Thursday, June 2, 2011

Worship for Easter 7 - 2011

Ascension Day
June 2, 2011

The Lord be with you

Today is the Commemoration of the Ascension of our Lord, which happened forty days after the Resurrection of our Lord. To read a little bit more about it see the post I made earlier this day.

Sunday will be the Seventh Sunday of Easter. It will also be the Commemoration of Boniface of Mainz, Missionary to the Germans. Gregory lived during a pivotal point in history. The old Roman Empire was gone, much of the Western Empire having been overrun by barbarians. The Eastern Empire had become the Byzantine Empire. The Moslem conquest of Europe was halted by the Franks, who went on to found the Holy Roman Empire. Many areas reached by Christianity in earlier centuries had fallen back into paganism, and of course, many areas had not yet been reached by the Faith. Gregory, who was from England, had a heart to reach the pagans in “Friesland” (the Netherlands). When he sought permission from the Pope, he was first sent to Germany instead. Years of work there brought thousands to Christ, but he always wanted to return to Friesland. Finally he was sent there, and again his work was blessed by God. In Friesland he suffered a martyr’s death. For more about his life and times see the post I made earlier this week.

For our liturgy Sunday we will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching (LSB page 260). In this service we use the appointed Psalm, which is Psalm 68, verses 1 through 10. The antiphon is verse 32. The appointed readings are Acts 1:12-26, 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11, and John 17:1-11. Our opening hymn will be “O Day Full of Grace,” (LSB 503). Our sermon hymn will be “How Can I Thank You, Lord,” (LSB 703). Our closing hymn will be “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (LSB 469). The text for the sermon will be John 17:6 and the sermon is titled “Gifts, Gifts, Gifts!”

As “O Day Full of Grace” is the hymn we are learning this month, I’ve decided to post the same video I posted last week. It is Trinity Lutheran in Sheboygan, WI singing “O Day Full of Grace.”

Our Sunday morning adult Bible study is continuing its study of the Gospel of Matthew. We will are in the Sermon on the Mount. Our Education Hour begins at 9:00 AM and everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons

Acts 1:12-26: The events described in this reading occurred after the Ascension of Jesus and before Pentecost Sunday. We note the dependence of the band of 120 on prayer and the scriptures. It is interesting to note that, among those gathered, we find the brothers of Jesus. The post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his brother James is referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:7. While the brothers and sisters of Jesus did not believe in him before the resurrection (John 7:1-5), they sure did after he was raised from the dead. That Paul should specifically mention James indicates just how important this brother became. It is also worth noting that, right from the beginning, the Church included women. The chief woman would, naturally, be Mary, the mother of our Lord. The group selects someone to fill the place vacated by Judas. Notice the requirement to become an Apostle. An Apostle must be an eye-witness. The word “apostle” literally means “sent one.” It is used in scripture to refer to two different classes of people. There are “the Twelve.” These hold a unique place of authority, both in their life-time and throughout time by their writings. This authority is seen in places like Matthew 19:28 and Revelation 21:14. These men were specially commissioned and sent directly by Jesus (Galatians 1:1). There are no more Apostles like these. Then the word “apostle” is used in a more general way. These men are also sent by Jesus, but by means of the Church. That is to say, working through the Church, certain individuals are designated and sent to spread the Gospel (Romans 16:7). Matthias replaced Judas.

1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11: This reading is a little deceptive. In 14:15 Peter starts out “Beloved, do not be …”. He is addressing all his readers. Chapter 5:1-5 is skipped. It starts with the words, “So I exhort the elders among you …”. Here Peter has begun to address the pastors. Chapter 5:6 begins, “Humble yourselves, therefore …”. He is still speaking to the pastors. Because verses 1 through 5 are omitted, it seems like the entire reading is being addresses to all believers. As pastors are to be an example, this understanding is not exactly wrong (5:4). However the idea would then be, “Look at your pastors, their humility, their strong prayer life, their consistent casting of their anxieties on Jesus, their watchfulness, how they are on their guard against the devil, and imitate them.” For pastors undergoing trials and so forth, they are warned to be on their guard because the devil is especially interested in bringing them down. This is the devils consistent practice in the whole world. Chapter 4:12-19 is addressed to all believers and does speak of trials that believers face. So we can understand Peter as saying first that believers should not be surprised by various trials, and that they should stand squarely in the Gospel. Then Peter says that pastors should not think that they will be exempted from trials because of their office.

John 17:1-11: This reading is part of our Lord’s “High Priestly Prayer.” In it we get some insight into the relationship between the Father and the Son. In this prayer Jesus also shows full knowledge of his coming death, resurrection and ascension. The word “glory” is used a lot. Note that to give God “glory” means basically to live in harmony with the will of God. It is not basically being praised or extolled. Someone who shouts “Praise the Lord” but lives like any non-Christian you might meet on the street, is not giving glory to God. Jesus glorified his Father by living according to his will. Therefore Jesus glorified the Father when he willingly went to the cross. What we call humiliating, God calls glorifying. Jesus also prays about his exaltation. There his obedience while here on earth will be part of his glory. Jesus also prays for all future believers, which include you and me. Finally, Jesus speaks of gifts, but that will be the focus of the sermon so I will not speak of it here.

• Remember … tonight at 7:00 Abiding Savior (Anderson), Good Shepherd (Greenville) and Lamb of God will join at Good Shepherd (1601 N Pleasantburg) for an Ascension Day worship service.
• Our ladies are discussing changes in their mid-week Bible study to make it more attractive to the ladies who are not attending. Contact Kitty or Ramona, and get in the conversation.
• The Board of Evangelism will have a lunch meeting after Sunday’s worship service.

Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

No comments:

Post a Comment