Prepare for Worship
Aug. 6 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 18
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 17:1-7, 15; Romans 9:1-5; Matthew 14:13-21.
In his grief upon hearing the news of John the Baptist’s death, Jesus seeks a place of solitude away from the crowds. Still, the multitudes follow Jesus, and he does not withhold the blessings of healing and compassion. As evening begins to fall, the disciples urge Jesus to send the crowds away. Rather than sending the crowds away, Jesus tells his disciples to “give them something to eat.” In a powerful symbol of divine mercy, an abundance of food is freely offered to all. From the meager resources of five loaves and two fish, Jesus feeds more than 5,000 people! Through Holy Communion, we are reminded that Jesus gave thanks – at the feeding of the 5,000 and at the last supper – he broke bread and shared it with those around him.
Hymns: “All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly” (461); “Praise and Thanksgiving” (689); “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ” (674).
Aug. 13 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 19
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105:1-6, 16-22, 45b; Romans 10:5-15; Matthew 14:22-33.
In the Gospel of Matthew, we find the disciples terrified in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus speaks to their fear, saying, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Like the disciples, we acknowledge that it is God who created the winds and storms; therefore God has the power to calm the winds and restore peace where there has been chaos. In Romans, the gift of faith is proclaimed: “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” The proclamation of this message is critically important in our ongoing mission as members of Christ’s body throughout the world.
Hymns: “Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness” (843); “When Peace Like a River” (785); “My Life Flows on in Endless Song” (763).
Aug. 20 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 20
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: [10-20] 21-28.
The healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter in Matthew’s Gospel offers a compelling example of the importance of faith. As a gentile, or “outsider,” Jesus appears dismissive of the woman’s request. Despite Jesus’ harsh words to her, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” the Canaanite woman boldly engages Jesus, confident that he can heal her daughter. Jesus commends the depth of her faith and grants healing for her daughter. Like the Canaanite woman, we can boldly go to Jesus through the gift of faith. which is for all people, regardless of race or social status.
Hymns: “Oh, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (886); “Creating God, Your Fingers Trace” (684); “In Christ There Is No East or West” (650).
Aug. 27 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 21
Readings: Isaiah 51:1-6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20.
In Matthew’s Gospel, God reveals to Peter that Jesus is the Messiah. When asked by Jesus, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus declares that the church will be built upon the rock of Peter’s faith – a faith so strong that “the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” In the beautiful language of Paul’s letter to the Romans, we are encouraged to offer our very selves as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God.” United by God’s mission, our diverse gifts as members of Christ’s body work together to bear witness to God’s grace.
Hymns: “All People That on Earth Do Dwell” (883); “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (596); “The Church’s One Foundation” (654).