Worship in the Home: September 5, 2021

Posted on August 31, 2021 by ELCA Worship

Worship in the Home

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Lectionary 23, Year B
September 5, 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.

This is the final installment of “Worship in the Home.” 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.
Gracious God, throughout the ages you transform sickness into health and death into life. Open us to the power of your presence, and make us a people ready to proclaim your promises to the whole world, through Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord.



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

First Reading: Isaiah 35:4-7a

4Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
Your God will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
God will come and save you.”

5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
7athe burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water.

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


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

Psalm 146

1Hal- | lelujah!
Praise the LORD, | O my soul!
2I will praise the LORD as long | as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I | have my being.
3Put not your | trust in rulers,
in mortals in whom there | is no help.
4When they breathe their last, they re- | turn to earth,
and in that day | their thoughts perish.
5Happy are they who have the God of Jacob | for their help,
whose hope is in the | LORD their God;
6who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that | is in them;
who keeps promis- | es forever;
7who gives justice to those who are oppressed, and food to | those who hunger.
The LORD sets the | captive free.
8The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord lifts up those who | are bowed down;
the LORD | loves the righteous.
9The LORD cares | for the stranger;
the LORD sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way | of the wicked.
10The LORD shall | reign forever,
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. | Hallelujah!


Second Reading: James 2:1-10 [11-13] 14-17

1My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the dominion promised to those those who love God? 6But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?

8You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. [11For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. 13For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.]

14What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

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


Gospel: Mark 7:24-37

24Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

31Then Jesus returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33Jesus took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34Then looking up to heaven, Jesus sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

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



Having read these readings, think on this:

In our world, with widespread violence and sickness, with our own and our children’s illnesses, with our inability to hear each other and to speak clearly, it is hard to say truthfully, “Here is your God!” Rather, here is your need of God! God seems as hidden as Jesus sought to be in that house, as hidden as Jesus finally was on the cross. But Christ is risen and present with us in the assembly-house of the church or in our own homes when we read the scriptures with the church. His resurrection is openly proclaimed among us. In faith, we may come with the woman, praying for all in need and insisting that God’s no become a yes, God’s hiddenness become God’s healing presence. Empowered by the Spirit, the word of the gospel and the water of baptism open our ears to hear and our mouths to speak in love. In the holy communion, when we are able to gather, the crumbs from the Lord’s table fall to us. Here indeed is your God! We are then called to let the assembly house of the church and our own homes show forth the gracious presence of this triune God by offering free welcome to all and by sending not just words but concrete help to people in need.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 886), “Healer of Our Every Ill” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 738), “Lord of All Nations, Grant Me Grace” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 716). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing


Then pray these intercessions:

We join together to pray for the needs of the world, concluding each petition by speaking, or singing ELW 751, “O Lord, hear my prayer.”

A brief silence.

God of grace and God of glory, for the church we pray: uphold our bishops, pastors, and deacons; sustain all volunteers during these autumn months; inspire our worship; and teach us how to pray.

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Creator of the stars of night, for the earth we pray: lower global temperatures; provide a healthy harvest; protect the habitats of wild animals; and train us to care for your creation. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Mighty Fortress, for the nations we pray: protect the world from tyranny and violence; guide our elected officials; look with mercy on the people of Afghanistan; lead our nation toward the right use of our military; and bring peace to all. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Hope of the world, in this time of pervasive adversity we pray: preserve us from storms and wildfires; protect us from terrorists; and wean us from the ways of prejudice. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Rock of ages, for laborers we pray: grant a just wage to the employed and meaningful jobs to the unemployed; and shape our society to honor all residents of our land.  

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

O God of love, for those who are poor, we pray: feed the hungry; house all without homes; assist the powerless; and form us into habits of generosity. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Healer of our every ill, for those who are suffering we pray: heal those who have contracted COVID-19; embrace those with mental illness; open up opportunities for persons who are deaf; and hear our cries for those we name here:

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Mothering God, for ourselves we pray: take away our fears; and come to save us. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Eternal Father, strong to save, for the grace shown to our ancestors in the faith, we praise you. For life at the end of time in your presence with all the saints, we pray. 

A brief silence.

Our hope is in you, O God:
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Receive our prayers, O God, for the sake of our beautiful Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.


If you have a hymnal, you may now sing or read “O Christ, your heart compassionate” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 722), Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 719). Selected hymns are provided below for those without a hymnal at home.

Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life


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.
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: Now to the Holy Spirit Let Us Pray;” “Take Us As We Are, O God;” “O Christ, Surround Me.”


Readings for the Week:
Monday Isaiah 38:10-20. Tuesday Hewbrews 12:3-13. Wednesday Matthew 17:14-21. Thursday (commemoration of Peter Claver, priest, missionary to Colombia, 1654) Psalm 116:1-9. Friday James 2:17-26. Saturday Matthew 21:23-32. Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 116:1-9; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38.


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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