GATHERING SONG “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant” #659
CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
In the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Have mercy on us, O God, according to your lovingkindness;
in your great compassion blot out our offenses.
Silence for reflection and self-examination.
God of grace,
we confess to you the ways we have chosen death rather than life:
by trusting in ourselves rather than you; by failing to follow your call;
by ignoring the cries of the poor; by misusing your creation;
by seeking security through possessions; by neglecting to give thanks for ail your gifts.
Renew your salvation within us, and hold us in your generous spirit. Amen
In great mercy, God abolished death and brought life through our Savior Jesus Christ.
As a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ, and by his authority, I declare to you that you are forgiven by the grace of God and empowered by the Holy Spirit to live a new life. Amen
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray. Holy God, your word feeds your people with life that is eternal. Direct our choices and preserve us in your truth, that, renouncing what is false and evil, we may live in you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
THE FIRST LESSON: Joshua 24:1–2a, 14–18
Then Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and God's ears are open to their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to erase the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears them and delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves those whose spirits are crushed.
Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers them from every one.
God will keep safe all their bones;
not one of them shall be broken.
Evil will bring death to the wicked and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
O LORD, you redeem the life of your servants,
and those who put their trust in you will not be punished.
THE SECOND LESSON: Ephesians 6:10–20
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.
Word of God, word of life. Thanks be to God.
THE GOSPEL FOR THE DAY: John 6:56–69
The holy gospel according to Saint John. Glory to you, O Lord.
[Jesus said] Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever." He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?" But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, "Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father." Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
SERMON “The Lord is Near” Pastor Phil Wold