Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Holy Communion, September 12

 The livestream may be found here.

September 12, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost




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


FIRST READING and PSALM: Both today’s Old Testament reading and the Psalm are also used in Holy Week. The reading from Isaiah 50 is appointed for Passion Sunday. The ‘suffering servant’ prepares himself for combat with his enemies, but he does not take up the sword; instead, he waits for the vindication of God.


Psalm 116 is appointed for Maundy Thursday. In the gathering darkness of the night before Jesus’ death, the Church sings a song of praise and prayer to God. We have here the first part of the Psalm, while on Maundy Thursday the second part of it is sung. The psalmist relies on God’s faithfulness in the midst of great trouble.


SECOND READING: James continues to call his hearers to a life which is free of ‘hypocrisy’ – literally, ‘double-mindedness.’ Those who bless God ought not to curse their neighbors: it ought to be a logical impossibility, like one kind of fruit tree bearing another kind of fruit, or a brackish stream producing fresh water. To discipline the restless tongue is one way of bearing the cross which is enjoined upon us by Jesus Christ.


GOSPEL: Jesus tells his disciples that he will suffer and be put to death and that those who follow him must participate in his suffering. This teaching is utterly foreign to the understanding of human beings, who wish to avoid suffering and seek health, wealth, and success, even at the expense of others. Jesus shows us a starkly different way: true joy is hidden under its opposite-suffering and the cross. Peter stands for all of us; we cannot conceive of what Jesus is saying about himself or about us until we are enlightened by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.



OPENING MUSIC                  Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices  - Paul Manz

For the Beauty of the Earth  - Flor Peeters





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




                                                                                     Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices


 1      Oh, that I had a thousand voices

        to praise my God with thousand tongues!

        My heart, which in the Lord rejoices,

        would then proclaim in grateful songs

        to all, wherever I might be,

        what great things God has done for me!


2      O all you pow’rs that he implanted,

        arise, keep silence now no more;

        put forth the strength that God has granted!

        Your noblest work is to adore!

        O soul and body, join to raise

        with heartfelt joy our maker’s praise!


3      You forest leaves so green and tender

        that dance for joy in summer air,

        you meadow grasses, bright and slender,

        you flow’rs so fragrant and so fair,

        you live to show God’s praise alone.

        Join me to make his glory known!


4     All creatures that have breath and motion,

        that throng the earth, the sea, the sky,

        come, share with me my heart’s devotion,

        help me to sing God’s praises high!

        My utmost pow’rs can never quite

        declare the wonders of his might!


5      Creator, humbly I implore you

        to listen to my earthly song

        until that day when I adore you,

        when I have joined the angel throng

        and learned with choirs of heav’n to sing

        eternal anthems to my king!


Text: Johann Mentzer, 1658-1734; tr. composite



                                                                   For the Beauty of the Earth


 1      For the beauty of the earth,

        for the beauty of the skies,

        for the love which from our birth

        over and around us lies:



        Christ, our Lord, to you we raise

        this our sacrifice of praise.


2      For the wonder of each hour

        of the day and of the night,

        hill and vale and tree and flow’r,

        sun and moon and stars of light:  Refrain


3      For the joy of ear and eye,

        for the heart and mind’s delight,

        for the mystic harmony

        linking sense to sound and sight:  Refrain


4     For the joy of human love,

        brother, sister, parent, child,

        friends on earth and friends above;

        for all gentle thoughts and mild:  Refrain


5      For yourself, best gift divine

        to the world so freely giv’n;

        agent of God’s grand design,

        peace on earth and joy in heav’n:  Refrain


Text: Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917, 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 our Father,

make us one in acknowledging Jesus the Christ.

  As we proclaim him by our words,

  let us follow him in our works;

  give us strength to take up the cross

  and courage to lose our lives for his sake.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.





Jesus began to teach them

that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering,

and be rejected and be killed,

and after three days rise again.                                                             Mark 8:31

  Let us hear the Word of the Lord.



FIRST READING                                                                     Isaiah 50:4-9a


4The Lord God has given me
  the tongue of a teacher,
 that I may know how to sustain
  the weary with a word.
 Morning by morning he wakens—
  wakens my ear
  to listen as those who are taught.
5The Lord God has opened my ear,
  and I was not rebellious,
  I did not turn backward.
6I gave my back to those who struck me,
  and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
 I did not hide my face
  from insult and spitting.
7The Lord God helps me;
  therefore I have not been disgraced;
 therefore I have set my face like flint,
  and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
  8he who vindicates me is near.
 Who will contend with me?
  Let us stand up together.
 Who are my adversaries?
  Let them confront me.
9aIt is the Lord God who helps me;
  who will declare me guilty?


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                    

  Thanks be to God.





PSALM 116:1-8

Pastor sings first, then all:

 Sung responsively between pastor and people.


1 I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my | supplication,*

                because he has inclined his ear to me

whenever I | called upon him.

2 The cords of death entangled me;

the grip of the grave took | hold of me;* 

                I came to | grief and sorrow.

3 Then I called upon the name | of the Lord:*

                "O Lord, I pray you, | save my life."

4 Gracious is the | Lord and righteous;*

                our God is full | of compassion.

5 The Lord watches o- | ver the innocent;*

                I was brought very low, | and he helped me.

6 Turn again to your rest, | O my soul.*

                for the Lord has treat- | ed you well.

7 For you have rescued my | life from death,*

                my eyes from tears, and my | feet from stumbling.

8 I will walk in the presence | of the Lord*

                in the land | of the living.                                                                  R


SECOND READING                                                           James 3:1-12


1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

  How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.


The Word of the Lord.                                                          

  Thanks be to God.




Romans 15:4                                                       Setting by Robert J. Powell

Sung by the Cantor                            

Alleluia. Whatever was written in former days was written for our

instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Alleluia.


Gospel                                                                                    Mark 8:27-38


The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


27Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” 28And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” 29He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” 30And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
31Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

 34He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

36For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                              

  Praise to you, O Christ.






X HYMN OF THE DAY                                                        Lift High the Cross



                Lift high the Cross, the love of Christ proclaim

                till all the world adore his sacred name.


1              Come, Christians follow where our captain trod,

                our King victorious, Christ, the Son of God.   Refrain


2              Led on their way by this triumphant sign,

                the hosts of God in conqu’ring ranks combine. Refrain


3              All newborn soldiers of the Crucified

                bear on their brows the seal of him who died.  Refrain


4             O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,

                As thou has promised, draw us all to thee.   Refrain


5              So shall our song of triumph ever be:

                Praise to the Crucified for victory!   Refrain


Text: George W. Kitchin, 1827-1912; Michael R. Newbolt, 1874-1956

Tune: Sydney H. Nicholson, 1875-1947



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




Gathered together in the shadow of the Holy Cross, let us pray for the whole Church of Christ and the world for which he died.


A brief silence


Give us grace to put our whole faith and confidence in the One who gave himself on the Cross for us; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us grace to hear and obey Christ’s call to take up our own crosses and follow him; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us grace, so that teachers and pastors of the Church may speak your Word in purity and truth. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us grace to tame our tongues so that our words may build others up and not tear them down; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us grace, so that the people of the world may be protected from those whose tongues speak evil and whose hands do violence; Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us grace, that all who are in need may be healed in body, mind, and spirit, and that you would answer the prayers of all who call to you.



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.


Give us grace to look to the resurrection which comes through the cross, and to rejoice with your holy ones, believing in our reunion with them in your great and glorious day; 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  Romans 14:6-8                   Setting by Robert J. Powell

Sung by the Cantor

Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. 

Those also who eat, eat in honor of the Lord,

since they give thanks to God.

None of us lives alone, and none of us dies alone.

If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord;

so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.



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 on the tree of the cross gave salvation to all, that, where death began, there life might be restored; and that Satan, who by a tree once overcame, might by a tree be overcome.

  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


Gracious is the LORD and righteous;

  Our God is full of compassion.

Psalm 116:4







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.










Built On a Rock

1      Built on a rock the church shall stand,

        even when steeples are falling;

        crumbled have spires in ev’ry land,

        bells still are chiming and calling--

        calling the young and old to rest,

        calling the souls of those distressed,

        longing for life everlasting.


2      Not in our temples made with hands

        God, the Almighty, is dwelling;

        high in the heav’ns his temple stands,

        all earthly temples excelling.

        Yet he who dwells in heav’n above

        deigns to abide with us in love,

        making our bodies his temple.


3      We are God’s house of living stones,

        built for his own habitation;

        he fills our hearts, his humble thrones,

        granting us life and salvation.

        Were two or three to seek his face,

        he in their midst would show his grace,

        blessings upon them bestowing.


4     Yet in this house, an earthly frame,

        Jesus the children is blessing;

        hither we come to praise his name,

        faith in our Savior confessing.

        Jesus to us his Spirit sent,

        making with us his covenant,

        granting his children the kingdom.


5      Through all the passing years, O Lord,

        grant that, when church bells are ringing,

        many may come to hear God’s Word

        where he this promise is bringing:

        I know my own, my own know me;

        you, not the world, my face shall see;

        my peace I leave with you. Amen


Text: Nicolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1783-1872; tr. Carl Doving, 1867-1937, adapt.






Sing, My Tongue, The Glorious Battle


1              Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle;

                sing the ending of the fray.

                Now above the cross, the trophy,

                sound the loud triumphant lay;

                tell how Christ, the world’s redeemer,

                as a victim won the day.


2              Tell how, when at length the fullness

                of the appointed time was come,

                he, the Word, was born of woman,

                left for us his Father’s home,

                blazed the path of true obedience,

                shone as light amidst the gloom.


3              Thus, with thirty years accomplished,

                he went forth from Nazareth,

                destined, dedicated, willing,

                did his work, and met his death;

                like a lamb he humbly yielded

                on the cross his dying breath.


4             Faithful cross, true sign of triumph,

                be for all the noblest tree;

                none in foliage, none in blossom,

                none in fruit your equal be;

                symbol of the world’s redemption,

                for your burden makes us free.


5              Unto God be praise and glory;

                to the Father and the Son,

                to the eternal Spirit honor

                now and evermore be done;

                praise and glory in the highest,

                while the timeless ages run.


Text: Venantius Honorius Fortunatus, 530-609; tr. John M. Neale, 1818-1866, alt.

Tune: FORTUNATUS NEW, Carl F. Schalk, b. 1929



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/ Sept 12        WORSHIP 10:30 AM

                                Church Picnic (following worship,

 at Heidelberg Park)

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

Mon/Sept 13       Morning Prayer (livestream or in-person) 8:30 AM

Wed/ Sept 15      Evening Prayer (livestream) 7:00 PM

Fri/Sept 17           Morning Prayer (livestream or in-person) 8:30 AM

Sat/ Sept 18         NA Meeting 11 AM

                                SATURDAY EVENING WORSHIP 6:30 PM

Sun/ Sept 19        Choir rehearsal 9:30 AM


                                Council Meeting 7:00 PM

                                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.

Greek Cross with Chalice.

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 –10:30 am