Pentecost-8 (Yr A) Jul 26, 2020

The Word of God

(BCP p. 355)




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.



Hymn of Praise

(BCP p.356)


Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.



Collect of the Day


Celebrant The Lord be with you.

People And also with you

Celebrant Let us pray.


O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; 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 29:15-28


Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing?  Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful.  Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.


Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.”  So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “This is not done in our country—giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.


The Word of the Lord.

People   Thanks be to God




Psalm 105:1-11, 45b


Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; *

    make known his deeds among the peoples.

2   Sing to him, sing praises to him, *

      and speak of all his marvelous works.

3   Glory in his holy Name; *

      let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4   Search for the Lord and his strength; *

     continually seek his face.

5   Remember the marvels he has done, *

     his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,

6   O offspring of Abraham his servant, *

     O children of Jacob his chosen.

7   He is the Lord our God; *

      his judgments prevail in all the world.

8   He has always been mindful of his covenant, *

      the promise he made for a thousand generations:

9   The covenant he made with Abraham, *

     the oath that he swore to Isaac,

10  Which he established as a statute for Jacob, *

      an everlasting covenant for Israel,

11 Saying, “To you will I give the land of Canaan *

     to be your allotted inheritance.”

45  That they might keep his statutes *

      and observe his laws.





A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans 8:26-39


The 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. And 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.


We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  For 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. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.


What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He 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? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who 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. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 


No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 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.


The Word of the Lord.

People   Thanks be to God




Celebrant   The Holy Gospel of Our  Lord Jesus Christ

according to Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52

 People        Glory to you,  Lord Christ.


Another parable Jesus put before the crowds: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it 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.” 


He 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.


“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. 


“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.


”Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And 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.

People      Praise to you,  Lord  Christ.




The Sermon



Embrace God’s Mystery


Scripture tells us about the Mystery of God in giving Jesus to die for all who believe in Him. A mystery in the New Testament is something that is hidden. Every time we say Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again, that is a mystery. The Mystery of God involves a declaration of a future and wonderful truth about God’s love for us. 


The Parable of the mustard seed, shows what God’s Kingdom is like. The Kingdom of God is a Spiritual realm in which God rules and in which we have eternal life and have it abundantly. 


We join in the Kingdom where we trust in Christ as our Savior. Although the kingdom began small it would soon grow and have a great impact on the world (Life Application). 


Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed to remind us that in the present world the kingdom starts small, but it grows large. Large enough for everyone to come and take refuge. 


What a mystery this is! As wonderful as the growth of mustard seed to a big tree is, we are reminded that without proper care and attention the seedling of our faith may be slow in growing. 


Jesus is reminding us, as He reminded His disciples, to appreciate whatever God has given us. It will grow beyond our imagination. As we do, we will begin to celebrate the little faith that we think we have. As we do, we will find out that is all we need.


That Jesus used the mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, to describe how faith in God grows serves to remind us not to quantify our faith. All that matters is the quality of our faith.


The picture painted in the parable of the mustard seed by Jesus is that of humble beginnings, of experience, and of explosive growth. For example, many Churches started with very few members. Sooner or later people will become parishioners and this is how the church begins to grow. However, each member is encouraged to do their part as the Church grows by the grace of God.


This Gospel of the mustard seed is to help us celebrate whatever faith we have. We must never think that our ability to do extraordinary things for God’s sake is small. It is God who makes our faith grow and sanctifies it, not us. And this is the mystery of how our faith grows. Ours is to embrace whatever God is doing through us.

Although Jesus used the smallest seed to embrace the Kingdom of God. The message is filled with profound insight. 


The lesson for all of us in the parable of the mustard seed is that Jesus was demonstrating the power of God to do God’s work through however God has chosen to do it. This Gospel reminds us also that through ordinary means God can do extraordinary things.


The Apostle Paul wrote and I quote: “We have the treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.… we are perplexed but not despair” (2Cor. 4:7-8). So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, whatever faith we may think we have, keep the faith, embrace the faith and let God grow it for you. Amen!

Our call is to believe in Christ and to trust that God has the power to help us especially when times are rough. All we’ve got to do is to pray to God to help grow whatever size of faith we have for God’s glory just like the mustard seed which grew to become the largest among trees.


Finally, my brothers and sisters in Christ, like St. Paul used to encourage his Churches, keep the faith! Since none of us know how our mustang seed faith may grow, ours is to embrace the mystery of God and share this with others. One day they too will come within the saving embrace of Christ Jesus and come to embrace God’s mystery with us. Together we will embrace our little faith believing that will grow mysteriously with Christ.


What a mystery, and what a joy this is. Amen




The Nicene Creed

(BCP p. 358)


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

   apostolic Church.

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 team responsible for planning the Lambeth Conference.


In the Diocesan cycle of prayer, we pray for St. Timothy’s in Cincinnati, Ascension in Middletown, and Holy Trinity in Oxford.


In our Parish cycle of prayer, we pray for Jim and Jackie Hoskinson; Hayward Jones; and Matt, Justine, Scott, and Robert Kelly.


With all our heart and with all our mind, let us pray to the Lord, saying, “Lord, have mercy.”


For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the holy Church of God, and for the unity of all peoples, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For our Bishop, and for all the clergy and people, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For our President, for the leaders of the nations, and for all in authority, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For this city for every city and community, and for those who live in them, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


For those on St. Mark’s Prayer List (N); for others for whom we wish to pray; for the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember and care for them, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For all who have died in the hope of the resurrection, and for all the departed, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.

For deliverance from all danger, violence, oppression, and degradation, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


That we may end our lives in faith and hope, without suffering and without reproach, let us pray to the Lord.

Lord, have mercy.


In the communion of St Mark and of all the saints,

let us commend ourselves, and one another,

and all our life, to Christ our God.


To thee, O Lord our God.




Celebrant    Almighty God, fount of all wisdom, crown of all knowledge; gives us eyes to see and minds to understand your marvelous works, that we may know you through your handiwork and use your creations to your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


(from A New Zealand Prayer Book, page 625)




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.






The Peace


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:

Carol Nancarrow, Tracey Swartz

Jen Bonifas, Susan Kendall

Kendall Rubino, Jenna Walch


St. Mark’s Staff

Transitional Priest in Charge The Rev. Dr. John Agbaje

Parish Administrator Katherine Wagner

Music Director Donna Larsen

Sexton Douglas Plummer




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