Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Holy Communion - Reformation Day, October 31, 2021

The livestream may be found here!

October 31, 2021, 10:30 a.m.

Reformation Day









Reformation Day, October 31, remembers the publishing of Martin Luther’s ‘Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences,’ better known as ‘the 95 Theses.’ They were not a declaration of revolt but rather an invitation to discussion under the Word of God. Such an attitude is salutary for Lutherans to adopt today. Lutherans cannot simply use ‘reform’ as a principle by which to live our lives, We can, however, seek to always order our faith and practice by the Word of God as understood and interpreted through the Creeds and the Confessions, and to seek to charitably discuss and debate matters of dispute with the rest of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. We pray that the Church will always re-form itself under the authority of the Word.


FIRST READING: For Jeremiah, the scope of Israel’s apostasy from the covenant at Sinai is so great that it is irredeemably broken; nothing less than a new covenant is necessary. However, God is able and willing to make a new covenant by forgiving the sin of Israel. He himself will accomplish what they could not – he himself will make them holy. In the Small Catechism we read, ‘I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him. But instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in true faith…the Holy Spirit forgives sins, mine and those of all believers.’


SECOND READING: Paul explains that all of humanity is under God’s righteous judgment, and that the more we know of God’s law the more we know that we cannot keep it by our own efforts. Having diagnosed our ailment, Paul discloses the remedy: Christ has acted to justify us before God, and we possess that justification by putting our trust in what he has done for us. This means that there is no ground for boasting about ourselves, for we put our confidence not in what we do but in what God does.


GOSPEL: Jesus uses a household metaphor to describe his work. As the Son, he holds a position of authority, and he uses it to free people from bondage to sin – by forgiving sin in this world and by removing it completely in the next. The only way people can remain enslaved by sin is to deny that they are enslaved. Again, the Catechism: ‘He has purchased and freed me from sin, death, and the power of the devil; not with silver or gold but with his holy and precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.’





A Mighty Fortress Is Our God- D. Buxtehude

Thy Strong Word-  Paul Manz



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


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



What is the significance of a baptism with water?

  It signifies that daily the old person in us with all our sins and evil

  desires is to be drowned through sorrow for sin and repentance, 

  and that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live

  before God in righteousness and purity forever.


What is confession?

  Confession consists of two parts: One is that we confess our sins.

  The other is that we receive the absolution, that is, forgiveness,

  from the pastor as from God himself and by no means doubt

  but firmly believe that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in



Small Catechism of Martin Luther

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

XSon, and of the Holy Spirit.





X HYMN                                                                                  Thy Strong Word


1      Thy strong word did cleave the darkness;

        at thy speaking it was done.

        For created light we thank thee,

        while thine ordered seasons run.

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Praise to thee who light dost send!

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Alleluia without end!


2      Lo, on those who dwelt in darkness,

        dark as night and deep as death,

        broke the light of thy salvation,

        breathed thine own life-breathing breath.

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Praise to thee who light dost send!

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Alleluia without end!


3      Thy strong Word bespeaks us righteous;

        bright with thine own holiness,

        glorious now, we press toward glory,

        and our lives our hopes confess.

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Praise to thee who light dost send!

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Alleluia without end!


4     From the cross thy wisdom shining

        breaketh forth in conqu’ring might;

        from the cross forever beameth

        all thy bright redeeming light.

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Praise to thee who light dost send!

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        Alleluia without end!


5      Give us lips to sing thy glory,

        tongues thy mercy to proclaim,

        throats that shout the hope that fills us,

        mouths to speak thy holy name.

        Alleluia! Alleluia!

        May the light which thou dost send

        fill our songs with alleluias,

        alleluias without end!


6      God the Father, light-creator,

        to thee laud and honor be.

        To thee, Light of Light begotten,

        praise be sung eternally.

        Holy Spirit, light-revealer,

        glory, glory be to thee.

        Mortals, angels, now and ever

        praise the holy Trinity!


Text: Martin H. Franzmann, 1907-1976 © 1969 Concordia Publishing House

Tune: Thomas J. Williams, 1869-1944    



The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

  And also with you.

(2 Corinthians 13:13)




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

For the peace from above,

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

For the peace of the whole world,

for the well-being of the Church of God,

and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.    Lord, have mercy.


For this holy house,

and for all who offer here their worship and praise,

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

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




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

(Luke 2:14)

Lord God, heavenly king, almighty God and Father:

                We worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.

                Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God:

                You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us.

                You are seated at the right hand of the Father;

receive our prayer.

                For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,

                you alone are the Most High,

                Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen



The Lord be with you.

  And also with you.


Almighty God, gracious Lord,

pour out your Holy Spirit upon your faithful people.

Keep them steadfast in your Word,

protect and comfort them against all temptations,

defend them against all enemies,

and bestow on the Church your saving peace;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




Remember the Sabbath Day, and keep it holy.

  We are to fear and love God, so that we do not despise God’s

   Word or preaching, but instead keep that word holy and gladly

   hear and learn it.                                            

 Small Catechism of Martin Luther


First READING                                                                     Jeremiah 31:31-34


31The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.


The Word of the Lord.                                                                                                  

  Thanks be to God.




PSALM HYMN                                                A Mighty Fortress is Our God

St.2 / Choir in canon; St. 3 / Setting by J.S. Bach

1      A mighty fortress is our God,

        a sword and shield victorious;

        he breaks the cruel oppressor’s rod

        and wins salvation glorious.

        The old evil foe,

        sworn to work us woe,

        with dread craft and might

        he arms himself to fight.

        On earth he has no equal.


2      No strength of ours can match his might!

        We would be lost, rejected.

        But now a champion comes to fight,

        whom God himself elected.

        Ask who this may be:

        Lord of hosts is he!

        Jesus Christ, our Lord,

        God’s only Son, adored.

        He holds the field victorious.


3      Though hordes of devils fill the land

        all threat’ning to devour us,

        we tremble not, unmoved we stand;

        they cannot overpow’r us.

        This world’s prince may rage,

        in fierce war engage.

        He is doomed to fail;

        God’s judgment must prevail!

        One little word subdues him.


4     God’s Word forever shall abide,

        no thanks to foes, who fear it;

        for God himself fights by our side

        with weapons of the Spirit.

        If they take our house,

        goods, fame, child, or spouse,

        wrench our life away,

        they cannot win the day.

        The kingdom’s ours forever!


SECOND READING                                                             Romans 3:19-28


19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.


The Word of the Lord.                                                  

  Thanks be to God.





John 8:31-32                                                        Setting by Richard Hillert

Sung by the Choir                           

Alleluia. If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,

 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.



Gospel                                                                                                John 8:31-36

The Holy Gospel according to St. John.

  Glory to you, O Lord.


31Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.”


The Gospel of the Lord.                                

  Praise to you, O Christ.




HYMN OF THE DAY                                                  O Word of God Incarnate

1      O Word of God incarnate,

        O Wisdom from on high,

        O Truth unchanged, unchanging,

        O Light of our dark sky:

        we praise you for the radiance

        that from the hallowed page,

        a lantern to our footsteps,

        shines on from age to age.


2      The church from you, dear Master,

        received the gift divine;

        and still that light is lifted

        o'er all the earth to shine.

        It is the chart and compass

        that, all life's voyage through,

        mid mists and rocks and quicksands

        still guides, O Christ, to you.


3      Oh, make your church, dear Savior,

        a lamp of burnished gold

        to bear before the nations

        your true light, as of old;

        oh, teach your wand'ring pilgrims

        by this their path to trace,

        till, clouds and darkness ended,

        they see you face to face.



I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him;

  But instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel,

  enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy, and kept me in true

  faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens and makes holy the

  whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in

  the one common, true faith.

Small Catechism of Martin Luther


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 is kept.


Almighty and merciful God, by his cross and passion your Son set us free from the bondage to sin and the curse of the Law. Grant that your Church may hold fast to this good news throughout all generations.

Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Grant that all pastors may preach your Law and Gospel, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, holding before your people the cross of Christ by which your righteousness is revealed. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Give us, your people, the Spirit of discipleship, to hold your Word in our hearts, to cling to you in times of trouble, and to proclaim your love in word and deed. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Grant that the President, the Congress, the Courts, and all who serve in public office may themselves be led in the ways of righteousness and truth, that our nation may live in peace, security, and justice; and that all of us in our various callings may be strengthened to do your will, ordering our lives that we may contribute to the common good. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


Grant peace to the world; justice to those who are oppressed; food to those who hunger; relief to those who are in any need, healing to those who are sick. Bless those for whom we have been called to pray.


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.


We give you thanks, almighty Father, for the reformers of the sixteenth century, and for all the saints triumphant who have loved your Word and have striven to do your holy will. Grant that we also may put our trust in the word of the cross and with them receive its fruits of everlasting life. Lord, in your mercy,

  hear our prayer.


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




The peace of the Lord be with you always.

  And also with you.


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



The Lord’s Table is prepared.




Romans 12:1-2                                                       Setting by Richard Hillert

Sung by the Choir

I appeal to you by the mercies, the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your minds, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

  It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the

  bread and wine, instituted by Jesus Christ himself for us Christians

  to eat and drink.


What is the benefit of such eating and drinking?

  The words ‘given for you,’ and ‘shed for you…for the forgiveness of

  sin, show us that forgiveness of sin, life, and salvation are given in

  the sacrament through these words, because where there is

  forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.

Small Catechism of Martin Luther



The Lord be with you.                                   

  And also with you.                     

Lift up your hearts.                                         

  We lift them to the Lord.                        

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.                                  

  It is right to give him thanks and praise.


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

  He is your eternal Son, living and reigning with you forever,

your Truth, your Righteousness, the New Covenant. You put him forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, to set us free from our slavery to sin.

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


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

Heaven and earth are full of your glory;

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!

Hosanna in the highest!                                                    (Isaiah 6:3, Matthew 21:9)


The pastor leads the people in praying the Eucharistic canon:


Holy God, mighty Lord, gracious Father:

Endless is your mercy and eternal your reign.

You have filled all creation with light and life;

                heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Through Abraham you promised to bless all nations.

                You rescued Israel, your chosen people.

Through the prophets you renewed your promise;

                and, at this end of all the ages, you sent your Son,

                who in words and deeds proclaimed your kingdom

                and was obedient to your will, even to giving his life.


The pastor chants the words of institution in a setting based on Luther’s German Mass of 1526:


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.


For as often as we eat of this bread and drink from this cup

                we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

  Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.


Therefore, gracious Father, with this bread and cup

                we remember the life our Lord offered for us.

And, believing the witness of his resurrection,

we await his coming in power

                to share with us the great and promised feast.

  Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.


Send now, we pray, your Holy Spirit,

the spirit of our Lord and of his resurrection,

                that we who receive the Lord's body and blood

                may live to the praise of your glory

                and receive our inheritance with all your saints in light.

  Amen. Come, Holy Spirit.


Join our prayers with those of your servants

of every time and every place,

and unite them with the ceaseless petitions

of our great high priest until he comes as victorious Lord of all.



                Through Him, with Him, in Him,

 in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father,

now and forever. 



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


Christ is in our midst.

                By the power of the Spirit,

                we pray to his Father, saying:



Our Father, who art in heaven,

                hallowed be thy name,

                thy kingdom come,

                thy will be done,

                                on earth as it is in heaven.

                Give us this day our daily bread;

                and forgive us our trespasses,

                                as we forgive those who trespass against us;

                and lead us not into temptation,

                                but deliver us from evil.

                For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

                                forever and ever. Amen                               (Matthew 6:9-15)


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


Who receives the Sacrament of Holy Communion worthily?

  Fasting and bodily preparation are in fact a fine external

  discipline, but a person who has faith in these words,

  ‘given for you,’ and ‘shed for you for the forgiveness of sin,’

  is really worthy and well prepared.                                                                                           


  Small Catechism of Martin Luther

 (John 1:29, see also Luke 17:13)



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


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


The communicants will be invited forward one family unit at a time. Please do not come forward until the pastor directs you to come forward, do not approach all the way to the table until the pastor has retreated.


 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.


CHOIR                                                                      God Has Spoken by His Prophets

Text/ George W. Briggs;

Music/ Derek Holmes

Arr/ J. M. Strobel


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.


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.


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, ad God the last.


HYMN                                                                                O Bread of Life from Heaven


1      O Bread of life from heaven,

        O Food to pilgrims given,

        O Manna from above:

        feed with the blessed sweetness

        of your divine completeness

        the souls that want and need your love.


2      O Fount of grace redeeming,

        O River ever streaming

        from Jesus’ wounded side:

        come now, your love bestowing

        on thirsting souls, and flowing

        till all are fully satisfied.


3      We love you, Jesus, tender,

        in all your hidden splendor

        within these means of grace.

        Oh, let the veil be riven,

        and our clear eye in heaven

        behold your glory face to face.



Text: Latin hymn, c. 1661; tr. Hugh T. Henry, 1862-1946, sts. 1, 3; Philip Schaff, 1819-1893, st. 2; alt.

Tune: Heinrich Isaac, c. 1450-1517

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


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



POST COMMUNION HYMN              Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word

Setting by Donald Busarow

Rob Dawe, Clarinet

St. 1 / All

St. 2/ Choir

St. 3 / All

1      Lord, keep us steadfast in your word;

        curb those who by deceit or sword

        would wrest the kingdom from your Son

        and bring to naught all he has done.


2      Lord Jesus Christ, your pow'r make known,

        for you are Lord of lords alone;

        defend your holy church, that we

        may sing your praise eternally.


3      O Comforter of priceless worth,

        send peace and unity on earth;

        support us in our final strife

        and lead us out of death to life.

Text: Martin Luther, 1483-1546; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878, alt.

Tune:  J. Klug, Geitstliche Lieder, 1543


Almighty Father, you gave your Son

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

  Enable us to receive him always with thanksgiving,

  and to conform our lives to his;

through the same Jesus Christ our Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.


What is the meaning of ‘Amen?’

  That I should be certain that such petitions are acceptable to and

  heard by our Father in heaven, for he himself commanded us to pray

  like this. ‘Amen, amen’ means, ‘Yes, yes, it is going to come about

  just like this.’

Small Catechism of Martin Luther



The Lord bless you and keep you.

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

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

  Amen                                                                                                  (Numbers 6:24-26)



Go in peace. Serve the Lord.                                          

  Thanks be to God!



The Altar Flowers are given to the glory of God by

Joan Derrick in honor of Bert Derrick’s birthday.



Assisting Minister/ Christine Griffith

Instrumentalist/ Rob Dawe, Clarinet




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.

A Mighty Fortress is Our God – Text and Tune: Martin Luther, 1483-1546

O Word of God Incarnate - Text: William W. How, 1823-1897, alt.

Tune: Neu-vermehrtes Gesangbuch, Meiningen, 1693


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