Worship in the Home: August 22, 2021

Posted on August 17, 2021 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 21, Year B
August 22, 2021

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.

Since spring 2020, “Worship in the Home” has been a resource for any who could not join in-person or virtual worship during this pandemic time. The final installment of “Worship in the Home” will be released on Aug. 31 (for Sunday, Sept. 5). Weekly prayers of intercession continue to be provided with a subscription to SundaysandSeasons.com. As always, you are encouraged to adapt it for local use. Occasional topical worship resources can be found at ELCA.org/worship.

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle and place a bowl of water in remembrance of your baptism. One person may lead 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.
Holy God, your word feeds your people with life that is eternal. Direct our choices and preserve us in your truth, that, renouncing what is false and evil, we may live in you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.



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

First Reading: Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18

1Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. 2aAnd Joshua said to all the people, 14“Now therefore revere the LORD, and serve the LORD in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the deities that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

16Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; 17for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. The LORD protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; 18and the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for the LORD is our God.”

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


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

Psalm 34:15-22

15The eyes of the LORD are up- | on the righteous,
and God’s ears are open | to their cry.
16The face of the LORD is against those | who do evil,
to erase the remembrance of them | from the earth.
17The righteous cry, and | the LORD hears them
and delivers them from | all their troubles.
18The LORD is near to the | brokenhearted
and saves those whose spir- | its are crushed. R
19Many are the troubles | of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers them from | every one.
20God will keep safe | all their bones;
not one of them | shall be broken.
21Evil will bring death | to the wicked
and those who hate the righteous | will be punished.
22O LORD, you redeem the life | of your servants,
and those who put their trust in you will | not be punished.


Second Reading: Ephesians 6:10-20

10Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of the Lord’s power. 11Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

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


Gospel: John 6:56-69

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

[Jesus said,] 56“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.

60When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” 61But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? 62Then what if you were to see the Son-of-Man ascending to where he was before? 63It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. 65And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

66Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. 67So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

For the past four Sundays we have heard from the lectionary that Jesus truly gives himself to us and that he does so like multiplied loaves, like bread in the wilderness where we thought bread could not be, like food that enables us to see God, and like wisdom’s feast healing our foolishness. On this Sunday we read once more from the Bread of Life chapter of John’s Gospel. Only now we are called not to turn away from this gift, however offensive Jesus’ language may seem, however difficult it is to believe that his death for us is food and drink, his flesh and blood the way he abides in us, his word life-giving bread. The form of Peter’s confession in this Fourth Gospel is here: Jesus Christ has the words of eternal life. We join with Joshua and with Peter to cleave to this life, not letting it go. By the gift of the Spirit we are clothed with it: truth, righteousness, faith, the promise of salvation, and the very word of God all become “armor” for us as we engage in a strange sort of battle: stopping evil, doing whatever enables us to proclaim peace for our world, and persevering in prayer for all of God’s people. Christ feeds us. The Spirit outfits us. God holds and sends us. So each of us and the whole assembly are gathered into the Trinity.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “You Are the Way” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 758), O Jesus, I Have Promised” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 810). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

You Are the Way

O Jesus, I Have Promised


Then pray these intercessions:

From our homes and our assemblies, indoors and outside, we join together in prayer, responding to each petition with words that echo today’s psalm, “We put our trust in you.”

A brief silence.

For the church around the world,
For congregations that are struggling financially,
For pastors and deacons, staff, and committee members, as they make plans for the autumn,
And for strength for the baptized to resist the evil powers of this world,

A brief silence.

O supreme Savior, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

For the earth that you created,
For the restoration of the areas devastated by wildfires,
For a lowering of high temperatures, 
And for the will to preserve your creation,

A brief silence.

O majestic Maker, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

For the nations of the world, 
For the people of Afghanistan,
For wisdom in the deployment of our military,
For our legislators as they consider the way forward from January 6, 
For an end to historic and continuing prejudices,
And for a passion for justice and equality in our land, 

A brief silence.

O peaceful Protector, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

For travelers and vacationers,
For youth leaving home for college, 
For the aged living apart from family members, 
And for constancy in our care for one another, 

A brief silence.

O gracious Guardian, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

For those who are in need,
For the people of Haiti,
For all who are imprisoned, 
For those contracting the coronavirus, especially the children,
For those who this week will receive a disturbing diagnosis,
And for those whom we name here before you,  . . .

A brief silence.

O holy Healer, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

For each one of us,
For our households,
And for perseverance in doing what is right, 

A longer period of silence.

O faithful Friend, receive my prayer:
we put our trust in you.

In thanksgiving for all who have died in the faith,
In gladness for the life of our loved ones,
And in hope for your mercy at the end of time,

A brief silence.

O ceaseless Comforter, receive our prayer:
we put our trust in you.

Receive these prayers, O God, and those in our hearts known only to you; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” (All Creation Sings 942), Blessed Assurance” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 638). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Every Time I Feel the Spirit

Blessed Assurance


Then conclude with these prayers:

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

Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our 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:

Almighty God bless us,
defend us from all evil,
and bring us to everlasting 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:Come, My Way, My Truth;” “Bread of the World;” “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent.”


Readings for the Week:
Monday Psalm 119:97-104. Tuesday (Bartholomew, Apostle) John 1:43-51. Wednesday Isaiah 33:10-16. Thursday Psalm 15. Friday James 1:9-16. Saturday (commemoration of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, 430); Moses the Black, monk, martyr, c. 400) John 18:28-32. Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9; Psalm 15; James 1:17-27; Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23.


Visit ELCA.org/Lectionary for a full listing of readings assigned to each day.

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 and selected hymns for limited use. To purchase copies of Evangelical Lutheran Worship and All Creation Sings for the home, visit the Augsburg Fortress website or call 1-800-328-4648. Selected hymns from All Creation Sings are provided for limited use.

Reflection text: Gordon Lathrop. Intercessory Prayer: Gail Ramshaw.

Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, All Creation Sings, and sundaysandseasons.com © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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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