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Online Worship for Sunday, September 27, 2020
17th Sunday after Pentecost
Good evening (and morning), Ascension!

A request was made to make services available on Saturday evenings. It's our goal to have service posted by 6:00 p.m.. As you can tell, we didn't quite make that mark this evening due to technical difficulties, but we'll try again next week! The thought behind this is that you can watch the service whenever you wish, but having the option to watch earlier could free up Sundays for education and fellowship!

Don't forget... our Zoom Coffee Hour is Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.! CLICK HERE for the links to join. 

-Ascension Staff
Prelude
About Strange Lands and People

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Gathering Hymn:
Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun

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Greeting

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Confession and Forgiveness

Blessed be the holy Trinity, + one God, who creates, redeems, and sustains all of creation. Amen.
 
Silence is kept for reflection.
 
Faithful God,
have mercy on us.
We confess that we are captive to sin and cannot free ourselves.
We turn from your loving embrace and go our own ways.
We pass judgment on one another before examining ourselves.
We place our own needs before those of our neighbors.
We keep your gift of salvation to ourselves.
Make us humble, cast away our transgressions,
and turn us again to life in you through Jesus Christ,                                                               
our Savior and Lord.
Amen.

 
God hears the cries of those who call out in need, and through his death and resurrection, Christ has made us his own. Hear the truth that God proclaims: Your sins are forgiven in the name of + Jesus Christ.  Led by the Holy Spirit, live in freedom and newness to do God’s work in the world. Amen.
Prayer of the Day

Let us pray. A brief silence is kept before the prayer.
God of love, giver of life, you know our frailties and failings. Give us your grace to overcome them, keep us from those things that harm us, and guide us in the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
First Reading: Exekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Ezekiel challenges those who think they cannot change because of what their parents were and did, or who think they cannot turn from their wicked ways. God insistently invites people to turn and live. 

A reading from the Prophet Ezekiel

The word of the LORD came to me: 2What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, "The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge"? 3As I live, says the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die. 25Yet you say, "The way of the LORD is unfair." Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 26When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. 27Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. 28Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. 29Yet the house of Israel says, "The way of the LORD is unfair." O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? 30Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.
 
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

Psalm 25:1-9
Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love. (Ps. 25:6)
 
1To | you, O LORD, I lift | up my soul.
2My God, I put my trust in you; let me not be | put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph | over me.
3Let none who look to you be | put to shame; rather let those be put to shame | who are treacherous.
4Show me your | ways, O LORD, and teach | me your paths. R
5Lead me in your | truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all | the day long. 
6Remember, O LORD, your compas- | sion and love, for they are from | everlasting.
7Remember not the sins of my youth and | my transgressions; remember me according to your steadfast love and for the sake of your good- | ness, O LORD.
8You are gracious and up- | right, O LORD; therefore you teach sinners | in your way.
9You lead the low- | ly in justice and teach the low- | ly your way. R

Second Reading: Philippians 2:1-13
As part of a call for harmony rather than self-seeking, Paul uses a very early Christian hymn that extols the selflessness of Christ in his obedient death on the cross. Christ's selfless perspective is to be the essential perspective we share as the foundation for Christian accord.
 
A Reading from the letter to the Philippians

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, 2make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3Do nothing from selfish ambition or
conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. 4Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of
others. 5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my
absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
 
The Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
 
Alleluia. My sheep hear my voice, | says the Lord;* I know them and they | follow me. Alleluia. (John 10:27)
Gospel Reading: Matthew 22:23-32
After driving the moneychangers out of the temple (21:12), Jesus begins teaching there. His authority is questioned by the religious leaders, who are supposed to be in charge of the temple.
 
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Glory to you, O Lord
 
23When [Jesus] entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?" 24Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. 25Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?" And they argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe him?' 26But if we say, 'Of human origin,' we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet." 27So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 28What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work in the vineyard today.' 29He answered, 'I will not'; but later he changed his mind and went. 30The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, 'I go, sir'; but he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him."

The Gospel of our Lord
Praise to you, O Christ
Sermon:
A New Heart and New Spirit: Or On Gaining New Sight

[Click here for the full text.]
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Hymn of the Day:
Come Down, O Love Divine

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Apostles Creed
 
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
 
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's 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 to the dead.
On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
 
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.
Prayers of Intercession
Drawn together in the compassion of God, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need.
 
A brief silence.
 
In all the world, give your church unity. Inspire all the baptized with the mind of Christ. Where the church is powerful and where it struggles, shape us with humility and obedience so that your love may be at work in us. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Your Son took on all of bodily life in our world, even to death. Preserve and keep your creation, O God. Help us mend and redeem places that are polluted and damaged, so that all of creation confesses you as Lord.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Turn the nations toward life. Where our ways are unfair, give us new hearts and new spirits. Where sin permeates our cultures and institutions (especially), change our minds and teach us to trust your authority. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Our lives are yours, O God. Relieve the suffering of those who are ill in body, mind, or spirit. Defend the lives and welfare of children who are abused or neglected, hungry or exploited, bullied or lonely. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
Turn this congregation away from our own interests toward the interests of others.
Fill us with your compassion and sympathy. Bless ministries of care in our community (especially); make us into signs of your mercy and justice for our neighbors.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Here other intercessions may be offered, such as those found in the We Pray For insert.
 
Thank you for those who have gone into the kingdom ahead of us—tax collectors and prostitutes, likely and unlikely, obedient and slow to learn. By their witness, teach us to confess Jesus Christ as Lord in life and in death. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
 
All these things and whatever else you see that we need, we entrust to your mercy; through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Let us now pray for all those things for which our Lord would have us ask.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.
Amen.


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Peace
 
The peace of Christ be with you always. 
And also with you.
Offering Prayer
 
Blessed are you, O God, maker of all things. You have set before us these gifts of your good creation. Prepare us for your heavenly banquet, nourish us with this rich food and drink, and send us forth to set tables in the midst of a suffering world, through the bread of life, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

 
Blessing

Mothering God, Father, +Son, and Holy Spirit, bless you and lead you into the way of truth. Amen.
Sending Hymn:
Voices Raised to You

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Dismissal
 
Go in peace. Remember the poor.
Thanks be to God.
Postlude
Andante

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You are invited to take part in a Live Zoom Fellowship Gathering Gathering at 11:00 a.m.
Click here for more information!
Suggested Household Meal Celebration

Gather around your table at home and share bread and wine/grape juice in remembrance of Communion as happened at Emmaus. Then read from the Emmaus Story in Luke’s Gospel  (Luke 24:13-35) or 1 Corinthians 11:23-28, break bread and wine/grape juice, share it, and say words like "Jesus Loves You" or "The Grace of God be with you" or other words that echo Jesus’ ministry of being at table with people.”
 
A possible introduction to the meal:  “All are invited to the common table. At this table we come as brothers and sisters in the Holy Family of God. Taste and see that God is good.”
 
At the conclusion: “As we share this bread and drink, we thank you, God for our daily bread, for the food which delights and nourishes us, and for the companionship that sustains us as followers of Christ. We thank you, too, for drink to quench our thirst and for the Living Water with which you surprise and enrich and transform our lives.”
 
A blessing, “Giving God, bless all who have gathered round these tables. May we know the fullness of your presence at every meal and in all our sharing of food with the hungry and drink with the thirsty.” Amen.
 
Let us remind ourselves of the many times that Jesus shared meals. Jesus desires that no one be hungry. Let us know that we are heirs of that tradition of bounty and let us pray and work so that those who do not have food around the world may receive in abundance.
 
Blessings, Pr. Nancy
Stay tuned to the website and e-news for updates--and reach out to your friends, family, and neighbors--both from Ascension and beyond. Help how you can safely, even if it is nothing more than a comforting voice to someone on the phone. Also, we've been asked what the best ways are of keeping up giving. You can read Gene's response by CLICKING HERE.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" -Fred Rogers
CLICK HERE for more great worship content, including recordings of live services, a great archive of messages from the Bishop and others around the Synod, music, etc.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

Liturgy Reprinted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, copyright 2006.

Used by permission of  Augsburg Fortress license # 1408- ELW

About Strange Lands  and People
By Robert Schumann
Played by Dr. Ann Gnagey
Videography by Julie Valliere


Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun
ELW #557
Text: Thomas Ken, 1637–1711, alt.
Music: François H. Barthélémon, 1741–1808
Sung by the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright
Accompanied by Dr. Ann Gnagey


Come Down, O Love Divine
ELW #804
Text: Bianco da Siena, d. 1434; tr. Richard F. Littledale, 1833–1890
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872–1958
Music © Oxford University Press
Sung by the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright
Accompanied by Dr. Ann Gnagey


Voices Raised to You
ELW #845
Text: Herman G. Stuempfle Jr., b. 1923
Music: Carolyn Jennings, b. 1936
Text © 1997 GIA Publications, Inc.
Music © 1996 Carolyn Jennings
Sung by the Rev. Dr. Nancy Wright
Accompanied by Dr. Ann Gnagey


Andante
By A. Valerius
Played by Dr. Ann Gnagey
Videography by Julie Valliere


Copyright © 2020 Ascension Lutheran Church, All rights reserved.



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