Worship in the Home: October 18, 2020

Posted on October 13, 2020 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 29
October 18, 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.

Sovereign God, raise your throne in our hearts. Created by you, let us live in your image; created for you, let us act for your glory; redeemed by you, let us give you what is yours, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


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

First Reading:  Isaiah 45:1-7

1Thus says the LORD to Cyrus, the Lord’s anointed,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip rulers of their robes,
to open doors before Cyrus—
and the gates shall not be closed:
2I will go before you
and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the LORD,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I surname you, though you do not know me.
5I am the LORD, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
I make weal and create woe;
I the LORD do all these things.

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


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

Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]

1Sing to the LORD | a new song;
sing to the LORD,  | all the earth.
2Sing to the LORD, bless the name | of the LORD;
proclaim God’s salvation from | day to day.
3Declare God’s glory a- | mong the nations
and God’s wonders a- | mong all peoples.
4For great is the LORD and greatly | to be praised,
more to be feared | than all gods.
5As for all the gods of the nations, they | are but idols;
but you, O LORD, have | made the heavens.
6Majesty and magnificence are | in your presence;
power and splendor are in your | sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the LORD, you families | of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD hon- | or and power.
8Ascribe to the LORD the honor due the | holy name;
bring offerings and enter the courts | of the LORD.
9Worship the LORD in the beau- | ty of holiness;
tremble before the LORD,  | all the earth.
[10Tell it out among the nations: “The | LORD is king!
The one who made the world so firm that it cannot be moved will judge the peo- | ples with equity.”
11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the | earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it; let the field be joyful and all that | is therein.
12Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy at your com- | ing, O LORD,
for you come to | judge the earth.
13You will judge the | world with righteousness
and the peoples | with your truth.]


Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that God has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for God’s Son from heaven, whom God raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

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


Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22

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

15The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap Jesus in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to Jesus, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then Jesus said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

In this account, found in all three synoptic Gospels, Jesus says we should pay our taxes. Only, for us, there is no Caesar. Our commitment is to functioning government, to government “by the people.”  When we are the government, we should gladly pay our taxes, but, even more, we should give what belongs to our shared government by voting. And we should endeavor to see that the taxes are spent justly, especially to aid the most vulnerable, like Cyrus letting the captive people go. That all is what Luther would call God’s “left hand,” in which God mysteriously governs the world through the powers that be. But what about God’s “right hand?”  Jesus Christ, the one who is being threatened with arrest and death in this story, is himself the very image of God. He is our head. His cross finally holds together and inscribes all things. Everything is God’s, not only the government. By the power of the Spirit, Jesus gives life and salvation to us in his word and — when we can come to it — in his supper, so that, like Paul and the Thessalonians, we can in turn give thanks for, pray for, and give to the earth and our neighbor. That is giving to God what is God’s.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 841), O God of Every Nation” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 713). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

Lift Every Voice and Sing


Then pray these intercessions:

With confidence in God’s grace and mercy, let us pray for the church, the world, and all those in need, responding to each petition with the words “In mercy, receive our prayers.”

A brief silence.

We pray for the church around the world: that church leaders be supported in their ministries, especially pastors (names); that national and local churches receive the necessary funding to accomplish their tasks; and that, hearing you call us by name, we join with all the baptized to give you praise, even in this time of great trouble.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Redeemer:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for the earth, the lands, the waters, the animals: that what has been destroyed or harmed be renewed; that the wildness of both storms and viruses be tamed; and that all people become faithful stewards of your good creation.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Creator:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for the nations of the world: that violence between and within nations cease; that ELCA World Hunger, the World Food Programme of the United Nations, and other relief agencies be enabled to feed those who face starvation; that elections in the world’s democracies be conducted fairly; and that the people of our country shun acts of hostility and sedition.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Sovereign:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for a right use of taxation: that laws concerning taxes reflect justice for all; that tax monies be directed to worthy uses; and that citizens honestly pay what is fairly charged, so that our nation may be maintained.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Judge:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

On this day commemorating St. Luke, we pray for all ministries of healing: that hospitals and clinics receive adequate resources; that medical care be improved in neighborhoods of poverty, in prisons, and in refugee camps; that physicians and nurses be upheld; and that kindly hospice care be available to the dying.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Healer:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray for all in need: for all who suffer from the coronavirus; for all who are living with  high anxiety; for those who are unemployed; for those evicted from their housing; for all who experience prejudice based on skin color, ethnicity, or economic status; for those we name here before you. .  .  .
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Comforter:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We pray finally for ourselves: that you give us steadfastness in faith and love; and that you hear the petitions of our hearts.
A longer period of silence.

You are great, O God, our Friend:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

We praise you for the centuries of the faithful who have died in the faith, especially today for the evangelist Luke, and for those we remember in our hearts. . . . That at the end you will welcome us all into your presence, we pray.
A brief silence.

You are great, O God, our Hope:
in mercy, receive our prayers.

Hear us when we call upon you, O God, and enfold in your loving arms all for whom we pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you might now sing or read; “God of Grace and God of Glory” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 705); “When Our Song Says Peace” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 709). Links to hymns in the public domain are provided below.

God of Grace and God of Glory


Then conclude with these prayers:

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

Glory to you, O God, for your creative Word:
making and mending all things,
evoking the cosmic hymn of praise,
and singing a love-song for your beloved:
your vineyard, your flock, your people.
With all creation we sing, Glory!  Glory!

Blessed are you for your liberating Word:
speaking through Moses and the prophets,
encountered in the Gospels,
and proclaimed in the assembly:
your freedom, forgiveness, and life for the world.
With the whole world we say, Blessing!  Blessing!

Holy are you, O God, for your living Word:
among us wherever we gather,
welcoming everyone to your feast,
and, with grace and generosity,
bringing to earth the kingdom of heaven.
With saints and angels, we cry, Holy!  Holy!

Clothe us in your loving Spirit,
flowing from the Crucified and Risen One,
and keep us awake to your presence
in the people and places you call us to serve.
Glory, praise, and blessing are yours, Holy God,
now and forever. Amen.  Amen.


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: “For the Sake of the World;” “I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills;” “O God Beyond All Praising.”

Luke, Evangelist, October 18
Identified as the author of both Luke and Acts, Luke was careful to place the events of Jesus’ life in their social and religious contexts. His gospel gives us some of the most beloved parables, as well as the songs of Zechariah, Mary, the angels, and Simeon.

Readings for the Week:
Monday (Luke, Evangelist) Luke 1:1-4; 24:44-53. Tuesday Daniel 3:19-30. Wednesday Matthew 17:22-27. Thursday Psalm 1. Friday (commemoration of James of Jerusalem, martyr, died around 62) Titus 2:7-8, 11-15. Saturday John 5:39-47. Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18, Psalm 1; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46.

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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