Thursday, September 3, 2009

Worship for Pentecost 13

Thursday after Pentecost 112
August 27, 2009

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost. At Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LCMS) we will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching (page 260 in the hymnal) for our morning worship service. This service has only three hymns. They will be “All Depends on Our Possessing” (LSB 732), “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” (LSB 702), and “Christ, the Life of All the Living” (LSB 420). Our Scripture lessons will be Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-10, 14-18; and Mark 7:31-37. The appointed Psalm is Psalm 146. The antiphon is verse 2. The sermon text is James 2:17. The sermon is titled “Dead Faith.” In our general prayer we will be remembering all the students, teachers, and staff in our schools that have recently restarted. We will especially remember those who are members of Lamb of God, as well as some of the students at Converse who gave us their names. May the Lord grant all our schools to be a blessing to the students that they may be enabled to use their talents and education to Christ's glory and as a blessing to others. Better Noise has “All Depends on Our Possessing” and “Christ the Life of All the Living.” I found a Youtube video of “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” which is at the end of these notes. Listen to it and you will appreciate Karen even more!

Preview of the Lessons

Isaiah 35:4-7a: This is a wonderful Gospel reading from the Old Testament. It speaks of Christ coming to save those with “anxious” hearts, to open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf. Jesus gives a voice to the mute who then sing for joy, and the desert flows with streams of water. Even if you can’t give a specific meaning to each image, the general impression is great relief in a sin-damaged world. I should say that, while Jesus did indeed give sight to the blind and so forth (see the Gospel lesson), that is only the opening meaning. More importantly he gave sight to the spiritually blind, etc. The final fulfillment of Isaiah’s words will be on the Last Day when we are raised with our new bodies. Then we will have both physical and spiritual sight, hearing, etc., that we can’t even imagine today.

James 2:1-10, 14-18: James is perhaps the most misunderstood book in the New Testament, rivaled only by Revelation. Many think of it as merely a New Testament book of Proverbs. Others can find little or no Gospel in it. Some even think that James teaches salvation by good works. Such views are held by people who just don’t “get” the book of James. James was the half-brother of Jesus, the first full son of Mary and Joseph. His brother Jude wrote another of the New Testament books. He led the Jerusalem church for about 30 years. He grew up going to the same synagogue as Jesus, in the same town (Nazareth) as Jesus, and Jesus made a special appearance to him after our Lord’s resurrection. His voice is a pre-Paul voice when the Church was almost exclusively Jewish. The book was probably written after the first persecution broke out (the one Paul was leading). The main reason people have trouble understanding James, I think, is because his vocabulary is pre-Paul, and we “gentiles” use Paul’s language to talk about our faith. As Sunday’s message is based on this lesson I’ll not go into any details about it.

Mark 7:31--37: This is the account of how Jesus healed a man who was both deaf and mute. It is noteworthy at a number of levels. First is the location. Jesus was in the region of the Decapolis. This was a federation of 10 Greek cities. Jesus had traveled outside of the political boundaries of the Jewish population into an area that was commonly considered “unclean.” The message is that Jesus is for all people, not just the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Judah. Next Jesus uses “means” to perform this miracle, in this case his own spit. Now many feel Jesus did this because the man could see what Jesus was doing, but could not hear. While this may be true, it nonetheless shows that Christ also works through means. He continues to work though means today in the waters of Baptism, the elements of Communion, and the Bible. Next is our Lord’s command to not tell anyone about what he did. Why would Jesus do this? In part, Jesus said this because he was becoming known as a miracle worker. What Jesus wanted was for people to hear his message, not just come and watch the show. The passage ends with the people saying “He has done all things well.” How true! Jesus would continue to do all things well, culminating in his death on the cross where he bore the punishment for our sins so that we might have eternal life.

Sunday’s Collect

O Lord, let Your merciful ears be open to the prayers of Your humble servants and grant that what they ask may be in accord with Your gracious will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Gradual for the season is not used in the Service of Prayer and Preaching.


The appointed Introit is not used in the Service of Prayer and Preaching. Instead we use the appointed Psalm.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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