Ninth Sunday After Pentecost
INTRODUCTION TO THE DAY
Mark’s Gospel makes clear how great was the press of the crowd, with its countless needs to be met, on Jesus and his disciples. Yet in today’s Gospel Jesus advises his disciples to get away and rest, to take care of themselves. Sometimes we think that when others are in great need we shouldn't think of ourselves at all; but Jesus also honors the caregivers’ needs. We are sent from Christ’s table to care for others and for ourselves.
FIRST READING: Jeremiah 23: 1-6
Jeremiah prophesied before the exile in 587 B.C. In this passage, he uses the metaphor of a shepherd to describe the bad kings who have scattered the “flock” of Israel. God promises to gather the flock and raise up a new king from David’s line to save Israel and Judah.
PSALM: Psalm 23
SECOND READING: Ephesians 2: 11-22
The author of this letter is reminding his audience that originally they were not part of God’s chosen people. Through the death of Jesus, however, they are included in God’s household of faith, whose cornerstone in Jesus Christ.
GOSPEL: Mark 6: 30-45, 53-56
When Jesus sent his disciples out to teach and heal, they ministered among large numbers of people. Their work was motivated by Christ’s desire to be among those in need.
“FIFTH SUNDAY” SERVICE FOR PRAYER
July 29, 2018, we will be having a short service of prayer within our regular worship service. All will have the opportunity to pray for one another and our church and light a candle if you wish. Bring your prayer concerns as you will be invited to fill out a prayer concern form and place it in the box at the candle table.
GOD'S WORK. OUR HANDS.
God’s Word Spoken Publicly, Boldly and Honestly
When the Attorney General and the White House Press Secretary invoked Paul’s instruction “be subject to the governing authorities” to quell criticism of the Administration's policy of separating families seeking asylum at the border, faith leaders reacted swiftly to the misuse of Scripture. The ensuing uproar focused on a narrow interpretation of Romans 13 that ignored the larger meaning of the passage, which holds all persons and structures to God’s higher standard of love. It can in no way be used to justify the horrific practice of tearing children away from their parents or any unjust law. Many have weighed in on the misapplication of the text to falling in line behind this new interpretation of immigration policy. But it also raises a larger question. Just what is our relationship to government, as Lutherans? When do we submit, and when is resistance called for?
Luther had a lot to say about this. He bequeathed us with a unique take on the role of the church in society. As branches of the emerging Protestant movement wrestled with how to relate to the ruling powers – full separation from the irredeemably sinful affairs of state and society, or fully combining royal and church leadership – the Lutheran movement forged its own path. Luther’s reading of the Gospel and understanding of God’s ordering of the World led him to believe that Christians can make use of the governing structures, because they are gifts from God for order, for peace and for providence for those who have little.
In the Large Catechism, Luther stresses the place of government three times, with an emphasis on the ways it is a means by which God cares for the most vulnerable:
•Fourth Commandment: civil government is an extension of the parental role, responsibility and authority, and is to serve so that children can live full and productive lives. •1st Article of the Apostles’ Creed: “good governments” is lifted up as a gift of God, alongside necessities like body, soul, life, food, drink, spouse, child, air, water, peace and security. •4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: daily bread includes all the necessities we need for our daily life and the role of the rulers was to ensure daily bread for all.
Luther drew on the poetry of the Psalms to speak further regarding governmental care for the poor. In his commentary on Psalm 82 he addresses the duties of a prince and their virtues that include furthering the Word of God by ensuring “justice for those who fear God,” and just laws to prevent the oppression of the poor, wretched, widows and orphans. The government itself is a “divine hospital” to care for those in need, to ensure no one will become a beggar.
Luther is very clear on what makes a good government. Cooperation, participation and submission to the just laws of a benevolent government are in line with these emphases. But submission to the governing authorities is never blind nor automatic. We are to evaluate laws, discuss policies as a faith community and discern a faithful response. As the ELCA, we do so within the framework and guidance of our social teaching documents.
More on the ELCA Social Statement next week.
Please keep these people in your prayers: Esther Mae Baker, Al Bausch, Don Brooks, Dortha Feddern, Susan Maggard, Bernie Brister, George Wendel and Carol Schiff. Please remember all of our shut-ins and sick. (Also, pray for the families and caretakers of those on the prayer list.)
THE BREAKFAST BUNCH
“The Breakfast Bunch” meets the first Saturday of every month at Der Dutchman in Plain City, at 8:30 a.m. “Come one, Come all” for a great breakfast, fellowship and more!
Please check the bulletin board behind the office door for all of the sign-up sheets for this year. Communion, birthday Sundays, and Worship Assistants/helpers. Thank you so much!
You can also remember special occasions or special people by contributing money that would normally be used for altar flowers. Instead the donation goes to our local food pantry.