16 June 2024

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

Ringing of the Bell

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


Welcome and Announcements

Lutheran Service Book Divine Service Setting One


790 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty LSB 790

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is your health and salvation!
Let all who hear
Now to His temple draw near,
Joining in glad adoration!

2 Praise to the Lord, who oer all things is wondrously reigning
And, as on wings of an eagle, uplifting, sustaining.
Have you not seen
All that is needful has been
Sent by His gracious ordaining?

3 Praise to the Lord, who has fearfully, wondrously, made you,
Health has bestowed and, when heedlessly falling, has stayed you.
What need or grief
Ever has failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade you.

4 Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you;
Surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend you.
Ponder anew
What the Almighty can do
As with His love He befriends you.

5 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that has life and breath, come now with praises before Him!
Let the Amen
Sound from His people again;
Gladly forever adore Him!

Text: Joachim Neander, 165080; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827–78, alt.
Text: Public domain


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


P In the name of the Father and of the TSon and of the Holy Spirit.

C Amen.


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.


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 154

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

C 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.

Salutation and Collect of the Day

P The Lord be with you.

C And also with you.

P Let us pray.

Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

C Amen.


Psalm Psalm 1

Blessèd 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.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

First Reading Ezekiel 17:22–24

Thus says the Lord God: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.

A This is the Word of the Lord.

C Thanks be to God.

Epistle 2 Corinthians 5:1–10

We know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

A This is the Word of the Lord.

C Thanks be to God.


Common Alleluia and Verse

C Alleluia.

Lord, to whom shall we go?

You have the words of eternal life.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Holy Gospel Mark 4:26–34

P The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, the fourth chapter.

C Glory to You, O Lord.

[Jesus] said, The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

And he said, With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.

P This is the Gospel of the Lord.

C Praise to You, O Christ.


894 For the Fruits of His Creation LSB 894

1 For the fruits of His creation,
Thanks be to God.
For His gifts to evry nation,
Thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
Silent growth while we are sleeping,
Future needs in earths safekeeping,
Thanks be to God.

2 In the just reward of labor,
s will is done.
In the help we give our neighbor,
s will is done.
In our worldwide task of caring
For the hungry and despairing,
In the harvests we are sharing,
s will is done.

3 For the harvests of the Spirit,
Thanks be to God.
For the good we all inherit,
Thanks be to God.
For the wonders that astound us,
For the truths that still confound us,
Most of all, that love has found us,
Thanks be to God.

Text: Fred Pratt Green, 1903–2000
Text: © 1970 Hope Publishing Co. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110004199

Sermon Pastor Eric Ash

Pente 4 B June 16, 2024 Mark 4:26-34

The Miraculous Middle

Today Id like to make three points in my sermon. As we said, today is FathersDay and my first point is about fathers; the other two are based on the scripture readings we heard. Many of the things we said about Mothers Day also hold true for FathersDay. Not all of us are fathers, but we all had fathers. Many of us had good relationships with our fathers and we rightfully celebrate that. They were the providers and protectors God called them to be. They were the positive male role model for us in our families, families being the basic building block of society as God ordained.

Some people want to be a father but that hasnt happened for them. Please know that is not a curse from God, that is not anyones fault. God loves you, and sympathizes with you, and He has a plan and purpose for you and your life. It is also the case that not all of us knew or had good relationships with our fathers. They might have been separated from us by death or family issues. If that describes you, again please know that is not your fault or any kind of punishment from God. God knows our pain, He cares, and He is actively supporting you. Your Heavenly Father loves you.

Perhaps because human, earthly fathers are not perfect, and some are even abusive, its hard for some people to call God Father. We get that. In the Old Testament the Jews did not call God Father. They were very much aware of how God was wholly (thats W-H-O-L-L-Y) and also holy (H-O-L-Y) different than they were. They considered it to be disrespectful and too familiar to call God Father. Then along comes Jesus, who not only called God Father, but he also went as far as to called Him Abba, which would be the equivalent of Daddy in our language. Thats how close God the Father and God the Son are.

Some Christians have proposed not calling God Father because of the bad connotations Father has for some people. I sympathize, but we do not agree. Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the name God has revealed for Himself in scripture. Jesus the Son called God Father and instructed us to refer to Him the same way. The Trinity is not a Myth, a Man, and a Metaphor, as atheists say. God is not our Mother, Lover and Friend as some Christians who put political correctness before truth say. Our God is the perfect Father, the role model for what earthly fathers should be like. We rightfully, joyfully call God Father, as scripture commands us to. And we acknowledge ourselves as His blessed, beloved children.

My second point has to do with a parable in our Gospel reading. To recap: A man scatters seed on the ground. Thats how they did it those days. Its called broadcastingbecause the seed was cast over a broad area. There was no careful, intentional placement of seeds like we do today. When broadcasting seed, a lot of seed would not produce anything, but miraculously some would take root and produce fruit. If youre thinking thats a good analogy for how we spread the Gospel, youre thinking right. We preach the Good News everywhere and every way we can. We know that many of the people we try to reach will not receive our message, but we carry on regardless. When someone does come to faith in Christ, all the angels in Heaven rejoice.

The parable says that the man sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how.In other words, time passes by and, I assume, he does all his usual workaday tasks. He would not have had a garden hose or an irrigation system like casual gardeners and professional farmers do today, but he probably knew how to fertilize and a few other horticultural techniques. But mostly, the success of his crops was beyond his control. He couldnt control the sunshine and the rain. He didnt know how and why the crops grew. He had no knowledge of modern botany or things like photosynthesis. The crops growing must have looked like some deep magic to him, or better yet, the work of God.

The experience of the farmer is a lot like fatherhood, motherhood, parenthood. You have children, and you do your best to raise them right. But there are so many other factors that play into their development, physically, emotionally, spiritually. You hope for the best. You watch for them to mature and you celebrate the milestones. But you know your job isnt finished, and their life isnt completely settled when they turn 18, or 21, or 30 or even 65. Someone called that the in between state, the time between planting and harvest, the time between any beginning and its ending, the magical middle.

We always seem to be living in the middle of something.

Consider this, you begin some kind of task. You start a job, or you get married, or you join a church. Time passes, you learn new skills, you take on new responsibilities, you see things happen. You grow, you change, you do things you never thought you could do. And all this seems to be following some plan, some design, coming from somewhere outside yourself. Its coming from God who is greater than we are, and we often dont understand how or why these things happen.

The path is not always a straight line upward. There are going to be challenges and risks. There will be failures and losses. It wont seem like it at the time, but even they serve their purposes. Sometimes we struggle to see where Go is guiding us. But Hes always there. He always has a plan.

In this parable, there is a good ending, there is a harvest. The work the farmer does, the hope he has for good results, his trust in Gods process has a good ending. So does the Christian gospel. God created the cosmos. Before Christ comes again, and the world as we know it will change dramatically, we live in the Magical Middle. Maybe Miraculous Middle would be a better term. We see this throughout the Bible.

The Bible is a record of human foibles and Gods great miraculous acts: Noah and the Flood, the seemingly impossible promise to Abraham, Israels slavery and their redemption which included passing through the Red Sea, the Babylonian Exile and the return. Then theres Jesus: his humble birth, his baptism and temptation, his miracles and teaching, and then his death, resurrection and ascension. God and his people, including us, always seem to be between a beginning and an ending, which is never quite the final ending. We live in the Miraculous Middle of Gods time, waiting for his everlasting Kingdom to come. Hang in there and enjoy the ride.

My third point is that, although we are not yet living in the life beyond this world, we are living in Gods kingdom on earth, which is the church. When I say church, I dont mean any congregation or denomination. I mean all the people who love and serve our Lord. We may not feel like we are in Gods Kingdom. Thats because our expectations of what that earthly Kingdom looks like is not Gods vision for His earthly Kingdom at this time. Consider our Old Testament reading:

In the prophecy God gave Ezekiel, Israel, Gods people, us, are described as a tall cedar tree on a high mountain. Thats a symbol of strength and power. That is how things will be when Christ comes again, evil is defeated once and for all, and we live in Gods peace. Thats the ultimate, complete Kingdom. Were not there yet.

In the meanwhile, Christ has a different vision for his Kingdom, the church, us, in between his first and second advent. He doesnt compare us to a stately cedar, he tells us we are like a shrubbery, a bush. Churches dont have a lot of power or wealth; we dont have the things that the world admires, and thinks are important. But we do have a purpose and a job to do. As humble as they might be, they are extremely important.

From the seed of the Apostlesteaching (like a tiny mustard seed), the church has grown, and Christ is praised and proclaimed all over the world. Using the meager resources we have; we reach out with the gospel wherever we can. Mustering the resources we can, we try to serve our neighbors in need. Our work isnt much noticed, no one would call it glamorous or glorious, but we are useful. We play the role God gives us in building up His Kingdom. In that way, we are most blessed. One day the harvest will be in, and all that we have waited for will be accomplished for us by our Heavenly Father, whose Holy Name we praise. Amen.



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.


Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.

O Most High, we give thanks to You that You have planted Your Holy Word among us. Give healthy growth to Your Church, that she may weather the storm-winds of this world steadfast in Christ, ever bearing the fruits of love and singing praises to Your name. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father, we are bold to ask for all things because You have given us Your Spirit as a guarantee. Hear us as we intercede in Jesus’ name for those in every need [especially _____________]. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

O God, we groan under many burdens in this earthly tent and long to be clothed with Your eternal life, which will swallow up all mortal sorrow. Give good courage to Your servants [especially those who mourn the death of _____________] to walk by faith and not sight, to mourn our dead in the hope of the resurrection, and to make it our aim to please You while here in the body, until at last we are at home with Christ. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Heavenly Father, from whom all fatherhood is named, we give You thanks for earthly fathers. Give them confidence in their station and zeal for their task to care for their families faithfully. Make them examples to their children of godly life and love of Your Word. Bless their work of bringing up children in the fear and instruction of the Lord, and give them the comfort of Your absolution over all their shortcomings. Gather us together with all our fathers to Your eternal household; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


Offertory Invitation

Let us with joy and gratitude present the offerings and oblations of our life and labor to the Lord.

Choir Anthem Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place (Wolfe & Schrader"


Offertory LSB 192

C Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free spirit. Amen.

Offertory Prayer

Lord God, send your Spirit upon us as we offer you these gifts. Enrich us by your grace, strengthen us with your blessing, and keep us always in your love. Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



P The Lord be with you.

C And also with you.

P Lift up your hearts.

C We lift them to the Lord.

P Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

C It is right to give Him thanks and praise.

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, out of love for His fallen creation, humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant, becoming obedient unto death, even death upon a cross. Risen from the dead, He has freed us from eternal death and given us life everlasting. Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:


C Holy, holy, holy Lord God of powr and might:

Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.

Hosanna. Hosanna.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

The Words of Our Lord

P On the night, in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, take, eat; this is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me. In the same also, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, shed for you and for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Do this 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

C 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.


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

C Amen.

Agnus Dei

C 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.


The pastor and those who assist him receive the body and blood of Christ first and then distribute them to those who come to receive, saying:

Distribution 164

The body of Christ, given for you.


The blood of Christ, shed for you.



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

C Thank the Lord and sing His praise; tell evryone what He has done.

Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and proudly bear His name.

He recalls His promises and leads His people forth in joy

with shouts of thanksgiving. Alleluia, alleluia.

Post-Communion Prayer

P P: 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.

C Amen.


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 Tgive you peace.

C Amen.

921 On What Has Now Been Sown LSB 921

1 On what has now been sown
Thy blessing, Lord, bestow;
The powr is Thine alone
To make it sprout and grow.
Do Thou in grace the harvest raise,
And Thou alone shalt have the praise!

2 To Thee our wants are known,
From Thee are all our powrs;
Accept what is Thine own
And pardon what is ours.
Our praises, Lord, and prayers receive,
And to Thy Word a blessing give.

3 O grant that each of us,
Now met before Thee here,
May meet together thus
When Thou and Thine appear
And follow Thee to heavn, our home.
en so, amen, Lord Jesus, come!

Text: John Newton, 1725–1807, alt.
Text: Public domain


P Go in Peace! Serve the Lord!

C Praise be to God!


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.

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