July 31 2021

Welcome to First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.  We are very glad you joined us for worship today, and we hope you will come again.  Our congregation is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, a worldwide Christian denomination in the tradition of the German Protestant Reformation.  Central to our faith is the biblical doctrine that we are justified by grace through faith.  That is to say, God forgives our sins and puts us right with Him by His great love for us, made manifest through Jesus Christ’s death and Resurrection, which we receive through faith in Him. 

Communion Statement: At our Sunday worship services we celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion.  We believe and teach that the Holy Communion is the true body and blood of Christ, given and shed for us for the forgiveness of sins.  If you are a baptized adult Christian who shares this belief, you are welcome to receive Holy Communion this morning.  Children and adults not receiving Communion may come forward for a pastoral blessing.  If you have any questions about Holy Communion, we encourage you to talk with the Pastor or an Elder.   We are eager to share our Confession (statement) of faith and Communion instruction with you.

Ringing of the Bell
The bell rings as the call to worship, reminding us to discontinue conversation and reverently prepare for worship.

Prelude

Welcome and Announcements

Lutheran Service Book Divine Service Setting One

Stand

Opening Hymn
648 Glorious Things of You Are Spoken                                     LSB 648
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Tune and text: Public domain

 

CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

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

Invocation
P     In the name of the Father and of the TSon and of the Holy Spirit.
C     Amen.

Exhortation
P     If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
C     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 on God's Word and for self-examination.

Confession of Sins
P     Let us then confess our sins to God our Father.
C     Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. 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. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment. 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.

Absolution
P     Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the TSon and of the Holy Spirit.
C     Amen.

Gloria in Excelsis                                                                     LSB 154
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SERVICE OF THE WORD

Salutation and Collect of the Day
P     The Lord be with you.
C     And also with you.

P     Let us pray.
Merciful Father, You gave Your Son Jesus as the heavenly bread of life. Grant us faith to feast on Him in Your Word and Sacraments that we may be nourished unto life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C     Amen.

Sit

Psalm                                                                             Psalm 145:10–21
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.
The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.

First Reading                                                                   Exodus 16:2–15
The whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the people of Israel, “At evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against the Lord. For what are we, that you grumble against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you in the evening meat to eat and in the morning bread to the full, because the Lord has heard your grumbling that you grumble against him—what are we? Your grumbling is not against us but against the Lord.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’” And as soon as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the people of Israel, they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. And the Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and in the morning dew lay around the camp. And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground. When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

A     This is the Word of the Lord.
C     Thanks be to God.

Epistle                                                                           Ephesians 4:1–16
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says,
“When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,
and he gave gifts to men.”
(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

A     This is the Word of the Lord.
C     Thanks be to God.

Stand

Common Alleluia and Verse
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Holy Gospel                                                                        John 6:22–35
P       The Holy Gospel according to St. John, the sixth chapter.
C       Glory to You, O Lord.

On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord had given thanks. So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

P       This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C       Praise to You, O Christ.

Apostles’ Creed
C       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 T everlasting. Amen.

Sit
918 Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer                                    LSB 918
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Text and tune: Public domain

Sermon                                                                     Pastor William Willson

Stand
Prayers

(each petition ends with the following response) P Let us pray to the Lord.   C Lord have mercy.

955 Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful                                             LSB 955
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Text and tune: © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110004199

 


Offertory Prayer
P:  Blessed are you,
C:  O Lord our God, maker of all things.  Through your goodness you have blessed us with these gifts.  With them we offer ourselves to your service and dedicate our lives to the care and redemption of all that you have made, for the sake of him who gave himself for us.  Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.  

SERVICE OF THE SACRAMENT

Stand

Preface
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Proper Preface
P     It is truly good, right, and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father, everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who on this day overcame death and the grave and by His glorious resurrection opened to us the way of everlasting life. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

Sanctus
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The Words of Our Lord
P     Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My T body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My T blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Lord's Prayer Invitation
Let us pray together the prayer that our Lord Jesus taught us. . .

Lord's Prayer

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.

Fraction
P:  Come for all things are now ready, the gifts of God for the people of God. 

C:  Amen. 

Agnus Dei                                                                                LSB 163
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Sit

Distribution                                                                                 164
Take, eat; the body of Christ, given for you.
Amen.

Take, drink; the blood of Christ shed for you.
Amen.

In dismissing the communicants, the following is said:

The Dismissal
P     The body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ strengthen and preserve you in body and soul to life everlasting. Depart Tin peace.
C     Amen.

Thank the Lord
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Post Communion Prayer
P:  We give you thanks, almighty God, that you have refreshed us through the healing power of this gift of life; and we pray that in your mercy you would strengthen us, through this gift in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. 
C:  Amen. 

Benediction
P       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 T give you peace.
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642 O Living Bread from Heaven                                               LSB 642
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Tune and text: Public domain

CLOSING RESPONSE
P     Go in Peace! Serve the Lord!
C     Praise be to God!

 

Acknowledgments
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Created by Lutheran Service Builder © 2021 Concordia Publishing House.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Pente 10B August 1, 2021 Ex. 16:2-4, 9-15  Trinity, Wellsville, NY
The Gift of Manna
How did you get to be the person you are?  What makes you behave the way you do?  Why is your life the way it is, and how will your life get you to wherever it is you are going?  For instance, why are you here this morning instead of somewhere else?
There are at least two schools of thought that try to provide answers to questions such as those.  Don’t let the names bog you down, but the first school of thought is called Determinism.  Basically, this school of thought says everything you do in life, your likes and dislikes, your attitudes and beliefs, are already set, they are determined, for you at birth, or perhaps shortly thereafter, largely by forces beyond your control.
For example, Sigmund Freud would say that your personality is mostly determined by your early childhood experiences, your relationship with your parents, and how you were potty trained.  Behavioral psychologist like B.F. Skinner would say that most of what you do is determined by what you have learned.  Some things you did you were rewarded for and, accordingly, you continued doing them.  Other things you did you were punished for, and you stopped doing them, or learned to do them without getting caught.  Still other psychologists would say who you are, and what you think and do, is determined almost entirely by Genetics. The most popular theory today says that behavior is most determined by DNA and hormones and neurotransmitters and such.  Determinism would say you are here this morning because all sorts of forces came together in part to motivate you to be here today. 
In contrast to the school of Determinism, which says that things are set for you in the beginning and then you follow a prescribed course, is the school of Fatalism.  Fatalism says that we are hurtling toward some preordained conclusion to our lives that we cannot change.  The end of the story is set for us, so no matter where we come from or what we do, our destination ultimately determines our thoughts and actions even if we make efforts to the contrary.  Fatalism says that if you are destined to be a success or destined to be a failure, your destiny will affect every part of your life and there is nothing you can do to alter your fate.  Fatalism would say you are here today because it is necessary in the scheme of the universe for you to be here today.
The problem with both Determinism and Fatalism is that they remove the notion of free will and individual responsibility from human life.  If Determinism is correct then we can excuse whatever we do by saying my environment made me do it, or my education made me do it, or my chromosomes made me do it.  Who then could be held accountable for any crime or applauded for any heroic deed?  And if Fatalism is correct and the outcome of my life, including its ending, is already certain, then why diet or exercise, why wear seat belts or motorcycle helmets?  Fatalism says if it’s your time to go, it’s your time to go, and you can’t stop it.  If some sort of cosmic karma determines our life situations, then why help anyone when everyone is getting exactly whatever it is they deserve? 
We, in the Christian tradition, have always believed in free will, at least free will up to a point.  We, of course, recognize that nature and nurture, both genetics and learning, influence people’s attitudes and behaviors.  In practical matters, human beings exercise free will.  What you will eat for lunch today, whether or not you choose to marry, whether or not you obey the laws of the State of New York is largely up to you.  The one thing you have no control over, though, is your own salvation.  You cannot choose to be saved.  We don’t choose God; He chooses us.  That’s not what a lot of churches are preaching today, but it is the traditional orthodox Lutheran teaching, and I’ll explain what we mean by that. 
There was another psychological fad popular a few years ago called Transactional Analysis.  The slogan that epitomized this fad, which was also the title of the best-selling book it was based on, was I’m Okay, You’re Okay.  But the fact is I’m not okay and neither are you.  Although we have the free will to choose to obey God’s law or not to obey God’s law, because of the power of Original Sin all human beings always choose sin.  We are born into a broken relationship with God, a fractured relationship passed down to us by our parents.  As sinners we are all out of whack with God, and there’s nothing we can do on our own to make up for it or to make ourselves straighten up and fly right.  We simply can’t.  In a sense, that has been determined for us, but that’s not the last word on the subject.
Thanks be to God that he has given us a solution to our problem, the problem being that our sin would eternally separate us from God.  The solution is Jesus Christ.  In God’s great love he sent his only Son to die in our place for our sins and rise again that we might have eternal life with God.  Jesus chooses us, undeserving as we are, to receive his gift of salvation.  Baptism is the seal that identifies us as people God has chosen as his own forever.  God wills for all people to be saved, and in that sense our destiny is predetermined too, in a positive way.  This tension between human free will and God’s irresistible grace is powerfully illustrated in our first lesson and gospel reading today.
In our first lesson, the Israelites had just been freed from their slavery in Egypt.  Although the Lord had led them into freedom, they still became anxious because there was no food for them.  They did not trust God to provide for them and so they complained and grumbled – a very normal human reaction, but sin, nonetheless.  God had every right and reason to be angry at the Israelites and abandon them.  But our Heavenly Father is no dead-beat dad.  He remembered His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  He recalled that these Israelites would be the people through which his Son would be born.  So miraculously God sent them manna in the wilderness, bread that appeared each day, enough to meet their needs.
In our gospel reading, the crowd that followed Jesus badly misunderstood him.  They sought him out because they wanted bread; they could think of nothing more than their own stomachs.  Rather than leaving them to the darkness and confusion of their minds, Jesus revealed to them his identity and mission.  He told them he was the bread of life, given for the benefit of the world.  In both of these instances, God, who was always with them, made his presence especially known in the life of his people and gave his blessings even to the unknowing and undeserving.
What about our lives?  We like to think we are self-made people.  We like to think all that we have we have earned.  We like to think we are not dependent on anyone, not even God if we would be honest with ourselves, for what we possess.  But when we think deeply about it, how much of what we have and enjoy is really a gift, an unmerited gift from God?  How is God working in our lives, seen and unseen, blessing us?  What do we have that didn’t ultimately come from Him?  Nothing, absolutely nothing!
For instance, I am probably the first person in the Ash family to graduate from college.  I am certainly the first Ash to graduate from seminary. Is any of that to my credit?  Can I call that an achievement of my own making?  Not really.  I owe a great deal to the people and institutions that gave me scholarships, including Messiah, my home congregation.  I also owe something to the founder of my Seminary and all the faculty and board members past and present.  And especially I owe something to my wife and family who sacrificed to support me materially and spiritually.  God worked through all these individuals and institutions, blessing me in more ways than I could ever know.
Certainly, it is the same in your life.  Think of how much you owe your parents and families, teachers and coaches, and other people who have influenced you and helped you along in both large and small ways.  God was working through them whether you knew it or not.  On several occasions I could have literally died if not for the intervention of doctors and nurses and others.  I know that this is also true for many of you.  God has helped us, provided for us, and preserve us in so many ways, often unseen ways. 
Anything we have, anything we are, anything good in our lives is all due to Him and Him alone.  If we only will take the time to look, we can see God’s blessings all around us; there are good things everywhere we look, God’s gifts come to us like manna in the wilderness.
We may never understand all the complexities of human behavior and free will.  We may never even understand ourselves totally.  But that’s okay.  God knows us and loves us, and he is with us.  Moreover, he is providing for us.  He is leading us and guiding us. We are being saved.  Our ultimate future is secure. Live confident in his grace.  Amen.