Prelude: For Those Tears I Died, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX7ucgWlusY&list=RDaX7ucgWlusY&start_radio=1&t=45
Sunday, August 30, 2020
Blessed be the holy Trinity, +one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting, whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen
Confession and Forgiveness:
Blessed be the holy Trinity, ☩ one God, whose steadfast love is everlasting,
whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation. Amen.
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.
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
Gathering Hymn: ELW 810 O Jesus, I have Promised https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTch75iqeu8
Greetings: 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.
Have mercy on us, Lord, and hear our solemn prayer. We come to hear your living word; it saves us from despair.
Have mercy on us, Christ, and wash away our sin. Pour out your grace and make us whole that new life may begin.
Have mercy on us, Lord, make sun and shame depart. Renew us with your saving pow’r, create in us new hearts!
Prayer of the Day
O God, we thank you for your Son, who chose the path of suffering for the sake of the world. Humble us by his example, point us to the path of obedience, and give us strength to follow your commands, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Selection of the Faithful: ELW 817 You Have Come down to the Lakeshore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QBxqZ3LRAs, ending at 3:09
HEARING GOD’S WORD
First Reading: Jeremiah 15:15-21
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.
9Therefore 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.
Psalm: Psalm 26:1-8
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
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.
Alleluia. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes | of our hearts,* so that we may know the hope to which | God has called us. Alleluia. (Eph. 1:17, 18)
Gospel: Matthew 16:21-28
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.”
Children’s Sermon: I find myself reviewing some of my favorite tales that carry truth, much like Bible parables. I love the story of the crew of mice that gathered to lament their plight in life. Everything would be wonderful if it weren’t for that ole cat. They could have everything they wanted – cheese, crumbs, material for nests. What are we going to do, they wailed. A young mouse, raised his voice and said, “I have an idea. If we put a bell on the cat, we will know when he is coming and can hide.” All thought that was a fantastic idea. As the rejoicing settled, an old mouse raised his voice and asked, “Who will bell the cat?”
After the mountain top experience comes the valley. Every coin has two sides – render to God what he is due but also render to Caesar his due. After the fantastic sendoff by our churches to be missionaries in Kenya, came the reality of iiving in the desert with 10,000 starving people at my back door. Peter has confessed Jesus as the Messiah, the son of the living God last week and been publicly affirmed by Jesus. What an affirming experience. The text picks up, “From that time on…” Jesus realizes that Peter only partially understands the meaning of “messiah.” WE only partially understand.
I stand in that gap right now, the gap between ultimate truth and reality to get to that truth. I feel so honored to be the “interim Deaconess” of Bethany Lutheran Church, a group of people I have grown to love and value. I slide past the reality of “interim” and do not focus that it means someday I must move on and make space for a permanent leader that will lead you into the future God has prepared.. That hurts. I don’t like farewells! I slide past “interim” and focus on the present.
Jesus has to prepare his disciples for the reality that is going to face them. For Jesus to fulfill his role as Messiah, certain things must happen.
Jesus began to show his disciples that they must go to Jerusalem. Faith is a journey, not a destination. Not just being free of Roman rule but a journey to learning how to live into that freedom that we will come to call Christianity.
It will involve suffering. Transitions are painful. It is not easy to change alliances – from the world to God, from single to married, from non-Covid to Covid masking, from interim Deaconess to the next phase of ministry for Bethany. Suffering appears painful but after the struggle, new horizons open up. After that period of sleepless nights, that baby grows and settles and parents start sleeping again and learning language to communicate with the new little creature. Getting to know your new person will have its ups and downs but a new rhythm will develop. I pray I will adjust to the heat and humidity and hurricanes of Florida and someday that will seem like “home.”
Parts of ourselves die in the transition. We must let go of old allegiances and the glory of those past days to be able to embrace the new ministry God has for you. The Call committee is reading Canoeing the Mountain about Lewis and Clark coming to the mouth of the Missouri River and realizing they were not at the Pacific Ocean and that a whole range of Rocky Mountains lay between them and their dream. They had to learn to use canoes. They found friendship with Sackajowea, a foreigner, who helped them navigate the journey. They reached the Pacific Ocean but it was an adventure. The women’s Bible study looked at the gifts of memory and traditions last week. Our traditions help us remember, re-member, who we are and what God expects of us. We come to the communion table fragmented, receive communion and return to our seats “re-membered,” pulled together in forgiveness. The study challenged us, when we embrace traditionalism, become glued to the past as the only way to do things, we loose the gift God wants to give us. The Messiah will move us from Synagoue to Church, from sacrifices to communion, from hierarchy to body of Christ. Jesus is trying to tell his disciples, trying to tell you and me that change must come and it will be hard and often feel like death but the result will be salvation. Resurrection will come, we believe.
PART 2: Resistance
Peter resists. No, Lord! We don’t want suffering and death, we want victory and defeat of the enemy. The God of the universe cannot lead us into hard times. I would suspect, if there is one big stumbling block in our faith, besides the Trinity thing, it is our belief that God by definition should be able to rescue us from all pain and struggling. God should appear and resolve our issue if we only have enough faith, lay our hand on the television, donate enough money, act in a certain way. Pain should be avoidable if God is God. But Jesus calls it like it is. Life is not about making me healthy, wealthy and wise, about my happiness, but it is about serving the other. God travels with us and is our God, not a magic answer to get me what I want. We must trust that he sees the big picture and not our momentary discomforts.
We hear the words, take up your cross, and perhaps we grimace. There is nothing pretty about a cross, nothing pleasant. There is nothing easy about forgiveness. It is not easy to share our wealth, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile. But that is the answer. Violence, hate, and anger will never bring about a better world – I know that is not the common feeling now as culture embraces demonstrating, but I just do not see it in Christ. It is not easy to say good-bye.
Jesus then asks us a reflective question, “For 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?” These are serious questions. Jesus is asking us to examine our priorities. The call process and also the CONNECT process a couple years ago asked the same question of Bethany. Is our priority our comfort or ministry to our neighborhood? Is my priority staying secure in the love and joy I feel here at Bethany or accepting the next challenge God has for us? As a child or young adult, I listened to my mother lament that if only she had gone to college, she would write a book. If only…then she could have…. I made a deep decision that I did not want to live my life lamenting, if only… One of the themes that I find myself coming back to all the time is that God works outside our boxes. God is a god of the unexpected, of the surprise answer, to an unexpected solution. Again today we see that. The Messiah is not about political revolution and overthrow of the Romans. Messiah is about the cross, struggle and death into an eternity of being with God. I am much better at looking in the rear mirror of my car and being able to see the blessings that have come my way than predicting any blessings in the future. But I do know that God is faithful, trustworthy, and reliable. I can only imagine that your next leader will be as delighted and thrilled with ministry here as I have been.
I want to go back to our children’s sermon. The congregation of mice thought life would be wonderful if only ….. Fill in the blank. Life would be wonderful if only we had…. The truth is that there is a cat. The only way to bell the cat is for God to do it and the only way to avoid the cat is to follow God’s leading. There is a cat, there is suffering, there is death and we do not want that to be true, but it is. The mice are a community to help each other but only God can bell the cat.
Jesus ends with the promise, “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. “ Some day we will all face God face to face. We do not labor in vain. There are highs and lows but God is constant, walking with us, leading, guiding and rewarding. Praise to His name.
Hymn of Day: ELW 808, Lord Jesus, You Shall Be My Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhsgzV4hklc, starting at 1:20
The Apostle’s Creed:
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
Confident of your care and helped by the Holy Spirit, we pray for the church, the world, and all who are in need.
God of faithfulness, you bid your people to follow Jesus. Set the mind of your church on divine things. Grant us trust in you, that we lose our lives for the sake of Christ and thereby discover joy in life through him. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of wonder, the earth is yours and all that is in it. Heal your creation and give us eyes to see the world as you do. As the seasons change, pattern the rhythm of our lives in harmony with all creation. Lord, in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
God of all nations, you call us to live peaceably with all. Give us ears to hear one another, even those we name as enemies. Fill all leaders with mercy and understanding, that they advocate and genuinely care for those who are poor and most vulnerable in their communities. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of salvation, you promise to deliver us. Give those who suffer a strong sense of your presence and love. Accompany those who are uncertain, raise the spirits of those who are despairing, and heal the sick (especially). Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of community, you call us to rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, and persevere in prayer. Make our congregation a workshop of your love. When we quarrel, bring reconciliation. Help us overcome evil with good. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of all grace, you give us everlasting life. In love we recall your holy ones who now live in your undying light. In our remembering, give us a foretaste of the feast to come. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
In the certain hope that nothing can separate us from your love, we offer these prayers to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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 blessing of them. Peace!
SHARING GOD’S MEAL
Offering Prayer: God of goodness and growth, all creation is yours, and your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens. 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 Great Thanksgiving:
The Lord be with you. And also with you.
Lift up your hearts. We left them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come. thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those 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: God of the welcome table, in this meal we have feasted on your goodness and 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.
Blessing: 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 Hymn: ELW 783 Praise and Thanks and Adoration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YoulXtUTa0
Dismissal: Go in peace. Christ is with you. Thanks be to God.