Thursday, October 22, 2009

Worship for Reformation Sunday

Thursday after Pentecost 20
October 22, 2009

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. Like most Lutheran congregations, Lamb of God (LCMS), will recognize it as Reformation Sunday. Reformation Day is October 31. Even in my youth many Lutheran congregations had special worship services on October 31, but these days that is rare. That is why most have moved the celebration to the Sunday immediately prior to October 31. The related holiday, All Saints Day’, falls on November 1, and is usually celebrated on the first Sunday following November 1. This year, however, November 1 actually falls on a Sunday, but more about that next week.

This Reformation Sunday we will be using the third setting of the morning worship service (Lutheran Service Book (LSB), page 184). The appointed scripture lessons are Revelation 14:6-7, Romans 3:19-28, and John 8:31-36. This will be a Communion service. Our opening hymn will be the Luther hymn “May God Bestow on Us His Grace” (LSB 824). Our sermon hymn will be the Luther hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LSB 655). Our distribution hymns will be “O Lord, We Praise Thee” (LSB 617), “By Grace I’m Saved” (LSB 566), and “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629). The hymn “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” was written by Martin Luther. Our closing hymn will be the Luther hymn “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (LSB 657). We will be using Bach’s setting, thus honoring two Lutherans at once. Each one of these hymns is well know to the members of Lamb of God. The sermon is titled “Distinguished” and the text is Romans 3:21-22.

Better Noise (see links on this page) has “Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word,” “O Lord, We Praise Thee,” and “By Grace I’m Saved.” I found a YouTube video with the Bach settomg of "A Mighty Fortress," and it is posted at the end of these notes.

Preview of the Lessons
Revelation 14:19-28: This is one of those rare Sundays when all the appointed readings are from the New Testament. Each lesson is a traditional Reformation reading. This reading from Revelation speaks of an “angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.” It was quite common in the 16th century and beyond to identify this angel with Luther, which is why it is a Reformation text. In the 20th century it became quite common to smirk at this understanding and discount it. The truth lies between the two. This angel represents all who stand-up to the world and proclaims salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Martin Luther certainly did that, but so did Augustine, Bede, CFW Walther, and so on. Luther was this angel in a particular place and in a particular time, but the Church is constantly sending forth this angel into a sin-darkened world.

Romans 3:19-28: This reading is the foundation of Sunday’s sermon so I’ll not say much here. However it is a powerful lesson explaining how no one is saved by the works of the Law but instead those who receive the work of Christ “are justified by his grace as a gift.”

John 8:31-36: Jesus explains how important it is to remain faithful to the word. This is what marks us as his disciples. This sets us free. To ignore preaching and his word is to guarantee a fall from faith. Not right away, but sooner or later your faith will dwindle and die.

Sunday’s Collect
Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace; 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 48:1a, 12-14a)
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,
consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels,
that you may tell the next generation
that this is God, our God forever and ever.

Introit (Ps 89:1, 5, 15-16, antiphon: Ps 119:46)
I will speak of your testimonies before kings, O Lord,
and shall not be put to shame.
I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.
Let the heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,
your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones!
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout,
who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
who exult in your name all the day
and in your righteousness are exalted.
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.
I will speak of your testimonies before kings, O Lord,
and shall not be put to shame.

Extra Note

People have begun to drop off items that will be sold at our auction/pot-luck November 8. You may do the same if you want.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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