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Worship - July 12, 2020 6th Sunday after Pentecost


Introduction to the day: Themes of growth and abundance abound on this Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. The Word of God goes forth continually, reminding God’s people that they are beloved, chosen, and cared for without fail. Because of his great love for humanity, God provides beauty to enjoy and hope in the midst of suffering. Some will hear this word of promise, and it will grow like a seed planted in fertile soil.


Announcements / Birthdays:

Summer Bergeson (12th), Heidi Long (17th), Larry Finseth (18th)


Call to Worship :Lord Let My Heart be Good Soil (LBW #346)


Lord, let my heart be good soil,

open to the seed of your word.

Lord, let my heart be good soil,

where love can grow and peace is understood.

When my heart is hard, break the stone away.

When my heart is cold, warm it with the day.

When my heart is lost, lead me on your way.

Lord, let my heart, Lord, let my heart,

Lord, let my heart be good soil.

Text: Handt Hanson, b. 1950 Text © 1985 Prince of Peace Publishing, Changing Church, Inc., admin. Augsburg Fortress. CCL#11430998


Confession and Forgiveness:

P: If we say we have fellowship with God while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7)

(Silence for self-reflection and examination)

P: Have mercy on us, O God, according to your steadfast love.

C: According to your abundant mercy, blot out our transgressions. Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity and cleanse us from our sin. Create in us a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within us. Cast us not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation and uphold us with a willing spirit. Amen. (from Psalm 51)

P: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake, God forgives you all your sins. For thus says the Lord: I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be made clean. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and will give you a heart of flesh. You shall be my people, and I will be your God. (from Ezekiel 36:25-28)

C: Amen.

Prayer of the Day

Richly inspire us, O Lord, to consider and accomplish what you see is good. For we know that we cannot live without you, but that with you, we shall prevail. And so, we pray through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

First Reading: Isaiah 55:10-13 You Will Go Out with Joy

10“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. 12For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”


Psalm 65:[1-8] 9-14* God of Our Salvation

[You are to be praised, O God, in Zion;*


to you shall vows be performed in Jerusalem.

To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come,*

because of | their transgressions.

Our sins are stronger than we are,*

but you will blot them out.

Happy are they whom you choose and draw to your courts to dwell there!*

they will be satisfied by the beauty of your house, by the holiness of your temple.

Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness, O God of our salvation,*

O Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the seas that are far away.

You make fast the mountains by your power;*

they are girded about with might.

You still the roaring of the seas,*

the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the peoples.

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs;*

you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.]

You visit the earth and water it abundantly; you make it very plenteous;*

the river of God is full of water.

You prepare the grain,*

for so you provide for the earth.

You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;*

with heavy rain you soften the ground and bless its increase.

You crown the year with your goodness,*

and your paths overflow with plenty.

May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing,*

and the hills be clothed with joy.

May the meadows cover themselves with flocks,

and the valleys cloak themselves with grain;*

let them shout for joy and sing.


Second Reading: Romans 8:12-17 Heirs with Christ

So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Response: Seek Ye First (WOV #713)


Verse 1

Seek ye first the kingdom of God

And His righteousness

And all these things

Shall be added unto you

Allelu alleluia

Verse 2

Man shall not live by bread alone

But by ev'ry word

That proceeds

From the mouth of God

Allelu alleluia

Verse 3

Ask and it shall be given unto you

Seek and ye shall find

Knock and the door

Shall be opened unto you

Allelu alleluia

CCLI Song # 1352 Karen Lafferty © 1972 CCCM Music (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) Universal Music - Brentwood Benson Publishing (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.) For use solely with the SongSelect®. Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 11430998


Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

{Jesus said to the disciples,} “Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”


Sermon -Pastor Jill LETS SOW SOME SEEDS!

Jesus wasn’t just sowing grass seed here. He was trying to sow the word of God on the unpredictable soil of the human heart. And not only is it unpredictable, it is invisible, which means that you can’t tell, just by looking, what kind of heart someone has. So you have to sow seed everywhere, and in every way imaginable.

The message is simple---the hope is that the scattered seed of the word finds good soil, and grows, and produces a bumper crop. And since you can’t predict just how or where the seed is going to fall, or when or if it is going to produce, you scatter it wherever you can and hope for the best.

I did my Internship at Bethel Lutheran in Bemidji—who at the time had 750 active congregants, and 3 services. They had two contemporary services—at 8:00 and 11:00. There were musicians participating of all ages and instruments—including little kids who played the bongo drums, horns, flutes, and sang their hearts out. Older ones played violins, accordians, electric guitars, drums, you name it. The pastor’s wife played the grand piano and led singing like I’d never heard before. The contemporary were the most highly attended services—I think because so many were included in the worship, and no one was turned down—even if all you could play was the mouth organ. The music was lively and fresh & oh so inspirational.

The 9:30 service was traditional, with about 30 attending faithfully each Sunday—mostly the older crowd. Pretty soon they started coming to the Contemporary services as well. Awhile after I was gone—they disbanded the Traditional service altogether—and the organ remains silent.

I asked the Pastor what was the key to the growing, spirit-filled church--& he replied, “I think it’s mainly because of the worship. They all get involved & feel a part of it. My job is bringing the Word & the Sacraments—with a little down-home preaching thrown in. But its all about the worship!”

Well, that was a long time ago--& they, like so many Evangelical Lutheran churches---attendance has dwindled—not grown. We ask WHY?

We all want our church to grow—but this can't be simply tracked back to one reason or cause. We want facts, though, things that we can do or change, forces that we can control-manage-bring about. We see that some churches prosper when led by certain preachers, or that those churches with a certain worship style attracts people, packing worship services with excited young adults, and we begin to wonder what we're doing wrong.

A wise pastor said, "you have to know what is in your control and what isn't, and when it comes to being a minister, there isn't really that much that is in your control.” There is the wisdom of the parable of the sower.

This parable describes a farmer, but surely not a farmer who knows what he's doing. There is no mention of plowing the field, irrigating or fertilizing it. The farmer carelessly sows seed without thinking much about the maximum yield of his field! Our farmers today would be aghast!

But Jesus is OK with this farmer, and he interprets his parable for only the disciples to hear, those who would soon be entrusted with spreading the Gospel to all the earth. Jesus offers a parable about a farmer who sows seed and leaves the rest up to God.

Like modern farmers, we do our best to control everything that we can. We fertilize, spray for weeds, using all the latest methods we can. Perhaps not much of the process is left up to chance or up to God.

In reality, our seed must be sown or there will never be a crop, but by no means is the harvest all up to us. We must sow the seeds, but we must also trust that what will grow will grow and what doesn't is out of our control. We can’t even control the rain. So this text parallels with the growth of the church.

Our world is changing, and I, like many of you, am worried about the future of the Church.

I worry about the world we are living in--what, according to too many is a culture of drugs and greed, filling young men and women with apathy, cynicism--eating up seeds of hope and truth like birds to seeds sown along the path.

I worry about the soil--that too many in our communities are unresponsive to the Gospel, as hardened to the church as the rocky places that have no use for seeds of faith.

I worry about the shallow faith of others who have not left the Church but have left for TV preachers who offer “feel-good” messages at best or a gospel of prosperity at worst. I worry about what will come of, what seems to me, a shallow faith or the lonely faith of those who are spiritual but not wanting to dig into the Bible & cast seeds along our lives path. When the sun comes up, will their belief be scorched and wither into nothing?

I worry about the thorns of our world--knowing what forces will take over to strangle humanity should the faithful fade away. A world left to ambition, or reckless pursuit of wealth with no regard for the common good--surely without the Church, too many would be left to the thorns that grow up and choke, first the poor, the oppressed, then us all.

But Jesus doesn't call our attention to the seed that is lost. "Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop--a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Let anyone with ears listen!"

Jesus entrusted 12 people with the future of the church & launched a campaign that changed the whole world! Today the mainline church in the US is consumed by worries. This image of the sower is not an image of worry. So why does the mainline church seem consumed by worries?

More and more, either having experienced rejection or just fearing it, we are reluctant to reach out to people in love though we so desperately want to--as though our hands are cold despite our warm hearts. We are reluctant to reach out in love, to cast seeds of hope, to invite friends to worship in our communities of faith.

We are reluctant, as though we already knew how our offer would be received—maybe rejected, laughed at. So we keep our seed in the bag.

Rather than cast concerned eyes on our world wondering where all the good Christians moved off to, the parable of the sower calls you to trust that you are not the Lord of the harvest--that the state of our communities, like the state of the sower's soil, is not yours to worry over.

Rather than worry over members lost, the parable of the sower calls you to sow seeds of grace, love and mercy over new ground--worried not over where it will land--concerned only with casting as much seed as possible--leaving all the rest up to God.


Hymn of the Day: For the Fruit of All Creation WOV 760

1 For the fruit of all creation,

thanks be to God.

For these gifts to ev'ry nation,

thanks be to God.

For the plowing, sowing, reaping,

silent growth while we are sleeping,

future needs in earth's safekeeping,

thanks be to God.

2 In the just reward of labor,

God's will is done.

In the help we give our neighbor,

God's will is done.

In our worldwide task of caring

for the hungry and despairing,

in the harvests we are sharing,

God's will is done.

3 For the harvests of the Spirit,

thanks be to God.

For the good we all inherit,

thanks be to God.

For the wonders that astound us,

for the truths that still confound us,

most of all, that love has found us,

thanks be to God.

Text: Fred Pratt Green, 1903-2000 Text © 1970 Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission. CCLI License # 11430998


The Apostles’ Creed

C: 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.


Prayer Time:

Special prayers today Jarrod & Shelly Finseth-Catherine, Joshua Jeremey & Danielle Finseth – Sophie

Healing for Sid, Joan, Sierra, Cathy, Orlie

Our active military men & women: Austin Sannes, Briana Finseth, Dusty & Lisa Halvorson, Zachary Olson-Burkman, Dawn Fick, Catherine Finseth


Offering Prayer

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


Communion Song: Let Us Break Bread Together (CH #460)

Verse 1

Let us break bread together on our knees

Let us break bread together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

With my face to the rising sun

O Lord have mercy on me

Verse 2

Let us drink wine together on our knees

Let us drink wine together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

With my face to the rising sun

O Lord have mercy on me

Verse 3

Let us praise God together on our knees

Let us praise God together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

With my face to the rising sun

O Lord have mercy on me

Verse 4

Let us praise God together on our knees

Let us praise God together on our knees

When I fall on my knees

With my face to the rising sun

O Lord have mercy if You please

CCLI Song # 3205952 William Farley Smith © 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) For use solely with the SongSelect®. Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 11430998

HOLY COMMUNION -Words of Institution

* The Lord’s Prayer (congregation)

C: 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 of Communion

PostCommunion Canticle: Thank the Lord and Sing His Praise-

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.

Amen

Blessing

Almighty God, Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you now and forever.

Amen

Sending Song: The Trees of the Field (CH #764) You shall go Out with Joy

Verse

You shall go out with joy

And be led forth with peace

The mountains and the hills

Will break forth before you

There'll be shouts of joy

And all the trees of the field

Will clap will clap their hands


Chorus

And all the trees of the field

Will clap their hands

The trees of the field

Will clap their hands

The trees of the field

Will clap their hands

While you go out with joy


CCLI Song # 20546 Steffi Geiser Rubin | Stuart Dauermann © 1975 Lillenas Publishing Company (Admin. by Music Services, Inc.) For use solely with the SongSelect®. Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com CCLI License # 11430998


Dismissal:

Go in Peace, Serve the Lord!

Thanks be to God!

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