+ TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY after PENTECOST +
Do Not Be Led Astray
14 November 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 Beware! Hold Fast!
The end of all things will be preceded by turmoil, Jesus promises in today’s Gospel [Mark 13:1-8]. Some people see Jesus’ promises as only panic and doom in the future. As a result, they dwell in the land of fear. Need we fear?
Sunday after Sunday, we pray The Lord’s Prayer which offers us another view: “the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.” It’s a bold confession of faith in God, who is our refuge and strength. Such a hope [Hebrews 10:11-25] leads us to encourage one another in love and good deeds. It is the hope—the only hope—to which we hold fast.
PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP
O God, our Father, whose praise is in The Church, uplift our souls to the holiness of your presence, so that with pure hearts we may adore you and worship you with joy-filled lips; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
+ THE ORDER of CELEBRATING +
November began with All Saints Day and ends with the
beginning of Advent and a new Church Year of Grace on
the last Sunday of the month. It’s fitting then that the readings today tell of the final resurrection and the end time. In the turmoil of hope, fear, and disbelief that the predictions provoke in us, Hebrews sounds a note of confident trust. Christ makes a way for us where there is no way, and we walk it confidently, our hearts and bodies washed in the waters of Baptism, trusting the One who had promised forgiveness and life eternal. The more we see the last day approach-ing, the more important it is to meet together and encourage one another to love and service in the Name of our Lord.
PRELUDE O God of Love, O King of Peace—David Lasky
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 that we have sinned against you—in our thinking, in our speaking and in our doing. We take your mercy for granted and expect your loving kindness on demand. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, 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.
In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you. For his sake and by his authority, I declare to you the entire 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. Refrain
PRAYER of THE DAY
Almighty and ever-living God, your sovereign power brings salvation to
birth. Give us faith to be steadfast amid the tumult of this world, trusting
that your kingdom comes, and your will is done 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 Daniel 12:1-3
[The book of Daniel is an example of apocalyptic literature, which is full of strange visions and
symbolism. Arising during times of great persecution, apocalyptic literature is concerned with
God’s revelation about the end time and the coming kingdom of God, when God will vindicate
the righteous who have been persecuted.]
‘At that time Michael, the great prince, the protector of your people, shall arise. There shall be a time of anguish, such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone who is found written in the book. Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
PSALM 16 (Read responsively)
My heart is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope. Protect
me, O God, for I take refuge in you; I have said to the LORD, “You are my
LORD, my good above all other.”
All my delight is upon the godly in the land, upon those who are noble
among the people.
But those who run after other gods shall have their troubles multiplied.
Their libations of blood I will not offer, nor take the names of their gods
upon my lips. My heart is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest
O LORD, you are my portion and my cup; it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; indeed I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the LORD who gives me counsel; my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand I shall not fall. My heart is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope.
My heart, therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave, nor let your holy
one see the pit.
You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fulness of joy, and in
your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
My heart is glad, and my spirit rejoices; my body shall rest in hope.
SECOND LESSON Hebrews 10:11-14, 19-25
[Images of worship and sacrifice are used throughout Hebrews to highlight what Christ has uniquely accomplished through his death. Because we received forgiveness through Christ’s death, we live
with sincere hearts by trusting in God’s promises and encouraging love and good works from each
Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, ‘he sat down at the right hand of God’, and since then has been waiting ‘until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.’ For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Therefore, my friends, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh), and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SPECIAL MUSIC I Surrender All—Marianne Kim
GOSPEL Mark 13:1-8
The Holy Gospel according to Mark, the 13th chapter. Glory to you, O Lord.
[In the last week of his life, Jesus warned his disciples concerning trials that were to come upon them and upon the world. He exhorts the listener: Do not be alarmed.]
As [Jesus] came out of the temple, one of the disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will this be; and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise
against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines This is but the beginning of the birth pangs.”
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
HYMN of THE DAY LSB 649 Blest Be the Tie That Binds (See end of worship folder)
Encouraging One Another
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
In a wild and chaotic time that followed the persecutions and reign of Nero, this steadying and supportive word from the Lord came to a beleaguered the early Church in the Letter to the Hebrews:
“…hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering … stir up one another
to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet as is the habit of some but
encouraging one another.” [v. 23ff].
Who among us would disagree with that? It was a word from the Lord that was needed then as well as now. In the midst of 21st Century life, we, too, need to hold on to the hope that we profess without hesitation, encouraging one another to love and good works.
Holding fast is after all the result of being held fast by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has called us and claimed us in baptismal grace. He holds us fast by the power of the Holy Spirit through the means of grace—Word and Sacrament—as we gather together in his Name.
He is the new and living way, says the text. That title … the new and living way … is unique in the Letter to the Hebrews. For the Jews of old, there was no access to God apart from the sacrifices of a penitent heart. The symbol for such a heart was the blood of a sacrificial lamb or goat, poured out upon the altar in the temple. As the faithful of Israel saw the blood spilled over the altar, they thought of their own lives being required for the wages of sin. That’s the background for the author of Hebrews … naming Jesus as the new and living way—literally, the One who freely offered His life on the Tree of the Cross and opened a new path for us to God the Father. Jesus paid the price for our sins that cut us off from God. He calls and gathers and holds us to Himself … and to each other by the power of His love.
That word of grace … the word that named Jesus as the new and living way … bound the first community of believers together just as they bind us together. They broke bread together in their homes … singing and praying together … helping and encouraging each other—physically and spiritually.
And as the Second Lesson emphasized, the holding fast was done with a view toward the future: encouraging one another as the Day is drawing near … the Last Day when the Lordship of Christ will be gloriously confirmed among all people.
Beyond the walls of this sacred space, there’s a strong hunger for individual spiritual experience, but not a hunger for The Church as you and I know it and experience it. As a pastor I’ve seen and heard it many times in phrases like … “Sure I believe in God, but I don’t need The Church. It just isn’t all that relevant.”
So how does The Church become relevant? The Church becomes relevant when the hope we profess as God’s people reaches out in mission and ministry beyond the four walls of this sacred space. Mission directs The Church. It connects the resources of God’s people to the needs of people and the community in which it serves … meeting people where they are. God’s people are the “wheels and legs” in the ministry of God’s new and living way for all people.
On this second last Sunday of The Church’s Year of Grace, you and I have every good reason to hope for The Church in these very times when hope seems to be shrinking. The good news is that God is in the resurrection business. You and I have hope because God’s promise of the Holy Spirit works in the hearts and lives of broken people … people like you and me … raising them to new life in Christ.
So, what does holding fast and not neglecting to meet together have to do with us as we await the installation of our new pastor and partner in ministry? What does it have to do with our life together as we approach the shores of tomorrow?
What it means is that we need to translate the text into worthwhile language for our life together here in the place.
Get a grip, brothers, and sisters in Christ … hold on without the slightest hesitation
- To those who need the welcome of spiritual companionship in critical times in their lives as well as the good times of life.
- Tighten your grip on the ministry of encouragement and mutual care that goes on at its most important level Sunday after Sunday in hearing God’s Word … sharing the bread and wine of The Sacrament … building up of one another in hymn and Creed and all that relates to the power of being together regularly in worship.
- Hold fast those who enlighten and enrich our fellowship … those who teach God’s Word in our men’s, women’s, and home Bible studies.
- Encourage those who quietly minister to people in this body of believers … those who offer their own witness of what it takes to get through bereavement, to face addictions, to care for the sick, to visit the lonely and the shut-in.
- Hold fast to the sight you see at this moment … those gathered here for worship. This parish is a miracle of God … always has been—always will be. God has gathered broken and forgiven people like us around Word and Sacrament here in this place to witness and to serve others in his Name.
In the early days of my interim ministry at Grace, I shared a framed cartoon that sits on a shelf of the bookcase in my study at home. It was a gift from a good friend who shared a love of the comic strip “Dilbert.” It depicts a pastor standing at the door of the church he serves. The church sign outside the door reads, “Some Assembly Required.” That’s what today’s text is all about.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope … stirring one another up
to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another … and this the more earnestly as we see
the final day approaching Hebrews 10:23-25
+ 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.
Eternal God, you hold firm amid the changes of this world. Hear us now as we pray for The Church, the world, and everyone in need.
+ A Brief Silence +
Holy God, you show us the path of life. Bless people everywhere as they extend compassion to those who have experienced harm or persecution for your Name’s sake. Cultivate healthy congregations that boldly proclaim and demonstrate your reconciling love that flows from The Cross. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of creation, you love our universe from beginning to end. As the seasons change, protect animals that migrate and hibernate. Bring them safely to sheltered places and a more abundant season. Give rest to the fields and orchards that have produced abundant harvests and the goodness of creation. Write in our hearts a new sense of stewardship and care for creation so
that all land, water, and soil may be cherished by future generations of saints. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of peace, you write your law on human minds and hearts. Give wisdom to all elected leaders and officials to govern with insight and compassion. Make them mindful of the well-being of all people so that your world will flourish in peace. Create safe places for all who are fleeing violence, persecution, or death. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of comfort and healing, you bring wholeness to all who need your touch this day. We pray especially for Cindy (Gary’s wife) who is recuperating; Lois who is recuperating from hip replace-ment surgery; together with those who are suffering with cancer, dementia, COVID-19 and its variants who we name in our hearts. Bless those who are home-bound and unable to worship with us especially Sharon, Richard & Doris, Bonnie, Vernia, Elma, Marguerite, together with those we name before you in our hearts (A brief pause). Remind us of their continued role in this community of faith as they pray for us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of life, we praise you for all parish and community ministries that bring people together for nourishment and fellowship. Bless chefs and cooks, bakers, communion assistants, and meal ministry coordinators and assistants. Make us ever mindful of the needs of others. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of grace, you are greater than we can imagine. We give thanks for the many blessings we have received as a congregation. Continue to inspire generosity in all of us so that we may carry out the work of seeking the lost and making disciples of all nations. Bless this time of transition for Pr. Josh, Rebecca, and John as they prepare to leave Holy Trinity/Logan and join us in the new days of ministry and service that are ahead of us. Guide our brothers and sisters in Christ at Holy Trinity with your Spirit as they enter a time of self-study and preparation to enter the call process. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God our beginning and our end, your beloved people shine like the brightness of the sky. We give you thanks and praise for all the saints who rest in your mercy and love. By their witness and example assure us of your resurrection promise until we feast together with them on your holy mountain. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
God of resurrection and strength, we entrust to you all for whom we pray. Remain with us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gracious God, we praise you for your wonderful creation and your
all-sustaining love. Calm our anxiety over the needs of this life, that
what we have freely received, we may freely give to the service of your
Kingdom and the care of others in Jesus’ Name. 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, mighty Lord, gracious Father, endless is your mercy and
eternal is your reign. You have filled all creation with light and life;
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
When sin scarred the world, you sent your Son to heal our ills and
to form us again as one.
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 his life and death, his resurrection and ascension, and his
command to love one another, we pray for his coming again.
Come, Lord Jesus, live in us that we may live in you.
Send now, we pray, your Spirit, that all your promises may come to us
and your whole creation.
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.
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
By Your word and Sacrament, O God, You give us a foretaste of the
new heaven and new earth that will be ours forever. Strengthen us
in this vision that we might draw others to believe in the hope that
is ours; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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! +