June 11, 2011
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. Our appointed lessons are: Jeremiah 20:7-13; Romans 6:12-23; Matthew 10:5a, 21-23. The sermon is titled “Live Like a Christian,” and the text is Romans 6:19. For our liturgy we will be using the first setting of the morning service (page 151). We will be sharing the Lord’s Supper. If you desire to attend you may prepare by reading the sections in the Small Catechism dealing with Communion.
Our opening hymn will be “Rise, Shine, You People” (LSB 825). This hymn was selected by our hymnal review committee as one worth learning and so is a new hymn for us. We will be singing it for the next four weeks, this Sunday being the first time. The rhythm is a little tricky, but the words are great. The video below is the only one on YouTube I could find with the hymn. It is of an installation service in an ELCA church. Their opening hymn is “Rise, Shine, You People.” You can listen to the hymn, but do not feel like you need to listen to the rest of the service. Ronald Klug wrote this hymn at the request of Wilson Egbert of Augsburg Publishing House for a 1973 series of bulletin inserts featuring new hymns. While it is in the “Mission and Witness” section of our hymnal, it was inspired by one of Klug's favorite Epiphany texts, Isaiah 60:1 "Rise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you." The publisher sent Klug's text to Dale Wood so that the text could be published with a new tune. Wood named his newly-written tune WOJTKIEWIECZ (voyd-KEV-itch), the original Polish family name that was simplified by the immigration official to Wood. It first appeared in our hymnals in the hymnal supplement 98.
The sermon hymn is well know to us, “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say” (LSB 699). Our closing hymn is “On What Has Now Been Sown” (LSB 921), also well know at Lamb of God. Also each one of our distribution hymns are well known to us: “Lord Jesus Christ, We Humbly Pray” (LSB 623), “What Wondrous Love Is This” (LSB 543), and “All Christians Who Have Been Baptized” (LSB 596).
Last week I told our Sunday morning adult Bible study that I would be visiting Calvary Lutheran in Columbia as the Circuit Counselor this coming Sunday and so we would be taking a break from our series on Romans. I WAS WRONG. I had my dates confused. We will continue with Matthew 6 (picking up with the Lord’s Prayer) this Sunday. I will be in Columbia on Sunday, July 31. Our Education Hour begins at 9:00 AM and everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the LessonsJeremiah 20:7-13: Persecuted, ridiculed, jailed, and more, Jeremiah is known as “the weeping prophet.” We know much more about his struggles than many of the other prophets, because he wrote about them. He prophesied from 628 to around 580 BC and witnessed the fall and destruction of Jerusalem to the mighty Babylonian Empire. Kidnapped and taken by renegade Jews to Egypt, tradition says he was stoned to death there by those same Jews. The book itself presents several challenges to the reader. First, it is not arranged chronically. It reads like several collections of Jeremiah’s prophecies were gathered together after his death with no effort to synthesize them into the order they were delivered. Presumably this was done to preserve the integrity and message of each collection. Chapter 52 is essentially a quotation of 2 Kings 24:18-25:21, 27-30 and was certainly written after the days of Jeremiah. The quote is added to show how the prophecy of Jeremiah was fulfilled. The book has a lot of Law. The sinfulness of the Jews would soon be punished. God would raise up the Babylonians who would attack and defeat Judah, unless the people would repent. They didn’t and Babylon came. However Jeremiah also provided hope. Their exile would last but 60 years. He also, as all the prophets, spoke of the coming Christ. Most people think the book of Psalms is the longest book in the Bible because it has the most chapters (150), but Jeremiah actually has more words than any book in the Bible and so is really the longest.
Our text comes right on the heels of Jeremiah having been beat and put in the stocks overnight for having prophesied the destruction of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple because of the sins of the people and their refusal to repent. Like much of the prophecies in the Old Testament, it is written in classical Hebrew poetry. In verses 7-8 Jeremiah complains to God about his calling. No one listens and he indeed receives abuse for his efforts. When Jeremiah says, “O LORD, you have deceived me, and I was deceived” he indicates that becoming a prophet wasn’t by his own choice. The word translated “deceived” means “persuaded against one’s will” often, but definitely not always, to do something wrong. Verse 9 speaks concerning the inspiration of Jeremiahs words. With his eyes firmly on those who persecute him, Jeremiah complains about his oppressors in verse 10. In verses 11-13 his focus turns to the Lord, and his spirits are revived, ending with “Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hand of evildoers.” This is where our reading ends, but if you finish the chapter (14-18) you see Jeremiah take his eyes off the Lord and his heart sinks again. “This sudden change of mood from praising God (v. 13) to deep melancholy will not surprise anyone who has wrestled with God in the night watches of doubt; that person knows from experience it is possible to fall into self-pity and rebellious complaint at the very moment when faith seems to have a strong grip on God’s promises” (The Lutheran Study Bible).
Romans 6:12-23: Paul has been hammering on the difference between Law and Gospel in reference to our salvation. To sum up chapters 1-5 you could say we are saved by grace through faith in the completed work of Jesus. Our works do not enter into the equation of salvation. In chapter 6 Paul turns to an easy misconception of this teaching, which is that good works are unimportant or that the Gospel encourages sinful behavior. Such attitudes reflect a misunderstanding. In verses 1-12 Paul ties our Christian life to our baptism. We are baptized into Jesus, which includes his death and resurrection. In our baptism we died to sin by being united to our Lord’s death and we have been raised to a new life by being united with his resurrection. This new life is under new ownership. Based on our baptism, then, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus” (11). This extended theological treatment of baptism forms the foundation for our lesson and is basically all Gospel. Verse 12 starts with a “therefore” indicating the tight connection between what Paul is about to write with our baptism. We will speak about that on Sunday.
Matthew 10:5a, 21-23: This is a selection of the instructions Jesus gives his 12 Apostles just prior to sending them out on a short “mission trip.” This is set up by verse 5. As you read this (and much of the rest of this “mission briefing”) you can’t help but feel the more things change the more they stay the same. Jesus encourages his disciples to remain steadfast in the face of rejection, even rejection by their own family members. He also gives them permission to “close the mission” when persecution becomes too much in a given town. They may move on to another town. The meaning of the phrase in verse 23, “I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes” is debated. Some feel it is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jews by the Romans in 70 AD. Others suggest it means that the Gospel will be preached to the Jews (though not exclusively) until the Second Coming of Jesus. Some feel this is Jesus’ way of stressing the urgency of the mission. Any way you look at it, out time is limited to share the Gospel.
Tidbits• Information for the August Newsletter is due Sunday.
Well, I pray I will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert