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HOLY TRINITY & ST. JAMES LUTHERAN CHURCHES

Greetings to you and a blessed Sunday/other day.  ABOVE, please listen to an AUDIO of the Service of Word for the 14th Sunday after Trinity (September 13).  A WRITTEN FORMAT is included immediately BELOW, and is PRINTED OUT at the Churches.  Services/audios for the four most recent services are included further below.  

 God bless you and your loved ones; God bless our Churches and country!

† DIVINE SERVICE OF THE WORD FOR THE 14TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY (9.13.20), 
HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH (95.3 FM) †

OPENING HYMN – 393, FROM GOD SHALL NAUGHT DIVIDE ME
1. From God shall naught divide me, For He is true for aye And on my path will guide me, Who else should often stray.  His right hand holdeth me; For me He truly careth, My burdens ever beareth Wherever I may be.

2. When man’s help and affection Shall unavailing prove, God grants me His protection And shows His pow’r and love.  He helps in ev’ry need, From sin and shame redeems me, From chains and bonds reclaims me, Yea, e’en from death I'm freed.

3. God shall be my Reliance In sorrow’s darkest night; Its dread I bid defiance When He is at my right.  I unto Him commend My body, soul, and spirit - They are His own by merit - All's well then at the end.

4. Oh, praise Him, for He never Forgets our daily need; Oh, blest the hour whenever To Him our thoughts can speed; Yea, all the time we spend Without Him is but wasted, Till we His joy have tasted, The joy that hath no end.

5. Yea, when the world shall perish With all its pride and power, Whatever worldlings cherish Shall vanish in that hour.  But though in death they make The deepest grave our cover, When there our sleep is over, Our God will us awake.

6. What though I here must suffer Distress and trials sore, I merit ways still rougher; And yet there is in store For me eternal bliss, Yea, pleasures without measure, Since Christ is now my Treasure And shall be evermore.  Amen.

INVOCATION (CALLING UPONG GOD’S HOLY TRIUNE NAME)
Pastor:
In the Name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)
Congregation: Amen.

CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION
P:
Beloved in the Lord!  Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins unto God, our Father, beseeching Him in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.

P: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
C: Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)

P: I said, “I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.
C: And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

P: Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against Thee by thought, word, and deed.  Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C: O most merciful God, Who hast given Thine only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us and for His sake grant us remission of all our sins; and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee and of Thy will and true obedience to Thy Word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

P: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us and hath given His only Son to die for us and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  To them that believe on His Name He giveth power to become the sons of God and hath promised them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.  Grant this Lord, unto us all.
C: Amen.

INTROIT (ENTRANCE SCRIPTURE/PSALM)
P:
Behold our Shield, O God; Look on the face of Your Anointed!  For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!  My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord.  Blessed are those who dwell in Your house, ever singing Your praise!  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  The Lord bestows favor and honor.  He does not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly. (Psalm 84)
C: (Sung) Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

KYRIE (LORD, HAVE MERCY)
C: (Sung) Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ, have mercy upon us.  Lord, have mercy upon us.
(Psalm 123:3)

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS (GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH)
C: (Sung) Glory be to God on high: And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.  We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory.  O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.  O Lord the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, That takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.  Thou that takest away the sin of the world, receive our prayer.  Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.  For Thou only art holy; Thou only art the Lord.  Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.  Amen. 

SALUTATION
P:
The Lord be with you.
C: And with thy spirit.

COLLECT (PRAYER) OF THE DAY
P:
O God, You have delivered us from the power of darkness and have brought us into the Kingdom of Your dear Son, in Whom we have redemption through His blood – the forgiveness of our sins.  We therefore earnestly implore You to enable us by Your grace to walk in the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, but rather live according to the fruits of the Spirit, considering ourselves dead to sin but alive unto You in Christ Jesus, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSONS: OLD TESTAMENT LESSON – PROVERBS 4:10-23
Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.  11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.  12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.  13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.  14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.  15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.  16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.  17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.  18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.  19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble. 

 20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.  21 Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart.  22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.  23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

EPISTLE LESSON – GALATIANS 5:16-24
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.


C: (Sung) Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

P: The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the 17th chapter.
C: (Sung) Glory be to Thee, O Lord!

GOSPEL LESSON – LUKE 17:11-19
11 Now it happened as Jesus went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.

15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, 16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? 18 Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way.  Your faith has made you well.”

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C: (Sung) Praise be to Thee, O Christ!

APOSTLES’ CREED

SERMON HYMN – 417, HOW CAN I THANK THEE, LORD
1. How can I thank Thee, Lord, For all Thy loving-kindness, That Thou hast patiently Borne with me in my blindness?  When dead in many sins And trespasses I lay, I kindled, holy God, Thine anger every day.

2. It is Thy work alone That I am now converted; O’er Satan’s work in me Thou hast Thy power asserted.  Thy mercy and Thy grace That rise afresh each morn Have turned my stony heart Into a heart new-born.

3. I could but grieve Thee, Lord, And with my sins displease Thee; Yet to atone for sin My works could not appease Thee.  Though I could fall from grace And choose the way of sin, I had no strength to rise, A new life to begin.

4. But Thou hast raised me up To joy and exultation And clearly shown the way That leads me to salvation.  My sins are washed away, For this I thank thee, Lord; And with my heart and soul All dead works are abhorred.

5. Grant that Thy Spirit’s help To me be always given Lest I should fall again And lose the way to heaven; That He may give me strength In mine infirmity And e’er renew my heart To serve Thee willingly.

6. Oh, guide and lead me, Lord, While here below I wander That I may follow Thee Till I shall see Thee yonder.  For if I led myself, I soon would go astray; But if Thou leadest me, I keep the narrow way.

7. O Father, God of Love, Hear Thou my supplication; O Savior, Son of God, Grant me Thy full salvation; And Thou, O Holy Ghost, Be Thou my faithful Guide That I may serve Thee here And there with Thee abide.  Amen.

SERMON - WALK BY THE SPIRIT THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS – GALATIANS 5:16-24 
“Walk by the Holy Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)  Amen.

Dear baptized saints of the living God: When St. Paul, the Apostle of our Lord Jesus, writes that we’re to “walk by the Holy Spirit,” (Gal. 5:16) he means that we’re to live in the Spirit.  In short, this is faith.  Faith and life in the Holy Spirit isn’t centered on us and how we think we should live our lives.  Not anymore than the Spirit-filled life has to do with us saving ourselves from living and acting like the unbelieving world around us.  Trust that life in the Holy Spirit comes from Him – not from the world or us.  As our loving God, the Holy Ghost moves us in the faith to walk, live in Him.  Life in the Spirit is the only true life there is, centered as it is on Jesus Christ, and God our heavenly Father through Him.     

As with the fruits of the Spirit that bud, blossom and ripen in our lives as God’s Christians, walking in the Holy Spirit by faith alone in Jesus Christ is a great and precious gift from God to us, His precious people.  Since the gift of the Holy Spirit – saving faith in the Lord – has been given to you in Holy Baptism, what is there for you to do but walk in the Holy Spirit?  So here are your “marching orders,” your “divine instruction” from the living, life-giving heart of God, thanks be to your Savior, Jesus: “Walk by the Holy Spirit” so that you do not “gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)  

The Greek word that St. Paul the Apostle uses for “walk” in Galatians 5:16 refers to our personal conduct – how we’re to act as believers in Jesus.  All that exists in the unbeliever – lost and condemned as he is in his sin – are the desires of the flesh, or his dead-in-sin heart.  There’s no internal struggle going on inside of the faithless.  There isn’t any neutrality in the godless either; only pure, total rebellion and hatred of God.  The life of the unbeliever is nothing but a “sea of sinfulness” since the non-Christian’s “every inclination, every thought from the heart is altogether evil all the time.” (Gen. 6:5)   

But for us who’ve been recreated, born anew in the one true Christian faith, a fierce, internal struggle rages.  St. Paul’s divinely-inspired words give us insight into the warfare that goes on within us as converted believers.  This is the fight between our new personhood in Christ and our old, rebellious Adam, or our natural, sinful nature.  “The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Gal. 5:17)  

In order for us to do what we want to do, what we were reborn in Christ to do – to keep God’s holy commandments, we are led by the Spirit – not according to the Law, but according to the Promise: living faith in Jesus Christ.  The Apostle Paul also writes to early Christians in Rome, “Sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” (Rom. 6:14)  He writes the same to you so that you may be confident of the Holy Spirit’s power as God to suppress evil passions and desires in you.  To put all sin to death in you.

Thanks be to God!  As His Christians, you’re now filled with, and moved by, the Holy Spirit to do the good and holy will of God because of what Jesus Christ has done for you at the manger – born there for you, at the cross – crucified there for you, and at the empty tomb, risen there for you.  Yes, the Spirit enables you to keep the commandments of God because of the Gospel of Christ: His saving work done upon you.  In saying that you’re no longer under the Law, Paul means that the Law no longer enslaves you as unforgiven, unsaved sinners.  It can’t condemn you anymore since you are in Christ, sharing in His righteousness.  Your freedom to live holy, God-pleasing lives is found in Jesus!  Your way is the way of the Spirit, to walk, live in Him, doing what He leads and directs you to do…and not to do.

What the Holy Spirit does not direct you to do is to lead warped, unnatural, foreign lives according to who you are now in Jesus – believers in and followers of almighty God.  So the Apostle Paul must starkly contrast life – if you can call it life – lived in slavery to sin, the world and the devil, to true life lived in the Spirit.       

As you hear St. Paul’s rapid-fire list of vile deeds vomited out by man’s sinful nature, you might think that he’s presenting an overly pessimistic view of life.  Not really.  Pagan moralists in that day were even more graphic and scathing in their descriptions of the “gutter depths” to which man is capable of descending.  The key difference being, Greek and Roman moralists of that time period believed these bad behaviors to be contrary to man’s true nature, which they believed was still good.  St. Paul rightly held, as we do too, that all these evils are man’s true nature – not good at all!    

So the Apostle must take aim at the rotten, poisonous fruits of the sinful flesh in order to expose them as the soul-damning sins that they are.  We’re warned to have nothing to do with any of them.  In no way, shape or form are we as followers of Jesus to indulge in any of these works of the flesh.  If any of you are in the act – especially the continuous, ongoing act of doing any of these things, you’re threatening to undo your faith in Christ and to destroy your eternal welfare!  That’s how bad all these shamefully revolting acts really are! 

Paul starts by speaking God’s judgment against perversions of the flesh.  These include every possible sexual promiscuity out there, including sexual relations outside of marriage and cohabitation, adultery, homosexuality, orgies, impurities and sensualities like pornography, voyeurism and all other shameful acts that sin against and greatly harm the body.  

The apostle also strikes down idolatry – the worship of all that’s not God.  What we worship, Rev. Luther reminds us, is what we care about, seek after, love the most.  Paul won’t let a single work of the flesh stand since they’re all from the pit of hell!  Sorcery or witchcraft, as the Small Catechism calls it, is to trust in, call upon or look to any other power, force or influence in life than the power of God.  We’re to look to God alone for good and to expect blessings from Him – and from nowhere else.  Enmity is despising and disregarding people that God commands us to love and to do good to.  Strife is fighting against people with whom we should be at peace, especially in the Church and the family.  Jealousy is resentment for not being like others; dissatisfaction with who we are; who God has made us to be.  Fits of anger is enmity in action – raging against others in a hurtful way.  Rivalries are where peoples’ interests – and not the interests of God – are thrust upon each other like punches.  Dissentions are bitter disagreements that cause deep divisions between people.  Envy is coveting what another person has, and resenting God for not giving it to us.  Drunkenness is relying upon the bottle for comfort and help.  Eight of these evil behaviors disrupt and damage Christian fellowship in the Church.  All of them assure people who walk and live in them – rather than in the Spirit – that they’ll face God’s wrath.  

Face it.  We’ve been guilty of, and are guilty of, one or more of these acts.  They shape the lifestyle of the unbelieving and godless; they’re never to be our lifestyle.  If you fall for, or have fallen for any one of these evils, look to God in Christ for emergency rescue – and mercy!  It’s bad enough for you to burn with rage against another person.  You need to stop this, repent of it and be at peace, if possible, with him or her.  If your anger smolders against someone on-and-on, then you’re not walking in the Spirit…but only in the flesh.  If you drink too much, cut down on your consumption on the double!  Don’t become a slave to alcohol; that’s walking in the flesh too.  If you’re tempted and seduced by the devil and the world to abandon chastity for promiscuity, or to stray with your eyes from your spouse to another person – to illicit images and videos, then you need to stop this now, repent; turn to God, His forgiveness and a sexually-pure and decent life in Him.  

As bad as it is to be guilty of any one of these wrongdoings, it’s even worse to be living your life according to them.  Do not make evil your address, since those who habitually do these things are showing that they do not have, and do not want the transforming gift of faith.  Christianity prohibits all debauchery and self-engorged behavior since it’s fatal to the soul.  You and I are never to indulge in any of these godless acts since in doing so, we make ourselves slaves to our passions rather than true-born sons and daughters of God.

Since Christ bled and died for you in His pure, holy flesh, purifying you of your rotten, sinful flesh in the process, making you holy before God, “do not be conformed to this world!” (Rom. 12:2)  Walk only by the Spirit!  Say to every work of the flesh that Paul lists, “None of you defines who I am now that I believe in Jesus as my Savior and have God as my Father.  Not a one of you rules over me because Christ is my Lord and Master.  He has saved me from your polluting, decaying, killing power.  You’ve tripped me up, brought me down, shamed me and sorely hurt my conscience.  But I despise you all.  I dread God’s wrath because of you.  I don’t want you to drag me to hell.  So I ask for God to deliver me forever from you in His Son.  I pray for help to overcome you so that I may be at peace with God and my neighbor.  I don’t live for you, sins of the flesh!  I walk in the Holy Spirit and live for Christ to the glory of God!”         

St. Paul is led by the Holy Spirit to furnish us with God’s very own qualities that He wishes to share with us, so that we live by them instead of the works of the flesh, which only serve to condemn us forever.  The “fruits of the Spirit” are not outward deeds, but instead dispositions of the faith-filled heart.  They have to do with our Spirit-created life in Christ.  We don’t have to cultivate these good fruits in ourselves; they spring up automatically in us since the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts through faith.  Every one of them is directed toward our neighbor in Christian love.

Love, the first fruit of the Spirit, is the very love of God which He has “poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 5:5)  As Jesus says to us, “As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.” (Jn. 13:34)  Joy is the holy mood of the Christian heart – the opposite of the surly, irritable, selfish nature of man.  Peace encapsulates a peaceful mind toward our neighbor which comes from being at peace with God.  Patience is self-restraint which doesn’t quickly retaliate, but bears with other people, even when sorely-tried.  Kindness is good-heartedness and generosity.  Goodness is being kindly attentive to others.  Faithfulness is being devoted to others, thinking positively of them.  Gentleness speaks to humility and tender-heartedness toward others.  And self-control is the godly discipline to abstain from body-and-soul-destroying conduct.  It’s to be chaste and decent in all we say and do.        

And so, be who you really are, who Christ has recreated you to be in the Holy Spirit: loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled Christian saints of almighty God. 

In writing “against such things there is no law,” (Gal. 5:23) St. Paul means that the Law cannot condemn us as Spirit-filled people.  We’re justified by faith and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! (See Rom. 5:1)  We walk in the Spirit and live, move and have our being in His fruits!  The Law can’t touch us now that we belong to Jesus.  Just as He was crucified to save our lost, doomed souls, so has the Holy Spirit crucified our fleshly passions and desires, putting them to death in us forever!  So leave them where they are: dead and gone to you always!  Walk in the Holy Spirit; now and forever.  Amen.  In the Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

OFFERATORY (CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD)
C: (Sung) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.  Amen.
(Psalm 51:10-12)

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

Almighty Father, heavenly King, in loving kindness You have clothed the Church, the bride of Christ, with compassion, kindness and humility. Continue to strengthen and preserve the Church and her mission, that Your Kingdom may grow as new members die and rise with Christ in Baptism to receive the gifts which You have promised. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, in Baptism You have given each member of Your body the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Help us to flee from the path of the wicked and live godly lives according to the Spirit, that as He leads us we may crucify our flesh with its evil desires and walk in paths of uprightness.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Saving God, we ask that You would restore those who have left the Church, so that they would be gathered back among Your flock and renewed in the true confession of the faith.  We pray as well for the conversion of unbelievers to the one true Christian faith, imploring You to remove a confession of death and doom from their lips, and to graciously grant them the true and only confession of Jesus Christ, along with holy living in place of godless conduct.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Ruler of the nations, You alone control the wind and the waves, and You alone rule over all earthly governments. Grant all leaders in our government wisdom and guidance, that their choices may glorify You and build up our community.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Loving Father, You have given us the joy and dignity of work in this world.  Help those who are employed to work diligently, as for You. Remember in mercy those who desire, but cannot find gainful employment. Preserve them from despair, give them their daily bread and open up the way for them to find work.  Transform the minds of those who think of work only as drudgery to see it as precious gift from You.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy Lord, Prince of Peace, You give to Your children that peace which the world cannot give.  Protect all whom You have created from the violence of this world. Guide the armed forces, police, firefighters and all who protect us, that they may faithfully serve in their vocations, keeping peace in our land.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O Holy Comforter, You have the power to heal with the touch of Your hand or a word from Your lips.  Sustain all who are sick and suffering in our midst, including [Holy Trinity] Gerry, Betty, Edna, Carolyn, Herbert, Andrew, Ricky, [St. James] Donald, Ginger, Doug, Robert, Charles, Walter, Shelby, Lorine, Stephanie, Angie and our homebound members.  If it be Your will, grant them healing and strength, that they may know Your great love for them.  Remove, too, the coronavirus and its effects from us.  [HT only] Comfort Milton Ender and his family at the passing of his brother, Leroy, with the knowledge that he has died and lives forever in Christ.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Kind and merciful King, Your Son is the resurrection and the life, and He has promised that all who die in Him abide in peace and joy.  Receive our thanks for those who have fallen asleep in faith.  Bring us to share with them the shining light of the Day of Resurrection in Your everlasting Kingdom.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER

HYMN – 36, NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD
1. Now thank we all our God With heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things hath done, In whom His world rejoices; Who from our mother’s arms Hath blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.

2. Oh, may this bounteous God Through all our life be near us, With ever joyful hearts And blessed peace to cheer us; And keep us in His grace And guide us when perplexed And free us from all ills In this world and the next.

3. All praise and thanks to God The Father now be given, The Son, and Him who reigns With them in highest heaven: The one eternal God, Whom earth and heaven adore!  For thus it was, is now, And shall be evermore.  Amen.

CONCLUDING COLLECTS
P:
Lord God, heavenly Father, Who by Your Son Jesus Christ has delivered us through Your Word and Holy Baptism from the dreaded leprosy of sin, and Who is pleased to daily grant Your help according to our every need, awaken our hearts by Your Holy Spirit, that we may never be unmindful of Your benefits, but always fear, love and trust in You and Your mercy, and with joyful hearts thank and praise You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 
C: Amen.

P: O Lord, keep Your Church with Your continuous mercy; and because of our frailty we cannot but fall, keep us by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  
C: Amen.

BENEDICTION (PARTING BLESSING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD)
P:
The Lord bless thee and keep thee.  The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious to thee.  The Lord lift up His † countenance upon thee and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN – 26, PRAISE THE ALMIGHTY, MY SOUL, ADORE HIM
1. Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him!  Yea, I will laud Him until death.  With songs and anthems I’ll come before Him As long as He doth give me breath.  From Him my life and all things came; Bless, O my soul, His Holy Name. Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

2. Trust not in princes, they are but mortal; Earth-born they are and soon decay.  Naught are their counsels at life’s last portal, When the dark grave doth claim its prey.  Since, then, no man can help afford, Trust ye in Christ, our God and Lord.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

3. Blessed, yea, blessed is he forever Whose help is in the Lord most high, Whom from the saving faith naught can sever And who in hope to Christ draws nigh.  To all who trust in Him, our Lord, Counsel and aid He doth afford.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

4. God the Almighty, the great Creator, Ruler of sky and land and sea, All things ordained, and sooner or later They come to pass unfailingly.  His rule is over rich and poor, His promise ever standeth sure.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

5. Penitent sinners, for mercy crying, Pardon and peace from Him obtain; Ever the wants of the poor supplying, Their faithful God He doth remain.  He helps His children in distress, The widows and the fatherless. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

6. Praise, O mankind, now the name so holy Of Him who doth such wondrous things!  All that hath being, to praise Him solely, With happy heart its “Amen” sings!  Children of God, with angel host Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!  Hallelujah! Hallelujah!  Amen.

† THE SERVICE OF MATINS FOR HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN, FEDOR & 
ST. JAMES LUTHERAN, LEXINGTON – THE 13TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 9.6.20 †

OPENING HYMN – 375, IF THY BELOVED SON, O GOD
1. If Thy beloved Son, O God, Had not to earth descended And in our mortal flesh and blood Had not sin’s power ended, Then this poor, wretched soul of mine In hell eternally would pine Because of its transgression.

2. But now I find sweet peace and rest, Despair no more reigns o’er me; No more am I by sin opprest, For Christ has borne sin for me.  Upon the cross for me He died That, reconciled, I might abide With Thee, my God, forever.

3. I trust in Him with all my heart; Now all my sorrow ceases; His words abiding peace impart, His blood from guilt releases.  Free grace through Him I now obtain; He washes me from every stain, And pure I stand before Him.

4. All righteousness by works is vain, The Law brings condemnation; True righteousness by faith I gain, Christ’s work is my salvation.  His death, that perfect sacrifice, Has paid the all-sufficient price; In Him my hope is anchored.

5. My guilt, O Father, Thou hast laid On Christ, Thy Son, my Savior.  Lord Jesus, Thou my debt hast paid And gained for me God’s favor.  O Holy Ghost, Thou Fount of grace, The good in me to Thee I trace; In faith do Thou preserve me.  Amen.

OPENING VERSES
Pastor:
O Lord, open Thou my lips.
Congregation: And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. (Psalm 51:15)

P: Make haste, O God, to deliver me. 
C: Make haste to help me, O Lord. (Psalm 70:1)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  Hallelujah!

INVITATORY (INVITATION TO WORSHIP)
P:
Oh, come, let us worship the Lord.
C: For He is our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

CANTICLE (HYMN OF PRAISE): VENITE (OH, COME)
C: (Sung) O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.  For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.  The deep places of the earth are in His hand; the strength of the hills is His also.  The sea is His, for He made it, and His hand formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
(Psalm 95:1-7) 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.     

PSALM 32
P:
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
C: Blessed is the man whose iniquity the Lord does not count against him, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

P: For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
C: For Your hand was heavy upon me day and night; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. 

P: I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. 
C: Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to You at a time when You may be found.

P: Surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach Him.
C: You are a hiding place for me; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with shouts of deliverance. 

P: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
C: Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.

P: Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the person who trusts in the Lord.
C: Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!  
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSONS: OLD TESTAMENT LESSON – 2 CHRONICLES 28:8-15
8 The men of Israel took captive 200,000 of their relatives, women, sons, and daughters.  They also took much spoil from them and brought the spoil to Samaria. 9 But a prophet of the Lord was there, whose name was Oded, and he went out to meet the army that came to Samaria and said to them, “Behold, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, was angry with Judah, He gave them into your hand, but you have killed them in a rage that has reached up to heaven. 10 And now you intend to subjugate the people of Judah and Jerusalem, male and female, as your slaves. Have you not sins of your own against the Lord your God? 11 Now hear me, and send back the captives from your relatives whom you have taken, for the fierce wrath of the Lord is upon you.”

12 Certain chiefs also of the men of Ephraim, Azariah the son of Johanan, Berechiah the son of Meshillemoth, Jehizkiah the son of Shallum, and Amasa the son of Hadlai, stood up against those who were coming from the war 13 and said to them, “You shall not bring the captives in here, for you propose to bring upon us guilt against the Lord in addition to our present sins and guilt.  For our guilt is already great, and there is fierce wrath against Israel.” 14 So the armed men left the captives and the spoil before the princes and all the assembly. 15 And the men who have been mentioned by name rose and took the captives, and with the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them. They clothed them, gave them sandals, provided them with food and drink, and anointed them, and carrying all the feeble among them on donkeys, they brought them to their kinsfolk at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria.

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

EPISTLE LESSON – GALATIAN 3:15-21  
15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified. 16 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.  18 For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law?  It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God?  Certainly not!  For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

GOSPEL LESSON – LUKE 10:25-37
25 A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

SERMON HYMN – 349, JESUS, THY BOUNDLESS LOVE TO ME 
1. Jesus, Thy boundless love to me No thought can reach, no tongue declare; Unite my thankful heart to Thee And reign without a rival there.  To Thee alone, dear Lord, I live; Myself to Thee, dear Lord, I give.

2. Oh, grant that nothing in my soul May dwell but Thy pure love alone!  Oh, may Thy love possess me whole,
My Joy, my Treasure, and my Crown!  All coldness from my heart remove; My every act, word, thought, be love.

3. This love unwearied I pursue And dauntlessly to Thee aspire.  Oh, may Thy love my hope renew, Burn in my soul like heavenly fire!  And day and night be all my care To guard this sacred treasure there.

4. In suffering be Thy love my peace, In weakness be Thy love my power; And when the storms of life shall cease, O Jesus, in that final hour, Be Thou my Rod and Staff and Guide And draw me safely to Thy side!  Amen.

SERMON – YOU’RE SAVED BY JESUS TO LOVE AND SERVE YOUR NEIGHBOR 
The God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. (Rom. 15:13)  I recently read an article where the author stated that “the core message of Christianity is humility and compassion for the downtrodden.”  The irony of it is that the author only pretended to actually care about the downtrodden, but that’s beside the point.  Is Christianity mostly about being humble and showing compassion to the downtrodden?  Is it mainly about, in the author’s words, “what Jesus strived for: the reduction of human suffering in this vale of tears?”  You would think that the answer to these questions is yes based upon our Bible readings for today.  Yet a closer look at our lessons reveals something more important, even, than a Christian demonstration of love and compassion on our part toward others.

The first reading gives the narrative of Israel’s defeat of Judah in battle.  But then something stunning happens.  The victors are moved by God to have compassion on those they’ve defeated – to care for vanquished Judah.  Israel doesn’t treat Judah kindly in order to win God’s approval and favor.  They do so because they trust in Him and believe that they need His mercy, too.  Now that the war’s over, they’re to show lovingkindness and mercy to their neighbors to the south.

In the second reading, St. Paul reminds us that the saving grace of God – the Gospel of salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ – is what counts most in God’s eyes.  Eternal salvation happens by His loving, merciful will alone.  It’s His saving action done upon us hurting sinners in Christ and for His sake.  God’s other action is His holy Law in which He commands us to love Him and to do good to others, and forbids us to wrong them.  Try as we might, we can’t obey the Law in order to save our own hides unto heaven.  Only our Savior could do so, and so flawlessly obeyed the Law for our salvation.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus’ way of answering an expert of the Law’s question – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk. 18:18) – is to tell him the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Turns out there’s nothing in the world that the he or anyone can do to earn God’s favor or work his way into His good graces.  But rather than just tell the man this, Jesus shows him.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the heart-and-soul of our Christian faith.  The core of our religion is the message of the cross: salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ, apart from the works of the Law.  Yet faith in Jesus is never alone.  It’s to be accompanied by countless good works of kindness and compassion on our part.  This way, the deep, abiding love and mercy that God has for us in His Son is reflected in our love and mercy toward others.

The account of Israel’s victory over Judah in 2 Chronicles 28 is incredible.  Nowhere outside the Biblical account of God’s people would an army – victorious in battle – ever treat their defeated enemies well and let them go in peace.

Israel and Judah had been divided into two kingdoms – Israel to the north and Judah to the south.  They don’t get along very well, frequently fighting each other for control of the land.  While God in this instance has given Judah into the hands of Israel, Israel isn’t given a chance to celebrate.  Normally, the victors would either enslave, resettle or rule over those they defeated – and take their belongings.  

God sends His prophet Oded to stop Israel from doing anything beyond winning the battle.  Moreover, he summons Israel to repent of their own sin because – like the Judeans – they’re also very guilty.  Rather than subjugating, abusing or leaving their Judean captives destitute, they’re to clothe them, bind up their wounds, nourish and help them in every way possible and safely bring them back to their own land.  Why are they to do this?  Because they’re all God’s people who are to trust in Him, and – by faith in the Lord and His mercy – they’re to be merciful to one another.      

To better grasp this point, put yourself in the Judean’s sandals.  You’ve done evil in God’s sight and are now paying dearly for it with a great loss.  You can expect worse things to come, yet to your amazement and relief, once the fighting stops, peace begins.  Why?  God’s judgment upon you is done!  “He wounds, but He also dresses your wounds.  He strikes, but His hands also heal.” (Job 5:18)  Now it’s time for the Lord to forgive you and have compassion on you.  So He instructs Israel to treat you, their captives, with kindness – to take care of all your needs and to free you.  God’s kindness and compassion toward His beloved children moves them to show the same kindheartedness to friend and foe alike.

Put yourself in the Israelites’ sandals, too.  You have no desire whatsoever to show kindness to the Judeans you’ve beaten in battle; after all, you’ve been wounding and killing each other.  You know God has been with you in this, since, through you, He’s been judging Judah for their sins.  But then you hear from God’s prophet that it’s time for the Lord and for you to show mercy and love to your enemies.  The battle’s over; injury, death and suffering on both sides must now end!       God your Savior, and the Savior of Judah, reminds you of your own serious sins.  You repent, turning from them to your merciful Lord, Who has pity on you, pardons you of our obvious offenses and sets your heart aright so that you can love and care for your beleaguered neighbors to the south.

The overwhelming pity and compassion that God has on us – the consummate care He shows us – is seen also in our Epistle.  Its message is that we’re to honor and keep God’s holy Law not to earn God’s blessings – especially the inheritance of eternal life – but because God has already justified or declared us righteous by faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Since God gave the Gospel Promise to Abraham and to us first – 430 years before He gave the Law to Moses on Mt.     Sinai – it is the Good News of salvation in Christ alone that saves us from sin, death and hell.  The Law finds us guilty of breaking its statutes.  It teaches us how we’re to live godly lives, what we’re to do, but gives us absolutely no power or will to fulfill its precepts.  It’s the Gospel alone which saves our sorry selves, makes us devout Christians and moves us to love our neighbor with a true heart.

The lawyer doesn’t ask Jesus the question he does in order to be taught by God.  The man already knows the answer…or so he thinks!  An expert in God’s Law, the lawyer believes for all he’s worth that as long as he loves God and his fellow Jews with all his heart, he’s on the right path to heaven.  The problem with his belief, as Jesus poignantly points out, is that it’s flawed and false.  Jesus hits the man right where it hurts, proving to him that he’s living a lie.  He could never be like the Samaritan, caring for a foreigner in need – someone not of his own people Israel.  Neither would he dare to provide needed care to a fellow Hebrew – if this inconvenienced him.  A man dying on the road would pose a problem for him.  Like the priest and the Levite, this lawyer would become unclean by touching the badly beaten man, who, for all he knows, is already dead.  And so, in order to honor the purity law, he would’ve ditched the law of love – “Love your neighbor” – by ditching the dying man too. 

We’re not to cut the law down to size or shape it to fit our view on how we’re to keep it.  Again, we can’t keep God’s Law in order to please our heavenly Father, gain His favor and inherit eternal life with Him.  The reason for this is that we can’t keep it well enough; that is, perfectly – just like the lawyer couldn’t.  The forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation must therefore be by God’s grace through faith – His redemptive action for us – and not by trying to keep God’s rules in order to be right with Him.  “If a law had been given that could give life, then righteous would indeed come through obedience to the Law.  But the Law only imprisoned us under sin, so that the Promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.” (Gal. 3:21-22)  

We can’t afford to be like the lawyer in Jesus’ parable.  And yet we try to reduce the Law in order to make it easier to keep.  The Law says, “You shall not bear false witness against Your neighbor,” but what we’re known to do is set limits on what this means so that gossiping about our neighbor, or tearing our neighbor down privately in our hearts, isn’t included in the 8th Commandment prohibition.  But it is!  The lawyer fails to love his neighbor – not to mention God Himself!  We fall down in this way too.  

That’s why we need our own Good Samaritan to save us from breaking God’s holy Law, to keep the Law perfectly on our behalf, to have mercy on us and to help us do what’s right.  Jesus, in His mercy and compassion, comes to us in the deadness of our sin.  He shows us great love, bringing us – beaten and badly wounded – into the Inn of His Church to attend to us with the medicine of His grace: His Holy Word and Sacraments.  He washes and purifies us from all sin, death and judgment with His holy, precious blood and redeems us unto God by His sacrificial death.    

So Jesus’ parable isn’t about what we must do to earn God’s favor.  It’s about what He, our Good Samaritan, has done to earn His Father’s favor for us!  And yet, don’t we also have a fine, perfect example on how to keep God’s Law and love our neighbor, thanks be to God’s saving grace in Jesus?  Rev. Luther wrote: “When Christ makes the Samaritan the neighbor of the man who fell among murderers, He especially wants to show that He Himself is and wants to be the Neighbor Who correctly fulfills the commandment and demonstrates His love to the poor, miserable consciences and hearts of all people, which were wounded and perishing before God.  In this way He also gives the example that we, as His Christians, should do the same as He does.” (LW 79:61-62)

The core message of Christianity is that “God, not because of our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into grace for Christ’s sake.” (Augsburg Confession, Article 5)  We’re to show compassion to the downtrodden as a direct result of this.  Did Jesus strive for the reduction of human suffering in this vale of tears?  What He strove for was this: Delivering us and many others in body and in soul from eternal suffering in the fires of hell.  Suffering in this life won’t end until the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.  So we always pray, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”  Amen.  In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

CANTICLE: BENEDICTUS (BLESSED BE THE LORD) 
C: (Spoken) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; He has come to His people and redeemed them.  He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of His servant David.  Through His holy prophets He promised of old that He would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.  He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant.  This was the oath that He swore to our Father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship Him without fear, holy and righteous in His sight, all the days of our life.  You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins.  In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
(Luke 1:68-79) 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen. 

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their need.

For pure Christian doctrine and holy living among Christ’s sheep, that God would protect us from the assaults of the devil and keep us steadfast in the one true Christian faith, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the Church throughout the world, and especially this congregation, that we would learn not to turn a cold and uncaring shoulder to those in need, but rather be filled with God’s grace and love to care for all our neighbors, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For true repentance, that the cares, riches and pleasures of this life might not harden our hearts, but that God would give us true contrition, sincere faith and its fruits that help and serve our neighbor, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the Lord of the harvest to send forth workers into His vineyard, that through their service, the world would know the compassion and care of Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For our families, that God would preserve them from indifference toward His Word, from adultery, divorce, pornography and all lewdness, so that parents and children may live chaste and decent lives in word and deed, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the government and those who protect us, that they may be upheld and strengthened in every good deed for the hindrance of wickedness and the promotion of righteousness, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For those who are enemies of God and us, that by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Word, their hearts would be softened and they’d be given the gifts of repentance and faith, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those who suffer violence and evil in this world, particularly in our country where social unrest and violence persists, that God would quell the rioting, looting and attacks, protect law enforcement tasked with keeping the peace, and provide safety, comfort and healing, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For good weather and continued rain, that our state and states to our west may be protected from drought and famine by God’s good providence and governance, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all those who suffer from any sickness, danger, loneliness or need, especially all who have asked for our prayers: [Holy Trinity] Betty, Edna, Carolyn, Herbert, Andrew, Ricky, Franklin, [St. James]: Donald, Ginger, Doug, Robert, Charles, Walter, Shelby, Lorine, Stephanie, Angie, and our homebound members, that God would relieve them according to His time and purpose and grant us wisdom to see where we can show them mercy, and for a great reduction and ending of the pandemic, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the faithful who have gone before us and who now repose in Christ, let us give thanks and praise, asking that our Savior would also grant us a share in their heavenly fellowship and raise us with them to the unending Feast in His Kingdom, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

KYRIE (LORD, HAVE MERCY)
C: (Sung) Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ, have mercy upon us.  Lord, have mercy upon us.
(Mark 10:47)

LORD’S PRAYER

COLLECT (PRAYER) OF THE DAY
P:
O Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Samaritan and our Mediator, Who, seeing us in our blood-guilt and shame, had pity on us and, of Your infinite mercy, shed Your innocent blood to pay for all our sins so that we may live with You forever, we humbly thank and praise You for saving us from destruction.  We worship You for bringing us to the saving knowledge of Your Name by Your Holy Word.  We implore You to enable us by Your Holy Spirit to love You as our true God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves, so that we show mercy to all people in their need, bind up their wounds with tender care and continue to follow Your example of love and service, for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

SALUTATION (GREETING)
P:
The Lord be with you.
C: And with thy spirit. (2 Timothy 4:22)

COLLECT FOR GRACE
P:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with Thy almighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Thy governance, may be righteous in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
C: Amen.

BENEDICAMUS (LET US BLESS THE LORD)
P:
Bless we the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God. (Psalm 103:1)

BENEDICTION (CLOSING BLESSING)
P:
The grace of our † Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN – 409, LET US EVER WALK WITH JESUS
1. Let us ever walk with Jesus, Follow His example pure, Flee the world, which would deceive us And to sin our souls allure.  Ever in His footsteps treading, Body here, yet soul above, Full of faith and hope and love, Let us do the Father’s bidding.  Faithful Lord, abide with me; Savior, lead, I follow Thee.

2. Let us suffer here with Jesus, To His image, e’er conform; Heaven’s glory soon will please us, Sunshine follow on the storm.  Though we sow in tears of sorrow, We shall reap with heavenly joy; And the fears that now annoy Shall be laughter on the morrow.  Christ, I suffer here with Thee; There, oh, share Thy joy with me!

3. Let us also die with Jesus.  His death from the second death, From our soul’s destruction, frees us, Quickens us with life’s glad breath.  Let us mortify, while living, Flesh and blood and die to sin; And the grave that shuts us in Shall but prove the gate to heaven.  Jesus, here I die to Thee There to live eternally.

4. Let us gladly live with Jesus; Since He’s risen from the dead, Death and grave must soon release us.  Jesus, Thou art now our Head, We are truly Thine own members; Where Thou livest, there live we.  Take and own us constantly, Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren.  Jesus, here I live to Thee, Also there eternally.  Amen.
 

† THE SERVICE OF MATINS FOR HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN, FEDOR & 
ST. JAMES LUTHERAN, LEXINGTON – THE 12TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 8.30.20 †

OPENING HYMN – 353, Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior Blest
1. Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior blest, My Hope and my Salvation!  I trust in Thee; Deliver me From misery; Thy Word’s my consolation.

2. As Thou dost will, Lead Thou me still That I may truly serve Thee, My God, I pray, Teach me Thy way, To my last day In Thy true faith preserve me.

3. Most heartily I trust in Thee; Thy mercy fails me never.  Dear Lord, abide; My Helper tried, Thou Crucified, From evil keep me ever.

4. Now henceforth must I put my trust In Thee, O dearest Savior.  Thy comfort choice, Thy Word and voice, My heart rejoice Despite my ill behavior.

5. When sorrows rise, My refuge lies In Thy compassion tender.  Within Thine arm Can naught alarm; Keep me from harm, Be Thou my strong Defender.

6. I have Thy Word, Christ Jesus, Lord; Thou never wilt forsake me.  This will I plead In time of need.  Oh, help me speed When troubles overtake me!

7. Grant, Lord, I pray, Thy grace each day That I, Thy Law revering, May live with Thee And happy be Eternally, Before Thy throne appearing.  Amen.

OPENING VERSES
Pastor:
O Lord, open Thou my lips.
Congregation: And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. (Psalm 51:15)

P: Make haste, O God, to deliver me. 
C: Make haste to help me, O Lord. (Psalm 70:1)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  Hallelujah!

INVITATORY (INVITATION TO WORSHIP)
P:
Oh, come, let us worship the Lord.
C: For He is our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

CANTICLE (HYMN OF PRAISE): VENITE (OH, COME)
C: (Sung) O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.  For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.  The deep places of the earth are in His hand; the strength of the hills is His also.  The sea is His, for He made it, and His hand formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
(Psalm 95:1-7) 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.     

PSALM 146
P:
Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!
C: I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

P: Do not put your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
C: When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

P: Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,
C: Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, Who keeps faith forever;

P: Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets the prisoners free.
C: The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.  The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.

P: The Lord watches over the sojourners; He upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.
C: The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the Lord!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSONS: OLD TESTAMENT LESSON – ISAIAH 29:17-24
Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?  18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.  19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.  20 For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, 21 who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside him who is in the right.

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, Who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: “Jacob shall no more be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale.  23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify My Name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.  24 And those who go astray in spirit will come to understanding, and those who murmur will accept instruction.”

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

EPISTLE LESSON – ROMANS 10:9-17  
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.  For “everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of Whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

GOSPEL LESSON – MARK 7:31-37
31 Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 And they brought to Him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged Him to lay His hand on him. 33 And taking him aside from the crowd privately, He put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34 And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more He charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well.  He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

SERMON HYMN – 296, SPEAK, O LORD, THY SERVANT HEARETH
1. Speak, O Lord, Thy servant heareth, To Thy Word I now give heed; Life and spirit Thy Word beareth, All Thy Word is true indeed.  Death’s dread power in me is rife; Jesus, may Thy Word of Life Fill my soul with love’s strong fervor That I cling to Thee forever.

2. Oh, what blessing to be near Thee And to hearken to Thy voice!  May I ever love and fear Thee That Thy Word may be my choice!  Oft were hardened sinners, Lord, Struck with terror by Thy Word; But to him who for sin grieveth Comfort sweet and hope it giveth.

3. Lord, Thy words are waters living Where I quench my thirsty need; Lord, Thy words are bread life-giving, On Thy words my Soul doth feed.  Lord, Thy words shall be my light Through death’s vale and dreary night; Yea, they are my sword prevailing And my cup of joy unfailing.

4. Precious Jesus, I beseech Thee, May Thy words take root in me; May this gift from heaven enrich me So that I bear fruit for Thee!  Take them never from my heart Till I see Thee as Thou art, When in heavenly bliss and glory I shall greet Thee and adore Thee.  Amen.

SERMON - JESUS HAS OPENED YOUR EARS TO HIS WORD; HEAR HIM – Mk. 7:31-37 
Confess Christ with these words, too: “He has done all things well.” (Mk. 7:37)  Amen.

God’s peace in the Lord Jesus be with your spirit.  Amen.  It’s said that seeing is believing.  In Holy Scripture, for us Christians, hearing it believing.  St. Paul the Apostle declares to all who hear and believe the Lord by the faith-giving power of His Word: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.” (Rom. 10:17)  Our Lord Himself says, “Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God.” (Jn. 8:47)  God-given faith, spoken into us by the Lord Jesus, is our assurance and hope from heaven.  God’s Word creates and sustains saving faith in Jesus in us.

God has always desired and meant to grant us saving, sustaining faith by the Word of His mouth.  We hear this clearly in the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped…and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.” (Is. 35:5-6)  This is almighty God’s sure promise that He’ll restore the sight and hearing of His people so that they trust and live in Him again, since they’d blinded and deafened themselves to Him in their idolatry, greed, perversity and mistreatment of each other.  That is to say, He’ll enable them to hear His Word again with faithful hearts and to be purified from all their iniquities.  So that “the meek will obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind will praise the Holy One of Israel.” (Is. 29:19)

People of God, the Lord certainly accomplished this for His people in that day.  How much more does He do so now through His only-begotten Son, since Isaiah’s words are a prophecy or foretelling of Jesus Christ our Lord –  what He has done and still does for us!  Hear how Jesus has fulfilled all of these words exactly as Isaiah said He would.

Hearing Jesus is absolutely crucial for the deaf man in our Gospel text.  The man has the double whammy-disorder of deafness and muteness.  Imagine not being able to hear and talk.  This man is in trouble according to our Epistle Lesson appointed for today.  In it we hear that saving, enduring faith in Jesus Christ comes through hearing Him, and that we’re to confess or speak with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and that God the Father has raised Him from the dead for our salvation.  How can the deaf-mute man hear Jesus and confess or speak of Him?  The Lord tenderheartedly hears the plea of this man’s companions, who implore Jesus to have mercy on their friend and heal him.  Jesus also does this to prove His almighty power as God come in the flesh for our endless good! 

Jesus opens the deaf man’s ears and restores his tongue and mouth to do what they were designed to do.  The man can now hear and speak perfectly.  Yet Jesus does something even greater for him.  He enables the man to happily hear His words – His preaching and teaching – and so believe in Him as the Son of God.  Jesus blesses the man to also confess with his mouth that He’s Lord, and after His Resurrection, to believe that God raised Him from the dead.  This is so that he’s saved by God from the deafness of unbelief, which is far worse than physical deafness.     

Be assured that this man and his friends place their faith in Jesus, the Son of God, because He first places living, true faith in them to look to Him for all good things from the Father!  Just as God’s Word led the tax collector to a true and proper knowledge and confession of his sin in last Sunday’s Gospel, so that he sought and received God’s mercy and forgiveness in Jesus…  So does the Word of the Lord lead this man and his companions to seek Jesus’ aid.  

Again, Jesus’ act of healing people is His fulfilment of Biblical prophecy.  It’s proof that He’s the One Isaiah spoke of and wrote about.  Isaiah’s words which begin our Old Testament text have also been fulfilled by Jesus: “Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?” (Is. 29:17)  The answer is yes!  In Jesus, Lebanon has been turned into a fruitful field and forest.  Now, in the Old Testament, Lebanon was not a country or a people.  The name refers to a mountain in northern Israel and the nation of Tyre that once was covered in cedar trees.  Since God will restore Lebanon again, something bad must’ve happened to it.  In fact, God had punished northern Israel and Tyre for their idolatry and wickedness.  Now He’ll restore His people.  We get the same sense in other words spoken by Isaiah about how the Lord Jesus will restore the people of God, giving them life and salvation: “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.” (Is. 35:1-2)  Parched death and judgment will give way to deliverance and life in Jesus! 

We once were deaf-as-can-be to God and His Word.  But again, in the words of Isaiah, we can gladly confess, “The Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away from Him.” (Is. 50:5)  Yes, God has opened our ears to hear His holy law, alarming us in our sins and leading us to seek Christ’s deliverance and salvation from the condemnation that we deserve.  Our God has ended our deaf-ear rebellion and rage against Him by putting our insurrection of unbelief and bitterness to death.  We’re no longer lost sinners trying to somehow get on God’s “good side.”  Jesus is God’s good side for us!  He has brought us to the Father in faith and love by His shed blood and holy death for us!     

The upshot of this is that Jesus has completely and forever opened your ears to hear all about your forgiveness, life and salvation in Him and the Father, through the Holy Spirit!  You’re no longer deaf to Jesus and His Word – not any more than the deaf-mute man was after Jesus lovingly restored his hearing and speech.    

Then why don’t we always hear Jesus with healed, unobstructed ears – wide open and ever-eager to hear Him?  Has He really, fully cured us of spiritual deafness toward Him and the Father?  Or can we cast some blame on Him for not fully restoring our faith-hearing, so that He’s responsible for when we don’t want to hear Him and His Word?              

Dear saints, the Word of Christ comes through to us so clear and plainly in our liturgy and hymnody, our preaching and teaching, our abiding in Him and His Word as His beloved Christians.  According to our Augsburg Confession, we believe and confess: “Through the Word of God and the Sacraments [– Baptism and Holy Communion –], as through instruments or means, the Holy Spirit is given, Who works faith…in those that hear the Gospel.” (A.C., Article 5)  So there’s no fault on God’s end when it comes to hearing Him.  We never have to worry that Jesus hasn’t cured our spiritually-deaf ears completely, or that there’s anything wrong with His message to us, which is: “Whoever hears My Word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned.  He has crossed over from death to life.” (Jn. 5:24)  On how we’re to live as His Christians, Jesus says, “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Mt. 5:16)

Truth is, we intentionally close our ears to Him to one extent or another.  Not constantly, not always, because if that’s the case, then we’ve cut ourselves off from Him and His Church and are once again doomed unbelievers, like dogs returning to their vomit.  But what we are guilty of is still bad enough.  

Only Jesus heard His Father perfectly, with absolute faithfulness as a man.  Too often we evade God’s Word or simply ignore it.  We’re too busy for it; we toss and turn with doubts, fears and troubles in life; and we question whether Jesus’ voice will really help us.  We don’t want to hear that we’re poor, guilty sinners in need of God’s warning of judgment.  But how can we then hear His sure promise of mercy and forgiveness which He’s won for us?       

Good news!  Christ your Savior has completely healed you of your spiritual deafness; your ears couldn’t be more open to Him and your hearts more receptive to His wonderful words to you!  We’re all guilty of closing our ears to Him or not permitting our ears to hear Him to the extent that we need to.  So let’s get our fingers out of our ears when He’s addressing us!  As your heavenly Father says to you, “This is My Son, Whom I have chosen.  Listen to Him.” (Lk. 9:35)  Don’t go where you can’t hear Him speak to you, especially on the Lord’s Day since it’s truly His day for you!  Be found as often as possible where Christ and His Spirit lovingly gather you: into the household of God.  Yes, God’s and your true household and family, the Church! 

Praise be to Christ Who has opened your ears to hear the living voice of His Gospel!  “Ephphatha!”  “Be opened,” He first said to you at your Baptism.  “I forgive you all your sins,” Jesus says to you in the Absolution, and you’re pardoned before God by Him.  “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you.  Drink of this, for this is the New Testament in My blood which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” He declares to you from His holy altar.  And you’re fed and nourished by Him, with Him, forever!  What better, more comforting, more life-changing words are there to hear?  Amen.  The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

CANTICLE: TE DEUM LAUDAMUS (WE PRAISE THEE, O GOD)
C: (Sung) We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.  All the earth doth worships Thee, the Father everlasting.  To Thee all angels cry aloud; the heavens, and all the powers therein; To Thee cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Thee glory.  The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee.  The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee.  The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee.  The holy Church throughout all the world does acknowledge Thee: The Father of an infinite Majesty; Thine adorable, true and only Son; Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.  Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.  Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

When Thou tookest upon Thyself to deliver man, Thou didst humble Thyself to be born of a virgin.  When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.  Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.  We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.  We therefore pray Thee, to help Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.  Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine heritage.  Govern them and lift them up forever.  Day by day we magnify Thee.  And we worship Thy Name forever and ever.  Grant, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.  O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.  O Lord, let Thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in Thee.  O Lord, in Thee have we trusted; let us never be confounded.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
As Christ Jesus, our Lord and Master, has opened our ears to hear Him, and our lips to sing His praise, let us go together to our heavenly Father in prayer for ourselves and for the whole world. 

For this congregation, that our ears would always be opened by Christ and His Spirit to the Gospel of peace and salvation, and that our lips would show forth our thanks and praise as we receive His true teaching; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the Church throughout the world, especially for our own Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, that God would bless all congregations, pastors, missionaries, and agencies to serve Him faithfully and without fear; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the conversion of unbelievers, that the closed ears of unbelief of many would be opened to God by His mighty Word; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For Lutheran Christian ministries to the deaf, the blind and others who suffer from physical afflictions – for Lutheran Braille Workers in their efforts to provide Lutheran literature and hymnody to the blind, and the Lutheran Deaf Mission Society in their efforts to provide spiritual care to the deaf, that the Lord would gather many who are blind and deaf into His eternal Kingdom; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For all fathers and mothers, that they may daily kneel before God in prayer, commend their children to Him, bring them into His holy presence, and teach them His wholesome Word; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our children and youth, that God would hallow His Name among them with the pure teaching of His Word and defend them from any doctrine or way of life that profanes His Name; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For good government and for those who protect us – law enforcement officers, firemen, and emergency medical personnel, that they may be upheld, protected and strengthened in every good deed; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For favorable weather, for ample rains, for an abundance of the fruits of the earth, for peaceful times, and for our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and need; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy. 

For the sick, the recovering and the frail, especially [Holy Trinity] Betty, Edna, Carolyn, Herbert, Andrew, Ricky [St. James] Donald, Ginger, Doug, Robert, Charles, Walter, Shelby, Lorine, Stephanie and Angie, that God would focus them upon Christ and His love and, if it be His will, restore them to health. We pray also for doctors, nurses, therapists and all who tend our brothers and sisters in need, that God would bless them as they put the talents He has given them to good use; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the unemployed and those in need – suffering the effects of the viral pandemic – that they would not suffer destitution, but would receive the aid they need and be buoyed by recovery.  For our school children, teachers, and staff, that they would be kept safe as the new school years swings into motion.  For an end to, and no additional resurgence of the Covid-19 virus, that healing and restoration to health of the sick would occur.  And for the homeless and hurting in the wake of Hurricane Laura, particularly along the eastern Texas and Louisiana coast, that they would look to God and His love and care for them as they recover; let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Gracious heavenly Father, accept these petitions for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, and fulfill them according to Your good and gracious will since You know what is best for us. We pray this in the Name of Jesus, Who reigns with You and the Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

KYRIE (LORD, HAVE MERCY)
C: (Sung) Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ, have mercy upon us.  Lord, have mercy upon us.
(Mark 10:47)

LORD’S PRAYER

COLLECT (PRAYER) OF THE DAY
P:
O Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, by Your almighty Word You make the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.  We therefore draw near to You in all our bodily and spiritual needs, for there is no one to help us but You alone.  We humbly implore You to touch with Your divine power our diseased members and our corrupt hearts, to open our ears to hear Your Word, to loose our tongues to speak Your righteousness and to fill our hearts with the power of Your Holy Spirit, that, beholding the wonders of Your grace, we may confess Your Name before men and praise and glorify You, Who does all things well, and Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

SALUTATION (GREETING)
P:
The Lord be with you.
C: And with thy spirit. (2 Timothy 4:22)

COLLECT FOR GRACE
P:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with Thy almighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Thy governance, may be righteous in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
C: Amen.

BENEDICAMUS (LET US BLESS THE LORD)
P:
Bless we the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God. (Psalm 103:1)

BENEDICTION (CLOSING BLESSING)
P:
The grace of our † Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN – 39, PRAISE TO THE LORD, THE ALMIGHTY
1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!  O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy Health and Salvation! Join the full throng: Wake, harp and psalter and song; Sound forth in glad adoration!

2. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth, Who, as on wings of an eagle, uplifteth, sustaineth.  Hast thou not seen How thy desires all have been Granted in what He ordaineth?

3. Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee; Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.  What need or grief Ever hath failed of relief? – Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

4. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee, Who from the heavens the streams of His mercy doth send thee.  Ponder anew What the Almighty can do, Who with His love doth befriend thee.

5. Praise to the Lord! Oh, let all that is in me adore Him!  All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him!  Let the Amen Sound from His people again; Gladly for aye we adore Him.  Amen.

† DIVINE SERVICE OF THE WORD FOR THE 11TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY (8.23.20), 
HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH (FEDOR) – INDOOR & OUT (95.3 FM) †

OPENING HYMN – 321, O FAITHFUL GOD, THANKS BE TO THEE
1. O faithful God, thanks be to Thee Who dost forgive iniquity.  Thou grantest help in sin’s distress, And soul and body dost Thou bless.

2. Thy servant now declares to me: “Thy sins are all forgiven thee.  Depart in peace, but sin no more And e’er My pardoning grace adore.”

3. O Lord, we bless Thy gracious heart, For Thou Thyself dost heal our smart Through Christ, our Savior’s precious blood, Which for the sake of sinners flowed.

4. Give us Thy Spirit, peace afford Now and forever, gracious Lord.  Preserve to us till life is spent Thy holy Word and Sacrament.  Amen.

INVOCATION (CALLING UPONG GOD’S HOLY TRIUNE NAME)
Pastor:
In the Name of the Father and of the † Son and of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 28:19)
Congregation: Amen.

CONFESSION & ABSOLUTION
P:
Beloved in the Lord!  Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins unto God, our Father, beseeching Him in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.

P: Our help is in the Name of the Lord.
C: Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:8)

P: I said, “I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord.
C: And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” (Psalm 32:5)

P: Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against Thee by thought, word, and deed.  Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.
C: O most merciful God, Who hast given Thine only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us and for His sake grant us remission of all our sins; and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee and of Thy will and true obedience to Thy Word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

P: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, hath had mercy upon us and hath given His only Son to die for us and for His sake forgiveth us all our sins.  To them that believe on His Name He giveth power to become the sons of God and hath promised them His Holy Spirit.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.  Grant this Lord, unto us all.
C: (Sung) Amen.

INTROIT (ENTRANCE SCRIPTURE/PSALM)
P:
God is in His holy habitation; He settles the solitary in a home.  The God of Israel – He is the One Who gives power and strength to His people.  God shall arise, His enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate Him shall flee before Him!  But the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy.  O God, when You went out before Your people, In Your goodness, O God, You provided for the needy.  Blessed be the Lord, Who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. (Psalm 68)
C: (Sung) Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

KYRIE (LORD, HAVE MERCY)
C: (Sung) Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ, have mercy upon us.  Lord, have mercy upon us. (Psalm 123:3)

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS (GLORY BE TO GOD ON HIGH)
C: (Sung) Glory be to God on high: And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.  We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory.  O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.  O Lord the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, That takest away the sin of the world, have mercy upon us.  Thou that takest away the sin of the world, receive our prayer.  Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.  For Thou only art holy; Thou only art the Lord.  Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father.  Amen. 

SALUTATION
P:
The Lord be with you.
C: (Sung) And with thy spirit.

COLLECT (PRAYER) OF THE DAY
P:
O God, Who resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, grant us the true humility of Your only-begotten Son, so that we never exalt ourselves before You and so provoke Your wrath, but in all lowliness are made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: (Sung) Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSONS: OLD TESTAMENT LESSON – GENESIS 4:1-15
4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” 2 And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. 6 The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

8 Cain spoke to Abel his brother.  And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength.  You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear.  14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden.  I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”  15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

PSALM 50 
Pastor:
“Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you.  I am God, Your God.
Congregation: I do not rebuke you because of your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before Me.”

P: “I will not accept a bull from your house or goats from your folds.
C: For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.”

P: “I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is Mine.
C: If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are Mine.”

P: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?  Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High,
C: and call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”

P: But to the wicked God says: “What right do you have to recite My statutes or take My covenant on your lips?
C: For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you.”

P: “If you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you keep company with adulterers.
C: You give your mouth free rein for evil, and your tongue frames deceit.”

P: “You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother’s son.
C: These things you have done, and I have been silent; you thought that I was like you.”

P: “But now I rebuke you and lay the charge before you.  Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!
C: The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

EPISTLE LESSON – EPHESIANS 2:1-10
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – 6 and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

C: (Sung) Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

P: The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the 18th chapter.
C: (Sung) Glory be to Thee, O Lord!

GOSPEL LESSON – LUKE 18:9-14
9 Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

At the conclusion of the reading:
P: This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C: (Sung) Praise be to Thee, O Christ!

APOSTLES’ CREED

SERMON HYMN – 384, OH, HOW GREAT IS THY COMPASSION
1. Oh, how great is Thy compassion, Faithful Father, God of grace, That with all our fallen race And in our deep degradation Thou wast merciful that we Might be saved eternally!

2. Thy great love for this hath striven That we may from sin be free And forever live with Thee; Yea, Thy Son Himself hath given And extends an earnest call To His Supper unto all.

3. And for this our soul’s salvation Voucheth Thy good Spirit, Lord, In Thy Sacraments and Word.  He imparts true consolation, Granteth us the gift of faith That we fear nor hell nor death.

4. Lord, Thy mercy will not leave me – Truth doth evermore abide – Then in Thee I will confide.  Since Thy Word cannot deceive me, My salvation is to me Well assured eternally.

5. I will praise Thy great compassion, Faithful Father, God of grace, That with all our fallen race And in our deep degradation Thou wast merciful that we Might bring endless praise to Thee.  Amen.

SERMON: SAVED BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH, WE'RE DEAD NO LONGER, EPHESIANS 2:1-10
“For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)  Amen.

Dear baptized saints of God: Could you imagine anything worse than being dead in your trespasses and sins?  Neither can I.  Yet that’s exactly what we were prior to being brought to saving faith in God the Holy Trinity.  Ephesians 2:1-10 – our Epistle Lesson – reads like a real-life horror story at first.  It’s like being involved in a one-car or truck accident in which you go careening down into a gully and demolish your vehicle.  You’re totally at fault.  Your vehicle is scrap metal.  When passers-by see the wreck, they say “No way could he or she have survived that.”  First responders pull you out breathless, unresponsive, severely injured and heart stopped.  You’re clinically dead, yet they do the seemingly impossible and restart your heart via CPR and a defibrillator and then fly you to the hospital where you can recover from your injuries.  Actually, such a story has nothing on God’s incredible act of bringing you from hopeless, permanent spiritual death – much worse than physical death – to new, eternal life in Christ your Savior.       

Ephesians 2:1-3 depicts who we once were to a T.  We were dead as can be in our trespasses and sins, making this our identity, our nature and purpose – prior to coming to saving faith in our Holy Triune God by His sheer grace and favor alone.  We once walked as sworn enemies of God, hating His guts, dead and gone to Him, His life and all hope in Him.  Dead as in spiritual corpses; deceased to the goodness of God.  As cut off from Him as the grave cuts the dead-and-buried person off from breathing and walking, eating and talking, thinking, speaking, doing.  That we all walked this way means that our deadness – our trespasses and sins – was our only way to be and to go.

You’d think that – prior to believing in and living in Jesus – we were the ones in control, in the driver’s seat of our lives.  We weren’t.  We were being led, forced, really, to go in the way of the world – which is just as fallen, dead in sin and doomed as we were.  You might compare this condemned world to an older brother – not a good brother, but a very bad one – rotten to the core.  The kind of brother who was leading us down the path of wickedness toward destruction.  Who was responsible for this?  Our brother the world?  Us?  The answer: Both!    

The world didn’t lead and push us toward the cliff on its own.  It had help.  Really, the world served as the “helping hand” or accomplice of the “prince of the power of the air.” (Eph. 2:2)  This is the devil.  When St. Paul writes that Satan was at work in us, the Rev. Luther rightly interpreted this in his great work The Bondage of the Will as the devil riding you and me…like a horse.  Just as a horse rider has complete control over the animal while he’s on it, the devil rode us and drove us, controlling everything about us.  He had us “live in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.” (Eph. 2:3)  This made us children or objects God’s wrath, together with every other person on earth.      

It’s important for us to consider just how terrible and tragic, horrific and hopeless our situation once was.  Do we really realize how far we’ve fallen, how truly dead and gone we were?  We can’t truly, fully fathom it.  

How could our condition possibly improve, since we were such lost, condemned sinners?  It couldn’t – not unless God in His love for us “made us alive together with Christ.” (Eph. 2:5)  So that’s what He did.  He sought and accomplished our salvation.  The devil’s beef with God was personal.  He wanted to be god in God’s place.  He failed.  So what did the devil do but convince us – by our own free will – to take a second stab at his failed attempt to dethrone God and sit in His chair.  So it became personal for us, too.  We were every bit as rebellious as the devil himself.  

It was also personal for our heavenly Father.  The devil and his fellow, fallen angel-demons were beyond saving.  We weren’t.  God bound Himself – as a dear, loving father would – to save His children who were lost to Him.  He didn’t force anyone into His loving, saving arms.  He kindly and compassionately scooped up all who would believe in the Name of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as His beloved, recovered children – safe in His faithfulness.         

Ephesians 2:1-3 are as bad as it gets for us; verses 4-10 are as good as it gets.  You can’t beat the wonderful and welcome words of verse 4!: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” through faith.  So God just accepted us as we were, right?, even though we were every bit as opposed to Him as the devil was, hating God as much as he does.  Not at all.  Surely He could’ve just loved us anyway, ignoring, overlooking or even accepting our spiteful, rebellious hearts toward Him, correct?  No, not according to His holiness and justice.  Our fallen nature “has been corrupted by sin, and is worthy of, and subject to, God’s wrath and condemnation.” (FC SD, 60)  So there was nothing good at all in us for God to work with since “nothing good dwells within us.” (Rom. 7:18)  

So how does God get around this?  He doesn’t.  Luther explains in his Heidelberg Disputation: “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.”  In other words, God doesn’t encounter a lovable person in you and me.  Instead, He recreates us by His grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ, to be His beloved children.  God in His Son seeks out the lost in order to save them. (See Lk. 19:10)  He is a true Friend of sinners, Who, in His great love for us makes us “righteous, good, wise and strong.  Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good.  Therefore sinners are attractive [to God] because [we] are loved [by Him]; [we] are not loved because [we] are attractive.”  Our Lord Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mt. 9:13)  Luther concludes: “This is the love of the cross…which turns in the direction where it does not find good [in us] which it may enjoy, but where it may confer good upon the bad and needy person.” (H.D., Art. 28)  So God finds a lovable person in you now since His Son covers you with His righteousness.  He looks upon you and sees the Lord Jesus, Whom He loves, and His love for you is also great.  The righteousness and goodness of Christ covers you; it’s yours! 

In our Old Testament Lesson, Cain sought God’s favor according to who he was naturally and what he did for God in the flesh.  He didn’t want to deal with God according to faith, but by works, by calling his own shots.  Therefore God didn’t accept Cain’s sacrifice because it wasn’t offered in faithfulness toward Him, but as a way to get God to love and bless Cain.  God wanted to accept Cain’s offering in the same way He accepted his younger brother Abel’s faithful offering – as a thank-offering for His saving grace.  Cain didn’t care for God’s gift of grace; he wanted to make himself worthy of it; earn it.  And so all the grief that came of this came of it.  The same holds true for the Pharisee in Jesus’ Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.  He’s the “Cain” of the parable, thinking that God is so pleased with him because of his self-made holiness, false piety and works.  Like Cain, God has no regard for this man’s false worship and prayer.  He only hears and helps the hurting, penitent tax collector who cries to Him, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Lk. 18:13)

Our heavenly Father loves us in Christ and with Him, and He comes to our constant aid and helps us because we’re hated and hounded by the devil, the world and our own sinful nature which still clings to each of us and afflicts us.  We’re Abel, attacked relentlessly by the devil.  We’re the tax collector who understands from Scripture that we were once so dead and gone in unbelief and sin that it was beyond hopeless for us.  We also frankly acknowledge – even though we really don’t want to – that we persist in our sins as lawbreakers and transgressors.  We give God more-than-ample-reason to bring His thunderclap and hammer blow of judgment and condemnation down upon us again.  We beat our chests in shame.  Because of God’s mercy in Jesus, we don’t despair!  We sorrow over our sins, confessing them to God, wanting them gone from us like a terrible disease.  “And the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin!” (1 Jn. 1:7)  

Praise and thanks be to God, He regards us just like He regarded Abel and the tax collector – with love, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life!  He has made you alive in Christ by the outpouring of His Son’s holy, precious blood and His innocent suffering and death for you.  By God’s grace alone you’ve been saved forever!  When St. Paul writes that God has “raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Eph. 2:6) he means that you who’ve died with Christ to sin and death, Satan and hell have also been raised up with Him in His resurrection…so that since Jesus lives, you live too – in Him!  You’re even seated with Christ; that is, always with Him and under His care and His endless reign for you. Luther speaks of this when he writes how you are Jesus’ own dear ones as you live under Him in His Kingdom. 

Child of God!  As we Lutheran Christians believe with all our hearts and love to say – according to our great Reformation acclimation: We’re saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus, as declared in Scripture alone.  We had no hand in this at all, either by bringing ourselves into God’s gracious, loving care, or by working with Him to be devout believers.  Since this is most certainly true, “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:31)

Lastly, St. Paul speaks of the “great fruit” of justification by God’s grace through faith in Christ: That many good works flourish and abound in our lives.  These are countless acts of love and devotion flowing from the heart of God into our hearts for the great good of our neighbor and to the glory of God.  God has truly supplied you with all the good works you’ve ever done through faith.  He has many more for you to still accomplish; they’re all God-approved!         

As you’re duty-bound to thank, praise, serve and obey (see Luther’s Explanation to the 1st Article of the Creed) your Father in heaven, do so with joy and gladness!  “Serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness.” (Luther’s Explanation to the 2nd Article of the Creed)  Believe that your sinful nature and trespasses can’t condemn you anymore than your works can save you since you have peace with God through your Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  In the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

OFFERATORY (CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART, O GOD)
C: (Sung) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.  Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.  Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free spirit.  Amen.
(Psalm 51:10-12)

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

Holy God, You save a humble people, but Your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down.  Grant us humility and repentance like that of the tax collector in the temple, so that we may be bold to come before Your throne of grace, finding there mercy and grace to help us in time of need.  Enliven our hearts so that we, who are troubled by the devil and our sins, may receive Your divine pardon and peace for the sake of Jesus Christ and His bitter suffering and death upon the cross.  Since we have received mercy and forgiveness overflowing from Your compassionate heart, grant us to show humility, mercy and forgiveness to our neighbors, that they may know Your healing comfort and peace and glorify Your Most Holy Name. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

God of all grace, You have drawn us together in the Church, the household of faith. Show Your abundant mercy to all pastors of your Church whom You have called to preach the good news in the Name of Jesus, and all Your holy saints whom they serve. According to Your gracious good will, grant faithful pastors to all vacant congregations, and restore to service those pastors without a congregation to serve.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Tender Father, bless our [St. James: Sunday school children,] weekday school children as they return to weekday school soon, [St. James: our catechumens as they prepare for Confirmation] and our Bible studies, that all who hear, mark, learn and inwardly digest the Sacred Scriptures may embrace and hold fast to the blessed hope of everlasting life.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Be good to our land, compassionate Lord, that those in authority over us would exercise their authority with wisdom and righteousness, and that we would be safeguarded from tyranny and oppression. Be merciful to our nation and the nations of the world, that wars would cease and harmony would be restored among the peoples of the world. Defend the unborn, uphold Your institution of marriage, and protect us from wickedness and violence, that we may lead peaceable lives in all godliness and honesty. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Be merciful, O God, to our neighbors, especially those who have sinned against us and done us harm. Give us patience and strength, that we would deal with them gently and humbly, and that we would be ready to forgive as we have been forgiven. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Merciful Father, as You would have us be our brother’s keeper, strengthen us in our faith and our zeal for good works so that we would look to the need of our neighbor and help and support him in his physical need.  Hear our prayers for the unemployed and the underemployed. Strengthen them in faith toward You that their anxiety and fear would be quieted, and provide for them suitable and fulfilling employment and just payment for their labor. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Good Lord, bestow Your rich mercies upon the sick, the hospitalized, the recovering and the chronically ill, the lonely and those troubled in spirit.  We pray especially for [Holy Trinity] Betty, Edna, Carolyn, Herbert, Andrew, Ricky [St. James] Donald, Eugene, Ginger, Doug, Robert, Charles, Walter, Shelby, Lorine, Stephanie and Angie. Grant that the hope we and they have in Your Son may grant them relief from their burdens and deliverance from their ailments.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We thank You, Lord, for those saints who have gone before us and for their impact on our lives, and we ask that we, too, would come to rejoice with them in Your Kingdom’s blessings. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Into Your hands we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER

HYMN – 394, MY FAITH LOOKS UP TO THEE
1. My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary, Savior divine.  Now hear me while I pray; Take all my guilt away; Oh, let me from this day Be wholly Thine!

2. May Thy rich grace impart Strength to my fainting heart, My zeal inspire!  As Thou hast died for me, Oh, may my love to Thee Pure, warm, and changeless be, A living fire!

3. While life’s dark maze I tread And griefs around me spread, Be Thou my Guide.  Bid darkness turn to day, Wipe sorrow’s tears away, Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside.

4. When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream Shall o’er me roll, Blest Savior, then, in love, Fear and distrust remove; Oh, bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!  Amen.

CONCLUDING COLLECTS
P:
Almighty God, Who has justified us by Your grace alone through faith alone in our Lord Jesus Christ, and Who has made everlasting peace with us by the blood of His cross, guard us from ever turning from Your saving grace in Christ to our own works and ways as the means to earn Your salvation.  Cause us always to believe that salvation by grace through faith is Your gift to us, so that we never boast in ourselves but in You alone; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.     
C: Amen.

P: Almighty and everlasting God, always more ready to hear than we are to pray and to give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down on us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 
C: Amen.

BENEDICTION (PARTING BLESSING IN THE NAME OF THE LORD)
P:
The Lord bless thee and keep thee.  The Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious to thee.  The Lord lift up His † countenance upon thee and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN – 546, HOW LOVELY SHINES THE MORNING STAR
1. How lovely shines the morning star!  In twilight sky it gleams afar; The reign of night is ended.  Creation stirs to hail the light Whose glories now with radiance bright Stream forth in beauty splendid.  Both far And near All things living Thanks are giving, Praise outpouring, Earth and sky the Lord adoring.

2. Then haste, my soul, thy song to raise, Delay thou not thy Lord to praise, Bow down in adoration.  For glory, Lord, to Thee belongs, Thy praise resounds in grateful songs, Thou Lord of all creation.  Let all Recall Hymns of gladness Without sadness, For Thy favor And Thy mercy never waver.

3. Though evil spirits through the night With hellish craft and watchful spite Came round me without number, Yet Thou, O Jesus, with Thy power Wast near me in that threatening hour, Didst guard me in my slumber.  Praise be to Thee, My Contender And Defender, I'll adore Thee While on earth I walk before Thee.

4. Pour down Thy grace in cheering streams And warm my heart with mercy's beams From heaven, Thy throne of beauty; Thy Spirit ever lead and guide That in my calling I abide And find my joy in duty.  Send light And might That each measure, Plan and pleasure, Heavenward tending, E’er in Thee may find its ending.

5. Keep grief, if this may be, away; If not, Thy will be done, I pray, My choice to Thine resigning.  Then, O my heart, cast care aside, God through the cross His own hath tried; Bear loss without repining. Hope still Through ill; To God cleaving, Grace receiving, We shall wonder At God's goodness here and yonder.  Amen.

† THE SERVICE OF MATINS FOR HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN, FEDOR & 
ST. JAMES LUTHERAN, LEXINGTON – THE 10TH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY, 8.16.20 †

OPENING HYMN – 473, THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION
1. The Church’s one foundation Is Jesus Christ, her Lord; She is His new creation By water and the Word.  From heaven He came and sought her To be His holy bride; With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died.

2. Elect from every nation, Yet one o’er all the earth, Her charter of salvation One Lord, one faith, one birth.  One Holy Name she blesses, Partakes one holy food, And to one hope she presses, With every grace endued.

3. The Church shall never perish!  Her dear Lord, to defend, To guide, sustain, and cherish, Is with her to the end.  Though there be those that hate her.  False sons within her pale, Against both foe and traitor She ever shall prevail.

4. Though with a scornful wonder Men see her sore oppressed, By schisms rent asunder, By heresies distressed, Yet saints their watch are keeping; Their cry goes up, “How long?” And soon the night of weeping Shall be the morn of song.

5. Mid toil and tribulation And tumult of her war She waits the consummation Of peace forevermore, Til with the vision glorious Her longing eyes are blest And the great Church victorious Shall be the Church at rest.  Amen.

OPENING VERSES
Pastor:
O Lord, open Thou my lips.
Congregation: And my mouth shall show forth Thy praise. (Psalm 51:15)

P: Make haste, O God, to deliver me. 
C: Make haste to help me, O Lord. (Psalm 70:1)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.  Hallelujah!

INVITATORY (INVITATION TO WORSHIP)
P:
Oh, come, let us worship the Lord.
C: For He is our Maker. (Psalm 95:6)

VENITE (OH, COME)
C: (Sung) O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise.  For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods.  The deep places of the earth are in His hand; the strength of the hills is His also.  The sea is His, for He made it, and His hand formed the dry land.  O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.  For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
(Psalm 95:1-7) 
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.     

PSALM 92 (READ RESPONSIVELY; SELECTED VERSES) 
P:
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your Name, O Most High;
C: to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night.

P: For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your work; at the works of Your hands I sing for joy.
C: How great are Your works, O Lord!  Your thoughts are very deep!

P: Though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever.
C: But You, O Lord, are on high forever.

P: For behold, Your enemies, O Lord, for behold, Your enemies shall perish; all evildoers shall be scattered.
C: But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox; You have poured fresh oil over me.

P: The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
C: They are planted in the House of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God.

P: They still bear fruit in old age; they are always full of sap and green, 
C: to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.

SCRIPTURE LESSONS: OLD TESTAMENT LESSON – JEREMIAH 7:1-11
7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. 3  Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.

8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’ – only to go on doing all these abominations? 11  Has this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes?  Behold, I Myself have seen it, declares the Lord.

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

EPISTLE LESSON – ROMANS 9:30-10:4
30 What shall we say, then?  That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

10 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. 

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

GOSPEL LESSON – LUKE 19:41-48
41 And when Jesus drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you.  And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

45 And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple.  The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy Him, 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on His words.

After the reading:
P: But Thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us.
C: Thanks be to Thee, O Lord!

SERMON HYMN – 419, O’ER JERUSALEM THOU WEEPEST
1. O’er Jerusalem Thou weepest In compassion, dearest Lord.  Love divine, of love the deepest, O’er Thine erring Israel poured, Crieth out in bitter moan: “O loved city, hadst thou known This thy day of visitation, Thou wouldst not reject salvation.”

2. By the love Thy tears are telling, O Thou Lamb for sinners slain, Make my heart Thy temple-dwelling, Purged from every guilty stain.  Oh, forgive, forgive, my sin!  Cleanse me, cleanse me, Lord, within!  I am Thine since Thou hast sought me, Since Thy precious blood hath bought me.

3. O Thou Lord of my salvation, Grant my soul Thy blood-bought peace.  By Thy tears of lamentation Bid my faith and love increase.  Grant me grace to love Thy Word, Grace to keep the message heard, Grace to own Thee as my Treasure, Grace to love Thee without measure.  Amen.

SERMON- JESUS WEEPS WITH JOY OVER YOU; JOYFULLY WEEP WITH HIM – LK. 19:41-48 
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Our Gospel Lesson reveals the heart of God toward those whom He’s called to be His children, but who don’t want Him as their God.  It may surprise us to see the Son of God weeping over apostate Jerusalem – unbelieving Israel.  Why does He shed tears over people who don’t know Him and will never accept Him for Who He – throughout His Word – says He is and reveals Himself to be?  

We’re apt to picture God as either impassive, unmoved in heart and emotion toward those who ought to love and trust in Him, but don’t…  Or angry at them, vengeful toward them.  But this isn’t the case at all.  We clearly see – in His speech and action – that God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Ps. 103:8)  Those who should know better, but who despise and reject Him anyway – God doesn’t treat them the way we treat those who’ve mistreated, abused and shunned us.  We want to fight insult with insult, injury with injury.  Our Lord doesn’t.  He never expresses even a millisecond of bitterness or a heartbeat worth of rage.  

God sure could’ve dealt with Cain – the firstborn son of Adam and Eve – in a wrathful way.  Even after He abundantly blesses Cain with good crops from the earth, what does Cain do but offer a worthless sacrifice to God, or bring some of the harvest before the Lord in a faith-lacking, careless way.  God must refuse this false sacrifice.  Cain knows God; he doesn’t refuse His existence.  God even speaks to Cain afterward, urging him not to fall away from Him in faith-rejection and hatred, but to offer a good, faithful sacrifice.  But Cain despises God all the more, murders his brother Abel, and is estranged from God and his family forever.  Do you think that God doesn’t weep over the loss of Cain?  Rather than turn His back on Cain as soon as Cain turns his back on God, the Lord puts a mark on him, protecting his life.

Much later, God has His prophet Samuel anoint Saul with oil as Israel’s first king.  Early in his reign, Saul is a godly man.  The Holy Spirit even fills Saul at his anointing so that he prophecies for God.  Yet Saul – repeatedly victorious in battle over the Philistines – starts to get conceited, thinking more of himself than of God. Saul blatantly disobeys God’s instruction to wait for Samuel to come and offer sacrifices to God during battle.  Impatient, impetuous, Saul offers the sacrifices himself, in Samuel’s place.  In this way Saul makes himself Samuel before God, which angers the Lord.  

Saul deliberately disobeys the Lord a second time by refusing to destroy all the Lord’s enemies during a particular battle.  So God rejects Saul as king over Israel and removes His Spirit from him.  He anoints David to be king in Saul’s place.      Do you think that God just looks on stone-faced as Saul turns on Him?  Could it be that God’s love for Saul lasts only as long as Saul’s love for God does, and that He never sheds even a tear after the fall of Saul?    

Too many Old Testament pages are stained with the running tragedy of Israel’s increasing apostasy against the Lord their God.  God’s own chosen nation proceeds to turn more and more against Him, making offerings to Baal, whoring after other gods and living in detestable ways.  When they become indistinguishable from the pagan peoples around them, then judgment must overtake them.  Could it be that God refuses to shed even a tear over all this?  Or does the Prophet Jeremiah reveal the Lord’s true heart in the matter?  “I will weep and wail for the mountains and lament over the wilderness grasslands, for they are desolate.” (Jer. 9:10)  How can the Lord be joyful over the faraway captivity of His people and their deserted homeland? 

Saints of the living God, Jesus’ weeping over Jerusalem is true, godly sorrow.  He loves the city and its people.  They’re supposed to love Him in return…though many of them do not.  Nowhere in this text or anywhere else is Jesus’ weeping mixed with seething rage.  Nor is He crying desperate, hopeless tears like a person would who, upon witnessing a terrible human tragedy unfolding before his eyes, knows that he’s powerless to do anything about it.  Not so for Jesus!  He’s come to do something about the unfolding human tragedy before Him that is Jerusalem.  He’s the only One in the world Who can help the inhabitants of Jerusalem, recuse and deliver them from the coming wrath.  

This account from St. Luke’s Gospel isn’t impersonal like it may seem.  Here, Jerusalem stands for the whole nation of Israel.  Jesus has many encounters with His fellow Hebrews all over the place.  He instructs a rich young ruler of the land – who treasures his wealth above God, even – to rid himself of his idolatry.  To forsake his wealth, which he’s allowing to condemn him, and to follow God in faith and true life.  Yet the Bible remarks that the man goes away from Jesus sad, so great is his love for his riches.  Then we read these remarkable words: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” (Mk. 10:21)  

Even a number of Jesus’ own followers – not the twelve disciples – but others, dessert Him at one point, since He’s taught them that He’s the Bread of Life come down from heaven to give life to the world.  And that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him has everlasting life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (Jn. 6:40)  More than a few of them take offense at this, saying, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it;” (Jn. 6:60) that is, believe it?  They refuse to believe in Jesus and His Word and acknowledge Who He is; why He has come.  We ought not imagine Jesus then waiving them off in disinterest or rejection, but sorrowing over their departure from saving faith in Him.

There’s also Jesus refusing His disciples’ request to call down fire from heaven to incinerate a Samaritan village that has turned them away.  Most of all, there’s Jesus on the cross pleading with His Father to forgive the sin of His captors, tormentors and murderers.

Today’s Gospel account also reveals something about us.  Would we weep over those who don’t care about us, or who hold us in contempt to one extent or another?  Do we turn away from our “Jerusalems” in disregard or fury?, as in, “Let ‘em get what’s coming to them.”  Whenever we’re ignored by this person or wronged by that one, our first reaction is a sinful one.  Where Jesus grieved over a people He loved, whose love He so desired in return but wouldn’t receive, we resent those who don’t love us…or we put them out of our minds.  

It’s no surprise that we’re not, by nature, like our Lord.  Since this is so, we have weeping to do, too – over our sins:  disregarding those who disregard us, mistreating those who mistreat us, holding grudges.  Such cycles of having hard feelings toward others or writing them off need to be stopped and answered for!  Who’ll answer for all this – us?  Yes, if we choose, we’ll answer for our indifference, coolness and anger toward others in the Last Judgment.

We can give no good answer to God on the Last Day by which He’ll pass over our guilt and welcome us into His majestic presence.  But our Lord Jesus – Who wept over Jerusalem – can and will answer for us!  He provided the way of godliness and salvation to Jerusalem, to us and to the world.  Since this is true, what are we to do but turn to God with all our heart, “with fasting, weeping and mourning?” (Joel 2:12)  Seeking His mercy and lovingkindness in Jesus.

So that our indifference or hard hearts don’t consume us in judgment, our Savior took the horrible blow of our indifference and hard hearts against others upon Himself.  He was rejected, despised, blasphemed, betrayed, arrested, denied, spit upon, beaten, whipped, ridiculed, bloodied, crucified and unjustly put to death for you.  Even more, He took the full hammer blow of God’s wrath upon Himself to pay for our disregard for and enmity against others.

Because of His great and steadfast love for you; thanks be to His act of giving His life for you and me, justifying us who were once ungodly, our Lord Jesus has no need to weep over us.  If anything, your beloved Savior sheds tears of joy over you!  May it never be otherwise, for why would you ever have Him weep over you as though you were lost to Him?    
 
Your God wept over Cain, Saul, everyone in Old and New Testament Israel who abandoned Him as their Lord and Savior.  He never stopped loving them, calling them to repentance and faith.  He never abandoned them or turned on them in their lifetimes.  Yet since they refused to repent of their self-chosen sin and unbelief, He had to withdraw His presence and love from them forever at their deaths.  They, together with all the faithless wicked, must suffer endless weeping and gnashing of teeth in judgment.

But you, O sons and daughters of God, you’ve been saved by the pierced hands and feet, head and heart of Your Redeemer from endlessly weeping and gnashing your teeth.  Your tears before your Lord – just like His tears for you – are tears of joy and gladness!

If you’re going to weep, and you should, weep like Jesus did over Jerusalem.  Sorrow and grieve over those who either don’t care about you, or who’d rejoice in your demise.  Have a heart for those who don’t believe in and know Jesus as their Savior.  Pray for their repentance and divine deliverance.  Share your faith – the hope that you have within you – as you’re able to.  Love everyone as God loves them.  If He didn’t desire for you to love the “unlovables” in your life; if He didn’t empower you to care for them as His Christians, then you wouldn’t need to do so.  But Christ has given you a heart of love for others.  Regardless of how people treat you, love them in Jesus.  As you know very well, His love for you and all His saints is timeless, endless.  Love Him that long, too.  Amen.  The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

CANTICLE (HYMN OF PRAISE): TE DEUM LAUDAMUS (WE PRAISE THEE, O GOD)
C: (Sung) We praise Thee, O God; we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.  All the earth doth worships Thee, the Father everlasting.  To Thee all angels cry aloud; the heavens, and all the powers therein; To Thee cherubim and seraphim continually do cry, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth; heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Thee glory.  The glorious company of the Apostles praise Thee.  The goodly fellowship of the Prophets praise Thee.  The noble army of Martyrs praise Thee.  The holy Church throughout all the world does acknowledge Thee: The Father of an infinite Majesty; Thine adorable, true and only Son; Also the Holy Ghost the Comforter.  Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.  Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.

When Thou tookest upon Thyself to deliver man, Thou didst humble Thyself to be born of a virgin.  When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.  Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.  We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.  We therefore pray Thee, to help Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.  Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints, in glory everlasting.

O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine heritage.  Govern them and lift them up forever.  Day by day we magnify Thee.  And we worship Thy Name forever and ever.  Grant, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin.  O Lord, have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us.  O Lord, let Thy mercy be upon us, as our trust is in Thee.  O Lord, in Thee have we trusted; let us never be confounded.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

Gracious heavenly Father, keep us, Your baptized children, as the apple of Your eye and hide us in the shadow of Your wings. Turn us from all false doctrine, whereby Your Holy Name is blasphemed and profaned. Give ear to our prayers for mercy, and forgive our sins for the sake of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Defend Your Church throughout the world, O Lord. Give strength to our brothers and sisters in Christ who experience persecution in this country and worldwide, and turn the hearts of our enemies, that they would be brought to repentance and faith and joined to the fellowship of all believers. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant us Your mercy and aid to not disregard those who disregard us or show contempt for those who scorn and mistreat us, but rather love them and show them kindness as You do.  Hear our prayer especially for the lost who face certain condemnation apart from You, that they would hear Your delivering Word from our lips as Your Christians, turn from their sins and unbelief, trust in Jesus alone for life and salvation, and be at peace with us through You.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give us hearts to recognize that all that we have comes from Your gracious provisions, and keep us faithful when we have more than we need, that we would be generous in our tithes and offerings and in our assistance of those who need help. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. 

Bless the relief agencies of our Synod and all other groups who provide relief and aid to those in need.  Let compassion and mercy be their guiding light, and give wisdom and discernment to those who administer these agencies, that their use of resources would be wise and beneficial.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bless all who are in authority, by whose service You provide for us the gift of order, including parents and family,                    our government, our police, emergency workers and firemen, our military and our schools.  Grant them all strength and endurance to carry out their duties for the good of those entrusted to their care.  Bless our children and grandchildren, too, as they begin another school year, that they would prosper in their learning and development as God’s children.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Support and strengthen those who are sick or suffering, including HT: Betty, Edna, Carolyn, Herbert, Andrew, Ricky, STJ: Donald, Eugene, Ginger, Doug, Robert, Charles, Walter, Shelby, Lorine, Stephanie and Angie, as well as those that we name in our hearts.  In the midst of their trials, keep them always focused upon Christ and the everlasting hope they have in Him, and, if it is Your will, restore them to physical health and strength.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give Your divine increase to the fruits of the land; grant us refreshing rains; turn away harmful storms, drought, famine, scarcity, war, danger from fires and floods, and other plagues, especially the coronavirus.  Stay with us, O faithful Father, until our end, and never let Your Spirit leave us, so that we may live in Your fear, die in Your grace, and finally receive the goal of our faith, our soul’s salvation.  Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

KYRIE (LORD, HAVE MERCY)
C: (Sung by all) Lord, have mercy upon us.  Christ, have mercy upon us.  Lord, have mercy upon us.
(Luke 18:38)

LORD’S PRAYER

COLLECT (PRAYER) OF THE DAY
P:
Merciful God, heavenly Father, we heartily implore You to govern us by Your Holy Spirit so that we do not neglect the time of Your gracious visitation, nor by impenitence and faithlessness fall into lifelong and eternal punishment, but rather hold fast to our faith in Christ Jesus, which alone makes for our salvation and everlasting peace with You, through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

SALUTATION (GREETING)
P:
The Lord be with you.
C: And with thy spirit.

COLLECT FOR GRACE
P:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day, defend us in the same with Thy almighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Thy governance, may be righteous in Thy sight; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.
C: Amen.

BENEDICAMUS (LET US BLESS THE LORD)
P:
Bless we the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

BENEDICTION (CLOSING BLESSING)
P:
The grace of our † Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
C: Amen.

CLOSING HYMN – 391, BLESSED ARE THE SONS OF GOD
1. Blessed are the sons of God, They are bought with Christ’s own blood; They are ransomed from the grave, Life eternal they shall have: With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity!

2. They are justified by grace, They enjoy the Savior’s peace; All their sins are washed away, They shall stand in God’s great Day: With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity!

3. They are lights upon the earth, Children of a heavenly birth; One with God, with Jesus one; Glory is in them begun: With them numbered may we be Here and in eternity!  Amen.

    HOLY TRINITY & ST. JAMES LUTHERAN CHURCHES
    PO Box 247
    Lexington, Texas 78947
    PH: 979.773.2634
    lexington.fedor.lcms@gmail.com
    ABOUT US

    We are two conservative, confessional Lutheran churches of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod, who, in faithfulness toward God, gather around His Holy Word and Sacraments.

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