Thursday, February 3, 2011

Worship for Epiphany 5 - 2011

Thursday after Epiphany 4
February 3, 2011

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany. It is also “Scout Sunday” Finally, it is also Super Bowl Sunday.

The Boy Scouts of America designates the Sunday that falls before February 8 (Scouting Anniversary Day) as Scout Sunday, which is the primary date to recognize the contributions of young people and adults to Scouting. Having a Scout Sunday is in keeping with the Boy Scout Law, which is: “A Scout is: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent..” Notice that the capstone of the Scout Law is “Reverent.” This spiritual dimension to scouting is also found in the Boy Scout Oath/Promise, which is: “On my honor, I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” Here we find the foundation for the promise is God.

In recognition of Scout Sunday our Cub Scouts will be present in our service, along with their families. The boys will also assist with ushering. By-the-way, the boys will also have tickets for sale for the Spaghetti Dinner, which will be Thursday, February 10. Cost is $5.00 per person, with no family being charged over $20.00. Everything goes to help our pack. For more information check out the article in our newsletter posted on this blog (see the left-hand side bar near the top for the link to the newsletter).

We will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching (page 260) for our liturgy. This is one of those services that use a Psalm instead of an Introit. Our Scripture lessons for Sunday will be: Psalm 112:1-9 (antiphon Psalm verse 4), Isaiah 58:3-9a, 1 Corinthians 2:1-12, and Matthew 5:13-20. The sermon text will be Matthew 5:17, and it is titled “Things Have Changed”

Our hymns will be “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (LSB 685), “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” (LSB 411), and “On What Has Now Been Sown” (LSB 921). The video below is of the hymn “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus.” It is just the music, so you will have to break out your hymnals. I posted “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” with the worship notes for Epiphany 3, so you can preview two of this coming Sunday’s hymns if you desire.

We continue our adult Bible study series “Puzzlers and Questions about the Bible” this coming Sunday. This is where we handle various questions that have been submitted. This Sunday’s study is titled “Shotgun VI.” Regular attendees know that the “shotgun” lessons handle more than one question. This week’s questions are:

    1) See 2 John 1:10-11 “… do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” How?
    2) John 1:3 – Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Question: Does this mean God created evil, idolatry, false doctrine, sin, …?
    3) How can Abel be considered a prophet, when he left no writings or sayings, nor did he appear to “speak” to any of us (Christians) living today?
The second question could be a study in itself, but it is so similar to an earlier question we handled that I will simply be referring to that study. We have only two more studies in the series to complete. After that we will return to a book study. We will work through the Gospel of Matthew. The Bible study begins at 9:00 AM and everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons
Isaiah 58:3-9a: The book of Isaiah has so much Gospel in it that he is sometimes called the Old Testament Evangelist. However, just at the New Testament Gospels have ample Law passages, so does Isaiah, as this week’s lesson shows. In this reading God is accusing the people of having a religion that is all form and no substance. The particular form of piety being addressed is fasting. The people felt that if they abstained from food they were doing some great and noble work. While there is nothing wrong with fasting, it certainly does not replace the moral obligations God has placed on us like caring for the homeless, the hungry, the enslaved, and so forth. As verses eight and nine tells us, God blesses those whose faith translates into acts of mercy. We should make sure we have this relationship correct. Faith first, then works. Works do not produce faith, but faith produces works. So God is not saying “Do good works and I will bless you,” but “A faith that does good works will be blessed.” Indeed, one might truly wonder if a faith that produces no good works is a real Christian Faith. Only God can answer that question.

1 Corinthians 2:1-12: This is the fourth in a series of seven lessons drawn from the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians. Paul contrasts the wisdom of the world with the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is centered on Jesus, especially the crucifixion. It is through this message that the power of God is revealed. All the wisdom of God flows from this central message, which is why the message of the Gospel does not make sense to the “world.” Consider our Old Testament lesson. The world would put works as more important than faith, and demonstrations of piety as more important that acts of charity. Paul brings the whole Triune God to bear on his argument in verse 10-12, culminating in the fact that Christians have received the Holy Spirit. It is worth noting that the mark of having received the Spirit is not any kind of work, but faith in the crucified and risen Lord Jesus. No one can call Jesus Lord except by the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works this faith, not with showy signs or clever words, but by the message of the cross of Christ.

Matthew 5:13-20: We continue our trip through the Sermon on the Mount, and Matthew. In verses 13 through 16 Jesus speaks of our witness. He uses the analogy of us as light and salt. In verses 17 through 20 he speaks of how he has come to fulfill the Law. As this reading forms the foundation for Sunday’s message, I’ll say nothing more now.

• The February newsletter has been posted on our blog.
• Remember, this 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 the post on the blog.
• On February 10, Pack 1031 will have the Spaghetti Dinner fund raiser. Cost is $5.00 per person, with no family having to give more than $20.00. Eat-in or Take-out. Dinner is available beginning at 5:00 PM.
• 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.

Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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