Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Worship for Lent 2

Feast Day of St. Matthias, Apostle
February 24, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday in Lent. At Lamb of God Lutheran (LCMS) we will be using the second setting of the morning service, which begins on page 167 of our hymnal. Our hymnal calls all the primary services for Sunday morning “Divine Service,” with different “settings” (five of them). To be honest, I have never cared for the change in the name from “Morning Service” to “Divine Service.” Our first two English hymnals (ELHB and TLH) called these main Sunday services “Morning Service.” With the introduction of LW in 1982 (and in the ELCA, LBW in 1978) the new nomenclature of “Divine Service” was introduced (see correction in the first comment below). While this new vocabulary did bring our denomination in line with the current liturgical fads and trends, it also introduced confusion. Prior to LW (and LSB) the word liturgy was most often defined in our circles as “the work of the people.” Now it is often defined (maybe most often) as God’s work. While we certainly receive the gifts of God through Word and Sacrament during the service, it still is our worship as well, where we bring to the Lord praise and thanksgiving, where we ascribe to him honor and glory. The phrase “Morning Service,” or simply “Service” as the old ALC hymnal titled the regular morning service, leaves open the dual nature of our morning time together (both our worship of the Lord and the gifts of the Lord to us in Word and Sacrament). I share this information simply to clear up any confusion for any one who might read these notes and wonder why so often I do not say we are using “Divine Service, setting …”

[For those who do not know the meaning of all the initials, LCMS = Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod; ELHB = Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book; TLH = The Lutheran Hymnal; LW = Lutheran Worship; ELCA = Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; LBW = Lutheran Book of Worship; LSB = Lutheran Service Book; ALC = American Lutheran Church]

We will continue to use the Lent options in the liturgy. Among other things, this means we will use the Gloria in Excelsis for our hymn of praise instead of This Is the Feast, and our post-communion canticle will be the Nunc Dimittis instead of Thank the Lord.

The appointed lessons are Jeremiah 26:8-15; Philippians 3:17-4:1; and Luke 13:1-35. The sermon is titled “In Your Face.” It will draw from each of the lessons, but for a text I will use Jeremiah 26:12. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. You may wish to read your copy of Luther’s Small Catechism on the Lord’s Supper to prepare for the Sacrament.

We have been learning the hymn “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory” (LSB 416). This will be the last week we use it (for awhile), as the congregation seems to have mastered it. It will be one of our Distribution Hymns. Now we will begin to learn the only Lent hymn that was unknown that the hymnal review committee wanted the congregation to learn. (There were only four Lent hymns in the hymnal that were unknown.) The hymn is “My Song Is Love Unknown” (LSB 430) and it will be our Opening Hymn. Our Sermon Hymn will be “In the Cross of Christ I Glory” (LSB 427). Our two additional Distribution Hymns will be “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee” (LSB 632) and “The Church’s One Foundation” (LSB 644). Our Closing Hymn will be “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 576). You may not immediately recognize “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee,” but you do know the tune, Old Hunderedth. The most famous hymn coupled with this tune begins, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all people …”

As usual, you can hear the tunes of the hymns at Better Noise (see the link on the right hand side of this blog). A YouTube video of our new hymn, “My Song Is Love Unknown,” which includes the words, has been posted at the end of these notes.

Preview of the Lessons
Jeremiah 26:8-15: Jeremiah lived from 626 to 585 BC. Kings during his life time were Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah. Josiah was a faithful king, but Jehoiakim and Zedekiah both abandoned the faith of Israel. This message comes from “the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim” (26:1) which would be the year 609 BC. Josiah had sponsored a restoration of the faith during his reign (which had all but died out during the reign of Manasseh) but the “reformation” was not truly embraced by the people. When Jehoiakim became king the state support for the true faith would evaporate and the people would rust headlong back to crass idolatry. The Lord knew this and sent Jeremiah to warn them, urging them to repent and find a gracious God. His warning falls on deaf ears. God’s grace is spurned. Jeremiah is arrested for his warning and the disaster that could have been avoided does come. There is nothing secret about what God wants, repentant people who put their faith in him. When things fall apart because of human sinfulness, it is not because God has not made his desires, or the consequences of ignoring his desires, clear.

Philippians 3:17-4:1: Philippians was written by Paul while he was in prison. Mainly Paul is thanking the Philippians for their support. In this section he is warning the Philippians about those who oppose “the cross of Christ.” Anyone who detracts from the saving work of Christ could be put in this category. Again, God is not obscure about what he wants, repentant people who put their faith in him [Jesus]. The result of a failure to do so is also clear, “destruction.” The result of faith in Jesus is also clear, our lowly bodies will be transformed to be like his glorious body at his Second Coming.

Luke 13:31-35: In this lesson some Pharisees warn Jesus of Herod’s intention to murder him. This would be the same Herod who murdered John the Baptist. Some feel these Pharisees are seeking to frighten Jesus, making him look like a coward in front of his followers. Others feel these Pharisees were speaking with a good intention. It is certain that not all Pharisees were opponents of Jesus (John 3:1). No matter what their motives were, their warning does not change our Lord’s course of action. Jesus calls Herod a “fox” (ESV). In English the word fox often is associated with being clever. However this same word could be translated Jackal, which would mean Jesus is not calling Herod clever, but that he was a parasite. Jesus is clear, he will continue his Kingdom work, which would lead him to Jerusalem, where he will be condemned and die. The compassion of God as he reaches out to a sinful world seeking repentance and faith can be seen in the metaphor Jesus uses of God as a hen reaching out to her chicks.

Sunday’s Collect
O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that my happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Hebrews 12:2)
O come, let us fix our eyes on Jesus,
the founder and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Verse (Luke 13:35)
Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.
O God, why do you cast us off forever?
Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture?
Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage!
Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.
Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins;
the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!
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.
For zeal for your house has consumed me,
and the reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

1 comment:

  1. One way I know that someone is reading this blog is by receiving corrections. One of my fellow pastors has given me more accurate information concerning the origin of the phrase “Divine Service” and the use of it in the ELCA. He sent me an e-mail, no doubt to allow me a chance to save face, but I’m willing to admit that I am not omniscient. First, Lutheran Book of Worship DOES NOT title their main Sunday morning services “Divine Service.” Instead they call them “Holy Communion,” with three settings. Second, the phrase “Divine Service” comes from the German “Gottesdienst.” My brother pastor says this can be translated “Service of God, reminding us that in the liturgy … God comes to serve us … even as we obviously are there also with our hymns of praise, adoration, prayers and petitions … to worship him … and solicit his help. But it does capture the meaning of those words of Jesus. ‘I am among you as One who serves.’” Thank you my friend for this information.