Thursday, March 17, 2011

Worship for Lent 2 - 2011

Thursday after the First Sunday in Lent
Commemoration of St. Patrick, Missionary to Ireland
March 17, 2011

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the first day of Spring. For Jews, it will be the holiday called Purim. For Christians, it will be the Second Sunday in Lent. The Latin name for this coming Sunday is Reminiscere. The Latin name means “remember,” and is the first word of the old Latin Introit (Psalm 25:6). The Introit for this coming Sunday opens with the words from Psalm 105:8, which are “He remembers,” so the old name still fits. However, because we will be using the service of Matins (page 219) for our liturgy, we will be using the appointed Psalm for the Day instead of the Introit. That Psalm is Psalm 121. The antiphon is verse 8. So our opening words do not begin with “remember,” and I guess it is a good thing then that we don’t use the Latin names much anymore. Our scripture lessons will be Genesis 12:1-9, Romans 4:1-8, 13-17 and John 3:1-17. The text for the sermon will be John 3:16. The sermon is titled, “Do You REALLY Know John 3:16?”

Our opening hymn will be “Jesus, Greatest at the Table” (LSB 446). This will be the first time we will be singing this hymn, and we will be using it over the next month. It is a hymn about some of the events that transpired in the Upper Room on the night Jesus was betrayed. The sermon hymn will be “God Loved the World So That He Gave” (LSB 571). It is based on our Gospel reading. Our closing hymn will be “Christ, the Life of All the Living” (LSB 420). It is a Lenten hymn, and was selected because we are in the season of Lent. Both “God Loved the World So That He Gave” and “Christ, the Life of All the Living” have tunes that are well known at Lamb of God.

Below is a video of the “Lutheran Warbler” playing and singing “God Loved the World So That He Gave.”

Our Sunday morning adult Bible study has begun the study of the Gospel of Matthew. This week we pick up with chapter 1, verse 18. This is where the Christmas story begins in Matthew, and all of Jesus’ childhood information in Matthew is covered from here through chapter 3. Our Education Hour begins at 9:00 AM and everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons
Genesis 12:1-9: This is the account of God’s call to Abraham (known as Abram at this time). Apparently it was God’s intention that Abram’s father, Terah, move the family to Canan, but he only got the family as far as Haran (Genesis 11:31). Abram will now complete the journey. The Lord blesses Abraham and promises him several things. The greatest of these promises was that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” That blessing came true in Jesus, his descendant. It is in reference to this promise that we are told Abram “believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). This faith was implied in chapter 12 when Abram acted on it by following God’s directions. This is the first time in the Bible where the word “believe” is used. Twice in this lesson Abram builds altars. These were used for worship. In fact the second time the text specifically says that Abram “called upon the name of the Lord,” a standard phrase for conducting a worship service. It was at least in part through these worship services that Abram made know the true God in this foreign land, and many came to faith in the promised Messiah.

Romans 4:1-8, 13-17: Paul unpacks some of the meaning in our Old Testament lesson, demonstrating how Abraham is a model of faith, and how faith saves instead of works of the Law. There is always a tug in our hearts towards self-righteousness. We would rather think that our salvation is in our own hands instead of the hands of God. Such a view actually nullifies the promise, as Paul tells us. It also puts us under the Law, which puts us under wrath. The way out is not good works, but faith in Christ. The way out is trusting in the grace of God found only in Christ Jesus. The way out is throwing ourselves on the mercy of God. The way out is the cross of Jesus, where he took the wrath of God for our transgressions. Good works flow from this faith. They are not the path to salvation, but the path we walk after we are saved.

John 3:1-17: The Gospel lesson contains one of the best known Bible verses, John 3:16. I say one of the best known, because I still think passages like Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, and the like, are better known. Those passages that have been a part of the worship life of the Church for centuries are so well known that many believers are surprised to discover they are drawn straight from the Scriptures. The problem with well-known Bible passages is that sometimes we can actually think we know them when in reality we have given them little thought. So this Sunday the text for our sermon will be John 3:16. Let us see if we know it as well as we think we do. (By the way, it does relate to both of our other lessons.)

• Information for the April newsletter is due Sunday.
• The Church Council will meet Sunday after the worship service.
• The installation of Rev. (Ensign) Charles Mallie as a chaplain in our military services will be Sunday at 5:00 PM. The service will be at Holy Trinity in Columbia. Lamb of God is invited to join in this special day for Ensign Mallie.
• Our Wednesday Lenten services continue with our focus on what happened during Holy Week. This coming Wednesday we will focus on Holy Tuesday. There are two services, one at 12:15 and a second at 7:00 PM. Choir practice follows the evening service.

Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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