Worship- July 5, 2020 Pentecost 5
Introduction to the day
Human life is filled with burdens of many kinds. We are captive to our sinful natures, which cause us, as St. Paul says, to do the things we do not want to do. With God on our side
Jesus promises all those who are weary and heavy - laden with stress, conflict, suffering, and the pains of life that he will give us rest.
Call to Worship – Day by Day (WOV #746)
1 Day by day, your mercies, Lord, attend me,
bringing comfort to my anxious soul.
Day by day, the blessings, Lord, you send me
draw me nearer to my heav’nly goal.
Love divine, beyond all mortal measure,
brings to naught the burdens of my quest;
Savior, lead me to the home I treasure,
where at last I’ll find eternal rest.
2 Day by day, I know you will provide me
strength to serve and wisdom to obey;
I will seek your loving will to guide me
o’er the paths I struggle day by day.
I will fear no evil of the morrow,
I will trust in your enduring grace.
Savior, help me bear life’s pain and sorrow
till in glory I behold your face.
3 Oh, what joy to know that you are near me
when my burdens grow too great to bear;
oh, what joy to know that you will hear me
when I come, O Lord, to you in prayer.
Day by day, no matter what betide me,
you will hold me ever in your hand.
Savior, with your presence here to guide me,
I will reach at last the promised land.
Text: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903; tr. Robert Leaf, b. 1936
Tr. © 1992 Augsburg Fortress
Confession and Forgiveness
P: Blessed be the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, whose steadfast love is everlasting, whose faithfulness endures from generation to generation.
Trusting in the mercy of God, let us confess our sin.
Silence is kept for reflection.
C: Father God, we confess that we do not trust your abundance,
and we deny your presence in our lives.
We place our hope in ourselves
and rely on our own efforts.
We fail to believe that you provide enough for all.
We abuse your good creation for our own benefit.
We fear difference and do not welcome others
as you have welcomed us.
We sin in thought, word, and deed.
By your grace, forgive us;
through your love, renew us;
and in your Spirit, lead us;
so that we may live and serve you in newness of life. Amen.
P: Beloved of God, by the radical abundance of divine mercy
we have peace with God through ☩ Christ Jesus,
through whom we have obtained grace upon grace.
Our sins are forgiven. Let us live now in hope.
For hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of the Day
O God, you never undermine your purpose, as you perfectly provide for all that you create. Remove from our way all that is harmful and give us what will profit that we may share in your invincible grace; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
PATRIOTIC MUSICAL SELECTION: LET FREEDOM RING
First Reading: Zechariah 9:9-12
When the Israelites returned from Babylon and their situation of captivity, they found more difficulties at home. Fraught with religious, economic, social, and political issues, God pronounced his glorious vision of Israel’s future: God will act on their behalf and send a new King to save them.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war-horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall command peace to the nations; his dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.
Here ends the reading.
Psalm: Psalm 145:8-14
The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. This psalm of praise to the Lord extols the wonders of God’s mercy and the glorious works of his hands
The Lord is gracious and full | of compassion, slow to anger and abounding in | steadfast love. Lord, you are | good to all, and your compassion is over | all your works. R All your works shall praise | you, O Lord, and your faithful | ones shall bless you. They shall tell of the glory | of your kingdom and speak | of your power, that all people may know | of your power and the glorious splendor | of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures through- | out all ages. You, Lord, are faithful in all your words, and loving in | all your works. The Lord upholds all | those who fall and lifts up those who | are bowed down. R
Second Reading: Romans 7:15-25a
Paul described the conflict within him concerning following the law and giving in to sin. He said he does things he doesn’t want to do but is unable to do the good he would like to do. The flesh is held captive to sin, but the mind and heart are slaves to the law of God. We are rescued from this inner conflict by Christ our Lord.
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Here ends the reading
Gospel: Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
The yoke that connects two evenly matched animals together makes their task much easier to accomplish. Jesus, who is stronger than we are, invites those who are weighed down with the burdens of life and sin to come to him, and he will place his yoke upon them. Those who do so will discover the gentle and humble nature of our Lord, whose yoke makes life easier and lighter for us as we trust in him
[Jesus spoke to the crowd saying:] “To what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.” At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent . revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The gospel of the Lord.
Sermon Yoke Up With Jesus!- Pastor Jill
Yoke Up With Jesus! Video https://youtu.be/feYQxV4QWQU
I’m exhausted … I’m stressed to the limit … I’m bone-tired … I feel drained … I’m running on fumes … I’m on the edge of burnout.
Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say those words? At one time or another, most of us have been there. We live in a fast-paced world, where we’re often overachievers -- hurrying, rushing, working too hard, until our energies are depleted and our well-being is in tatters.
And then we come to church. Welcome! To this place for tired, weary people. In our text for today, Jesus gives a clear invitation and a promise: “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
This weekend we’ve been celebrating American Independence so I’ve been thinking about the Lady Liberty statue in New York Harbor with that inscription from Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Those words echo Jesus’ invitation: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden.”
We may come to church for many different reasons. Maybe you’ve come today because someone twisted your arm to go. Maybe you’re here to enjoy the great music—or to receive a much needed blessing. But we also know that too many of us come here stressed and worried, troubled and tired.
I once asked a wise friend, “What can we do when we face trouble after trouble and we’re feeling overwhelmed?” She said, “Breathe!” ( then EXHALE)
We all need to exhale the anxieties, worries and stress of our life, and wait for Jesus’ promise to work its way, to inhale its way, into our insides. It’s a kind of photosynthesis for the soul. We can exhale the carbons, the toxins; inhale the spiritual oxygen.
Jesus understood this need. He knew the importance of rest -- time for replenishing his soul. People were often crowding around him; they wanted what he offered -- healing, forgiveness, courage, hope, life.
But after days of teaching and healing, when he felt his energy waning, Jesus would steal away to a lonely place to pray, to “rest.” In the text today, Jesus is giving us an invitation from his own practice: “Come to me … and I will give you rest.”
So, Let’s take some silence, time to rest, and allow Jesus’ words to sink into our insides.
I invite you to get comfortable, close your eyes, and let’s take two minutes to rest together as we meditate on Jesus’ words. Exhale the stress; inhale the goodness. “Come to me … and I will give you rest.” (Two minutes of silence)
What happens in the silence? If we can quiet our chattering “monkey mind” and be still, gifts are given that we cannot give ourselves. But most of us wouldn’t see a yoke as a gift—we see a yoke as a harness-restricting us, controlling us. But Jesus’ yoke is not restrictive; it provides a useful structure. His yoke is easy. It’s really a gift, that gives us newness, aliveness. Well, its sounding a little more convincing…..
I want to suggest that there are at least four gifts wrapped in Jesus’ invitation and promise. Gifts that come in the silence, when our heart is open.
The first is the gift of Sabbath time. “Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.” Sabbath is a gift, a day of rest.
This rest is more than sleep; it’s rejuvenation, restoration, re-connection to our life force, to full aliveness. In the creation story, God worked six days, and then God rested on the seventh day. If it was good enough for God, it’s good enough for us. A day of delight, a day to savor the world. Being rather than doing.
The second gift Jesus offers is release -- the opportunity to let go of stresses and pressures, release the inner obstacles that block us. Whatever dilemma, problem or anxiety is clogging our insides, “let it go.” In the silence, this time of rest, I’ve sometimes imagined putting our anxieties on a little imaginary boat and letting them float off. Yes, the boat will come back, but keep putting the anxiety or worry on the boat. Let it go.
The third gift is the inner wellspring: living water. When we can let it go, we’re removing the debris from the wellspring, this inner wellspring that wants to flow freely, to give us fullness of life. That wellspring flows with goodness; it’s the source of our aliveness--.
living water that gushes up to eternal life.” He doesn’t mean life in the hereafter; he means life -- capital L -- in the “here & now.” Gushing up in the now.
When we go to the inner wellspring, and take it in, we may receive a fourth gift -- the gift of energy for our work in the world. If I don’t find my way back to the wellspring, I will not have the energy and inner resources to do my work in the world.
We all have our personal callings for specific work that continues the mission of Jesus. Come to me, Jesus says -- to my way, my practice. I will give you rest. This rest is better than sleep; it’s rest for the soul. He’s echoing Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd. … God leads me beside still waters. God restores my soul.” Restores my deepest self!
When we get to the place of genuine rest, we re-connect with the inner wellspring, the source of life, abundant life. Let’s call it aliveness that gushes.
Come to me, Jesus says, and find life-giving rest. Amen. So may it be. Enter in. YOKE UP!
Hymn of the Day Lord of All Hopefulness (LBW 469)
1 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy, whose trust, ever child-like, no cares could destroy: be there at our waking, and give us, we pray, your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day. 2 Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith, whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe: be there at our labors, and give us, we pray, your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day. 3 Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace, your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace: be there at our homing, and give us, we pray, your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day. 4 Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm, whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm: be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray, your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.
Prayers of Intercession
Called into unity with one another and the whole creation, let us pray for our shared world.
A brief silence.
We pray for the church. Sustain us as we share your word. Embrace us as we struggle to find our common ground. Lift up leaders with powerful and prophetic voices. Free us from stagnant faith. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
We pray for the well-being of creation. Protect the air, water, and land from abuse and pollution. Free us from apathy in our care of creation and direct us toward sustainable living. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
We pray for the nations (especially the United States and Canada, celebrating their nationhood). Guide leaders in developing just policies and guide difficult conversations. Free us from patriotism that hinders relationship-building. Lead us to expansive love for our neighbor. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
We pray for all in need. For all who are tired, feeling despair, sick, or oppressed (especially those we name in our hearts today). Take their yoke upon you and ease their burdens. Give your consolation and free us from all that keeps us bound. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
We pray for this congregation. Bless pastors, deacons, and congregational leaders. Energize children’s ministry volunteers, church administrators, and those who maintain our building. Shine in this place that we might notice the ways your love transforms our lives. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Here other intercessions may be offered.
We give thanks for those who have died in faith. Welcome them into your eternal rest and comfort us in our grief until we are joined with them in new life. Hear us, O God.
Your mercy is great.
Receive these prayers, O God, and those too deep for words; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
God, you have granted us in abundance with all the good things that life has to offer. May we be truly grateful for our daily bread, even as we return a portion of what you have first given us as a sign of our humility and thanksgiving for your bounteous gifts. Let the treasures we have received from you be used to serve the world you love. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy.
The Lord look upon you with favor and ☩ give you peace.
Sending Song God Bless America
God bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her Through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies, To the oceans white with foam, God bless America, My home sweet home. God bless America, My home sweet home.
Go in peace. Christ is with you.
Thanks be to God.
Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.