Thursday, October 14, 2010

Worship for Pentecost 21 - 2010

Thursday after Pentecost 20
October 14, 2010

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost. We will be using Matins (page 219) for our liturgy. The appointed lessons are Genesis 32:22-30; 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; and Luke 18:1-8. For the service of Matins, instead of using the appointed Introit for the Day we use the appointed Psalm for the Day and this coming Sunday that will be Psalm 121. The antiphon will be the first two verses. The sermon, titled “The Story of Jacob,” is based on the Old Testament lesson. The text will be Genesis 32:26. We have finished our learning of “How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord” (LSB 853) and are moving to another hymn our hymnal review committee recommended. That hymn is “Father Most Holy” (LSB 504). This will be our first hymn this Sunday, and we will sing it for the next four Sundays. The sermon hymn will be “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 517, verses 1, 4, and 3). The closing hymn will be “Amazing Grace” (LSB 744).

After the worship service we will have a voters’ meeting. A number of constitutional revisions for the LCMS were passed at the last Synod Convention. Before they can go into effect they have to be approved by two-thirds of the voting congregations in the Synod. Pastor will also be sharing some of the information he received at the last Circuit Counselors meeting that relates to changes in our Synod that were approved by the convention (how the Synod’s president is elected, the future of circuits, the economic condition of the synod, etc.). We will also hear about the meeting our leaders had with Rev. Bill Seaman and discuss which of the opportunities he has presented us with we would like to pursue.

The following vide is “Amazing Grace” from the Lutheran Warbler. This hymn was written by John Newton, a former slave trader who was instrumental in getting the slave trade abolished in the English Empire. It is somewhat autobiographical as he recognizes the amazing grace of God that saved him when he was nothing but a despicable, loathsome, dealer in human beings. While it is a great hymn for all of us, for we all have been saved by the amazing grace of God, it is especially poignant in reference to rascals like Jacob who are, perhaps more obviously to us, saved by God’s amazing grace.

Preview of the Lessons

Genesis 32:22-30: The stories of Jacob begin in Genesis 25 with the birth of him and his twin brother Esau. The stories of him and his family basically fill the rest of Genesis (with a special focus on Joseph in chapters 37, 39-47) ending with Jacob and his family moving to Egypt. This particular story is when Jacob wrestles with God and has his name changed to Israel. The story has often been used as a metaphor for “wrestling with God in prayer,” which explains why it has been coupled with our Gospel lesson. The sermon will actually cover, in a summery fashion, the entire life of Jacob and ask what we can learn about God’s grace from it.

2 Timothy 3:14-4:5: Paul continues his advice to the young pastor Timothy. He begins by encouraging Timothy to remain steadfast in what he has learned (3:14). Paul reminds him that this is the faith he has had since childhood (4:15). The Greek words translated “childhood” is brephous, which literally means “infancy” (so much for infants not being able to believe). This faith has been nurtured by the “sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” Here we see the power of the Scriptures. The authority of Scripture is underscored next (3:16-17). It is God-breathed. This is one word in Greek and could also be translated as “God-Spirited.” In-other-words, the Holy Spirit is behind the Bible. It is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The end result is equipping the saints. Paul then charges Timothy to always preach the word (4:1-2), in spite of the fact that many people who claim to be Christians will reject the pure word of God in favor of myths, lies, and others deceptions, in order to continue living according to their own fallen sinful desires (3-4). Timothy is to remain steadfast (4:5).

Luke 18:1-8: This is a short parable, the point of which is that we should “always … pray and not lose heart” (1). The argument runs this way; if a corrupt judge can be worn down and finally deliver justice, how much more can we expect the faithful, honest, loving and pure Lord to give justice to his elect? The final verse has puzzled/bothered many. In it Jesus seems to imply that, at the Second Coming, few will actually be Christians. This would dovetail with Paul’s warning to Timothy that the time will come when many abandon the truth in favor of lies and myths. We should notice that the words of Jesus are a question, not a statement. This question gets us wondering, drives us into the Scriptures, and makes each one of us desire to continue in what we have learned from the Scriptures and firmly believed (2 Timothy 3:14).

Sunday’s Collect
O Lord, almighty and everlasting God, You have commanded us to pray and have promised to hear us. Mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may direct and govern our hearts in all things that we may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Gradual (Psalm 91:11; 103:1)
He will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Verse (Luke 18:1)
Alleluia. I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? Alleluia.

Psalm 121; antiphon: vv. 1-2
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The LORD will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and 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.
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

Adult Bible Study

We continue our series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible.” The next question is “What is the ‘valley of decision’ in Joel 3:14?” Joel is only three chapters long so we will be able to examine the meaning of this quote in its historical as well as its biblical context. The study is named “The Valley of Decision.” Class begins at 9:00 AM. Everyone is invited.


LitWits, our book club, will meet Sunday evening at 6:30, to discuss the book Dewey: The Small-Town Cat Who Touched the World. This book is a quick read and the library has several copies. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy an evening of literary reflection, based on our book (even if you haven’t read it). Some possible spin-off topics we might talk about include the impact libraries or pets have had in our own personal lives.

Well, I hope to see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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