TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY after PENTECOST
October 22, 2023
The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck, Pastor
+ TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY after PENTECOST +
“Give God’s to God” Sunday
A warm welcome to all who worship here this morning. Today, we gather around Word and Sacrament through which God equips, directs, and support his people in the mission and ministry of his kingdom. Guests and visitors, please introduce yourself, be welcome, and come again. If you have not already done so, 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 the center of your worship, learning, fellowship, and service. Coffee is served during Fellowship Hour following this morning worship. Join us for a cup of coffee after this morning’s worship and let us become better acquainted with you as you get to know us better. Come to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER “Actions Speak”
In today’s first reading God uses the Gentile ruler Cyrus to accomplish divine purposes. When the Pharisees try to trap Jesus, he tells them to give the emperor what belongs to him and to God what belongs to God. Gathering for worship reminds us that our ultimate allegiance is to God rather than earthly authority. Created in the image of God, we offer our entire selves in the service of God and for the sake of the world. We are blesses to be a blessing.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
Lord God, your gifts are unique to each of us. You bless us with many varied ways that we might glorify you. Teach us to use your gifts wisely so that your Church might be built up through us. Gift us with your Spirit who will direct our eyes to see the opportunities which you lay before us; we ask this in your Son’s Name. Amen
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
From the Word which God has sown, a harvest will be gathered in.
We have been called to work in God’s vineyard, to share in God’s harvest, to give God what belongs to God.
“My Word shall not return to me empty,” says the Lord. “It shall accomplish the thing for which I sent it.”
But we are reluctant to obey, to do the Father’s will.
Let us confess our sins to God our Father, that we may be forgiven and restored.
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection +
Lord of the living harvest, we confess that we have sinned. In our thinking, speaking, doing—proper fruit has not been borne. Your final harvest fills our hearts with fear. For the sake of Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive our disobedience and hypocrisy, that we may serve you faithfully. Amen
As the One who trod the winepress alone, Jesus Christ poured out his life for you. In him there is forgiveness, life, and resurrection from the dead. By him we are redeemed and set at liberty in the Name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Our God has turned to us and we shall live.
Thanks be to God!
Forgiven and reconciled by God, let us be reconciled with one another and share the peace of our Lord as we greet one another.
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.”]
The love of God the Father, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, and the life of the Spirit be with you all. And also, with you.
Lord God, heavenly Father, make your throne in our hearts. Created by you, let us live in your image; created for you, let us act for your glory; redeemed by you, let us give what is yours, 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 Isaiah 5:1-7
[The prophet announces that Cyrus the Persian emperor is the one the LORD anointed to end Israel’s exile. The LORD makes this choice so that the whole world will recognize this LORD as the only God. Persia had a god of light and a god of darkness; the LORD claims sovereignty over both light and darkness.]
Thus says the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him and strip kings of their robes, to open doors before him and the gates shall not be closed: I will go before you and level the mountains, I will bring in pieces the doors of bronze and cut through the bars of iron, I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you be name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I surname you, though you do not know me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides me there is no god. I arm you, though you do not know me, so that they may know from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is no one besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness; I make weal and create woe; I the LORD do all these things.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SECOND LESSON 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
[Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians is probably the earliest of any of his writings. He opens with a prayer of thanks and gives pastoral encouragement and reassurances to new Christians living in an antagonistic environment. Their commitment of faith, love, and hope makes them a model for other new Christian communities.]
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace.
We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and- of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia. For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. For the people of these regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to sereve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the death—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
HOLY GOSPEL Matthew 20:1-16 Please Stand
The gospel according to Matthew, the 20th chapter.
[After Jesus comes to Jerusalem and begins teaching in the temple, religious leaders try to trap him with trick questions. The first of these questions tries to force him to make an arbitrary choice between devotion to religion or politics.]
The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. So, they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. Tell us, then, what do you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON Who’s in Control? 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
OFFERINGS are brought forward
Holy God, you provide us with every gift of creation, and you quench our thirst with living water. Receive these tokens of your goodness to us. May our lives be bread for the hungry and streams in the wilderness, signs of the abundance of your grace in Jesus Christ. Amen
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also, with you
Lift up your hearts
We will lift them up to Him
Let us give thanks always to the Lord our God.
It is right, it is just, it is well
Father, it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Holy, holy, holy, Lord
For our sake He opened His arms on the cross, He put an end to death and revealed the resurrection
Holy, holy, holy, Lord
In this He fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people. And so, we join the angels
and the saints in proclaiming your glory as we sing:
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna in the highest!
WORDS of INSTITUTION
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.
DISTRIBUTION of THE LORD’S SUPPER
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
We thank you, O God, for the refreshment that we have received at your Table. Send us now to spread your generosity into all the world, through the one who is our dearest treasure, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
+ The Worship is Over. Let the Service Begin! +
STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: God commands us to love our neighbors and to express that love through our actions, not because of coercion but freely because we want to do so. Martin Luther describes what our actions with our neighbors should look like. A Christian will “take upon himself the form of a servant… and to serve, help, and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him. This he should do freely, having regard for nothing but divine approval. He ought to think… ‘I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered Himself to me.” With the guidance and the strength of the Holy Spirit working in our lives, we can be the neighbors that God wants us to be.
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!
ALL SAINTS' SUNDAY - will be observed on Sunday, 5 November. Join in celebrating "the great cloud of witnesses that surround us." As part of the day's celebration, you are encouraged to bring a white or gold votive candle holder & candle with you to place on the shelf of the baptismal candle in honor of a sainted loved one(s) or someone instrumental in your faith life. Should you forget to bring a votive candle holder and candle with you, there will be a box of votives available for you.
This Week at Grace
October 23rd – October 29th
Tuesday, October 24th @ 10:00 AM – Women’s Bible Study
1:00 PM – LWML
Wednesday, October 25th @ 9:30 AM – Bible Study at Starbucks
7:00 PM – Choir
Saturday, October 28th @ 9:30 AM – Southern Oregon Music Teacher’s Assoc. Meeting
Sunday, October 22nd @ 8:45 AM – Bible Study
9:00 AM – Sunday School
10:00 AM – Worship
11:00 AM – Coffee Connection