Thursday, April 8, 2010

Worship for Easter 2

Thursday after Easter
April 8, 2010

The Lord be with you

This past Sunday was not only Easter Sunday, but also the first Sunday in the Easter season. The Easter season lasts until Pentecost Sunday, fifty days after Easter. During this season the altar paraments are white, the Old Testament lessons are replaced with readings from the book of Acts (Easter being worked out in the life of the Church), the Epistle lesson is replaced with a reading from Revelation (Easter fulfilled), the “alleluias,” which have been missing from the liturgy throughout Lent return, and Easter hymns are sung. Our hymnal review committee selected seven Easter hymns in our hymnal that Lamb of God (LCMS) does not know but would be blessed by learning. This Easter season we will learn one, “Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free” (473).

The traditional Gospel lesson for the First Sunday after Easter is our Lord’s appearance first to his disciples (minus Thomas) the evening of Easter Sunday, and then again one week later to the disciples with Thomas present (John 20:19-31). Our reading from Acts is chapter 5, verses 12-20. The lesson from Revelation is chapter 1, verses 4-18. The sermon text will be Acts 5:20, and it is titled “This Life.”

We will be using the first setting of the morning service (page 151) and we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Our opening hymn will be “Alleluia, Alleluia! Hearts to Heaven” (477). The sermon hymn, as already mentioned, will be “Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free” (473). The distribution hymns will be “O Sons and Daughters of the King” (470), “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” (637), and “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing” (475). Our closing hymn will be “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” (480). Each one of these hymns is well-known, except the one we are just beginning to learn. Each one of these hymns is an Easter hymn, except one of the distribution hymns. In other words, there should be some great singing in the worship service this Sunday.

The nine verse hymn “O Sons and Daughters of the King” is almost always sung on the Second Sunday of Easter. Though it dates back to a Latin hymn written in the 1400’s, it did not make an appearance in Missouri Synod hymnals until Lutheran Worship. Verses 1-3 treat Christ’s appearance to the women at the grave Easter morning. Verse 4 deals with our Lord’s appearance to the Apostles the first Easter evening. Verses 5-8 deals with Jesus’ appearance to the Apostles the next week, when Thomas was present. The final verse is praise of God for Easter. The accent on the two appearances to the Apostles is why this is such a common hymn on the Second Sunday of Easter. Below is a video from YouTube that I found.

The words and music for “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” were written by C.F.W. Wather, the first president of the LC-MS. Therefore I do not know just how well it is known outside our circles. I did, however, find the following video on YouTube of a young man playing this hymn in a worship service. The hymnal is abbreviated “CW,” which I assume stands for “Christian Worship,” so someone outside the LCMS is singing this hymn.

You can hear the melody for each of Sunday's hymns, except “Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free,” at the Better Noise website (see the link on the side bar). Once again, the reason Better Noise does not have the melody for this hymn is due to copy write laws.

You will want to prepare your hearts for the reception of the Lord’s Supper. Reading Luther’s “Christian Questions with Their Answers” is an excellent way to do this. The questions can be found in most any copy of Luther’s Small Catechism. Luther’s Small Catechism can also be found in Lutheran Worship and Lutheran Service Book, so you can find the questions there if you have a copy of one of those hymnals.

Preview of the Lessons
Acts 5:12-20: The church was growing by leaps and bounds, and so was the jealousy of the Temple leaders. These leaders had some of the apostles arrested, but an angel released them in the middle of the night with orders to continue their preaching.

Revelation 1:4-18: All of Revelation is densely packed with theological truth, and I certainly cannot unpack these verses in a single paragraph! John is exiled on an island named Patmos for his witness to the resurrected Christ when Jesus himself appears to him in resurrected and ascended glory. Though his exile was intended to snuff out his influence, the revelation Jesus gives to the Church through John ensure that the life of the Church continues to be nurtured by the Word of God.

John 20:19-31: As mentioned above, this is a record of two appearances of the resurrected Jesus. These appearances were to but the faith of the Apostles, and us, on solid ground. We also have one of the key passages concerning the Church’s call to forgive sins (John 20:22-23), and another key passage concerning our Great Commission to spread the Gospel (John 20:21). We also have Jesus’ commendation of all who believe in him even though he does not make a personal appearance (John 20:29). John 20:30 is important, even though it is stating the obvious. Jesus did and said much more than what is recorded. (Most of the so called contradictions in the Gospel accounts melt away when we remember this little verse.) Verse 31 is maybe the key verse in John’s Gospel. It gives the reason he wrote. In deed it gives the reason for the Bible; “these [things] are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Knowing how tall Jesus was, how he spent his time between ages 12 and 30, and so on, are of no importance in reference to the reason the Bible was written. The Bible is written so that you may have life. This is the same life the Apostles preach about in our Acts lesson and for which John was exiled.

Sunday’s Collect
Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (adapted from Matt 28:7; Heb 2:7; Ps 8:6)
Christ has risen from the dead.
God the Father has crowned him with glory and honor,
He has given him dominion over the works of his hands;
He has put all things under his feet.

Verse (Romans 6:9; John 20:29b)
Alleluia. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Alleluia. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 105:1-5, 8; antiphon 1 Peter 2:2-3)
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation—
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered.
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.
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.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation—
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Adult Bible Study
We continue, in our adult Bible class, our series titled Puzzlers and Questions About the Bible. We are in a little sub-series which looks at some “really old laws.” This weeks question is: “Deuteronomy 24:16 says that shall be punished for his own sins. So why were Achan’s sons and daughters stoned to death because of Achan’s sin in Joshua 7:24?” As usual we will find the answer lies in the larger context, instead of “cherry picking” a passage from here and there. Join us at 9:30 AM for the study “Achan’s Apostasy.”

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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