The Lord be with you
Today is the Feast Day of St. Andrew, Apostle. To find out a little more about this day check out the post I made earlier on the blog. I normally post my worship notes on Thursdays, but I will be out of town tomorrow so I’m doing it today.
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday in Advent. It is also the Commemoration of John of Damascus, Theologian and Hymnwriter. Typically this year that would mean that we would be using the lections for John of Damascus (Psalm 118:14-21 or 16:5-11; 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 or 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-3; John 5:24-27). However the readings appointed for the first three Sunday’s in Advent all come from Isaiah, and I have chosen to do a little mini-series I’m calling “Isaiah’s Advent” so we will be using the regularly appointed lessons (Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8; Psalm 85, antiphon v. 9). To compensate, we will have an insert dealing with John of Damascus.
The insert will be part of the way we keep out theme for the year, the Communion of Saints, alive. With this theme we are also remembering various denominations around the globe. This Sunday we will remember our partner church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ghana (ELCG), and their president, Dr. Paul Kofi Fynn. We will also remember again our mission for the month, Concordia International School Hanoi, and its head, Steven Winkelman. There will be another insert about the school in the bulletin. Each week this year we are remembering Christians who are persecuted for the Faith. This week we will remember our brothers and sisters in the Faith from Algeria. We will also remember in our prayers Trinity, Lexington Park, MD; St. John’s, Long Green, MD; St. Paul’s, Mechanicsville, MD; St. Mark, Middle River, MD; Calvary, Charleston, SC, all sister congregations in the Southeastern District.
For our liturgy Sunday we will be using the service of Prayer and Preaching, page 260. This is one of those services that uses the appointed Psalm instead of the Introit. Our hymns will be “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry” (LSB 344), “Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding,” (LSB 345) and “Savior of the Nations, Come” (LSB 332). The sermon is titled “Are You Ready?” and the text for the sermon is Isaiah 40:10. Our choir will be singing.
The video below of “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry” is by Jim Bode. While he uses the tune found in our hymnal, it has been “refreshed.” This means it isn’t done on an organ, and the arrangement is a little jazzier.
Our adult Bible class this coming Sunday will pick up at Matthew 11:25. Class begins at 9:00 AM. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the LessonsIsaiah 40:1-11: For those of you who know Handel’s Messiah, you will have a hard time not bursting into song as this lesson is read. In this lesson Isaiah foresees the ministry of John the Baptist as he announces the Advent of our Lord. Beginning with the words “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God,” Isaiah reveals that John will be the forerunner of Christ, crying in the wilderness, preparing his way. This mighty intervention is then contrasted with the weak efforts of humanity, which withers and fades. This comparison is especially stark when we consider the humble nature of Jesus’ life and ministry and his death on a cross. So Isaiah reminds us that “the word of our God will stand forever.” His might (10) is not like the might of men. His reward is not like the rewards men offer. They are eternal. In the humble birth of Jesus, in his shameful death, God reveals his rule. As this is the text for Sunday, I will say no more.
2 Peter 3:8-14: Peter speaks of the patience of God. Apparently some were wondering why the Second Coming was taking so long. Peter tells us that it is so the maximum number of people can be saved. Indeed the Lord desires all to be saved (9). However Peter does tell us that the Second Coming will come. When it does, all will be surprised. He also tells us that this present creation will be destroyed. It will be replaced with “new heavens and a new earth.” In light of this Peter asks, “what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness?” The answer is obvious, I should think. We are to pursue lives of holiness and godliness. Think of it this way. You can pursue two different types of money. One is Monopoly money, by becoming the king of Monopoly. The other is US Dollars. Dollars have real value. Monopoly money doesn’t. When the game is over, it goes back into the box. Well, in the light of eternity, US Dollars are just as valueless as Monopoly money. “You can’t take it with you.” The “currency” of eternity is holiness and godliness.
Mark 1:1-8: Mark begins his Gospel with a bang. John the Baptist appears preparing the way for Jesus. No genealogies, no effort to date the events by telling us who was ruling this or that country, no nice prologue setting the stage, no infant narratives. This is Mark’s style. He tells us right off that this is about Jesus, the Son of God (1). Let’s not clutter things up with other stuff. He sites Isaiah for John’s credentials. The message of John is summed up with two points: 1) he proclaimed a baptism for the forgiveness of sins and 2) One would come after him who was mightier than he, who gives the Holy Spirit. In verse 9 Jesus is introduced as that One to whom John was pointing. This “speed” approach focuses us on Jesus all the way. That is what Marks wants, and it works.
• I think the Board of Evangelism will be meeting Sunday after the worship service.
• Advent services have begun. The theme is “The Saints of Advent.” We meet each Wednesday. Our first service is at 12:15 and our second service is at 7:00 PM. We will also have a soup supper beginning at 6:15 PM. Ambrose of Milan, Pastor and Hymnwriter, will be the saint we will consider December 7.
• Choir practice has resumed. We meet after the Wednesday evening worship service. New voices are welcome.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert