+ THIRTEENTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST +
Words of Eternal Life Sunday
22 August 2021
We extend our hand of fellowship to all who have joined us for worship this morning. 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 introduce yourselves, be welcome, and come to worship with us again. 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. A Fellowship Hour follows this morning’s worship. Please join us for a cup of coffee 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 The Only Bread Which Has Eternal Life
In today’s gospel many people take offense at Jesus’ invitation to eat his flesh and drink his blood; even many of Jesus’ disciples peel off. This is the back-drop in John’s gospel for Peter’s confession of faith. “To whom can we go?” asks Peter, in words we sing just before the gospel is read. “You have the words of eternal life.” In order to take such a stand, as Peter and Joshua did, Paul tells us to arm ourselves with the Word of God. We pray in the Spirit that we might be bold ambassadors of the gospel.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
O God, give us bread. Give us bread to nourish our bodies, and in Christ, give us the Bread of Life, that in him we may grow and thrive and serve; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
LSB Setting Four adapted
Chapter six of John’s gospel began with people trying to make Jesus their king. It ends with people walking out on Jesus. We, like his followers then, can be easily attracted to Jesus, the Giver of wonderful gifts, his “perfect food,” but give up on him when he asks us to live by faith and follow as his disciples. The question today is: “Where shall we go?” Away from Jesus or with him? He alone has the words of eternal life.
PRELUDE Prayerful Thoughts—Terry Osman with Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
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.
HYMN of PRAISE Join in singing LSB 802 Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise
PRAYER of THE DAY
Holy God, your word feeds your people with life that is eternal. Direct our choices and preserve us in your truth, that, renouncing what is false and evil, we may live in you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
FIRST LESSON Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
[In the Near East, “covenant” means “agreement” or “alliance.” It describes relationships and is the primary word used to characterize the relationship between God and Israel. By delivering Israel, God has already begun the relationship. Joshua calls upon the people to respond.]
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel:
“’Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’”
The people said to Joshua, ‘The LORD our God we will serve, and him we will obey.’
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
PSALM 34(Read responsively)
Those who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good.
Those who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good. Fear
the LORD, you that are his saints.
The young lions lack and suffer hunger, but those
who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good. Those
who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good.
Come, children, and listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Who among you loves life and desires long life to enjoy prosperity?
Keep your tongue from evil-speaking and your lips from lying words.
Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Those who seek the LORD lack nothing that is good.
SECOND LESSON Ephesians 6:10-20
[Like a general giving a rousing speech to troops before battle, this letter closes by calling on Christians to be equipped for spiritual warfare against evil. The full armor of God includes
truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the gift of salvation, and the word of God inspired by the Spirit.]
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not
against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC Wonderful Words of Life—Anthony Giomanco
GOSPEL John 6:56-69
The Holy Gospel according to John, the 6th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.
[The “hard saying” that offends Jesus’ disciples is his claim that his followers must eat his flesh and drink his blood. The followers who return to their old lives know something about how odd this sounds. Simon Peter, on the other hand, knows something about the scarcity of living, gracious words. He asks the most important question: “To whom shall we go?”]
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, ‘This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?’
But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, ‘Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, ‘For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.’
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
HYMN of THE DAY LSB 526 You Are the Way; through You Alone
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.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH
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 of courage, bless all leaders of your Church, bishops, pastors, missionaries, and teachers Make them ready to proclaim the gospel of peace and strengthen them to preach your loving word. 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 creation, bless fields and orchards. Protect the land from drought and bring life-giving rain to support growth. Provide favorable weather conditions to bring all wildfires under control. Shield firefighters and first responders who are working in dangerous environments throughout our western states as they seek to control and manage further devastation. Comfort and 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 all nations, bless and direct all world leaders with the needed wisdom to lay aside political grudges and renew their determination to address and resolve the difficult problems that face them. Bring calm to the people of Afghanistan and Belarus. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of compassion, bless all who are in any need. Ease the anxiety of those who are despairing, and accompany those in need of your touch this day especially those suffering from COVID-19 and its variants, that they may receive hope, healing, and the mercies rendered by us as your servant people. Accompany 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 reminded 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. Nourish us all with the Bread of Life. Revive our spirits, renew our relationships, and rekindle our sense of community. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of the ages, we give you thanks for all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith. As you strengthened them in their walk of faith, strengthen and renew our confidence in your promise of resurrection until we, too, are gathered 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
O Lord our God, Maker of all things. Through your goodness you have
blessed us with these gifts. Receive what we have to offer, that others
might know that life through the gifts you give to 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 eat 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.
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 Jesus, Remember Me LSB 767(Join in singing 3 x’s)
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
O God of love, we thank you for the living bread that rains down from
heaven. From this feast of love may we carry your eternal life as daily
food for the well-being of the world; through Jesus Christ the Lord of life.
SONG LSB 632 O Jesus, Blessed Lord to Thee (Join in singing)
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
+ With Great Boldness … Tell Everyone What He Has Done! +