Advent 1 – November 29, 2020

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The chancel of Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church with the new, blue, Advent paraments. 

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the First Sunday in Advent, November 29, 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.

The First Sunday in Advent

November 28 – 29, 2020

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First Reading: Isaiah 64:1-9

The First Reading is from the 64th chapter of Isaiah.

This lament comes from a people who have had their hopes shattered. The visions of a rebuilt Jerusalem and a renewed people of God, spoken of in Isaiah 40–55, have not been realized. Instead, the people experience ruin, conflict, and famine. This lament calls God to account—to be the God who has brought deliverance in the past.

And now the reading.

1O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—
2as when fire kindles brushwood
and the fire causes water to boil—
to make your name known to your adversaries,
so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
3When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
4From ages past no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who works for those who wait for him.
5You meet those who gladly do right,
those who remember you in your ways.
But you were angry, and we sinned;
because you hid yourself we transgressed.
6We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
7There is no one who calls on your name,
or attempts to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.
8Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
9Do not be exceedingly angry, O Lord,
and do not remember iniquity forever.
Now consider, we are all your people.

Here ends the reading.

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Psalm: Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

Psalm 80, read responsively.

1Hear, O Shepherd of Israel, leading Joseph like a flock;
shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim.
2In the presence of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh,
stir up your strength and come to help us.
3Restore us, O God;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
4O Lord God of hosts,
how long will your anger fume when your people pray?
5You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have given them bowls of tears to drink.
6You have made us the derision of our neighbors,
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
7Restore us, O God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.
17Let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
the one you have made so strong for yourself.
18And so will we never turn away from you;
give us life, that we may call upon your name.
19Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.

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Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

The Second Reading is from the first chapter of First Corinthians.

As the Christians in Corinth await the advent of Jesus, Paul reminds them how the Lord has already enriched them through spiritual gifts and will continue to strengthen them until the coming day of the Lord.

And now the reading.

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind—6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you—7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Here ends the reading.

 

*Gospel: Mark 13:24-37                                     

The Gospel Reading is from the 13th chapter of Mark.

In today’s reading, Jesus encourages his followers to look forward to the day when he returns in power and glory to end all suffering. And now the reading.

[Jesus said:] 24“In those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
25and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 30Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. 37And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

Here ends our readings.

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“The Grand Gift of God”

 By Pastor David Tinker

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

We are gathered here today during the season of Advent. Part of what Advent is about is getting ready for a great celebration of the birth of Jesus the Messiah. During this time of year many people will be kinder, gentler, friendlier, and more generous.  Some even become more faithfully involved in their faith life. They will attend worship more often. They will gather with others for prayer and devotions. Then, on Christmas Day comes, or when the Christmas season ends on January 6, a good number people will drop out of living the Christian Christmas spirit. Thankfully, some will keep it going all year long.

Author Ronald M Patterson tells of a time he visited in the home of a friend during the month of March. He writes, “We were talking, and suddenly I looked up on a corner shelf and noticed a Christmas ornament hanging – almost as though it had been forgotten in the mad rush to put away the holiday season. I quickly looked away, hoping that my glance had not been noticed.  But the woman caught me. Before I could say anything, she smiled and said: “No, I didn’t forget. Every year when I clean up the mess, I choose one ornament to leave up to remind me that Christmas is not just one day or one season, but a lifetime.  That little bulb is my reminder that Jesus Christ walks with me every day.”

Our reading today from First Corinthians shows us that God is always, in a sense, in the Christmas spirit. He is always loving, faithful, and good. He’s always full of grace and forgiveness.  Paul writes in this passage, “God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We can know God and be with God forever only through the saving work of Jesus Christ. He is the one who died on the cross for our sin. We celebrate that he was raised to life just a couple days later. All of this was motivated by the strong, steadfast, and eternal love of God. His love permeates every action and gift. God just loves and loves and loves.

There is a story by Author Willa Cather. It is called “The Burglars Christmas”. It portrays a young man, the proverbial Prodigal Son, who has moved away from his family back east and was now living in Chicago. Without food for many days, without friends, and with suicidal thoughts, he decides on Christmas Eve to steal some food from a house. He has never stolen before, but thinks that he is owed some food, at least on Christmas Eve. When he breaks into the house, however, he finds that he has burglarized the house of his parents, who had moved to Chicago. His mother catches him while stealing, and he confesses all to her and to his father.

He prepares to leave, but they say, “Stay. We’ll make things right.”

He looks up at his mother questioningly, “I wonder if you know how much you pardon?”

“Oh, my poor boy,” his mother answered, “much or little, what does it matter? Have you wandered so far and not yet learned that love has nothing to do with pardon or forgiveness, that only loves and loves and loves?”

In other words, pardon and forgiveness don’t lead to love.  Rather, love is powerful, and it also leads to things such as pardon and forgiveness.

We know and serve a faithful God who loves and loves and love.  Our life with God is founded on his great love for us.  We are gathered here this Advent Season to look into the great and powerful love of God shown us in the life of Jesus.  We prepare to celebrate his birth, and we revisit what life is about at this time.  We always start with the love and faithfulness of God.  This leads us to revisit what our lives are about.  We look to what is right, and what is wrong in our lives.  With God’s amazing love we work with God to fix what is messed us, so that we can live according to the way of Jesus.

One thing that we struggle with so often is forgiveness.  This could be our own need for it, but it is also our need to forgive others.  Forgiveness is not easy, but it is in the spirit of Christmas, and most importantly, it is the way of Jesus.

C. S. Lewis said in the book, The Weight of Glory, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”

As we work through our faith during this Advent, let us revisit this powerful truth about our lives.  God has forgiven the inexcusable in us.

What can we do to give thanks to God for this?

In what areas of our lives do we need to be turning from sin, and seeking to do things God’s way?

Who are some people that need our forgiveness?

Who have we struggled to forgive?

As we celebrate the Advent and Christmas Spirit this year, let us always remember that God just loves and loves and loves.  He loves us so much that he forgives the inexcusable.  He loves us so much that he calls and empowers us to forgive the inexcusable in others as well.

Let us pray – Heavenly Father, your mercy and forgiveness are powerful expressions of your love for us.  By your Holy Spirit help us to receive and understand these gifts.  We pray this in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

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Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence.

Most High God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: you guide and form all of creation.  For this, and all things, we worship you.  Help us to live with faithfulness to you and prudence in our actions. Hear us, O God.     Your mercy is great.

We lift in prayer your Church.  We especially pray for our brothers and sisters in the land of Jesus’ birth.  Help them to remain steadfast in the midst of persecution.  Hear us, O God.          Your mercy is great.

We give thanks that you model servant leadership for us.  We pray that all in authority in your church will be guided and inspired by your sacrificial leadership.

Hear us, O God.          Your mercy is great.

You are the source of healing and strength for all who suffer in any way.  We especially lift in prayer… and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…    Hear us, O God.       Your mercy is great.

 

We pray for all who have not yet responded to your offer of forgiveness.  Send your Holy Spirit into their lives so they may come to believe in Jesus.  Help all people in this congregation to grow in their witness to your mercy and grace.  Help us to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Hear us, O God.       Your mercy is great.

 

You call us to live as your people now and forever.  We lift in prayer those who mourn during this time  (especially the family and friends of…).  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

Other petitions may be added here.

You inspire your church to give you praise.  We give thanks for the music ministry of this congregation.  Be with all musicians, singers and leaders as they guide us in our worship of the one true God.  Hear us, O God.        Your mercy is great.

 

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen 

Christ the King Sunday – November 22, 2020

Heaven Dore

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for Christ the King Sunday, November 22, 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.

Christ the King Sunday

November 21-22, 2020

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First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Reader says:  The First Reading is from the 34th chapter of Ezekiel.

Since Israel’s kings proved to be bad shepherds, Ezekiel declares that the Lord will assume the role of shepherd in Israel. The Lord will also set over them a shepherd-messiah, “my servant David,” who will feed and care for the people.

And now the reading.

11Thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out. 12As shepherds seek out their flocks when they are among their scattered sheep, so I will seek out my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places to which they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. 13I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the watercourses, and in all the inhabited parts of the land. 14I will feed them with good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and they shall feed on rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord God. 16I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with justice.
20Therefore, thus says the Lord God to them: I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21Because you pushed with flank and shoulder, and butted at all the weak animals with your horns until you scattered them far and wide, 22I will save my flock, and they shall no longer be ravaged; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
23I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

Here ends the reading.

 

Psalm: Psalm 95:1-7a

Psalm 95, read responsively.

1Come, let us sing to the Lord;
  let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.
2Let us come before God’s presence with thanksgiving
  and raise a loud shout to the Lord with psalms.
3For you, Lord, are a great God,
  and a great ruler above all gods.
4In your hand are the caverns of the earth;
  the heights of the hills are also yours. 
5The sea is yours, for you made it,
  and your hands have molded the dry land.
6Come, let us worship and bow down,
  let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
7aFor the Lord is our God,
  and we are the people of God’s pasture and the sheep of God’s hand.  Amen

 

Second Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23

The Second Reading is from the first chapter of Ephesians.

In this passage, God is praised for revealing ultimate divine power in raising Jesus from the dead. The resurrected, exalted Christ is Lord both of the church and the entire universe, now and in the age to come.

And now the reading.

15I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 16I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. 17I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 18so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 20God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 22And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Here ends the reading.

 

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

The Gospel Reading is from the 25th chapter of Matthew.

Jesus compares himself to a king who moves among his subjects to see how he is treated: what is done for the least of those who belong to his family is truly done for him.

And now the reading.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family you did it to me.’ 41Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Here ends the readings.

 

Devotion:  “Stand Up for Jesus”

By Pastor David Tinker

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

            In the 1970s in the Lutheran Church there were extensive teachings about our way of worshipping the Lord.  This was in preparation for the publication of a new service book.  This was Lutheran Book of Worship, which was published in 1978. 

            One of the teaching documents told about the action of standing for the Gospel Reading.  As part of this it taught about standing, not for the pastor, but for Jesus.  It speaks of this action in this way: “We Rise to Greet Him.”

Standing for the Gospel Reading is a great thing to remember on this Christ the King Sunday.  We stand for the one who loves us and who is truly the greatest of all.  When we stand for the Gospel it is about how Jesus Christ will reign forever and ever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  When we stand up for Jesus we are doing 2 things. 

1: We are showing respect for Jesus.  

2:  We are making a commitment to him.  We are saying that we are ready to receive our marching orders from our great and loving King.

            Our reading from Matthew today shows an important piece of our marching orders from our king.   All of what he does in giving such orders is founded in what he has first done for us.  He has gone ahead of us into life, death and rising from the dead.  He has suffered on our behalf, and he has brought forgiveness and new life to us.  Jesus has acted first for us, and we are guided by his Marching Orders on how to follow as his faithful people. 

Jesus uses a parable – a teaching story – to give us our marching orders.  This parable is about a king who separates out two groups.  One group naturally served humanity without knowing they were serving the king.  It was simply the faithful way of living as God’s people.  The other group kept their energies to themselves.  The first group was praised, and the king told them that “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”  They were shown that when they served struggling humanity they were serving the king.

            The second group kept their love and energies to themselves.  The king did not praise them, but said, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these you did not do it to me.”  Those who did nothing to care for humanity were sent away into punishment.

            In this congregation we have a long history of showing kindness to others.  We support food pantries.  At both of our congregations we are working on assembling Christmas Boxes for Seafarers at the Port of Houston.  These are shoe boxes filled with various practical items which are distributed by the Chaplain’s office at the Port of Houston.  In various ways we are showing kindness to others around the world who need it most.

            There is that great old hymn, “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”.  Here is the first stanza of that great hymn:

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,

            as soldiers of the cross,

            lift high his royal banner;

            it must not suffer loss.

            From vict’ry unto vict’ry

            his army he shall lead,

            till ev’ry foe is vanquished

            and Christ is Lord indeed.

This is a powerful call to action.  It is a call to respond to the great things God has done.

In response to Christ the king we get to do two things today. 

One, is that we get to have a fresh start as God’s beloved children.  We get to rejoice in the good news that God’s sacrificial love and forgiveness are also for us.  We hear again that we are set free from the final power of sin, death and evil.  We get a fresh start on how we live now and forever.

The second thing we do is founded on the first.  As loved and forgiven sinners we are invited to Stand Up for the ultimate king of kings, Jesus Christ our Lord.  We can do this because of the first thing we do.  God has done great things for us, and we respond by standing up in commitment to Jesus Christ. 

There are billions of stories about how people have responded to God’s call in life.  One story which always comes to mind for me is about my late mother.  She was active in hunger relief efforts in her neighborhood in Houston.  For many years she would take a few days each month to distribute bread.  On these days she would go to a certain day-old bread store.  The staff would have a few trays full of bread ready for her to take.  At a certain time on those days she would bring the trays full of bread to a park in the neighborhood.  She would place the trays on a particular picnic bench.  Nearby several people were waiting.  These would be mothers, fathers, families, singles, or whoever.  All were hungry and poor people from the neighborhood who came to get some simple bread to eat.  My mother and the bread store gave to the least of these in that community.  In this Christ the King was served, people were fed, and God was given the glory. 

In response to God’s amazing and powerful mercy we get to show honor to Jesus.  Because he has done so much for us, we can stand up in commitment to him.  It really doesn’t matter what you have done or have left undone in the past.  What matters is that God is good and caring and powerful, and is calling for us.  God has met us in the midst of our own struggles and death.  God has been with us when we are hungry or thirsty or hurting or sinful or lonely or lost in any way.  God carries us through these times and into life today and forever.  God’s Holy Spirit is with us today, guiding us into fellowship with the Lord.  Today we get to stand up for Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.  Today we can live by doing the simple acts of service for the least of those in the world.  Let us stand up today for Christ the King.                     

Let us pray – Almighty God, King of Kings, we worship you and serve you.  Help us to give of our time and resources in ways which help our neighbors in need.  We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Prayers for November 22, 2020        

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 King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We ask that you receive our prayers, songs, and words of thanksgiving.  Lord, in your mercy,   Hear our prayer.

 

You have given yourself for the forgiveness of our sin.  We confess that we have turned away from your way.  We have neglected the faith you have granted to us.  We have sinned and have not done what is according to your will.  We pray that, by your mercy, you will forgive us and lead us into the way of Jesus.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

Other petitions may be added here.

 

We mourn the death of our friends and loved ones.  Help us to cast our burdens on you, because you care for us.  Help us to join with you in remembering those who have gone before us.  (We especially remember…) Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for those who have suffered due to recent disasters, violence, disease, and wars.  Help us to bring relief to those who suffer across this nation and around the world.  Enable us to see Christ in those who have had to endure so much.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

 

You are the Great Physician.  We lift in prayer all who struggle in mind, body or spirit, especially…  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We celebrate your goodness as we prepare for our national day of Thanksgiving.  Help us each day to see all the abundant goodness of your provision.  Enable us to share your resources with our neighbors in need.  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

 

Reformation Sunday Devotion, Readings and Prayers

martin-luther painting

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for Reformation Sunday, October 25, 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.

Reformation Sunday

October 24 & 25, 2020

First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34

R:  A reading from Jeremiah, the 31st chapter.

The renewed covenant will not be breakable, but like the old covenant it will expect the people to live upright lives. To know the LORD means that one will defend the cause of the poor and needy (Jer. 22:16). The renewed covenant is possible only because the LORD will forgive iniquity and not remember sin. Our hope lies in a God who forgets.  And now the reading.

31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Here ends the reading.

PSALM: Psalm 46

R: Psalm 46, read responsively by verse.

1God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

 2Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be moved,

  and though the mountains shake in the depths of the sea;

3though its waters rage and foam,

and though the mountains tremble with its tumult.

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

  the holy habitation of the Most High.

5God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be shaken;

God shall help it at the break of day.

 6The nations rage, and the kingdoms shake;

  God speaks, and the earth melts away.

7The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

 8Come now, regard the works of the Lord,

  what desolations God has brought upon the earth;

9behold the one who makes war to cease in all the world;

who breaks the bow, and shatters the spear,

and burns the shields with fire.

 10“Be still, then, and know that I am God;

  I will be exalted among the nations;

I will be exalted in the earth.”

11The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

 

SECOND READING: Romans 3:19-28

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

Paul’s words stand at the heart of the preaching of Martin Luther and other Reformation leaders. No human beings make themselves right with God through works of the law. We are brought into a right relationship with God through the divine activity centered in Christ’s death. This act is a gift of grace that liberates us from sin and empowers our faith in Jesus Christ. And now the reading.                                                                                          

19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Here ends the reading.

 

*GOSPEL: John 8:31-36

P:  The holy gospel reading is from the 8th chapter of John.

Jesus speaks of truth and freedom as spiritual realities known through his word. He reveals the truth that sets people free from sin. And now the reading.

31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”

Here ends the reading.

Devotion: “Free”

By Pastor David Tinker

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

Author Ruth Walton tells a story about a beggar who lived near a king’s palace.  One day the king announced a great banquet, and the beggar thought about how much he would like to go.  Unfortunately, he wore only rags and could not dress in royal garments like the other guests.  So, the beggar went to the palace and asked to borrow some clothes for the royal banquet.  Amazingly the king summoned him to his royal throne and heard the request.  The king smiled and called his son, the prince, and told him to give the beggar some clothes.  The prince did as he was told, and soon the beggar was standing before a mirror, clothed in garments he never dreamed he might some day wear.  The prince told him, “You may now attend the banquet.  Furthermore, you will never need another set of clothes.  These garments will last forever.”

The beggar dropped to his knees in profound gratitude.  But as he started to leave the room, he looked back at his pile of dirty rags on the floor.  He hesitated.  What if the prince were wrong?  What if some day he might need his old clothes again?  Quickly he gathered them up and tucked them under his arm.

The banquet was a fabulous event.  But the beggar had trouble enjoying it as he should.  His small bundle of rags kept falling off his lap as he sat at the table.  Some of the finest delicacies passed by him, and he missed out on them, because he was continually struggling with his bundle of rags.

As the years passed, time proved that the prince was right.  The clothes lasted forever, staying just as fresh and beautiful as they were in the beginning.  But people seemed not to notice the royal robes the beggar wore, but only the little bund of filthy rags he clung to wherever he went.  Whenever they spoke of him, they always referred to him as the old man with the bundle of rags.

At the last when the beggar lay dying, the king came to visit him.  The beggar noticed the sad look on the king’s face when he saw the small bundle of rags by the bed.  Suddenly the beggar remembered the prince’s words, and he realized that clinging to his bundle of rags had cost him a lifetime of true royalty.  He wept bitterly at his foolishness.  And the king wept with him.

This day we give thanks that our God has granted us freedom.  He has granted us abundant forgiveness of our sinfulness. He has invited us to live in freedom the final powers of sin, death and evil.  God has opened the way for each of us to know God and to love God.  By this we receive the call to live in joyful service to God and to neighbor.  This goodness of God which leads to true freedom is the centerpiece of our Lutheran Christian understanding of the faith.  On this Reformation weekend we look back at what God has done, and we delight in our new life in Jesus Christ.

On this weekend we give thanks to God for the gift of the Reformation.  We observe this day in remembrance of the ministry of Martin Luther and the Reformers, and to remember the events of October 31, 1517.  That is when Martin Luther, a monk, priest, and university professor, took the risk of challenging the misguided teachings of his day.  On that great day Dr. Luther posted his 95 Theses, or points of argument, on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany.  In that document, and in the years to come, he challenged the premise that we must pay, through cash and/or good deeds, for God’s forgiveness.  In turn Luther reminded the Church of the great teachings of the Bible which proclaim that God generously offers forgiveness through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  He renewed the teaching that through that gift we can receive freedom from sin, death and evil, and that we can receive the wonderful new life of knowing God now and forever.  He helped the world know the truth that humanity struggles with sin.  Our race is under the destructive power of being away from God’s will.  This power enslaves us to living away from God and his ways.  The great news is that God has overcome all this power through Jesus.  Jesus willingly succumbed to this power in his death on the cross.  He also overpowered sin by his rising from the tomb on that first Easter Sunday morning.  Death and sin no longer had power over him.  Through the gift of faith and baptism, humanity gets to be freed from this power as well.  We get to live the new life promised by Jesus.  Luther and the Reformers were ecstatic with joy when they rediscovered the freedom God grants through faith in Jesus.

We read in today’s Gospel lesson the following words of Jesus: “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”  This freedom is a wonderful gift.  It brings life to our dead spirits.  When we come to faith in Jesus, we get to live as God’s children now. As God’s children, we get to find true freedom.

Even with all this wonderful grace of God, we sometimes struggle.  Our struggle is that we often try to hold on to our old human frailty.  Like the beggar in the story I shared with you, we often make choices which prevent us from living the freedom we have been granted.  We all too often try to hold on to our sin, our memories of sin, or our way of living under the bondage to sin. Thankfully, God reminds us that he has granted us freedom from the bondage to sin and the junky rags which hold us back.

Through God’s mercy we are given the ability to put these rags of our bondage to sin on the cross with Jesus.  We get to throw these away, and God gives us what we need so that we can receive, utilize and share his love, mercy, and more excellent way.  When we discover new struggles, new rags of sorts, we get to toss these away.

We don’t need those rags of our old life of sin anymore.  God has clothed us with the new garments of forgiveness and mercy.  This is all founded in the truth of his love which leads us to freedom in Christ.

When we have faith in Jesus and are joined with him in baptism, we get to be God’s royal children, his royal priesthood.  We get to be free indeed.  A symbol of this freedom and of God’s grace is a baptismal robe or garment.

Prince Louis Baptism 2018Baptismal Garment are common in families – In the British Royal Family they use the same baptismal robe for the baptism of royal children for many years.  There was one which was used 62 times between 1841 and 2008. A new one, a replica of the previous one, was made in 2008.  It was used for the baptisms of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince Archie. Other families today often still wear such garments for baptism.  It reminds us of the new spiritual garments which replace the rags of our sin.

One of the many places we read about this is in Ephesians 4:22-24, where Paul writes:  “You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”  Another place is in Galatians 3:27, where Paul connects this new clothing with Baptism: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  With new clothes we get rid of the old.  The old is sin, the new is the forgiveness and love of Jesus for each of us.

As we gather at the Lord’s Table this day or any time we have the sacrament, you are invited to release those rags of sin. Lay these rags of our old sin on the cross.   Let Jesus take those old rags, and don’t hold on to them any longer.  Then let him continue to give you the assurance of his love in the bread and wine, the body and blood.  Be assured of what God has done for you in Jesus which brings true freedom now and for eternity.

Let us pray – Gracious God, you have granted us far more than we ask or deserve.  Help us to receive your forgiveness and to rejoice in all that provide.  Enable each of us to live in the freedom we get to have as your followers.  We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION

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 mercy endures forever.  We pray that you would stir us to faith, worship and action.  Receive our offerings for the praise of your glory and for the spread of the Gospel. Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for your Holy Scriptures which guide us in this life.  Grant that we may hear, read, respect, learn, and make them our own in such a way that the enduring benefit and comfort of the Word will help us grasp and hold the blessed hope of everlasting life, given us through our Savior, Jesus Christ. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for leaders in the Church who are stirred to lead your people back to God’s Word.  We give thanks for your servant Martin Luther and for all who have been faithful leaders of the Reformation of your Church throughout the centuries.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We pray for all who suffer in mind, body or spirit.  We lift up in prayer…  and also those whom we now name aloud or in quiet prayer… Bring renewed hope, strength and healing in the lives of all for whom we pray.  Lord, in your mercy,         Hear our prayer.

Your compassion for humanity leads us to care for one another, especially those who mourn.  We pray for all who are bereaved (especially the family and friends of …).  By your Holy Spirit stir us to faithfulness in care for all who mourn the death of a relative or friend.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Help us to be ambassadors for Christ in this community.  Guide us back to your Word, so that we will understand the hope we share.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will renew our faith and send us out for the sake of the world which you love.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

P: Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for who we pray,trusting in your mercy; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

*Lord’s Prayer

The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

I Am Poster

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, October 18, 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 17th & 18th, 2020

The 20th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

First Reading: Isaiah 45:1-7

The First Reading is from the 45th chapter of Isaiah.

The prophet announces that Cyrus the Persian emperor is the one the Lord has anointed to end Israel’s exile. The Lord makes this choice so that the whole world will recognize this Lord as the only God. Persia had a god of light and a god of darkness; the Lord claims sovereignty over both light and darkness. And now the reading.

1Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
and the gates shall not be closed:
2I will go before you
and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I surname you, though you do not know me.
5I am the Lord, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
I make weal and create woe;
I the Lord do all these things.              Here ends the reading.

Psalm: Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]

Psalm 96 read responsively by verse.

1Sing to the Lord| a new song;
sing to the Lord, | all the earth.
2Sing to the Lord, bless the name | of the Lord;
proclaim God’s salvation from | day to day.
3Declare God’s glory a- | mong the nations
and God’s wonders a- | mong all peoples.
4For great is the Lord and greatly | to be praised,
more to be feared | than all gods. R
5As for all the gods of the nations, they | are but idols;
but you, O Lord, have | made the heavens.
6Majesty and magnificence are | in your presence;
power and splendor are in your | sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the Lord, you families | of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord hon- | or and power.
8Ascribe to the Lord the honor due the | holy name;
bring offerings and enter the courts | of the Lord. R
9Worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness;
tremble before the Lord, | all the earth.
10Tell it out among the nations: “The | Lord is king!
The one who made the world so firm that it cannot be moved will judge the peo- | ples with equity.”
11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the | earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it; let the field be joyful and all that | is therein.
12Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy at your com- | ing, O Lord, for you come to | judge the earth.
13You will judge the | world with righteousness
and the peoples | with your truth. R

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

The Second Reading is from the first chapter of First Thessalonians.

Most likely this letter is the first written by Paul. Paul is giving pastoral encouragement and reassurances to new Christians living in an antagonistic pagan environment. Their commitment of faith, love, and hope makes them a model for other new Christian communities.

And now the reading.

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Here ends the reading.

*Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 22nd chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After Jesus begins teaching in the temple, religious leaders try to trap him with questions. First they ask if God’s people should pay taxes to an earthly tyrant like Caesar.

And now the reading.

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

After the Gospel is read:  P:  The Gospel of the Lord.

C:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Devotion:  “Life from the Great I Am”

By Pastor David Tinker

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

Do you remember in Exodus, chapter 3, when Moses and God talk at the Burning Bush?  In this account we hear God announce his special name by which the people will call upon him.  In English it is essentially the ‘be’ verb.  It is often translated as, “I am.”  This could also be, “I will be who I will be,” or, “I am becoming who I am becoming,” or similar things.  It is an announcement of God’s active existence.  This active existence, or this “I am becoming,” invites us to receive God’s goodness and to continue to grow as his people.

Today we begin reading from First Thessalonians.  A major theme of Paul’s letter is his exhortation for this church to become what God wants them to be.  He writes this letter to encourage this very young church during a time of persecution and difficulty. After greeting the people, Paul offers a written prayer of thanksgiving to God for the church and for the faith and witness of the Thessalonians.  Our reading gives an outline of the life of the church so far.  It shows their spiritual journey in their short existence as a community of faith.

Consider the ways that Paul praises God about this young church.  He mentions that the church has been steadfast in its hope.  The church has been chosen by God, and the community is filled with the Spirit.  The members of the congregation have been imitators of Paul, and even more so, of Jesus himself.  Even though the people have lived under severe persecution by the Romans and others, they have been joyful.  Their way of life and their joy have been an example to believers elsewhere in Macedonia.  The people in the church have preached the Word of God, and the Word has spread beyond their borders.  The people have welcomed others.  They have turned away from idolatry and toward serving the living and true God.

These opening remarks, in a sense, provide a vision of what the church of every time and place is to be like. Every church, at first, or even for a chapter, may not look like much.  Maybe it has lost its grasp on the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sin.  It may have missed out on truly understanding the depth and power of God’s forgiveness of our sin.  But with God given faithfulness, leadership, commitment, and discipleship, a congregation grows in spirit, and people get more connected to God’s work in their lives and in the world.  It moves from simply existing to flourishing, witnessing, worshiping, forgiving and living.  It moves from a random group of sinners to become a lively communion of forgiven sinners.

Our faith in God, both individually and as a community, can look a bit like a hot air balloon.  I have watched what seems like not much of anything become quite grand.  The balloon team starts with a large box.  They pull out large amounts of colorful cloth. Then they set up what looks like a booth, about the size of a closet.  With a flame to heat up the air in the balloon, these strange bundles of cloth and the little booths become beautiful and graceful hot air balloons. These end up being about 4 stories tall.  These seem insignificant at first, but great things get to happen when the right tools and heat are applied.

The Lord, the Great I Am, takes us where we are, and with the Word and Holy Spirit, he grows us.  We grow in faithful people and faithful communities doing God’s will where we are planted in this life and also in new contexts to which we are called.

In order to grow us into the people and congregation which God designed and called us to be, the Lord has given us what we need.  The centerpiece of this is the saving work of Jesus Christ.  God initiates a relationship with us by entering into our lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus. God offers this once and for all sacrifice in order to bring forgiveness and life to each one of us.  By the Holy Spirit, God enables us to trust in this work of Jesus for life, both now and forever.

With is strong foundation of the forgiving and life-giving work of Jesus, our Lord provides guidance and resources for growing into the people and communities of faith which God continues to work for in this world.  There are core resources which I believe we all must revisit in our lives. These are given so that we can cooperate with God’s work to build up our faith and life both individually and in our community of faith.  We get to revisit core teachings of our faith and calling.

God’s Calling for the Church –

Great Commission         Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

Greatest Commandment        Matthew 22:37-39

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

New Commandment             John 13:34-35

“34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Marks of Discipleship

Founded in what God’s Word teaches in Act 2:37-47

I will strive to…

*Pray daily

*Worship weekly

*Read the Bible daily

*Serve at and beyond Waldeck Lutheran Church – Martin Luther Lutheran Church

*Be in Relationship with others to encourage spiritual growth

*Give of my time, talents and resources in a generous manner and to the glory of God

Receptivity to the Holy Spirit – This opens us up to greater action and conviction of our faith.  As we pray for the Holy Spirit to stir in us and guide us, we will grow in faith and witness to faith.  This is lived out in both word and action.  Paul describes the witness of the church in this way. “9 For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.”

Fruit of the Spirit – “22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”

The Lord, the one who is continuously becoming and existing, has given us what we need – his Word and his Holy Spirit – and has given us the tools we need to grow – discipleship, calling, Holy Spirit – and has shown us what our lives get to show for his work in us.  For all this, we can be joyful and thankful for the inspiration and the provision of the Great I Am.

Let us pray – Almighty God, by your Spirit stir in us renewed joy in following the way of Jesus.  Enliven our study of your Word.  Guide us into the way of peace, reconciliation, hope, joy, and service.  We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

*Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence.

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for your provision of our daily needs.  Receive our prayers and praise. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of our nation, the President, Congress, and the Courts.  Grant them wisdom in their service.  Provide safety and support for all who serve on our behalf in the military, including…     .  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

By your compassion bring healing to the sick, comfort to the dying, and hope to those who struggle in any way, including…   and those we name aloud or in quiet prayer…   . Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We lift in pray all who mourn following the death of a friend or loved one.  (We especially remember…) Help each of us to be a source of comfort and care for those who struggle with grief.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for our life together as your faithful followers.  Stir us to strive for faithfulness in worship participation on a weekly basis.  Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant safety and relief to those affected by recent natural hurricanes.  Help us all work together to help those in need.  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

Waldeck Announcements

*Congregational Meeting was last week.  Thank you to everybody who made the point of attending the meeting. Thank you to all who were willing to be up for election as Church Council members.  Thank you to the church council for creative thinking during our difficult times, as we held worship and this meeting outside.

*Thanksgiving Eve Service.  Wednesday, November 25, at Waldeck. 7:00 p.m.

*Wednesday Advent Services. December 2, 9, and 16.  All services at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine, 211 Luther Lane.  No Meal, due to COVID19 safety measures.  Worship at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.  Joint services with the four congregations of Crossroads Shared Lutheran Ministry.

*PORTALS OF PRAYER are available in the Annex. October – December 2020 edition.

*Daily Devotions by Pastor David Tinker.  These are sent by email to the Waldeck Church newsletter list.  If you would like these, but are not receiving the emails, send a message to pastordjt@gmail.com requesting these.

The 19th Sunday after Pentecost

MLLC Church Sketch drawing copy

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost, October 11, 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 10th & 11th, 2020

nineteenth SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

First Reading: Isaiah 25:1-9

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 25th Chapter.

After a hymn of praise acknowledging God as a shelter for the poor, the prophet portrays a wonderful victory banquet at which death—which in ancient Canaan was depicted as a monster swallowing up everyone—will be swallowed up forever. The prophet urges celebration of this victory of salvation.

And now the reading.

1O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
2For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the palace of aliens is a city no more,
it will never be rebuilt.
3Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
4For you have been a refuge to the poor,
a refuge to the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
5the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
the song of the ruthless was stilled.
6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
7And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.    (4)

Psalm: Psalm 23 King James Version

R: Psalm 23, read in unison.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness

for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me

in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil;

my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy

shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Second Reading: Philippians 4:1-9

R: A reading from Philippians, the 4th chapter.

Though writing from prison and facing an uncertain future, Paul calls on the Philippians to rejoice and give thanks to God no matter what the circumstance. God’s peace is with us and binds together our hearts and minds in Jesus Christ, especially when things around us do not seem peaceful.

And now the reading.

1My brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.

2I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. 3Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not

(5)

worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

*Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

P: The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 22nd chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus tells a parable indicating that the blessings of God’s kingdom are available to all, but the invitation is not to be taken lightly.

 

And now the reading.

1Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 2“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 3He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 4Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.’ 5But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 6while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 7The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.’ 10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.

(6)

11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Devotion, by Pastor David Tinker

“Connecting with Jesus and Each Other”

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

This COVID19 situation has made everything difficult.  One of the most significant difficulties has been interpersonal connections.  Some of us barely ever see anybody.  Others have limited or mediated connections with each other.  For the sake of everybody, we continue to practice social distancing in any context outside of our household.

One place where I often am around many people during this time is the grocery store.  This has been an odd experience for the past 7 months.  It is getting a tiny bit better in recent months.  There are a few things I notice.

  1. People rarely look each other in the eye, compared to before.
  2. People are in their own little world.
  3. Sometimes, if a stranger speaks to another, the second person is likely to be wildly surprised, and my not even reply.
  4. People are doing their best to social distance.
  5. The masks covering mouth and nose make it hard to recognize friends and neighbors. People sometimes don’t even greet those they know, so as to avoid embarrassment if it is not one’s friend.

God made us to be in connection with one another.  We need each other, yet right now it is very hard to be together.  With God’s help, we can work to give each other the connection we need.

Today’s reading from the book of Philippians is about interpersonal relationships.  Philippians is a very personal and encouraging letter from Paul to the Christians in the Greek city of Philippi.  He celebrates their ministry. He refers to them as “my joy and my crown.”  Paul is close to these people “in spirit”, even though he must write to them from a Roman prison cell.  He had a deep and powerful relationship with these children of God, and it clearly shows in his writings.  He was comforted by the mere thought of these brothers and sisters.  He was strengthened and nurtured by them, even from afar.

Relationships are important to us as well. There are three primary relationship areas which we foster for relational health.  These three types of relationships point us in three directions:

Outward:  these are our purely social encounters with friends, family and others.

Inward:  this is how we relate to our inner self – the person we are, even when no one is watching.

Upward:  Our response to God who first reaches to us in love – it is how we meet and experience the Divine in everyday life.

We see in our reading from Philippians that he had a positive connection with the people of the church at Philippi.  He worked to foster an environment in which people worked for the common goal of spreading the Gospel.  They worked together well, and Paul worked to encourage the people to work out their differences and problems.  He was encouraging healthy relationships.

Relationships among Christians are especially important.  The Christian life itself is founded in being in relationship with others.  It is first about God’s blessing of a restored relationship with him through the work of Jesus.

Ultimately, the only way we can be at peace with ourselves, with others, and with God is through the work of Jesus Christ. God saw how we had stopped drawing near to him and to others.  Life’s essential elements were broken, so he sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to be broken instead. His death on the cross opened the door to forgiveness and healing between one’s self and God, and thus, with one another.  His rising from the tomb paved the way for us to follow him into eternity. His love stirs us to reach out to one another for reconciliation and care.  In response to God’s love, and stirred by the Holy Spirit, we move closer to God, and thus closer to one another.

As we are drawn closer to God and closer to each other we are reminded of this truth:  The Body of Christ, the Church, is all about life together.  In the reading from Philippians, in verse 2, we see Paul’s encouragement of two fellow believers.  These two women in the church, Euodia and Syntyche, had some sort of quarrel.  We don’t know the details, but we do know that it was worthy of Paul’s mention in this letter.  He knew them well, for they had worked together in ministry.  In this passage he is encouraging these two to reconcile and resume working together.  Paul says, “I urge Euodia and Syntyche to be of the same mind.”

Dorotheos of Gaza was a sixth century AD teacher and monk.  He once preached a sermon for the monks in his monastery who were grumbling that they were unable to love God properly.  Why?  Because they had to put up with one another’s ordinary, irritating presence.  No, Dorotheos told them, they were wrong.  He asked them to visualize the world as a great circle whose center is God. Also, upon the circumference of that circle lie human lives.  “Imagine now,” he asked his fellow monks, “that there are straight lines connecting from the outside of the circle all human lives to God at the center.  Can’t you see that there is no way to move closer to God without drawing closer to other people, and no way to approach other people without coming near to God?”

As we respond to the love of God with worship and love for God, we are called and empowered to love one another.  This self-giving care for one another is essential for the building up of our fellowship and for the spread of the Gospel.  In the early church, there was a response of others to seeing the Christians in action.  They said, “See how they love one another.”  They lived out their work of love and reconciliation by following the teaching of Paul in First Corinthians 13, where he wrote, “4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Our relationships with others are always part of living out the Christian life.  Paul knew it as he encouraged the community at Philippi.  Jesus knew it for he was constantly building relationships with others.  He willed it when he created the church.  We know that relationships are essential to the Christian life, for we have lived it.

For a healthy and positive future as a congregation we must all strive to live out love for one another. As God draws us to himself, we are also drawn to each other.  Through this we are a blessing to one-another and we give glory to God.

Let us pray – Loving God, we pray that your Holy Spirit will draw us together around you both in this world and in our heavenly home.  Bring healing and reconciliation between people.  Help us to seek and care for those who are struggling, lonely, and forgotten.  We pray this in the Holy Name of 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.

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  we worship you, for you are gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Grant us renewed connections with one another. Heal the divisions between one person and another.  Help us to love one another as Christ has loved us.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We remember in prayer those who have recently passed away.  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.

We give thanks for our partnership with Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Help us to continue to grow in our ministry together.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all who have been affected by recent violence and natural disasters.  Bring courage, determination and strength to all emergency responders who serve those in need. 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

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.

DESSERTS ARE NEEDED Please bring them to the hall around 8:30 or 9 a.m. so they may be cut and placed in containers.

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF UPDATE The church received word on September 11 that the Lutheran World Relief items in the Beirut explosion were damaged, but not completely destroyed as initially believed.  Some of the items did come 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/

 

Carmine Night OUT – Thursday, October 15. The Carmine Chamber of Commerce invites you to a Flag Retirement Ceremony on Thursday, October 15, the annual Carmine Night Out, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Collection bins are located at the Carmine State Bank, JW’s Steakhouse, and Village Market.  You can deposit American, Texas, or any branch of the military flag for retirement.  There will be free hot dogs on cart, drinks, and desserts that evening as well as door prizes for youngsters and adults, and kids’ activities as well.  Come hear dignitaries and candidates speak.  For questions, call/text 979-451-1507.

Hurricane Relief for Louisiana.  Our synod and the ELCA have ongoing relief work going on in Louisiana.  With another storm heading to this easter part of synod, the needs will only increase.  You can give through your offerings.  Designate it as “Hurricane Relief – ELCA,” or “Hurricane Relief – Synod.”  See the web site for more information:  https://mllccarmine.com/2020/08/31/hurricane-laura-relief/

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.

The 17th Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus-washing-feet

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.

 

 

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.

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 

 

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