Prepare for Worship
June 25 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 12
Readings: Genesis 21:8-21; Psalm 86: 1-10, 16-17; Romans 6:1b-11; Matthew 10:24-39.
Trusting in the abundant grace of God, we encounter texts that are not easy to hear: “Those you find their life will lose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). We are called to live into our baptismal identity, dying to sin so we might be “alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11). The unfailing grace we receive through Baptism and Holy Communion gives us strength to live into the truth of God’s love. While it is often easier to avoid the difficult truths of our own sin and brokenness, we are met with an even stronger reality: “For if we have been united with Christ in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5).
Hymns: “How Firm a Foundation” (796); “I Love to Tell the Story” (661); “Give to Our God Immortal Praise” (848).
July 2 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 13
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 22:1-14; Psalm 13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:40-42.
In the semi-continuous reading from Genesis, we encounter the story known as the testing of Abraham. God recognized Abraham’s obedient faith, and Abraham offered the sacrifice of a ram in the place of his son, Isaac. From Matthew’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ words, “Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.” (Matthew 10:40) Jesus also promises to reward those who support all who aid and support the ministry of his disciples.
Hymns: “As We Gather at Your Table” (522); “All Are Welcome” (641); “The Church of Christ, in Every Age” (729).
July 9 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 14
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 24:34-38; Song of Solomon 2:8-13; Romans 7:15-25a; Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30.
Today we hear comforting words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28-30, “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.” In our semi-continuous reading from Genesis, we hear the story of the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah. Through this marriage, God fulfills the promise to Abraham and Sarah that they will be the ancestors of many nations.
Hymns: “Lord of All Hopefulness” (765); “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (611); “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” (742).
July 16 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 15
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 25:19-34; Psalm 119:105-112; Romans 8:1-11; Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23.
Considered to be one of the most memorable parables, Jesus uses the images of the sower and the seed to proclaim the good news of God’s coming kingdom. The same Word goes out, yet the effect on those who hear it is often different. Nevertheless, God brings forth a bountiful harvest from even the smallest of seeds. Precious and useful, seeds bring forth great abundance which sustains and nourishes the community. Through Holy Communion, we are given bread of life – sown from seeds – and are empowered to share the good news of God’s abundant grace.
Hymns: “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” (533); “The Word of God is Source and Seed” (506); “Sent Forth By God’s Blessing” (547).
July 23 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 16
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 28:10-19a; Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24; Romans 8:12-25; Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43.
In the parable of the wheat and the weeds, recorded in Matthew’s Gospel, we recognize that good and evil are always a part of our lives. With patience, we await the day of judgment when God – not humankind – will “separate the wheat from the weeds.” At “the end of the age,” God will come to remove all sin and those who spread evil throughout the world. In our semi-continuous reading, we hear of Jacob’s encounter with God after Jacob cheated his brother, Esau, out of his birthright. Jacob makes a promise to God that he will give a tenth of everything to God if he is able to return to his father’s house in safety.
Hymns: “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing” (807); “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” (693); “On What Now Has Been Sown” (550).
July 30 – Time after Pentecost – Lectionary 17
Readings (semi-continuous): Genesis 29:15-28; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52.
As Jesus and the disciples continue to proclaim the coming of God’s kingdom, we hear another collection of parables describing what the kingdom is like: A mustard seed, yeast, treasure hidden in a field, a merchant in search of fine pearls and a net thrown into the sea. The riches of God’s grace surround us in great abundance and often in the ordinary and overlooked places. In one of the most comforting passages from scripture (Romans 8:12-25), we are assured that we are kept forever in the deep, abiding care of God. In Genesis, we come to the story of Laban and the marriage of Jacob to Rachel.
Hymns: “Blessed Assurance” (638); “Children of the Heavenly Father” (781); “Sent Forth By God’s Blessing” (547).