Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Worship for Lent 4

Wednesday after the Second Third Sunday in Lent
March 3, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday in Lent. At Lamb of God Lutheran (LCMS) we will be using the first setting of the morning service with Communion (page 151). We will use the Lent options. Our hymns will be “Come to Calvary’s Holy Mountain” (LSB 435), “Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me” (LSB 761), “Jesus, Greatest at the Table” (LSB 446), “My Song is Love Unknown” (LSB 430), “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629), and “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 575). You can hear the music for each of the hymns except “What Is This Bread” and “Jesus, Greatest at the Table” at Better Noise. The link is in the column on the right hand side of this page. If you want to know why Better Noise sometimes does not have the music or words of a hymn, it is because they are newer and are therefore copy written. The new writers want to be paid for their work but the dead ones don’t. (To be honest, most of the dead ones never did get much money for their work. Often they received nothing as they thought of it as a service to the Lord and his church.) The video at the end of these notes is Rock of Ages, sung by a Mennonite choir. Rock of Ages was written by Augustus M. Toplady in 1775. He was the son of a tavern owner and was left to his own devices as a child. What a wonderful gift the Lord gave the Church through him.

The appointed lessons are Isaiah 12:1-6, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, and Luke 15:1-3, 11-32. The sermon is titled “A Misunderstood Father” The sermon text will be Luke 15:11.

Preview of the Lessons
Isaiah 12:1-6: Isaiah 12 has only six verses. Members of Lamb of God will instantly recognize this chapter as the source of the Old Testament Canticle in the Service of Prayer and Preaching, which we use once a month. This is the first of Isaiah’s “songs of praise.” Verses 1 & 2 use singulars (I, my). Starting in verse 3 plurals are used. Apparently this chapters was intended to be used in worship with a soloist going first and then the congregation joining. God is praised for relenting of his just anger and bringing forgiveness and salvation. In verse two the ESV reads “the LORD GOD is my strength and my song.” LORD GOD is, in Hebrew, Yah Yahweh. Yah or Yahweh is the name revealed to Moses at the burning thorn bush. This doubling of basically the same name of God’s strengthens the thrust of the passage; salvation is attributed to God alone. We do nothing to merit or deserve it. It is all from God’s divine goodness and mercy. Notice also in verses 4 & 5 the clear call for us to share the good news of God’s grace in Christ Jesus with all. The Church is not a private club for members only, but is to welcome the stranger and open to them the gates of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:16-21: Verse 16 – Christ transcends all human divisions in the Church. Verse 17 – This is so because we are a “new creation” as Christians and this “new creation” is what we recognize in others, not old earthly divisions. Verse 18 – This is a gift based on the reconciliation Christ earned, and it is of that reconciliation which we now are ambassadors. Verse 19 – In case you don’t get it, the reconciliation being spoken of is Christ reconciling the world to himself and the Father through his death on the cross, bringing forgiveness of our sins. Verse 20 – So we are ambassadors of Christ’s reconciliation. Verse 21 – In case you still don’t get it, the Father made Jesus sin (very strong wording) who knew NO sin, so that we might be righteous in God’s eyes.

Luke 15:1-3, 11-32: This is the well know parable called the “Prodigal Son.” It will serve as the text for the sermon. I know I’ve used this story more than once in the past but, what can I say, I REALLY like it. The lectionary being used with the LSB has added the first few verses of Luke 15 to the reading. This gives us the context for the three parables in Luke 15, and therefore the context for the story of the “Prodigal Son.” I’m just not going to say anything else, you will have to wait until Sunday.

Sunday’s Collect
Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; 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 15:22a, 24a)
The father said to his servants, “This my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”

Introit (Psalm 51:2-6; antiphon, verse 1)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love,
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
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.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love,
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

NOTE #1: At the meeting last Sunday after the worship service it was decided that our Passover Meal, Saturday, March 20, will be free. However you will need to RSVP. See the post about on this blog (posted March 7).

NOTE #2: This is the last week of my first class at Gardner Webb University, so next week these notes will again be posted on Thursday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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