Thursday, February 4, 2010

Worship for Epiphany 5

Thursday after Epiphany 4
February 4, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. The appointed lessons are Isaiah 6:1-8; 1 Corinthians 14:12b-20; and Luke 5:1-11. The sermon, based on the Gospel lesson, is titled “More than a Miracle”. Our hymns will be “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 575), “Just as I Am, without One Plea” (LSB 570), and “Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying” (LSB 826). We will be using the "Service of Prayer and Preaching" for our liturgy (page 260). This will be “Scout Sunday.” This is not an official liturgical day, just an extra for us. Our Cub Scouts, who have worked for over two months, will receive their "God and Me" awards near the end of the service. After the service we will have a short reception in the narthex where our cub family can meet our church family. You will also be able to purchase tickets for our pack’s fund-raising spaghetti dinner, which will be this Wednesday, February 11. The cost is $5.00 per person, with no family being charged more than $20.00.

Every hymn for Sunday can be found on line at “Better Noises” (see link on the right-hand side of this blog). Better Noise also provides a little bit of information about the people who wrote the music and lyrics of the hymns. At the end of these worship notes is a video of “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less.” It is a little slower than Karen will probably play it. There are two well known tunes to this hymn, though you wouldn’t know it by checking out YouTube videos. I found a ton of videos with the tune we will not be using.

Preview of the Lessons
Isaiah 6:1-8: This is the call of the prophet Isaiah. It has a number of parallels to the call of Peter in our Gospel lesson for Sunday. Isaiah sees a vision of the throne of God. The sight is awesome. Around the throne are “seraphim.” “Im” is the plural ending in Hebrew, so I guess technically in English the word should be translated “seraphs.” It means “burning ones.” They look nothing like the modern depiction of angels. Gigantic, living, flying, flaming beings, whose voices rattle the foundations of heaven, would terrify anyone. Then, to think of them as servants of an even more awesome Being (God), well any sane person would react like Isaiah. A candle or flashlight seems quite bright in the night, but in the daytime their weakness is revealed. So is our “goodness” and “righteousness” when compared to the Divine. We might look rather “good” compared to other fallen people, but standing next to God our “goodness” and “righteousness” is revealed as weak and pathetic. Isaiah recognizes his sinfulness and expects judgment, condemnation, etc. That is how it is in the “real” world, isn’t it? What he finds, though, is forgiveness, absolution, mercy, atonement. With this forgiveness, Isaiah willingly answers God’s call for someone to spread his word. “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the “Sanctus,” “Hark, the Voice of Jesus Crying,” and other hymns, all draw some of their inspiration from this passage.

1 Corinthians 14:12b-20: We continue our read through 1 Corinthians in our epistle lessons. Chapters 12 through 14 deal with the gifts of the Spirit. It is worth noting that Paul’s famous “Love Chapter” (chapter 13) as well as a treatment concerning worship and the Lord’s Supper (14:12b-40) fall in this section. In this section Paul deals with the use of foreign languages (tongues) in the worship service. Using Acts 2 as our guide, “tongues” should be understood in the same way that we might say “English is my mother tongue,” meaning language. Paul speaks of people understanding these foreign languages, thereby underscoring that these “tongues” are not nonsensical vocal utterances (so-called “tongues of ecstasy”). Paul sums things up with the words “strive to excel in building up the church.” That is what love does, that is what worship does, that is what the Lord’s Supper does, indeed that is what the Holy Spirit does. Luther put it this way in his Small Catechism, “He (the Holy Spirit) calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.”

Luke 5:1-11: The event recorded here is very early in Jesus’ public ministry, before he has selected his 12 main disciples. Early one morning Jesus arrives at the lake of Gennesaret (AKA the Sea of Galilee). Present is a large crowd and at least Peter, James and John. Putting out a few yards in Peter’s fishing boat Jesus teaches concerning the kingdom of God (4:43-44). After the sermon Jesus tells Peter to put out into the deep and fish. Peter does so, even though he “knows” nothing will be caught. Much to his surprise the net is filled with so many fish he must call others in other boats to help bring the catch in. Peter recognizes he is in the presence of someone special, someone who is far more righteous and holy than he. Expecting the same thing that Isaiah expected (judgment) he pleads for Jesus to leave. Like Isaiah, Peter receives the unexpected, absolution, grace, mercy, forgiveness. Jesus then calls Peter to follow him and enter into training for the ministry of catching men alive (only Luke has the “alive” part). Peter, and others (at least James and John) follow Jesus. The sermon is based on this lesson so I will only add to this overview that there is more going on here than just a miraculous catch of fish.

Sunday’s Collect
O Lord, keep Your family the Church continually in the true faith that, relying on the hope of Your heavenly grace, we may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Psalm 117:1-2a; 96:8)
Praise the LORD, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love towards us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!

Verse (Luke 5:10b)
Alleluia. Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 71:15-18; Psalm 71:12)
O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!
My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day,
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.
O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
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.
O God, be not far from me;
O my God, make haste to help me!

The February newsletter will be available Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

P.S. As we didn’t have a worship service last week, the Bible study planned for last week will be our lesson for this week (From Scrolls to the Bible). You can read more about it in the post from last week.

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