+ TWENTIETH SUNDAY after PENTECOST +
A Camel and A Needle’s Eye
10 October 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 regarding our parish. Come to worship with us again and often!
AS WE GATHER The Kingdom of God
The rich man who comes to Jesus and asks what he should do to inherit eternal life is a good man, sincere in his asking. Mark’s gospel is alone in saying that Jesus looked on him and loved him. Out of love, not as judgment, Jesus offers him an open door to life: sell all you own and give it to the poor. Our culture bombards us with the message that we will find life by consuming. Our mission and ministry together counters this message with the invitation to find life by divesting for the sake of serving the other.
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 as you come to us in Word and Sacrament, assuring us of that peace which passes all understanding. We ask this in the Name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
With One Voice Setting
Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man grabs our attention today. The young man’s question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” is in reality every person’s question. But Jesus’ answer is not easy: Let your possessions go and “follow me.” This One who is greater than Moses (second reading) demands our full obedience for a life of seeking good and establishing justice (first reading).
PRELUDE Children of the Heavenly Father—Tom Fettke
Tatsiana Ascheichyk, Piano
INVOCATION & CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just will forgive
our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us then confess our sins to God our Father and in the presence of one
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection +
Most merciful God, we confess to you our disobedience and unworthiness. Without your grace, we could not stand in your presence. Without your
mercy we would be doomed on the day of judgment. 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 will of God is your redemption. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord. In his Name and by his authority, I declare to you the full forgiveness of 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.
PASSING of PEACE
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.
PRAYER of THE DAY
Almighty and ever-living God, increase in us your gift of faith, that forsaking what lies behind and reaching out to what lies ahead, we
may follow the way of your commandments and receive the crown of everlasting joy, 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 5:6-7, 10-15
[Amos was a herdsman by profession and a prophet by God’s call. During a time of great prosperity in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the prophet speaks to the wealthy upper class. He warns his listeners that fulfilling God’s demand of justice brings blessing, while corruption and oppression incur God’s wrath.]
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
and bring righteousness to the ground!
They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and push aside the needy in the gate. Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time; for it is an evil time.
Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, just as you have said. Hate evil and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
PSALM 90(Read responsively)
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our
hearts to wisdom.
Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? Be gracious
to your servants. So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Satisfy us by your lovingkindness in the morning; so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
Make us glad by the measure of the days that you
afflicted us and the years in which we suffered
Show your servants your works and your splendor to their children.
May the graciousness of the LORD our God be upon
us; prosper the work of our hands; prosper our handiwork. So
teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to
SECOND LESSON Hebrews 4:12-16
[We cannot hide our thoughts, desires, and actions from God, to whom we are completely accountable. Nevertheless, Jesus understands our human weakness and temptations, because he also experienced them. Therefore we can approach the throne of grace to receive divine mercy from Christ.]
Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC I Need Thee Every Hour—Anna Laura Page
GOSPEL Mark 10:17-31
The Holy Gospel according to Mark, the 10th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus has been teaching his disciples about what is most valued in God’s eyes. Now, a conversation with a rich man brings his message home to the disciples in a way that is surprising but unforgettable.]
As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.”’ He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ They were greatly astounded and said to one another, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’
Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.’
This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
HYMN of THE DAY LSB 783 Take My Life and Let It Be
Risking It All in Love
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
Today’s Gospel warns us of concentrating too much on ourselves and it re-sets our lives in the one given to us at Baptism by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In all honesty, we would rather talk about other matters … things pandemic … things economic … things political OR in light of today’s special voters’ assembly … the future of our parish’s ministry and calling a pastor to join us in seeking the lost. All which gets shoved to the side as today’s Gospel lesson pushes itself into our hearing and we think over our responses. For it always boils down to his love and our response, doesn’t it?
And so, today’s Gospel warns us and re-sets us as well. Jesus has just shocked a rich young man who asked him a significant spiritual question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life.”
Jesus fixes His gaze on the man—a gaze filled with love—and tells the man something he wasn’t prepared to hear. “You lack one thing one thing; go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, and follow me.” Why did out Lord ask him to sell all his possessions … give them to the poor, and possess the real treasure of following Him? Why would Jesus ask such a thing of someone? Who would feed the wealthy man and his family tomorrow or the day after? Who would fill his position of power and trust? I’m sure all of those questions and a whole lot more came crashing in on the man standing before Jesus. In answering the young man, Jesus reverses his way of understanding and doing; the man leaves grieving because he could not let go of his life.
So … what’s the problem? The problem is that this well-off man was ruled. And Jesus knew where that kind of rule leads in life. The problem was not the man’s wealth, but the god-like place it occupied in his priorities and life. St. Mark tells us that the rich man was in shock “for he had many possessions.” The rich man wasn’t willing to risk giving up his relationship with things for a right relationship with God and others. He was not willing to risk it all in love.
On this 20th Sunday after Pentecost, I wonder … I honestly wonder … if any of us would respond any differently? Those long-treasured possessions … the hard-earned money … the job … the title … the status … all were suddenly called into question. The intent was to make clear what is anything but clear. Possessions cannot save us. Wealth cannot be the good to which we turn for meaning … for purpose … for fulfillment in life.
You see, what we’re confronted by in today’s Gospel is the First Commandment—who is it who rules the heart and core of our being? Is God really Number One? Do we fear, love and trust in God above all things? Do we love the Lord our God with all heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves? What are we willing to risk it all for in love?
As we take our place next to the man in today’s Gospel, we need to hear the same words from the same Lord: “Let go of whatever has been given God’s place in your life.” But that’s not so easy, is it? It’s only in the power of God’s Word that we can confront the subtle idolatry in our lives and repent. In today’s Gospel, the disciples are puzzled over that very thing, especially when they heard Jesus say that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Humanly, it can’t be done. And that’s why Jesus added the Gospel word: “What mortals cannot do, God can [v.27]!
Today’s Gospel asks us to risk it all in love … entrusting to Him the things that would otherwise entrap us. Our Lord knows that risk as we could never know it. He knows what it's like to leave things behind. He Himself left all glory and honor in heaven—left safety and power and happiness—in order to be born into our world of grief and trouble. He did it because he loved God the Father first and foremost … that was what the Father asked of Him … to risk it all in love. And Jesus did it because he loves us and wants us to be his forever. Love makes the difference. In the waters of Holy Baptism, his Holy Spirit plants that love in our hearts … he re-sets us. In baptism, he puts a word in our hearts and on our lips. He entrusts us with the ministry of the Gospel.
Can you risk it all in love? On this Sunday, what does risk mean for you? Does risk mean that your fear, love, and trust in God above all things? Does risk mean that you stand “on Christ the solid rock” and regard all else as “sinking sand?” Does it mean that risk stops with the risk of faith? What else do you need to risk … to hand over to the Lord confident that He will handle it and us with care?
Today we are called to risk the resistance to love and be loved … to risk the vulnerability that comes with accepting the love we need from God and others … to risk the impatience that wants everything and wants it right now … to risk handing over impatience in exchange for the long-term love that bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.
Today we are called to risk it all in love … stepping out of the rat race of life in order to go back into the demands of daily life and work as a deeper and better person in Christ.
In following Jesus whole-heartedly this week and in the weeks that lie ahead as individuals and as a parish, what are we willing to risk? To be certain, both you and I have risked much to come to this time and place in our lives, but there is still a lot more risk taking to come in serving our Lord and the community that surrounds us as we seek the lost. Each of us will need to take some risks of sacrificial giving in calling a pastor to join us in mission and ministry … making time for the work of the Church and this parish when resources and time are all too precious. Our Lord risked it all in obedient love to the Father. The vitality and the effectiveness we long for in our lives … in this parish … in The Church … and in our world depends on our doing the same … to risk it all in love. For when we risk it all in love … when we fully depend on God and trust in Him with all our heart and soul and mind … we will enjoy life as God intended it … in its fullest and its best.
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
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
As children and heirs of God’s promise, let us pray for The Church, the world, and all in need.
Holy God, you call forth different gifts in those who follow you. Encourage us to welcome the diverse benefits and blessings of the whole Church and its ministry around the world. Unite us in our love for you and sustain us as members of the body of Christ in lives of teaching, preaching, prayer, service, and worship. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of creation, you bring forth crops from the soil and bounty from the trees. Increase the produce of the land and bless all who toil in fields and orchards at harvest time. Provide for good working conditions and keep them safe. We give you thanks for the rains that have allowed the progress made by firefighters who are working in dangerous wildfire environments. Continue to strengthen them and the first responders and relief agency workers who are assisting those who have lost their homes due to floods, tornadoes, forest fires, and lava flows. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of the peace, your desire for us is that we live in community with one another. Strengthen relationships between nations and peoples. Inspire leaders and those in authority with wisdom and compassion to protect the vulnerable and care for those who are overlooked. Watch over all who are fleeing violence, persecution, or death, and sustain them as they seek safe havens through uncertain and unstable times. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of comfort and healing, we pray for those who are in need and cry out for help. Feed those who are hungry, reassure those who are despairing, and accompany those who need your touch this day, especially Cindy (Gary’s wife) who’s experiencing debilitating back problems, Fred (Pearl’s husband) who is recovering from surgery, together with those who are suffering with cancer, dementia, COVID-19 and its variants. Bless the hearts of all who are homebound and unable to travel to worship with us, especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, Marguerite, together with those we name in our hearts. Remind us of their continued role in this community of faith. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of compassion, we pray for our congregation. As we gather in assembly this morning to call a pastor to join us in serving our community and seeking the lost, guide us by the power of your Spirit in our deliberations that we may clearly hear your voice and chose the man you have known in your heart to serve as your under shepherd among us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of our redemption, you promise eternal life to all your children. Thank you for the people of faith who have gone before us with the sign of faith. Inspire us by their example and strengthen our faith, trusting that we will be united with them in your eternal presence at The Feast which knows no end. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
Receive the prayers, O God, and those in our hearts known only to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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
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. 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 Here in This Place (Gather Us In)
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
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! +
THE EUCHARIST: Today we gather to receive “a foretaste of the Feast to come.” As
we eat the bread and drink the wine, we are assured of our Lord’s real presence, our forgiveness, and his divine strength for daily living. Come, eat and drink! Receive the
feast prepared for you!
COFFEE CONNECTION LUNCHEON
A light luncheon will be served following this morning’s worship and prior to the Voters’ Call Meeting. Please allow the members of the Hospitality Team to serve you.
Volunteers are still needed in this very welcome hospitality ministry either signing up to host and assist with serving OR to provide treats. For further details, please speak with either Pearl, Nan, or Mary.
A SPECIAL VOTERS’ ASSEMBLY will take place following this morning worship for the purpose of calling one of two candidates (Pr. Joshua Heimbuch or Pr. Kirk Hille) to join us in ministry as pastor. Be sure to stay for this important meeting.
THIS WEEK at GRACE
TODAY: Coffee Hour 11:00 am
Voters’ Call Meeting 11:15 am
TUESDAY: Women’s Study 10:00 am
Church Council 6:30 pm
NEXT SUNDAY: Worship 10:00 am
Coffee Hour 11:00 am
LOOKING Grace Connections
AHEAD Newsletter DEADLINE Oct. 21st
STUDY OPPORTUNITIES for you: Women’s Study, Tuesdays, beginning at 10:00 am
in the Fireside Room. Set the time aside to join us in our study of the Book of Acts. NewMen’s Coffee Study, the second Saturday of each month. The next meeting will take place Saturday morning, November 13, beginning at 8:30 am. Set the time aside now for these opportunities for study, a good discussion, and fellowship