April 19, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday of Easter. The Easter Season lasts until Pentecost. Pentecost is always 50 days after Easter so the Easter Season always has seven Sundays. Not surprisingly, the lessons for the season accent the resurrection of Jesus. Another traditional aspect of the lessons during the Easter Season is that the Old Testament lesson is replaced with a lesson from the book of Acts. So, while those out of tune with the traditional Christian Year celebrate Easter as only one day, or at best, celebrate Easter during the later part of Lent and end their celebration with Easter Sunday (as witnessed by all those “after” Easter sales in the stores), those who are spiritually in tune with the historic Christian Faith celebrate for seven weeks, beginning with Easter Sunday.
We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper Sunday, using the First Setting of the Divine Service (page 151) for our liturgy. Our opening hymn will be “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (LSB 461). Our sermon hymn will be “All the Earth with Joy Is Sounding” (LSB 462). This is the hymn we are learning this month. Our closing hymn will be another Easter hymn, “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” (LSB 480). Our distribution hymns will be “Your Table I Approach” (LSB 628) and “All You Works of God, Bless the Lord” (LSB 930). “All You Works of God, Bless the Lord” is a paraphrase of The Song of the Three Young Men, found in the apocryphal additions to the book of Daniel. These additions to Daniel, and other sections of the Old Testament, are not found in the Hebrew text of the Bible but are in the Septuagint translation of the Bible. The Septuagint is a translation of the Old Testament into Greek that was made before Jesus was born. So, while not part of the original manuscript, it is still very, very old. This song is placed on the lips of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The appointed lessons for the day are: Acts 3:11-21, 1 John 3:1-7, and Luke 24:36-49. The sermon is based on the lesson from Acts and the text is Acts 3:11. The sermon is title “Opportunity Knocks.”
We will continue our regular prayer pattern in our public prayers Sunday. That means we will remember in our prayers Sunday the Consistory of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Lithuania (CELCL) and their Bishop, Rev. Mindaugas Sabutis. We will remember Matt and Kim Myers, missionaries in Macau. Macau is one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China lying on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong-Kong. We will remember the persecuted believers in Jordan, and our sister congregations: Calvary, Jacksonville, NC; Mt. Calvary, Kennapolis, NC; Fountain of Life, Kernersville, NC; Faith, Kinston, NC; Risen Christ, Myrtle Beach, SC. We remember the orphans in Haiti that our youth are seeking to help. We also will continue to remember those who are trapped by the modern practice of slavery, and those who have fallen victim to our cultures acceptance of abortion and advocacy of sexual immorality.
The video below of “All You Works of God, Bless the Lord,” is sung by a choir, backed by a small orchestra. They only do the first verse.
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. This Sunday we will continue in Matthew. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the Lessons
Acts 3:11-21: Peter and John go to the Temple to pray. In the Temple precinct, they meet a crippled man whom is healed. The healed man makes such a commotion that a large crowd forms. Peter takes the opportunity to proclaim the message of the resurrection.
1 John 3:1-7: John marvels at the depth of God’s love, which makes us his children. This is a two-edged blessing. The world does not recognize this reality. However, we hold the promise of a great future, one so marvelous that our present understanding is only partial. As believers, we are to live as Children of God. Christ is to make a difference in how we live. Some get confused by John’s letter, thinking he is telling us that we can become sinless in this life. We should pay careful attention to his words in verse 3, “everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” John is plainly saying that our purity comes, not by our righteous works, but through the hope we have in Christ Jesus. To use the phrasing of St. Paul, we are saved by grace through faith.
Luke 24:36-49: This is the account of a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus to his disciples. It takes a bit for Jesus to convince the disciples, but after letting them examine him, and eating a bit, they realize the truth, Jesus is risen. Jesus then affirms that his story is fully revealed in the entire Old Testament. This point can not be overemphasized. If you are not finding Jesus in “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms,” that is, the entire Old Testament, you are not reading the Old Testament like Jesus and the Apostles. When your mind is opened by the Holy Spirit, you find Jesus everywhere in the pages of the Bible, not just the New Testament and a few isolated Old Testament passages that are too obvious to miss. Jesus also tells us that the mission of the Church, “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem,” is also firmly grounded in the Old Testament. To accomplish this task, we are equipped with the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promises to his assembled disciples.
- • Don’t forget to fill out your Stations Survey. It is an important part of Pastor’s D.Min. project.
• For those who purchased Easter Lilies, remember that you can now take them home.
• The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday after the worship service.
• Information for the May newsletter is due Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert