Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Worship for Easter 7

Wednesday after Easter 6
May 12, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Seventh Sunday (and last) of Easter. The appointed lessons are Acts 1:12-26, Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20, and John 17:20-26. The appointed Psalm is 133. The Antiphon is verse 1. We will be using the service of Matins for our liturgy (page 219). The opening hymn is “Up through Endless Ranks of Angels” (LSB 491). The Sermon hymn is “Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee” (LSB 573). The Closing hymn is “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” (LSB 465). The sermon is based on the Gospel lesson and is titled “How to Live in the Love of God,” The text is John 17:26. The video that follows is from an Easter service at a large Lutheran Church. It is the first verse of “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds.” The melody for “Lord, ‘Tis Not That I Did Choose Thee” can be heard on Better Noise (see link on the right-hand side-bar).

DON’T FORGET that tomorrow (Thursday) is Transfiguration Day. We will be celebrating with Good Shepherd, Greenville, and Abiding Savior, Anderson, in a joint worship service. The service is at Good Shepherd (1601 North Pleasantburg Dr, 29615). There is a light sandwich supper at 6:00 PM. The worship service begins at 7:00 PM. I will be delivering the sermon, titled “What Does This Mean?” The appointed lessons are Acts 1:1-11; Ephesians 1:15-23, and Luke 24:44-53. The sermon is based on the Ephesians lesson. I would encourage you to attend no matter what, but now as the Circuit Counselor, I can encourage you to attend in the name of our District President. (The picture is one of the art pieces in Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria Assunta.)

Preview of the Lessons
Acts 1:12-26: The events recorded here occurred just after the Ascension of Jesus and before Pentecost Day. The disciples (which numbered around 120, v. 15), after witnessing the Ascension, returned to Jerusalem. They devoted themselves to prayer. Peter takes the lead and, quoting Scripture, tells the others that Judas needs to be replaced. Two men met the qualification (being a witness to all events from Jesus’ baptism to his Ascension). The word “Apostle” means “sent one.” They were sent to be witness of what they had seen and heard, which is why only two qualified men were found, and Matthias was chosen. He was, no doubt, one of the 72 sent out by Jesus to prepare towns for his arrival and proclaim the Kingdom of God (Luke 10:1-20). The word “apostle” is used in two senses in the New Testament. The first sense is as found in this reading. Short of a divine appearance of Jesus (like St. Paul had) such Apostles are no longer among us. In the second sense, any “sent one” can be called an apostle (Acts 14:14). The “apostles” in this second sense, do not have the authority of the Twelve. There authority lies in the Word, which is how it is with all ministers of the Word. This lesson has some impact on women seeking to fill the pastoral office. Among those listed as disciples we find Mary, the mother of Jesus. Certainly she could (and did) witness to the events in the life of her son. Yet she is not put forward as a candidate. It is also worth noting that verse 14 mentions the brothers of Jesus (who by now were believers).

Revelation 22:1-6, 12-20: This reading is from the last chapter in the Bible. Verses 1-5 continues the spectacular description of heaven which we heard part explained in last week’s sermon. Verse 6 is an affidavit concerning the trustworthiness of what has been recorded. Verses 12 and 13 remind us that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead. Verses 14 and 15 remind us that those who have received the redemption earned by Christ will enter heaven, but those who reject God’s grace will not. Verse 16 is another affidavit that this book is from Christ. Verse 17 is an open invitation for all to come and receive God’s gifts. Verses 18 and 19 are a warning to not tamper with God’s Word, but to proclaim it complete, not adding or subtracting from it. Verse 20 is both a promise that Christ will return “soon” and a prayer that he returns. “I am coming soon” does not set any timetable up. To put the thought a different way, he is coming without delay. Once everything necessary is accomplished (primarily the reception of salvation by all that will become Christians) he will return. I’m not sure why, but the lectionary does not include the final verse of Revelation. It is a benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”

John 17:20-26: We return again to the Upper Room on the night Jesus was betrayed. Jesus is praying for the Church throughout the ages, which includes all believers alive today. As the content of this prayer is the foundation for Sunday’s sermon, I’ll not comment on it here.

Sunday’s Collect
O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him 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 14:18)
Alleluia. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. Alleluia. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 133, Antiphon v. 1)
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
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.
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!

Adult Bible Study
We continue, in our adult Bible class, our series titled Puzzlers and Questions About the Bible. Every week we deal with a question submitted by someone. There are a number of questions that have been submitted that, no matter how hard I might try, simply will not take up an hour long Bible Study. For this coming week I’ve grouped four such questions together. There is no unifying theme, so I’ve titled the study “Shotgun.” The four questions are:

1. It seems that all our translations for the phrase “menstrual rags” get sanitized to “filthy rags.” This makes me think there are other scriptures that have been “cleaned up,” and thus we don’t’ get the true words. Am I right?

2. Ruth 3:3-14 – Is “uncovering his feet” a euphemism for Ruth and Boaz having had sex?

3. Esther 2:14 – Was Esther part of the king’s harem and did she have sex with him?

4. Where did Cain get his wife?

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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