Thursday, October 27, 2011

Worship for Reformation Sunday - 2011

Thursday after Pentecost 19
October 27, 2011

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be celebrated in most Lutheran churches around the globe as Reformation Sunday. It is also celebrated by some whom are not Lutherans but recognize the huge impact Luther and the Lutheran Reformation has had on subsequent generations of Christians. It is celebrated on October 31, or the first Sunday prior to October 31 if that date does not fall on a Sunday. October 31 was selected because that is the anniversary of the date Martin Luther, in 1517, nailed his famous 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Most consider this event as the catalyst for the Reformation.

In spite of how much Lutherans love Reformation Day/Sunday, it is not a major Church festival but a “commemoration.” (All dates that are denomination specific are commemoration, at least in our tradition.) Therefore, because this is also a fifth Sunday and we normally do not celebrate the Lord’s Supper on fifth Sundays, we will not be celebrating the Sacrament in our worship service. This, however, will not stop us from having a very special worship service. The liturgy is designed with the Reformation specifically in mind, but accents the reality that the Church is always in need of returning to the Word, to Her Lord, to the truth. In other words, we always need a re-formation into the image of Christ.

The liturgy will be spoken. Our hymns will be LSB 549 “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name;” LSB 660 “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus”; LSB # 655 “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word;” LSB 644 “The Church’s One Foundation;” and LSB # 656 “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” Our offertory will be LSB # 851 vs. 1,2, 4 “Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us.” The appointed lessons are: Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; and Matthew 11:12-19. The sermon text will be Revelation 14:6. The sermon is titled: “The Word of the Lord Endures Forever”

The video below is of the LutheranWarbler singing and playing Luther’s setting of “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” This will be the setting we will be using Sunday. The other well know setting was made by J.S. Bach (a great Lutheran in his own right), but it seems fitting that we use Martin’s setting as he wrote the hymn and it is Reformation Sunday.

Sunday we will continue our trip through Matthew in our adult Bible class. Class begins at 9:00 AM. As always, everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons
Revelation 14:6-7: Reformation Day/Sunday is one of those rare days when our first lesson is not from the Old Testament. This is the standard first lesson for Reformation. It describes an angel flying at the apex of the sky who proclaimed an “eternal gospel.” This passage became associated with the Reformation because many identified this angel with Luther. The word “angel” means messenger, so you can see how people made the association. Boy did Luther have a message to proclaim! Those who made the association were not far off. The mistake comes if you identify this angel only with Luther. All who proclaim the eternal Gospel are represented by this heavenly being as they proclaim a heavenly message, a message that opens the doors of glory.

Romans 3:19-28: Paul makes a clear distinction between Law and Gospel as it relates to our salvation. Our good works can not save us. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. This was, of course, the central insight of the Reformation. Because we are natural born legalists, the desire to make our works count towards our salvation is always a danger. This reading is a strong tonic that keeps us on track.

Matthew 11:12-19: Two main points can be drawn from this reading. First, John the Baptist marked the end of the Old Testament era. With Jesus something new has been started by God, a new age, an age of fulfillment. The prophets looked forward to Jesus and the dawn of this age. We are blessed to live in it. The second point easily noticed is that Jesus and his followers are always rejected. It is not because we are obnoxious. If that was the case then the lost would have some justification for mistreating Christians. It is because we stand for the truth of God’s love for humanity found in his Son, our Lord Jesus. This the world, the devil, and all that is opposed to God, cannot abide.

• Tomorrow (Friday, October 29) the Lutheran Lecture Series is giving a presentation titled “God’s Gift to Mankind—Marriage”. It will be at Augustana Lutheran in Hickory. Presenters include two of the Synod’s VPs and a professor from Concordia Theological Seminary. More information can be found in Sunday’s bulletin.

• There are no activities planned for after church Sunday.

• Our regular mid-week events (Cubs, Catechism class) will meet this coming week.

• There will be a “clean-up” day Saturday, November 5, beginning at 10:00 AM.

• Daylight Savings Time ends November 6. The board of evangelism will also meet on the 6th.

• We will also celebrate November 6 as All Saints’ Sunday. Names of those who have departed and gone to be with the Lord will be remembered in our prayers. A sign-up sheet is in the narthex for names of people you would like remembered.

Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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