Worship - 2nd Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday, June 14, 2020
Introduction to the day
Moses tells the Israelites that they are called to be a priestly kingdom and a holy people. Jesus sends out the disciples as laborers into the harvest. In baptism we too are anointed for ministry, sharing God’s compassion with our needy world. From the Lord’s table we go forth to proclaim the good news, to heal the sick, and to share our bread with the hungry.
Harvest of Compassion
Jesus sends out his disciples to labor for the kingdom. He uses the metaphor of a harvest and says there is plenty to harvest but that there are not enough workers. The church has seen itself throughout the centuries as being sent to labor for the harvest. Most often, the assumption has been that the harvest is people, and the goal is making them members of the church. Much of the missionary impulse and institutional focus of the church have been about increasing numbers and making more members.
But notice how Jesus describes the labor of the harvest: proclaim, cure, cleanse, raise, cast out. The focus is not on making people a part of the church (although welcoming others is certainly part of the good news). The goal of the labor—the harvest—is healing, helping, liberating, renewing. The world is full of great unmet needs, and many people are suffering; hopelessness and despair abound. The harvest of the kingdom is a harvest of compassionate deeds.
What happens when no one is available to harvest the crops? They sit in the field and eventually go bad. What happens to people when no one joins in the harvest of compassion? People continue to suffer, lives are diminished, and God’s intentions of abundant life for all are left to rot. Jesus is inviting all who are willing to join in the harvest of compassion, and the time is now.
What happens when the church shifts its mission from harvesting people to harvesting acts of compassion? The witness of the church becomes rooted in concrete acts of care for others, and suffering is alleviated. The good news of Jesus is known in the great ingathering of compassion and justice done in Jesus’ name. It begins at the table every Sunday, when we celebrate the feast of the kingdom that Jesus himself brought to fruition through his own life, death, and resurrection. May that gift now bear fruit in our lives by his grace.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
Entrance Hymn Gather Us In (WOV 718)
1 Here in this place the new light is streaming, now is the darkness vanished away; see in this space our fears and our dreamings brought here to you in the light of this day. Gather us in, the lost and forsaken, gather us in, the blind and the lame; call to us now, and we shall awaken, we shall arise at the sound of our name. 2 We are the young, our lives are a myst'ry, we are the old who yearn for your face; we have been sung throughout all of hist'ry, called to be light to the whole human race. Gather us in, the rich and the haughty, gather us in, the proud and the strong; give us a heart, so meek and so lowly, give us the courage to enter the song. 3 Here we will take the wine and the water, here we will take the bread of new birth, here you shall call your sons and your daughters, call us anew to be salt for the earth. Give us to drink the wine of compassion, give us to eat the bread that is you; nourish us well, and teach us to fashion lives that are holy and hearts that are true. 4 Not in the dark of buildings confining, not in some heaven, light years away-- but here in this place the new light is shining, now is the kingdom, and now is the day. Gather us in and hold us forever, gather us in and make us your own; gather us in, all peoples together, fire of love in our flesh and our bone.
Brief Order for Confession and Forgiveness
In the name of the Father, and of the ☩ Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
Silence for reflection and self-examination.
Most merciful God,
we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. 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
The minister stands and addresses the congregation.
Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by his authority, I therefore 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.
Prayer of the Day
Lord God of all nations, you have revealed your will to your people and promised your help to us all. Help us to hear and to do what you command, that the darkness may be overcome by the power of your light, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
First Lesson: Exodus 19:2-8a The covenant with Israel at Sinai
At Sinai God assured Israel, “You shall be my treasured possession,” and commissioned them to serve as mediating priests for the nations. The people commit themselves completely to God’s will.
They set out from Rephidim and came into the wilderness of Sinai, and they encamped in the wilderness. There Israel encamped before the mountain, while Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
So Moses came and called the elders of the people and set before them all these words that the Lord had commanded him. All the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” And Moses reported the words of the people to the Lord.
Here ends the reading.
Psalm: Psalm 100 His Steadfast Love Endures Forever
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Second Lesson: Romans 5:1-8 Peace with God Through Faith
We are no longer God’s enemies but have peace with God because we were brought into a right relationship with God through Christ’s death.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Here ends the reading.
Hymn of Praise You Are the Seed (WOV 753)
You are the seed that will grow a new sprout; your’re a star that will shine in the night;
You are the yeast and a small grain of salt, a beacon to glow in the dark;
You are the dawn that will bring a new day, you’re the wheat that will bear golden grain;
You are a sting and a soft, gentle touch, to witness wherever you go.
Go, my friends, go to the world;
Proclaim the great love of God;
Messengers to tell the way of life,
Peace and pardon for all
Be, my friends, a loyal witness;
From the dead Christ arose;
“Lo, I’ll be with you forevermore;
Till the end of the world.”
Gabarain, Gutierrez-Achon, Chavez-Melo; Gabarain, Chavez-Melo ©1979 Ediciones Paulinas, admin. OCP Publications CCL#11430998
Gospel: Matthew 9:35--10:8 The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few
The mission of Jesus’ followers is to continue the mission of Jesus himself. Here, he instructs his first disciples as to how they might proclaim the gospel through their words and deeds.
And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
[The Twelve Apostles]- And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
[Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles] These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Sermon Sermon: The Harvest is Ripe
Can’t you just see Jesus telling his 12 disciples: “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he will send workers...now!” He knew these 12 would start the work--& it would multiply to hundreds of thousands answering the call to “Go..”
The first disciples were to carry a simple message: The kingdom of God is at hand—it’s right here—don’t wait until we all get to Heaven—what a day of rejoicing that will be….no, it’s right here, right now. The original message was very simple: the power and presence of God is alive, near and around you and in you. Exercise it in faith, believing.
These first disciples were taught a simple method. Go to the needy. The sick and blind and crippled, those with leprosy, those who experienced death. Go to people who have a real felt need for God’s help in their lives. Jesus later said: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; it is sick people who do.” It was very simple: Go to those that are around you who have obvious needs for God to rule & reign in their lives, who need the power and presence of God to help them.
Then, they had to go out with the right attitude—Christ being their example: Express compassion to those in need, those who were hurting. What is Compassion? It is deep feelings, gut feelings of love for the hurting—that’s the way to reach people. Not with an attitude of cynicism: those people are all messed up and nothing can be done about it. Not with an attitude of condemnation: boy, did those people mess up their lives. Not with an attitude of criticism: “Boy, they got their just reward—they made their bed—now they can lie in it” That’s stinkin’ thinking! What if God treated us that way? Rather, the attitude of deep compassion is what makes ministry possible. Maybe we realize we don’t have this—then let’s ask for it!
So we see-- Jesus chose twelve common and ordinary people to go and do his work. There was not one religious professional among them. Let’s look at who Jesus chose:
Peter--a fisherman by trade. The leader type who cracked under pressure and denied Jesus three times when the going got tough. He also had a case of hoof in mouth disease, often saying the wrong thing at the right time.
James? John? Yes, the two sons of thunder. They had thunderous tempers. They would have qualified for anger management class. Hot headed. Hot tempered. And Ambitious. They wanted to sit at the head table at the future banquet. Not the meek and mild persons we often would expect to be disciples of Jesus.
Andrew? Yes, the kid brother of Peter. Always trying to live up to his brother’s long shadow.
Judas? Yes, the greedy one. He sacrificed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. In the history of religion, there are always those who love gold more than God. Real basic.
Thomas? Yes, the doubter. He wanted proof that Jesus was raised from the dead. He was a natural born skeptic and even at the end at the Ascension, some of those disciples were still doubting.
Matthew? Yes, the tax collector. Half crook. Half businessman. Tax collectors will take financial advantage of you if they can.
Simon? Yes, Simon the Zealot. He was a political fanatic, liberal or conservative we don’t know, but he was a fanatic and probably wanted Jesus to be a political revolutionary. In the history of Christianity, people are always interested in using Jesus to further develop their own political agenda.
Bartholomew? Thaddeus? Don’t know anything about them.
So, as we look at the original twelve, we find people who are not the heroes of faith; they are not in the “who’s who” of religion; they are not the model citizens of our stereotype of the kingdom of God. Jesus chose twelve common and ordinary, imperfect people—just like you and me.
OK, so those first twelve guys had a simple message, a simple method to those in need, only requiring compassion.
So what does that mean for us today?
First, the gospel of Christ is always directed to those are in need; to those who are hurting: the sick, the hungry, the poor, the weak, those whose lives are all messed up or screwed up. I think we are directed to be with them, to hold them, to comfort them, to listen, & then ever so humbly—offering them sure hope for salvation, for healing, for eternal life, in a thousand little ways, in addition to connecting the love of Christ to their human need.
And so at the heart of discipleship is reaching out to our friends and neighbors and strangers in need with the genuine love and compassion of God living inside of you. These quality relationships of compassion are the means, the simple method, that God uses to reach others. Don’t we need something more, you may ask?
Yes we do. Last Sunday we learned that Christ had the authority to heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers—and we see now that He has given the 12 the authority to do the same—that is also the work of the Kingdom of God being near, within them, extending through them to people in desperate need. Those same people, and so many more, are here in our world today!
Clearly, in the text for today, Jesus gave them the authority and power to do the same ministry among people as He did. He has also given it to You & I, the common and ordinary people of God who have been blood bought, born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, the authority by Christ to do these same things. And when you sense you have the authority to do it, that makes a difference in how you talk to and relate to others. You have greater inner confidence, boldness, to do it!
Next we realize we can’t do this all by ourselves—our small group! Lord of the harvest, send workers... now. There are so many in need…it is overwhelming! There are so many people & so many needs—how can I possibly do it all? We start by doing what comes naturally—do you have a gift for encouraging? For consoling? For teaching? For praying? For caretaking? Mowing someone’s lawn? For visiting others? Do you like to give? That could mean money—or it could be bringing a meal to someone, or inviting them to your house for a smorgasborg. Those lonely, needy folks out there are just waiting for someone to care—to have compassion on them. If they are sick—offer to pray for them—we’ve been given these same dictums: pray for the sick, believe in healing, miracles, deliverance from demonic oppression. You can do it.
And knowing how the original plan Jesus laid out worked, with common and ordinary people sharing the Gospel with their friends in need, and with Jesus not choosing religious professionals to do the work, He prayed something like this: “God, Lord of the harvest, please send workers now. Now Lord. Workers. Not coasters. But workers. There are tens of thousands around us who need the Gospel now. Please Lord. Send workers....now—the harvest is ripe!” Can’t you just feel His urgency?
And that is my prayer today: That we would reclaim the original work of the first twelve disciples; that God will answer our prayer and send... workers... now—and us too. Amen.
Hymn of the Day Here I Am, Lord (WOV 752)
1 "I, the Lord of sea and sky, I have heard my people cry. All who dwell in dark and sin my hand will save. I, who made the stars of night, I will make their darkness bright. Who will bear my light to them? Whom shall I send?" Refrain Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart. 2 "I, the Lord of snow and rain, I have borne my people's pain. I have wept for love of them. They turn away. I will break their hearts of stone, give them hearts for love alone. I will speak my word to them. Whom shall I send?" Refrain 3 "I, the Lord of wind and flame, I will tend the poor and lame. I will set a feast for them. My hand will save. Finest bread I will provide till their hearts be satisfied. I will give my life to them. Whom shall I send?" Refrain
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.*
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again 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
· Father, we thank you for the privilege of coming together to worship You. We ask that you help us grow closer to each other & to You. Selah (Pause)
· We consider other nations that do not welcome Your presence & persecute those that put their faith in You. (Pause)
· Let us think of the people sitting close to us & ask that God will be especially close to them. (Pause)
· We also remember those people who are not with us today. Let us remember them in our prayers now. (Pause)
· We pause to pray for Jeffrey Brekke; Wayne & Renee Brekke
· Thank you for where we live. We ask you to help us spread Your love to our neighbors & friends. (Pause)
· Father, we thank you for those who answer the call to help protect our land through the military—Austin, Brianna, Dusty, Zachary, Dawn, Katy
· It has been a time of crisis in our nation & our world. Thank you for giving us pause to reflect on being inadequate without your presence in our lives. We ask You to protect those in the front lines of the pandemic. Also, we ask for direction in the racial dilemma that has come to the surface again. Help us to include all in Your world as equals. (pause)
· Thank you for the time we have spent together & we ask for Your blessings throughout the week. (pause)
· Think of things on our agenda today & this week. Bring them before God. (pause)
· Teach us & lead us into a closer walk with You. Amen.
Blessed are you,
O Lord our God, maker of all things. Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts. With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
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, given for you.
Do this for the 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 for the remembrance of me.
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.
Communion Song Let Us Break Bread Together (LBW 212)
1 Let us break bread together on our knees; let us break bread together on our knees. Refrain When I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me. 2 Let us drink wine together on our knees; let us drink wine together on our knees. Refrain 3 Let us praise God together on our knees; let us praise God together on our knees. Refrain
Text: African American spiritual
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace.
Thank the Lord and sing his praise; tell ev’ryone what he has done.
Let ev'ryone who seeks the Lord rejoice and proudly bear his name.
He recalls his promises and leads his people forth in joy
with shouts of thanksgiving. Alleluia. Alleluia.
Post-Communion Prayer (LBW p. 94)
Let us pray.
We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life; and we pray that in your mercy you would strengthen us, through this gift, in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.
Sending Hymn We All Are One in Mission (WOV 755)
1 We all are one in mission; we all are one in call, our varied gifts united by Christ, the Lord of all. A single great commission, compels us from above to plan and work together, that all may know Christ's love. 2 We all are called to service, to witness in God's name. Our ministries are diff'rent; our purpose is the same: to touch the lives of others, with God's surprising grace, so ev'ry folk and nation, may feel God's warm embrace. 3 Now let us be united, and let our song be heard. Now let us be a vessel, for God's redeeming Word. We all are one in mission; we all are one in call, our varied gifts united, by Christ, the Lord of all.
Text: Rusty Edwards, b. 1955; Text © 1986 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
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