CREATED, SAVED AND GIFTED BY GOD, WE SEEK, SERVE AND SHARE JESUS CHRIST.
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
November 8, 2020
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
901 East Stroop
Road Kettering, OH 45429-4688
Today the prophet Amos calls for justice to roll down like waters. Paul urges us to encourage one another with the promised coming of the Lord. Jesus tells the parable of the wise and foolish bridesmaids. Surrounded by the faithful of every time and place, we celebrate Christ’s coming in our midst in the word of life and the feast of victory—the marriage feast of the lamb.
Invitation to Grace
The parable of the ten bridesmaids easily draws our attention to the differences in their levels of preparation. Some have enough oil to welcome the bridegroom; others do not. The ability of each bridesmaid to control her fate finds ready ears in a culture that favors independence and individual effort. Every day we see the consequences—good or bad—of our actions.
The early part of the parable speaks to a commonality among the bridesmaids. As they wait for the bridegroom, all of them become drowsy and fall asleep. Then comes the cry, “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” We might hear this as a command. We certainly have commands from God throughout Scripture. However, what if we heard the cry as an invitation?
God’s commands are a gift that invites us to live into the reality of the ever-present and ever- coming kingdom. God does not force or compel us to follow, to be obedient, or to love. It is always framed as an invitation. The psalmists invite us to praise God. God invites the people of Israel into covenantal relationship. Jesus invites all who are weary to come to him and find rest.
If the kingdom of heaven is close to us now, of course our actions will have consequences. Whether we choose to love or hate, share or hoard, work for peace or not—all of these choices impact the people around us. And yet, God’s command that we live into a way of love is not coercive, but rather an invitation to life.
In worship we gather around the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist. Neither is forced; neither is required. Both are invitations to experience what Augustine called visible signs of God’s invisible grace, a gift given for each and every one of us.
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.
CONFESSION & FORGIVENESS
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let us confess our sin in the presence of God and of one another.
Most merciful God, we confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.
God, who is rich in mercy, loved us even when we were dead in sin, and made us alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved. In the name of Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven. Almighty God strengthen you with power through the Holy Spirit, that Christ may live in your hearts through faith.
SPECIAL MUSIC – You are Holy
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
And also with you.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
O God of justice and love, you illumine our way through life with the words of your Son. Give us the light we need, and awaken us to the needs of others, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
God speaks to us in scripture reading, preaching, and song.
FIRST READING Amos 5:18-24
In the days of Amos people thought that the day of the Lord would be a time of great victory, but Amos announced that it would be a day of darkness, not light. He said liturgy is no substitute for obedience. The Lord demands justice and righteousness in the community.
A reading from the book of Amos.
Alas for you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you want the day of the LORD? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the LORD darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteous- ness like an ever-flowing stream.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
SECOND READING 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Some of the Thessalonians are worried that dead Christians will be excluded from the resurrection to eternal life when Christ comes again. Paul reassures them with the word of hope that all Christians, living or dead, will be raised into everlasting life with Christ.
A reading from the book of 1 Thessalonians.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
GOSPEL Matthew 25:1-13
Jesus tells a parable about his own second coming, emphasizing the need for readiness at all times.
The holy gospel according to Matthew. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SPECIAL MUSIC – Lord I Need You
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 power of the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
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,
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.
PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION
Longing for Christ’s reign to come among us, we pray for the outpouring of God’s power on the church, the world, and all in need.
A brief silence.
Each intercession concludes:
Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Receive our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, until that day when you gather all creation around your throne where you will reign forever and ever.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.
It is indeed right and good that we should everywhere and always offer thanks and praise to you, holy God, mighty and immortal, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who on this day broke the bonds of death, opening to us the way of everlasting life and giving us a foretaste of the feast to come.
In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us.
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 tempta- tion, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
INVITATION TO COMMUNION
There is a place for you at the banquet. Come and feast at Jesus’ table.
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and always keep you in God’s grace.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
Lord Jesus, in this simple meal you have set a banquet. Sustain us on the journey, strengthen us to care for the least of your beloved children, and give us glad and gener- ous hearts as we meet you on the way.
God blesses us and sends us in mission to the world.
May the God of all creation, in whose image we are made, who claims us and calls us beloved, who strengthens us for service, give you reason to rejoice and be glad! The blessing of God, Sovereign, Savior, and Spirit, be with you today and always.
SPECIAL MUSIC – Because He Lives
Make a commitment to not only worship each week but also try to find a way to serve in the congregation and seek out a way to serve our community.
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE MISSION FIELD
Martín de Porres, renewer of society, died 1639
Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Martín was the son of a Spanish knight and a freed black slave from Panama. As a lay brother in the Order of Preachers (Dominicans), he engaged in many charitable works in Lima, Peru. He founded an orphanage, a hospital, and a clinic for cats and dogs.
John Christian Frederick Heyer, died 1873; Bartholomaeus Ziegenbalg, died 1719; Ludwig Nommensen, died 1918; missionaries
Saturday, November 7, 2020
Heyer was the first missionary sent out by American Lutherans. After teaching at Gettysburg College and Seminary he was assigned to the Andhra region of India.
A worker among the Tamil people on the southeast coast of India, Ziegenbalg was opposed both by local Hindus and by Danish authorities who favored a different missionary style. He was known for caring about the welfare of the whole person.
Nommensen was born in northern Germany and was sent to Sumatra as a Lutheran missionary. Working among the Batak people, he translated the scriptures into their language, and honored their native culture.
Martin, Bishop of Tours, died 397
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Martin’s pagan father enlisted him in the Roman army. Approached by a beggar, Martin cut his cloak in half and gave part to the man, whom he later understood as representing Christ. He asked to leave
the army, but was jailed instead. After his release, he became a preacher, and later a bishop.
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, teacher, died 1855
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Kierkegaard was a Danish theologian whose writings also gave rise to the modern philosophy of existentialism. He frequently attacked the complacency of the state church of his day, as well as its desire to be accepted by polite society rather than be a stumbling block.