Thursday, June 24, 2010

Worship for Pentecost 5

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Thursday after Pentecost 4
June 24, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Cyril of Alexandria, Pastor and Confessor. As we will not be doing anything special to recognize Cyril this Sunday, I thought I’d just say a few words now. Cyril lived from around 376 to 444 and became archbishop of Alexandria, Egypt, in 412. Throughout his career, he defended a number of orthodox (and therefore biblical) doctrines, among them the teaching that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is “rightly called and truly is the Mother of God” – Theotokos, “the God-bearer.” (The Lutheran Confessions use this terminology. See, for example, the Formula of Concord VIII 12.) In 431 the Council of Ephesus affirmed this teaching that the Son of Mary is also true God. The writings of Cyril on the doctrines of the Trinity and the person of Christ reveal him to be one of the most able theologians of his time. Cyril’s Christology influenced subsequent Church councils and was a primary source for Lutheran confessional writings. This information was found in Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Concordia Publishing House.

Sunday we will be using the first setting of the worship service in Lutheran Service Book, beginning on page 151. This will be a Communion service. The appointed lessons are 1 Kings 19:9b-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; and Luke 9:51-62. The sermon is titled “When Grace Fails” and the text will be Luke 9:53.

Presumably everybody is familiar now with “O Love How Deep” as we have sung it four week in a row. Therefore we will move to another hymn our hymnal review committee recommended as worth learning by Lamb of God. That hymn is “O Jesus So Sweet, O Jesus So Mild” (546). I’m not sure why Lamb of God does not know this song as it dates back to the days of the Reformation and is loved by believers around the world. It will be our opening hymn. The following video is of a Presbyterian choir singing this hymn.

Sunday’s sermon hymn will be “Just as I Am, without One Plea” (570). The distribution hymns will be “Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness” (636), “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (549), and “By Grace I’m Saved” (566). The closing hymn will be “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (643).

Preview of the Lessons

1 Kings 19:9b-21: This is part of the story of Elijah. He was one of the non-writing prophets. What we know of him comes from the historical books of the Old Testament. This account is after the showdown between Elijah, the prophet of God, and the prophets of Baal (or you could say between God and Baal, but as Baal doesn’t really exist, and God does, it sounds silly to say it was a showdown between God and nothing). After the devastating defeat of the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel determined to kill Elijah. Elijah fled and we pick-up the story while he is on the “mountain of God.” He is despondent, believing he is the last believer alive. Great signs of power are manifested, a mighty wind, an earthquake, and a fire, but God was not present in any of these displays. Then Elijah hears a whisper. In that whisper God manifested himself. Elijah is comforted, assured, and recommissioned by the Lord. There is a real contrast here in how man acts and desires God to act with how God does act. Jezebel flexes her power. Elijah wants God to flex his mussel. If God is really all-powerful why doesn’t he go knock some heads together? Elijah could have seen that such power-plays are not effective evangelism tools when the defeat of the prophets of Baal didn’t lead to a mass conversion of the nation of Israel. God is faithful in keeping his promises, but he seldom works in the ways we would. Our plans are shaped by our fallen nature. God’s goal isn’t vengeance but salvation.

Galatians 5:1, 13-25: The Galatian Church was troubled by teachers that taught works of the Law as a necessary element to salvation (1:6-9). The church had broken into factions, each contending for which works of the Law they felt was necessary for salvation. (Paul calls this returning “again to a yoke of slavery.”) Paul writes, holding high salvation by grace through faith (2:16 is the central verse of Galatians). He clearly describes dissension and power plays as the works of the flesh while grace and faith are the fruit of the Spirit. As believers we are to not to use the weapons of the flesh but to walk in the Spirit.

Luke 9:51-62: In this reading the people in a Samaritan village refused to receive Jesus because “his face was set to go to Jerusalem.” There was a lot of bad blood between the Jews and Samaritans. James and John want to call down fire upon the village. Like Elijah and some of the members of the Church in Galatia, they thought a demonstration of awesome power was the way to go. But Christ refuses their request, preferring to deal with the people in grace and with patience. Christ goes on to speak of true discipleship, which means putting Jesus first and not the desires of the flesh or attachments to even the good gifts God has given us.

Sunday’s Collect

Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Romans 10:15b; Isaiah 52:7b, alt.)

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news,
who publish peace and bring good news of salvation.
Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.

Verse (Luke 9:51)

Alleluia. When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. Alleluia.

Introit (Psalm 85:8-10, 13; antiphon: verse 7)

Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the LORD will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
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.
Show us your steadfast love, O LORD,
and grant us your salvation.

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 so I’m grouping them together and calling the studies “Shotgun.” This week we will do Shotgun III. It has three questions: 1) Luke 22:35-36 seems to be an inconsistent use of the word sword by Jesus. He seems to be telling the apostles to do a physical thing, and to arm themselves. Yet sword in so many other verses refers to God’s word like Ephesians 6:17 and Revelation 1:16. 2) Why did the demons Jesus cast out ask to be sent into the herd of pigs? 3) 1 Corinthians 14:4 – Why “edifieth himself”? Join us Sunday morning at 9:00 AM as we dig deeper into the Word of God.

The July Newsletter will be available Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

No comments:

Post a Comment