Thursday, March 10, 2011

Worship for Lent 1 - 2011

Thursday after Ash Wednesday
March 10, 2011

The Lord be with you

I want to start these notes out with some comments about the names of the Sundays in Lent.

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday in Lent. The Latin name, which many of us life-long members of the LC-MS remember from The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH), is Invocavit. The Latin names for each Sunday are based on the traditional Introit of the Day, which in turn is drawn from the traditional appointed Psalm for the Day. In this case, the opening words of the Introit are from Psalm 91:15, “When he calls to me, I will answer him.” Invocavit (from the Latin translation known as the Vulgate) is the opening word and is rendered “When he calls” in the ESV.

Lectionaries are books that have the appointed readings for each Sunday and other special days in the Church Year. The historic lectionary used in TLH was a one-year lectionary. As far as I know, every liturgical church used this lectionary or a modification of it. The Roman Catholic Church held its Second Vatican Council from October 11, 1962 to December 8, 1965. One of their decisions was to go to a three-year lectionary. Most liturgical churches have since followed their example, including most of the LC-MS churches. Of course each denomination, and indeed even an individual local church, has the right to further modify the lectionary they use. The lectionary we use at Lamb of God is a modification of the Revised Common Lectionary as represented in the approved worship material of the LC-MS.

While a three-year lectionary has many strengths, not the least of which is a wider exposure to the Scriptures, it does have at least one drawback in reference to the historic names for each Sunday. As I said, these historic names are based on the Introit/Psalm of the day. In the three-year lectionary these historic Introits/Psalms are used only once in the three-year cycle. So the historic names reflect these readings only a third of the time. It just so happens that this coming Sunday is one of those Sundays in our lectionary cycle. The rest of the Introits for Lent this year do not use the traditional Psalms, though some reflect similar words in their opening lines, not necessarily on the same Sunday.

It is because of this move to a three-year lectionary that the historic Latin names for the Sundays are not heard much today. However, those churches that still use the one-year lectionary often also retain the Latin names. In their lectionary cycle they still make sense.

Another interesting thing to note about the names of the Sunday’s leading up to Holy Week is that they are called Sundays IN Lent. (not OF Lent). This is true in all lectionaries. The reason for this is quite simple. Lent is a season of repentance. Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. So Sundays are not counted in the forty days of Lent. Check it out on your calendar. You get the forty days only if you skip the Sundays. What this means is, if you are giving up something for Lent, Sundays don’t count. If you have given up sweets for Lent, you can have a brownie on Sunday and not break your Lenten Fast. Sunday is not part of Lent.

And now ... our retular notes.

This coming Sunday we will be using the third setting of the morning service, which begins on page 184. We will be sharing the Lord’s Supper. You may prepare by reading the section on the Lord’s Supper in your Small Catechism. The appointed lessons are Genesis 3:1-21, Romans 5:12-19, and Matthew 4:1-11. The text for the sermon is Matthew 4:1. The sermon is titled “In Our Steps.”

Our Opening Hymn will be “Jesus, Once with Sinners Numbered” (LSB 404). The Sermon Hymn will be “O Christ, You Walked the Road” (LSB 424). The Closing Hymn will be “Abide, O Dearest Jesus” (LSB 919). Our distribution hymns will be “O Lord, throughout These Forty Days” (LSB 418), “Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared” (LSB 622), and “My Song Is Love Unknown” (LSB 430).

Below is a video of the hymn ‘My Song Is Love Unknown.” It includes the words.

This past Sunday our adult Bible study began the study of the Gospel of Matthew with some introductory information. This week we will dive into the text. Our Education Hour begins at 9:00 AM and everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons
Opening Note: The temptation of Adam and Eve (our OT lesson) and the temptation of Jesus (our Gospel lesson) are traditional lessons for the First Sunday in Lent. Our Epistle lesson ties them together with the theme of Adam as a type of Jesus. This will be the theme we will be exploring in Sunday’s sermon. The notes below, therefore, will not explore this relationship, but accent other things in the texts

Genesis 3:1-21: This is the story of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. God had created a paradise for them with only one rule. The devil tempts them and they succumb to the temptation. The devil’s temptation is interesting. Through lies and distortions he entices Eve to covet that which is not hers. Today coveting is often the overlooked sin. Yet it remains one of Satan’s greatest weapon in sowing discontent and rebellion. After the fall God curses Satan. Part of that curse is in verse 15, which reads in the ESV, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” The word translated “bruised” can also be translated “crushed.” Some translations have translated is as such in one or both cases. I prefer the translation “crushed.” The word translated “offspring” is also translated as “seed” in some translations. This is actually the more literal translation, but “offspring” is what the Lord means. Clearly Eve is not a plant with seeds. This is the first promise concerning Jesus, and the word translated “offspring” in reference to Jesus should be capitalized. Satan will crush the heal of Eve’s Offspring while at the same time the Offspring will crush the head of Satan. This happened on the Cross. The virgin birth is also revealed for the first time here. Notice how Adam does not factor into this equation. It is not Adam’s seed, that is, a child born of a natural union, but only a child of a woman who will defeat Satan. Of course things are made clearer in future generations.

Romans 5:12-19: Paul is drawing out many of the typological aspects of Adam in relation to Jesus. One of those aspects is the universal nature of the acts of each. Of course Types are always an imperfect reflection of the Antitype. More will be said about this relationship between Adam and Jesus in the sermon.

Matthew 4:1-11: This is the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness after John baptized our Lord. The forty days echoes the forty years Israel wandered in the wilderness. Time and time again they failed when tempted. Jesus, on the other hand, overcame Satan. The temptations of Satan are similar to the ones Adam and Eve faced, as the Prince of Darkness again sought through lies and distortions, to get Jesus to covet. If that could be accomplished, then it would be only a short step for Jesus to greedily grab what was dangled in front of his eyes and lose the fight for our salvation. I love how this lesson ends. “Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.” We are reminded in this lesson, not only of the reality of who is assailing us, but also of the comfort God can afford us.

Daylight Savings Time Begins this Sunday (set your clocks forward one hour).
• The board of Evangelism will meet after the worship service Sunday.
• Our Wednesday Lenten services have begun. This past Sunday we heard about Jesus’ activities on Palm Sunday. This coming Wednesday we will hear about what happened on Holy Monday. There are two services, one at 12:15 and a second at 7:00 PM. Choir practice follows the evening service.
• On March 17th Dustin Lentz and Patricia Capaul will be married at Lamb of God at 7:00 PM. They are from out of state, and Lamb of God is the closest LC-MS church to Gaffney, where Dustin has family. The members of Lamb of God are invited to attend.

Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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