Thursday, February 10, 2011

Worship for Epiphany 6 - 2011

Commemoration of Silas, Fellow Worker of St. Peter and St. Paul
Thursday after Epiphany 5
February 10, 2011

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany. It is also the Commemoration of Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos. The witness of these saints will be remembered in our prayers.

We will be using the Third setting of the Divine Service from our hymnal (page 184) for our liturgy. This is a Communion Service. To prepare your hearts to receive this sacred meal you may read Luther’s Catechism on the Lord’s Supper.

The appointed lessons are Deuteronomy 30:15-20; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37. The text for the sermon (Who Can Do That?) is Matthew 5:22.

Our Opening Hymn will be “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now” (LSB 902). The Sermon Hymn will be “The Law of God Is Good and Wise” (LSB 579). Our Closing Hymn will be “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” (LSB 924). Our Distribution Hymns will be “The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace” (LSB 580), “I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light” (LSB 411), and “Your Table I Approach” (LSB 628). The hymns "The Law of God Is Good and Wise" and "The Gospel Shows the Father's Grace" are actually one hymn, written by Martin Luther. It is too long by modern standards, so it has been devided into two hymns.

The hymn below is a mass German choir singing “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now.” As they are German, they are singing in German. However, the English words scroll across the screen, so you can sing along. This can be something of a Pentecostal experience as you will be singing in different “tongues.” (Acts 2 makes it abundantly clear that the “tongues” are different human languages, hence the Pentecost reference.)

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 VII.” Regular attendees know that the “shotgun” lessons handle more than one question. This coming week we will consider two questions.
    1) What does the passage “Return of an unclean spirit” mean? (Luke 11:24-26; Matthew 12:43-45)
    2) John 13:26 – Jesus answered “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread He gave it to Judas Iscariot the Son of Simon. – This passage describes the scene when Jesus announces that one of the twelve disciples will betray him. When John asked “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered as above. Question: Upon hearing and seeing this, why didn’t John jump up, tell the others “It’s Judas!” and the eleven beat the snot out of Judas Iscariot, son of Simon?
I probably could have stretched these out to two individual studies, starting late and ending early. Instead we will start on time and go at full speed right to the end.

Last week I said that we would have only two more studies to complete the series. Upon closer examination I must say, I was wrong. NOW, 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
Deuteronomy 30:15-20: Deuteronomy is the fifth book of Moses. The name means “Second Law” and comes to us from how the book is titled in a BC Greek translation of the OT named the Septuagint. In Hebrew the title is the first words of the book, “These are the words.” The book is the final sermons of Moses to the Israelites before he dies and they enter the Promise Land. This reading comes from the end of the book. What follows afterwards is more or less simply tying up loose ends. Moses says that there are two ways in this life. One way leads to eternal death. The other way leads to eternal life. One way is a way of curses. The other way is a way of blessings. Moses urges the way o life; loving the Lord God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him.

1 Corinthians 3:1-9: We continue reading from 1 Corinthians. Paul isn’t pulling his punches here. The Corinthians felt like they were quite sharp, spiritually speaking. This had led to factions in their church. Because each thought of themselves as being super-spiritual, those who didn’t agree with them were clearly sub-spiritual. Those who didn’t “speak in tongues” or who didn’t have as much money, or who idolized the wrong spiritual superstar (Paul, Apollos, Peter, etc.), were just not as good. Paul cuts all these super-spiritual people down by telling them that they all are still infants in Christ. They are still nursing, when they should have grown-up enough by now to eat meat. As Paul said last week, it’s all about Jesus and his atoning death. So this week Paul reminds his readers that glitzy gimmicks do not produce spiritual growth; God does. Period. End of story. We are God’s field, God’s building, not our own or someone else’s.

Matthew 5:21-37: We continue listening to Jesus as he teaches the “Sermon on the Mount.” In this reading our Lord shows how we poor sinners always try to water down the Law. This watering down then makes the Law doable. However the Law, full strength, reveals a standard that is not doable for sinners. Therefore we must turn to the mercy of the Father found in Christ. That is all I’ll say, because the sermon comes from the Gospel lesson.

• After worship Sunday we will have a Voter’s meeting. One item we will consider is the cover of our new bulletin (samples to pick from will be provided).
• Sunday evening LitWits (our book club) will meet at 6:30 PM and talk about the book “Life among the Lutherans” by Garrison Keillor. There is still time to read it.
• Also Sunday information for our March newsletter is due.
• 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.
• Lastly, Monday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day.

Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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