CREATED, SAVED AND GIFTED BY GOD, WE SEEK, SERVE AND SHARE JESUS CHRIST.
Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
July 12, 2020 – 10:30 AM
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 901 East Stroop Road
Kettering, OH 45429-4688
God’s word is like the rain that waters the earth and brings forth vegetation. It is also like the sower who scatters seed indiscriminately. Our lives are like seeds sown in the earth. Even from what appears to be little, dormant, or dead, God promises a harvest. At the Lord’s table we are fed with the bread of life, that we may bear fruit in the world.
Jesus makes it clear that merely speaking or receiving the good news of the kingdom of God is not always sufficient. Through preaching, Bible study, and worship God’s word is planted in our hearts. But many things can get in the way of the word taking root, growing, and producing fruit.
The church is often tempted to do whatever it takes to bring in as many people, and as quickly, as possible for the sake of increasing numbers. This is sometimes done through shallowness: appealing to popular trends, preaching an easy message that requires no repentance or sacrifice, or depending on the charisma of the messenger more than the substance of the message.
In his parable of the sowing of seeds, Jesus emphasizes that it takes understanding and depth for God’s word to take root, to endure struggles, and to be sustained long enough to bear fruit. Shallowness only makes room for a quick growth that doesn’t last.
In the church, what makes for depth that allows God’s word to take root and last in our lives? Often it means connecting God’s word to the deep, personal needs we bring. Is the Bible a book about things that happened a long time ago, or does it speak God’s word for our lives today? Do we listen only to the parts of God’s word that sound easy and make us feel good, or do we wrestle with messages of repentance and calls to seek justice?
Martin Luther taught the church that God’s word comes to us as law and gospel. We don’t get to choose which one we want to hear. We always get both. Both knowing we need God’s mercy and hearing that God’s mercy is a gift for us through Christ bring God’s word deep into our hearts, where it takes root and lives. This is what it means to understand God’s word with depth.
The Holy Spirit calls us together as the people of God.
** CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
All may make the sign of the cross, the sign that is marked at baptism, as the presiding minister begins.
Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Gathered in peace, gathered in peace, let us pray to the Lord. Lord have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
For peace from above and for the saving power of God, let us pray. Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
For peace in the world, for the Church,for the unity of all, let us pray. Lord, have mercy.
Lord have mercy.
For this holy place, and for all who gather here in praise, let us pray. Christ have mercy.
Christ have mercy. Amen.
SONG OF PRAISE
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, live according to it, and grow in faith and hope and love, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
FIRST READING – Isaiah 55:10-13
God’s word to Israel’s exiles is as sure and effective as never-failing precipitation. Their return to the Holy Land in a new exodus is cheered on by singing mountains and by trees that clap their hands.
A reading from the book of Isaiah.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so 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 succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the LORD for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
SECOND READING – Romans 8:1-11
There is no condemnation for those who live in Christ. God sent Christ to accomplish what the law was unable to do: condemn sin and free us from its slavery. The Spirit now empowers proper actions and values in our lives and gives us the promise of resurrected life.
A reading from the book of Romans.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.!
Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.
** GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
** GOSPEL – Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
In Matthew’s gospel, both Jesus and his disciples “sow the seed” of God’s word by proclaiming the good news that “the kingdom of heaven is near.” Now, in a memorable parable, Jesus explains why this good news produces different results in those who hear.
The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.
That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, 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 brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!” “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 is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on 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 such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately 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 lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.
MESSAGE – Pr. Jamie Vannoy
SPECIAL MUSIC – Good Soil by Handt Handson
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
Called into unity with one another and the whole creation, let us pray for our shared world.
A brief silence.
Each intercession concludes: Hear us, O God. Your mercy is great.
Receive these prayers, O God, and those too deep for words; through Jesus Christ our Lord..
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.
And so with the Church on earth and hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Blessed are you, Holy God, from the rising of the sun to its setting, we bless your holy name. You set creation’s table with the bounty of your goodness and satisfy the needs of every living thing. You gather the peoples of the earth to feast on your promise and your presence made known to us in your Son, Jesus.
In the night in which he was bretrayed, 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 to all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgviness of sin. Do this in remembrance of me.
As often as we share this meal, we proclaim his death unitl he comes:
Pour out your Holy Spirit upon these gifts and this company, making us one in Christ Jesus. Through him all glory and honor is yours, gracious Father, with your Spirit, both now and forever.
** LORD’S PRAYER (personal option – holding hands)
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
Friends of Jesus, come to the table. Receive nourishment for your journey.
The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you and always keep you in God’s grace.
PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
God of the welcome table,
in this meal we have feasted on your goodness and have been united by your presence among us. mpower us to go forth sustained by these gifts so that we may share your neighborly love with all, through Jesus Christ, the giver of abundant life. Amen.
Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God, the creator, Jesus, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit, the comforter, bless you and keep you in eternal love.
From Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2014 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #22920.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.