Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sunday Worship - October 4, 2020, 10:30 a.m.

 The livestream may be found here.

The order of worship is below.



The color green, used for the vestments and paraments in the season after Pentecost, represents growth and life in the Holy Spirit.


OLD TESTAMENT: In the Old Testament, the ‘vineyard’ was a symbol for the people of God. In the style of a troubadour, the prophet Isaiah sings of the careful preparation of the vineyard and the unexpected, uncultivated, and unusable produce of the vineyard. The threat of destruction is a warning to the people of God – cultivate justice and righteousness!


NEW TESTAMENT: The people of Philippi, like so many of Paul’s communities, had to deal with those preachers who came after Paul, telling them that they must accept circumcision and other Old Testament laws in order to truly be Christians. Paul rejects this and, as proof, states that his own adherence to both the ritual and the moral law was not enough. The righteousness that comes from Christ is now his only confidence.


GOSPEL: St Matthew continues to show us Jesus teaching in the temple courts, only a few days before his crucifixion. This time the parable Jesus tells foreshadows his crucifixion at the will of the chief priests and the elders of the people. For many years, the rejection of the son by the ‘wicked tenants’ was interpreted as the rejection of Jesus by the Jews, and the choosing of other more ‘faithful’ tenants as the adoption of the Gentiles. However, this interpretation falls afoul of the text. The chief priests and the Pharisees, those in power, are those whom this parable has spoken against. The people of Israel as a whole and also the Church itself can be the target of the parable, insofar as the people of God must always guard against believing that the lives God has given us, the lives of others, and the goods of the world belong to us to do with as we like. The produce of the vineyard belongs to God – our entire lives.


Preparation for Worship

Upon reaching your place, you may wish to read Psalm 84 in silence:


1 How dear to me is your dwelling, O | Lord of hosts!*

                My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord;

                my heart and my flesh rejoice in the | living God.

2 The sparrow has found her a house

and the swallow a nest where she may | lay her young,*

                by the side of your altars, O Lord of hosts,

my King | and my God.

3 Happy are they who dwell | in your house!*

                They will always be | praising you.

4 Happy are the people whose strength | is in you,*

                whose hearts are set on the | pilgrims' way.

5 Those who go through the desolate valley

will find it a | place of springs,*

                for the early rains have covered it with | pools of water.

6 They will climb from | height to height,*

                and the God of gods will reveal him- | self in Zion.

7 Lord God of hosts, | hear my prayer;*

                hearken, O | God of Jacob.

8 Behold our defend- | er, O God;*

                and look upon the face of | your anointed.

9 For one day in your courts

is better than a thousand in | my own room,*

                and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God

                than to dwell in the tents | of the wicked.

10 For the Lord God is both | sun and shield;*

                he will give | grace and glory;

11 no good thing will the | Lord withhold*

                from those who walk | with integrity.

12 O | Lord of hosts,*

                happy are they who put their | trust in you!


You may pray the following prayers:


Holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God: hear our prayer and send your holy angel from heaven to guard, protect, visit, and defend all those who assemble together in this house; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Most gracious God, incline your merciful ears to our prayers and enlighten our hearts by the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may approach your Holy Mysteries with believing hearts and love you with an everlasting love.


OPENING MUSIC                        Jesus Shall Reign

I.                    Charles Ord

II.                  David Cherwien


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played:


1      Jesus shall reign where'er the sun

        does its successive journeys run;

        his kingdom stretch from shore to shore,

        till moons shall wax and wane no more.


2      To him shall endless prayer be made,

        and praises throng to crown his head;

        his name like sweet perfume shall rise

        with every morning sacrifice.


3      People and realms of every tongue

        dwell on his love with sweetest song;

        and infant voices shall proclaim

        their early blessings on his name.


4     Blessings abound where'er he reigns:

        the prisoners leap to lose their chains,

        the weary find eternal rest,

        and all who suffer want are blest.


5      Let every creature rise and bring

peculiar honors to our king;

        angels descend with songs again,

        and earth repeat the loud amen.


Text: Isaac Watts, 1674-1748, alt.







The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.


In the name of the Father, and of the X Son, and of the Holy Spirit.



Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord.



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.

(1 John 1:8-9)


Silence for reflection and self-examination.


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


In the mercy of Almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for you, and for his sake the Father forgives you all your sins. To those who believe in Jesus Christ he gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit.







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.

(2 Corinthians 13:13)



In peace, let us pray to the Lord.                                 Lord, have mercy.

For the peace from above,

and for our salvation, let us pray to the Lord.       Lord, have mercy.

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.    Lord, have mercy.

For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

let us pray to the Lord.                                                   Lord, have mercy.

Help, save, comfort and defend us, gracious Lord.                       Amen




Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.         

(Luke 2:14)

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



The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


Yours, O God, is the vineyard and its harvest,

yours the kingdom of righteousness and peace.

You call your people to tend its growth.

  Bless the work entrusted to our hands,

  that we may offer you an abundance of just works,

  a rich harvest of peace.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit;

one God, now and forever.




The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.                                              

Matthew 21:42



First READING                                                                               Isaiah 5:1-7


1Let me sing for my beloved
  my love-song concerning his vineyard:
 My beloved had a vineyard
  on a very fertile hill.
2He dug it and cleared it of stones,
  and planted it with choice vines;
 he built a watchtower in the midst of it,
  and hewed out a wine vat in it;
 he expected it to yield grapes,
  but it yielded wild grapes.
3And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
  and people of Judah,
 judge between me
  and my vineyard.
4What more was there to do for my vineyard
  that I have not done in it?
 When I expected it to yield grapes,
  why did it yield wild grapes?

5And now I will tell you
  what I will do to my vineyard.
 I will remove its hedge,
  and it shall be devoured;
 I will break down its wall,
  and it shall be trampled down.
6I will make it a waste;
  it shall not be pruned or hoed,
  and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
 I will also command the clouds
  that they rain no rain upon it.
7For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts
  is the house of Israel,
 and the people of Judah
  are his pleasant planting;
 he expected justice,
  but saw bloodshed;
  but heard a cry!


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                  

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 80:7-14

The psalm is read responsively between the pastor and the people.


7 Restore us, O | God of hosts;*

                show the light of your countenance, and we | shall be saved.

8 You have brought a vine | out of Egypt;*

                you cast out the nations and | planted it.

9 You prepared the | ground for it;*

                it took root and | filled the land.

10 The mountains were covered | by its shadow*

                and the towering cedar trees | by its boughs.

11 You stretched out its tendrils | to the sea*

                and its branches | to the river.

12 Why have you broken | down its wall,*

                so that all who pass by pluck | off its grapes?

13 The wild boar of the forest has | ravaged it,*

                and the beasts of the field have | grazed upon it.

14 Turn now, O God of hosts, look down from heaven;

behold and | tend this vine;*

                preserve what your right | hand has planted.


SECOND READING                                                           Philippians 3:4b-14


[Paul writes:] 4bIf anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.
7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.


The Word of the Lord.                                                  

  Thanks be to God.





Alleluia. I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters;

  in the midst of the congregation I will praise you. Alleluia.

                                                         Hebrews 2:12



Gospel                                                                                   Matthew 21:33-46


The Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said to the people:] 33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
 ‘The stone that the builders rejected
  has become the cornerstone;
 this was the Lord’s doing,
  and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”
45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because they regarded him as a prophet


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.





HYMN OF THE DAY                                                         There in God’s Garden


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.


1      There in God's garden

stands the Tree of Wisdom,

        whose leaves hold forth

the healing of the nations:

        Tree of all knowledge,

Tree of all compassion,

        Tree of all beauty.


2      Its name is Jesus,

name that says, "Our Savior!"

        There on its branches

see the scars of suff'ring;

        see where the tendrils

of our human selfhood

        feed on its lifeblood.


3      Thorns not its own

are tangled in its foliage;

        our greed has starved it,

our despite has choked it.

        Yet, look! it lives!

its grief has not destroyed it

        nor fire consumed it.


4     See how its branches

reach to us in welcome;

        hear what the Voice says,

"Come to me, ye weary!

        Give me your sickness,

give me all your sorrow,

        I will give blessing."


5      This is my ending,

this my resurrection;

        into your hands, Lord,

I commit my spirit.

        This have I searched for;

now I can possess it.

        This ground is holy.


6      All heav'n is singing,

"Thanks to Christ whose passion

        offers in mercy

healing, strength, and pardon.

        Peoples and nations,

take it, take it freely!"

        Amen! My Master!


Text: Király Imre von Pécselyi, c. 1590-c. 1641; tr. Erik Routley, 1917-1982

Text © 1976 Hinshaw Music, Inc.




The pastor and people confess the faith of the Church in the words of the Apostles’ Creed.


I believe in God, the Father almighty,

                creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.

                He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

                                and 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




Made one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Father for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


A brief silence is kept.


We thank you that you have richly provided all we need to live in you. Abide in us and with us, that we may we bring forth the fruits of the kingdom. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give thanks for your whole Church, for the faith family of St Stephen, for the holy ministry of Word and Sacrament, for all who praise God with their lips and serve him with their lives. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We thank you for the leaders of the nations and of our communities, for first responders, for all who keep the peace at home and abroad. Bless them in their work, and keep them safe. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We thank you for all who work to mitigate disaster, heal disease, provide clothing and medicine, and meet the needs of those who hunger and thirst; especially Water Mission, Lutheran World Relief, and Operation Safety Net. May our participation in their work bring blessing and balm to others. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We thank you for your Holy Spirit, which you give to all who call upon you. Grant your peace which passes all understanding to all those who are in any need, especially those who are sick in body, mind, and spirit. Hear our prayers for those we name before you now aloud and in silence:


The People may offer silent or spoken intercessions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We thank you for those who have gone before us, who now share with the saints in the feast of your Son’s victory over death. We thank you that we are one with them as we share our Lord’s meal. Give us strength as we walk the way of discipleship, until we join them in the fullness of your kingdom. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love, through Jesus Christ our Lord.




The peace of the Lord be with you always.

  And also with you.


The people exchange a sign of peace with the simple words, Peace be with you.



The Lord’s Table is prepared.





We do not presume to come to your table, O Lord,

trusting in our own righteousness,

but in your manifold and great mercies.

  We are not worthy to gather up the crumbs under your table.

But you are the same Lord whose property is always to have mercy.

  Grant us, therefore, O gracious Lord,

  so to eat the flesh of your dear son, Jesus Christ,

  and so to drink his blood,

  that we may evermore dwell in him and he in us.




The Great Thanksgiving begins with the Preface, leading into the Sanctus:


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 him thanks and praise.


  It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places offer thanks and praise to you, O Lord, holy Father, through your Son, Jesus Christ:

  He is the stone, rejected by the builders, that has become the cornerstone of the Church; he has made us his own that we might know the power of his resurrection and participate in his sufferings by becoming like him in his death.

  And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn:


Holy, holy, holy LORD, God of power and might!

Heaven 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!                                                    (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


 We praise and thank you, O God,

           for in your infinite goodness you have created us

           to receive and rejoice in your love and mercy. 


In the fullness of time and according to your purposes

           you sent your beloved Son,

           our Lord Jesus Christ, born of Mary. 


He came to proclaim the Kingdom;

           He healed the sick and numbered Himself among sinners;

           He poured Himself out in death,               

           giving His life as our ransom and our righteousness.


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.


Let us proclaim the mystery of faith:

                Christ has died.

                Christ is risen.

                Christ will come again.


Holy Father,

                as we remember our Lord's life and passion,

           His resurrection and ascension,

           we give you our thanks and bless your holy name. 


Because your Son has made us His fellow-servants,

           a holy priesthood, a people set apart, we pray:


Send now His life-giving Spirit

           upon this Bread of Life and this Cup of Blessing,

           that we and all who partake

           of Christ's body and blood

           may find our unity in Him

           and our lives defined by His cross,

           as we await His final coming as Lord of love.


Through Him, with Him, in Him,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,

now and forever. 



In the presence of Christ, we pray to his Father using the words he gave us.


Christ is in our midst.

                By the power of the Spirit,

                we pray to his Father, saying:



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                               (Matthew 6:9-15)


We adore Christ with the words of the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God).


Restore us, O God of hosts;

  Show us the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.                                                                                                                               (Psalm 80:7)


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.

(John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13)



Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the Church to those who are baptized.


They may receive the Lord’s Body and Blood who are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, who commune in their home churches, and who believe that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is truly present in, with, and under the forms of bread and wine for the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated,  and please do not remove your mask until you have reached the table with the elements on it.


 When the pastor says ‘The body of Christ, given for you,’ eat the bread. When the pastor says, ‘The blood of Christ, shed for you,’ drink the wine.  Please take the plate and the glass(es) and place them on the table that is indicated. Please put your mask on before returning to your seat.


Please meditate on the text of the hymn as it is played.


God Loved the World


1              God loved the world so that he gave

                his only Son, the lost to save,

                that all who would in him believe

                should everlasting life receive.


2              Christ Jesus is the ground of faith,

                who was made flesh and suffered death;

                all who confide in Christ alone

                are built on this chief cornerstone.


3              If you are sick, if death is near,

                this truth your troubled heart can cheer;

                Christ Jesus saves your soul from death;

                that is the firmest ground of faith.


4             Be of good cheer, for God’s own Son

                forgives all sins which you have done,

                and justified by Jesus’ blood,

                your baptism grants the highest good.


Text: Gesangbuch, Bollhagen, 1791; tr. August Crull, 1846-1923, alt.


When all have received, the congregation stands at the direction of the pastor.


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



Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;

your word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

A light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.

Glory 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                                       Song of Simeon (Luke 2:29-32)


Almighty Father, you gave your Son

both as a sacrifice for sin and a model of the godly life.

  Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving,

  and to conform our lives to his;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.




The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you.

The Lord look upon you with favor and X give you peace.

  Amen                                                                                                  (Numbers 6:24-26)



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                          

  Thanks be to God!


CLOSING MUSIC                                                     A Mighty Fortress is Our God