TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST
12 November 2023
The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck
“The Bridegroom Approaches … Keep Watch”
A warm welcome to all who have gathered to worship this morning. With God as our Father, we gather as brothers and sisters in Christ in the Name of our Lord by whose sacrifice we have been made saints—forgiven sons and daughters. What a joy to be in God’s presence with angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven!
AS WE GATHER “Keep Watch”
The end of The Church’s Year of Grace leads us one step further away from Christ’s coming in Bethlehem and one step closer to his return in glory as King and Judge of all. Without giving away either the day or the hour, Jesus gives an urgent call to watch and prepare for his coming again, lest we be caught unaware. These words are not to frighten us but to help us. Expecting his return, God’s people anticipate that return with lives of faithfulness and good works as they keep watch for Christ’s return.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
O God, you see how busy we are with many things. In this hour of worship and prayer, give us rest from all that would cause us to be anxious. Turn us to listen to you and come to us in Word and Sacrament, assuring us of the peace which passes all understanding; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
With One Voice Setting
ORDER of CONFESSION Please Stand
In the Name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Just as parents have compassion on their children, so the Lord has compassion on all who fear him.
If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Lord is coming. The celebration is ready. Are we?
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection +
Most merciful God, we are not worthy of all the kindness and love you have shown unto your children. We have responded with disobedience and indifference, allowing our lamps to run dry. We truly deserve your wrath and punishment. For the sake of Jesus Christ, we turn to you for forgiveness. Forgive us, renew us, and let your light shine on us so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy Name. Amen
Our heavenly Father does not forsake his dear children. Jesus Christ was given to die for us, that we might be prepared to meet the Lord when he comes. For his sake, your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Bridegroom is coming! Let us go out to meet him! Amen
PASSING of PEACE
[The congregation is encouraged to share the peace of Christ and greet one another with the words, “The Lord’s peace be with you.” The response, “And also with you.”]
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth your Son to lead home his bride, The Church, that with all the company of the redeemed, we may finally enter into his eternal wedding feast; 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 5:18-24
[In this speech, Amos takes up one of the central themes of Israel’s faith and turns it against his Israelite audience. The Day of the LORD was understood to be a day of disaster and judgment for the LORD’s enemies but one of salvation and deliverance for the LORD’s people. Amos declares because the people have turned away from God and failed to pursue justice and righteousness, Israel will be numbered among the LORD’s enemies.]
Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?
“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offering, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them.
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps, I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SECOND LESSON 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
[The Thessalonians are worried that dead Christians will be excluded from the resurrection to eternal life when Christ comes again. Paul reassures them with the word of hope that all Christians, living or dead, will be raised into everlasting life with Christ.]
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord, himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
HOLY GOSPEL Matthew 25:1-13 Please Stand
The gospel, according to Matthew, the 25th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give the glory and the honor to the Lord!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Give the glory and the honor to the Lord!
[Jesus tells a parable about his own second coming, emphasizing the need for readiness at all times.]
Jesus said to the disciples: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout: ‘Look! There is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! There will not be enough for you and for us; you better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.
Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON Ready, Set, Go??? Pr. Josh
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 Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life ☩ everlasting. Amen
PRAYERS of THE CHURCH
OFFERING (At this time the offerings are brought forward)
God of every generation, we offer you our praise and thanksgiving and bring you these tokens of our talents and lives. Help us to use our gifts so that justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. Amen
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
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.
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.
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
The peace of the Lord be with you always. And also, with you.
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
Shepherd of Israel, you have gathered us and fed us richly with the bread of life and cup of blessing. Open our eyes to all who hunger and thirst for food and justice, that in them we may care for Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
+ With Great Joy … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +
THE PRESENCE of CHRIST is celebrated in The Lord’s Supper. He comes to us in a real and present way with his life-giving body and blood in the bread and wine of The Sacrament to assure us of our forgiveness and to strengthen us in faith and service. All who trust and believe the words “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins” are welcome. Come, receive Christ’s presence in the meal prepared for you. Enjoy his presence. Children are encouraged to come forward with their parents and/or grandparents and receive a blessing.
BIBLE STUDY - Our newest study continues with the book of Daniel. Two Bible Study sessions are available. One at Starbucks (corner of Ashland and Walker Streets) on Wednesdays at 9:30 AM and of course the Sunday morning bible study, which starts at 8:45 AM. Hope to see you there!
MEN’S BREAKFAST BIBLE STUDY – As a reminder, this month the Men’s Breakfast Bible Study will be held on November 18th at 8:00 AM. We will meet in the Fireside Room. The Southern Oregon Music Teachers Association will be holding a meeting in the Sanctuary, so Bible Study participants are encouraged to use the Fireside Room entry way when arriving and departing.
ADULT NEW MEMBER STUDY – There will be a new member study session on Saturday, November 18th at 9:30 AM in the Fireside Room. This study is open for anyone who would like to participate. It’ll be a great opportunity to interact with our “soon-to-be” new members as well as, a great refresher class.
HYMN SING SUNDAY – The Worship Team is excited to announce the first ever, “Hymn Sing Sunday” which will be on Sunday, November 26th, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. As you may recall, the congregation was asked to provide feedback on their favorite three hymns. The Worship Service songs on the 26th will incorporate some of those favorite hymns. If your hymn isn’t sung on that Sunday, it will be included in future “Hymn Sing Sundays.” If you didn’t have an opportunity to let us know what your favorites are, you can still do so. The feedback form is on the back table.
NOVEMBER NEWSLETTER AND CALENDAR – Are now available. Pick up your copy from the back table today.
THIS WEEK AT GRACE
November 13th – November 19th
Tuesday, November 14th @ 10:00 AM Women’s Bible Study
12:30 PM Church Council
Wednesday, November 15th @ 9:30 AM Bible Study @ Starbucks
7:00 PM Choir
Saturday, November 18th @ 8:00 AM Men’s Bible Study/Breakfast (Fireside Room)
9:00 AM Southern Oregon Music Teachers Association Meeting (Sanctuary)
9:30 AM Adult “New Member” Study (Fireside Room)
Sunday, November 19th @ 8:45 AM Bible Study
9:00 AM Sunday School
10:00 AM Worship
11:00 AM Coffee Connection