SIXTEENTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST
September 17, 2023
The Rev. Joshua Heimbuck, Pastor
+ SIXTEENTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST +
“Forgive – How Often?” 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 “Forgiveness Beyond Measure”
The Psalmist mused, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is
forgiveness.” In today’s Gospel reading, Peter wondered if he was permitted to keep a record of sins done against
him. Does God limit his forgiveness of us? Do we dare limit our forgiveness of others? Today we celebrate
that God’s forgiveness for us has no limit, and we are invited to practice that same limitless forgiveness towards
those who sin against us. The message of the Cross is that we have been reconciled in Christ with God and others.
Truly, we are blessed 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 +
With One Voice Setting
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the ☩ Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
“As I live,” says the Lord God, “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live.”
If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“As we forgive those who trespass against us,” we pray – Do we?
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection +
Most merciful God, we confess to you our sinfulness, and our helplessness to escape from it. We hoard your love and fail to share it. We are unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting in our self-esteem. We are wicked; we are doomed to die. We beg your mercy for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son. Forgive us, renew us, and let your light shine upon 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 forgives our debts, as often as we turn to him. Jesus Christ was given to die for you; for his sake, your sins are forgiven 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.
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 his commands; 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 Genesis 50:15-21
[After Jacob’s death the brothers of Joseph begged for forgiveness for the crime, they had done against hm. You intended to do harm, Joseph said, but God used this as an opportunity to do good and save many.]
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong we did to him?” So they approached Joseph saying, “You father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them: “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear, I myself will provide for you and your little ones. In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SECOND LESSON Romans 14:1-12
[The Christians in Rome came from a diversity of cultural backgrounds: some Jewish, some Gentiles. Here Paul urges them to respect one another’s opinions on various religious matters; even though he himself believes that some of the ideas are held by people weak in faith.]
As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord, and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
HOLY GOSPEL Matthew 18:21-35 Please stand
The gospel according to Matthew, the 18th chapter.
[When Peter asks about the limits of forgiveness, Jesus responds with a parable that suggests human forgiveness should mirror the unlimited mercy of God.]
Peter came up and said to [Jesus], “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven time, but seventy times seven.
Therefore, the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So, the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when the same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So, his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him. ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, “You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should you not have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger the master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother (or sister) from your heart.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON Undeserved Grace 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 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 holy God: You are the life and light of all.
By your powerful word you created all things.
Through the prophets you call your people to be
a light to the nations.
Blessed are you for Jesus, your Son, he is your light shining
in our darkness and revealing to us your mercy and might.
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, his preaching and healing, his dying
and rising, and his promise to come again, we await the day
when all the universe will rejoice in his life-giving light.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
By your Holy Spirit, bless us and this meal, that refreshed by it
we might be light for the world.
Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.
Through him all glory and honor are yours, Almighty Father, with the Holy
Spirit, in your holy Church, both now and forever. Amen
Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray …
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 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.
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.
ACOMPANIST IS AWAY – Our Acompanist, Tatsiana Asheichyk is away this weekend (September 15th through the 17th) continuing her professional study in Portland, OR. She’ll be returning next Sunday, September 24th.
MITE BOX SUNDAY – IS TODAY! – Please leave your Mite Boxes on the back table.
DONATION’S NEEDED – SOU’s, “Meet Ashland” event will be held on Wednesday, September 27th, 2023 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. This event is an opportunity for new and returning students, staff and faculty to get to know local Ashland businesses and organizations. Grace was on site last year meeting the SOU community, handing out 100 goody bags. This year the goal is 150 bags! Donations of non-perishable goodies such as chips, nuts, granola bars, candy, drinks and of course, cookies are needed. If you can donate, please bring your items to the church.
LADIES – You are cordially invited to attend, A Meet & Greet Luncheon for Rebecca Werner Heimbuck (Pastor Josh’s Wife) on Saturday, September 30th, 2023 from 12:00 Noon until 2:00 PM in the Grace Fellowship Hall. A sign-up sheet is on the back table. Hope you can join us!
HAPPY 75TH ANNIVERSARY GRACE! - We are truly blessed to be celebrating Grace’s upcoming 75th Anniversary! In honor of our 75th, there will be a special Anniversary Worship Service on Sunday, October 15th. A catered lunch and anniversary celebration will be held afterwards. Please plan on joining us for this day of special celebration! More information will be forthcoming.
FEEDBACK WANTED – Don’t forget to jot down your top three favorite Christian songs and let us know what you want to see in the Grace Connections Newsletter. Feedback forms are on the back table. Deposit your completed forms into the “Feedback” box also on the back table.
GRACE MEMBER DIRECTORY UPDATES – The Grace Member Directory has been updated with a few changes. To update your copy, please pick up a packet on the table in the entry way.
This Week at Grace
September 18th – September 24th
Tuesday, September 19th @ 10:00 AM – Women’s Bible Study
1:00 PM – LWML
Wednesday, September 20th @7:00 PM – Choir
Saturday, September 23rd Fall Begins
Sunday, September 24th @ 8:45 AM – Bible Study
9:00 AM – Sunday School
10:00 AM – Worship
11:00 AM – Coffee Hour