Worship in the Home: September 6, 2020

Posted on September 1, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 23
September 6, 2020


In this time of world-wide crisis, congregations throughout this church are not able to gather for worship as the body of Christ. While you cannot be together in person, we can hear the word of God and hold each other in prayer. We offer this brief resource as an aid for prayer in the home. As with our prayers in the gathered assembly for worship, you are encouraged to prepare or adapt them locally for your context.


Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle near where you pray. One person may lead in this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

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

Let us pray.
A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

O Lord God, enliven and preserve your church with your perpetual mercy. Without your help, we mortals will fail; remove far from us everything that is harmful, and lead us toward all that gives life and salvation, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


Then the readings for this Sunday may be read, as follows:

First Reading:  Ezekiel 33:7-11

7So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8If I say to the wicked, “O wicked ones, you shall surely die,” and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in the iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.

10Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: “Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?” 11Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways for why will you die, O house of Israel?

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


The Psalm may be sung or read in response to the First Reading.

Psalm 119:33-40

33Teach me, O LORD, the way | of your statutes,
and I shall keep it | to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I shall | keep your teaching;
I shall keep it with | all my heart.
35Lead me in the path of | your commandments,
for that is | my desire.
36Incline my heart to | your decrees
and not to |  unjust gain.
37Turn my eyes from be- | holding falsehood;
give me life | in your way.
38Fulfill your promise | to your servant,
which is for | those who fear you.
39Turn away the reproach | that I dread,
because your judg- | ments are good.
40Behold, I long for | your commandments;
by your righteousness en- | liven me.


Second Reading: Romans 13:8-14

8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

11Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.


Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20

The holy gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

[Jesus said to the disciples:] 15“If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”

The gospel of the Lord.
Praise to you, O Christ.



Having read these readings, think of this:

Let Ezekiel the prophet speak to us today, in the name of God. If we do not turn from our own sins toward the mercy of God, we will waste away and die. And we are such sinners. But in Matthew, Jesus gives us a way of mutual forgiveness. The “keys” that he gave to Peter two Sundays ago, he gives now to the whole church. When someone has offended us, we should not respond with gossip nor with announcing a grievance on social media, but with direct contact and mutual reconciliation. And in the midst of our common life, especially as we are gathered in prayer but even when we are isolated from each other, the risen Christ dwells, as he promised. He is the source of all forgiveness, the grounds of reconciliation. He dawns for us like the day. Baptized in his Spirit, we may put on Christ like clothing, which is: we may put on love for our neighbor.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 470), “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 656); “God, When Human Bonds Are Broken” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 603). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

Blest Be the Tie That Binds


Then pray these intercessions:

Drawn together by the compassion of God, we pray for the church, the world, and all those in need, responding to each petition with the words “Hear us and help us.”

Unite your church, O God. Give to all the baptized the gifts of repentance and reconciliation. Strengthen ecumenical partnerships and interracial cooperation among the churches. Guide the work of the Lutheran World Federation and the World Council of Churches.

A brief silence.

O God, Leader of the church, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Protect your creation, O God. Teach us ways to live that do not harm what you have entrusted to our care. Give to the animals the habitat they need for life. Renew and enliven places suffering from drought, flood, storms, or pollution.

A brief silence.

O God, Creator of the earth, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Bless the nations, O God. Frustrate the designs of dictators. Give to the military a clear and moral purpose. Guide legislators, civil servants, judges, and police toward the well-being of all. Infuse the coming election season with honesty and integrity.

A brief silence.

O God, Governor of the world, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Sustain us in our work, O God, and give employment to those who need it. Shape societies to ensure fair treatment for all who labor. Help us to love our neighbors in and through our work.

A brief silence.

O God, Guardian of all peoples, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Guide our civil discourse, O God. Alert us to social evils and show our nation how to end the patterns of racial injustice. Accompany all are endeavoring to bring about a renewed society. Curb the violence in our cities.

A brief silence.

O God, Haven of righteousness, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Tend to all in need, O God. Assist all friends and family members who are seeking restored relationships. Give community to the lonely and welcome to the outcast. Shelter all who are vulnerable in body, mind, or spirit, especially those we name here before you.

A brief silence.

O God, Physician of the sick, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Receive once again, O God, our plea for the end of the coronavirus. Comfort those afflicted with COVID-19 and uphold our medical workers. Give youth a sense of responsibility for others and provide the world a vaccine.

A brief silence.

O God, Healer in times of plague, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

Hear each one of us, O God, as we pray now for ourselves.

A longer period of silence.

O God, Lover of us all, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

We remember with thanksgiving those who have died in faith. As you equipped them, equip us with your protection and power, until with them we see your salvation.

A brief silence.

O God, Eternal One, in your mercy,
hear us and help us.

All these things and whatever else you see that we need, we entrust to your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you might now sing or read “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 836); “Where Charity and Love Prevail” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 359). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

We thank you, O God, for your life-giving Word,
for calling creation into being,
declaring forgiveness from the cross,
and delivering the spirit of rebirth.
We praise you, O God, for your Word:
we praise you, O God, for your Word.

Your word is a lamp lighting our path,
a mirror reflecting our selves,
a shield providing us refuge,
a fire burning for justice and truth.
Your word is sweeter than honey:
it nourishes our bodies like milk,
it sustains your people like bread.
We receive your promises, more treasured than gold.
We bless you, O God, for your Word:
we bless you, O God, for your Word.

Open our ears to your prophets, apostles, and saints,
and to all the cries of the needy.
Breathe into your church the mighty Spirit of Christ,
that heeding your voice of beauty and power
we are strengthened to serve wherever we are called.

To you, Father, Son, and Spirit – the Source, Word, and Breath —
we offer our thanks for your life-giving Word:
we offer our thanks for your life-giving Word.



Gathered into one by the Holy Spirit, let us pray as Jesus taught us:

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.
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.


Then speak the Blessing:

Mothering God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
bless you and lead you into the way of truth and life.


Devotional Music Links: For your individual or group devotion, you may choose to listen to the following choral recordings made available through Augsburg Fortress: “Here is Love,” “Jesus Calls Us.”

Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 116:65-72. Tuesday Romans 13:1-7. Wednesday (commemoration of Peter Claver, priest, missionary to Colombia, died 1654) Matthew 21:18-22. Thursday Psalm 103:[1-7] 8-13. Friday Genesis 41:53—42:17. Saturday Matthew 6:7-15. Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (commemoration of John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, died 407) Genesis 50:15-21; Psalm 103:[1-7] 8-13; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35.

Daily Prayer Resources are available, including simple forms of Morning, Evening, and Night Prayer; Responsive Prayer; and prayers for mealtimes and other occasions.

Due to copyright restrictions, we are only able to provide downloadable hymns that are in the public domain. Other suggestions provided above may be found in Evangelical Lutheran Worship. To purchase a copy of Evangelical Lutheran Worship for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and sundaysandseasons.com, © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress.

Readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts. Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

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