August 6, 2009
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost. At Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LC-MS) we will be using the first setting of the Sunday morning service for our liturgy (page 151 of the Lutheran Service Book [LSB]). The assigned lessons are: 1 Kings 19:1-8; Ephesians 4:17-5:2 and John 6:35-51. The text for the sermon is John 6:35. The sermon is titled “Bread of Life.” The opening hymn is Lord Jesus Christ, Life Giving Bread,” LSB 625. The sermon hymn is “O Living Bread from Heaven,” LSB 642. The distribution hymns are: “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared” LSB 622; At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing,” LSB 633; “Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness” LSB 636. The closing hymn is “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” LSB 525. You can hear each of the hymns by clicking "Better Noises." Just enter the hymn number and away you go. If you want more check the videos from YouTube at the end of these notes. I found four of the hymns. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper Sunday.
Preview of the Lessons
1 Kings 19:1-8: This account takes place right after Elijah’s confrontation between him and the prophets of Baal. That ended with all the prophets of Baal being executed. Queen Jezebel heard about it from her husband Ahab, and she threatened Elijah with death. Frightened, Elijah fled the land. He was so depressed he wanted to die. Sleeping under a broom tree the “Angel of the LORD” wakes Elijah and tells him to eat. The angel had provided some bread and water. Falling asleep again the Angel of the LORD wakes him again with the same instruction, telling Elijah he needed the food to sustain him in the journey ahead. Then, in the strength of that food, Elijah traveled to “the mount of God.” Many of the best, from the Early Church Fathers to this day, have seen in this account a foreshadowing of the Lord’s Supper. I would agree. The text in the ESV does not capitalize the word “angel.” In some cases the word “angel” is capitalized in the phrase “angel of YHWH (LORD)” in our English translations, and sometimes it isn’t. If it is capitalized the translators think of this “Angel” as a “Theophany,” (a physical appearance of God like the burning bush). The Angel of the LORD is actually a “Christophany,” that is a pre-incarnation physical appearance of the Christ. If the word “angel” isn’t capitalized then the translator thinks it is simply a created angel. The Hebrew text doesn’t help here. All they had were capital letters. For my money, I think the word “Angel” should be capitalized here, and this is Jesus helping Elijah with a foreshadowing of Communion.
Ephesians 4:17-5:2: Paul’s letters divide into two major sections. Part 1 deals with the theological truths of the letter. Part 2 deals with the applications of those truths in the lives of the readers. This reading is definitely out of part 2. Sometimes Christians become a little confused and think of part 2 as defining what it means to be a Christian, thus making our works in integral part of how we become Christians. We must not forget what Paul says in places like Ephesians 2:8-9. To be a Christian is to have faith in Jesus. Good works are a result, not a cause. Furthermore we should not expect everyone to be at the same place in their spiritual maturity as reflected in their “works.” Hence Paul encourages these Christians to exhibit certain characteristics, but he does not imply that those who need this encouragement are not real Christians because their lives have not yet conformed in all these ways. As Martin Luther once wrote, “Works do not make a person a Christian, but a Christian should perform good works” (LW 23, page 67).
John 6:35-51: This is the second of our three consecutive readings from John 6. Jesus continues with his “Bread of Life” sermon. This past Sunday we heard how the Jewish people were looking for Jesus to grant them abundance of temporal blessings, like many today, but gave no thought to spiritual blessings. Jesus picked up on their constant harping on receiving “bread” and created a metaphor. Eating physical bread grants physical life. So eating spiritual bread grants spiritual life. As we acquire Jesus by grace through faith, “eating” means “believing” in our Lord’s metaphor. What we are to “eat” (believe in) is the spiritual bread, which is Jesus. Jesus continues to expand on this theme in Sunday’s lesson.
Sunday’s CollectGracious Father, Your blessed Son came down from heaven to be the true bread that gives life to the world. Grant that Christ, the bread of life, may live in us and we in Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Gradual– Psalm 34:9, 19Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing!
Many are the affliction of the righteous,
but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
Introit (Psalm 34:8-10; antiphon Psalm 145:16)You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
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.
You open your hand;
you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert