August 12 – Eleventh after Pentecost

August 12 – Eleventh after Pentecost


2 Samuel 18:5–9, 15, 31–33

David’s son Absalom dies.


Psalm 130 (VU pp. 852–853)

Out of the depths I cry to God.


Ephesians 4:25—5:2

Do not let the sun go down on your anger.


John 6:35, 41–51

I am the bread of life.


Set up a bread-making machine, timing the loaf to finish cooking around the time of the gospel reading. Add the loaf to a display of different kinds and shapes of bread—fruit, seeded, yeast-free, gluten-free, pocket, wraps. During prayers, hold up the various types of bread and offer prayers for people who are hungry for food, healing, comfort, acceptance, hope, freedom, peace, and someone to love them, and add a prayer for what you are hungry for yourself.

Theme Engagement Question (or Prayer of Confession)

Read Ephesians 4:25—5:2 and after each verse pause and ask what you might have to confess that is connected with the verse. As an act of assurance, go individually or in pairs, dip hands in water in the baptism font, allow a feeling of God’s forgiveness to wash over you, and say “In Christ, I am forgiven.”

With Children

Bring containers of tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, cucumber, sprouts, and other ingredients for sandwiches, plus apples, raisins, and chocolate. Talk about which ingredients would make a healthy sandwich, then make a wrap sandwich. Most countries have a type of bread in their diet, and in Jesus’ day bread was an essential food. The bread was flat like a wrap. Food would be put on it, and then the bread would be wrapped around it to hold the food together. People didn’t have personal cutlery as we do today. Bread served as the cutlery, too. It would hold the food together. Jesus is like that for us. He holds everything together so life is more meaningful and fulfilling. Since it is summer, plan a picnic after worship and use the bread to make sandwiches.

Sermon Starter

In 2 Samuel David grieves the death of his son even though in their relationship they were not on good terms. Perhaps this is an opportunity to facilitate healing in broken family relationships.


While teaching an elementary grade, I realized that some of the students were coming to class the next day with the same lunch that I had had the day before. I also noticed that they often imitated my mannerisms and tone when working with each other. The Ephesians passage reminds us to be careful of the words and actions we use. Members of the community watch closely to see how Christians respond in stressful situations. What faith skills do we draw on to help us respond in love and care while still speaking out and seeking justice for all?


At the beginning of this chapter of John, Jesus feeds the 5,000 with bread. Then he enters into dialogue with the crowds who demand another sign of bread from heaven. In this passage he is giving the first and second of three speeches about his identity, all in terms of being the bread of life, the Word of God made flesh. Through images of bread, Jesus describes how God’s love will nourish and sustain. How do we allow the imagery of Jesus as bread of life to truly give us life? Do we hold back or do we feast on God’s love?


Hebrew Scripture

VU 598            “When pain of the world”

VU 614            “In suffering love”



VU 611            “Out of the depths, O God, we call to you”



VU 506            “Take my life and let it be”

MV 173           “Put peace into each other’s hands”



VU 460            “All who hunger”

VU 466            “Eat this bread”

VU 480            “Let us break bread together”

MV 201           “I am the bread of life”