Listening for the Promise

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost - November 12, 2017

Don’t Rest Easy

“Its heads give judgement for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money; yet they lean upon the Lord and say “is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us.” - Micah 3:11

 

I hope you are feeling well and are in a good mood as you read this. That would increase the odds of your being able to handle some criticism. If criticism catches a person at the wrong time, it just cannot get through. And there are some times that it needs to get through. The prophet Micah - and most of the prophets - delivered a difficult message to God’s people. They were not ‘yes-men’ for the natural desires of the masses. They delivered the hard cold truth. Whether the criticism got through the defense shields that we humans use to filter out calls for change I do not know. Micah sure tried.

 

He tells the people: “Here’s the deal. The nation is way off track; the Lord is seriously ticked off at us, justifiably, and if we do not repent and change our ways, calamity shall befall us.” Read Micah - or Amos or Zephaniah or most any of the “minor prophets”- and you’ll get your ears singed. These books are where the “fire and brimstone” concept comes from. The people are being told “change your ways or your gonna get it.” And such a message is part of our Christian Bible. It’s not our favorite part, nor the main part - “thank you, Lord!” - but it’s kept there for our benefit. We prefer ‘chicken soup for the soul,’ but the bible includes ‘red hot chili peppers for the soul.’

 

In those minor prophet years, as in ours, people and nations sometimes get so blindly self-absorbed that we need a “don’t make me come down there” call. Micah wrote about indulgence and injustice and phoney-baloney religiosity. Does that shoe still fit? Do we too live too “high on the hog” and do we ignore the needy and abet wickedness? Do we get complacent in our religious routines?

 

Well…. God Almighty has something to say about that. Don’t rest easy. Humble yourselves before the Lord and seek his mercy and his transformation. God is eager to forgive and to bring a brighter future.

 

 

 

Service Supplement

(Congregational responses are in bold print)

Gathering

Prelude  Hymn for Our Country (based on the hymn tune Melita)                                                                            Mark Hurley, Organist

 

Call to Worship                                               WP # 59

 

Welcome and Announcements

 

*Gathering Song                                             ELW # 408

 

*Confession & Forgiveness    (Pastor)           ELW pg. 94-96

Blessed be the holy Trinity, one God, who forgives all our sin, whose mercy endures forever. Amen.

 

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen.

 

Almighty God, in his mercy, has given his Son to die for us and, for his sake, forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

*Greeting                    (Pastor)                       ELW pg. 147

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And also with you.

 

*Canticle of Praise      (WA) “Glory to God…” ELW pg. 148-149

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

 

*Prayer of the Day                  (Pastor)

Let us pray…Almighty, eternal God, show mercy to your children who humbly pray, that we who have no confidence in our worth may not be judged but tenderly received. Grant this, we pray, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

 

Word

Anthem Hymn       8:30AM Adult Choir        ELW # 534

 

First Reading:             (Worship Assistant)    Amos 5:18-24

The prophet Amos conveyed God’s anger toward his people for their empty sacrifices and meaningless worship. He called them to act with justice rather than to offer vain gifts, and to live in righteousness rather than sing noisy songs and try to appease him with fattened calves. True peace comes not from solemn assemblies but from serving faithfully in the name of God.

 

18“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, 19as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? 21I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” The word of the Lord, thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm # 70                  (Worship Assistant – read responsively)

The psalmist cried out to God for deliverance from his enemies. He called the Lord his help and his deliverer, the one who saves his life.

 

Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me.

Let those who seek my life be ashamed and altogether dismayed; let those who take pleasure in my misfortune draw back and be disgraced.

Let those who say to me “Aha!” and gloat over me turn back, because they are ashamed.

Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; let those who love your salvation say forever, “Great is the Lord!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy; come to me speedily, O God.

You are my helper and my deliverer; O Lord, do not tarry.

 

Second Reading: (Worship Assistant)            1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Met with questions about the return of Jesus and the final resurrection of the dead, St. Paul encouraged the Thessalonian Christians not to fear. When Christ comes again, he said, those who are dead will be raised first, followed by those who are alive. Do not grieve, he told them, as those who have no hope.

 

13We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. Word of God, word of life, thanks be to God.

 

(WA: “Please rise for the reading of the Gospel.”)

 

*Gospel Acclamation (sung)                          ELW pg. 151

Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.  

 

*Holy Gospel: (Pastor) The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew, the 25th Chapter. Glory to you, O Lord. Matthew 25:1-13: Jesus offered a parable about being ready for the bridegroom when he arrives. Ten virgins were awaiting that bridegroom’s arrival. Before he arrived, five of the virgins found themselves without enough oil to keep their lamps going. They were advised by the wise virgins to go and buy more oil, but while they were away, the bridegroom returned and those who had left found themselves excluded from the banquet.

 

1Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” The gospel of the Lord, praise to you, O Christ.

 

Sermon                                                            Pastor Bill Wallace

 

*Hymn of the Day                                          ELW # 793

 

*Apostles' Creed                                                        

(P): God has made us his people through our Baptism into Christ. Living together in trust and hope, we confess our faith.

 

I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

 

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord.

He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. 

He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.

   He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the

   Father.

  He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church,

  the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,

  the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

*Prayers of Intercession                     (Worship Assistant & Pastor)

(P): Let us pray for the faithfulness of the Church, the life of the world, and all those in need. A brief silence.

(W): Everlasting God, your Son promised he would return to the earth one day. Help us to be ready for his return, that our lamps would be lit and our hearts would be open to Jesus’ second coming. Remind us that because of our faith there is nothing to fear and everything to look forward to as Jesus will judge us innocent, having taken our place on the cross. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Lord God, ruler of us all, you desire that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Let your blessing rest on our civic leaders and all whom you have placed in positions of authority, that your people may lead quiet and peaceable lives, godly and respectful in every way, free to pray and work in your service. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Lord of the harvest, grant favorable weather for all the farmers who are bringing in the crops this season. Watch over them and prevent accidents or injuries as they work around large machines. Provide for our daily bread and make us truly grateful for all we have. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(W): Merciful God, as a sign of your holy reign, grant that this congregation will identify with the suffering, the sorrowing, and the sick in both our local and global communities. By your Spirit empower us to seek ways to serve and reach out to those on the fringes in loving and tangible ways. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

(P): Into your hands, almighty God, we commend all for whom we pray; trusting in your abundant mercy, through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

 

*Peace:            (Pastor)                                   ELW pg. 152

The peace of Christ be with you always. And also with you.

 

Meal

Offering                                                          ELW pg. 152

 

Offering Anthem                                            Organist

 

*Assembly Song: (Create in Me…)                ELW # 188

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with your free Spirit.

 

*Offering Prayer:        (Worship Assistant)     ELW pg. 107

Let us pray…God of all creation, all you have made is good, and your love endures forever. You bring forth bread from the earth and fruit from the vine. Nourish us with these gifts, that we might be for the world signs of your gracious presence in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 

*The Great Thanksgiving       (Pastor)           ELW pg. 152

The Lord be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts.  We lift them to the Lord.  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right to give our thanks and praise.

 

*Preface                                                          Pastor Bill Wallace

 

*Response to Preface (sung)                          ELW pg. 153

Holy, holy, holy Lord, Lord God of pow’r and might, heav’n and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

 

*Words of Institution:             (Pastor)                                              

Holy, mighty, and merciful Lord, heaven and earth are full of your glory. In great love you sent to us Jesus, your Son, who reached out to heal the sick and suffering, who preached good news to the poor, and who, on the cross, opened his arms to all.

 

In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.

 

Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.

 

*The Lord’s Prayer:                                        ELW pg. 154

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Communion (distribution & song)     (sung)  ELW pg. 154

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us. Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world; grant us peace, grant us peace.

 

Communion Hymn                                         WP # 33, 37

 

*Table Blessing          (Pastor)

The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen you and keep you in his grace. Amen.

 

*Post Communion Canticle: (sung)                ELW # 209

Blessed be God, the source of all life, the word of salvation, the spirit of mercy. Blessed be God, the source of all life, the word of salvation, the spirit of mercy. 

 

*Prayer after Communion: (WA)                    ELW pg. 114

Let us pray…O God, we give you thanks that you have set before us this feast, the body and blood of your Spirit and strengthen us to serve all in need and to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Sending

*Blessing:        (Pastor)                                   ELW pg. 114

The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord’s face shine on you with grace and mercy. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. Amen.

 

*Dismissal:      (Worship Assistant)                 ELW pg. 115

Go in peace. Christ is with you. Thanks be to God.

 

*Sending Song                                                ELW # 768

 

Postlude          Armed Forces Medley             Mark Hurley, Organist

**********************************************************

Announcements

Flowers are given in memory of Rose Reynolds by her family, and in memory of Sharon M. Davis by her family.

 

Bulletins are given in memory of Steven Janowich by the Janowich family.  

 

For gals who are desiring to read & learn God’s word together… “Journey Sisters” bible study has resumed. We are meeting on 1st & 3rd Thursdays of every month…See you there!

 

WNALC Group will meet on Tuesday, November 21st at 7PM in the fellowship hall. All women are invite and encouraged to attend!

 

“Meet, Greet & Eat”  Fellowship * Sundays 9:30 -10:45 am * a time to gather, get acquainted, talk about church events & have a bite too!…open to everyone!... your food & beverage donations support this weekly mission, thank you for your generosity… for volunteer training & commitment schedules or donation coordination, please contact Irene (443-465-9087)..Peace!

 

FROM OUR ORGANIST: The keyboard has gone for repair. We are still in need of donations to meet our goal of $2,500 to repair our organ. Please give! A special envelope is in the Narthex. Thank you for your donations to our music ministry!

 

WNALC Group is collecting old, unwanted and broken cellphones. Every cellphone that we turn in to be recycled will send 2 calling cards to active service men and women in the field. There is a basket in the Narthex for your donations. Thank you for your support!

 

Birthday Dinner will be held at Zestos Pizza & Grille @ 750 Concourse Cir just off RT43 across from the Farm Store on Thursday, November 16th at 6:30pm. If you plan to attend in October, please contact Pam Keller at 410-335-7226 by Wednesday, 11/15. Come join the fun! Get to know fellow parishioners on a different level! It does not have to be your birthday to attend.

 

Hurricane Harvey and Irma: We are continuing to collect items for Disaster Relief. Please see both lists posted in the Narthex! Thank you for your continued support of our disaster relief!

 

Hershey Bears Annual Hockey Game has been scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd at 7pm. The Bears will play the Charlotte Checkers. It is Faith & Family night and our tickets are in section 110 (yes, we are back to the lower level). The tickets are $20.50 per person and the first 5,000 in attendance will receive a free Bears baseball cap. Please contact Joe Hauer at joehauer68@comcast.net to reserve your tickets or for additional information.

 

Thanksgiving Eve service will be held on November 22nd at 7:30pm.

 

Annual Congregational Meeting will be held on November 19th after late service. Food donations would be greatly appreciated. A sign up sheet is in the Narthex for donations or see Irene Markley.

 

Christmas Organ Concert & Pot Luck Dinner will be held on Sunday, December 3rd at 3pm. Mark Hurley will showcase our favorite Christmas music is a “Pops and classic” program. A pot luck dinner will be served immediately following the concert. A free will offering will be collected. Everyone is invited!!

 

ATTENTION ALL SCRAPBOOKERS! A two-day scrapbooking event will be held on November 17th at 6PM until 10pm and November 18th from 9AM until 6PM. Admission is $10 for one day and $15 for both days. All proceeds will benefit a Fund or Charity as agreed each month. For more info, please contact JoAnn @ 410-335-6887.

 

Thanksgiving Baskets are needed! A list and box has been provided to fill a basket for Thanksgiving! We are in need of thirty baskets to feed less fortunate families in our community! Please consider filling a basket. If a basket is too much but you still want to donate, please see the list and donate one or more items on the list. For more details, please see Maria Dobry. Thank you for your gracious giving during the holidays!

 

Christmas gifts for Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims. This year we are collecting gifts for the victims of the hurricanes that hit our south. Please pick up a star from the tree. There is no spending minimums or maximums. All gifts will go to the families of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma through our Disaster Relief Center. For more details, please see Maria Dobry.

 

All Saints Sunday addition: Jasmine Mastin was left off the All Saints list last week by accident. Please remember her in your prayers for All Saints. Thank you!

 

Stewardship Message:

We want to raise awareness on Stewardship. Each week the message will be in your bulletin and will be displayed in the Narthex. If you have any questions on Stewardship or want to discuss Stewardship with someone, please contact Scott Miller or Pastor John.

 

Why Estimate Giving?

 

Estimates of Giving are important in the life of our church today.

 

The rapid changes taking place in the world and the needs of the world make it very important that we develop a plan for proportionate giving to and through our church…

 

Because we desire to make plans at least once a year to grow in our giving and manage to the best of our ability the dollar resources with which God has blessed us!

 

Because God gives us the grace to give, and that Grace moves us to make a firm commitment to the church; contributing a portion of our talents and financial blessings for our Lord’s mission and ministry.

 

Because in estimating our giving we make an effort to show just how much God is the God of our lives, and in growing in our commitment each year we give external evidence of our internal priorities. We put God first. We risk in faith. We trust in God to provide.

 

Because God has asked for our commitment – not just that we give – but that we be committed to our Lord. As Christians, our estimate of giving is foundational to all ministry and helps our church plan for and provide such emphases for ministry.

 

Because God is important in our lives and our personal support of our Lord’s ministry is a way to make a difference in the world.

 

Because Christians lead by example. Jesus set the example for us to follow in stewardship. If Christ was not afraid to be nailed to the cross for us, certainly we should not be afraid to affix our names to an estimate of giving for his work. It is an outward expression of our love for and trust in Him.

 

Because we know that the discipline of making an estimate and sticking to it is in direct response to a loving God who gave his life for us at Calvary.