The Word of God
Celebrant Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.
Celebrant: Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid. Cleanse the thoughts of our hears by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy Name through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gloria in Excelsis
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand
of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Collect of the Day
Celebrant The Lord be with you.
People And also with you
Celebrant Let us pray.
O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
A Reading from the Book of Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
[The man said to Rebekah and her household,] “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and donkeys. And Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he has given him all that he has. My master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live; but you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my son.’
I came today to the spring, and said, ‘O Lord, the God of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am going! I am standing here by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say, “Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me, “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also”—let her be the woman whom the Lord has appointed for my master’s son.’
Before I had finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her water jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I said to her, ‘Please let me drink.’ She quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels.’ So I drank, and she also watered the camels. Then I asked her, ‘Whose daughter are you?’ She said, ‘The daughter of Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.’ So I put the ring on her nose, and the bracelets on her arms. Then I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s kinsman for his son. Now then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the left.”
And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.” So they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s servant and his men. And they blessed Rebekah and said to her, “May you, our sister, become thousands of myriads; may your offspring gain possession of the gates of their foes.”
Then Rebekah and her maids rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took Rebekah, and went his way.
Now Isaac had come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb. Isaac went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw camels coming. And Rebekah looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel, and said to the servant, “Who is the man over there, walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took her veil and covered herself. And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God
11 “Hear, O daughter; consider and listen closely; *
forget your people and your father’s house.
12 The king will have pleasure in your beauty; *
he is your master; therefore do him honor.
13 The people of Tyre are here with a gift; *
the rich among the people seek your favor.”
14 All glorious is the princess as she enters; *
her gown is cloth-of-gold.
15 In embroidered apparel she is brought to the king; *
after her the bridesmaids follow in procession.
16 With joy and gladness they are brought, *
and enter into the palace of the king.
17 “In place of fathers, O king, you shall have sons; *
you shall make them princes over all the earth.
18 I will make your name to be remembered
from one generation to another; *
therefore nations will praise you for ever and ever.”
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans 7:15-25a
I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God
Celebrant The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.
Jesus said, “But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
OUR FREEDOM IS IN CHRIST
Today’s sermon is titled: Our freedom is in Christ. My text is from the Gospel according to St. Matthew Chapter 11 verse 28. Jesus said, “Come to me all who are weary and are heavy laden, I will give you rest.”
Jesus offers those who come to Him “rest” from the weariness, hardship and burdens of yoke which enslave them. The yoke is that of the Law, which was falsely imposed on them by the Pharisees as a way to salvation and acceptance by God.
The legal system at Jesus’ time was worrisome and burdensome!
In contrast to the leaders, Jesus told the people that had been heavily burdened to come to him for His yoke is easy. Jesus’ yoke is that of discipleship, His yoke is to ask people to love one another as He loved them, his yoke is that of forgiveness and selflessness.
Jesus was not opposed to the Law of His land, rather He was opposed to the Leaders who put laws in place to oppress people especially the poor, the powerless and voiceless.
Jesus’ burden is light not because it is easier to attain, but because the people were able to bear it by his love and grace. This doesn’t mean that Jesus’ standard of righteousness and holiness is lower.
In John 5:3 we read that Christ’s commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world! (Gary de Vries, Former Bible Expositor. Updated Mar. 2020)
Our response is to come to Jesus and yoke ourselves to Him. When this happens others will see how loving, empathetic and selfless we become.
The Good news is that through our thoughts, words, and actions, many will hear the call to come to Jesus. With their heavy burdens laid down they will enjoy the rest, the love, the Christlike living which comes through yoking ourselves to Jesus. They will also enjoy the peace of God which passeth all understanding which is where the rest comes from.
The truth is that as we take up Christ’s yoke, we will also begin to experience the freedom from our own burdens through Christ and He will give us rest. This is what being set free of our heavy burden means.
A French Philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said that freedom was inherent in humanity, he called freedom an inevitable facet of the soul.
Freedom has been used over the years to rally cry for revolution. For example, we read in the Book of Exodus how Moses led his people away from the heavy burden of slavery. This was when he told Pharaoh: “Let my people go!” How can we forget Dr. King who led the Civil Right Movement for equal rights and justice?
Talking about freedom, we’ve just all celebrated the Fourth of July. Some with barbecues, others thanking God that we live in a free Country called the United States of America.
Others used the day to work for justice and equality.
I ask that we continue to pray for those who fought and who are still fighting to preserve our freedom. We are to pray for those who have died in various freedom wars that their souls will rest in peace. We are to pray also for the families they left behind.
Let us also continue to remember people from our Church who continue to put their lives on the line for our freedom. Let me say to all of you, I salute you. Both active and retired Military women and men.
However, as we all celebrate and remember our freedom this week, we are encouraged to remember that our true freedom comes from Christ who laid down His life for us on the Cross. With this freedom from Christ we all have received life giving spirit.
As we pause to celebrate our freedom, we are encouraged to pray for all who are still yearning for freedom that one day they too will experience what true freedom in Christ truly feels like.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Nicene Creed
We believe in one God
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate
from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified
under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is
worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and
We acknowledge one baptism
for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Prayers of the People
In the Anglican cycle of prayer, we pray for the United Church of Pakistan.
In the Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for Christ Church Ironton, St. James Piqua, and St. Philip’s Columbus
In our Parish cycle of prayer, we pray for Mike and Sandy Bultman, Dwight and Kathy Cass, and Jackie Cooper.
I ask your prayers for God’s people throughout the world; for our Bishop, Thomas; for this gathering; and for all ministers and people.
Pray for the Church.
I ask your prayers for peace; for goodwill among nations; and for the well-being of all people.
Pray for justice and peace.
I ask your prayers for the sick: Ruby, Howard, George, the Darnell Family, Judy, Juanita, Rob, Carmen, Mary, Joanne, and Vern; for the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, and those in prison.
Pray for those in any need or trouble.
I ask your prayers for all who seek God, or a deeper knowledge of him.
Pray that they may find and be found by him.
I ask your prayers for the departed [especially __________ ].
Pray for those who have died.
Praise God for those in every generation in whom Christ has been honored [especially ____________whom we remember today].
Pray that we may have grace to glorify Christ in our own day.
Celebrant You are great, O God, and greatly to be praised. You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. Grant that we may believe in you, call upon you, know you, and serve you, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
(from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 41)
The Lord’s Prayer
Celebrant As our Savior Christ has taught us, we now pray,
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 for ever. Amen.
Celebrant The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.
St. Mark’s Vestry
Senior Warden: Gary Welch
Junior Warden: Katherine Wagner
Treasurer: Don Nancarrow
Secretary: Dave Reuter
Vestry Members: Jen Bonifas
St. Mark’s Staff
Transitional Priest in Charge The Rev. Dr. John Agbaje
Parish Administrator Katherine Wagner
Music Director Donna Larsen
Sexton Douglas Plummer
Look for us…
On the web: www.StMarksDayton.org
Facebook: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio