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Sermon and Worship Resources
7th Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon and Worship Resources


Texts & Discussion:
Genesis 28:10-19a
Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24
Isaiah 44:6-8
Psalm 86:11-17
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43


This Week's Themes:
God's Justice & Salvation
Freedom from Bondage
Meeting God


A Prayer of Confession-- For Freedom from Bondage (Epistle lesson)
by Rev. F. Schaefer

Gracious God, we come to you with the confidence of being your beloved sons and daughters.   We thank you for your gracious work of faith within us that continuously sets us free from bondage to the flesh.

But Lord, we confess that we do not always succeed to live in the spirit.  We confess that we are weak.  We have given in to temptation, we have not heeded your call to master sin in our lives.

 We have sinned against you, our neighbor and against our own selves.  Forgive us, we pray in Christ Jesus' name.

Lord, help our unbelief!  Increase our faith and trust in your saving power.  Give us confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer.  And help us to bring your healing love and truth to those we meet.


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Children's Message:

We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder
a children's sermon based on Genesis 28:10-19
by Rev. Frank Schaefer

Sing with the kids or use the lyrics of the spiritual: "Jacob's ladder" (lyrics are listed below) --you may want to ask a musician in your congregation to accompany or lead in the song. 

Greetings, my little friends, please have a seat on the altar steps.  Did you all have a good night?  Do you guys usually dream?  What do you dream about?  Are your dreams usually good dreams?

In today's Scriptures we read about a man, by the name of Jacob, who had a dream.  Jacob had a wonderful dream.  He dreamt that right at the place where he was resting the heavens opened and a huge ladder came down.  And then angels climbed up and down the ladder.

And then suddenly, he heard God's voice.  And God was making a great promise to him.  God said: "one day, this land will belong to you and your family.  I will give it to you."

Isn't that something.  And you know, God's promise came true as today the land of Israel belongs to the great-great-great-great....grandchildren of Jacob.

Have you ever had a dream from God?  You know, that could happen to us.  Sometimes God gives us dreams just like he gave Jacob a dream.  That's one way--(albeit unusual)--of how God speaks to us.

Of course, Jacob thought that this place where he had the dream was pretty special.  He called it Beth-El, which is Hebrew for "House of God."

This morning we too are in a House of God.  What do we call this place?  That's right, we call it "church."  And in church we worship God and we hope that there are angels climbing up and down an invisible ladder.

In fact, when we're in God's house, we hope that we will be able to climb up higher so we can be closer to God.

There is a great song, called "Jacob's ladder" I would like to sing with you.  Who of you knows the song?  Will you help us sing it?

Jacob's Ladder

  1. We are climbing Jacob's ladder (3x)
    Children of the world

  2. Every round goes higher higher (3x)
    Children, listen now

  3. Love will lift us higher higher (3x)
    Children of the world

  4. We are climbing Jacob's ladder (3x)
    Children, listen now


Trying to Keep a Weed-Free Church
a sermon based on Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
Rev. Karen A. Goltz

            Back when I was studying at Boston University School of Theology, I cross-registered at Harvard Divinity for a course called Theological German.  I was a new Lutheran trying to find my way at a Methodist-affiliated seminary, so I figured taking a German language class specifically designed to help theologians would be just what I needed.

            But after two classes, I realized that I didn’t have a strong enough grasp of English grammar to make any sense out of the German.  I didn’t understand the difference between a definite article and an indefinite article.  And when they started talking about the articles’ matching the case of the noun, indicating the nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative, I was completely lost.  Not wanting to deal with a lot of stress over a course I was supposed to be taking for fun, I dropped it.

            My friend Matt had also cross-registered into that class and, about three quarters of the way through the semester, I asked him how it was going.

            “It’s going well,” he told me.  “Remember how crowded it was in the beginning?”  I remembered.  The large classroom had been bursting at the seams.  “Well,” he continued.  “Now that we’ve separated the wheat from the tares there are only about ten of us left, so we’re really getting a lot done.”

            As often happened with some of my early conversations with professional intellectuals, it took me a little while to realize that I was offended by Matt’s statement.  I recognized the reference right away; the translation of the gospel we read today called what the enemy sowed ‘weeds.’

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