Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost (August 12, 2018).
Season & Preparations
Last week our continuous reading of the Gospel of Mark was interrupted by a reading from the Gospel of John. That reading was the first of three pericopes of what is known as the bread-of-life discourse. This week, we hear from John’s Gospel again as Jesus continues to proclaim Himself as the bread of life.
Preparations remain much the same for this the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost. The color green continues to be used. If you have any banners that fit with the “I am the bread of life” theme, they would be a welcome addition to the sanctuary.
Readings & Theme
The Gospel from John 6 continues Jesus’ bread-of-life discourse. Jesus covers numerous topics in this section, including the resurrection on the last day, that He will never cast out any who come to Him, and that faith means eternal life. Some of the Jews in the crowd grumble at Jesus for referencing Himself as the bread come down from heaven, but this section of the pericope closes with the most scandalous news of all: “And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (v. 51). Flesh? Such scandal will be among the themes of next week’s Gospel.
The Old Testament Reading is from 1 Kings 19. This section of 1 Kings is an interlude between Elijah’s victory over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in chapter 18 and Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb (called Mount Sinai in other places). Elijah runs for his life after Jezebel threatens to kill him. After running for more than 100 miles, Elijah stops in Beersheba, sends his servant away, and goes into the wilderness ready to die. But an angel appears with miraculous bread and water to revive Elijah. He continues his journey, another 250 miles south to Mount Horeb, where he is met by the still, small voice of God.
The connection point between today’s Gospel and Old Testament Reading is the miraculous bread. Elijah is fed with what might very well be called the bread of life. The text leads us to understand that he is enabled to go forty days and forty nights strengthened by this bread. Jesus says, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51). And isn’t it interesting that Elijah never actually dies? He is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind. Elijah eats a life-giving bread that is given by God. And so do we.
The Epistle continues our look at the Book of Ephesians. In this section from chapters 4 and 5, Paul encourages the Ephesians to put off the old self and to put on the new self. The old self is full of malice, contempt, anger, wrath, and sin. The new self is “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:24).
Hymns & Music
The Hymn of the Day is “Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor” (LSB 534). The final stanza of this hymn begins with this:
Life-imparting heav’nly manna,
Stricken rock with streaming side,
Heav’n and earth with loud hosanna
Worship You, the Lamb who died.
The imagery connects Israel to Jesus and brings the congregation to Palm Sunday as well as to Good Friday. The hymn concludes by bringing the congregation through Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and enthronement with a shout of “Ris’n, ascended, glorified!”
Because the psalm for the day is Psalm 34, I recommend “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629) as a Distribution Hymn. Fred Baue does a masterful job of structuring the final line of each stanza with “O taste and see—the Lord is . . . .” He gives the expected, familiar line from Psalm 34 only in the final stanza: “O taste and see—the Lord is good.”
Additional Resources for Worship & Study
In this interlude into John’s Gospel, consider using William Weinrich’s Concordia Commentary on John 1:1–7:1.
If you plan to work with the Book of Ephesians, I also recommend Thomas Winger’s Concordia Commentary: Ephesians.
Looking for additional information on planning for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.