SEVENTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST
11 July 2021
Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim
Welcome to Grace Lutheran Church. We are happy that you have joined us for worship this morning. Through Word and Sacrament, Christ our Lord promises to lead and guide us by the power of his Spirit. May today’s worship be a blessing to you as he reveals his love for you and assures you of his presence in your life. If you are a guest or visitor and have not done so already, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. If you have no church home of your own in the area, we invite you to make Grace Lutheran Church the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Pastor Jim or this morning’s lay assistant will be happy to answer any questions you may have concerning our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER Like Prophets of Old
Today’s readings remind us that the Word of God is the force that breaks through when others fail. While a lone individual might run or argue with a king (Amos 7:7-15), the prophet says simply, “The Lord told me to prophesy.” Unfortunately, some people in authority turn a deaf ear. Although Herod is impressed with John the Baptist (Mark 6:14-29), he has to keep his foolish promise to have John executed. That’s why
we need reminders, such as those Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 1:3-14), that God is in control of all things—especially our salvation.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
Lord God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your Word. By your Holy Spirit let us receive it with joy, live according to it, and increase in faith and hope and love; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
PRELUDE Morning Prayer—Matt Schinske
Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Turn to me and be saved,” says the LORD. “For I am God and there is no other.”
If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Today we consider the message God sends us, and our reaction to it.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. Impudent and stubborn, we have rebelled against you, opposing the grace you offer. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
God’s grace is sufficient for us; his power is made perfect in weakness. Jesus
Christ was given to die for us and for his sake your sins are forgiven in the Name
of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share
the peace of the Lord as we greet each other.
PASSING of PEACE
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the
communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.
KYRIE (Please join in singing The Kyrie.)
Refrain: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison
Lord Jesus, you came to gather the nations into the
peace of God’s Kingdom. Refrain
You come in Word and Sacrament to strengthen us
in holiness. Refrain
You will come in glory with salvation for your people.
PRAYER of THE DAY
O God, from you come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works. Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our
hearts may be set to obey your commandments; and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and quietness,
through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON Amos 7:7-15
[Amos is not the kind of prophet attached to temples or royal courts. Rather, he is an ordinary
farmer from Judah called by God to speak to Israel. God’s word of judgment through Amos
conflicts with the king’s court prophet Amaziah, whom Amos encounters at Bethel.]
This is what [the LORD GOD] showed me: the Lord was standing by a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “ A plumb line.” Then the Lord said, “See I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by; the high place of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in every corner of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said, ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from this land.’”
And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet, not a prophet’s son, but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
PSALM 85(Read responsively)
Refrain: I will listen to what the LORD GOD is saying.
I will listen to what the LORD GOD is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
Truly, his salvation is very near to those who fear him, that his glory
may dwell in our land. Refrain
Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down
The LORD will indeed grant prosperity, and our land shall yield its increase.
Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his
SECOND LESSON Ephesians 1:3-14
[In Jesus, all of God’s plans and purposes have been made known as heaven and earth are united in Christ. Through Jesus, we have been chosen as God’s children and have been promised eternal salvation.]
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise and glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he sent forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope in Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC I Have Decided to Follow Jesus—Mark Hayes
GOSPEL Mark 6:14-29
The Holy Gospel according to Mark, the 6th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.
[As Jesus and his disciples begin to attract attention, Mark recalls the story of John the Baptist’s martyrdom. Like John, Jesus and his disciples will also suffer at the hands of those opposed to
the gospel of salvation.]
King Herod heard of [the disciples’ preaching] for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this
reason these powers are at work in him. But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
HYMN of THE DAY LSB 828 We Are Called to Stand Together
HOMILY A Telling Ministry—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel
A Telling Ministry
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
Since the Reformation we Lutherans have taught the universal priesthood of all believers as one of the great treasures of The Church of the Reformation. “All Christians are priests,” we declare … following Christ’s example we forgive as we have been forgiven and give of ourselves in loving service to one another … “showing forth the praise of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
We know about our priestly ministry. But our prophetic ministry not so much. It isn’t usually discussed or considered. And so, the question is … Does God still raise up prophets in the Church and the world as His messengers? Does He still call prophets to make His will and promises known? Are there prophets in the Church today? As God’s people are we called to prophetic ministry as well as to priestly tasks?
In one way or another, each of today’s lessons deals with prophetic ministry. Today’s First Lesson tells us about Amos and the challenges he faced as God’s prophet. On this 7th Sunday after Pentecost, his experience can help us understand our prophetic ministry … a telling ministry.
The place is the shrine at Bethel, ten miles north of Jerusalem, which the political power base for the monarchy of the northern kingdom of Israel. For two hundred years, a golden calf at Bethel served as a symbol—a symbol of idolatry mixed in with the worship of God.
In 750 BC, King Jeroboam II was nearing his 40th year of rule in Israel. An able king in many ways, he expanded Israel’s borders to the north and east. The economy had blos-somed. Political and military affairs were in good order. The nation was affluent and secure. One would think that the promises of God had been fulfilled and that all was right and well in Israel. The old but ever new theology of glory prevailed … if you’re right with God you’ll be richly blessed.
In the midst of such prosperity, who would think something was wrong? Who would speak against a king like Jeroboam? Why would anyone want to?
A prophet would, and Amos did.
Amos was called from his shepherd and tree-trimming job to speak against the injustice of those who had abused their power over people … especially the poor. He saw the power … the culture … the abundance and affluence of the Northern Kingdom. He saw how power had corrupted those who held it. The poor and the helpless were oppressed by those who were rich or in power. The cause of justice was sold for bribes. The promises of God were not touching the hearts and lives of all of the people.
That’s why Amos spoke out the way he did. His calling was to speak the word of God to those who were frustrating God’s will for all people. And that prophetic word was a call for accountability … a call to return to faithfulness through repentance and a change of heart. It was a call to “hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate” (Amos 5:15a).
A prophet of God, you see, is one who proclaims … teaches … and gives witness to the word of God. In Amos’ case it was a strong word … a reminder that God wants justice done for His people.
But at the same time, that candid prophetic preaching was also a word that held out hope and promise to the poor and oppressed. It held out a vision of love and grace. That vision of grace at work is what St. Paul describes as he pulls out all the stops in today’s Second Lesson. In just six sentences, Paul proclaims the splendor of God’s grace in Christ … the grace of God alive in the whole church for the whole world … for all of God’s creation!
Writes St. Paul: “Blessed be God … who has blessed us in Christ with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places … He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love … He destined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ … to the praise of
his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved … in him
we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us … he made known
to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth
in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things
in heaven and things on earth …
There it is … the answer for empty and hollow religion that finally grows out of the words spoken by Amos so long ago. The faith we teach and confess is not just one more religion alongside the many isms of our day. It is the new creation, fashioned by the Son of God who calls us to live this vision in our time and place in the light of the Cross and empty tomb.
By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, we all are members of the universal priesthood of all believers. We minister to each other as we serve one another in Christ. And we are also prophets. We are spokes-people and teachers of God’s Word of grace and love for all people in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. On this 7th Sunday after Pentecost, God calls us to be sensitive to what is going on around us in His world … to observe life and the forces around us. By the power of His Spirit, He gives us insight to know His will and to determine how that will should work in our world and in our lives.
By reason of our baptism, God sends us with authority to challenge those who violate their God-given responsibilities. His promises are to be our concern. His world is the measure for our message so that those who live without hope may find it, and God’s will shall flourish as “justice rolls down like waters, and righteous like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).
Like Amos, you may be nothing more than a herdsman or a gardener, but you are God's. And through you, He can do great things.
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His 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 into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence 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
Confident in God’s steadfast love through Jesus Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the Church, the world, and all those in need.
God our Father, you welcome people into one family and gather all things around yourself. Pour out your grace upon your beloved Church, lavish your wisdom upon us, and redeem us from our faults, that by our witness all might praise your glorious Name. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God our Creator, you steadfastly tend to the smallest of seeds and the mightiest of sycamore trees. Spring up green growth from the earth, nourish the growth of trees, grain, and other crops. Provide the needed rains and weather conditions to bring all wildfires under control. Protect all firefighters and first responders as they seek to manage further devastation caused by the current burns. Sustain the families of all those who are deployed to fight and gain control of the forest fires. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of the nations, turn the ears of those who are in power to the voices of prophets in our own day. Defend us from tyrants in our midst and deliver us from all forms of oppression, prejudice, violence, and civil unrest that all people may live in harmony with one another. Protect those who speak difficult truths when it is risky to do so. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of strength, your touch has the power to make us whole. Embrace all who are in need this day especially Shari (continued cancer therapy), Bert (under doctor’s care for cardiac problems), those suffering from COVID-19 and its variants, together with those we name in our hearts that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as your servant people. Be close to those who are lonely or home-bound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Dottie, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence in our compassion, prayers, and care for them. In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, comfort The Saunders Family who mourn the death of Rusty. Sanctify their tears and even now uplift their eyes to the joys of eternal life promised to all who live and die in Christ. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of love, we pray for this holy house and all those who worship here. We pray especially for those whose efforts behind the scenes often go unnoticed or acknow-ledged; for custodians, maintenance workers, sound and video technicians, altar guild workers, for our office administrator; and for all our volunteers. Guide the members of our Call Committee in their discernment process of calling a pastor to serve with us in mission and ministry. Give us patience and keep us mindful that in your time you will provide us with a pastor yet unknown to us but known and loved by you. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of the ages, we give thanks for the faithful who have gone before us with the sign of faith and pointed us toward you. Strengthen us by their example that we may at last be reunited with one another at your feast which knows no end. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
We raise our prayers to you, O God, trusting in your never-ending goodness and mercy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Offerings Are Brought Forward
Heavenly Father, Maker of all things. Through your goodness you have
blessed us with these gifts. Receive what we have to offer, that others
might know and enjoy life in your Son through the gifts you give us to use and to share in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. 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 him thanks and praise.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, for you have
had mercy on us and give your only-begotten Son
that whoever believes in him should not perish but
have eternal life.
We give you thanks for the redemption you have
prepared for us through Jesus Christ. Grant us
your Holy Spirit that we may faithfully eat and
drink of the fruits of his Cross and receive the
blessings of forgiveness, life, and salvation that
come to us in his body and blood.
In the night in which he was betrayed,
our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks;
broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying:
Take and eat; this is my + body which is given
for you. Do this in remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks,
And gave it for all to drink, saying:
This cup is the new covenant in my + blood
shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness
of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
And also with you.
Lord, remember us in your Kingdom and teach us to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven;
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil;
For thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
Distribution Music You Satisfy the Hungry Heart LSB 641
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
Jesus, Bread of life, at your table we have received more that we could
ever ask. As you have nourished us in this meal, now strengthen us to
love and serve the world with your own life. In your Name we pray. Amen.
SONG Rise, Shine, You People LSB 825 vs. 1 & 4(Join in singing)
Rise, shine, you people! Christ has entered
Our human story, God in Him is centered.
He comes to us, by death and sin surrounded,
With grace unbounded.
Tell how the Father sent His Son to save us.
Tell how the Son, who life and freedom gave us.
Tell how the Spirit calls from ev’ry nation
His new creation.
+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +