Thursday, June 21, 2012

Worship for the Festival of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist

Thursday after Pentecost 3
June 21, 2012

The Lord be with you

Most of the congregations in the LC-MS will recognize this coming Sunday as the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost (or more simply, Pentecost 4). However June 24 is also the Festival of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. If a church chooses to recognize this Festival, there is a different set of appointed lessons. At Lamb of God we will be using this option. Using such options is becoming much more common these days, even though I suspect it is still the minority practice. The appointed lessons for the Festival of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist are: Isaiah 40:1-5; Acts 13:13-26; Luke 1:57-80.

The Naming of John the Baptist
For our liturgy we will be using the First Setting of the Diving Service (page 151). This is a Communion Service. The appointed Psalm for the day is Psalm 85. We will not be using it, because the liturgy for Sunday uses the appointed Introit instead of the appointed Psalm. However Psalm 85 is an excellent Psalm to read and meditate on as we prepare for the reception of the Lord’s Supper. You may read it to prepare for the Sacrament.

While the sermon will draw on each of our appointed lessons, I have to pick a text. The text will be Acts 13:17. The sermon is titled “Is History Bunk?” Our opening hymn is “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” (LSB 661). The sermon hymn is “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 518, vs 1, 18, 3). The closing hymn is “Saints, See the Cloud of Witnesses” (LSB 667). The distribution hymns are “Christ, the Lord of Hosts, Unshaken” (LSB 521), “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” (LSB 633), and “Just As I Am, without One Plea” (LSB 570).

In our prayers we will remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay (IELP) (Iglesia EvangĂ©lica Luterana del Paraguay) and their President, Rev. Norberto Gerke. We will remember our missionaries, George and Shary Frahm, who serve in Cambodia. They ask specifically for prayers as they learn the Khmer language; that members of the Church would consider how they might be involved in God’s mission in Cambodia; for the Angels Dormitory—that it would be a successful ministry; that the Frahms would have courage and creativity and that the dormitory would serve as a model for similar ministries in the future; that their family, children, grandchildren and friends would accept and celebrate the sacrifices they’ve made for George and Shary to be able to serve in Cambodia. We will remember the persecuted believers in Mauritania. Mauritania is in the western part of Africa and gained their independence from France in 1960. Mauritania is an Islamic nation and is ranked 13th on the Open Doors World Watch List of the worst persecutors of Christians. We will also remember our sister SED congregations: St. Paul’s, Falls Church, VA; St. John’s, Farmville, VA; Redeemer, Fredericksburg, VA; Prince of Peace, Glen Allen, VA; Mt. Olive, Irmo, SC. We will continue to remember those who have been misled by our cultures acceptance of abortion and sexual immorality, asking God’s grace for their lives that they may be healed and restored by the Holy Spirit. We will also continue to remember those trapped in the modern practice of slavery and ask God to bless all efforts that are pleasing in his sight to end this sinful practice.

Below is a video of the “Lutheran Warbler” singing our final Distribution Hymn, “Just As I Am.”

Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. This Sunday we will continue in Matthew 21. As always, everyone is invited to come.

Preview of the Lessons

Isaiah 40:1-5: This reading is part of the Old Testament lesson for Advent 2 when we are using Series B. It is also part of the Old Testament lesson in the One Year Lectionary (Advent 3). It has been set to music many times, probably the most famous by Handel in his Messiah. The following notes come from The Lutheran Study Bible (CPH).
40:1 Comfort, comfort. First of three heralds in vv 1-11. The Lord’s prophet reminds the Israelites that they are still His covenant people … Repetition is the Hebraic way of driving home a point; … Luth: “God’s people are those who need comfort because they have been wounded and terrified by the Law and they are an empty vessel capable of receiving comfort. Only those who are afflicted have comfort and are capable of it, because comfort means nothing unless there is a malady” (AE 17:3].
40:2 Speak tenderly. Not harshly, as rebels against the King of heaven and earth should expect, but in the tone of winsome pleading with which a lover seeks to touch the heart of a maiden he is courting (Gn 34:3; Jgs 19:3). Jerusalem did nothing to deserve tender words. Her redemption would be an act of divine mercy without any merit or worthiness on her part, warfare. Destruction of the nation and subsequent Babylonian captivity (Is 43:14). God promised to cut short the time of “hard service” (14:3) in the exile, even though justice required that suffering for sin should never end. double for all her sins. People receive double in unmerited comfort (cf v 1). [The] Penalty of her iniquity was paid, even though she could do nothing to make amends for the debt she incurred. She received from the Lord’s hand good things in double proportion to the punishment she deserved for her sins (61:7; Jb ll:6).
40:3 A voice cries. The second herald, John the Baptist, was commissioned to “go before the Lord to prepare His ways” (Lk 1 -.76-79). He did so when he preached repentance “in the wilderness of Judea” (Mt 3:1). prepare the way of the Lord. The double comfort of vv 1-2 will come about when the Lord breaks into history and comes to the aid of His people. The Lord has done this before (cf Dt 33:2; Jgs 5:4-5; Ps 68:7-8) and will do so again (Is 52:7-10). The prophet may also be playing on a Babylonian hymn that speaks of making straight paths for Nabu, Babylonian god of writing and wisdom. Roads were often constructed for visiting dignitaries, triumphant kings, or for idols as they were carried in procession. highway. According to His eternal plan, ‘the way of the Lord’ has as its predestined goal the redemption of all humankind through His Son, Jesus Christ. All obstacles will be cleared from His highway of salvation. His chosen people will come forth from the grave of the exile and survive the rise and fall of empires in order that the Savior might be born “of the house and lineage of David” (Lk 2:4) as foretold.
40:5 glory of the Lord. See pp 6-7. The Lord’s presence in, with, and under a pillar of cloud or pillar of fire (cf Ex 16:10; 40:34). This phrase has played a key role throughout Is thus far (cf 4:5; 6:3; 35:2) and will continue to play an important role, esp in ch 66. all flesh. All people. When the Lord’s glory was revealed in His incarnate Son, His purpose was not to destroy sinners but to bring the light of salvation to all peoples of the earth (52:10; 60:1-3). However, there will also come a time when “the Son of Man comes in His glory” to judge “all the nations” (Mt 25:31-32). …
40:1-5 The Lord promises comfort and restoration for the Babylonian exiles. These promises, fulfilled through John the Baptist’s ministry, have personal consequences for you and for all people. Just as the Lord doubled the comfort and forgiveness for the exiles, He has doubled comfort and forgiveness for you in the person of His Son. • Lord, as You have prepared comfort for all people through Jesus, prepare my mouth and heart to speak of that comfort and peace to those around me. Amen.

Acts 13:13-26:            This reading comes from Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary trip. They have arrived at Antioch. Visiting a synagogue one Sabbath, Paul and Barnabas were invited to address the congregation. Paul addresses the people, providing a sweeping review of Jewish history, of which our reading is the first half. In this half Paul takes us up to, and through, the ministry of John the Baptist. Paul is demonstrating how Jewish history culminates in the salvation brought to us by Jesus. It is worth noting that this message would be nonsense if the congregation didn’t know its history. Everyone listening to Paul knew the facts, including the facts about the ministry of John the Baptist. What Paul provided was a new way to understand those facts.

Luke 1:57-80: This is the account of the birth and naming of John the Baptist. After John is named, his father Zechariah, who had been mute from the time he had doubted the angel’s announcement to him about the birth of John (1:18-20), had his speech restored. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah sang the Benedictus. We still sing it during Matins (LSB, page 226). This song is far too rich to do it justice in these brief notes. One of the main themes is that God iwa keeping his promises of providing forgiveness and salvation. These are promises made long ago, and were now (for Zechariah and his contemporaries) being fulfilled.

  • Our book club, the LitWits, will gather Sunday evening, at 6:30. The topic will be the book Warrior Priest: A Pastor Steven Grant Novel.  
  • Pastor has been summoned for Jury duty. He is to appear Monday, June 25. Only time will tell if he actually will serve on a jury or not. Often all cases are settled “out of court” and the jurors are dismissed.

Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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