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Worship for Sunday, January 8, 2023: Baptism of Our Lord
In the waters of the Jordan, Jesus is revealed as the beloved Son of God. Through this great epiphany, Jesus fulfills all righteousness and becomes the servant of God who will bring forth justice and be a light to the nations. In the waters of baptism we too are washed by the Word, anointed by the Spirit, and named God’s beloved children. Our baptismal mission is to proclaim good news to all who are oppressed or in need of God’s healing.
Worship for Sunday, January 1, 2023: First Sunday of Christmas
As we celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas, our gospel reading today confronts us with the death of innocent children at the hands of Herod. The birth of Christ does not remove the power of evil from our world, but its light gives us hope as we walk with all the "holy innocents" of past generations and today who have suffered unjustly. In our gathering around word and meal, God continues to redeem us, lift us up, and carry us as in days of old.
Worship for December 24 & 25, 2022: Christmas Worship
Worship for Sunday, December 18, 2022: Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today Isaiah prophesies that a young woman will bear a son and name him Emmanuel. The gospel is Matthew’s account of the annunciation and birth of the one named Emmanuel, God-with-us. During these final days of Advent we pray, “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” a beloved hymn based on ancient prayers appointed for the seven days preceding Christmas. On this final Sunday in Advent, we prepare to celebrate the birth of the one born to save us from the power of sin and death.
Worship for Sunday, December 11, 2022: Third Sunday of Advent
A note of joyful expectation marks today’s worship. Isaiah announces that the desert shall rejoice and blossom. Jesus points to signs of God’s reign: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear. We wait with patience for the coming of the Lord, even as we rejoice at his presence among us this day: in word and holy supper, in church and in our homes, in silent reflection and in works of justice and love. We pray that God would open eyes and ears to the wonders of Christ’s advent among us.
Worship for Sunday, December 4, 2022: Second Sunday of Advent
At the heart of our Advent preparation stands John the Baptist, who calls us to repent and make a new beginning. As the darkness increases, we turn toward the light of Christ’s coming. For Christians he is the root of Jesse, the righteous judge who welcomes all, especially the poor and meek of the earth. We wait with hope for that day when the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and there will be no more hurt or destruction. From the Lord’s table we are sent in the spirit of John the Baptist too proclaim that in Christ the kingdom of God has come near.
Worship for Sunday, November 27, 2022: First Sunday of Advent
The new church year begins with a wake-up call: Christ is coming soon! In today’s reading Jesus challenges us to wake from sleep, for we know neither the day nor hour of the Lord’s coming. Isaiah proclaims the day when God will gather all people on the holy mountain and there will be no more war or suffering. Though we vigilantly watch for the promised day of salvation, we wait for what we already have: Christ comes among us this day as the word and meal that strengthens our faith in the promises of God.
Worship for November 24, 2022: Day of Thanksgiving
Every gathering for worship has elements of thanksgiving. When we are nourished with God’s bounty in holy communion, when we partake of Jesus’ word that gives life to the world, and even when two or three of us simply join our hearts in prayer to make our requests known to God, we do so “with thanksgiving.” Let us give thanks to God, who is good and whose mercy endures forever.
Worship for Sunday, November 20, 2022: Christ the King Sunday
Jeremiah’s promise of the execution of “justice and righteousness in the land” finds ironic fulfillment in the execution of Jesus of Nazareth. It appears utterly contradictory that a king should be crucified with a criminal. This victory appears for all the world as humiliating defeat. Yet through the gate of death Jesus opens the door to paradise.
Worship for Sunday, November 13, 2022: Time After Pentecost
The tone of today’s texts is ominous. The end is near. There is no doubt about it. The warnings are dire. But the baptized know how to live in the meantime. The baptized are strengthened for the living of these days in word and sacrament. The baptized rally around the invitation of the apostle: “Do not be weary in doing what is right.”
Worship for Sunday, November 6, 2022: All Saints Sunday
In holy baptism God makes saints out of sinners. In holy communion God forgives the sins of all the saints. In worship today we give thanks for all the saints “who from their labors rest.” In the same breath we petition our God for the strength to hear and to heed the admonitions of Jesus in today’s gospel. Sealed by the Spirit and sustained by the Savior’s body and blood, we live with joy as God gives us breath, to the praise of God’s glory.
Worship for Sunday, October 30, 2022: Reformation Sunday
Rooted in the past and growing into the future, the church must always be reformed in order to live out the love of Christ in an ever-changing world. We celebrate the good news of God’s grace, that Jesus Christ sets us free every day to do this life-transforming work. Trusting in the freedom given to us in baptism, we pray for the church, that Christians will unite more fully in worship and mission.
Worship for Sunday, October 23, 2022: Time after Pentecost
Genuine repentance and pretentious piety stand in stark contrast in the gospel and all around us. All creation stands in need of God’s forgiveness. Keep the faith. God’s people shall be accounted righteous for Jesus’ sake. Our God is merciful to sinners. For this we worship and glorify God forever.
Worship for Sunday, October 16, 2022: Time after Pentecost
Pray always. Do not lose heart. This is Christ’s encouragement in the gospel today. Wrestle with the word. Remember your baptism again and again. Come regularly to Christ’s table. Persistence in our every encounter with the divine will be blessed.
Worship for Sunday, October 9, 2022: Time after Pentecost
It’s a miracle! Multiple miracles! The waters of holy baptism have healed us. The body and blood of Jesus in holy communion have made us clean. We have died with Christ and been raised with him. For all this we have returned to offer thanks. From this place we are sent on our way rejoicing to share the good news.
Worship for Sunday, October 2, 2022: Time after Pentecost
A little faith goes a long way is Jesus’ point in the gospel. A mustard seed’s-worth of faith has miraculous potential. The patience, tenacity, and endurance required for the life of faith are the blessings received in holy baptism, holy communion, and the word read and proclaimed in this assembly. Anticipated them. Receive them with thanksgiving.
Worship for Sunday, September 25, 2022: Time after Pentecost
Consideration of and care of those in need (especially those “at our gate,” visible to us, of who we are aware) is an essential component of good stewardship. It is in the sharing of wealth that we avoid the snare of wealth. It is the one whom could not hold—who comes to us risen from the dead—who can free us from the death grip of greed.
Worship for Sunday, September 18, 2022: Time after Pentecost
As we are invited today to consider what it means to be managers (rather than owners) of all that we have, it is crucial to recognize that we are bought with a price. “Christ Jesus, himself human…gave himself a ransom for all.” Apart from the generosity of God we have nothing—we are nothing. By God’s gracious favor we have everything we need.
Worship for Sunday, September 11, 2022: Time after Pentecost
The grumbling of the religious leaders in today’s gospel reading is actually our holy hope: This Jesus welcomes sinners and eats with them. That our God seeks and saves the lost is not only a holy hope, it is our only hope. As the writer of 1 Timothy reminds us, “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Thanks be to God.
Worship for Sunday, September 4, 2022: Time after Pentecost
Called to contemplate the cost of discipleship today, we reflect on how a life of discipleship encompasses all of our life. How is our faith active in the world? How is our faith active in love towards our neighbors? What does it mean to follow Christ with all of our life?
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Hayward Lutheran and Trondhjem Lutheran are congeregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Southeastern Minnesota Synod. For more info on the ELCA or the SE MN Synod, please visit www.elca.org, or www.semnsynod.org.