Upcoming Worship Focus


“Teaching of the Week” Preview for Service of Word and Sacrament 
The Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A); Liturgical Color: Green
August 20, 2017

This weekly study guide seeks to help us prepare for the upcoming Sunday service and teaching. 


Call to Worship
One:     O Lord, open my lips.
Many:  And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
One:     O Lord, open my lips.
Many:  And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
One:     O Lord, open my lips.
Many:  And my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Community Prayer
God of all creation, we give thanks for what you have made.  For the joy of life, for the blessings we enjoy, for the good fortune we have found, we are grateful.  At times, our gratefulness has been shattered by the way your people have spoken of one another.  We acknowledge our own capacity to curse rather than bless with our lips.  So, may all we speak be a form of praise.  May all we speak be a form of prophecy.  May all we speak be a form of resurrection.  Amen.

Sermon Focus & Title        The Stories We Could Tell                   Robert McClellan                   
Have words lost their meaning?  We live in cynical times (perhaps all times are cynical), not trusting what others are saying, and at the same time allowing untruths to be told without consequence (again, is this new?).  Scripture reminds us that our words are not “mere,” but rather are a direct reflection of what is in the heart.  Jesus teaches that what comes out of the mouth matters, while allowing us to take in whatever is helpful to, and honoring of, our neighbor.

First Reading
Psalm 133:1-3
1   How very good and pleasant it is
         when kindred live together in unity!
2   It is like the precious oil on the head,
         running down upon the beard,
    on the beard of Aaron,
         running down over the collar of his robes.
3   It is like the dew of Hermon,
         which falls on the mountains of Zion.
    For there the LORD ordained his blessing,
         life forevermore.

Second Reading
Matthew 15:10-20
10Then he called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand: 11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”

When Morning Gilds the Skies    No. 667
God Weeps with Us Who Weep and Mourn   No.787

Quotes, Questions & Prompts for Reflection, Discussion, and Prayer

“Words are things, I’m convinced.
You must be careful about the words you use or the words you allow into your house.”
-Maya Angelou

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
- John 1:1

1. Recall some of the most hurtful things said to you?  What impact have they had on your life?
2. What do you regret having said to another?
3. What has been accomplished with righteous words?
4. What has been destroyed with unrighteous words?
5. What are the limitations of words?