June 9, 2011
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is Pentecost. The date of Pentecost each year is determined by the date of Easter because Pentecost comes fifty days after Easter. Therefore the date each year moves around. This year it is about as late as it can be. Because Pentecost is a movable date it can fall on dates used to commemorate other events and individuals. This year it falls on June 12, which is also the Commemoration of Ecumenical Council of Nicaea held in 325 AD. While the focus of our service will be Pentecost, we will also remember the Nicene Council in our prayers when the following petition will be prayed:
- O Holy Spirit, we give you thanks and praise for the witness of all those who stood firm in Your grace throughout the ages, proclaiming the saving message of the incarnate Christ and resisting error. Today we especially remember those who, called together by that blessed emperor, Constantine, met in the Council of Nicaea in 325 and confessed the true Christian Faith in the face of the challenge of the Arian heresy. Saints like Nicholas of Myra, Athanasius of Alexandria, and Eusebius of Caesarea, helped preserve what the Apostles taught, giving us the Nicene Creed as a precious summary of the key truths of Your inspired scriptures. Grant that we, inspired by the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us, may stand firm in the true Christian Faith which was confessed at Nicaea. Lord in Your mercy.
We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper Sunday. We also will be using a special liturgy for Pentecost Sunday. Some of our regular musical pieces found in the liturgy will be replaced by hymns. With Communion and a special liturgy, the list of hymns for Sunday is longer than normal. We will be singing: "Holy Spirit, Light Divine" (LSB 496), “O Day Full of Grace” (LSB 503), “Create in Me” (LSB 956), “Holy, Holy, Holy” (LSB 507, vs 1-2 ), “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy” (LSB 434), "Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord" (LSB 497), "Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord" (LSB 637), "Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid" (LSB 500) and "Go, My Children, with My Blessing" (LSB 922).
The appointed lessons for Pentecost are: Numbers 11:24-30; Acts 2:1-21; and John 7:37-39. The text for Sunday’s sermon is Acts 2: 11b. The sermon is titled: “It’s About the Word”.
Following the worship service we will have a picnic. The hamburgers and hotdogs are being provided. Everyone else should bring a desert, salad or side-dish. While we certainly hope that you remember to bring something, if you forget DO NOT let that keep you from joining the picnic. There will be plenty for everybody.
The following video is of St. Lorenz Evangelical Lutheran Church singing “Holy Spirit, Light Devine.” It is the opening hymn of their worship service and so the video begins with a prelude and the lighting of the altar candles. The chancel is an interesting mix of old and new. They have a beautiful altar, set further back from the nave (today churches tend to be designed with less space between the altar and the nave), a raised pulpit, and so on. It makes the wide-screen television monitors to the right and left really stand out.
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 LessonsNumbers 11:24-30: The setting for this reading is rather typical. The people of Israel are griping, this time about the food God is providing. They would prefer to return to slavery. Thus we see the allure of sin even when we are delivered from it. We only remember certain aspects and not the whole degrading picture. This is one of the times Moses also is getting impatient. His complaint is that everyone complains to him. The Lord has the people select 70 elders who will assist Moses and promises to send so much meat that the people will grow sick of it. This is where the story picks up in our reading. The 70 elders, minus two, appear at the Tent of Meeting. The Lord descends and speaks with Moses. A portion of the Spirit that rests on Moses rests on the 70 elders and they begin to prophesy, that is, to speak the word of God. This included Eldad and Medad, the two who didn’t show up at the Tent. It is reported to Moses that Eldad and Medad are thus speaking and Joshua urges Moses to stop them. Moses responds, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!”. This desire of Moses’ was fulfilled at Pentecost. What a joy that each one of us has the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that we can share.
Acts 2:1-21: This is the account of the first Pentecost and the first half of the sermon Peter delivered that day. Because of the flashy events of this day (speaking in foreign languages, fiery tongs appearing, the sound of a violent wind) some very obvious truths are often missed. For example, Luke does not give us a verbatim record of what Peter said. In stead he gives us the main points, the essential points, the essences of the Apostolic message. He tells us so in verse 40 where he wrote, “And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying …” To be frank, the flashy signs are not the main point of the day. In Sunday’s message we will learn what the main point is.
John 7:37-39: This is a short reading. It takes place while Jesus is at Jerusalem celebrating the “Feast of Booths” (7:2). This is another name for Pentecost. Jesus promises the Holy Spirit, a promise that was fulfilled fifty days after the first Easter. In speaking of the Spirit Jesus says, “out of his [ever Christian] heart will flow rivers of living water.” The word translated “heart” is really “guts.” We still have echoes of this use of the “guts” when we talk about a “gut feeling,” “gut reaction,” or “butterflies in our stomach.” John ends by saying the Spirit had not been given yet because Jesus was not yet glorified. How do we handle that statement in light of passages like our Old Testament lesson? The answer is really simple. Jesus and John are speaking of Pentecost. John does not say the Spirit had never been given before. The best way to read this, then, is something like “Now this he [Jesus] said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been give [on Pentecost] because Jesus was not yet glorified.”
Tidbits• Remember the Picnic Sunday
• Remember the Picnic Sunday
• Remember the Picnic Sunday
Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert