August 25, 2011
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost. It also is the Commemoration of Augustine of Hippo, Pastor and Theologian. Augustine (354-430) was the Bishop of the city of Hippo in North Africa and is considered one of the most eminent, if not the most eminent, of the Latin Church Fathers. You are considered a “Latin” Church Father if you wrote in Latin. You are considered a “Greek” Church Father if you wrote in Greek. Augustine’s sometimes wild younger years are covered in his book, “Confessions,” which is on our book club’s reading list for the coming year. His voice was decisive at several Church Councils. Though his father didn’t become a Christian until shortly before his death, his Mother Monica was a committed Christian whom he praised in his writings. This coming Saturday, August 27, is set aside to commemorate her. Ambrose (340-397), bishop of Milan, was instrumental in the conversion of Augustine. Ambrose is commemorated on December 7 and is one of the four saints we will learn more about in this year’s Mid-Week Advent series – The Saints of Advent (the other saints are John of Damascus, Nicholas of Myra, and Lucia). Each of these heroes of the faith is commemorated during the Advent Season. Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk. Though this order was not formed until 1256, they were strongly influenced by the thought of Augustine. Through this connection Augustinian thought had a real impact on the Reformation. There is so much more that can be written about Augustine that I will try to put up a separate post about him.
We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper Sunday. To prepare you can use the “Christian Questions with Their Answers” found in your copy of Luther’s Small Catechism. We will be using the first setting of the morning service found on page 151 of the Lutheran Service Book. Our opening hymn will be “Father Most Holy” (LSB 504). Our sermon hymn is the one we are learning this month, “Forgive Us, Lord, for Shallow Thankfulness” (LSB 788). Our closing hymn will be “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (LSB 528). Our distribution hymns will be “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” (LSB 610), “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629), and “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” (LSB 637).
The assigned lessons for Sunday are Deuteronomy 7:6-9; Romans 8:28-39; and Matthew 13:44-52. The sermon is once again based on the lesson from Romans as we work are way through the book this summer. It is titled “Does God Want to Make You Rich?” The text is Romans 8:28.
The video below of “Father Most Holy.” It is preformed by the Augustana Choir & Trombone Quartet. The hymn was originally written in the 10th century in Latin. The arrangement is, obviously, different from what is in our hymnal but the tune is the same.
Sunday we will continue our trip through Matthew in our adult Bible class. We are in chapter 7, which is still part of the Sermon on the Mount. Class begins at 9:00 AM. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the Lessons
Deuteronomy 7:6-9: The name “Deuteronomy” means “Second Law” and comes from the restatement of the Ten Commandments found in chapter 5, as well as the general review of the laws and exodus history found in the book. The name the Jewish people use for the book is translated into English as “These are the words [of Moses],” which are the opening words of the book. The book is set up as several addresses, or sermons, given to the Hebrews just prior to them entering the Promised Land. Peter comments on verse 6 (1 Peter 2:9-10), which is a passage loved by many believers. This lesson is pure Gospel while the text surrounding it is basically Law. In this passage Moses makes it clear that the selection of Israel had nothing to do with some moral excellence on their part, or some superior military might, or some other such thing. They were chosen by the grace of God alone. With Peter applying this thought to us it becomes clear that we also have not merited our salvation in any fashion. It is a gift of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, our Lord. We are, of course, called to live in a fashion pleasing to God, but that is not an effort to earn salvation or God’s grace but a response to the grace and salvation God has granted to us.
Romans 8:28-39: This is a passage of exceptional comfort when we face various trials and tribulations. However, in some parts of the American church, it is badly twisted, especially verse 28. In Sunday’s sermon we will examine exactly what God promises here. This is very important. If you think God has promised “A” when he hasn’t, then you can feel like God has let you down when he doesn’t give you “A.” In reality it is the teachers of false doctrine who have let you down, but the devil seems determined to not let people recognize this. For more on this passage come to Lamb of God Sunday and hear the sermon.
Matthew 13:44-52: This lesson continues with the Kingdom parables in Matthew 13 that we have been reading for the last couple of weeks. The BIG difference between these parables and the ones we have had so far is that Matthew recorded Jesus’ explanation of the ones we have already looked at but most of them in Sunday’s reading have no such explanation. This reading has the parables of the Hidden Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price, the Net, and the New and Old Treasures. Sometimes people act like understanding the parables of Jesus is soooo easy. Usually they are thinking of the parables that Jesus explained. The parables in this reading have been understood variously over the years and so perhaps we should not be so smug. Many look at these parables as indicating that we should seek the Kingdom of God. However in the parables that Jesus explained in this chapter the main actor is always Jesus. So it seems to me better to think of the seeker in the first two parables as Jesus, who gives up everything to acquire the treasure and pearl, and the treasure and pearl as us. The parable of the Net is explained and is similar to the parable of the weeds and wheat. Both emphasize that there will be a final judgment. The final parable considers the disciples as “scribes trained in the kingdom” and compares them to a “master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” This is basically summing up all the parables. The old treasure is a reference to the revelation of God found in the Old Testament. The new treasure is the revelation of God found in Jesus Christ and exemplified by the parables recorded earlier in the chapter.
Tidbits• There are no special events scheduled for Sunday.
• This coming Thursday Junior Confirmation class begins for the year. For more information read the newsletter.
• Also on Thursday pastor will be out of town for the day because of school. You can read about it in the newsletter.
• The September newsletter has been posted on this blog. Just click on the link in the left hand column.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert