Worship Pentecost 5
July 5, 2020
Communion Service
Independence Day Weekend
 
We open our worship in the name of God the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Amen.
 
Collect Prayer
 
God of tender care, like a mother and like a father, you never forget your children. You know already what we need. In all our anxiety give us trusting and faithful hearts, that in confidence we may embody the peace and justice of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
 
Psalm 100
 
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
  Worship the Lord with gladness;
  come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God.
  It is he that made us, and we are his;
  we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
  and his courts with praise.
  Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
  his steadfast love endures for ever,
  and his faithfulness to all generations.
 
1st Reading: Romans 7:15-25a
 
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!
 
So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.
 
2nd Reading: Matthew 11
 
But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market-places 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 and have 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.’
 
Sermon
 
Jesus can’t seem to win. John the Baptist comes along as a rigorous ascetic, denying himself the pleasures of home life. He lives in the wilderness eating wild locusts and taking honey out of trees. He doesn’t dine with friends to swig beer with his buddies at the local bar. And he gets criticized. “That John the Baptist is an odd duck” people say. “He doesn’t socialize with any of us! Could he be demonic?”
 
Then Jesus comes along. Jesus is quite social. He attends neighborhood barbecues. He drinks wine. He probably laughs at jokes. We know he made jokes. Jesus is the life of the party. But, he too gets clobbered by the media. “Look, a glutton and a drunkard! And he even hangs out with tax collectors!” Well, Jesus just can’t win.
 
Here is the point I think Jesus is making. We gossip, gripe, and complain about other people. When we do this, we dismiss them. We think they are not worth listening to. Gossip like this is a form of plugging up our ears so that we do not listen to what is being said.   
 
Jesus repeatedly exclaimed, “if you have ears to hear, then listen!” For you and me I believe the message is this: we should listen carefully to the Word of God to grasp what God might be saying to us. This means attending to what the Bible says, what the preacher says, and what the Holy Spirit prompts in our hearts.
 
This could mean the following: once in a while we should stop gossiping about other people and listen to what God might be saying to us.
 
Prayers of Intercession
 
We come to you O God of resurrection with feet stuck in the world of the cross. Around us and among us people are dying by the tens of thousands, victims of the rampant Covid 19 disease. Like a horse from the Apocalypse, the plague marches through our community without regard to whom it brings grief. As you brought refuge and strength to the Psalmist, bring us a portion of that strength here and now.
 
O God, you are our sword and our shield: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We thank you our Heavenly Father for the courageous and wise founders of the United States of America. The Declaration of  Independence and the Constitution have inspired and guided the whole human race toward increased freedom, dignity, and prosperity. Inspire in each of us a fervent zeal to enfranchise those who are marginalized and to heal the painful wounds of discrimination associated with race, gender, language, and faith.
 
O God, you are our rainbow of promise: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God, for peace and justice in the world: for a full embrace of racial equality and compassion; for concord during this time of racial and political unrest; for the heads of state, legislators, and local civic leaders, that they enact wise procedures to deal with the coronavirus.
 
O God, you are our Mighty Fortress: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God for all who are facing the coronavirus: for all who mourn their dead; all who have contracted the virus; those who are quarantined or stranded away from home; those who have lost their employment; those who fear the present and the future. We pray for physicians, nurses, and home health aides; medical researchers; and the World Health Organization. Fill the aching in our hearts with your merciful power.
 
O God, you provide our everlasting home: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
We pray, O God, for all in need:
 
Healing
Richard Y., CCLCS school parent 
Barb A., former CCLCS member 
Ed S.
Bob R., Jr.
Julianna and her mother                    
Sarah (Hoelter’s friend)                    
Richard (Sue’s friend)  
Steven (Carol C.’s cousin)      .
Steven (Linda O’s cousin)
Estella (Myrna’s mom)  
Ditka (Robert S’ ex-wife)        
Roxie C.
Lynne C’s family
Abigail D.
Linda (Joanne B’s friend)        
Jake (Lynne BS’ nephew)        
 
Long-Term Healing
Joanne (Kim B.’ friend)
Carole B.
Chris (Mandy’s BIL)
Chris (Diane C’s son)              
Roger (Michelle S’ friend)        
Sawyer (Michelle S’ friend)
Ed (Vicki B’s father)  
Barbara L.
Gabe B.
Wayne (former member)      
Mark (Curtis S’s friend)
 
Homebound Members
Robert and Leona A.              
Dick and Dorothy N.                
Ruth M.
Pastor Leon H.  
Beverly L.                  
Ginny C.
 
Grief
Family of Rick, son of Joanne B. and brother of Michelle S.
Family of Joanne, sister-in-law of Tammy K.
Family of Bryan, family friend of Karen P.
Family of Joann, extended family of Michelle S.
 
O God, you are the Healer of our every ill: in your mercy,
hear our prayer.
 
Receive our thanks for all who died in the faith and bring us at the final resurrection into your everlasting life, where sorrows will be no more. Into your gracious and mighty hands, O God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.
Amen
 
Lord’s Prayer 
 
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial,
and deliver us from evil,
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours,
now and forever.
Amen.
 
Benediction
 
Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us now and forever.
Amen.