Thursday, April 22, 2010

Worship for Easter 4

Thursday after Easter 3
April 22, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The appointed lessons are Acts 20:17-35, Revelation 7:9-17, and John 10:22-30. We will be using the third setting of the morning service (page 184). We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The opening hymn will be “Jesus Lives! The Victory’s Won” (490). The sermon hymn will be “Spread the Reign of God the Lord” (830). The distribution hymns will be “Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free” (473), “Your Table I Approach” (628), and “He is Arisen! Glorious Word” (488). Our closing hymn will be “Jesus Christ, My Sure Defense” (741). The sermon is titled “Christ for a Changing World” and is based on the Gospel lesson.

You can hear the melody for most of Sunday’s hymns at Better Noise (see the link on the side bar).

Preview of the Lessons
Acts 20:17-35: Paul is on his way to Jerusalem with an offering from the Gentile churches. The gift will be given to the Church in Jerusalem for distribution to the poor. His ship has docked in Miletus and so the pastors from “Asia” (today’s Asia Minor) have come to him for some parting words. Paul knows he will be arrested in Jerusalem. Just a few nuggets from the text include the divine position of the pastor (28), the content of what ministers are to proclaim (20-21, 27), the sure fact that false teachers will trouble the Church (29-30) and our call to help the weak (35).

Revelation 7:9-17: John sees a scene in heaven where saints from all over the globe sing God’s praises for their salvation. It is clear that they consider their salvation a pure gift which they did nothing to earn or deserve. They are joined in their praise by the other beings in heaven, for our salvation is so awesome that all feel compelled to praise God for it. However the saints in glory have had their share of tribulations in this life (14). Such mistreatment for the sake of Christ is amply testified to elsewhere in the New Testament (Matt 10:16-25; Mark 4:17; James 1:2; 1 Peter 1:6; etc.). These saints now receive the prize of joy everlasting (16-17), which Paul looked forward to in our Epistle lesson (Acts 20:24)

John 10:22-30: Jesus is in Jerusalem during the Feast of Dedication. The Jewish leaders ask Jesus if he is the Christ. Jesus says he has already answered that question, but the leaders simply do not want to believe. It reminds me of a child asking their parents for something. Mom and dad say “no.” The child doesn’t like the answer and so asks again (and again, and again). Jesus’ words and actions all proclaim him to be the Christ. His sheep hear his voice and believe in him, the leaders do not hear because they are not Christ’s sheep. Once again we see that our salvation “eternal life” is a gift from God (28-29) and not something earned.

Sunday’s Collect
Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, 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 20:14)
Alleluia. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, I know my own and ny own know me. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 78:70-72; 79:13; antiphon: John 10:14, 15b)
I am the good shepherd,
I know my own and my own know me, and I lay down my life for the sheep.
He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand.
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise.
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.
I am the good shepherd,
I know my own and my own know me, and I lay down my life for the sheep.

Adult Bible Study
We continue, in our adult Bible class, our series titled Puzzlers and Questions About the Bible. This week we will conclude our sub-series which looks at some “really old laws.” This week we will look at Deuteronomy 22:24-28 (laws concerning rape) and Deuteronomy 25:11 (a law concerning a woman aiding her husband while he is in a fight with another man). Some have said these laws force a woman to marry her rapist. Some feel the punishment prescribed in Deuteronomy 25:11 needs defending. Join us Sunday morning at 9:00 AM as we dig deeper into the Word of God.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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