Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Holy Communion on the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: August 22, 2021, 9:30 a.m.


The livestream may be found here.



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


OLD TESTAMENT: Joshua appeals to the people to put away the gods of their ancestors. In a day when ancestor worship is still prevalent among many peoples of the world, such an appeal may still be relevant to many. The people respond with one voice that they will serve the LORD because of the mighty deeds of God. Of course, they will fall away, but the message to the later people of Israel remains.


NEW TESTAMENT: The forces of evil are not earthly enemies, but spiritual enemies. We often mistake battle against other people for battle against spiritual forces; anger, fear, misdirected desire, gluttony, envy, etc.


The list of the ‘whole armor of God’ has been a memory verse for many people for many years. But prayer is the most important resource for the ‘spiritual warrior.’ A soldier was once asked which weapon was the most important. He said, ‘my radio.’ In the same sense, he went on to say, communication with God is the key to engaging in the struggle against the powers of the present darkness.


GOSPEL: After many have gone away because they cannot or will not understand Jesus’ words, the twelve apostles remain with Jesus.


And yet, in the verse which follows the end of our reading, Jesus says, ‘Did I not choose you, the twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.’ He refers, of course, to Judas Iscariot, who is an apostle and yet is the one who will hand him over to the authorities. We read at the end of John’s Gospel that Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are ‘secret disciples,’ not publicly associated with the group of apostles, but expressing reverence for Christ nonetheless. As Jesus says in Matthew 7, ‘You shall know them by their fruits.’



How Marvelous God’s Greatness (Improvisation) - J. M. Strobel

Praise to the Father - Roger Petrich





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 HYMNS OF PRAISE                                     

       How Marvelous God’s Greatness



How Marvelous God's Greatness


1      How marvelous God's greatness,

        how glorious God's might!

        To this the world bears witness

        in wonders day and night:

        in form of flow'r and snowflake,

        in morn's resplendent birth,

        in afterglow at ev'ning,

        in sky and sea and earth.


2      Each tiny flow'ret whispers,

        the great life-giver's name;

        the mighty mountain masses

        his majesty proclaim;

        the valleys deep are hymning

        God's shelter for his own;

        the snow-capped peaks are pointing

        to God's almighty throne.


3      The ocean's vast abysses

        in one grand psalm record

        the deep mysterious counsels,

        and mercies of the Lord;

        the icy waves of winter

        are thund'ring on the strand;

        and grief's chill stream is guided

        by God's all-gracious hand.


4     The starry hosts are singing

        through all the light-strewn sky

        of God's majestic temple

        and palace courts on high;

        when in these outer chambers

        such glory gilds the night,

        oh, what transcendent brightness

        is God's eternal light!


Text: Valdimar Briem, 1848-1930; tr. Charles V. Pilcher, 1879-1961, alt.

Text © 1958 Service Book and Hymnal, admin. Augsburg Fortress.

                                                                                                     Praise to the Father

1      Praise to the Father for his lovingkindness,

        tenderly caring for his erring children;

        praise him, all angels; praise him in the heavens;

        praise to the Father!


2      Praise to the Savior for his deep compassion,

        graciously caring for his chosen people;

        young men and women, aging folk and children,

        praise to the Savior!


3      Praise to the Spirit, comforter of Israel,

        sent from the Father and the Son to bless us!

        Praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

        Praise to the triune God!


Text: Elizabeth R. Charles, 1828-1896



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.


In every age, O God,

you give your people freedom

to walk in faith or to turn away.

  Grant us grace

  to remain faithful to your Holy One,

   whose words are spirit and life;

the same Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.




Our Lord has the words of eternal life.                                           John 6:68

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.


First READING                                                                Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18



1Then 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. 2aAnd Joshua said to all the people, 14“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. 15Now 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.”
16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17for 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; 18and 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.”


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                    

  Thanks be to God.


PSALM 34:1-8

Pastor sings first, then all:

 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.   

Sung responsively between pastor and people.


15 The eyes of the Lord are up- | on the righteous,*

                and his ears are open | to their cry.

16 The face of the Lord is against those | who do evil,*

                to root out the remembrance of them | from the earth.

17 The righteous cry, and | the Lord hears them*

                and delivers them from | all their troubles.

18 The Lord is near to the | brokenhearted*

                and will save those whose spir- | its are crushed.

19 Many are the troubles | of the righteous,*

                but the Lord will deliver him out | of them all.

20 He will keep safe | all his bones;*

                not one of them | shall be broken.

21 Evil shall | slay the wicked,*

                and those who hate the righteous | will be punished.

22 The Lord ransoms the life | of his servants,*

                and none will be punished who | trust in him.


 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous.                                       


SECOND READING                                                      Ephesians 6:10-20


10Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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. 13Therefore 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. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18Pray 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. 19Pray 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, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.


The Word of the Lord.                                                          

  Thanks be to God.







2 Timothy 1:10                                                                               

Sung by the Cantor                            

Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                    John 6:56-69


The Holy Gospel according to St. John.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


[Jesus said,] 56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This 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.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.

The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But 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. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                              

  Praise to you, O Christ.






X HYMN OF THE DAY                                         The Church’s One Foundation



The Church's One Foundation


1      The church's one foundation

        is Jesus Christ, her Lord;

        she is his new creation

        by water and the word.

        From heav'n he came and sought her

        to be his holy bride;

        with his own blood he bought her,

        and for her life he died.


2      Elect from ev'ry nation,

        yet one o'er all the earth,

        her charter of salvation

        one Lord, one faith, one birth:

        one holy name she blesses,

        partakes one holy food,

        and to one hope she presses,

        with ev'ry grace endued.


3      Though with a scornful wonder

        this world sees her oppressed,

        by schisms rent asunder,

        by heresies distressed,

        yet saints their watch are keeping;

        their cry goes up: "How long?"

        And soon the night of weeping

        shall be the morn of song.


4     Through toil and tribulation

        and tumult of her war,

        she waits the consummation

        of peace forevermore;

        till with the vision glorious

        her longing eyes are blest,

        and the great church victorious

        shall be the church at rest.


5      Yet she on earth has union

        with God, the Three in One,

        and mystic sweet communion

        with those whose rest is won.

        Oh, blessed heav'nly chorus!

        Lord, save us by your grace,

        that we, like saints before us,

        may see you face to face.


Text: Samuel J. Stone, 1839-1900




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



God our Father, upon the cross your Son has given himself as an offering for the sins of the world. Hear us, who are redeemed by his blood, as we offer our prayers for the Church and the world.


A brief silence


We thank you for the forgiveness, life, and salvation Jesus offers, and for the life of the Spirit which is for eternity. Clothe us in armor for spiritual warfare, and inspire us to serve you in sincerity and faithfulness, and to persevere in prayer for all the saints. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For our bishop, Dan, our pastors, Maurice and Harvey, and all pastors everywhere, that they may be given a message to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For an end to wars, for resolution of conflict between Americans of different color, creed, and party; for those who serve in our armed forces: Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For those who suffer from natural disaster and lack of resources; for those who are ill in body, mind, or spirit; for those who grieve, and for those who need our prayers;


The pastor reads those names which have been submitted for prayer.

The people are invited to offer petitions and thanksgivings.


Lord, in your mercy,                                       

  hear our prayer.


In thanksgiving for those who have gone before us in faith; as we join together in this feast and celebration on earth, point us toward that day when with all the saints we will feast with you in heaven. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Into your hands, Father, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your steadfast love,

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 6:31-33              

Sung by the Cantor

Do not worry, saying “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.



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.




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.

  On this, the day of the Lord, you gather his people together

to celebrate his paschal mystery of redemption. By your saving word you teach us, and in the supper of the Lord you feed this assembly with the bread of heaven; so that with joy we may know ourselves as a people reborn in a living hope, and walking in the fellowship of love as we await in faith the return of our Savior.

  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!

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


This is the bread that came down from heaven. 

  The one who eats this bread will live forever.                                 John 6:58



AGNUS DEI (Lamb of God)          

 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.



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.



HYMNS                                                                              Abide with Us , O Savior

Abide with Us, Our Savior


1      Abide with us, our Savior,

        nor let your mercy cease;

        from Satan’s might defend us,

        and grant our souls release.


2      Abide with us, our Savior,

        sustain us by your word;

        that we with all your people

        to life may be restored.


3      Abide among us always,

        Lord, with your faithfulness;

        O Jesus, leave us never,

        but help us in distress.


4     Abide with us, our Savior,

        O Light of endless light,

        bestow on us your blessings,

        and save us by your might.


Text: Josua Stegmann, 1588-1632; tr. unknown, sts. 1-2, 4; F. W. Detterer, st. 3; alt.


I Come, O Savior, To Your Table 

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.                    Amen



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                               Thanks be to God!



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.

HYMN: Abide With Us, O Savior: Text: Josua Stegmann, 1588-1632; tr. unknown, sts. 1-2, 4; F. W. Detterer, st. 3; alt. / Tune: Melchior Vulpius, c. 1560-1615

HYMN: I Come, O Savior, To Your Table: Text: Friedrich C. Heyder, 1677-1754; tr. The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, alt. Tune: Ms., Municipal Library, Leipzig, 1756

Chinese Orthodox Communion Bread Seal.

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