the community of faith, the church.

May we all live the forgiven life, both today and in the future, because through God’s forgiveness our sin is “wiped out and gone forever.”  By the love of Jesus we have a, “Clean Slate.”

Let us pray – Gracious Lord, you are the source of all love and forgiveness.  Help us to seek you always for the forgiveness of sin which leads to eternal life with you.  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 one true God.  Turn our hearts toward you, for you are the refuge for our weary lives, you are the one who forgives all our sin over and over again.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We remember those who lost their lives because of terrorist attacks on our nation nineteen years ago.  You are our refuge and our strength, a very present help in time of trouble.  Uphold us with your love and give us the strength we need.  Help us to seek reconciliation and peace in this hurting world.  We give thanks for the emergency responders who risked and gave their lives for the sake of their neighbors in peril.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We pray for your strength and presence for those who mourn.  Help us to honor the memory of those who have gone before us.  (We especially remember…)   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 those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  We ask that you will be their help and their shield.   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for recent rain in our area.  Help us to trust in you during times of scarcity and of abundance.  Grant us greater love for others as we work together as faithful stewards of your provision. 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.

 

HARVEST FESTIVAL 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 church office.

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF Some of the items lost in the Beirut, Lebanon port explosion came from our congregation.  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/

 Waldeck Lutheran Church BBQ Sunday, September 27. 10:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  Drive thru only.  Whole Chicken $10/each; Sausage Links $7/each.  Homemade BBQ sauce also available.  Pre-order by calling 979-249-6551 or 979-966-8872.  Tell your friends.  This is their main, special fundraiser for 2020.  Thank you for your support.

Hurricane Laura Relief

This is the interior of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana, following the Hurricane Laura disaster.

Bringing Relief Following Hurricane Laura

Our Texas – Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod – ELCA has experienced another hurricane. This time, Hurricane Laura hit the coastline near the border of Texas and Louisiana. There was extensive damage to homes, businesses, and churches, especially in Lake Charles. The sanctuary at one of our synod congregations experienced significant damage – see photo above.

We can help now. Lutheran Disaster Response is working already to bring relief. Click this link to find out more and to give online directly.

Our Gulf Coast Synod is working with congregations and coordinating some relief. Click here to see the synod Facebook page for disaster relief.

Click here to see the Synod disaster relief link page.

Click here to give money to help through MLLC. The secure giving page has options to give to Lutheran Disaster Response and through our synod.

Together we are working to love one another in the Body of Christ, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Beirut Explosion Relief Update

UPDATE – We have been informed by LWR that some of the items destroyed in Beirut were from MLLC. We can know this because there are tracking labels on the boxes we send to Lutheran World Relief. It helps us know where things have gone, and it helps LWR to manage their shipments. We are saddened by the loss of life, the injuries, along with the the loss of homes and businesses. We are also saddened by the loss of relief supplies which were prepared by the people of MLLC.

On the evening of August 4, 2020, a ship full of approximately 2,700 tons of agricultural fertilizer exploded at the port of Beirut, Lebanon.  This explosion killed over 200 people and injured over 4,000 people.  Thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.  Various other ships at the port were damaged or destroyed, and their cargoes ruined.

One of the ships destroyed was one carrying items brought to Lebanon by Lutheran World Relief (LWR).  Approximately $624,000 worth of relief supplies were destroyed.  Items in the destroyed shipment included 22,000 quilts, along with numerous school kits and health kits.  These quilts and kits are the sort which are made by our quilting group and the Women of the ELCA at MLLC. The loss of these supplies will make the relief efforts more challenging for our ministry partners at LWR

Here is an article about this disaster as it relates to Lutheran World Relief supplies.  Click Link.

Thankfully there are ways to help those who have lost so much due to this industrial disaster.  The quickest way to help is through financial giving.  You can give online at: Click this link.

You can mail a check to:

Lutheran World Relief
PO Box 17061
Baltimore, MD   21297-1061

You can call to give at:  800.597.5972​​​​​

Another way to help is to work on the projects to make quilts, health kits and school kits for Lutheran World Relief.  Contact the church office about work days, project requirements, and other ways you can participate in these works of love for our neighbors around the world.

The 13th Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Hagia Sophia

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost, August 30, 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 30, 2020

13th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Jeremiah 15:15-21

R:  A reading from Jeremiah, the 15th chapter.

Jeremiah’s delight in the word of the Lord is contradicted by the heaviness of God’s hand upon him and God’s seeming unfaithfulness. God’s tough love to Jeremiah says that if he repents, he will be allowed to continue in his strenuous ministry. Jeremiah is strengthened by the simple words, “I am with you.”

And now the reading.

15O Lord, you know;
remember me and visit me,
and bring down retribution for me on my persecutors.
In your forbearance do not take me away;
know that on your account I suffer insult.
16Your words were found, and I ate them,
and your words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart;
for I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.
17I did not sit in the company of merrymakers,
nor did I rejoice;
under the weight of your hand I sat alone,
for you had filled me with indignation.
18Why is my pain unceasing,
my wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail.
19Therefore thus says the Lord:
If you turn back, I will take you back,
and you shall stand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall serve as my mouth.
It is they who will turn to you,
not you who will turn to them.
20And I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
but they shall not prevail over you,
for I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
says the Lord.
21I will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of the ruthless.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 26:1-8

R:  Psalm 26, read responsively by verse.

1Give judgment for me, O Lord, for I have lived with integrity;
I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered.
2Test me, O Lord, and try me;
examine my heart and my mind.
3For your steadfast love is before my eyes;
I have walked faithfully with you.
4I have not sat with the worthless,
nor do I consort with the deceitful. 
5I have hated the company of evildoers;
I will not sit down with the wicked.
6I will wash my hands in innocence, O Lord,
that I may go in procession round your altar,
7singing aloud a song of thanksgiving
and recounting all your wonderful deeds.
8Lord, I love the house in which you dwell
and the place where your glory abides. 

Second Reading: Romans 12:9-21

R:  A reading from Romans, the 12th chapter.

Paul presents benchmarks for faithful relationships with Christians and non-Christians. Love is the unflagging standard of our behavior. When we encounter evil, we do not resort to its tactics but seek to overcome it with good. While Christians cannot control the actions and attitudes of others, we seek to live at peace with all people.

And now the reading.

9Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. 11Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. 13Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are.

17Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. 18If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

*Gospel: Matthew 16:21-28

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 16th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After Peter confesses that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (16:16), Jesus reveals the ultimate purpose of his ministry. These words prove hard to accept, even for a disciple whom Jesus has called a “rock.”

And now the reading.

21From that time on, [after Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah,] Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. 26For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?
27“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been done. 28Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

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

 

Devotion

“A Major Shift”

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

We have begun a new school year this past week in our local schools.  This is a unique situation for everybody involved, students, families, school staff and school leadership.  The struggles of this pandemic have required various changes.  Some students are at home using the internet for connection to the classroom.  Some students are on campus, but they have significant restrictions to their actions.  Teachers are having to make notable changes in how they manage the teaching and administration.  Staff and leaders are having to create new ways and to adjust how school is done.  This is all a major shift for all involved.

In our Gospel reading for today we see a major shift in Jesus’ relationship with his disciples.  The first part of the book of Matthew is dominated by teachings about the Kingdom of God.  Although very interesting and informative, these are often less demanding of the disciple.  Now, in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus announces a major shift for the life of his followers.  Jesus tells them, in no uncertain terms, that he is going to suffer, die and then be raised from the tomb.  The new way for the disciples was the way of the cross.  For Peter, who had been growing so well under the simpler school of theology, was now having a much more difficult time with this announcement.  Following Jesus was going to be much more difficult for them.  In response to Jesus’ announcement about his own death, Peter did the unthinkable:  he rebuked God.  He spoke to Jesus, God the Son and said, “God forbid it Lord!  This must never happen to you.”  Jesus responds by telling Peter to get out of the way of his mission.  He uses strong language to do this, comparing Peter to Satan, the one who impedes or gets in the way.

Jesus goes on to explain that to be one of his followers is to move into this new way of living.  He says, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  This way of the cross is one of self denial and possible death for the sake of following Jesus Christ.  To follow Christ is to put all things in submission to Jesus, and this includes life itself.

Judy Anderson grew up as a missionary kid in Zaire.  Zaire is now called the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a little girl, Judy went to a day-long rally celebrating the 100th anniversary of Christian missionaries coming to that part of the country. After a full day of messages and music, an old man came before the crowd and insisted that he be allowed to speak. He said he soon would die, and that he had some important information to share.

The old man explained that when Christian missionaries had first come a hundred years before, his people thought the missionaries were strange and their message unusual. The tribal leaders decided to test the missionaries in a cruel and harsh way: They slowly poisoned them to death. Over a period of months and years, missionary children died one by one.

Then the old man said, “It was as we watched how they died that we decided we wanted to live as Christians.”

Think of it – those missionaries never knew what was happening.  They didn’t know they were being poisoned and they didn’t know why they were dying.  They didn’t know they were martyrs.  Those Christian missionaries stayed and died because they trusted in Jesus and his call to bring the Gospel.  They loved the people.  In reflection, it was the way they died, staying faithful to their calling, that taught others how to live as followers of Jesus.

That is how it is with the way of the cross.  Following Jesus comes before everything.  Following Jesus is the greatest calling in life, yet it is far from the easiest calling for the human race.  Jesus, our leader, took this approach.  He put all else aside to fulfill the mission which his Heavenly Father gave to him.  Jesus came into this world and taught about how to live and how to die.  Through this he taught us how to follow him through life, death and into eternal life with him.  His ultimate gift to us was that he went to the cross to die our death for the forgiveness of our sin.  All of our lack of trusting God died at that cross.  All our disregard of God’s will died at the cross.  All our hate for life and goodness died at the cross.  From that death Jesus moved beyond death and into the resurrected life.  All sin was left for dead in the tomb, and he now leads us beyond death and into his most excellent way, which always includes the cross.

Most of us will not end of being missionaries to some far off land.  Even so, we are called to following Jesus and his way of the cross.  Our reading from Romans chapter 12 this week offers a vision for God’s better way, the way of the cross, as it matters to our relationships within the body of Christ, and with our neighbors in life.  Paul here presents a vision, or guided plan, for God’s most excellent way.  Sure, we don’t always live it out fully, and it is not easy.  Even so, consider this section of Romans 12:

“Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

This is part of living in the new path of following Jesus.  No, it is not easy, but it is still God’s will for us.  I invite all of you to prayerfully strive toward living according to God’s vision for our lives as shown in this section of Romans chapter 12.

Life following the most excellent way of Jesus is difficult, joyful, challenging, yet easy.  It is the way that we are called to follow if we are to believe and receive the gracious forgiveness of Jesus Christ.  As you respond to God’s goodness and the call of Jesus Christ, you will be a positive witness to what God is doing in your life right now.  People will watch how we live, and how we die.  I pray that God will be able to use our witness to help other know how serious we are about our faith in what Jesus has first done for us.

Let us pray – Gracious and Loving God, it is by your Son’s passion and death that our sins are forgiven.  Help us to understand that in his death on the cross comes the beginning of life for us.  We pray this in his 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.

O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  You created all things, and you rule them with wisdom, power,` and mercy. According to your mercy hear us now as we come before you in prayer, prayer and thanksgiving.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for your provision of wisdom and knowledge for your people in this world.  Enliven the teachers of this congregation as they work to bring your Word to all generations.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant all teachers, parents and school staff members what they need to teach the children in their care.  Enable students to learn and use the knowledge they receive. Help all involved continue to make the proper adjustments in the challenging times.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Be with all who have suffered due to recent fires and storms.  Help us work with Lutheran Disaster Response for relief to our neighbors in need.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Other intercessions may be added here.

Grant the comfort and peace of Christ to those who mourn (including the family and friends of…). Lord, in your mercy,  hear our prayer.

Be the strong arm that strengthens those who are weak and in need of healing, including…   and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  Be the hope of those who despair and can imagine no good future. Send us to the side of all of those in need, that we may embody your love and compassion and point them to your unfailing promises. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

In the Holy Communion you give us a foretaste of the feast to come.  Open our spiritual hearts to receive your gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation. By your Word and Spirit unite in true faith all who this day receive your Son’s body and blood, that they may proclaim Christ’s death until he comes. 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.

Newsletter Page Updated September 2020

Newsletter Page Updated

MLLC publishes a newsletter every month online and in print. You can receive these by mail or email or see them on this web site. To receive them by mail, contact the church office – 979-278-3388

To receive them by mail, send a message to mluther@industryinet.com requesting to be added to the list.

Check back each month to see these on the web site.

The recent months of newsletters, including the current month, are now posted on the mllccarmine.com web site.

Here is the link to that page.
Monthly Newsletters.

Thank you for your interest and partnership in ministry.

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/

 

Mourning with our Peruvian Partners

Peru Bishop Photo

Death of the Pastor/President (Bishop) of the Lutheran Church of Peru

We, as part of our Gulf Coast Synod – ELCA, have a ministry partnership with churches around the world.  We have a special partnership with the Lutheran churches in Peru and the Central African Republic.  We received the sad news today that Adita Torres Lescano, the Pastor/President (same role as presiding or national bishop in the ELCA) of the Lutheran Church of Peru, Iglesia Luterana del Peru, died today.  It appears that she died due to COVID19 illness.

Here is the notice of her death in translation:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The Pastoral Conference of the Lutheran Church of Peru – ILP and the Secretary of the ILP, with much regret and deep pain, must inform you that our beloved Pastor Adita Torres Lescano has passed into the arms of our Lord God.
We share this unfortunate news today, August 10, with all the sisters and brothers of the national and international congregations and other institutions that accompany us.
Our Lutheran Church of Peru is in deep mourning, dismayed by her death. We ask our community to pray for their families and other members who today mourn her passing.
“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful…
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.”
—Psalm 116.
Sincerely,
The ILP Pastoral Conference
ILP Board of Directors Secretary

 

Here is the original letter:

Peru Bishop Letter Death

Please pray for her family and friends, as well as for the people of our partner congregations in Peru.  We will remember her in prayer at worship in the coming weeks.

 

 

Beirut Explosion and Lutheran World Relief

Beirut Explosion

Beirut Explosion: How We Can Help

On the evening of August 4, 2020, a ship full of approximately 2,700 tons of agricultural fertilizer exploded at the port of Beirut, Lebanon.  This explosion killed over 200 people and injured over 4,000 people.  Thousands of buildings were damaged or destroyed.  Various other ships at the port were damaged or destroyed, and their cargoes ruined.

One of the ships destroyed was one carrying items brought to Lebanon by Lutheran World Relief.  Approximately $624,000 worth of relief supplies were destroyed.  Items in the destroyed shipment included 22,000 quilts, along with numerous school kits and health kits.  These quilts and kits are the sort which are made by our quilting group and the Women of the ELCA at MLLC. The loss of these supplies will make the relief efforts more challenging for our ministry partners at Lutheran World Relief.

Here is an article about this disaster as it relates to Lutheran World Relief supplies.  Click Link.

Thankfully there are ways to help those who have lost so much due to this industrial disaster.  The quickest way to help is through financial giving.  You can give online at: Click this link.

You can mail a check to:

Lutheran World Relief
PO Box 17061
Baltimore, MD   21297-1061

You can call to give at:  800.597.5972​​​​​

 

Another way to help is to work on the projects to make quilts, health kits and school kits for Lutheran World Relief.  Contact the church office about work days, project requirements, and other ways you can participate in these works of love for our neighbors around the world.