The Sunday Lectionary Readings
SUNDAY, August 16, 2020 — 11th Sunday After Pentecost
(Ordinary 20, Proper 15)
(Revised Common Lectionary Year A)
Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32;
Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28
This week’s topic is difficult. It is so difficult the worship team might be inclined to choose a different text. Both Paul’s letter to the Romans and Matthew’s Gospel present to us complicated texts that will be hard to wrestle into an easily digestible form for a comfortable Sunday morning. Yet, this is precisely why it is worth the struggle.
We struggle with this story, as we aren’t sure what it tells us about Jesus. But what if we focus instead on the Canaanite woman? What we discover is that the real struggle is what the story tells us about us. Are our prayers as heartfelt and persistent? Do we petition Jesus as though everything was at stake? Are we ready to put our faith on the line when we gather for worship?
Eternal God, you are present with us throughout our lives, even when others plot to do us harm. May we learn to live together in unity, that in all we do, we may sing your praises now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for Unity
How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! It is like a summer rain which restores the parched earth. It is like a cool breeze at the shore of a lake, at the top of a mountain or through a crowded city street. God meets us here.
God of all creation who called every being into life who is mindful of humankind in all its diversity who embodies us with dignity, granting different gifts and talents to shape life in this world we ask for your Spirit to unite us where we face lack of understanding and disunity in our churches, in our communities, in our countries. And in silence we lay before you the burdens of our hearts.
We ask for your Spirit to unite us in the face of the conflicts, hatred and violation of life experienced in so many regions of the earth and in silence we bring to you the pain of the victims.
We ask for your Spirit to unite us wherever fear prevents us from caring for our neighbor, from meeting people of different ethnicities, cultures and faith communities with respect and in silence we bring to you the brokenness of human relationships.
God of all creation, in Christ we are reconciled, and so we ask for your uniting Spirit to help us to overcome all our divisions that we may live in peace. Amen.
Holy One of Israel, covenant-keeper, you restore what is lost, heal what is wounded, and gather in those who have been rejected. Give us the faith to speak as steadfastly as did the Canaanite woman, that the outcast may be welcomed and all people may be blessed. Amen.
Prayer of Confession
(Based on Matt. 15:21-28)
Merciful God, we confess that, just like Jesus’ disciples, we too sometimes lose patience with people who need our help and support. Like the disciples, we find ourselves wishing that they would just go away and leave us in peace.
In Your mercy, forgive us. Remind us again of the deep love You showed toward us when we were still in need—a love so deep that it sent You willingly to the cross on our behalf.
Show us how to love others as You have loved us. Teach us Your compassion, so that we may be Your hands and feet to those in need. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Assurance of Pardon
Friends in Christ, God invites us to hold the needs of our sisters and brothers as dear to us as our own needs. Loving our neighbors as ourselves, we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions on behalf of the church and the world.
Joseph reconciles with his brothers
45:1 Then Joseph could not restrain himself before all those who stood by him; and he cried, “Cause every man to go out from me!” And there stood no man with him while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
2 And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, “I am Joseph. Doth my father yet live?” And his brethren could not answer him, for they were troubled at his presence.
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, “Come near to me, I pray you.” And they came near; and he said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved nor angry with yourselves that ye sold me hither, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land, and yet there are five years in which there shall neither be planting nor harvest.
7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God; and He hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
9 Hasten ye, and go up to my father and say unto him, ‘Thus saith thy son Joseph: God hath made me lord of all Egypt. Come down unto me, tarry not;
10 and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me — thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks and thy herds and all that thou hast.
11 And there will I nourish thee (for yet there are five years of famine), lest thou and thy household and all that thou hast come to poverty.’
12 And behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall make haste and bring down my father hither.”
14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren talked with him.
How good it is to live in unity
1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard that went down to the skirts of his garments.
3 It is as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
God’s mercy to all Jew and Gentile
11:1 I ask then: Hath God cast away His people? God forbid! For I also am an Israelite of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2a God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as in times past ye have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief,
31 even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.
The Canaanite woman’s daughter is healed
[15:10 And He called the multitude and said unto them, “Hear and understand:
11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
12 Then came His disciples and said unto Him, “Knowest Thou that the Pharisees were offended after they heard this saying?”
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.
14 Let them alone; they are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
15 Then answered Peter and said unto Him, “Explain to us this parable.”
16 And Jesus said, “Are ye also yet without understanding?
17 Do ye not yet understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the drain?
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man.
19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
20 these are the things which defile a man. But to eat with unwashed hands defileth not a man.”]
15:21 Then Jesus went thence and departed into the region of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same region and cried unto Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou Son of David! My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”
23 But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and besought Him, saying, “Send her away, for she crieth after us.”
24 But He answered and said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord help me.”
26 But He answered and said, “It is not meet to take children’s bread and cast it to dogs.”
27 And she said, “Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Here end the Readings
Click HERE to read today’s Holy Gospel Lesson message
- I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
- I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to hell. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us;. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
A nondenominational serving of bread and wineMany churches around the world are working hard to adapt to online worship, and one challenge is how our members can celebrate communion from home. Though no video can truly replace the experience of celebrating together in our places of worship, we know that where two or more are gathered, the Lord is present.
You have been embraced by the love of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, and blessed by Jesus to go into this world to offer healing and hope. Go in peace. Amen.
Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets.]
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, 21st Century King James Version (KJ21), Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.
The Daily Lectionary for SUNDAY, August 16, 2020 — 11th Sunday After Pentecost
Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15:[10-20] 21-28