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 

 

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.

12th Sunday after Pentecost

Against the Flow shirt image

An artist’s depiction of Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…”  This image has been used on things such as posters and t-shirts.

 

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, August 23, 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.

 

The 12th Sunday after Pentecost

First Reading: Isaiah 51:1-6

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 51st chapter.

Just as God had called Abraham and Sarah and given them many descendants, so now God offers comfort to Zion. God’s deliverance will come soon and will never end. And now the reading.

1Listen to me, you that pursue righteousness,
you that seek the Lord.
Look to the rock from which you were hewn,
and to the quarry from which you were dug.
2Look to Abraham your father
and to Sarah who bore you;
for he was but one when I called him,
but I blessed him and made him many.
3For the Lord will comfort Zion;
he will comfort all her waste places,
and will make her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the Lord;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.
4Listen to me, my people,
and give heed to me, my nation;
for a teaching will go out from me,
and my justice for a light to the peoples.
5I will bring near my deliverance swiftly,
my salvation has gone out
and my arms will rule the peoples;
the coastlands wait for me,
and for my arm they hope.

6Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
and look at the earth beneath;
for the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment,
and those who live on it will die like gnats;
but my salvation will be forever,
and my deliverance will never be ended.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 138

R:  Psalm 138, read responsively by verse.

1I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I will sing your praise.
2I will bow down toward your holy temple and praise your name, because of your steadfast love and faithfulness;
for you have glorified your name and your word above all things.
3When I called, you answered me;
you increased my strength within me.
4All the rulers of the earth will praise you, O Lord,
when they have heard the words of your mouth. 
5They will sing of the ways of the Lord,
that great is the glory of the Lord.
6The Lord is high, yet cares for the lowly,
perceiving the haughty from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you keep me safe;
you stretch forth your hand against the fury of my enemies; your right hand shall save me.
8You will make good your purpose for me;
O Lord, your steadfast love endures forever; do not abandon the works of your hands.R

 

Second Reading: Romans 12:1-8

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

In response to God’s merciful activity, we are to worship by living holistic, God-pleasing lives. Our values and viewpoints are not molded by the time in which we live but are transformed by the Spirit’s renewing work. God’s grace empowers different forms of service among Christians, but all forms of ministry function to build up the body of Christ.

And now the reading.

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; 8the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 16:13-20

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

Glory to you, O Lord.

At a climactic point in Jesus’ ministry, God reveals to Peter that Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of the living God,” and Jesus responds with the promise of a church that will overcome the very gates of Hades. And now the reading.

13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!   For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

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

 

Devotion August 23, 2020

“A Living Sacrifice”

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

After 3rd grade I gave Little League baseball a try.  Throughout that season I confirmed that I was not a baseball player.  I couldn’t field the ball very well.  Even more so, I couldn’t hit.  My batting average was Zero.  That means I made no hits during the entire season.  In regard to baseball, my entire life was conformed to this concept:  I can not hit the ball.  For decades after that I went through life assuming that I could not hit the ball.

Some time ago I was visiting with some relatives over near Cleveland, Ohio. After supper we went outside for some recreation.  We decided to toss a baseball around.  Our cousins picked out 2 baseballs, a bat and 4 ball gloves and we headed out to their large back yard.  One person hit a few balls and we did our best to catch them.  Finally, I decided to give it a try.  Our relatives didn’t know my past record, and I don’t think it really mattered to them anyway.  They certainly did not ask for my previous batting average.  So, I tossed the ball into the air and “Bang!” I hit a grounder.  I tried again and this time I connected perfectly.  I hit a line drive way across their large yard.  Wow!  I could hit the ball.  I had spent decades thinking I couldn’t hit and that I was a failure at baseball.  Now I had a renewed understanding of myself.  I could hit the ball.  With the freedom of this new understanding I was able to put myself more fully into the game.

In Romans chapter 12 we have a similar situation.  In this section we are reminded that we are given grace and freedom to live God’s new way.  St. Paul has spent the first 11 chapters talking about how God gives us the ultimate second chance, the forgiveness of our sin through Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection.  In these various chapters he has told us that we can do nothing to earn or gain God’s favor.  He says in chapter 3, verse 23, that “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”   In this Paul gives us the good news that God came to us in Jesus who gave himself to die on the cross for our sin.  From this we can be raised to a new life through faith and Baptism.  Through his message we discover the truth that we are a mess, but that God loves us so much that he joyfully gives us what is needed to have new life with him.  The past is the past, and we are invited and empowered to live a new life with God in the here and now.

Romans chapter 12 is the beginning of Paul’s description of how we live in response to the forgiveness of our sin.  In my life with baseball I was given a clean slate by my relatives in Cleveland.  You see, they didn’t seem to care about my previous ZERO batting average.  So, that day I put off the ZERO batting average, and put myself into the game.

God, through Paul’s teachings, invites us to put of our sin and to put ourselves fully “into the game” as disciples of Jesus.  He writes in chapter 12, verse 1: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”  Here we see that God wants us to put our entire selves into our relationship with him.  We are to present our selves to God, but not as mere sinners.  Rather, we are called to God as forgiven and acceptable to him.  We are transformed in God’s eyes by receiving his mercy and goodness.  In this we are invited to be in his merciful care for eternity.  Our Lord takes us just as we are, with all our bruised lives, our sin, and our corrupted minds.

Once we place ourselves in the arms of God’s mercy, we are called by God to be a “living sacrifice” as our Spiritual Worship of the Lord.  As living sacrifices, we strive to live God’s better way.  We are invited to give up some things and to start doing other things.  We are invited to sacrifice sinful ways and to strive toward God’s better way.  The great Church Father, John Chrysostom, from around the year AD 400, said, in his Homilies on Romans: “How does the body become a sacrifice?  Let the eye look on no evil thing, and it has already become a sacrifice.  Let the tongue say nothing filthy, and it has become an offering.  Let your hand do nothing evil, and it has become a whole burnt offering.  But even this is not enough, for we must have good works also.  The hand must do alms, the mouth must bless those who curse it, and the ears must find time to listen to the reading of Scripture.  Sacrifice allows of no unclean thing.  It is the first fruits of all other actions.”

As living sacrifices our lives are transformed by the renewing of our minds.  The Apostle Paul goes on to teach us that when we give ourselves to God, life changes for us.  Our passage tells us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…”  When we present ourselves to God, we are putting something into our past.  That which is put behind us is our life under the power of this world.  By his grace God wants to transform us and empower us from the inside by renewing our minds.  This is founded in our relationship with him.  He invites us into an eternal and life changing relationship with himself and with his people.  God takes us where we are in life, no matter where that might be, and then works to transform us into his faithful people.  In our relationship with Christ he works to renew our minds.  We look to his better way, we look to his Word, and we seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance for action and understanding.  This is what Paul was talking about when he says in verse 2, “…so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  That means God will enable you to understand his calling for your life.

All of these changes are founded in what Jesus has first done for us.  The calling to follow his ways, to be living sacrifices, and be transformed, is always about how we respond to what God has first done for us.  Because of God’s love for us in Jesus, we are granted the guidance of the Holy Spirit to ponder the question, “How now shall I live?”  The Answer: we are called to receive God’s grace which renews our minds and transforms of our lives.  We are called to put ourselves more fully into the game as Disciple of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray – Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we come to you seeking your perfect love and guidance for our lives.  Help us to resist the temptations all around us, and help us to be conformed to your good, excellent and perfect will.  This we pray in Jesus’ 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.

Faithful God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: we pray for the church. Lead it always to proclaim its faith in you.  Give your church the gifts of truth and righteousness. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray in thanksgiving for this wonderful world. Renew our sense of wonder at what you have made.  Guide us in our care for your creation. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of the world. Equip them to serve with justice and to dispel the forces of evil. Inspire the citizens of every country to love wisdom and mercy. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Other intercessions may be added here.

We pray for the brokenhearted, those who are ill or dying, and those whose spirits are crushed. Wrap them in the warm embrace of your love. Restore them to wholeness, especially… and those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…    . Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We celebrate our partnership with Lutherhill Ministries.  Guide their leaders and staff  toward faithfulness in their work.  Enliven the faith of all who participate in their programs. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for all who have gone before us, (especially…) . Give us wisdom to follow their example of faithful living and to stay true to the path of peace. 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

 

The Lord’s Prayer

 

 

The 9th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, August 2, 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 2, 2020

THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:1-5

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 55th chapter.

God invites Israel to a great feast at which both food and drink are free. God also promises to make an everlasting covenant with all peoples, with promises that previously had been limited to Israel. As David was a witness to the nations, these nations shall now acknowledge the ways in which God has glorified Israel.

And now the reading.

1Ho, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and you that have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.
4See, I made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander for the peoples.
5See, you shall call nations that you do not know,
and nations that do not know you shall run to you,
because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel,
for he has glorified you.

 

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21

R:  Psalm 145, read responsively by verse.

8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9Lord, you are good to all,
and your compassion is over all your works. 
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17You are righteous in all your ways
and loving in all your works. 
18You are near to all who call upon you,
to all who call upon you faithfully.

19You fulfill the desire of those who fear you;
you hear their cry and save them.
20You watch over all those who love you,
but all the wicked you shall destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord;
let all flesh bless God’s holy name forever and ever. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 9:1-5

R:  A reading from Romans, the 9th chapter.

This begins a new section in Paul’s letter in which he will deal with the place of Israel in God’s saving plan. He opens by highlighting how Israel’s heritage and legacy include being God’s children, having God’s covenants, being given God’s law, participating in worship of God, and receiving divine promises.

And now the reading.

1I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience confirms it by the Holy Spirit—2I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my own people, my kindred according to the flesh. 4They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; 5to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 14:13-21

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 14th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After John the Baptist is murdered, Jesus desires a time of solitude. Still, his compassion for others will not allow him to dismiss those who need him, and he is moved to perform one of his greatest miracles.

And now the reading.

13Now when Jesus heard [about the beheading of John the Baptist], he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick. 15When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16Jesus said to them, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” 17They replied, “We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish.” 18And he said, “Bring them here to me.” 19Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. 20And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. 21And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

Sea of Galilee EilersSea of Galilee photo, courtesy of Nancy Eilers

Devotion

“The Greatest Meal”

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

In 2005 I went to visit a man named Howard Seitz.  He was in his last week or so of life before his death from cancer. While visiting with Howard, his wife, Mildred, made some pizza for the two of us to eat.  It was simple, and we were quiet as we ate in his room.  It was the two of us appreciating our food, our friendship, and God’s gift of that day.  It was a wonderful abundance in a time of difficulty.

Today we hear the story of the Feeding of the 5000.  This is the one ministry miracle of Jesus which is in each of the 4 Gospel books.  We hear about how the people listening to Jesus’ teaching were hungry after so much time without food.  The disciples suggest the people just leave, but Jesus tells them to give the people something to eat.  All they can muster up are 5 small loaves of bread and two fish.  Jesus takes these, gives thanks and blesses them, and this miraculously becomes enough food to feed many thousands of people.  There were even a dozen basketfuls of leftovers.

This event was, in part, about giving the people food.  But it was about so much more.  Just as so much in the Bible is about something more, so was this.  This event points us toward the greater feast to come.  Our reading from Isaiah 55 tells a bit about this.  It teaches us that the greater things God has in store for us are in the context of a communal meal in eternity.  This message is shown again in some way in the teachings of Jesus and in the visions shown us in the book of Revelation.  We are invited to connect with God through these delightful meals.  God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is in the center of it all, and we are with God and his people as we feast in great joy.

Ultimately, this miracle and the visions of eternity are not really about food at all.  Rather, these are about our connection with God.  With this wonderful connection with God and the meal we get the benefit of knowing our Lord and appreciating all that he has done for us in Jesus Christ.

Jesus teaches us that life is more than about figuring where our next meal is coming from.  Even though life is to be more than about food, God continues to use food to help us be connected with him.  The most wonderful thing we have in this life which uses food for this purpose is the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Communion.  This is a foretaste to a truly great meal.  That truly great meal is yet to come.

In First Corinthians, chapter 11, we are pointed to that greatest meal.  When Paul teaches about the Holy Communion, he states the following: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

So, in the Holy Communion, we have a small piece of bread and a small drink of wine.  We are connected with the Lord, and we are blessed with the forgiveness of our sin.  On its own, the meal of bread and wine is not very satisfying.  Author Donna Tartt notes the following about rituals such as Holy Communion: “…any religious ritual is arbitrary unless one is able to see past it to a deeper meaning.”

Holy Communion gets its meaning and depth by getting us connected with God’s Word, God’s promises, and the feast to come.

God’s Word shows us that this greatest meal is about the suffering and death on the cross of Jesus for our sin.  The Word tells us that God’s forgiveness is brought to us by this meal. The Word is what ties everything together in this Sacrament.

In First Holy Communion Class I teach about the four parts of our Lutheran Understanding of the Sacrament.  These are:

The Elements – the Bread and the Wine

The Congregation – the people of God gathered

The Pastor – who leads and teaches about what this holy meal is all about, sort of like a coach with a team.

The Word of God – which is God’s power brought to bear on the gathering of the other three parts.  It is what reminds us again and again about the Promises of the Lord.

 

God’s Promises assure us that we are forgiven of our sin, and that our future is in God’s good and gracious care.

The Feast to Come is our eternal fellowship with the Lord.  Over and over in scripture this wonderful eternity with God is expressed as the greatest and grandest meal of all.  It is like a marriage feast, but so much better.

Weddings are wonderful events, yet these also can point to our greater connection with our loving God.  This is part of the Marriage Blessing I use at many weddings:

“Finally, in your mercy, bring them to that table where your saints feast forever in your heavenly home, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.”

Wedding and the feasts which often follow are wonderful events.  As Christians, these point to the greatest meal of all.  These are small celebrations which remind us over and over again that God loves and forgives us.  Like that meal of pizza which I enjoyed with my friend Howard, these grand meals remind us that together we get to have a relationship with the Lord.  These show us that God will keep providing for our spiritual journey with the Lord, both now and forever.

Let us pray:  God of Grace and Glory, we give thank for the meals in our lives, both daily bread and grand celebrations.  Help us each day to see that these give us a small foretaste of the greater things you have for us in eternity.  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, you seek us out in the midst of our broken lives.  Help us to respond to you with worship and praise.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give you thanks for the leaders of our city.  Guide our mayor, city council and city administrator in their leadership.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for your strength and presence for those who mourn.  Help us to offer care and support for those who remember those who rest in you.   (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We ask that you would bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  We pray that you will be their help and their shield.   Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We pray for the ministry of Lutheran Disaster Response.  Help this cooperative relief agency to bring help to those whose lives have been shattered by natural disasters.    Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. 

By your mercy we ask that you help us to grow in our service to our neighbors in need.  Stir in us renewed joy in giving sacrificially of our time, care and resources for the benefit of others. 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 6th Sunday after Pentecost

Penteocost fire bw

 

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost, July 12, 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 various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.

 

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.

 

JULY 12, 2020

THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-13

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 55th chapter.

God’s word to Israel’s exiles is as sure and effective as never-failing precipitation. Their return to the Holy Land in a new exodus is cheered on by singing mountains and by trees that clap their hands.  And now the reading.

10For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
12For you shall go out in joy,
and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial,
for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 65:1-13

R:  Psalm 65, portions read responsively by verse.

1You are to be praised, O God, in Zion;
to you shall vows be fulfilled.
2To you, the one who answers prayer,
to you all flesh shall come.
3Our sins are stronger than we are,
but you blot out our transgressions.
4Happy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there!
They will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple. 
5Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation,
O hope of all the ends of the earth and of the oceans far away.
6You make firm the mountains by your power;
you are girded about with might.
7You still the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the peoples.
8Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs;
you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy. 
9You visit the earth and water it abundantly; you make it very plenteous; the river of God is full of water.
You prepare the grain, for so you provide for the earth.
10You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.
11You crown the year with your goodness,
and your paths overflow with plenty.
12May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing,
and the hills be clothed with joy.
13May the meadows cover themselves with flocks, and the valleys cloak themselves with grain;
let them shout for joy and sing. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 8:1-11

R:  A reading from Romans, the 8th chapter.

There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ. God sent Christ to accomplish what the law was unable to do: condemn sin and free us from its death-dealing ways. The Spirit now empowers proper actions and values in our lives and gives us the promise of resurrected life.     And now the reading.

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 13th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

In Matthew’s gospel, both Jesus and his disciples “sow the seed” of God’s word by proclaiming the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Now, in a memorable parable, Jesus explains why this good news produces different results in those who hear. And now the reading.

1That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly,

since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!”

18“Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

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

 

Devotion

“In Christ – in the Spirit”

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

My biggest early victory in life was in 5th grade.  I was the States and Capitals champion of Miss Gostesnic’s class.  I beat out every others student in my class.  In the end I was up against the teacher for some reason.  I was doing well until one moment.  The teacher asked me, “Virginia.”  Somehow in that moment of stress I forgot, “Richmond.”  44 years later, I have never forgotten, “Richmond.”  Still, I was victorious among my peers.  And I am victorious in remembering, “Richmond,” all these years later.

In our relationship with God, victory is of absolute importance.  Our personal victory is not at stake.  Rather, it is God’s power and grace which win over sin and death.  In our reading from Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 8, we have a portion of a joyful chapter which expresses where the true victory is.    That victory is in God’s power.  What God has done is always greater than that of sin, death, evil, and as Paul calls it, “the flesh”.

It is interesting to note something about our passage.  There is a subtle message in this passage of scripture.  If one counts the occurrences of the words ‘flesh’ and ‘spirit’ one will see an interesting reality. Paul uses the word ‘flesh’ 10 times in the passage.  He uses the word ‘spirit’ 11 times. So is Paul saying that the ‘spirit’ beats out ‘flesh’ by a score of 11 to 10?  Yes, in a sense.  His use of these words helps to illustrate God’s victory over the flesh, over sin and over death. No matter how much wrong and sin is in our lives, God’s loving goodness is always more abundant.

The image of “my cup runneth over” shows this. Consider the cup to be a measure of the negative influence of the Flesh.  The water is the Spirit and God’s goodness for us.  No matter how big the cup becomes, there is always more than enough water, or the Spirit, to fill the cup to overflowing.

It is very important to note that Paul is not saying that our flesh and bodies are something bad or in need of destruction.  Rather, the consistent witness of God’s Word is that our bodies are good, and these are part of the very good creation of humanity.  Flesh, in the context of Paul’s writings, is an image for the destructive influence of sin in our lives.

The Spirit and God’s loving forgiveness have a very important role.  These are there to comfort us in our distress and sin.  These also work to transform our lives so that we can more fully follow the way of Christ.  Who we are, what we are, and how we live, all become different.  We are moved away from living a life of sin, death, and evil.  We leave a life guided by “the flesh”. The Spirit moves us into the new life of victory over the destructive spiritual forces in our lives.  All of this is made possible and founded in the upside-down victory of God through Jesus Christ.  Out of his love for us God came to be with us in the person of Jesus Christ.  By God’s love, God the Son became flesh and lived among us.  Even though he was totally innocent of any crime, Jesus was arrested by his enemies.  He was beaten, ridiculed, and executed on a Roman torture cross.  The ruling authorities felt they had the victory over this problematic leader, but they were wrong.

Our victory over the flesh is founded in the work of Jesus Christ.  Through his death and his rising from the dead, we are given the power of new life.  Our whole selves, our flesh included, are made new because of the faith that is given to us.  We get to live lives founded in his forgiveness of our sin.  By God’s grace we get to live out this victory.

God’s victory is for us no matter what.  Remember, as Paul says, “There is therefore, now no condemnation, for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  God’s loving victory is lived out in many and various ways.  It is lived out as our lives our guided by the spirit, rather than the flesh.  God’s Victory is shown as we are living by the Spirit.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a person confesses sin to God

*a person shows a simple kindness to a stranger

*a person steps out of an immoral relationship

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a father leads his family in the faith through prayer, service and life in the Church.

*a mother prays for her family

*siblings of any age work to resolve conflicts between each other.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*God’s people feed the hungry, cloth the naked, visit those who are sick and in prison

*a local congregation seeks to address the needs of the least of these in their community.

*a student in school supports those who are pushed aside, bullied or lonely.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*Disciples gather for study

*Disciples faithfully receive the body and blood of Christ in Holy Communion

*Disciples are joyfully generous with their God given resources.

Living by the Spirit is shown when:

*a person is at the end of the rope in despair, and realizes he or she always has God’s grace.

*a person has a true change of mind about sin, and seeks to make the changes necessary for faithfulness

*a person tells another about the hope he or she has in Jesus Christ.

The ways in which God’s victory is lived out in our lives can go on and on.

Remember, God is victorious in our lives. God has won so that we can live by the Holy Spirit.  Because of what God has done for us life is different, better and truly victorious both now and forever.

Let us pray – Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, source of all life and victory.  Help us to live by your Spirit.  Help us to live in Christ.  As we respond to your mercy, guide us toward works of love and generosity for the sake of the Good News.  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.

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We pray that the Church be empowered to grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth of the Gospel.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray that the Church be given the wisdom and guidance of the Spirit so that your mission will be done through our work. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We remember in prayer those members of our armed forces.  Strengthen them in their service that they may be protected from every danger of body and soul, and that they may not lose heart in the midst of ongoing turmoil and strife. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

We pray for all in this congregation that we may be strengthened through the gifts of Word and Sacrament.  Help those suffering great temptation, that they might put away fear and live in confident faith in the rock of our salvation.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We ask that you hear the prayers of the elderly, those in nursing homes, and those needing care for chronic illness.  We pray that in their weakness you would hear them and bring them peace.  We pray that you would give comfort and strength to those who are lonely, sick, or dying especially to…  and those whom we now name aloud or in quiet prayer…  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the saints who have gone before us and who know fully what for us is yet to be, (especially…).  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.

 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

jesus-christ-crucifixion-395

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, July 5, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

Please note that we have had some issues with the mllccarmine.com web site.  Things are working better now.  We are sorry for any delays and changes in typical patterns with the devotions and sharing of information.

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 various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.

 

Remember Your Regular Offerings

D09AB349-5597-49D3-A89C-247C239329E1_1_201_a

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.

 

July 5, 2020

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-12

R:  A reading from Zechariah, the 9th chapter.

The coming messianic king will inaugurate an era of disarmament and prosperity. Because of God’s covenant with Israel, the people are designated as “prisoners of hope.” And now the reading.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!
Lo, your king comes to you;
triumphant and victorious is he,
humble and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
and the war-horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow shall be cut off,
and he shall command peace to the nations;
his dominion shall be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
today I declare that I will restore to you double.

 

Psalm: Psalm 145:8-14

R:  Psalm 145, portions read responsively by verse.

8The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9Lord, you are good to all,
and your compassion is over all your works. 
10All your works shall praise you, O Lord,
and your faithful ones shall bless you.
11They shall tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your power,
12that all people may know of your power
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.
You, Lord, are faithful in all your words, and loving in all your works.
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 7:15-25a

R:  A reading from Romans, the 7th chapter.

Life captive to sin is a catch-22 existence in which we know good but do not do it and do things we know to be wrong. Through Jesus Christ, God has set us free from such a futile existence. And now the reading.

15I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. 22For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25aThanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

*Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 11th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus chides people who find fault with both his ministry and that of John the Baptist. He thanks God that wisdom and intelligence are not needed to receive what God has to offer. And now the reading.

[Jesus spoke to the crowd saying:] 16“To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another,
17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not mourn.’
18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

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

 

Devotion

“Release, by Victor Hugo”

By Pastor David Tinker

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

In the Victor Hugo’s book, Les Misérables, we meet the lead character, Jean Valjean.  Jean was on parole from prison.  He was soon arrested on suspicion of stealing silver candlesticks from the local Roman Catholic bishop.  Jean had stolen the items when he stayed at the bishop’s house the night before.  Rather than pressing charges, the Bishop tells the police that the items were gifts from the bishop. The bishop forgives Jean Valjean, gives him more silver items and sends him on his way.  Through this interaction the bishop offers Jean a new relationship with God.  The bishop helps Jean understand forgiveness of sin.  Jean Valjean carries this truth and goodness with him as he goes his way.  With this new start he hopes to live a good life and to follow God’s ways.  There is one problem, along the way, Jean needs some more money.  So, as he is traveling through the countryside he robs a young chimney sweep.

For many years following this, Jean struggles with his inner debate. Should he do God’s will or sin against God and others.  In many ways he does do the right thing.  He uses his skills and wealth to help many people by providing jobs and assistance.  He also struggles with sin, wrong actions, and that he is always under suspicion as a convicted felon.  Who will rescue him from this struggle?  Who alone, but God.

Looking at our lives we know the right thing to do, but we don’t always do it.  We are hypocrites and are inconsistent in how we live our faith. Even St. Paul had struggled with knowing the right, but not always doing the right.   We want to follow the way of Jesus, yet we struggle each day to do so.  We see in today’s reading that Paul needed rescuing just as much as we do today.  Thankfully Jesus Christ does rescue us.  He does this by pulling alongside us in faith, taking on our burden of sin, forgiving our sin, and showing us the way to go.

The struggle of saying one thing and doing another creates a great burden in our lives.  We try to be good.  We want others to see God’s goodness.  In our reality of sin we are often inconsistent at best.  Luther spoke of this reality in this way: “Simul Iustus et Peccator”. In English, this means:  We are at the same time Saint and Sinner.  We are forgiven of our sin by God, yet we sometimes do the very things we know are wrong.  There is a struggle inside of us.  Even though we struggle between the two, God provides both faith and hope.

We are blessed with faith in the work of Jesus Christ. He is the one who suffered on the cross for the forgiveness of our Sin.  By God’s grace and the Holy Spirit, we trust in that work of God for our future in this life.

There is hope for us as well.  Two sources of hope include:  the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, and the sure promises of Jesus for our future with him.  Together these provide hope that God will lead us into the future as loved and forgiven people.  We have hope that our life now and tomorrow is in God’s care.  In sure and certain hope we look to Jesus Christ, God the Son, to rescue us from our sinful struggle.

The solution to our struggle is resting in the saving power of God in Jesus Christ.  We see this as St. Paul notes in our reading from Romans.  “Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”  The Lord knows we are powerless to solve this problem.  It takes daily power and goodness from the Lord for us to work through this struggle in our lives.  We give thanks that God has stepped in with his power for us.  God has granted us faith in him, and has sent his Holy Spirit into our lives so we can trust in him.   We get to strive to live faithfully because of what God has first done for us.  We move forward seeking to know God, and to follow in the way of Jesus.

When Jesus rescues us, helps us, and guides us, we are no longer separated from God.  This is true even when we struggle with wanting to do God’s will, while turning back and doing the very opposite. God knows that we struggle to do the right thing, yet we all too often do the wrong.  To address this and to assure us, St. Paul makes the following statement just after our reading from Romans ends.  In the first verse of chapter 8 Paul writes, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Who will rescue us?  Who in heaven or on earth will pull us out of the rubbish pile of life?  Who will call us to himself when we have turned against God, even though we say we are his followers?

Who else but Jesus Christ himself?  He calls us out of our inconsistent, burdensome and broken ways and into a new relationship with himself.  Each and every day he is there for us, guiding us, assuring us of his forgiveness, and stirring us toward his most excellent way.  Luther talks about this in the Small Catechism when he teaches us about baptism.  He writes, “(Baptism) signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires is to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

All this is to bring us more fully “into Christ”.  All of us who are “In Christ”, are in a friendship with Jesus where we know him as our rescuer, Lord and friend.  He says again and again, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Let us pray – Loving God, you are full of patience and understanding.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will enable us to understand all that you have done for us.  We give thanks that, no matter what our struggles and burdens may be, you are there to take the full brunt of these things for us.  This we pray in the holy name of Jesus Christ our Lord.  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.

Eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are the founder of our faith and the giver of all good gifts.  We come before you with thankful hearts and worshipful spirits.  Draw us to yourself and receive our praise.  Lord, in your mercy,            Hear our prayer.

We pray for all who suffer in mind, body or spirit, and for those facing difficult decisions, especially…  and also those whom we name before you…  Bring comfort and healing, strength and hope, and faithful discernment to all for whom we pray.  Lord, in your mercy,           Hear our prayer.

Grant our president and governor wisdom in their leadership.  Guide them to seek the benefit of those they serve over benefits for themselves.  Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the blessings of this nation.  Help us to strive together as one people toward liberty and justice for all in this land.  We give thanks for those who have risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for our freedom.  Lord, in your mercy,         Hear our prayer.

We entrust to you all who have entered their rest in you, (especially…  ) .  Help us to care for those who are bereaved.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

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

 

Announcements:

 

Vacation Bible School at MLLC for 2020 has been cancelled.  This is due to concerns regarding the COVID19 pandemic.

4th Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, June 28, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

Please note that we have had some issues with the mllccarmine.com web site.  Things are working better now.  We are sorry for any delays and changes in typical patterns with the devotions and sharing of information.

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 various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.

 

Remember Your Regular Offerings

D09AB349-5597-49D3-A89C-247C239329E1_1_201_a

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.

 

JUNE 28, 2020

FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Jeremiah 28:5-9

R:  A reading from Jeremiah, the 28th chapter.

Through a symbolic action Jeremiah insisted that Judah and all the surrounding nations should submit to the king of Babylon (Jer. 27). Hananiah contradicted the word of Jeremiah, who in reply insisted that Hananiah’s rosy prediction should not be believed until it came true. God confirmed the word of Jeremiah and sentenced the false prophet Hananiah to death (vv. 16-17).  And now the reading.

5The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the prophet Hananiah in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the Lord; 6and the prophet Jeremiah said, “Amen! May the Lord do so; may the Lord fulfill the words that you have prophesied, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the Lord, and all the exiles. 7But listen now to this word that I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes true, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet.”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 89:1-4, 15-18

R:  Psalm 89, portions read responsively by verse.

1Your love, O Lord, forever will I sing;
from age to age my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
2For I am persuaded that your steadfast love is established forever;
you have set your faithfulness firmly in the heavens.
3“I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn an oath to David my servant:
4‘I will establish your line forever,
and preserve your throne for all generations.’ ” 
15Happy are the people who know the festal shout!
They walk, O Lord, in the light of your presence.
16They rejoice daily in your name;
they are jubilant in your righteousness.
17For you are the glory of their strength,
and by your favor our might is exalted.
18Truly, our shield belongs to the Lord;
our king to the Holy One of Israel. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 6:12-23

R:  A reading from Romans, the 6th chapter.

Sin is an enslaving power which motivates us to live self-serving, disobedient lives. Sin’s final payoff is death. We, however, have been set free from sin’s slavery to live obediently under God’s grace, whose end is the free gift of eternal life. And now the reading.

12Do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
15What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted, 18and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.
20When you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21So what advantage did you then get from the things of which you now are ashamed? The end of those things is death. 22But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. 23For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 10:40-42

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 10th chapter.  Glory to you, O Lord.

When Jesus sends his disciples out as missionaries, he warns them of persecution and hardships they will face. He also promises to reward any who aid his followers and support their ministry. And now the reading.

[Jesus said to the twelve:] 40“Whoever welcomes you welcomes

me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; 42and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.”

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

 

Devotion

“Trash and Treasure”

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

Over the decades on PBS there has been the program called Antiques Roadshow. On this program people bring items to staff antique appraisers to determine if what they have is of interest or value.  Sometimes there are amazing finds which surprise the owner.  One time in 2014 there was a painting brought in for appraisal.  It was an oil painting by Joseph Kleitsch was dated around 1925.  Joseph Kleitsch was part of what art historians call the California School of Impressionism. He died in 1931.

The owner of this painting had originally purchased it for approximately $100.  The Antiques Roadshow fine art appraiser Debra Force gave the owner quite the surprise when she offered an estimated gallery price of $500,000.  What was not much for one person became something of high value for another.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 13, says, ” No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness.” Paul is telling us that as God encounters us with his love and grace, we get to live a new way.  We no longer have to be living as sinners. Life is no longer the same because of what God is done for us in Jesus Christ. We know that humanity had turned from God’s ways. This rejection of the Lord had broken the special relationship we have with God. As a race we were no longer living in union with our Creator. The original intent for our lives was lost, and our perceived value was nothing. Death ruled the lives of humanity.

God chose to so value us that Jesus Christ went to the cross to die for us. Our value in God’s eyes grew from us being sinners to being those for whom his son had died. This is an astronomical change. God the Father saw his Son as so valuable that he gives up what was most valuable to himself for our sake.

Paul presents God’s call for us to turn from our old slave master and now to serve with a loving Savior who has bought us with his own precious body and blood. We are so valuable to God, and we cannot even imagine the full nature of the price he paid for our life and freedom.

There are two events in history that I look back at to remind me I have precious I am to God. The first is the saving work of Jesus Christ. I look back to his death on the cross. It’s where God bought me, it is where God bought you, it is where God bought humanity back from the power of sin and death and evil. The Lord has taken what was broken and dead and worthless, and he has made it precious and eternal. For this, I am most thankful.

The other is my baptism. Baptism is, as St. Paul teaches earlier in Romans chapter 6, the work of God which unites the person being baptized with the saving work of Jesus Christ.  At that point 54 years ago, I was claimed by Christ as one of his own. It was my special moment where I was set apart as a child of God and as an inheritor or eternal life with Christ. Throughout my days I remember God’s gift of life and direction granted by this sacred act. Because of my baptism I am a servant of for God just as all the baptized are. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we will see that our baptism is the entry point for our ministry as Christians.

Think about that $100 piece of art.  It was a simple item someone likely bought to put on her wall.  Over time she may not have thought about it very much at all.  Over time, the painting and other works by the same artist became treasured and respected by those who collect and display art.  Someone greater than the painting saw that it was special.  Someone delighted in the painting and treated it as something of great and precious value.

For us, we are a bit like that painting.  We were once lost in sin and death.  By the work of Jesus and the love of God, we are declared precious and valuable.  We are loved.  By this and by God’s guidance we move from the realm of sin and into the realm of God’s abundant love.  With this new environment we get to live the new life which God has prepared for us.

Prayer

Loving God, thank you for seeking us out and treating us as your beloved treasure.  By you Spirit help us to live as your faithful followers this day and forevermore.  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.

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: you alone are worthy of our praise.  You alone are the Holy One.  Receive our prayers and songs of worship.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We give thanks for the blessings of this nation.  Help us to strive together as one people toward liberty and justice for all in this land.  We give thanks for those who have risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for our freedom.  Lord, in your mercy,   Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who manage the finances of this congregation.  Help them to continue to be faithful to their task, and help us to grow in our generosity toward you and your church.  Lord, in your mercy,        Hear our prayer.

We pray that your Holy Spirit will stir in the lives of your people.  Help us, by your Spirit, to discern individuals who are called to serve as pastors and deacons in your church.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer. 

Other petitions may be added here.

You comfort all who struggle in body, mind or spirit.  Bring healing, strength and hope to all for whom we pray, including…   and those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

You comfort us as we mourn.  Bring encouragement and support to all who grieve following the death of a loved one or friend. (We especially remember…).

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

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.

 

 

 

 

3rd Sunday after Pentecost June 21

Baptism Banner alt

 

Readings, Devotion, Prayers and Announcements for the Third Sunday after Pentecost, June 21, 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 various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.

 

Remember Your Regular Offerings

D09AB349-5597-49D3-A89C-247C239329E1_1_201_a

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.

 

JUNE 21, 2020

THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Jeremiah 20:7-13

R:  A reading from Jeremiah, the 20th chapter.

Jeremiah accuses God of forcing him into a ministry that brings him only contempt and persecution. Yet Jeremiah is confident that God will be a strong protector against his enemies and commits his life into God’s hands.

And now the reading.

7O Lord, you have enticed me,
and I was enticed;
you have overpowered me,
and you have prevailed.
I have become a laughingstock all day long;
everyone mocks me.
8For whenever I speak, I must cry out,
I must shout, “Violence and destruction!”
For the word of the Lord has become for me
a reproach and derision all day long.
9If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
then within me there is something like a burning fire
shut up in my bones;
I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot.
10For I hear many whispering:
“Terror is all around!
Denounce him! Let us denounce him!”
All my close friends
are watching for me to stumble.
“Perhaps he can be enticed,
and we can prevail against him,
and take our revenge on him.”
11But the Lord is with me like a dread warrior;
therefore my persecutors will stumble,
and they will not prevail.
They will be greatly shamed,
for they will not succeed.
Their eternal dishonor
will never be forgotten.
12O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous,
you see the heart and the mind;
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.
13Sing to the Lord;
praise the Lord!
For he has delivered the life of the needy
from the hands of evildoers.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 69:7-18

R:  Psalm 69, read responsively by verse.

7Surely, for your sake I have suffered reproach,
and shame has covered my face.
8I have become a stranger to my own kindred,
an alien to my mother’s children.
9Zeal for your house has eaten me up;
the scorn of those who scorn you has fallen upon me.
10I humbled myself with fasting,
but that was turned to my reproach. 
11I put on sackcloth also,
and became a by-word among them.
12Those who sit at the gate murmur against me,
and the drunkards make songs about me.
13But as for me, this is my prayer to you,

at the time you have set, O Lord:
“In your great mercy, O God,

answer me with your unfailing help.
14Save me from the mire; do not let me sink;
let me be rescued from those who hate me and out of the deep waters. 
15Let not the torrent of waters wash over me, neither let the deep swallow me up;
do not let the pit shut its mouth upon me.
16Answer me, O Lord, for your love is kind;
in your great compassion, turn to me.
17Hide not your face from your servant;
be swift and answer me, for I am in distress.
18Draw near to me and redeem me;
because of my enemies deliver me. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 6:1b-11

R:  A reading from Romans, the 6th chapter.

In baptism we were incorporated into the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection. We have been made new in Christ through his death and resurrection to live freed from sin.

1bShould we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For whoever has died is freed from sin. 8But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 10:24-39

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 10th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus warns his disciples that their ministry in his name will meet with opposition. However, he assures them that they need not fear for the truth will come to light. Life is found in Christ.

[Jesus said to the twelve:] 24“A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; 25it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
26“So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.

27What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. 28Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30And even the hairs of your head are all counted. 31So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
32“Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; 33but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
34“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
36and one’s foes will be members of one’s own household.
37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.”

The gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, O Christ.

 

Devotion

By Pastor David Tinker

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

Portrait of my aunt’s father.  I never knew him.

When I see it, I see my cousin Tim.  Tim and his grandfather could be passed off as twins.

I don’t see this look as much in my aunt – maybe the look skipped a generation.

Genetics is fascinating to me.

Genetics is the study of the design material of life.  We use the term DNA to talk about this design material.  DNA is the abbreviation of the scientific word, “Deoxyribonucleic Acid”.  DNA is that special code, or blueprint, found in the cells of organisms.

For humans, we start out life as a single cell with one complete set of DNA.  Everything about what we will be, our looks, our eye color, the design for our organs, bones and tissues, and many aspects of our health, are set in place with that DNA.  As the cells replicate the DNA tells cells to form into one part or another.  Eventually the little baby begins to look like a baby, have a heartbeat, and so much more.  We are born and we eat, grow and live.

We were also created to be in an eternal relationship with God.  Humanity was meant to know and to worship God, and also to be a blessing to one another.  Early on in the course of Human History we rejected God’s initial design for our relationship with him and with one another.  The life which humanity chose was not better, and the helpless and broken situation we are in is called Sin.  This situation of Sin has brought on all sorts of mess:  hurt lives, death, as well as actions which hurt God, others, or ourselves.  Sin has held us back from becoming the people whom God designed us to be from the beginning.  Sin has altered the affects of God’s genetics or our Spiritual DNA.

God has addressed this human condition through the saving work of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  Out of his deep love for us, God entered our human reality and joined us in our loss and anguish and death.  In death, Jesus received the result of our sinful actions, and he joined the human race in its suffering.  His rising from the tomb leads us to hope and new life.

The Missionary Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, chapter 6, announces how we can get connected to what Jesus offers.  Through Baptism and Faith, we are led into a new and better way of living.  In a very real sense, God’ love, forgiveness, and power enable us to grow spiritually into the people God designed us to be.  Paul writes of this in chapter six of his letter, verses 3 and 4: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Paul tells us that, by Baptism, we are united with Jesus in his death and rising from death.  The old favorite Holy Week song asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”  The assumed answer is, “Yes!”  We who have been baptized have been brought back to that point.  We didn’t just watch it or read about it.  No, we were spiritually crucified with Jesus.  We died spiritually in baptism and are brought to new life at the same time.  Our sin died with Jesus on the cross.  We are brought to life beyond the power of sin and death to live the renewed life God has for us.

Baptism is a tiny beginning to an amazing life with God.  When a person is baptized, we do not see exactly what God will be doing in that person’s life.  It doesn’t matter what age a person is baptized, because we still do not see it all at first.  Out of God’s love and provision the baptized person is given their design for their new life.  It is God’s love and provision which grows the person.  God gives us his Word, Holy Communion, the people of God, His Holy Spirit, and the hope we need for this life.  Second chances are always available as well.

God does great things in baptism and the Christian life.  Dr. Harry Wendt, a Lutheran Pastor from Australia, writes of what happens in Holy Baptism and our new life with Jesus.  He writes, “In Jesus, God has declared us to be holy.  God has given us Jesus’ sinless life, death and resurrection as a set of credentials to possess as our very own.  When we stand before God on the last day of history, we shall show Him Jesus’ credentials, now our own.  God will welcome us Home, not on the basis of what we have achieved, but on the basis of what Jesus has achieved for us.”

God calls us and empowers us through his Holy Spirit and through Baptism to be God’s Children.  Because we are God’s children, we are invited to be restored to the life which God gave us in the beginning.  In John’s first letter, chapter 3, the Apostle writes, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.”

Dr. Wendt continues as he tells about how we get to live because we are God’s children:  “While we wait for the Last Day, God’s appeal is, “Seek to make the credentials I have given you in grace describe you personally more and more.  Seek to demonstrate in your own life the life you have been given.  Become what you are!  Live out what I have declared you to be!””

God loves us, has given himself for us, and invites us to live his new and better way.  In baptism we are given, in a sense, a New DNA.  God’s renewed design and the power to grow is right here for us.  Let us receive it in faith today, and live it from this day forward.

 

Let us pray – Loving God, you make us your children through the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.  By your Holy Spirit help us to understand your abundant mercy, and guide us into the life you desire for all your people.  We pray this in the 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, by your grace you meet us in the midst of our sin and death.  We give you thanks for your compassion and grace.  Mercifully help us to respond to your love with grateful worship of you, and in caring service to others.

Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for all the recently baptized and for all who are sensing the call to faith in you.  Stir your Holy Spirit in their lives so they might grow and mature in their faith.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for your strength and presence for those who mourn.  Guide us as we offer care to those who are bereaved.   (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

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

 

We give thanks for the Church Council members of this congregation.  Grant these leaders a passion for the Gospel and the Church as they work together in leading us to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.
We pray for those who struggle with the effects of natural disasters.  Help us to work together to bring relief and encouragement to those who suffer.  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.

 

Waldeck Prayer List:

Linda Brown, London Gaskins, Phillip Procell, Brian Shaffer, Sandra Gest, Barbara Spence, April Weyand, Fritz Schoenst, Alicia McQuaig, Diana Gerik Poentisch, Sally Beettner, Carrie Oltmann, Beverly Drescher

 

REMEMBER IN PRAYER: Susan Ray (knee replacement surgery); Megan Hart Burch (daughter of Patti & Brad, chemotherapy); Ruby Renck (health concerns); Angie Colpetzer (health concerns); Ricky Eckert (brother of Ronnie Eckert, health concerns); Kalisa Pomykal (Paula Barrick’s sister, medical concerns); Kenny Lorenz (former member Robert Hinze’s relative, serious burns and numerous health concerns); Nancy Pietsch (former RT-C teacher, health concerns); Johnny Dunham (health concerns); Joyce Kelley (friend, health concerns); Jack Walsh (friend of Wade Eilers, chemotherapy); Robert Vaughn (at Texas Neurology, thankful for extended stay for rehab); Edna Mae Krivacka (friend of Ed Eargle and Carol Carmean, back home, health concerns)

 

Sympathy to the families of Ruby Lehmann (friend of Ted & Dianne Sager and aunt of Ronnie Hinze and Kerry Lehmann); Mary Dien Neutzler (grandmother of Lindsey & Josh Eckert and aunt of Colette Wunderlich); Joyce Spies (grandmother of Bryan & Shayne Kirts); Ilo Dean & Joyce Ullrich; Sam Reeves (friend of Daryl & Susan Ray)

 

The Ongoing Prayer Concerns may be found in the monthly newsletter.

 

CHRIST IN OUR HOME devotional booklets for July, August, and September are available in the narthex.  Some are also available for April, May, and June.

 

WORSHIP SERVICES are planned to be continued.  Detailed limitations are listed in the June newsletter.  Saturday service is at 6 and Sunday at 10.  Masks are optional.  Every other pew will be blocked.  Families are asked to sit together and leave space.  Offering plate, bulletins, and pew envelopes will be at back of sanctuary.  Saturday service is asked to be reserved as much as possible for senior adults.  No Holy Communion.

 

SERVING NEXT WEEKEND Assisting Minister-June 27, Shelby, and June 28, Jessica; Acolyte-Kennedy;  Reader-Susan R.;  Flowers-family of Dean & Joyce;  Usher team– Reuben, capt.;  Martin Luther Banner, Connie.  If you are uncomfortable serving, please let Pastor Tinker know.  It is an option to serve.

 

CAMPING ENVELOPES are in the June newsletter.  This goes to MLLC campers attending an ELCA Lutheran Camp.

 

CARMINE FIREMEN’S FEAST AND FUNDRAISER set for July 19 has been cancelled.  Their drill night (2nd Thursday) and meeting night (4th Thursday) will resume in June.  Annual meeting with election of officers-June 25.

 

OUTREACH/CARE COMMITTEE A person is needed to serve on the Church Council for the Outreach/Care Committee position.  You would only need to attend meetings and serve as a liaison, as Cheryl Etzel has volunteered to serve as the chairman.  Please consider serving in this role.

 

OFFERING ENVELOPES may be mailed to the church at PO Box 362, Carmine, TX 78932.  You may also give online.  Check the http://mlllccarmine/online-giving/ website for more information.  Thanks to all who have continued to make contributions.

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at MLLC has been postponed to August 2-6, 2020 from 5:30 – 7:45 p.m., with the theme Rocky Railway.  See the codes in the June newsletter to register your child and to volunteer.

Registration is also available at the church web site:  https://mllccarmine.com/vacation-bible-school-2020/

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top has cancelled their Vacation Bible School.

 

2nd Sunday after Pentecost

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Readings, Devotion, Prayers and Announcements for the Second Sunday after Pentecost, June 14, 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 various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the readings.

 

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.

 

JUNE 14, 2020

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Exodus 19:2-8a

A reading from Exodus.

At Sinai God assured Israel, “You shall be my treasured possession,” and commissioned them to serve as mediating priests for the nations. The people commit themselves completely to God’s will.

2[The Israelites] had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain.3Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. 5Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”
7So Moses came, summoned the elders of the people, and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. 8aThe people all answered as one: “Everything that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 100

1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
2Serve the Lord with gladness; come into God’s presence with a song.
3Know that the Lord is God, our maker to whom we belong;
we are God’s people and the sheep of God’s pasture.
4Enter the gates of the Lord with thanksgiving and the courts with praise;
give thanks and bless God’s holy name.
5Good indeed is the Lord, whose steadfast love is everlasting,
whose faithfulness endures from age to age.

 

Second Reading: Romans 5:1-8

A reading from Romans.

We are no longer God’s enemies but have peace with God because we were brought into a right relationship with God through Christ’s death.

1Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. 8But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Gospel: Matthew 9:35–10:8 [9-23]

The holy gospel according to Matthew.

Glory to you, O Lord.

The mission of Jesus’ followers is to continue the mission of Jesus himself. Here, he instructs his first disciples as to how they might proclaim the gospel through their words and deeds.

35Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
10:1Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. 2These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
5These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. [9Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. 11Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
16“See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. 19When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; 20for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; 22and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”]

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

 

Devotion

“Just at the Right Time”

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

In 2003 a woman named Dorothy Fletcher was flying to her daughter’s wedding in Orlando.  While traveling she suffered a heart attack.  When this 67-year-old grandmother started having chest pains and collapsed on a plane, an anxious stewardess asked, “Is there a doctor on board?”

Within seconds 15 cardiology specialists, all of who were travelling to a conference on heart disease, offered to help.  These doctors were all at the right place at the right time.  With their immediate care Dorothy Fletcher was able to have an excellent recovery.

In a similar way our loving Savior is there for us. Paul tells us in Romans chapter 5, “for while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” At the right time, we, who are weak and lost without the Lord, are given God’s mercy. The Lord took notice of how we are separated from his love. We had chosen sin over God, and the results were devastating. We brought on death and eternal separation from the Lord.

But God’s power and forgiveness are always more powerful than our sin. The Lord can do much more than we ever expected. The Savior helps us in the middle of the weakest points of life. Remember, “for while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”  St. Paul goes on to say, “God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.”

At the right time, God’s love is brought into our lives.  There are two reasons for God bringing his love into our lives. First, God wants us to have peace with him. To do this God entered human life in this world.  In the person of Jesus, the Lord announced: “Return to the Lord, the Kingdom of heaven has come near.”  He taught us about the Kingdom, and showed us how to live. After his time of teaching, Jesus then died for us, so that eternal death would not have to become our final reality. By the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have the opportunity to receive God’s power. This power enables us to follow Jesus through life, death, and into eternity. By being with Christ we have peace with God.

The second reason for God’s love in our lives is very related to the first. This peace I have noted is leads to hope which does not disappoint. This hope enables us to minister to others.

God’s way of building this hope in us is through the reality of this human life. As we follow Christ, we live. As we live, we face all that life has to offer. In life we face both joys and struggles. Paul writes of the struggles being sufferings.  With God’s help we can respond to struggles with growth and hope.  Paul phrases this growth of hope in this way: “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

True hope, founded in life experience, it’s not something to keep hidden. Is a blessing to share with others.

Years ago, I heard about Mary.  She was ecstatic. For the first time she knew what it meant to feel the power and the presence of our Lord at work and her life. For the first time Mary felt called to be a witness for Jesus Christ. But now she had a problem Mary didn’t know how to witness.

Mary grew up knowing that it was not right to talk about her own experiences. It was not right talk about his success, because that might sound like she was boasting, and it was certainly not right to talk about her weakness because that might sound like she was complaining. So, what could a person say that would convince others that God loved and cared for them?

Mary was so confused she decided to talk with her pastor about how to bear witness to her faith in Christ Jesus. Mary’s pastor gave her to suggestions. First, she was to pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ. Secondly, she was to read and pray about Romans chapter 5:1-8.

Mary was a little disappointed with her pastor’s advice. She was hoping that he would give her the words to say. Instead, he had given her homework. But if praying and reading we’re going to teach her how to bear witness to Christ, the Mary was more than willing to do both.

As time went by Mary found that God was leading her into situations where she needed to talk about her life experiences. She met a young woman who had just had a miscarriage, and for her for the first time Mary spoke about her own a miscarriage. The two women shared their pain and their tears. When the younger woman asked Mary how she made it through her pain, Mary was able to talk about God’s healing love and peace.

Mary met a woman her own age who was struggling with the need to provide around-the-clock nursing care for her mother. This time she found herself talking about the turmoil she went through when her mother needed around-the-clock nursing care. As they talked Mary found herself describing how God helped her make it through.

About a month later Mary went back to visit her pastor. “Pastor,” she said, “I was taught that it was wrong to talk about myself. But I discovered that in order to bear witness to how God is at work in my life, I must talk about my own experiences. I have discovered that when I tell my story, others feel free to tell me their stories. When that happens, it’s possible to tell God story.”

Gods wonderful love in Jesus Christ you shown us for a reason. First, it is to build a peaceful relationship between God and humanity. And secondly, it is to give us the opportunity, at the right time, to tell God story through our life experience.

Ultimately, at the right time, God’s love is given to us so we might tell all people of the life God wants for them. What an honor it is to be there at the right time, and to be part of God’s plan for the world.

Let us pray – Loving God, we give you thanks for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, into the world. By your mercy help us to receive his caring forgiveness right now, for we need it.  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.

Almighty and everlasting God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, grant that with one voice we may confess you as our God and Lord and, in communion with your whole Christian Church, maintain, guard, and defend the true faith in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace. Lord, in your mercy.  Hear our prayer. 

Graciously bestow on the pastors and teachers of your Church the boldness to speak the truth of the Gospel’s saving message to all people so that the world might know your Son Jesus Christ and the love you have shown us in him. Unite us in this faith just as you are one. Lord, in your mercy.

Hear our prayer. 

Grant your blessing on all in positions of authority, including the president, the governor of this state, our legislators and judges, that all may govern with justice and equity. Help them to serve the common good. Lord, in your mercy.  Hear our prayer. 

Look in mercy on all those in need—the disadvantaged in our society, the unemployed, the overworked, the exploited, victims of abuse and violence, and those wounded by sorrow, sadness, and the stresses and burdens of everyday life. Grant healing to the sick and struggling including… and those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…   .  Lord, in your mercy.  Hear our prayer.

Bring comfort to those who grieve (especially the family and friends of ____________). Hold before them the cross of your dear Son so that they may never lose sight of the only source of their true comfort and eternal hope. Lord, in your mercy.  Hear our prayer. 

Other intercessions may be added here.

Draw us toward a closer walk with you.  Enliven our faith and help us to find better understanding of your Good News.  Help us to keep the faithful discipline of daily Bible reading.  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.

 

Waldeck Prayer List:  Linda Brown, London Gaskins, Phillip Procell, Brian Shaffer, Sandra Gest, Barbara Spence, April Weyand, Fritz Schoenst, Alicia McQuaig, Diana Garik Poentisch, Sally Beettner, Carrie Oltmann, Beverly Drescher,

Sympathy:  Robin Hardin

 

REMEMBER IN PRAYER: Susan Ray (knee replacement surgery); Brad & Patti (Hart) Eilers (both quarantined with COVID-19); Megan Hart Burch (daughter of Patti & Brad, chemotherapy); Ruby Renck (recovering from surgery); Angie Colpetzer (recovering from surgery); Carol Mertz Leitzel, Janet Schnell Beckworth (both friends of Praise Team leader Jolene Wickel, health concerns and in hospitals);  Ricky Eckert (brother of Ronnie Eckert, health concerns); Kalisa Pomykal (Paula Barrick’s sister, medical concerns); Kenny Lorenz (former member Robert Hinze’s relative, serious burns and numerous health concerns); Nancy Pietsch (former RT-C teacher, health concerns); Johnny Dunham (health concerns); Joyce Kelley (friend, health concerns); Jack Walsh (friend of Wade Eilers, chemotherapy); Robert Vaughn (at Texas Neurology, thankful for extended stay for rehab); Edna Mae Krivacka (friend of Ed Eargle and Carol Carmean, back home, health concerns)

 

Sympathy to the families of Ilo Dean & Joyce Ullrich; Sam Reeves (friend of Daryl & Susan Ray)

 

The Ongoing Prayer Concerns may be found in the monthly newsletter.

 

CHRIST IN OUR HOME devotional booklets for July, August, and September are available in the narthex.  Some are also available for April, May, and June.

 

WORSHIP SERVICES are planned to be continued.  Detailed limitations are listed in the June newsletter.  Saturday service is at 6 and Sunday at 10.  Masks are optional.  Every other pew will be blocked.  Families are asked to sit together and leave space.  Offering plate will be at back of sanctuary.  Saturday service is asked to be reserved as much as possible for senior adults.  No Holy Communion.  No bulletins.

 

SERVING NEXT WEEKEND Assisting Minister-June 20, Robbie & June 21, Susan; Acolyte-Drayton;  Reader-Blake;  Flowers-Jason & Vickie;  Usher team– Wade, capt.  If you are uncomfortable serving, please let Pastor Tinker know.  It is an option to serve.

 

CAMPING ENVELOPES are in the June newsletter.  This goes to MLLC campers attending an ELCA Lutheran Camp.

 

CARMINE FIREMEN’S FEAST AND FUNDRAISER set for July 19 has been cancelled.  Their drill night (2nd Thursday) and meeting night (4th Thursday) will resume in June.  Annual meeting-June 25.

 

RECYCLING TRAILER is now back at the Carmine Hall on Thursdays from noon until 4 p.m.  They are in Ledbetter the same day from 8:30 – 11 a.m. behind the Ledbetter Hall.

 

OUTREACH/CARE COMMITTEE A person is needed to serve on the Church Council for the Outreach/Care Committee position.  You would only need to attend meetings and serve as a liaison, as Cheryl Etzel has volunteered to serve as the chairman.  Please consider serving in this role.

 

OFFERING ENVELOPES may be mailed to the church at PO Box 362, Carmine, TX 78932.  You may also give online.  Check the http://mlllccarmine/online-giving/ website for more information.  Thanks to all who have continued to make contributions.

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at MLLC has been postponed to August 2-6, 2020 from 5:30 – 7:45 p.m., with the theme Rocky Railway.  See the codes in the June newsletter to register your child and to volunteer.

Registration is also available at the church web site:  https://mllccarmine.com/vacation-bible-school-2020/

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top is postponing VBS indefinitely.  It may still be cancelled, but they are waiting to see how things go this summer.  For more information contact Stacy Eilers at 979-639-1897.

 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Week ending 5/23/2020

Church Income                                           $3,181.26

 

Church Expenses                                       $3,745.08

 

Salaries & Benefits                         3,387.66

Envelopes                                         187.42

Miscellaneous                                 170.00

 

Net Loss:                                                      $563.82

 

Week ending 5/30/2020

Church Income                                           $4,183.90

 

Church Expenses                                       $1,064.00

Printing                                             564.00

Salaries & Benefits                         500.00

 

Net Income:                                                $3,119.90

Year to Date Net Loss:                             $1,077.75