Sunday Morning We invite you to join us for the following worship services:

Sundays
10:30 a.m. Worship service

Hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance and other locations in the church for
your use.

Washrooms will be available for use.

In the service: The service will be shown on the screen. The offering will not be gathered and presented, but there will be an offering plate at the back of the sanctuary where you can put your offering as you enter or leave. Pastor David distributes the communion wafers and an Assisting Minister distributes wine or grape juice in individual glasses.

We have coffee and fellowship time available again in Luther Hall after the service.

We will continue to evaluate our worship service procedures on a monthly basis.

EIGHTH SUNDAY OF PENTECOST, JULY 14, 2024

St. Ansgar Lutheran Church, Outline for Worship (with sermon)
Sunday, July 14, 2024 Ė Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
Based on ELW Setting Four

GATHERING

WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS

BRIEF ORDER FOR CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS
P: Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God,
the God of manna, the God of miracles, the God of mercy.
C: Amen.

P: Drawn to Christ and seeking Godís abundance, let us confess our sin.

Silence is kept for reflection.

P: God, our provider,
C: help us.
It is hard to believe there is enough to share.
We question your ways when they differ from the ways of the world in
which we live.
We turn to our own understanding rather than trusting in you.
We take offense at your teachings and your ways.
Turn us again to you. Where else can we turn?
Share with us the words of eternal life and feed us for life in the world.
Amen.

P: Beloved people of God:
in Jesus, the manna from heaven, you are fed and nourished.
By Jesus, the worker of miracles, there is always more than enough.
Through Jesus, + the bread of life, you are shown Godís mercy: you are
forgiven and loved into abundant life.
C: Amen.

ENTRANCE HYMN - Lead On, O King Eternal! (ELW #805)

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

KYRIE
A: In peace, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For the peace from above, and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of God,
and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: For this holy house, and for all who offer here their worship and praise,
let us pray to the Lord.
C: Lord, have mercy.

A: Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
C: Amen.

HYMN OF PRAISE (sung) (ELW p. 149)
P: This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia.
C: Worthy is Christ, the Lamb who was slain,
whose blood set us free to be people of God.
Power and riches and wisdom and strength,
and honour and blessing and glory are his.
This is the feast of victory for our God. Alleluia.
Sing with all the people of God
and join in the hymn of all creation:
Blessing and honour and glory and might
be to God and the Lamb forever. Amen.
This is the feast of victory for our God,
for the Lamb who was slain has begun his reign.
Alleluia. Alleluia.

PRAYER OF THE DAY
P: Let us pray.
P: O God, from you come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just
works. Give to us, your servants, that peace which the world cannot give,
that our hearts may be set to obey your commandments; and also that we,
being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in peace and
quietness, through Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.
Amen

WORD

FIRST READING: Amos 7:7-15
7 This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with
a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 And the LORD said to me, "Amos,
what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "See, I am setting
a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by;
9 the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel
shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."
10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying,
"Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land
is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said, 'Jeroboam shall die by
the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.'" 12 And Amaziah said
to Amos, "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and
prophesy there; 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary,
and it is a temple of the kingdom." 14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no
prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,
15 and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me,
'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'

A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

PSALM 85: 8-13
8 I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their
hearts to you.
9 Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
that your glory may dwell in our land.
10 Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12 The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
13 Righteousness shall go before the Lord
and shall prepare for God a pathway.

SECOND READING: Ephesians 1:3-14
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in
Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in
Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.
5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to
the good pleasure of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely
bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 that he
lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 9 he has made known to us the
mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ,
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven
and things on earth. 11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having
been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things
according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope
on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you had
heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him,
were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 14 this is the pledge of our
inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.

A: The word of the Lord.
C: Thanks be to God.

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

GOSPEL
P: The Holy Gospel according to Mark 6:14-29
C: Glory to you, O Lord.

14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some were saying,
"John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these
powers are at work in him." 15 But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said,
"It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." 16 But when Herod heard of it,
he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." 17 For Herod himself had
sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of
Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John
had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife."
19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she
could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy
man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed;
and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on
his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders
of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased
Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you wish,
and I will give it." 23 And he solemnly swore to her, "Whatever you ask me,
I will give you, even half of my kingdom." 24 She went out and said to her mother,
"What should I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the baptizer."
25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, "I want you to
give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter."
26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests,
he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard
with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to
her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body,
and laid it in a tomb.

P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.

SERMON
Mark 6:14-29
This sermon has been prepared by Rev. Dr. Ali Tote, the Bishop-Elect
of the Saskatchewan Synod of the ELCIC.
Proclaiming the gospel courageously
Sisters and brothers, siblings in Christ,
The texts assigned for this Sunday all show us how God reaches out to the
lowly and lifts them up to be proclaimers of Godís message to others and
partakers with God in Godís reign of peace and grace. In Amos 7:7-15,
the prophet Amos who does not see himself worthy of being called a prophet,
is called by God from behind his flock precisely for the purpose of delivering
Godís word to the people of Israel. In Ephesians 1:3-14, we hear about the
ways in which we have been made children of God, having been marked
with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, the unmistakable seal that binds
us eternally unto Christ our Lord and our Redeemer. As a result, we are
made to be witnesses of the grace of God which has been bestowed
upon us. The gospel text of Mark 6:14-29 illustrates the power of the
proclamation of the gospel as well as the unfortunate and expected perils
that come with proclaiming its prophetic message.
To be honest with you, when we read todayís gospel it is very hard at the end
to say ďThe Gospel of the Lord,Ē and harder to answer, ďThanks be to God!Ē
It is hard, not because it is not the gospel, but because of the tragic and un-
gospel way in which the passage ends. Yet, it is the best way to end and frame
this pericope, this passage of scripture. Ending it differently would massage and
sanitize the depth of the sin of the human heart and rid us of the opportunity to
hear both the urgency of the call of John the Baptist, and especially, the urgency
and the nature of the ministry of Jesus. It is, sisters and brothers, siblings,
into that sin-filled, corrupt world that Jesus breaks in.
It is in the depth of our sin and sinfulness that Jesus relentlessly and urgently
comes. It is even as we ďmake our bed in sheolĒ that God comes to save us
(Psalm 139, verse 8). The atrocity we witness in the beheading of John the
Baptist in the gospel of Mark, as atrocious as it may be, points unfortunately
and tragically to the fate what awaits Jesus. John the Baptist is precursor to
Jesus in ministry from beginning to end, from birth to death. And yet, for our sake,
Jesus enters the world of the atrocity that silences and beheads John. That is
the looming gospel hovering over the entire passage! We can now joyfully say,
even as we lament and grieve, ďThe Gospel of the Lord...
Thanks be to God!Ē
The atrocity depicted in the gospel text which happens in retaliation to John the
Baptistís faithful proclamation, serves as a reminder that the task of proclaiming
the gospel can lead to, and often has led to, tragic ends. The story of Archbishop
Oscar Romero of El Salvador where our faithful missionary, the Rev. Brian Rude,
has faithfully served for decades, often risking his own life, is a reminder of the
dangers of being prophetic in our proclamation of the gospel, and of the perils
of speaking truth to power.
John the Baptist is a humble prophet who sees himself as a precursor to Jesus,
the one he has come ahead of, to prepare the way. John the Baptist goes as far
as to see himself unworthy to stoop down and untie the thongs of Jesusí sandals.
His humility and his reverence and adoration of Jesus is contrasted with his
defiance of Herod who has acted consistently against the interests of the people
and of the vulnerable. Using the power of his position, Herod has been ruthless,
merciless, and cruel.
As proclaimers of the gospel in the 21st century, we often keep quiet, cave,
and retreat in front of leaders abusing their power. We often remain silent in
the face of the vulnerable being marginalized, abused, and their rights and
dignity trampled upon. How long did it take for us the church to acknowledge
the plight of Indigenous people? And how many of us today are still not even
able or willing to acknowledge their plight at the hands of both the government
at all levels, and, sadly and hopefully repentantly, at the hands of the church?
How many of us have turned and looked the other way and passed by the
vulnerable and the marginalized like the priest and the Levite in the parable
of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37? How many of us have sought to
preserve our comfort to the detriment of the poor and the suffering? How often
have we striven to preserve our lives instead of responding to the challenging
needs of the neighbour? Comfortable churches make comfortable members
who long to remain comfortable.
Perhaps the greatest gift the church can give us is to make us uncomfortable
since it is in our discomfort that we are able to meet the marginalized, the
downtrodden, the rejected, the vilified, the poor, and all who live in discomfort.
The corrupt nature of power which has rendered the church as powerful as
political rulers, has made the church in many instances and over the centuries,
oblivious to the suffering and the pain of others. The church in many cases has
not walked with the poor, but rather, like Herodias, enjoyed and thrived in the
company of the powerful, abandoning the poor and the marginalized in their misery.
Instead of joining John the Baptist, Archbishop Romero, Bonhoeffer,
and missionaries such as the Rev. Brian Rude in their journey with the marginalized
and their proclamation of Godís justice and peace for all, we have either walked
past injustices and remained silent, or contributed sometimes unknowingly and
unintentionally to the deepening of the injustices and the pain of the marginalized
and the poor.
In light of this self-examination, we the people of God hear todayís gospel with
a sense of deep and abiding guilt. How can we be at times like Herodias?
Or how can we be like Herodiasí daughter who is also referred to in the NRSV
(New Revised Standard Version) as Herodias, and who participates cluelessly
and contributes in significant ways to the unjust and cruel scheme unfolding?
How can we be like Herodís peers and the ruling class who have stood by and
done nothing? How can we be like other proclaimers who were contemporaries
of John the Baptist, including his disciples who are nowhere to be seen or
even heard? Does this sound familiar?
The guilt of such abandonment of the call to proclaim the gospel in challenging
times and circumstances, and the call of speaking truth to power, is too great to
bear and can rather have a paralyzing effect on us. Yet, the gospel which sets
us free is abundantly clear in this gospel passage. Yes, the scripture passage
depicts the atrocities committed against John the Baptist, but the point of the
gospel is the faithful proclamation of the gospel, in the absence of which cruelty,
chaos and confusion reign. Saint Mark in his gospel portrays John the Baptist as
the ultimate precursor whose tragic death as a result of his proclamation, points
to the one coming after him who will also face a tragic death, but this time for the
redemption of the world.
If on the one hand Johnís proclamation of repentance for the forgiveness of sins
is upsetting and met with retaliation and death, Jesusí proclamation of Godís
unending grace will be met with greater resistance, retaliation and also death.
Yet, it is in Christís death that Johnís proclamation is ultimately fulfilled. John the
Baptistís proclamation is fully achieved in Jesusí death and resurrection. The scene
that Mark depicts brilliantly shows us the body of John being passed on, pseudo-
eucharistically, from one person to another, from the guard to Herod to his
daughter and to her mother, sealing the guilt of the participants in the sin of
the murder and ending of John the Baptistís life. It is the supper of death!
This antagonistically points to the holy supper in the upper chamber where
Jesus institutes the Holy Supper, and passes on the plate and the cup to his
disciples who pass them on to one another as they commune in the death
and resurrection of Jesus.
The transformative power of Jesusí death and resurrection wipes away our guilt
and shame and sets us free to proclaim the gospel. Letís proclaim it freely and
courageously! Letís not be held back by the comfort we enjoy! Letís strip ourselves
of our privilege and walk with the poor and the marginalized! Letís speak truth to
power! Lovingly! Herodís brother, Philip, who could not speak against the injustices
he faced from the king, found a voice in John the Baptistís proclamation. For many
of the marginalized among us, as we walk with them, we lend our voices to theirs,
and together we proclaim the gospel that sets all free. May the voiceless find their
voice in our faithful and courageous proclamation!
May Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless the word in our hearts
and in our minds.
AMEN!

HYMN OF THE DAY Ė Faith of Our Fathers (ELW #813)

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

I believe in Jesus Christ, Godís only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.*
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come 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
A: One in the communion of saints and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we join
our voices in prayer.
A: God of our church, send forth your Spirit as we pray for our Bishops Susan and
Michael. Empower them with your wisdom to lead the church. We also pray for the
Thames Ministry area, especially Interim Pastor Paul Sodtke and the people of
Peace Christian Church, a Lutheran Fellowship in Chatham. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: You gather your people into the body of Christ. Where your church is
wounded, heal it. Where it is right, strengthen it. Where it is divided, reunite it.
In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: From before the foundation of the world, you are God. Revive ecosystems
destroyed by human greed. Curb our desire to put wealth ahead of the health
of all who call this planet home. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: You establish equity and make justice. Within every nation, tribe, and land,
cause laws to be written and customs to be observed that protect the most
vulnerable. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: On the cross your beloved Son endured pain and death. Bring healing to
those in need, hope to any in despair, and comfort to the dying. We pray
especially for Eileen, Beth, Jean, Mary Margaret, Kristine, Peter and Shirley,
and those others who are in our hearts. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: You send your spirit into this community of faith. Empower our ministries
that serve and build up local communities. Nurture our partnership with other
community organizations. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: Merciful God, we pray for peace as war continues to rage in Ukraine and
in Israel and Gaza. Shelter all living in fear; protect those seeking refuge in
neighbouring countries; sustain families separated by the horrors of war;
tend to those who are injured; comfort all who mourn their dead. Direct your
people into the way of peace. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: All peoples praise you, O God. We give you thanks and praise for the lives
of our loved ones who now rest in you. In the fullness of time gather us with all
your saints in light. In your mercy,
C: hear our prayer.

A: Holy God, holy and merciful: into your outstretched arms we commend
ourselves and all for whom we pray, trusting in the one who is the way,
the truth, and the life, Jesus Christ our Saviour and Lord.
C: Amen.

PEACE
P: The peace of Christ be with you always.
C: And also with you.

LORDíS PRAYER
P: Lord, remember us in your kingdom and teach us to pray.
C: 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.

SENDING

BLESSING
P: The blessing of God, who provides for us, feeds us, and journeys with us,
+be upon you now and forever.
C: Amen.

SENDING HYMN Ė Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (ELW #807)

DISMISSAL
A: Go in peace. You are the body of Christ.
C: Thanks be to God.

DISMISSAL HYMN Ė The Lord Now Sends Us Forth (ELW #538)
Verse 1
The Lord now sends us forth
with hands to serve and give,
to make of all the earth
a better place to live. Repeat (2X)

Verse 2
The angels are not sent
into our world of pain
to do what we were meant
to do in Jesus' name;
that falls to you and me
and all who are made free.
Help us, O Lord, we pray,
to do your will today. Repeat (2X)

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