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Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost - Homily: "Connections" by Pr. Jim




Eat and Live Sunday

8 August 2021


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. Guests and visitors, please honor us by signing our Guest Book in the entrance hall of the church as you leave. The fellowship of this morning continues with a Coffee/Fellowship Hour following worship. Do join us and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. 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   Good News for the World

Jesus says that the bread he gives for the life of the world is his flesh, and whoever eats this bread has eternal life now and will be raised on the Last Day. In Ephesians Paul tells us what the life Jesus gives looks like, this life we live as those marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit in baptism. We live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. The whole purpose of life is giving yourself for the other. We are blessed to be a blessing.


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.





PRELUDE Be Thou My Vision—Wesley King

Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano

In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“I am the Bread of Life,” says the Lord, “Whoever eats of this bread will never die.”

If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins

and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Prepare to be invited to the banquet of the Lord.

Most merciful God, despite the kindness of your generosity, we live in the

futility of greed. Darkened by sin and deluded by Satan, we seek what only you can give; we hunger and thirst for righteousness. For the sake of your Son 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.

The Bread of Life was given for the life of the world. In the mercy of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. In his Name and by his authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins 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.



The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship 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.



Gracious God, your blessed Son came down from heaven to be the true

bread that gives life to the world. Give us this bread always, that he may

live in us and we in him, and that, strengthened by this food, we may live

as his body in the world; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who

lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


FIRST LESSON 1st Kings 19:4-8

[First Kings chapter 18 describes the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The contest proves that the LORD is God, and afterward Elijah orders the killing of the Baal prophets. Angered

by the death of her prophets, Queen Jezebel threatens to kill Elijah. This reading finds Elijah fleeing, fatigued, and in utter despair

Elijah went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones,

and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and

ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!

PSALM 34:1-8 (Read responsively)

Refrain:  Happy the people the LORD has chosen to be his people.

Taste and see that the LORD is good;

               blessed are they who take refuge in him.

The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous

               and his ears are attentive to their cry.

The angel of the LORD encamp around those

who fear him,

               and he delivers them. Refrain

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;

               He delivers them from all their troubles.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted

               and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The LORD redeems his servants;

               no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. Refrain

SECOND LESSON Ephesians 4:25-5:2

[Christians are called to be imitators of God. This does not mean Christians are perfect. Rather, the Spirit is at work in our lives so that our actions and attitudes genuinely reflect the love and forgiveness we have received through Christ and his death.]

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, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God!   

SPECIAL MUSIC O Perfect Love—Stan Pethel

Tatsiana, piano

GOSPEL John 6:35, 41-51

The Holy Gospel according to John, 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.]

Then the Jews began to complain about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They were saying, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me;

and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, “And they shall all be taught by God.” Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that

anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.

Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ances-

tors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down

from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down

from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for

the life of the world is my flesh.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord.

        Praise to you, O Christ.

HYMN of THE DAY LSB 526 You Are the Way

HOMILY Connections—Pr. Jim Text: The Gospel


+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

All of us remember connecting the dots as a small child in order to see the big picture. In a book called “Bless This Desk—Prayers 9-5,” Ken Thompson wrote about connecting the dots in living out his faith by making Sunday/Monday links. Here’s an example of the way he makes the Sunday/Monday link by connecting the dots:

I’m sending another head-office memo. And suddenly I’m aware that the task is not so much to give understanding as to simply get others to act the way the system requires. There’s no two-way communication intended, Lord. No chance for reason or for someone down the line to have that great need for personal understanding met by the therapy of conversation. ‘Effective immediately!’ it reads. But you know commandments don’t work, do they, Lord! It took a lot to communicate, didn’t it! A Son a cross an empty tomb. Help me to watch for better ways than memos and directives. Help me to share more and dictate less.

—Too Common A Problem

All of us know what the author is talking about. There is one way of communicating … cold and impersonal … sink or swim—and there is quite another … caring … truthful … and loving. That’s the kind of communication that speaks to our lives and our inner most needs. It’s the kind of communicating that God Himself is intent upon.

Stop to think for a minute about Sunday/Monday connections. How do you connect the dots between Sundays? What is it that we need to be and need to do in our world this week as a parish and as individuals? Now hear again the words our Lord speaks to you about Himself and about how it is supposed to be between you and Him:

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh ….” John 6:51

Here are words that express the deepest identification between Christ and people. They come to life when we hear them describing all that He is for us. Our Lord is the One who reveals the goodness of God’s truth and love for us. He comes into the world—wrapped in flesh and blood—heals the sick … teaches the humble as well as the highest … listens to people in their needs … accepts them for who they are in God’s eyes … joins them in times of happiness and sorrow … celebrates life with them … restores them … and suffers death on the Cross for all our sins … and triumphantly rises to life to proclaim His victory over all that would enslave us.

Step back and take a look at the big picture. When you connect all the dots what the Gospels proclaim is one grand and clear communication from God … He loves us in His Son. The Law was given to us on tablets of stone—cold and impersonal. But the Gospel comes to us in the person and life of Jesus. He is bread for each of our days and all our days. He said it Himself: “… the bread which I will give is for the life of the world is my flesh.”

But much to our shame, the problem is that we fall short of communicating the Word—this Bread of Life—to the world. How often haven’t we failed to make the Sunday/Monday link and connect the dots during the week? How often haven’t our hearts and lips confessed one thing on a Sunday morning, only to deny it or give it short shrift in our lives during the week? On this 11th Sunday after Pentecost, there’s simply no way to dodge the humbling answer. Our witness often doesn’t translate from the Sunday to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and so on. Out witness often doesn’t translate from the Lord’s table to our dinner table … from the baptismal font to our conversation over a cup of coffee or tea. We fail to make the link and connect the dots.

Accepting our failure in connecting the dots doesn’t leave us helpless and defeated, however. Thank God … we are forgiven by God in His grace to us through Christ. And that grace is bread … bread that strengthens us. Eating and drinking of Him means completely identifying with Him. It means accepting whatever cross of discipleship He gives us for our good and the good of His kingdom.

Here at this table as we eat and drink of Christ, we find what life is truly meant to be—a sign and witness to God’s saving work in this world. The bread and wine … those tangi-ble elements of The Eucharist … join us to the very Bread of Life—our Lord. In doing so, they send us back into the world strengthened for service in a tangible, physical world. And as the bread and wine of The Sacrament have made a difference in our lives, they strengthen us to make a difference in the world as we witness to God’s grace in our families … our neighborhoods … or wherever we may be.

As you enjoy this day of rest, take stock of your life … your faith … your work … and your place in it … take stock of your partnership with God. On this 11th Sunday after Pentecost, what Grace/Ashland needs … what I need from you and you from me are baptized eyes that see as God sees us all in Christ Jesus as we make connections. What is also needed are mouths … not just my mouth or the next tethered pastor’s mouth … to tell others what Christ gives us to see as we connect the dots of living for him and in him. And then pray the prayer found on the grave marker of a Christian woman who understood and lived connecting the dots:

God, give me work

Till my life shall end,

And life

Till my work is done.

+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +

APOSTOLIC CREED                            

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.

Lord of The Church, we pray for your Church in all its diverse forms, for mission developers, new mission starts, and all communities of faith exploring new models of ministry for the sake of the gospel. We pray for all congregations involved in the call process, especially our own parish. Guide Bishop Linneman as he develops a new list of pastoral candidates for us to consider. Give us patience and keep us mindful that in due time you will provide us with a tenured pastor to join us in serving our community with the true Bread from heaven that gives life to all. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of heaven and earth, we pray for the health and well-being of your creation. Pro-vide needed rains and weather conditions to bring all wildfires under control. Protect all firefighters and first responders who are working in dangerous environments through-out our western states as they seek to control and manage further devastation caused by all of the current forest fires. Sustain those who are displaced and homeless, together with the families of those who are deployed to fight the forest fires. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of freedom, we pray for those called to positions of authority. Summon all world leaders to respond to the needs of your people. Instill in them the needed wisdom and patience when to resolve prejudice, violence, and civil unrest so that all may live in harmony with one another. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of compassion and healing, you draw near to those who cry out for help. Feed those who are hungry, reassure those who are despairing, and accompany those in need of your touch this day especially Shari, Bert, 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 the hearts of all who are lonely or homebound, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, Marguerite, and those we name in our hearts that they may be assured of your loving presence through our prayers and care for them. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of love, we pray for those gathered around your Table this day and for those who bring the food from your Table to those who are homebound. Nourish us all, revive our spirits, renew our relationships, and rekindle our sense of community. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of the ages, you provide food that endures for eternal life. Sustain us each day with the Bread of Life until we are gathered with all the saints who have gone before us to celebrate the feast that 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.

Holy God, our Bread of life, our Table, and our Food, you created

a world in which all might be satisfied with your abundance.

You dined with Abraham and Sarah, promising them life, and

fed your people Israel with manna from heaven.

You sent your Son to each with sinners and to become food for

the world.

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.

Remembering, therefore, the sacrifice of his life and death and the

victory of his Resurrection, we await with all the saints his loving

redemption of our suffering world.

                  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Send your Spirit on these gifts of bread and wine and on all who

share in the body and blood of your Son; teach us your mercy and

justice and make all things new in Christ.

          Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.

Through Him all honor and glory are Yours, Almighty Father, with

the Holy Spirit, in Your Holy Church both now and forever. Amen. 

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 - I Received the Living God



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 LSB - 806 Give Thanks




Go in peace. Serve the Lord. Thanks be to God! 

+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +


COFFEE CONNECTIONJoin us for coffee and goodies following worship.

Set aside Sunday, August 22nd, for an AUGUST FELLOWSHIP EVENT following Sunday’s worship. Watch for further information as to how you can help make this month’s as successful and enjoyable as the BBQ held last month.

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