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 Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
A Reading from the Book of Genesis 25:19-34
These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.”
When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God
105 Your word is a lantern to my feet *
and a light upon my path.
106 I have sworn and am determined *
to keep your righteous judgments.
107 I am deeply troubled; *
preserve my life, O Lord, according to your word.
108 Accept, O Lord, the willing tribute of my lips, *
and teach me your judgments.
109 My life is always in my hand, *
yet I do not forget your law.
110 The wicked have set a trap for me, *
but I have not strayed from your commandments.
111 Your decrees are my inheritance for ever; *
truly, they are the joy of my heart.
112 I have applied my heart to fulfill your statutes *
for ever and to the end.
A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans 8:1-11
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
The Word of the Lord.
People Thanks be to God
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
People: Glory to you, Lord Christ.
Jesus went out and sat beside the sea. Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Let anyone with ears listen!
“Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.
What kind of soil are we?
Jesus told a parable and interpreted it himself. Since it takes faith to receive and grow the Word of God, the question therefore is, how faithful are we with what we have received? Or maybe the best way to ask that question is to ask ourselves, what kind of soil are we? Or to be specific, what kind of soil am I?
Every time I read the Parable of the Sower, it reminds me of when I was in Africa. My grandfather and uncle used to take me with them to the farm. I remember when he planted seeds and during harvest some were good and others did not grow anything.
This parable is a rich story. If God is the Sower and we are the soil, the question we have to answer is how fertile are we for growing the Word of God and spreading it to the world? Whatever is going on in our lives relates to how we answer the question. (Dean Hollerith)
The bottom line is, we have all received seeds from God, haven’t we? If they are going to grow, like Robert Schuller once wrote, it’s up to us.
Every time we gather as a body of Christ, we gather to reaffirm our commitment to grow the seeds of faith which God has graciously given us in Christ Jesus.
To grow this seed and to grow our ministry we have to view it as a marathon. We have to remember that it’s not how we start that counts, but how we finish.
God is calling each of us to grow the seed of ministry which God has given us through this Church. For God’s seed to grow in and among us we have to become a missionary sending church.
We must be willing to train others to become missionaries. Growing God’s seed also has to do with the health of the church. The truth is, if the seed that is planted in us does not grow; the issue is not growth. For example, Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, has a story about growth. It says that if a child is born today and if by this time next year the child still remains the same size and weight as when he or she was born then the issue is not growth, the issue is health! The same is true of a church.
A church is a living thing, it is expected to grow. So, if a church remains the same size as when it was planted the issue is not growth, the issue therefore is the health of the church. (Rick Warren)
This is what makes us ask, how healthy is our church?
A church that grows will be a church that believes that wherever God guides, God provides. This is a Church that is not consumed with fear, but with the Spirit and love of God.
A church that grows will be one that is geared towards the unchurched. For any church to grow, the church must be a place where those who are sad and those who are confused can find hope, help, guidance, forgiveness, spiritual nourishment, and encouragement.
The church that grows will be a place where the good news is preached and the songs are uplifting! It will be a place where all are able to raise their voice and praise the Lord without anyone looking at them funny! Amen!
A church whose Holy Seed will grow must be a joyful church and not a cold church to visitors. A church that is not going to do things business as usual, but is willing to take a risk of being part of the neighborhood! This is the type of a church that will grow the seed of God.
The seed that is planted will grow in a church where morale and mission go together, where members, individually and collectively, have vision. Proverbs 29 says that without vision the people will perish. What type of soil are we? Thank God for giving us a welcoming church and a mission minded church. Thank God for those who make ministries happen in this church. A church that will grow will have many parishioners who will lift and very few who will lean (Robert Schuller).
Our call is to be faithful and trust that God will continue to help us grow spiritually. As we leave the church this morning, our call is to identify the type of soil that we honestly are and then pray to God to make us the best we can be.
Our call is to develop a relationship with God, the sower. When this happens, just as Christ’s disciples grew spiritually, we too will grow.
To grow in the Lord is going to take all we’ve got. So, we are called to commit to God and focus our attention on Christ’s commandment to love. 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 Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea.
In the Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for
St. Edward’s in Columbus, Holy Trinity in Cincinnati,
and Trinity in Troy.
In our Parish cycle of prayer, we pray for
Steve, Lisa, Sophie, and Carly Darnell; Carmen Davis;
and Steve, Tibby, and Will Day.
Father, we pray for your holy Catholic Church;
That we all may be one.
Grant that every member of the Church may truly and humbly serve you;
That your Name may be glorified by all people.
We pray for all bishops, priests, and deacons;
That they may be faithful ministers of your Word and Sacraments.
We pray for all who govern and hold authority in the nations of the world;
That there may be justice and peace on the earth.
Give us grace to do your will in all that we undertake;
That our works may find favor in your sight.
Have compassion on those on our Parish Prayer List:
Ruby, Howard, George, the Darnell Family, Judy, Juanita, Rob, Carmen, Joanne, Mary, Vern, and for all who suffer from any grief or trouble;
That they may be delivered from their distress.
Give to the departed eternal rest;
Let light perpetual shine upon them.
We praise you for your saints who have entered into joy;
May we also come to share in your heavenly kingdom.
Let us pray for our own needs and those of others.
The People may add their own petitions.
Celebrant Almighty God, we thank you for planting in us the seed of your word. By your Holy Spirit help us to receive it with joy, live according to it, and grow in faith and hope and love, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
(from Evangelical Lutheran Worship, page 42)
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