Worship in the Home: October 4, 2020

Posted on September 29, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 27
October 4, 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.

Beloved God, from you come all things that are good. Lead us by the inspiration of your Spirit to know those things that are right, and by your merciful guidance, help us to do them, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


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

First Reading:  Isaiah 5:1-7

1Let me sing for my beloved
my love-song concerning my beloved’s vineyard:
“My beloved had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.
2My beloved dug it and cleared it of stones,
and planted it with choice vines;
built a watchtower in the midst of it,
and hewed out a wine vat in it,
and expected it to yield grapes,
but it yielded wild grapes.”
3And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem
and people of Judah,
judge between me
and my vineyard.
4What more was there to do for my vineyard
that I have not done in it?
When I expected it to yield grapes,
why did it yield wild grapes?

5And now I will tell you
what I will do to my vineyard.
I will remove its hedge,
and it shall be devoured;
I will break down its wall,
and it shall be trampled down.
6I will make it a waste;
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns;
I will also command the clouds
that they rain no rain upon it.

7For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts
is the house of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are God’s pleasant planting;
for the LORD expected justice,
but saw bloodshed;
but heard a cry!

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


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

Psalm 80:7-15

7Restore us, O | God of hosts;
let your face shine upon us, and we | shall be saved.
8You have brought a vine | out of Egypt;
you cast out the nations and | planted it.
9You cleared the | ground for it;
it took root and | filled the land.
10The mountains were covered | by its shadow
and the towering cedar trees | by its boughs.
11You stretched out its tendrils | to the sea
and its branches | to the river.
12Why have you broken | down its wall,
so that all who pass by pluck | off its grapes?
13The wild boar of the forest has | ravaged it,
and the beasts of the field have | grazed upon it.
14Turn now, O | God of hosts,
look | down from heaven;
15behold and | tend this vine;
preserve what your right | hand has planted.


Second Reading: Philippians 3:4b-14

[Paul writes:] 4bIf anyone else has reason to be confident in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, a member of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

7Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. 8More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. 10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, 11if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.

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


Gospel: Matthew 21:33-46

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

[Jesus said:] 33“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug a wine press in it, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenants and went to another country. 34When the harvest time had come, he sent his slaves to the tenants to collect his produce. 35But the tenants seized his slaves and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36Again he sent other slaves, more than the first; and they treated them in the same way. 37Finally he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 38But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and get his inheritance.’ 39So they seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. 40“Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41They said to Jesus, “The owner will put those wretches to a miserable death, and lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the produce at the harvest time.”
42Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:
‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is amazing in our eyes’?
43Therefore I tell you, the dominion of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of it. 44The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and it will crush anyone on whom it falls.”

45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they realized that he was speaking about them. 46They wanted to arrest him, but they feared the crowds, because the people regarded him as a prophet.

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

Here is an old biblical allegory: Israel is a vineyard from which God, as the vineyard owner, expects to see the good wine of justice and righteousness produced. That image is present in two of our readings as well as the Psalm today. We would misuse this allegory, however, if we make it anti-Semitic, as too many Christians have. We ourselves are now the tenants of that vineyard. We are the ones who have contributed to injustice, to the weeping of the misused, even to bloodshed. The son has died because of us. Still, these texts really are a love-song. We are accused because God loves us, wishing to turn us to hear the gospel. For us, Christ is the rejected stone that has become the corner-stone. In mercy, Christ Jesus has made us his own. In the Spirit, he gives us the good wine of himself. Then, in the power of the resurrection and even by sharing his sufferings, we may begin again to do justice for our neighbors in this needy world.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “There in God’s Garden” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 342), “Lord, Christ, When First You Came to Earth” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 727). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

Lord Christ, When First You Came to Earth


Then pray these intercessions:

Today, October 4, is St. Francis’ Day. Francis cared fervently for the church, the earth and its animals, peace, and the poor. Let us now pray for these concerns, responding to each petition with the words “in mercy, receive our prayers.”

A brief silence.

God most high, we pray for the church: for our bishop, our pastors and deacons, and our own congregation; for the ministry of Pope Francis; for the work of Franciscan friars and sisters; and for churches that are struggling with few resources. A brief silence. That all the baptized may produce good fruit, sowing faith where there is doubt, we pray to you, O God our Redeemer:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for the earth and its animals: for farmlands; for animals whose habitat is threatened; for livestock; for all the animals that we raise for human use; for service animals; and for our dear pets. A brief silence. That the earth may be sustained with your care, and that we will sow joy where there is sadness, we pray to you, O God our Creator:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for peace: between nations; in our cities; among political rivals; throughout our coming election; between generations; between long-time citizens and new immigrants; in our churches and in our homes. A brief silence. That we may become instruments of your peace, sowing union where there is discord, we pray to you, O God, our Peacemaker:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for those who are poor: for those who are unemployed; for migrants; for those who are marginalized by prejudice; for orphans; for school children with no digital access. A brief silence. That we may give assistance where there is poverty and need, we pray to you, O God our Provider:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for all who are suffering: for those laid low by the coronavirus; for those who like Francis have painful eye disease; for those living with anxiety; for those whose sorrow is known only to you; for those who will die this day; and for those whose names we call out to you here: . . . A brief silence. That we may sow hope where there is despair, we pray to you, O God our Comforter:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray, finally for ourselves. Strengthen our faith in Christ, and hear our personal petitions. A longer period of silence. That we may sow pardon where there is injury and love where there has been hatred, we pray to you, O God our Healer:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We praise you, God most high, for all the faithful who have gone before us into the fullness of your life, especially this week the Lutheran pastors Theodor Fliedner and Henry Melchoir Muhlenberg. A brief silence. That at our end, where there is darkness, we will join in your light forever, we pray to you, O God, Eternal One:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

Enfold in your loving arms all for whom we pray, as we trust in your salvation through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.



If you have a hymnal, you might now sing or read; “Jesus Loves Me” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 595); “The Church of Christ, in Every Age” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 729). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

Jesus Loves Me!


Then conclude with these prayers:

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.

Gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, rich in love, we bless your name and give you thanks. In our need, you make haste to help us. You plant us beside streams of your wisdom, teach us in pastures greening with truth, and guide us on the path of your promise. By your Spirit awaken our faith, that, feasting on your Word, we may love you more fully and serve our neighbor more faithfully; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


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.
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.


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: “Jesus Loves Me/ We are Baptized;” “This is My Song;” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”


Commemorations for Oct. 4:
Francis of Assisi, renewer of the church, died 1226
Born into the family of a wealthy merchant, Francis gave up his inheritance to serve poor people. He formed the Order of Friars Minor (called Franciscans), who took on poverty and the task of preaching “using words if necessary.” Francis had a spirit of gratitude for all of God’s creation.

Theodor Fliedner, renewer of society, died 1864
Fliedner helped to bring about a revival of the ministry of deaconesses among Lutherans. He was influenced in this by Moravian deaconesses he had met. The motherhouse he founded in Kaiserswerth, Germany, inspired many around the world to take up this ministry.


Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 144. Tuesday (commemoration of William Tyndale, translator, martyr, died 1536) 2 Corinthians 5:17-21. Wednesday (commemoration of Hentry Melchior Muhlenberg, pastor in North America, died 1787) John 11:45-57. Thursday Psalm 23. Friday James 4:4-10. Saturday Isaiah 24:17-23. Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost Isaiah 25:1-9; Psalm 23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14.


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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