Devotions and Readings for June 29-30

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Image: The Lutheran Men in Mission preparing the Christmas Boxes for the Port of Houston Seafarers.  This is an annual act of mercy and kindness for these working visitors to our state.

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 29-30, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

June 29

Matthew 16:13-20

Acts 9:10-22

Psalms 144-145

1 Samuel 28

 

June 30

Mark 4:30-34

Acts 9:23-31

Psalm 146-147

1 Samuel 29

 

 

Devotion for June 29-30, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

It is so easy to talk about others.  It is also easy to talk about ideas and concepts that may or may not have any bearing on one’s life.  These things really don’t cause any change or improvement on our lives.  These are just thoughts and words about other things.

Jesus knows this, and that is part of what is happening in today’s reading from Matthew chapter 16.  Jesus is working to get the disciples thinking about faith and the role of Jesus in the world.  So, he asks them a general question.  Their answer, on its own, would not matter in the life of the disciples.  He asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”  He doesn’t even speak about himself directly. He uses a title for the Messiah which comes, at least in part, from a statement in Daniel 7:13, which reads, ““I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.” (English Standard Version).  This is important to understanding the Messiah, but it is putting the reference away from Jesus himself in the conversation.

He lets them answer, as we see in the text.  They tell what the public is saying.  Then he quickly makes it very personal.  He asks them to make a direct statement about what they believe about him.  His questions is, “Who do you say that I am?” He is calling on them to take put themselves fully into following him.

There are various points in our lives of faith, both formal and informal which put this question to us in some way.  Although these don’t necessarily use the same exact words, these contexts call up on each of us to affirm our faith commitment to Jesus.

Some formal expressions include the following:

*At our own baptism or the baptism of one of our children or special relations.

*At our own Confirmation day.  Another term for this is, “Affirmation of Baptism.”  It is a time to give a strong yes to the faith which the Lord has brought into our lives by the Holy Spirit.

*Each time when we receive the Lord’s Supper.  As St. Paul teaches us, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26.

*When we take on a position of leadership in our congregation.

*Whenever we gather for worship with our fellow Christians.

 

Some informal expressions include the following:

*When we have opportunity to talk in a casual manner about our faith.

*When it comes up on conversation about whether or not we are Christians.

*When we find opportunity to show kindness and charity to another person.

*When we come upon a situation to stand up for someone or a group of people who are beaten down, harmed, ridiculed or oppressed by others.

 

The situations can be many, but the same core idea is there:  we get to respond to the Son of Man, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, by stating openly by word and deed that we know who he is and that we are standing up with him and for him.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, grant that your holy word which has been proclaimed this day may enter into our hearts through your grace, that it may produce in us the fruit of the Spirit for witness and service in the world and to the praise and honor of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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

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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 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.

 

 

 

 

Devotions and Readings for June 24-26

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 24-26, 2020

Special Note:  There have been some technical issues with the web site which prevented sending of these devotions for a couple of days.  We are working to correct these issues.  Thank you for your continued support.

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

June 24

Luke 1:5-25, 57-80

Psalms 127-131

1 Samuel 23

June 25

Mark 3:31-35 

Acts 8:4-13

Psalms 54, 57, 134, 135 

1 Samuel 24

June 26

Mark 4:1-12

Acts 8:14-25

Psalms 136-138

1 Samuel 25

Devotion for June 24-26, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Many years ago I discovered the powerful and comforting message from Peter’s first letter.  It is from 1 Peter 5:7, which reads, “Cast all your anxiety on him (God), because he cares for you.”  We are invited to tell God anything.  Whatever is dragging us down, whatever is stirring up fear or anxiety, whatever is burdening us, we are invited to hand this over to our God in prayer.  No burden, no loss, no pain, no anger, is too big for God’s loving care for us.

That bring us to today’s reading from Psalm 137.  One of the most challenging passages of scripture for many people has been this psalm.  It is full of hard feelings and rash responses.  It expresses the immense anguish of the people of Judah.  They had been beaten down, many were killed, their city and temple were destroyed, all by the Babylonian Empire army.  The healthiest of the people of Judah and Jerusalem had been dragged off to slavery in Babylon. Everything seemed to be lost.  They are angry and resentful toward the whole situation.  They long for the Lord and for their former life.

The psalm is written as they languish in Babylon.  Their captors tormented them about the loss of their homeland.  While in this place of sadness and separation from their homeland and seemingly their faith, they begin to pray.

Their prayer lament for their situation.  They grumble against their neighbors.  These neighbors, the Edomites, had cheered on the Babylonians as they attacked Jerusalem.

Then they turn their frustration and deep anger toward the Babylonians themselves.  These cruel warriors had done their best to be their worst toward the people of Judah.  The cruelty of the Babylonians is reflected back in their prayers.  They pray, “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!”  The Babylonians, in their cruelty, killed the infants and toddlers of Jerusalem right in front of their parents.  As a parent of a 2-year-old toddler, I can get a glimpse of their grief and helplessness.  “Nobody better lay even a pinky finger on my little boy in harm.”  To be unable to stop this act by their enemies would be devastating.

So, they express to God that they wish these cruel enemies would face that fate.  As I have prayerfully worked through this passage in my life I have come to a set of conclusions.

  1. This passage does not endorse the murder of small children. Rather, ultimately it is a condemnation of such horrific cruelty. In a sense, “Do you see what such gross acts do to a parent and a community?  Never do this!”
  2. This passage is a prayer. It is a prayer which is an expression of what he Holy Spirit taught St. Peter to teach in his letter.  We can cast all of our anxiety, our burdens, on God, because he cares for us.   Even our most frightening thoughts and responses to the harsh situations of life can be brought to the Lord in prayer.
  3. It is dramatically better to bring our most painful feelings to God in prayer than it is to act out things which would bring harm to others, to ourselves, or to our relationship with the Lord.

So, in all this, remember that our Lord loves us beyond measure, and that he can receive anything and everything which burdens us.  We have a true friend in Jesus, because he cares for us.

Prayer

As our prayer, pray through, read, sing or meditate on this favorite old hymn of the church.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

1    What a friend we have in Jesus,

all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry

ev’rything to God in prayer!

Oh, what peace we often forfeit;

oh, what needless pain we bear–

all because we do not carry

ev’rything to God in prayer!

2    Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful

who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our ev’ry weakness–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

3    Are we weak and heavy-laden,

cumbered with a load of care?

Precious Savior, still our refuge–

take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do your friends despise, forsake you?

Take it to the Lord in prayer.

In his arms he’ll take and shield you;

you will find a solace there.  Amen

Text: Joseph Scriven, 1820-1886

Devotion and Readings for June 23

St.-Stephen_stoning

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 23, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 3:20-30 

Acts 7:54 – 8:3

Psalms 52, 122-126

1 Samuel 22

 

Devotion for June 23, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Persecution of the followers of Jesus has been happening continually since the time of Jesus.  There are many reasons governments, leaders, neighborhoods, groups, or individuals find to attack, dismiss, sideline, harm, and even kill Christians.  We will not address the list here at this time.

I mention the persecution of Christians because our reading from Acts chapters 7 and 8 tell the story of the martyrdom of St. Stephen.  He had recently preached a sermon which challenged the behavior of some of the Jewish leaders toward Jesus.  Saul, later known as Paul, was at that time supervising the arrest and attacks on Christians.  When Stephen offended the leaders, there was a stoning, and execution, of Stephen to kill him for what he had said.

As Stephen was at his point of death his last words were his prayer that the Lord would forgive those who attacked and killed him.  Even in his final moments he was living out God’s will.  He was loving and forgiving his enemies.

In the world today many thousands face persecution for following Jesus.  There are a few organizations which keep track of what our fellow Christians face around the world.
Open Doors is one group:  https://www.opendoorsusa.org/

 

Another one is The Church in Need:  https://www.churchinneed.org/

 

Another one is International Christian Concern:  https://www.persecution.org/

 

These can provide stories, information, and prayer requests for supporting the persecuted and martyred church of today.  Generally, persecuted Christians ask that you pray for their strength in their witness as they face such harsh realities, rather than that the persecution stop.

 

 

Prayer

Loving God, you promise to be with all who are persecuted for your sake. Guide all who speak your message of salvation and forgiveness, and who speak your word of justice. Console any who are tormented or targeted for being your faithful followers.  This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for June 22

James & john Icon

 

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 21 & 22, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

June 21

Mark 3:13-19 

Acts 7:35-43

Psalm 119:129-176

1 Samuel 20

 

June 22

Mark 2:23-28 

Acts 7:44-53

Psalm 118, 120, 121  

1 Samuel 21

 

Devotion for June 21 & 22, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

The Sons of Thunder, or “Boanerges”, was the nickname given to the Sons of Zebedee, James and John.  We hear about this name in our reading from Mark chapter 3.  We also see the list of the Twelve Disciples.  James and John, along with Simon Peter, were core members of the group of twelve Disciples, also known as Apostles.  James and John were given this name because of their personality.  They were fervent and impetuous.  Sometimes their actions or words were quick or intense beyond what was needed. We read about one of these telling actions in Luke 9:54, which reads, “When his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”” Even so, the Lord called them to follow him.

They were part of these twelve men called out of their lives to follow Jesus.  This was a lifelong calling for all twelve.  They were first called to be “disciples.”  A disciple is a person who is learning how to follow the teachings and ways of Jesus.  As they grew and learned, these twelve men we then sent out to do God’s work of helping others and telling others of God’s message of the Kingdom of God.  As they were sent, they were given the title of, “Apostles.”  An apostle is one who is sent on a mission for God.

Following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, the Apostles went out on their mission.  Church history tells of the various places they went.  Some went into Asia, even as far as the mission of Thomas to India.  Others went into Europe with the Gospel. Others, and especially Matthew Levi, went into Africa with the Good News of Jesus.

The life stories of the Sons of Thunder give us a summary of the calling of the Apostles, and ultimately of all who take the name of Christian.  James went on his missionary journey in the area in and around Jerusalem.  A decade or so after the Resurrection of Jesus he is put to death for proclaiming the Gospel.  We read in Acts 12:1-2, “About that time King Herod laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the church. He had James, the brother of John, killed with the sword.”  This was about AD 44.  James, one of the Sons of Thunder, was the first of the Twelve Apostles to experience martyrdom, for he died in his witness to his faith in Jesus.

John had a very different story.  One core element was that he was a faithful witness to Jesus Christ, and he went out into the world to tell of the Kingdom of God.  He ended up in far western Turkey in the area near Ephesus.  We have 5 of his books in the Christian New Testament.  The Apostle and Evangelist John was willing to suffer and die for his faith.  He did suffer persecution.  Church history indicates that he lived a long life and died of natural causes around the year AD 100.  In his later years he could not talk much, for he was weak with age.  Even so, with what strength he did have he would remind the people of the church about a core teaching of Jesus.  He would stand up and say, “Love one another.”  When you read John chapter 13, or the first of his letters, you will see this is a prominent part of his teaching.

These two Apostles were faithful to the end, whenever that was to come.  James died young for proclaiming the faith.  John died an old man who did his best to continue to proclaim the faith until his final days.

We may or may not ever face harsh persecution for our faith in Jesus.  We may or may not die as a martyr for Jesus.  The core of our calling is to be faithful to Jesus and tell others of us his love all through our lives. The source of our strength and hope for doing this is in what Jesus has first done for us.  In John’s first letter, chapter 4, verse 19, he reminds us, “We love because he first loved us.”  This is a summary of all that the Lord has first done for us.  With what he provides we are given the strength to stay faithful throughout our lives, no matter when we take our last breath.  We are given the strength of faith to remain faithful to our last breath.

 

Prayer

God of faithfulness, you bless those who are persecuted. Strengthen those who suffer for the sake of conscience. When they are accused, save them from speaking in hate; when they are rejected, save them from bitterness; when they are imprisoned, save them from despair. Give us grace to respect their witness and to discern the truth, that our society may be cleansed and strengthened; for the sake of our merciful and righteous judge, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

3rd Sunday after Pentecost June 21

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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.

 

Devotion and Readings June 19

St.-Stephen_stoning

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 19, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 2:18-22

Acts 7:11-19

Psalm 119:49-88

1 Samuel 18

Devotion for June 19, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

There is something I greatly appreciate about God’s Holy Word.  What I appreciate is that the events of God’s work take place within the context of human history.  What the Lord has done has taken place, and continues to take place, on the stage of life in this world.  The examples in scripture of the connections with human history are more numerous than can be shared here.

 

One prominent example is in Luke 2, which begins with, “In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.”  Luke, by the Holy Spirit, make a connection with the timeline of history by noting who was ruling at the time, namely Emperor Caesar Augustus.

 

A prominent example of this in the Old Testament is from Zechariah 1:7, “7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah son of Berechiah son of Iddo; and Zechariah said…” In this the prophet records the exact date on which he received the revelation of God.

In our reading from Acts 7 we have part of the sermon of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.  While not giving an exact date, he does plant the message of God in the midst of human history and the action of the Lord over time.  He tells the broad story of the Lord from Abraham forward, and then connects it with the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.  The whole sermon of St. Stephen is presented in Acts 7:2-53.

This reminds us again and again that God’s action is not something away from us.  Rather, it is right here among us in this real world.  God the Son has entered the fullness of humanity and human history.  God the Son has taken action which has changed history by working to reconcile humanity to God through the forgiveness of sin.  This is the one real God loving us in our real situation in life, and calling us to respond with love for God, for our truly present neighbors, and for one another.  We are given the opportunity to know, worship and serve a real God, loving real people, addressing the intensely real problem of human sin and brokenness.

As we look back on all that God has done, we can see that he has been working on caring for our world throughout time.  We give thanks today that his work is for right now in history.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we humbly thank you for your goodness to us and to all that you have made. We praise you for your creation, for keeping us and all things in your care, and for all the blessings of life. Above all we bless you for your immeasurable love in redeeming the world by our Lord Jesus Christ, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies that with thankful hearts we praise you, not only with our lips but in our lives, by giving ourselves to your service and by living in your gifts of holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all worship and praise, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for June 17 & 18

26C6BEDD-5500-49B2-ADCD-DBE39BC1D0F4

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 17 & 18, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

June 17

Mark 2:1-12

Acts 6:1-15

Psalms 115-117

1 Samuel 16

 

June 18

Mark 2:13-17

Acts 7:1-10

Psalm 119:1-48

1 Samuel 17

 

Devotion for June 17 & 18, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Years ago at a 7-Eleven store I was in line to buy some snacks.  The cashier was a young woman, maybe about 23-25 years old.  She was talking with her co-worker about various things.  The topic moved to something about faith and God.  She was quick to say that she had no connection with such things.  Why?  Because she had done too many wrong things for God to still care about her.  In my brief moment at the register stand I tried to assure her of God’s love, but she just brushed it off.  My time was over due to the line, but I tried to offer her hope in the God who loves all sinners.

In our reading from Mark chapter 2 we have scene of people criticizing Jesus.  Why?  Because he was spending time with and caring about various sinners.  One specific sin is relevant to the context, for this is when Jesus calls a new follower, Matthew Levi.  Matthew Levi was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were agents of the occupying Romans.  The Romans hired locals to do this work.  The workers were given their right to collect the stated tax, plus a personal commission.  Some would demand a higher commission than was stated.  Since they were under the authority of Rome, they got away with this action.  The Jews who accepted these jobs were considered corrupt enemies of the people, and therefore sinners.

Despite the public hatred of these workers, Jesus loved them. There was no endorsement of their sin, but he didn’t let this prevent him from caring for them and bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to them. They were not too far gone for God the love them.

In faith today we live on both sides of this coin or sorts.  We are sinners of various sorts, yet we are also ambassadors of Jesus.  We need God’s powerful love and presence and forgiveness in our lives.  We also encounter others every day who need some kindness and compassion, no matter how far gone from God they feel they might be.  They also need God’s powerful love and presence and forgiveness.  Nobody is too far gone for God to love them.

In all this, we are invited to humbly show kindness to people wherever they are in the journey of life.  We are called upon to start from a position of love and compassion.  Even when we look at our own lives we can see that this is difficult time.  We don’t fully get the journey another person is experiencing, so let’s focus on kindness and compassion for our fellow sinners.

St. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 4:25-32, “25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy.  Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

Let us be people filled with kindness, forgiveness, knowing what Jesus has first done for us.  Let us treat everyone we meet as one who is no too far gone for God’s love.

 

Prayer

Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for June 16

Earth nasa

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 16, 2020

 

image – NASA – Credits: Image Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 1:35-45

Acts 5:33-42

Psalms 111-114

1 Samuel 15

 

Devotion for June 16, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Due to our sin or simply fear we have placed barriers between ourselves and others.  Whether overt or subconscious, we have separated ourselves from others.  These could be due to language, ethnicity, disease, culture, geography, wealth, skin tone or any number of other points of division.  This has not made the world a better place.  Some divisions may have made life simpler for one person or another, but that is all.

Jesus was one to break barriers between people.  In our reading today from Mark we hear about the healing of leprous man. We read in verses 40-42 the following, “A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.”

Jesus crossed a barrier to bring life to this man.  The barrier he crossed was that of a disease, namely leprosy.  Those who suffered from this disease were generally kept away from all other people.  This was, in part, to prevent the spread of the illness.  Sadly, it became a barrier which helped other to dismiss the true humanity and God given value of those who suffered.  Our Lord, who is also creator, was willing to touch the untouchable so that this man could receive love and healing.

St. Paul picks up on this general idea when teaching about our unity in Jesus.  In Galatians 3:27-28 he writes, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”  When we are united in Jesus, these divisions are broken down.  What we rely upon to keep others at a distance is what God reconciles.  If we are followers of Jesus, then we use God’s love and power to reach out across barriers which human sin and fear have established.

Something for each of us to ponder for our lives today is this:  What barriers between you and others have you been able to overcome in your life?  What barriers have been hard to cross to share God’s love with the neighbor in your life?  What sins are you in need of confessing which have placed barriers between you and others?

 

Prayer

Almighty God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to reconcile the world to yourself. We praise and bless you for those whom you have sent in the power of the Spirit to preach the gospel to all nations. We thank you that in all parts of the earth a community of love has been gathered together by their prayers and labors, and that in every place your servants call upon your name; for the kingdom and the power and the glory are yours forever. Amen.

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Devotion and Readings for June 15

jesus-christ-crucifixion-395

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for June 15, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Mark 1:29-34

Acts 5:22-32

Psalms 108-110

1 Samuel 14

 

Devotion for June 15, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

When we are in the best of our humanity, we are most fully like what God desires for us.  Jesus himself was and is the perfection of humanity, while, at the same time, he is the fully perfect God.  By God’s power and grace, we are given what it takes to become the best of our humanity.

Sure, in our daily struggle to live into the life to which God has called us, we often do not live out God’s will.  As St. Paul tells us in Romans 7:21-23, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but 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.”  We struggle in that situation, and we are reminded that is it by God’s power alone that we have life.  Paul notes in verse 24-25a, “Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

The rescue from this body of death is what leads us back to the best of humanity.  In the best of our humanity, death is sacred.  Death is not easy.  It is even more difficult when death is brought upon a fellow person, or even on livestock for our food.  Garrison Keillor, in one of his “News from Lake Wobegon” talks entitled, “Hog Slaughter,” told of the careful ritual and respect which his relatives and friends had when slaughtering animals for food.  He was caught throwing small rocks at the hogs which were about to be slaughtered.  His uncle strongly scolded him for the young Garrison’s disrespect and violation of this respectful ritual and ceremony of the slaughter.  These animals were facing death so the people could have food to eat.  This experience taught him reverence for the animals, as well as the reality of life and death.

In war and execution of convicted criminals there is a powerful sense of reverence in the matter.  Decades ago an old WW II army veteran shared with me his struggle with the war.  He told of how he jumped into a fox hole on a Pacific island. His job was to eliminate the threat of the Japanese soldiers in that hole.  He sensed that he truly caught them by surprise. He fired three shots with his pistol, and these shots killed all three soldiers in a matter of seconds.  When he told me that story over 50 years after the war, he said he could still remember all of their faces.  He had a reverence for life and death, and in this he faced these three young men in their death.

Executions are not a laughing matter either.  In places with the death penalty I sense there is a reverence on the part of the execution staff for those who are about to die.  When I have read or heard accounts of such events I get that those present generally take these matters seriously.

In either war or execution, there are always some who don’t take it seriously.  I suppose each person has to deal with these weighty matters in one’s own way.

In a much greater situation is the death of our savior, Jesus Christ.  In today’s reading from Acts 5 we have part of a scene when St. Peter and the Apostles are arrested for telling others in Jerusalem about the good news of Jesus.  They are ordered to stop, but they will not and cannot do so, for God’s command is greater than human.  In talking about this, Peter notes, “The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.”

This statement is a combination of ways of talking about death.  In the Judean culture, this is how they spoke of crucifixion. It was a euphemism of sorts. It was a way of talking about crucifixion in their time without actually saying the actual words to describe it.

This word of Peter was also a reference to the statement in Deuteronomy 21:22-23, which read, “When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not defile the land that the Lord your God is giving you for possession.”  The body of an executed person would be displayed on a tree.  This was to deter future crimes by others.  The law states that this is to be done, at most, for a very short time. It was a cursed and shameful reality to be hung up out in public as an executed criminal.

The death of Jesus on the cross, and his being publicly shown as dead at the edge of Jerusalem, was a mix of great reverence and great shame.  Reverence, because execution was a thing of awe and respect, for it was the taking of a life.  Reverence, for it is God the Son who went to his death.  It was also a thing of shame, for at least two reasons.  One is that noted above, that the Jews understood that it was cursed and shameful to be left up to die in public.  The other is that the Romans reserved crucifixion for the lowest of people.  This included those who were not Roman Citizens, slaves, and miserable criminals.

Jesus, God the Son, Lord of lords and King of kings, went to his death.  To this day we look upon Jesus on the cross with immense reverence.  He was without sin, yet he gave himself for us by death on a cross.  In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul teaches us, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  Our final death became his death.  He was without shame, yet out of love for us, he took on the lowest shame of his time.

This shameful death is also something which we get to take with utmost seriousness and reverence.  We get to observe it as the greatest act of self-giving for us and for the world.  We get to see that he has acted for us, so that we may be given life with God, both now and forever.

Prayer

Eternal God, your love is stronger than death, and your passion more fierce than the grave. We rejoice in the lives of those whom you have drawn into your eternal embrace. Keep us in joyful communion with them until we join the saints of every people and nation gathered before your throne in your ceaseless praise, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.