Thursday, November 19, 2009

Worship for the Last Sunday of the Church Year

Commemoration of Elizabeth of Hungary
September 19, 2009

The Lord be with you

Today is set aside to commemorate Elizabeth of Hungary on the Church Calendar used in the LCMS. In another post, I’ll provide some information about her.

This coming Sunday is recognized as the Last Sunday of the Church Year on that same Church Calendar. On some Church Calendars it is designated as Christ the King Sunday, but that name was dropped from our calendars with the introduction of Lutheran Worship back in 1982. It has also been known as the Last Sunday of the End Times on Calendars that mark the last three Sunday’s of the Church Year as the Third-Last Sunday of the End Times, the Second-Last Sunday of the End Times, and the Last Sunday of the End Times. Even though these names are no longer used in the LCMS, the themes they accented are still present in the Propers assigned for the day.

At Lamb of God Lutheran Church we will be using Setting Three of the morning service (AKA the “Divine Service”), which begins on page 184. This service is very similar to the service found in The Lutheran Hymnal, which was the service in the LCMS’s first English hymnal, Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book. We “acquired” this service from the old English Synod, which joined the LCMS, becoming the English District. in 1912. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper Sunday.

The appointed lessons for Sunday (November 22) are Isaiah 51:4-6, Jude 20-25, and Mark 13:24-37. The sermon is titled “Christ the King.” While each of the lessons could be used for the text, and will be used in the sermon, the text I’ve selected is Jude 24-25.

The hymnal review committee marked a number of hymns as ones well worth learning by Lamb of God. One of those hymns is “Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding” (LSB 345). This hymn was written in Latin around the 5th to the 10th centuries and was translated into English in the 1800’s. So, while the committee didn’t know it, you might. We will be using it, starting this Sunday as our first hymn, and continue to feature it into Advent so we can learn it. Our sermon hymn will be “O Worship the King” (LSB 804). The distribution hymns are “Crown Him with Many Crowns” (LSB 525), “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (LSB 528), and “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (LSB 643). The closing hymn will be “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” (LSB 918).

The Icon on this post is called “Christ the Pantocrator.” Pantocrator is two Greek words that mean “All Powerful” or “Almighty” This one is a copy of a Serbian fresco. The Cyrillic Script in the book held by Christ is John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life,” but instead of “light of life” it reads “eternal life.” At the top left and right are Greek abbreviations for “Jesus” (IC) and “Christ” (XC). Further down are the Greek letters “O COTHP” which translate “the Savior.” The Greek letters are all capitals. In light of the readings assigned for the day this Icon seems appropriate.

Better Noise has every hymn for Sunday, however due to copywrite laws the words for “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” have not been posted. The link can be found on the right hand sidebar of this webpage. I also found an organ video of this hymn, again without words, which is posted at the end of these notes.

Preview of the Lessons
Isaiah 51:4-6: In verses 1-3 God appeals to humanity to believe in him and live in light of that faith. In verses 4 and 5 God continues that plea, speaking of his righteousness and salvation, which is for all people (coastlands were where the Gentiles lived). Verse 5 reminds us that the things of this world are temporal but the salvation of the Lord is eternal. All earthly glory will pass away, but the gifts of God last forever, therefore we are not to fear what mere humans might do to us (verse 7).

Jude 20-25: The book of Jude is only 25 verses long, the last two verses forming a doxology and the text for Sunday’s sermon. In this reading Jude encourages us to live our lives in light of the Second Coming of Christ.

Mark 13:24-37: Jesus speaks of the signs that we are living in the Last Days, but reminds us not to set dates as even he does not know when the end will come (verse 32). This limitation on the knowledge of Jesus was due to the fact that, during his earthly ministry, he was in his “state of humiliation” (as theologians call it). That means that Jesus laid aside his power, rights, and proagatives as God in order to carry out his mission as Savior. He resumed the full exercise of his Diety when he ascended into heaven (Revelation 4-5). We are not called to seek some date, but to always be “awake,” that is ready, for his return.

Sunday’s Collect
Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Rev. 7:14b; Ps 84:5)
These are ones coming out of the great tribulation.
They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
In whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Verse (2 Cor. 8:9)
Alleluia. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Alleluia.

Introit (Ps 39:4-5a, 7-8, 12a; antiphon 2 Peter 3:12b)
We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness.
O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you
Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
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.
We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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