January 19, 2011
The Lord be with you
There are two major themes that dominate the season of Epiphany in liturgical churches: Darkness/Light and Death/Live. These themes are explored in reference to Jesus so Jesus is depicted as the Light in a world of darkness and the Life in a world of death.
The theme of Light over darkness is found in both our Old Testament lesson (Isaiah 9:1-4) and our Gospel lesson (Matthew 4:12-25), which quotes our OT lesson. The theme of Live over death is also seen in the Gospel lesson as Jesus heals “every disease and every affliction among the people.” The Epistle lesson (1 Corinthians 1:10-18) at first does not seem to connect, as Paul deals with a squabbling congregation that had divided into factions. This, though, can be viewed as darkness and death sneaking in the side door of a congregation that was intended by God to be a gathering of Life and Light (as all congregations are intended by God).
The sermon will use Matthew 4:16 as the text and is titled “I’ve Seen the Light.” This will be a Communion Sunday. For our liturgy we will use the first setting of the Divine Service, which begins on page 151 of the Lutheran Service Book.
We will begin learning a new hymn this week, which fits wonderfully with the general Epiphany theme of Light: “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” (LSB 411). It will be our first hymn. Our other hymns will be: “Arise and Shine in Splendor” (LSB 396), “I Lay My Sins on Jesus” (LSB 606), “O Lord, We Praise Thee” (LSB 617) “The Church’s One Foundation” (LSB 644) and “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer” (LSB 918).
The words and music for “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” were written by Kathleen Thomerson. She is Organist and Music Director at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas. She was born in Tennessee and grew up in Mississippi, California, and Texas. College music study was at the Universities of Colorado and Texas, the Flemish Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, and privately in Paris. Before retirement in Austin, she lived in Collinsville, Illinois, where her husband was a biology professor at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. As I checked out YouTube videos I discovered that this hymn has jumped denominational lines, being sung by choirs and congregations from Baptist to Roman Catholic. The video below is the Notre Dame Lit Choir Alumni. I like it because you can understand all the words.
The question we will consider in the adult Bible study is: “Mark 9:44 and 46 and 48 – What do these mean?” This is where Jesus speaks of cutting of your hand and foot and gouging out your eye. This whole section (Mark 4:42-50) has some very powerful images (which is why it is so memorable) but they have been misunderstood over the centuries, even leading some poor souls to mutilate themselves. Trust me on this, no one will be cutting off their hands after the Bible study, which begins at 9:00 AM and to which every is invited to come.
There will be a Church Council meeting after the worship service.
Information for the February newsletter is due Sunday.
There are a couple of things coming up I just want to mention.
- • Saturday, February 5, Rev. Frank Senn will be leading a workshop on “The Church’s Prayer” at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Greenville. For more information see yesterday’s post.
• Scout Sunday will be February 6. Boys from our Cub Scout Pack 1031 will assist with the service and members of their family will be present.
• February 20th will be “Friendship Sunday.” Everyone should be seeking to invite someone to the service. I’m telling you this now so you have time to invite the same person more than once. Some people (maybe most) need more than one friendly invitation.
• Also, on February 20, LitWits (our book club) will meet and talk about the book “Life among the Lutherans” by Garrison Keillor. There is still time to read it.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert