Thursday, October 8, 2009

Worship for Pentecost 19

Thursday after Pentecost 18
October 8, 2009

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost. At Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LCMS) we will be using the first setting of the morning liturgy out of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB), which begins on page 151. The appointed scripture lessons for Sunday are Amos 5:6-7, 10-15, Hebrews 3:12-19, and Mark 10:17-22. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. Our opening hymn will be “May God Bestow on Us His Grace” (LSB 824). The sermon hymn will be “Spread the Reign of God the Lord” (LSB 830). The closing hymn will be “O Christ, Our True and Only Light” (LSB 389). The distribution hymns will be “Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying” (LSB 597), “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise” (LSB 680), and “O Bless the Lord, My Soul” (LSB 814). This will be the last week we will be featuring “Water, Blood, and Spirit Crying.” While it may not be a favorite by now, at least we know it. The new hymn we will be learning is our opening hymn, “May God Bestow on Us His Grace.” This is hardly a “new” hymn. It was written by Martin Luther and based on Psalm 67. It has been called “Martin Luther’s missionary hymn” and the “first missionary hymn of Protestantism.” It has been in every English hymnal the LCMS has ever published (not the supplements, of course).

I could find no videos on YouTube with this Sunday’s hymns. However Better Noise has two of them, “Spread the Reign of God the Lord” (LSB 830) and “O Bless the Lord, My Soul” (LSB 814). There is a link to Better Noise on the side bar of this blog. The hymn “O Christ, Our True and Only Light” is one of those hymns that had its words updated in Lutheran Worship, but had them returned to the form found in The Lutheran Hymnal in LSB. It was written during the Thirty Years War by the Lutheran Johann Heerman, based on a prayer written by Peter Brillmacher which he found in a prayer book published by Philipp Kegel. What Heerman didn’t know was that the prayer's author was a Jesuit and the prayer, from Brillmacher’s point-of-view, was for the Protestants to return to the Roman Catholic Church! However it has passed into general church usage as a missions hymn, which is the sentiment we express when we sing it.

Preview of the Lessons
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15: Amos was an Old Testament prophet who was active from 760 to 750 BC in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. The Israelites divided into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, after the death of Solomon in 930 BC. Israel fell to Assyria in 722 BC and disappeared from history. The only survivors escaped to Judah. Though Israel had fallen from the true faith, God in his mercy continued to send prophets calling them to repentance and faith. As Amos’ work was done only a few decades before the fall of Israel it is not surprising that his book is an earnest call from God for repentance with a promise of mercy for those who repent. This reading reflects this call. “House of Joseph” (v. 6) is another way of referring to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. “Bethel” (v. 6) is a Hebrew word meaning “house [beth] of God [el].” “El” is the generic word for god. At the time of Amos the main worship site of Israel was in Bethel, so the reference to it in verse 6 indicates that the idols of Israel will not be able to save them. Verse 7 contains an indictment of one of the manifestations of Israel’s apostasy, they pervert justice. Verse 10 is a related charge, they persecute those who speak the truth. Verse 11 has another charge, the rich exploit the poor. The coming judgment from God, through Assyria, is then depicted. God is not deceived by them. In verse 13 those who “keep silent” should be understood as those who repent. They have nothing to say, no defense. The one who repents and trusts in God will then “seek good” (v. 14). This believer will then find life (salvation). He has this life, not based on his good works, but because the “LORD, the God of hosts,” is with them. This is the One True God. Even though the nation is so far gone, if they repent and return to the LORD, they will find him to be “gracious.” Thank the Lord that we have a gracious God in Christ Jesus. Sadly we know that Amos’ words went unheeded by Israel.

Hebrews 3:12-19: While there are many suggestions, no one really knows for sure who wrote the book of Hebrews. The writer knows and loves his Old Testament, however he correctly sees Jesus as the fulfillment of its many types. It is clear from the letter that the Temple was still standing, meaning the book was written before 70 AD. The writer writes to people who are familiar with the history of the Jews and the practices of its worship life, meaning they were Jews by birth. Therefore this letter might well have been written before the Church made a significant jump to the Gentile community. However persecution was picking up for the Christians and so the major move to the Gentile mission is not far off. His readers were facing a very real temptation. Should they return to the established Jewish religious system with its grandeur and legal status, or remain Christians. In this lesson the writer uses the Israelites wilderness wandering to encourage them to remain faithful to Jesus. Even though those Israelites were delivered from Egypt, they rebelled and did not enter the Promised Land. Their unbelief kept them out. We are to take care that the same does not happen to us. We are to continue to gather in worship and exhort one another to faithfulness. Only by remaining “in Christ” and holding to the Gospel of grace, which is our “original confidence,” will we be able to remain “firm to the end” and enter Glory.

Mark 10:17-22: This reading forms the foundation of the sermon, so I’ll not say much here. In it a rich young ruler asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus answers the question but the answer only crushed the spirit of the man. He walked away disheartened. Though this man was certainly more pious than the people in our Old Testament lesson, he had a similar problem. Prosperity was more important than eternal life. Even Jesus face the painful reality that everyone you share God’s word with does not become a follower of the Lord.

Sunday’s Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, whose grace always precedes and follows us, help us to forsake all trust in earthly gain and to find in You our heavenly treasure; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Ps 91:11; 103:1)
He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Introit (Ps 112:3-6; antiphon: Ps 112:1)
Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!
Wealth and riches are in his house,
and his righteousness endures forever.
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends
who conducts his affairs with justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
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.
Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commandments!

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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