Thursday, October 15, 2009

Worship for Pentecost 20

Thursday after Pentecost 19
October 15, 2009

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost. At Lamb of God Lutheran Church (LCMS) we will be using Matins for our morning service (Lutheran Service Book (LSB), page 219). The appointed scripture lessons for Sunday are Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, Hebrews 4:1-13, and Mark 10:23-31. The appointed Psalm is Psalm 119:9-16, antiphon verse 14. Our opening hymn will be “May God Bestow on Us His Grace” (LSB 824). This is the hymn we are learning. The sermon hymn will be “What is the World to Me” (LSB 730). The closing hymn will be “Beautiful Savior” (LSB 537). The sermon is titled “Fleeting Happiness or Permanent Joy.” I could probably used any of the lessons for my text as I will be using all three, but for record the text will be Mark 10:26.

Better Noise (see links on this page) has “What is the World to Me” but not our other two. “What is the Word to Me” was written by the Lutheran German pastor Georg Pfefforcorn (what a name) in 1679. “Beautiful Savior” first appeared in 1662 in a Westphalian manuscript. No one knows who wrote it. The opening line has also been translated “Fairest Lord Jesus,” so you might know it by that name. It has been included in each of the LC-MS hymnals. I found a nice male quartet singing Beautiful Savior on YouTube and it is at the end of these notes.

In the Adult Bible study well will be looking at the Kingdom Parables in Matthew 13, with a special focus on the parable of the Pearl of Great Value in verses 45-46.

Preview of the Lessons
Ecclesiastes 5:10-20: “According to Christian and Jewish tradition, Solomon wrote his Song early in his reign, Proverbs toward the middle of his reign, and Ecclesiastes at the end. Statements from these Books and form 1 Ki 1-11 fit well with themes in Ecclesiastes. For example, Solomon strayed from the Lord later in his life because he allowed his many idolatrous wives and concubines to lead him into idolatry (1 Ki 11). The writer crassly describes his pursuit of power and pleasure, which only led to emptiness. This could explain the desperation, even unbelief, expressed repeatedly in Ecclesiastes, which seems depressing with its droning, negative outlook.
“This negative outlook rings true with our bitter experiences and is a key feature of Ecclesiastes. However, the Book’s conclusion pulls the reader back from the brink of despair with firm confessions of God’s care and wisdom (12:7, 13-14). Solomon offers hope that there is more to life, and, in the one “greater than Solomon” (Mt 12:42), readers can find the fullness of wisdom and life embodied. Jesus Christ is the answer to the questions and mysteries that Ecclesiastes poses about life.” (The Lutheran Study Bible, page 1048)
In this particular pericope Solomon speaks of how wealth does not produce lasting joy. Those who run after it are never satisfied with what they have. Often even what you have is lost. He recommends being satisfied with what the Lord has given you instead of always chasing after something else to make you happy.

Hebrews 4:1-13: The book of Hebrews is an absolutely brilliant treatment of the Old Testament. If you want to know how to read this portion of the Bible, start by reading Hebrews. In this reading the book gives us a proper understanding of the Sabbath (the 7th day). In short it points to Jesus, in whom we find our rest. This reading ends with a powerful testimony concerning the Bible, saying it is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” When we read this on Sunday, and consider how Hebrews is telling us that the Old Testament is all about Jesus, remember the words of our Lord in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures [Old Testament] because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

Mark 10:23-31: Jesus speaks about how “riches” become a stumbling block for salvation. In our country, when many Christians have fallen for the deception that riches automatically mean God’s blessings, we need to head our Lord’s warning. Indeed riches are a powerful and seductive idol. However wealth does not put a person beyond the pail of God’s grace (verse 26-27). On the other hand, poverty is also no guarantee of God’s favor (verses 28-31). The Gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus where we find a favorable God.

Sunday’s Collect
O God, Your divine wisdom sets in order all things in heaven and on earth. Put away from us all things hurtful and give us those things that are beneficial for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You 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!

In the service of Matins we do not use an Introit. In stead we use an appointed Psalm. The Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday is Psalm 119, verses 9-16. The antiphon is verse 14.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O LORD;
teach me your statutes!
With my lips I declare
all the just decrees of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statues;
I will not forget your word.
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.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.

Extra Notes
A voters’ meeting is scheduled for this coming Sunday. One item to be discussed is how to use the matching funds from Thrivant that we will be applying for (as soon as we know how we want to use it). One of the options was to purchase a new (used) organ as there was a great deal. However that organ was purchased by another church, so that is off the table. Two other options are a remodel of the narthex or some repairs in the sanctuary. These proposals will be presented.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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