Alleluia! Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Welcome to our virtual worship. The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting, whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen.
Confession: Trusting in the mercy of God, let us confess our sin. Reconciling God, we confess that we do not trust your abundance, and we deny your presence in our lives. We place our hope in ourselves and rely on our own efforts. We fail to believe that you provide enough for all. We abuse your good creation for our own benefit. We fear difference and do not welcome others as you have welcomed us. We sin in thought, word, and deed. By your grace, forgive us; through your love, renew us; and in your Spirit, lead us; so that we may live and serve you in newness of life. Amen.
Forgiveness: Beloved of God, by the radical abundance of divine mercy we have peace with God through ☩ Christ Jesus, through whom we have obtained grace upon grace. Our sins are forgiven. Let us live now in hope. For hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.
Gathering Song: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!, ELW 413,
Prayer of the Day: God of heaven and earth, before the foundation of the universe and the beginning of time you are the triune God: Author of creation, eternal Word of salvation, life-giving Spirit of wisdom. Guide us to all truth by your Spirit, that we may proclaim all that Christ has revealed and rejoice in the glory he shares with us. Glory and praise to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Selection Of The Faithful: Let All Things Now Living, ELW 881 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShtzdgCUyjI
Alleluia. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;* God’s glory fills the whole earth. Alleluia. (Isa. 6:3)
First Reading: Genesis 1:1–2:4a
1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9And God said, “Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.” 21So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
26Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
27So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” 29God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
4aThese are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Psalm: Psalm 8
1O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! —
2you whose glory is chanted above the heavens out of the mouths of infants and children; you have set up a fortress against your enemies, to silence the foe and avenger.
3When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
4what are mere mortals that you should be mindful of them,
human beings that you should care for them?
5Yet you have made them little less than divine;
with glory and honor you crown them.
6You have made them rule over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under their feet:
7all flocks and cattle, even the wild beasts of the field,
8the birds of the air, the fish of the sea,
and whatever passes along the paths of the sea.
9O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 13:11-13
[Paul writes:] 11Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 12Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
13The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
Children’s Sermon: Hum, He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
Today we start the Pentecost Season. Pentecost is half of the Christian liturgical year, 27 weeks, half a year. The first half of the year we focused on who our God is. Starting with Advent, God fulfills prophecy and incarnates, coming to us, not us to him. At Christmas God goes global with the arrival of the wise-men from the East. During Epiphany we studied how God lived with us as Jesus healing, preaching, and teaching. During Lent we walked with Jesus to the cross. Easter told us of a God who is stronger than death and lives in and through us today. Now we circle back and look at the narrative again but we focus on what difference God makes in our lives. Can you hear Luther’s Small Catechism question, “What does this mean?” What does this mean? Today our text paints three broad themes that we will see unfold in because God in Pentecost: God is communal and so we live in community. God is communicative and so we are charged with communicating the Gospel. God is commanding and we are expected to obey.
God is communal, “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” At the very core of the Christian faith is the mystery of the Trinity that we celebrate today. We do not have three gods that share the office of presidency. We do not have a hierarchy of gods that take turns being in power. We believe that our God is trinity, “three persons in one being, one essence.” I still like the example of electricity that powers my house. When I turn on my lamp, it sends forth light. When I turn on my stove, it radiates heat. The TV and radio are visual. One, all, or none can be experienced at the same time without diminishing the electricity present n my house. This triune God fills the pages of Scripture.
So what does that mean to us? We are made in the image of this triune God. We are baptized in the name of this triune God. Triune-ness defines us. Walter Wangaarin in his book, As For Me and My House, presents the explanation I like the most. I do not know who I am without you. It is as I relate to you that I know if I am truly being loving or kind or mean and hurtful. Love is not just something that oozes out of my pores but is a relational quality. Perhaps that is why death of a spouse or divorce are so painful. There is something in the reality of community that defines my identity and is basic to my very being. In the creation story God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” I’m sure it has been pointed out the plural-ness of this statement, “our image.” We are made for community. There is something about the riots we are experiencing recently that offends something deep inside us.
Perhaps that is why Paul uses the picture of a body to describe the church. Within the godhead there are different roles and so it is with us. My husband and I complement each other. My friend and I bring something to each other in our friendship. We gather today, not because the church dies if it is not in this building but because corporate worship brings identity to us. I hear the music from the organ. I hear my friends singing. I see their faces, feel their hugs, and we share our prayer concerns. We are made for community and together we say something about God that we cannot say alone. Today in the shadow of the riots, I would like to affirm the gift of “the other”, the other nationality, the other language idioms, the other’s giftedness that reflects the creativity and universality of our God. We are called to value the other, not destroy others, because they help us to understand our God who is triune and understand ourselves who are made for supportive community.
Secondly, God is communicative: “…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” We believe in a God that communicates, not necessarily boss to slave but as the very essence of trinity. The godhead implies communication. The good news is not just for my own edification and salvation but it is to be communicated to others. I know the ugly stereotype of Christians is the guy standing on the street corner proclaiming a message of those in and those out of favor with God. It is a message of judgment. I do not see that in this passage; a threat that if we don’t believe I am condemned. Rather, I see a God whose heart’s desire is that all should know and be in communication with him. God will handle vengeance and revenge but our job is to communicate His desire to be in relationship. The God who created us values us as a father values a son. We are his children and invited to call him “Our Father.” The Son who saved values us and says, I no longer call you servants but I call you friends. And the Spirit who translates our prayers facilitates these relationships. Our triune God does not sit afar waiting for us to earn our way into his presence but opens communication channels because that is his nature.
So perhaps we need to reflect today who we are in potential relationship with whom we can share our faith with. Perhaps we need to ask who we have broken relationship with and need repair. The text today says “go” and I hear that as “share” and “communicate.”
Lastly, God is commanding. “:…teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you…” Teaching is a communication word but it is interesting that it is followed by “obey.” Faith is not an intellectual feat, memorizing Luther’s Small Catechism. Faith is not a mystical experience defined by how many times I speak in tongues. I think faith is a relationship that grows out of obedience to the God of the universe that offers something our world does not promote or value. We do not forgive others easily. We do not love our enemies. We do not share our coats freely. Christianity does not make us healthy, wealthy, and wise in the world’s eyes. Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not my will but thine.” Obedience and submission are counter-cultural and fight against our will. As much as we preach a warm cozy relationship with God, we must never forget that he is God and we are his creation. We are the recipients of salvation. We need the Holy Spirit to struggle in prayer with us and counsel us, and lead back to the right path when we go away. We need to be still and know that he is God as Psalm 8 so nicely reminds us today. As we obey and work together with him, faith grows.
We come to the end of our first service during this time of sheltering. I know that the church is alive and real even when we are not meeting in this building but I also know that the church building has always been a symbol of sanctuary and safety in crisis. It is here that we gather in community and communicate with each other in the midst of the trials of our world. We remind each other that God sees and hears and is active. It is here that we bow our head and seek the Holy Spirit to minister to our tired souls. We must always remember Christ’s final words, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Thank you Lord, AMEN.
Hymn of the Day: Come Join the Dance of Trinity , ELW 412 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQ55zGuti04
Apostles’ Creed. Let us join our voices virtually confessing our faith:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Or you can listen to the Creed in vocal form: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuDI-sk2nJU
Prayers of Intercession
Called into unity with one another and the whole creation, let us pray for our shared world.
God of community, you form us as your church. Guide our bishops, pastors, deacons, and all the baptized in sharing your life-giving good news with all the world. Strengthen us to be bold in our proclamation. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of creation, you called everything into being. Sustain this world with your renewing care. Inspire us to see waterways, plant life, birds, fish, insects, and mammals and call them good. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of counsel, all authority belongs to you. Encourage the leaders of this and every land to seek peace, equality, and unity. Instill wisdom in advocates who work toward justice in often ignored communities. Calm the riots that have scarred your earth and bring reconciliation and recovery with justice. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of care, you created us in your image. Help us see your likeness in one another. Open our eyes to see and attend to all who face oppression and suffering. Console, heal, and nourish all in need. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of companionship, you accompany this body of faith. As the rhythms of summer begin, protect all who travel, renew all who will enjoy a time of sabbath, and shelter all who will not be protected from the sun’s heat. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
God of compassion, you comfort us in our grief with the promise of the resurrection. We give you thanks for the saints of all time and in our lives. Be with the grieving who have lost loved ones during these days of confusion. Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Receive these prayers, O God, and those too deep for words; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Peace: If you are worship with someone else, turn and share, “The peace of Christ be with you always.” Response, “And also with you.” You might use your finger to mark you children or loved one with a cross on their forehead. If you are practicing social distancing, put your palms together in-front of your chest and open them outward to the other to show your blessing of them. Peace!
God of goodness and growth, all creation is yours, and your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. Thank you for the gifts you have blessed us with and we ask you to multiply that which we return to you. Water and word, wine and bread: these are signs of your abundant grace. Nourish us through these gifts, that we might proclaim your steadfast love in our communities and in the world, through Jesus Christ, our strength and our song. Amen.
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Communion: I invite you to talk a little piece of bread and eat it. Christ is as close to you as the bread in your mouth and stomach. Always remember. Now take a sip of your drink. Christ is as close to you as the blood in your body, strengthening you. Always remember.
Prayer after Communion
As we remember the blessing of communion, we remember that we have been united by your presence among us. Empower us to go forth sustained by these gifts so that we may share your neighborly love with all, through Jesus Christ, the giver of abundant life. Amen.
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
God, the creator, ☩ Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, bless you and keep you in eternal love. Amen.
Sending Song: Holy God, We Praise Your Name, ELW 414, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5vLtzrM_4E
Go in peace. Christ is with you. Thanks be to God.