Monday, July 27, 2009

Worship for Pentecost 9

Tuesday in the week of Pentecost 8
July 28, 2009

The Lord be with you

Because I will be having a completely routine colonoscopy on Thursday, which is the day I normally would post this blog, and because I will be kind of out of it on Wednesday preparing for this test, I am posting it today.

This coming Sunday is the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost. We will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching for our liturgy (page 260). The assigned lessons are: Exodus 16:2-15; Ephesians 4:1-16 and John 6:22-35. The text for the sermon is John 6:27. The sermon is titled “A Different Kind of Food.” The opening hymn is “Feed Thy Children, God Most Holy,” LSB 774. The sermon hymn is “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer,” LSB 918. The closing hymn is “O Living Bread from Heaven,” LSB 642.

The hymn “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” was originally published in Welsh by William Williams in 1745. It was first translated into English by Peter Williams. Today it is known in many denominations, sometimes as “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” (as it was in The Lutheran Hymnal). It has been said of William Williams, “What Paul Gerhardt has been to Germany, what Isaac Watts has been to England, that and more has William Williams of Pantecelyn been to Wales.” I found a great YouTube video of a Welsh church singing “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer,” and it is at the end of these notes. The words are included in the video so you can sing along.

Preview of the Lessons

Exodus 16:2-15: The people of Israel had followed the Lord (and Moses) into the wilderness, but quickly their joy turned into grumbling. They forgot the misery of slavery and longed for better food. God mercifully treats their grumbling as a prayer and answers with manna and quail. Their real problem, which reappears time and time again, is a lack of faith. In verse 10 the people look out at the wilderness and see “the Glory of the LORD” in a cloud. This probably appeared as a supernaturally bright cloud, based on the root meaning of “glory.” I’m not going to go into why, but I believe this was a pre-incarnate manifestation of the Son.

Ephesians 4:4-16: Paul, writing from prison (v. 1) urges the believers in Ephesus to live together in Christian love. Verses 4-6 accent the unity of the Church. This unity comes from the One God (v. 6), Holy Spirit (v 4), Son (v. 5) and Father (v. 6). Just as there is one God, so there is only one Christian Faith and only one Christian Baptism (v. 5). This is a statement of faith. There are members of this One Holy and Christian Church wherever the Spirit converts people by the Gospel to faith in Jesus. Verses 7-10 have been understood as a reference to the incarnation of Jesus by some, and as a reference to Christ’s descent into hell by others. I think of it as referring to his descent into hell, but as those who think of it as referring to the incarnation are not teaching any false doctrine, I have no problem with that view either. In verses 11-16 Paul tells us what the function of the ministry and Church is. Basically we are to facilitate growth in Christian maturity. This is growth in knowledge which should lead to loving actions towards others. If loving actions do not follow, then there is something wrong with the understanding. Perhaps it has just become “head” knowledge. Perhaps it is flawed doctrine. Whatever it is, true knowledge/faith leads to the Church working together like a living body. [By-the-way, because there is only one baptism (v. 5) if you have been baptized more than once, only the first time you were baptized in the name of the Triune God counted in God’s eyes. In essence, if you get “re-baptized” you are saying that you were not a Christian before (even if you believed in Jesus) and that the Church in which you were baptized is not a Christian church (even if they proclaim the Triune God and Christ as Redeemer). This is why we do not re-baptize people who join Lamb of God if they were baptized in non-Lutheran Christian churches.]

John 6:22-35: Jesus, in John 6, gave what has become know as the “Bread of Life Discourse.” Most of the Jews who heard Jesus that day didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about (6:60, 66). The text has been difficult for many since then as well. The Gospel lessons for the next three weeks is a continuous reading through this sermon of our Lord’s, and gives us an opportunity for a sermon series based on John 6. Because my sermons for the next three weeks will be based on the Gospel readings, I’m not going to write anything else here. Instead I encourage you to come and worship with us.

Sunday’s Collect
Merciful Father, You gave Your Son Jesus as the heavenly bread of life. Grant us faith to feast on Him in Your Word and Sacraments that we may be nourished unto life everlasting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual Psalm – Psalm 145:10-21 (antiphon: v. 15)
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD,
and all your saints shall bless you!
They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
to make known to the children of man
your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD is faithful in all his words
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The LORD upholds all who are falling
and raises up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways
and kind in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD,
and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
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.
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food in due season.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

The "Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer" YouTube video.

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