Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Worship for Pentecost 8

St. Mary Magdalene
July 22, 2009

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost. We will be using the third setting of the morning service for our liturgy (page 184). We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The assigned lessons are: Genesis 9:8-17; Ephesians 3:14-21 and Mark 6:45-56. The text for the sermon is Ephesians 3:20. The sermon is titled “Willing and Able.” The opening hymn is “How Wide the Love of Christ,” LSB 535. The sermon hymn is “Entrust Your Days and Burdens,” LSB 754. The closing hymn is “Our Father, by Whose Name,” LSB 863. The distribution hymns will be: “Jesus Comes Today with Healing,” LSB 620; “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense,” LSB 741; and “Holy Spirit, Ever Dwelling,” LSB 650. The hymnal review committee ranked the opening hymn as one worth learning, the sermon hymn as known, and the rest of the hymns as well known.

Preview of the Lessons

Genesis 9:8-17: This is the account of God making a covenant with Noah and every creature on the earth after the flood, promising never to flood the entire world again. The rainbow is given as a reminder of this promise. The flood, its date, its extent, the location of the Ark, and such, has absorbed a lot of current research. Often such research misses the big picture, God is in control of nature, God is faithful to his promises, and God takes care of his children. Dating the flood is difficult because conventional dating methods for ancient events cannot be applied. They depend on comparing events across various cultures. So if we know that Caesar crossed the Rubicon in 49 BC, and something happened five years after Caesar crossed the Rubicon, then we know it happened in 44 BC. But there were no other cultures after the flood to compare dates to. Some have used the genealogical records in the Bible to try to determine an exact date, but there is good reason to think that these records are not complete (not only from passages like Matthew 1:1, but also from comparison to early manuscripts and early translations that had manuscripts of the Old Testament we no longer have). The geologic record is easily understood in a flood context. A flood also explains the presence of fossils much better than other ideas popular today. The ideas about the pre-flood world being enveloped in a dense marine atmosphere based, in part, on God pointing to the rainbow as the symbol of his promise are possible, but the text doesn’t say this is the first ever rainbow, only that the rainbow is now a symbol of God’s promise. So there is much that can be discussed about the flood, but we should remember God is the God in control of nature, God is the God who is faithful to his promises, and God is the God who cares for his children.

Ephesians 3:14-21: This is an extremely rich text. The Trinity comes through loud and clear. In verse 14 Paul speaks of the Father, In verse 16 he speaks of the Holy Spirit. In verse 17 he speaks of the Son. In the Greek this is all in one sentence. In verse 15 we have an allusion to creation (and perhaps the flood). This could be used as an anti-bigotry text. It certainly indicates the Gospel is for all people. This text also indicates that all real spiritual life is from and dependent on the Triune God. In verse 21 Paul prays that God be glorified in the Church. This does not increase God’s glory. It is a recognition of his glory by the Church. As this lesson is the foundation for Sunday’s sermon, I’ll say no more.

Mark 6:45-56: This lesson picks up where last weeks lesson left off (it was a long day filled with teaching, healing, and ending with the feeding of 5,000, all while Jesus and his disciples were looking for some rest). Jesus sends his disciples across the lake while he goes off to pray. I always find the prayer life of Jesus, as well as his worship life, inspiring. If anyone didn’t need to pray or attend worship services, that person was Jesus. Yet he made worship and prayer a regular part of his life. Part of the reason for this was that he was fulfilling the Law for us and in our stead. Part was also as an example for us. But part was that in corporate worship and prayer he met the Father where the Father chooses to met us. Those who ignore corporate worship and/or prayer ignore God. As Jesus was praying the disciples were experiencing a difficult crossing. Jesus comes to them walking on the water (Jesus controls nature, just as God did in the Old Testament lesson). The disciples see him and think they were seeing a ghost. This reflects a 1st century superstition. It was believed that if you saw a ghost you were about to die. The reason was that only those who were close to death could see “the other side” where ghosts lived. That is, you were close enough to death to see the dead. An analogy might be that I can’t see Niagara Falls right now, but as I travel towards it, before I arrive, I will see the mist from the falls rising up into the air. Jesus assures the disciples that he is no ghost. Arriving on the other side of the lake Jesus is recognized and the crowds immediately start appearing and the hectic pace of Jesus ministry continues with healing and teaching. In this whole lesson we see the compassion of Jesus as he heals and assures all in need.

Sunday’s Collect

Almighty and most merciful God, the protector of all who trust in You, strengthen our faith and give us courage to believe that in Your love You will rescue us from all adversities; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday’s Introit – Psalm 145:1-3, 6-7; antiphon Psalm 145:5

Of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen
On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate

Gradual – Romans 11:33, 36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be glory forever. Amen.

The following video is an organ prelude based on the hymn “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense.” You can’t sing along with it because it is a prelude, but it will help you remember the tune for the hymn. If you like the big pipe organ sound, you will like this video.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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