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Clean Typography

Josefin features the Josefin & Merriweather Google Fonts. The styling has been meticulously set to fit the aesthetics of the theme, providing a relaxing reading experience.

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Styled Counters

We’ve taken extra care in styling the number counter feature Divi offers. We’ve included dark & light background options. Showcase your stats in style with the Josefin Child Theme.

Twitter Widget

We’ve utilized and styled the Rotating Tweets Plugin by Martin Tod. Display your tweets elegantly using this plugin and the Josefin Child Theme. We’ve included an instructional video on how to set this up.

Stunning Imagery

A photo is worth a thousand words. Parallax backgrounds combined with great use of whitespace allow the focus to be on your beautiful images. We’ve also styled a masonry layout as an option for your images.

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Styled Form

We’ve also taken extra care in styling the contact form in Divi. We’ve included dark & light background options. Make your contact form stand out with the Josefin Child Theme.

Instagram Widget

We’ve utilized and styled the WP Instagram Widget by Scott Evans. Display your Instagram photos elegantly using this plugin and the Josefin Child Theme. We’ve included an instructional video on how to set this up.

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Extra Animations

Divi comes with some nice animation options. We’ve added additional animation classes you can apply to your sections and modules. We’ve included an instructional video on how to use these animations.

Features Grid

Easily build a features grid with Josefin. We’ve created an instructional video with links to the CSS and a Divi Layout files. Import the layout into your site with a single click.

Superior Support

Your purchase comes with our superior support. Email us and we’ll respond to you as soon as possible. We also have video tutorials showing how to implement different features of the theme.

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July 25, 2021 Newsletter

 

All your works shall praise you, O Lord,

and your faithful ones shall bless you.

~Psalm 145:10

What a wonderful week here at Grace! VBS 2021. Concrete and Cranes! Thank you to all who helped make this possible! We are all grateful to God for you!

 

Be Kind to the Earth when you have a party!

With all the news about climate change and the unusual weather all over the world it is important to think about the impact of having our summer picnics and parties.

Some ideas:

– Reusable is best for serving food and drinks. Serving pieces do not have to match, use vintage or old pieces (make a trip to Goodwill and help support the community), rent serving pieces and better yet have people bring their own plates and cups (have a contest for the best or even the funkiest place setting people come with – their prize a homemade ribbon or recycle a shirt with the contest name written on it – be creative!) A cloth napkin contest would be great too!

– So, if you do not want to do dishes and don’t want people to bring their own, you can buy recyclable plates, cups and silverware but they are on the pricey side. There are also some plates made out of products like recycled sugar cane and bamboo.

– Look closely at the labels as there are some products that still need to go to a special recycler and will not break down in the backyard compost. Compost   products should be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute and the   closer to 100% the better.

Þ Make sure that you have bins, boxes or garbage cans labeled so people know what goes in what container. Styrofoam at the last check was not recyclable in Toledo so even better to avoid plates and cups made of Styrofoam.

– Balloons are not a great thing to use due to all the problems they can cause – there are biodegradable ones available but are more expensive. Use paper pompoms and tissue paper balls and reuse if possible. A fabric banner is a great idea and can be used over and over again.

– Flowers can be composted but instead give them to the people attending to extend their enjoyment. Dried flowers can be reused.

– If you want to have a favor, use small jars of jam, honey or local products. For kids – puzzle /word game books, fancy erasers, colored markers  – items that are not quickly broken and end up in the garbage.

 

 

 

 

Pastor and friend
up north
on vacation!

 

Behind the scenes at Grace …. By Gretchen

  1. Did you see the real road signs, barriers and extra (heavy!) orange cones for VBS! We had the real stuff thanks to Jim Holewinski (Cathy’s son) and the Sylvania Road Commission!!! It was so cool!
  2. Speaking of awesome did you see the TV news spot on Jan Dustman’s son, Ed Dustman and his help with a young boy that was found sitting on a curb and thought to be lost! From talking with Jan, he has in his role as a Tarta Bus Driver been able to help other people in our community that have needed assistance. How awesome and kind!
  3. We don’t have the Sound of Music yet, but the halls were alive with Joanne Vernon’s VBS groups in the Sanctuary and the kids in the hallway! How great to see the building rock!! Watch out spiders and centipedes there was no safe space this last week!
  4. Have you seen the old recipe from Creque’s for Strawberry Pie – easy crust and is ohh so good! Word has it that the zucchini are coming? Do you have a favorite (healthy?) recipe for the never-ending squash that you would like to share? Add it to the collection on the Community Bulletin Board!
  5. Wow! What a great program on Thursday night for VBS! The place was rocking with wonderful music. We were even able to check in with the Habitat for Humanity representative Nate at the Mudhens Game on the “Loving Monster as Pastor Abts calls it “the hugeamongous TV.One of the people who Habitat has helped spoke about her new house and how thrilled she is. This was Habitat night at the Mudhens so even though he could not be here in person we were able to see and talk with him (and he was able to see us) which was awesome!
  6. And then there was the Ice Cream Social on Thursday night! We had a wonderful crowd and even had to make a run to Kroger’s for more hot dog buns! Thanks to all who baked and helped!
  7. The outdoor Contemporary Service on Sunday was great. The weather cooperated and we had the tent and trees for shade. The wind was coming out of the north, so we did not get as much expressway noise either.
  8. Remember: Grace is not the building but the people of Grace!

 

I can’t stop long enough to grow old. I’m just gonna be the best that I can be at whatever age I am

(Dolly Parton)

Imagine if cookies could bring peace. It is worth a try.

(Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan)

 

Grace Lutheran Church’s Outreach Committee is sponsoring a

Junior High/High School School Supply Drive for our

Personal Needs Clients from July 1 – August 1.

Donation suggestions:
Spiral Notebooks
Pens
Highlighters
Mechanical Pencils
Cash or Check (to purchase items above)

Donations can be placed in the tote in the hallway outside of the Church Office designated for School Supply Drive. Cash can be given to any member of the Outreach Committee: Jean Baranski, Jeanne Harmon, Ron Hiatt, Karlene Jaquillard, Sue Melchert, Nancy Omey, Mary Schneider, or Connie Thomas; or a check can be written to Grace Lutheran Church indicating the funds for the School Supply Drive.

 

 

Save the Date:  August 1 at 9:30 a.m. Ragtime Rick will be at Grace with a breakfast to follow! 

 

Ongoing Gratitude! (Or ongoing “Thankful for”)

Did you know that having gratitude is important for not only our emotional and  mental health, but it also helps our physical health! Gratitude also helps us with   relationships and many people pay their gratitude forward and outward to others!

A couple of ways to express gratitude – hopefully, you can add to this list!

  1. Give someone a call – not a text but a real call. Even if you don’t have something specific to thank them for, the act of calling means you are grateful for them being in your life.
  2. Ok, texting or emailing is a way to show gratitude too, but the real call is even better. Face time would be the next best thing.
  3. Take the time at the beginning and the end of the day to count at least 3 things you are thankful for ….
  4. Pray anytime every day – for all God’s Blessings for you, others, the world, the church, and there are so many things.
  5. Have a Gratitude Jar! Write down moments of gratitude -does not need to be long and /or fancy and put in a jar. On New Year’s Eve open up the notes and remind yourself of all the wonderful grateful moments you have had during the year!
  6. Write a letter or just a short note to someone you are grateful for. Often this inspires that person to play if forward!
  7. A Gratitude Journal is another way to express your gratitude. It can be as simple as writing down the 3 things you are thankful for each day – it can just be a single word. Thinking of things, we are thankful for before going to sleep along with our prayers is a great way to rest at night.

 

 

O God,

We thank you for the beauty of your world – for flowers – trees – birds – the animals. We thank you for family and for friends. We thank you for the life you have given us. Help us to shine your light for others to see.

In Jesus’s name. Amen

 

A BIG THANK YOU TO MARY SCHNEIDER

for all the hard work in shopping and setting up the wonderful meal

on Sunday for the Congregational Meeting!!!

Thanks to Ron Schneider for grilling the brats and hot dogs

as they were delicious!

 

 

 

 

The Worship and Music Committee wants to thank the Praise Team for the uplifting music at the outdoor service on July 18.   And thank you for your contributions to worship at Grace!

As a reminder, the Praise Team will be taking a break during the month of August.  We look forward to their return in September!

 

 

 

 

This is the day the Lord has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

~Psalm 118:24

Sunday July 25, 2021 Meditation

Introduction & Welcome

Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!

and all the time! God is good!

Today is the first of five Sundays with gospel readings from John 6, the first four of which focus on Jesus as bread of life. Today Jesus feeds thousands of people with five loaves and two fish. What we have, what we bring to Jesus’ table, seems like it is not nearly enough to meet all the needs we see around us. But it is not the adequacy of our supplies or our skills that finally makes the difference: it is the power of Jesus working in the littlest and least to transform this world into the world God desires, a world where all the hungry are satisfied.

Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity,☩ one God,

the God of manna,

the God of miracles,

the God of mercy.

Amen.

Drawn to Christ and seeking God’s abundance,

let us confess our sin.

Silence is kept for reflection.

God, our provider,

help us.

It is hard to believe there is enough to share.

We question your ways when they differ from the ways

of the world in which we live.

We turn to our own understanding

rather than trusting in you.

We take offense at your teachings and your ways.

Turn us again to you.

Where else can we turn?

Share with us the words of eternal life

and feed us for life in the world.

Amen.

Beloved people of God:

in Jesus, the manna from heaven,

you are fed and nourished.

By Jesus, the worker of miracles,

there is always more than enough.

Through Jesus, ☩ the bread of life,

you are shown God’s mercy:

you are forgiven and loved into abundant life.

Amen.

Prayer of the Day

Gracious God, you have placed within the hearts of all your children a longing for your word and a hunger for your truth. Grant that we may know your Son to be the true bread of heaven and share this bread with all the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

First Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44

Today’s reading is part of a larger section of 2 Kings that describes the miracles of Elisha, the successor to Elijah. Here the prophet gives food to a hungry crowd. Though there is not enough food to go around, Elisha trusts God, who provides enough and even more to satisfy the need.

42A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing food from the first fruits to [Elisha,] the man of God: twenty loaves of barley and fresh ears of grain in his sack. Elisha said, “Give it to the people and let them eat.” 43But his servant said, “How can I set this before a hundred people?” So he repeated, “Give it to the people and let them eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’ ” 44He set it before them, they ate, and had some left, according to the word of the Lord.

Psalm: Psalm 145:10-18

You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Ps. 145:16)

10All your works shall praise you, O Lord,
and your faithful ones shall bless you.
11They shall tell of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your power,
12that all people may know of your power
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; your dominion endures throughout all ages.
You, Lord, are faithful in all your words, and loving in all your works. 
14The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up those who are bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season.
16You open wide your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17You are righteous in all your ways
and loving in all your works.
18You are near to all who call upon you,
to all who call upon you faithfully. 

Second Reading: Ephesians 3:14-21

We have been rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, which surpasses all human knowledge. Because Christ dwells in our hearts, our lives are continuously strengthened and empowered by the ongoing presence of the Spirit.

14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. 16I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, 17and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. 18I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. A great prophet has risen among us!* God has looked favorably on us! Alleluia. (Luke 7:16)

Gospel: John 6:1-21

In John’s gospel, the miracles of Jesus are called “signs,” because they reveal the true character of God. As such, they remain within the mystery of God and cannot be brought under human control.

1Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, also called the Sea of Tiberias. 2A large crowd kept following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing for the sick. 3Jesus went up the mountain and sat down there with his disciples. 4Now the Passover, the festival of the Jews, was near. 5When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” 6He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. 7Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish. But what are they among so many people?” 10Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.” Now there was a great deal of grass in the place; so they sat down, about five thousand in all. 11Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12When they were satisfied, he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over, so that nothing may be lost.” 13So they gathered them up, and from the fragments of the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten, they filled twelve baskets. 14When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.”
15When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
16When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. 20But he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21Then they wanted to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the land toward which they were going.

Meditation by David O’Brien

The Lord will provide. Today we read two stories about how God can provide for the people with just a little bit. In both the first reading and in the Gospel, God turns our shortage into surplus. I’ve always liked the story of the loaves and the fishes. In fact, I often say a prayer at the offering that goes something like “Lord, like you fed the masses with five loaves of bread and two fishes, take this pittance that I offer to You and multiply it to do Your work in this world”.

These readings aren’t the only examples of God providing for His people. For example, think about the time that the newly freed people of Israel left Egypt and wandered in the desert. God provided manna for them to eat and water from the stones for them to drink. The Israelites weren’t satisfied with this however and grumbled about the food they used to eat when they lived in Egypt. None the less, they were provided with bread from heaven, enough to meet their daily needs until they reached their destination. God knows our needs better than we do ourselves. We should be grateful for whatever He provides because it is in our own best interest. I think we would do well to consider Matthew 6:25 in which Jesus says 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Recently, Pastor Howard spoke regarding the part of the Lord’s Prayer where we ask, “Give us this day, our daily bread”. I liked the way he reminded us that Martin Luther applied that to mean more than just the food we eat. God provides for all of our needs. Our income, our jobs, our families and of course, more of God himself. That’s something we all need. I remember this one inmate at the prison I used to work at. He had some mental challenges and wasn’t exactly the best able to fend for himself against all of the folks he lived with. But one thing he did was he went to the chapel all the time. His faith was right there with him wherever he went. I think the other inmates could see this and while it would have been easy for them to take advantage of him, a large group of inmates started to watch out for him. None of the other guys messed with him because they knew that he had friends there who would have his back. When they had a charity run in the rec yard to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation, and he had trouble making it around the track, other more physically fit inmates would stop and walk with him, encouraging him to keep going.  There were even inmates at various points along the track holding up signs to cheer him on. If God could provide this guy, a criminal, with the ability to protect himself, how much more could He do for you? Furthermore, if God can use the other inmates for His purpose, whether or not they were aware of it, how much more could He do with your hands?

God also provided for the disciples’ safety in the Gospel. As they were in rough waters, rowing to the other side, Jesus came to them, walking on the water, and got them to the safety of the other side. In Matthew’s telling of the story, Jesus called Peter out to him on the water. When Peter became afraid due to the heavy seas all around him, he called for Jesus to save him. And that’s exactly what Christ did.

Of course, God has provided for our greatest need in Jesus Christ. When we are gathered at the Church, and we recite the confession, we admit that “we are held captive to sin and cannot free ourselves”. We need Christ’s redeeming grace. Without that grace, we would all be lost, stuck in the mire of our own sin. I thank God the Father every day for the life that has been given to me. I thank God the Son, for the redeeming grace that He so freely gives to me. I thank God the Holy Spirit for helping me to do God’s work in this life and for guiding me to the Triune God.

Prayers of Intercession

Rooted in Christ and sustained by the Spirit, we offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all of creation.

A brief silence.

We pray for the church. Bless the ministries of our neighboring congregations and wherever Your children gather in Your name. Bless Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Howard, our pastor. Empower churches throughout the world and encourage missionaries who accompany global neighbors. Kindle in us a spirit of collaboration, that all people, wherever they may be, may know your loving works. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We pray for creation. Send rain to lands experiencing drought and come to the aid of those enduring sweltering heat. Send relief to those areas experiencing flooding. Nurture wheat and barley crops grown for the nourishment of your people and conserve aquatic habitats and fish populations. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We pray for those who govern. Cast out arrogance, selfishness, and corruption and instruct those who lead to practice compassion and humility. Inspire them with a vision of the common good for all peoples and a commitment to ensure that all who hunger are fed. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We pray for those bowed down by heavy burdens: those who are unemployed or underemployed, those who are incarcerated or whose loved ones are incarcerated, those unable to find affordable housing, those who are physically unable to provide for themselves or their families, and those without health insurance. Console those who grieve and hear the cries of those who call to you for healing, especially those on our prayer list. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We pray for this assembly. Deepen our resolve to use what we have to serve those in need. When we worry that we do not have enough resources for ministry, assure us of your abundance. Send us a called pastor who will help us to realize that You have equipped of to do Your work with our hands. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We give thanks for those who have died. As you sustained them through all their days, so dwell in our hearts, that we may have the power to comprehend, with the apostle James, and all the saints, the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We lift these and all our prayers to you, O God, confident in the promise of your saving love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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 to the dead.*

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and 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.

And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly 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, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Blessing

The blessing of God,

who provides for us, feeds us, and journeys with us,

☩ be upon you now and forever.

Amen.

Dismissal

Go in peace. You are the body of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

Sunday July 18, 2021 Meditation

Introduction & Welcome

Welcome to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good! all the time!

and all the time! God is good!

Mark’s gospel makes clear how great is the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn’t think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ needs. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.

Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity,☩ one God,

the God of manna,

the God of miracles,

the God of mercy.

Amen.

Drawn to Christ and seeking God’s abundance,

let us confess our sin.

Silence is kept for reflection.

God, our provider,

help us.

It is hard to believe there is enough to share.

We question your ways when they differ from the ways

of the world in which we live.

We turn to our own understanding

rather than trusting in you.

We take offense at your teachings and your ways.

Turn us again to you.

Where else can we turn?

Share with us the words of eternal life

and feed us for life in the world.

Amen.

Beloved people of God:

in Jesus, the manna from heaven,

you are fed and nourished.

By Jesus, the worker of miracles,

there is always more than enough.

Through Jesus, ☩ the bread of life,

you are shown God’s mercy:

you are forgiven and loved into abundant life.

Amen.

Prayer of the Day

O God, powerful and compassionate, you shepherd your people, faithfully feeding and protecting us. Heal each of us, and make us a whole people, that we may embody the justice and peace of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Amen.

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

Jeremiah prophesied before the exile in 587 BCE. In this passage, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd to describe the bad kings who have scattered the “flock” of Israel. God promises to gather the flock and to raise up a new king from David’s line to save Israel and Judah.

1Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.
5The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”

Psalm: Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)

1The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not be in want.
2The Lord makes me lie down in green pastures
and leads me beside still waters.
3You restore my soul, O Lord,
and guide me along right pathways for your name’s sake.
4Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil;
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil, and my cup is running over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Second Reading: Ephesians 2:11-22

The author of this letter reminds his audience that originally they were not part of God’s chosen people. Through Jesus’ death, however, they are included in God’s household of faith, whose cornerstone is Jesus Christ.

11Remember that at one time you Gentiles by birth, called “the uncircumcision” by those who are called “the circumcision”—a physical circumcision made in the flesh by human hands—12remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. 15He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, 16and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. 17So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; 18for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice.* I know them, and they follow me. Alleluia. (John10:27)

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34, 53-56

When Jesus sends his disciples out to teach and heal, they minister among large numbers of people. Their work is motivated by Christ’s desire to be among those in need.

30The apostles gathered around Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught. 31He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. 34As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored the boat. 54When they got out of the boat, people at once recognized him, 55and rushed about that whole region and began to bring the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.

Meditation by David O’Brien

Have you ever needed a break from your daily activities? It’s good to get away from it all from time to time. Jesus seems to be telling His disciples that in today’s Gospel. “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while”. The disciples were just getting back from the mission that Christ had sent them on and while they were excited, they were also tired. So Christ tells them to take a break. I suppose it’s like when you accomplish something big. You might feel tired, but it’s a good kind of tired. We here in the US should pay attention to this line in today’s Gospel. According to a study done by the US Travel Association, Americans left 768 million days of paid time off unused in 2018. 55% of us did not use all of our paid vacation. I’m as guilty of this as anyone, as my wife will tell you. But one of my coworkers is worse. He hasn’t taken a single vacation day in years! I’ve also know a few pastors that are reluctant to take any time off, even when it’s paid for.

In my job as a parole officer and also when I worked at the prison, I am considered a first responder in certain situations. Whether responding to a first aid emergency and a security situation, we are always told to make sure the area is safe before attempting to enter and render aid. The idea being that we would be unable to help anyone if we were injured. We called this taking care of the caregiver. It applies to our mental health as well. That’s why it’s important to take time off and care for ourselves from time to time.

Part of Jewish law requires that no one work on the Sabbath. That was their way of obeying the Fourth Commandment, “remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy”. The Sabbath of course being the day that God rested from His creative works. If God takes a break from time to time, should we? Time away from the stresses of everyday life is essential to one’s mental health. When the disciples had returned to Christ, they were spent. They had taught others about the good news of Jesus. They had also cured many sick people and cast out demons. It’s plain to me that they were being caregivers for those to whom they ministered. Jesus recognized the importance of caring for the caregivers. He knew that the disciples would not be able to care for others if they didn’t also take care of themselves. So He gets them all in a boat and they go somewhere to be by themselves.

But people can sometimes be demanding. The folks who saw them sailing off, rushed ahead of them by foot so that they could have their needs met. It’s a good thing that Jesus is fully divine as well as fully human, because the crowds demands on him were greater than any of us ordinary people could have handled. Jesus looked at these lost sheep and felt their pain with them. They felt a need to know God in a way they had never been taught. Because He had compassion for them, Jesus got out of the boat and “began to teach them many things”. He gave up his vacation time because His people needed Him. He’s like that still. He feels compassion for us in our suffering and wants to help. He shares our pain as Grace Church is transitioning to a new era in our walk with God. If we listen to Him, He will guide us in the right direction.

It’s an interesting detail in this story that people were able to run along the shore and reach the other side before Jesus and His disciples. But if you look at a map of the Sea of Galilee, it’s really not all that big. It’s only 33 miles around and surrounded by hills. Even Lake St. Clair, which isn’t big enough to be considered one of the Great Lakes is more than four times bigger. So it wouldn’t be too difficult to see the boat that Jesus was in and where it was going. Knowing this, I wonder if the deserted place He wanted to take the disciples to was the middle of the sea. A nice boat ride, after all, can be very relaxing.

When you look at the roof of a lot of churches, you might notice that a lot of them look like the inside bottom of a boat. It seems to me to be a good reminder of being in a boat with Jesus, letting him do the navigating, and we can find rest for our souls.

Lord, I know that sometimes I want to push myself to get everything done. It’s part of my wanting to be in control all of the time. Help me to know when it’s time for me to take a break and rest. Help me to know that You can guide the ship of my life to where You want it to be and I don’t always have to worry so much about it. Help me to understand that, just because I step away for a bit, everything won’t fall apart because You can hold it together. Teach me to trust in Your compassion for me. Amen.

Prayers of Intercession

Rooted in Christ and sustained by the Spirit, we offer our prayers for the church, the world, and all of creation.

A brief silence.

Tend your church, O God. Encourage bishops, such as Elizabeth and Daniel, pastors, such as Howard, and deacons in their proclamation of the gospel. Raise up new leaders and encourage those pursuing a call to ministry. Embolden all the baptized to embody your love and justice. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Restore your creation, O God. Sustain croplands and pastures and safeguard all farm animals and livestock. Preserve lakes, rivers, and streams that offer refreshment. Revive lands recovering from natural disasters and protect coast lands threatened by rising oceans. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Reconcile the nations, O God. Break down the dividing walls that make us strangers to one another and unite us as one human family. Equip leaders to deal wisely with conflict and guide diplomats who seek peaceful solutions. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Heal your people, O God. Look with compassion on immigrants, exiles, and all who are afraid or feel lost. Comfort those who suffer in the loneliness of institutionalization. Give rest to those who are weary, comfort to those who are grieving, and recovery to those who are ill especially those on our prayer list. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Nourish this congregation, O God. Prepare a table where we receive food for our hungering spirits. Renew our commitment to provide for one another and revitalize our ministries of feeding and nurturing hungry neighbors. Guide our call committee and church council to make choices pleasing to You and in line with Your plan for Grace Lutheran Church. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

You lead us home, O God. We give thanks for all who have died, now citizens with the saints. As you have received them into your heavenly home, so welcome all of us to dwell in your house forever. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

We lift these and all our prayers to you, O God, confident in the promise of your saving love; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Together, let us profess our faith using the words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,

creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s 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 to the dead.*

On the third day he rose again;

he ascended into heaven,

he is seated at the right hand of the Father,

and 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.

And now, as our Savior, Christ is teaching us, we boldly 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, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Blessing

The blessing of God,

who provides for us, feeds us, and journeys with us,

☩ be upon you now and forever.

Amen.

Dismissal

Go in peace. You are the body of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

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