Sunday, September 19, 2021

Order of Worship - Sunday, September 19

The livestream may be found here.

September 19, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost


Christ Teaching the Disciples

Hans Schäufelein, 1480-1539





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


FIRST READING: Jeremiah is the target of violent schemes, but he believes that he will see the Lord execute justice and righteousness in his day. We think of innocents young and old who are targeted by unjust authority, violence, sexual abuse, consumerism, economic injustice, deceptive language, and covetousness for what belongs to others. We are moved to pray that God would open the eyes of those who do evil, and move them to repentance and forgiveness. But God’s severe judgment will be the lot of those who will not amend their lives.


SECOND READING: James contrasts two kinds of wisdom; the wisdom of earth which is unspiritual and devilish; and the wisdom from above, from God, which is full of mercy. Compare the list of ‘fruits of wisdom’ in James 3:17 with Paul’s ‘fruit of the Spirit’ in Galatians 5:22-23! James urges us to abandon the unfruitful ways of violence, covetousness, and pleasure-seeking, and submit to God who provides a better way.


GOSPEL: Even as Jesus continues to teach his disciples about the necessity of the cross, they are busy jockeying for position among themselves, arguing for the place of honor (perhaps even unconsciously preparing for the day when Jesus’ predictions of his death come true, and a new leader must rise?) With an image that must have been shocking to them, Jesus upsets their ideas about rank and importance and points them to the way of the cross, contrasting the devilish desire to be highest with the spiritual desire to serve the lowest (see our second reading).




OPENING MUSIC                                            Children of the Heavenly Father

I.                    David Cherwein

II.                        Flor Peeters

We Are the Church  - Joyce Moon Strobel





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 OF PRAISE                                                                  We Are the Church



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.


O God,

protector of the poor and defender of the just,

in your kingdom the last become first,

the gentle are strong, and the lowly are exalted.

  Give us wisdom from above,

  that we may find in your servant Jesus

  the pattern of true discipleship

  and the grace to persevere in following him;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.




Jesus and the disciples went on and passed through Galilee;

and he was teaching his disciples.                                                       Mark 9:30-31

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.



FIRST READING                                                                Jeremiah 11:18-20


18It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
  then you showed me their evil deeds.
19But I was like a gentle lamb
  led to the slaughter.
 And I did not know it was against me
  that they devised schemes, saying,
 “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
  let us cut him off from the land of the living,
  so that his name will no longer be remembered!”
20But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
  who try the heart and the mind,
 let me see your retribution upon them,
  for to you I have committed my cause.


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                    

  Thanks be to God.



Choir sings first, then all:

Sung responsively between the choir and people.


1 Save me, O God, | by your name;*

                in your might, de- | fend my cause.

2 Hear my | prayer, O God;*

                give ear to the words | of my mouth.

3 For the arrogant have risen up against me,

and the ruthless have | sought my life,*

                those who have no re- | gard for God.

4 Behold, God | is my helper;*

                it is the Lord who sus- | tains my life.

5 Render evil to those who | spy on me;*

                in your faithful- | ness, destroy them.

6 I will offer you a | freewill sacrifice*

                and praise your name, O Lord, for | it is good.

7 For you have rescued me from | every trouble,*

                and my eye has seen the ruin | of my foes.                                    R


SECOND READING                                                      James 3:13—4:3, 7-8a


13Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. 14But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. 15Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. 17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. 18And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

4:1Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

 7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8aDraw near to God, and he will draw near to you.


The Word of the Lord.                                                          

  Thanks be to God.




Philippians 1:27                                                     Setting by Robert J. Powell

Sung by the Choir                            

Alleluia. Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; strive

side by side for the faith of the Gospel.  Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                        Mark 9:30-37


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


30[Jesus and the disciples went on] and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it;31for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
33Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37“Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                               

  Praise to you, O Christ.









X HYMN OF THE DAY                                      Children of the Heavenly Father

Stanza 1: All

Stanza 2 and 3: Choir

Stanza 4: All

1      Children of the heav'nly Father

        safely in his bosom gather;

        nestling bird nor star in heaven

        such a refuge e'er was given.


2      God his own doth tend and nourish,

        in his holy courts they flourish.

        From all evil things he spares them,

        in his mighty arms he bears them.


3      Neither life nor death shall ever

        from the Lord his children sever;

        unto them his grace he showeth,

        and their sorrows all he knoweth.


4     Though he giveth or he taketh,

        God his children ne'er forsaketh;

        his the loving purpose solely

        to preserve them pure and holy.



Text: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903; tr. Ernst W. Olson, 1870-1958

Text © 1925 Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress.




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


For your Church: that, casting aside envy and ambition and walking in the way of service, we may embrace the wisdom from above which makes for peace. Lord in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For this congregation: that we may welcome all who come seeking Jesus Christ, and that your blessing may be upon children who grow up among us. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.



For the peace of the world and the welfare of all people; for those who hold authority; for President Joseph Biden; Governor Tom Wolf; all legislators and magistrates; and for all who serve you in government, business, education, and labor; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For all mothers and fathers as they raise their children; all educators, caregivers, and providers of healthcare; all who teach Sunday School and catechism, and all who care for children everywhere. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


For the unemployed and the underemployed; for the victims of natural disaster; for those fleeing war and terror; for the sick, the dying, and the grieving; for those who are losing faith, and for all who are in any need of body, mind or spirit.



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 all who have gone before us who have sown a harvest of righteousness: that we may know our unity with them in faith and walk as they did in the way of serving you. 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  John 15:1, 4-5                             Setting by Robert J. Powell

Sung by the Choir

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower.  Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit.




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 Christ our Lord; who walked the way of humility and service; and in the great sign of the welcome of children, instructed his disciples to care for the least and last. 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


Behold, God is my helper;

  It is the Lord who sustains my life.                                                   Psalm 54:4




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.









HYMN                                                                                     I Received the Living God

                      Refrain: All/ Stanzas: Choir               


        I received the living God,

        and my heart is full of joy.

        I received the living God,

        and my heart is full of joy.


1      Jesus said: I am the bread,

        kneaded long to give you life;

        you who will partake of me

        need not ever fear to die.  Refrain


2      Jesus said: I am the way,

        and my Father longs for you;

        so I come to bring you home

        to be one with us anew.  Refrain


3      Jesus said: I am the truth;

        come and follow close to me.

        You will know me in your heart,

        and my word shall make you free.  Refrain


4     Jesus said: I am the life,

        far from whom no thing can grow,

        but receive this living bread,

        and my Spirit you shall know.  Refrain


Text: Anonymous


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.



POST COMMUNION HYMN                       Praise and Thanks and Adoration

1      Praise and thanks and adoration,

        Son of God, to you we give,

        for you chose to serve creation,

        died that Adam’s heirs might live.

        Dear Lord Jesus, guide my way;

        faithful let me day by day

        follow where your steps are leading,

        find adventure, joys exceeding!


2      Hold me ever in your keeping,

        comfort me in pain and strife;

        through my laughter and my weeping,

        lift me to a nobler life.

        Draw my fervent love to you;

        constant hope and faith renew

        in your birth, your life and passion,

        in your death and resurrection.


Text: Thomas H. Kingo, 1634-1703; hymnal tr. Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978


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!


CLOSING MUSIC                             Excerpt from Pasticcio – Jean Langlais


The Altar Flowers are given in thankfulness to God by

Joyce Moon Strobel for the blessing of serving St. Stephen Lutheran Church since September 15, 1986 as organist/ choir director.

It has been an absolute joy!



Sun/ Sept 19        Choir rehearsal 9:30 AM


                                Council Meeting 7:00 PM

                                Prayer at the Close of the Day (livestream) 9:30 PM Mon/Sept 20      Morning Prayer (livestream or in-person) 8:30 AM

Wed/ Sept 22     Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM

                                Bible Study (over Zoom) 7:30 PM

Fri/Sept 24          Morning Prayer (livestream or in-person) 8:30 AM

Sat/ Sept 25         NA Meeting 11 AM

                                SATURDAY EVENING WORSHIP 6:30 PM

Sun/ Sept 26       Choir rehearsal 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.
̈ufelein, Hans, approximately 1480-approximately 1539. Christ Teaching the Disciples, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved September 13, 2021]. Original source:,_2,_from_Das_Plenarium_MET_DP849939.jpg – Adam Petri.

Agnus Day appears with the permission of


Notes on We Are the Church:


Written for a hymn festival with the Pittsburgh Compline Choir, for the installation of American Guild of Organists officers, 1995. Original St. 4 lifted up music, dance and all arts. Commentary featured the poetry of Pastor Harvey Mozolak.


New fourth stanza text, lifting up hope in Christ, written in 2009 for a brief recital at Hope Lutheran Church, Dayton, Ohio, place of my first organ position, 1955 - 57, summers of ’58 and ’59. That was my introduction to Lutheran worship, a turning point; I took instruction, and joined in early 1956.


New fourth stanza text, noting the faith of the beloved disciple John, written in 2017 for the 150th anniversary celebration of St. John’s Lutheran/ Perrysville, with added brass; prelude on the tune written for the service.


New fourth stanza text, written this summer, honoring St. Stephen.












St Stephen Lutheran Church

55 Forsythe Road

Pittsburgh PA 15220

(412) 279-5868


Saturday Evening Worship – 6:30 pm

Sunday Morning Worship –10:30 am