Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Toledo, Ohio
A congregation of the Northwestern Ohio Synod
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Sunday, July 3, 2022
Introduction & Welcome
Thank you for accepting God’s invitation to worship today, God’s gift to us because God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!
God is the source of our nourishment. Jesus’ invitation to “take and eat… take and drink” is a repeated one. In holy communion, in the word read and proclaimed, in the assembly of the people of God, the dominion of God has come near. Rejoice! Your name is written in heaven.
Confession and Forgiveness
Blessed be the holy Trinity,☩ one God,
whose steadfast love endures forever.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Silence is kept for reflection.
we confess that we have not followed your path
but have chosen our own way.
Instead of putting others before ourselves,
we long to take the best seats at the table.
When met by those in need,
we have too often passed by on the other side.
Set us again on the path of life.
Save us from ourselves
and free us to love our neighbors.
Hear the good news!
God does not deal with us according to our sins
but delights in granting pardon and mercy.
In the name of ☩ Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
You are free to love as God loves.
Prayer of the Day
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, you are the city that shelters us, the mother who comforts us. With your Spirit accompany us on our life’s journey, that we may spread your peace in all the world, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
First Reading: Isaiah 66:10-14
Those who returned from the exile found that the hopes for the glorious restoration of Judah were not completely fulfilled. For these disappointed people, the prophet envisions salvation in the image of a nursing woman. Mother Jerusalem and a mothering God remind the community how they are sustained and supported.
10Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her—
11that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious bosom.
12For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,
and dandled on her knees.
13As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bodies shall flourish like the grass;
and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants,
and his indignation is against his enemies.
Psalm: Psalm 66:1-9
All the earth bows down before you and sings out your name. (Ps. 66:4)
1Be joyful in God, all you lands;
be joyful, all the earth.
2Sing the glory of God’s name;
sing the glory of God’s praise.
3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great strength your enemies cringe before you.
4All the earth bows down before you,
sings to you, sings out your name.”
5Come now and see the works of God,
how awesome are God’s deeds toward all people.
6God turned the sea into dry land, so that they went through the water on foot,
and there we rejoiced in God.
7Ruling forever in might, God keeps watch over the nations;
let no rebels exalt themselves.
8Bless our God, you peoples;
let the sound of praise be heard.
9Our God has kept us among the living
and has not allowed our feet to slip.
Second Reading: Galatians 6:[1-6] 7-16
In the close of his letter to the Galatians, Paul encourages them to live as people made right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Here Paul offers practical advice about how believers exercise common concern for one other in “the family of faith.”
[1My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride. 5For all must carry their own loads.
6Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher.]
7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Alleluia. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. Alleluia. (Col. 3:15, 16)
Gospel: Luke 10:1-11, 16-20
Jesus commissions harvesters and laborers to go where he would go and do what he would do. Risking hardship and danger in exchange for the experience of great joy, they offer peace and healing as signs that the reign of God is near.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. 4Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals; and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this house!’ 6And if anyone is there who shares in peace, your peace will rest on that person; but if not, it will return to you. 7Remain in the same house, eating and drinking whatever they provide, for the laborer deserves to be paid. Do not move about from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you; 9cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not welcome you, go out into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near.’ ”
16“Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
17The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” 18He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. 19See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Meditation by Vicar Dave
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, oh Lord, and bring glory to Your Holy name.
In today’s reading from Galatians, Paul is trying to make a point about not being as concerned about following technical rules, such as circumcision, but rather being concerned about the works of the spirit. At the time he was writing this epistle, Paul must have been suffering with some vision problems. It is likely that Paul was dictating his letters to someone else, who did the writing for him and Paul would sign them when they were finished. But in this reading, he is trying to point out something that he considers to be very important by writing it in large letters in his own hand. This is how he is warning the Galatians about others who insist that they be circumcised in order to be counted among their number, and thus be saved. The folks who were insisting on circumcision were attempting to enforce the dictates of the law on the Galatians. Paul, on the other hand, was attempting to make the emphasis more on boasting on the Cross of Jesus. In other words, Paul was trying to steer the churches towards a faith based in the Gospel and away from one based on the law or works. Paul repeatedly warned the churches in Galatia about getting caught up in legalism. The danger is not only because of what they will do to others or get caught up in with regards to their own lives but there is a danger in what they will truly miss out on that which God has to offer each one of us.
This is a debate that is still going on within the Christian Church at large today. There are many who would say that only by performing certain ceremonies in a certain way can you be saved. I have a friend that believes that unless you are baptized by full immersion and at an “age of reason”, then you are not truly baptized and therefore excluded from the Kingdom of God. I have other friends who think that if you receive Communion without going to one-on-one confession with a priest, you are endangering your soul. To my way of thinking, these people are relying on the dictates of law rather than relying on the Cross of Jesus to save them. As Lutherans, we believe that we are saved by the grace of God alone. This is a gift from God, which we have done nothing to earn. If fact, none of us are capable of deserving this gift. It is the ultimate expression of love from God.
Rather than worrying about performing certain rituals, Paul says that we should “work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.” That’s pretty good advice from Paul. It’s a little bit more complicated to implement than it might sound. We live in a world that expects us to “look out for number one”. We recently had an opportunity to work for the good of all during the COVID pandemic. I found it very disappointing that when we were all asked to wear face masks when going out in public, there were some who refused. These people apparently felt that wearing a mask was an affront to their personal freedoms. I guess they felt that wearing a mask would have been a symbol of their servitude to a big government that was intent on taking over their lives. Wearing a mask was something small that we could do to protect others, and many of us choose to help in that little way. Wearing a mask, we were told, would do more to protect those around us than it would to protect us. It was an easy way that we could help to stop the spread of this disease which has now cost this country more than one million lives.
I read an article today about something that two bishops in Pittsburgh, from different denominations, did to try to do good for their congregations. Bishop McCloud of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church had a public panel discussion with Bishop Kusserow of the ELCA. Their conversation centered around ecumenical engagement, reparations, and social justice. This was significant for a few reasons. One of them being that the ELCA is, demographically speaking, the whitest church in America. Another reason being the 2015 shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston SC was carried out by a member of the ELCA. I think this discussion was a good opportunity for our communities to start to work on healing.
But when talking about some of the good things that we are doing as God’s Church, we should take care to not brag about our good works as though they are what makes us Christians. Rather, we should focus on the gift of salvation which we have received freely from God, and let our good works be a response to that gift.
Prayers of Intercession
United in Christ and guided by the Spirit, we pray for the church, the creation, and all in need.
Lord of the harvest, you send your church into the world to proclaim Christ’s new creation to all. Renew the church as it carries out your mission of peace and healing. Guide Elizabeth & Daniel, our bishops, and Brenda, our pastor, so that they may help us as we attempt to do good for all. We pray for missionaries who accompany your people. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Your creation abounds with flowing waters and diverse creatures. Guide the work of climate scientists as they develop and advocate ways to restore earth’s natural balance. Motivate humankind to adopt lifestyles that protect and sustain the earth. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
You guard the nations; let no leaders exalt themselves but lift up the most vulnerable and work for the good of all. Send your Spirit to eradicate classism and inequity, violence and war, poverty and hunger. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
You desire abundant life for all. As we celebrate Independence Day, instill in us gratitude, generosity, and persistence in working toward freedom for all people. Bring an end to all war that all people may share in the blessings of peace and liberty. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
Mothering God, you care for all people in need. Nourish those who are hungry. Restore employment to those who have lost work. Heal those who are sick, and comfort all who are dying or grieving especially those whom we remember on our prayer list and prayer board as well as those we bring before you now, either aloud or in the quiet stillness of our hearts. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
We remember the saints who proclaimed your reign on earth and now rest in you, especially Thomas the Apostle, whom we remember today. Make us faithful in our witness to Christ’s new creation. God of grace,
hear our prayer.
God of every time and place, in Jesus’ name and filled with your Holy Spirit, we entrust these spoken prayers and those in our hearts into your holy keeping.
God of abundance: you have set before us a plentiful harvest. As we feast on your goodness, strengthen us to labor in your field, and equip us to bear fruit for the good of all, in the name of Jesus.
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.
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.
The God of peace,
Father, ☩ Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless you, comfort you,
and show you the path of life
this day and always.
Go in peace. Love your neighbor.
Bless the world and be God’s grace!
Thanks be to God!