Sunday, July 4, 2021

The Holy Communion on the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

 The livestream may be found here.

July 4, 2021, 9:30 a.m.

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost




Personification of Humility,

Cathedral of Amiens, France





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


FIRST READING: God’s Word must be preached, whether or not people hear and believe it. This is the message to Ezekiel; he must preach the Word even though the people to whom he preaches may not listen to him.


SECOND READING: St Paul proclaims, ‘When I am weak, then I am strong.’ Though his spiritual experiences have been truly amazing, God’s power in him is far more evident when he has nothing of which to boast. He is then able to give the glory to God and is not tempted to put himself forward as an extraordinary person. Paul says that in order to remind him of his dependence upon God, God has given him a ‘thorn in the flesh.’ We have no idea what this might be, and indeed it does not matter.


GOSPEL: Jesus has a similar experience as Ezekiel when he preaches in his hometown. Here the familiarity which the people have with Jesus becomes a stumbling block to them. They cannot accept the authority and power of the Word which Jesus preaches to them. 


Although Jesus is rejected in his hometown, God’s good news must still be proclaimed. Jesus sends the twelve two by two. They are given Jesus’ authority over unclean spirits. The twelve must ‘travel light.’ They are to be dependent on God’s grace and the welcome they are shown. Though people are free to choose whether or not to listen, the twelve are to continue on, so that all may hear the good news of God.















OPENING MUSIC                                           





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.


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


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 X Son, and of the Holy Spirit.







I will go to the altar of God,

  to the God of my joy and gladness.                                        Psalm 43:4a


X HYMN                                                                                    Blessing and Honor


 1      Blessing and honor and glory and pow’r,

        wisdom and riches and strength evermore,

        offer to him who our battle has won,

        whose are the kingdom, the crown, and the throne;

        whose are the kingdom, the crown, and the throne!


2      Let all the heavens resound with his name;

        let all the earth sing his glory and fame.

        Ocean and mountain, stream, forest, and flow’r

        echo his praises and tell of his pow’r;

        echo his praises and tell of his pow’r.


3      Ever ascending the song and the joy,

        ever descending the love from on high;

        blessing and honor and glory and praise--

        this is the theme of the hymns that we raise;

        this is the theme of the hymns that we raise.


4      Give we the glory and praise to the Lamb!

        Take we the robe and the harp and the psalm;

        sing we the song of the Lamb who was slain,

        dying in weakness and rising to reign;

        dying in weakness and rising to reign!


Text: Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889, alt.



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.


God of the prophets,

in every age you send the word of truth,

familiar, yet new; a sign of contradiction.

  Let us not be counted among those who lack faith,

  but give us the vision to see Christ in our midst

  and to welcome your saving Word.

We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.



Lord of the nations,

guide our people by your Spirit

to go forth in justice and freedom.

  Give us what outward prosperity may be your will;

  but above all things give us faith in you,

  that our nation may bring glory to your name

  and blessings to all peoples;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.




Our eyes look to the LORD our God,

until he show us his mercy.                                                                    Psalm 123:3

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.












First READING                                                                             Ezekiel 2:1-5


1[A voice] said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.2And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard him speaking to me. 3He said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. 4The descendants are impudent and stubborn.

I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord God.” 5Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house), they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                  

  Thanks be to God.



Sung responsively between pastor and congregation.



1 To you I lift | up my eyes,*

                to you enthroned | in the heavens.

2 As the eyes of servants look to the hand | of their masters,*

                and the eyes of a maid to the hand | of her mistress,

3 so our eyes look to the | Lord our God,*

                until he show | us his mercy.

4 Have mercy upon us, O | Lord, have mercy,*

                for we have had more than enough | of contempt,

5 too much of the scorn of the in- | dolent rich,*

                and of the derision | of the proud.                                     R





SECOND READING                                                      2 Corinthians 12:2-10


2I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—4was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. 5On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, 7even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. 8Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, 9but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.


The Word of the Lord.                                                            

  Thanks be to God.




Luke 8:15                                                         

Spoken in unison by the congregation.

Alleluia. Happy are they who hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance. Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                             Mark 6:1-13


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


1[Jesus] came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him.2On the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astounded. They said, “Where did this man get all this? What is this wisdom that has been given to him? What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6And he was amazed at their unbelief.
  Then he went about among the villages teaching. 7He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.






X HYMN OF THE DAY                                   God Has Spoken by His Prophets


1              God has spoken by his prophets,

                spoken his unchanging Word;

                each from age to age proclaiming

                God, the one, the righteous Lord.

                In the world’s despair and turmoil,

                one firm anchor holds us fast:

                God is king, his throne eternal;

                God the first, and God the last.


2              God has spoken by Christ Jesus,

                Christ, the everlasting Son,

                brightness of the Father’s glory,

                with the Father ever one;

                spoken by the Word Incarnate,

                God of God, before time was;

                Light of light, to earth descending,

                he reveals our God to us.


3              God is speaking by his Spirit,

                speaking to the hearts of all,

                in the ageless Word expounding

                God’s own message for us all.

                Through the rise and fall of nations

                one sure faith yet standing fast;

                God abides, his Word unchanging;

                God the first, and God the last.


Text: George W. Briggs, 1875-1959, alt.

© 1953, 1981 The Hymn Society, admin. Hope Publishing Co. All rights reserved.



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








Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.


A brief silence


Father, your risen Son speaks to us through his Word. Open our ears, that we may listen with attention and love, not dismissing him out of familiarity, jealousy or indifference, Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Bless your Church throughout the world, and our congregation, that being strong in our weaknesses, we may bear witness not to our own accomplishments, but to your Son’s power in and among us. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give you thanks, O God, for the nation in which you have placed us, and for those men and women who have striven to make it a land of freedom, justice, and peace. We ask that you continue to bless this nation; correct its injustices, increase it in virtue and fellowship, and grant its diverse people concord and understanding. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Let those who suffer turn to you, trusting that you have the power to heal and save. Show your mercy to those in need, the oppressed, the addicted, the possessed, and those who suffer illness of body, mind or spirit, especially these whom we name before you:


The pastor reads the names submitted for prayer.

The people are invited to offer spoken or silent petitions.


Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


We give you thanks for those who have heard and loved your Word and now behold the vision of your glory. Give us the spirit of repentance and humility, that when our day comes, we may rejoice with them in your light. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, 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.



OFFERTORY  Matthew 11:28-30                                       

Spoken in unison by the congregation.

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me;

for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.



As the grain once scattered in the fields

and the grapes once dispersed on the hillside

are now reunited on this table in bread and wine,

so, Lord, may your whole Church be gathered together

from the corners of the earth into your kingdom.




   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 Christ our Lord;

  You sent him to your people to preach good news to all who would listen; You gave us the testimony of prophets, apostles, and evangelists,

speaking to us of the love and power of him who will judge the living and the dead.

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


You are indeed holy, almighty and merciful God;

                you are most holy, and great is the majesty of your glory.

You so loved the world that you gave your only Son,

                that whoever believes in him may not perish

 but have eternal life.

Having come into the world, he fulfilled for us your holy will

                and accomplished our salvation.


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.


Remembering, therefore, his salutary command,

                his life-giving Passion and death,

                his glorious resurrection and ascension,

and his promise to come again,

                we give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,

                not as we ought, but as we are able;

and we implore you mercifully to accept our praise and thanksgiving, and, with your Word and Holy Spirit,

to bless us, your servants,

                and these your own gifts of bread and wine;

that we and all who share in the body and blood of your Son may be filled with heavenly peace and joy,

                and, receiving the forgiveness of sin,

may be sanctified in soul and body,

                and have our portion with all your saints.


All honor and glory are yours, O God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

                in your holy Church, now and forever.



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


Our eyes look to the LORD our God;

  In Christ, he has shown us his mercy.

from Psalm 123:3

AGNUS DEI (Lamb of God)          



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.


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

Jesus, Still Lead On


1              Jesus, still lead on,

                till our rest be won;

                and, although the way be cheerless,

                we will follow, calm and fearless;

                guide us by your hand

                to our Father’s land.


2              If the way be drear,

                if the foe be near,

                let no faithless fears o’ertake us,

                let not faith and hope forsake us;

                safely past the foe

                to our home we go.


3              When we seek relief

                from a long-felt grief,

                when temptations come alluring

                make us patient and enduring;

                show us that bright shore

                where we weep no more.


4             Jesus, still lead on,

                till our rest be won;

                heav’nly leader, still direct us,

                still support, console, protect us,

                till we safely stand

                in our Father’s land.


Text: Nicolaus L. von Zinzendorf, 1700-1760; tr. Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-1897, alt.

After all have returned to their places, 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.




Pour out upon us the Spirit of your love, O Lord, and unite the wills of those whom you have fed with one heavenly food, through Jesus Christ our Lord.





The Lord bless you and keep you.

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

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




Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                        

  Thanks be to God!




Sun/ July 4          WORSHIP 9:30 AM

                                Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM

                                Food Bank

Wed/ July 7        Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM                      

Sat/ July 10          NA Meeting 11 AM

                                SATURDAY EVENING WORSHIP 6:30 PM

Sun/ July 11          WORSHIP 9:30 AM

                                Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM











From Sundays and Copyright 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #20540.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the

 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Common Worship: Times and Seasons, material from which is included in this

service, is copyright © The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2006.

Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language,

copyright 1997 International Commission on English in the Liturgy. All rights reserved.

Personification of Humility, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved June 28, 2021]

Agnus Day appears with the permission of















St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship –9:30 am