Sunday, June 14, 2020
This Sunday, we begin a long season of the church year known as the Sundays after Pentecost. If we were in church this week, you would see a lot of the color green, and it would stay that way with a couple exceptions all the way until Advent in December. Green is a color of growth, and this long season allows us to focus on our spiritual growth as individual Christians and our growth as His collected body of believers, the Church.
Make the sign of the cross, remembering your Baptism in the name of your triune God, and say:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Heavenly Father, You have planted the seed of faith in our hearts through Your Word and Sacrament. Nurture that faith in us and keep us in that one true faith. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Choose a leader to read the non-bold lines and the group/family responds with the bold lines, or read the whole Psalm straight through.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
And to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and will be forever. Amen.
If you would like to include music in your worship time, here are a couple links to videos to watch and/or sing with.
Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word (video)
Renew Me, O Eternal Light (video)
Read the following passages and reflect on the questions.
Acts 2:42-47 (text)
The Lord added to their number day by day
How were individual Christians growing in the days of the early church? How was the Christian Church growing as a whole?
Ephesians 4:11-16 (text)
Grow up in every way into him who is the head
Why has God given us leaders in the church (4:12)? Toward what kind of characteristics are we encouraged to grow into?
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 (text)
A sower went out to sow
What things does Jesus point out that can inhibit the growth in faith the God desires for us?
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day he rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God
the Father almighty.
From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Christian Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
And they devoted themselves
to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
What does it mean to “devote” yourself to something? If you are a devoted sports fan, that usually means you support that team not only in the good seasons, but also the bad seasons. If you are a devoted spouse, that means you stand by your mate no matter what or who else comes along.
The early church devoted themselves to:
1. The apostles’ teaching. This is the doctrine that the apostles taught about God, sin, and the necessity of Jesus. How can you grow in your understanding of correct teaching about the Christian faith?
2. The fellowship. There is no such thing as private Christianity. Our faith calls us into a community of other believers, who we are called to serve and care for. How can you grow in your love and care for others?
3. The breaking of bread. This is most likely a reference to the celebrating of the Lord’s Supper. How can you grow in your appreciation and desire for the forgiveness Jesus offer us in His supper?
4. The prayers. This is not just prayer in general, but “the prayers” – the assigned daily times of appointed prayer throughout the day. How can you grow in regular contact with God and His Word throughout the day?
Activity: Find something in your home or outside that is growing. How long has it been growing? What things help it to grow? What things keep it from growing?
Our Christian faith needs to be growing as well. False doctrine, selfishness, and cutting ourselves off from God’s Word and Sacrament harms our walk with our Lord.
Yet, when we have failed to devote ourselves to Jesus and His gifts, He devoted Himself to us and went to the cross to pay for our sinfulness. He died the death we deserved, and raised us to new life through His resurrection. Jesus lovingly and graciously sustains us in that new life, nourishing our faith and trust in Him.
Dear God, Thank You for Your servants who labor to keep us connected to Your Word, so our faith might be strengthened. Through them, equip us for the works of service You have called us to.
Grow Your church, that many more might hear and believe in the saving work of Jesus. Empower us to share the love of Jesus with all people.
In the name of our Savior Jesus, who taught us to pray:
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.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.
2 Peter 3:18