"Nothing in all creation will be able
to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord!
- Romans 8:39

Photo by Jasmin Schreiber

Service of Word, Song and Prayer

July 26, 2020

This is the day that the Lord has made! And what a beautiful day it is! It feels as if God is using a heavenly paintbrush to paint all the colors of the rainbow in our flower gardens. Tomatoes are beginning to ripen, peppers are beginning to turn a deep green, zucchini is multiplying, and herbs are full and lush. Farmers' markets are beginning to be full of corn and cherries and peas and beans. Summer is giving us its very best right now! But even as we are immersed in all this beauty and abundance, we still feel a kind of emptiness as we realize that we are still distanced from one another, still not able to worship together, still living in a never-seen-before world. And many feel lonely, cut off, and isolated. Paul's words are rarely more needed than now. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?" he asks. And then answers his own question - there is nothing we can come up with that will ever be able to separate us from God's love! Today we proclaim that! We celebrate it! And we hold onto that promise with everything we have! God loves us! And God will never let go of us!

~ Gathering ~

Prelude - My Lord, What a Morning by J.M. Michel
Josh Ehlebracht, Organ

Hymn - Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty

1     Open now thy gates of beauty,
       Zion, let me enter there,
       where my soul in joyful duty
       waits for God who answers prayer.
       Oh, how blessed is this place,
       filled with solace, light, and grace!

2     Gracious God, I come before thee;
       come thou also unto me;
       where we find thee and adore thee,
       there a heav'n on earth must be.
       To my heart, oh, enter thou,
       let it be thy temple now!

3     Here thy praise is gladly chanted,
       here thy seed is duly sown;
       let my soul, where it is planted,
       bring forth precious sheaves alone,
       so that all I hear may be
       fruitful unto life in me.

4     Thou my faith increase and quicken,
       let me keep thy gift divine;
       howsoe'er temptations thicken,
       may thy word still o'er me shine
       as my guiding star through life,
       as my comfort in all strife.

5     Speak, O God, and I will hear thee,
       let thy will be done indeed;
       may I undisturbed draw near thee
       while thou dost thy people feed.
       Here of life the fountain flows;
       here is balm for all our woes.

Text: Benjamin Schmolck, 1672-1737; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878, alt.

Greeting and Prayer of the Day

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

Beloved and sovereign God, through the death and resurrection of your Son you bring us into your kingdom of justice and mercy. By your Spirit, give us your wisdom, that we may treasure the life that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

~ Word ~

Psalm 119:129-136

129Your decrees are wonderful;
therefore I obey them with all my heart.
130 When your word is opened it gives light;
it gives understanding to the simple.
131I open my mouth and pant
because I long for your commandments.
132 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
as you always do to those who love your name. 
133Order my footsteps in your word;
let no iniquity have dominion over me.
134 Rescue me from those who oppress me,
and I will keep your commandments.
135Let your face shine upon your servant
and teach me your statutes.
136 My eyes shed streams of tears,
because people do not keep your teaching. 

First Reading Romans 8:26-39

26The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.  27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
  28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.  30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
  31What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?  32He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?  33Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  34Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.  35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  39nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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

Gospel Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
The Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
Glory to you, O Lord.

31[Jesus] put before [the crowds] another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; 32it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
  33He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”
  44“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
  45“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls;  46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
  47“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;  48when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.  49So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous  50and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  51“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.”  52And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

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


Hymn Children of the Heavenly Father
1     Children of the heav'nly Father
       safely in his bosom gather;
       nestling bird nor star in heaven
       such a refuge e'er was given.

2     God his own doth tend and nourish,
       in his holy courts they flourish.
       From all evil things he spares them,
       in his mighty arms he bears them.

3     Neither life nor death shall ever
       from the Lord his children sever;
       unto them his grace he showeth,
       and their sorrows all he knoweth.

4     Though he giveth or he taketh,
       God his children ne'er forsaketh;
       his the loving purpose solely
       to preserve them pure and holy.

Text: Carolina Sandell Berg, 1832-1903; tr. Ernst W. Olson, 1870-1958

Confession and Forgiveness

Silence is kept for reflection.

Almighty God,
You have set before us the path
but we have wandered on our own
to try to find our way.

Sometimes we are like toddlers
and we hear Your call and come back.

Other times, we are children testing boundaries,
ignoring Your call until fear finally makes us look back.

And still other times we are full of youthful rebellion,
demanding to be cut loose and set free,
not knowing how much we still need
to seek Your wisdom and guidance.

But most of all, too often we think we are adults
and have figured it all our and know our own way,
only to stumble and stray so far. 

Remind us, parental God,
that we are always Your children,
that we are never fully grown up in Your sight,
that we always have much to learn.

Help us to seek You every day,
to acknowledge that we need Your wisdom and guidance,
and help us to return to the path and walk with You.
In the name of Christ, who is our companion
on this journey of faith, we pray. Amen.

God calls us beloved children. And nothing in all creation can begin to separate us from that love which we know in Christ Jesus. When we pull away, God draws close to us. When we are afraid, God wraps arms around us. When we feel that we have all the answers, God opens us to hear God's words of love, healing, and peace. In the name of Christ, your sins are forgiven! Let us live as God's beloved ones, always in God's presence! Amen.

You may use this time to make a gift online, or write a check to be mailed in,
to sustain the ministries of the Church.

Offertory Hymn Praise and Thanksgiving

1     Praise and thanksgiving, God, we would offer
       for all things living, you have made good:
       harvest of sown fields, fruits of the orchard,
       hay from the mown fields, blossom and wood.

2     God, bless the labor we bring to serve you,
       that with our neighbor we may be fed.
       Sowing or tilling, we would work with you,
       harvesting, milling for daily bread.

3     Father, providing food for your children,
       by Wisdom's guiding teach us to share
       one with another, so that, rejoicing
       with us, all others may know your care.

4     Then will your blessing reach ev'ry people,
       freely confessing your gracious hand.
       Where you are reigning, no one will hunger;
       your love sustaining showers the land.

Text: Albert F. Bayly, 1901-1984, alt.

Offering Prayer

Giving is not a casual act—it relates God’s work to our work. Peter writes:
“as each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

May we give as people whose work is inextricably linked to God’s great works
of creation, redemption and empowerment.

Almighty God, giver of every good and perfect gift,
teach us to give to you all that we have and all that we are,
that we may praise you not with our words only,
but with our whole lives.

Prayers of Intercession

Each petition ends:
Turn to us, O God:
be gracious to us.

Lord's Prayer

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. Amen.

~ Sending ~

Hymn Oh, That I Had a Thousand Voices

1     Oh, that I had a thousand voices
       to praise my God with thousand tongues!
       My heart, which in the Lord rejoices,
       would then proclaim in grateful songs
       to all, wherever I might be,
       what great things God has done for me!

2     Let ev'ry pow'r in me implanted
       arise, keep silence now no more;
       put forth the strength that God has granted!
       Your noblest work is to adore!
       O soul and body, join to raise
       with heartfelt joy your maker's praise!

3     You forest leaves so green and tender
       that dance for joy in summer air,
       you meadow grasses, bright and slender,
       you flow'rs so fragrant and so fair,
       you live to show forth praise alone.
       Join me to make God's glory known!

4     All creatures that have breath and motion,
       that throng the earth, the sea, the sky,
       come, share with me my heart's devotion,
       help me to sing God's praises high!
       My utmost pow'rs can never quite
       declare the wonders of God's might!

5     Creator, humbly I implore you
       to listen to my earthly song
       until that day when I adore you,
       when I will join the angel throng
       and raise to you with joyful cry
       ten thousand hallelujahs high!

Text: Johann Mentzer, 1658-1734; tr. composite



Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!
Thanks be to God!

Postlude -   Gigue Fugue in C by Dietrich Buxtehude
Josh Ehlebracht, Organ


Worship Leaders

Pastor: Rev. Joanne Groman-Stewart
Director of Music Ministry: Josh Ehlebracht

Fellowship Hour Today...

Log into Zoom today at 11! Spend time chatting with folks from Immanuel. The Log-in information is:

Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 831 9129 6491
Passcode: Fellowship

Please make sure to check the latest email for the log-in information for Zoom events as they do change.

This Week at Immanuel
Immanuel's Little Pantry

The Little Pantry continues to be a blessing for many in our community! It is amazing to see how it is being used and filled on a daily basis! On August 22, Immanuel will be having a Food Drive to benefit the Little Pantry and Backpack Ministry. Watch for more details!

Vacation Bible School Is Coming!

A virtual VBS will be emailed the first week of August that will include videos of stories, music and crafts for all ages! Share it with your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors!
When Can We Return to
In-Person Worship?

The Re-Entry Task Force, Worship and Music Committee, and Council are all working to come back together for worship as soon as we can! Safety is the most important consideration. When we return to in-person worship, we will do all we can to provide the safest environment we can. Keep watching for more information coming soon.

Bible Study Wednesday at 9!

This week we will be looking at the readings for next Sunday, July 26.
The log-in info is:

Meeting ID: 868 9194 0468
Password: Bibles


Liturgy from Sundays and Seasons.com. Copyright 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #23581.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights

Children of the Heavenly Father Text © 1925 Board of Publication, Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress. Reprinted by permission under OneLicense #A-714459.

Praise and Thanksgiving, Text © Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under OneLicense #A-714459.