Thursday after Pentecost 7
July 19, 2012
The Lord be with you
Because we are recognizing all the alternate days this year on our calendar, this coming Sunday will be the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. There will also be a post dedicated to her on this blog, which will be posted Sunday. (For those not using the alternate days, this coming Sunday is the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.)
The appointed readings for the Feast Day of St Mary Magdalene are Proverbs 31:10-31, Acts 13:26-31, and John 20:1-2, 10-18. The appointed Psalm is Psalm 73:23-28 and the antiphon is verse 1. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, using the first setting of the Divine Service (LSB, page 151), and therefore will be using the appointed Introit instead of the appointed Psalm.
Our opening hymn will be “For All the Faithful Women” (LSB 855). This hymn has 13 verses but we are not expected to sing all 13 at any given time. Verses 5-13 are each dedicated to specific women of faith throughout biblical history. Verse 11 is about Mary Magdalene. Therefore we will sing verse 1, verse 11 and then verses 3 and 4. Our sermon hymn will be “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 518). This 28 verse hymn has the same sort of set up as “For All the Faithful Women,” only it is restricted to New Testament individuals. Verse 20 deals with Mary Magdalene, so we will sing verse 1, verse 20, and then verse 3. Our closing hymn will be “Rise, Shine, You People” (LSB 825). Our distribution hymns will be “The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” (LSB 634), “O Sons and Daughters of the King” (LSB 470), and “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (LSB 643).
The text for the sermon will be John 20:18. The sermon title will be “A Woman’s Place.”
In our prayers on Sunday we will remember The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti (ELCH) (Eglise Evangelique Lutherienne D’Haiti) and their President, Rev. Marky Kessa. We will remember our missionary, Emily Goddard, who serves in South Africa. Emily writes, “I would appreciate prayers for God to open the hearts of the community where I serve and that He would use me as a tool to spread His love and the Gospel to the people of South Africa. I also ask for prayers to prepare me for all that lies ahead. And, please pray for the school, including its teachers, administrators, students and families.” We are grateful to God for the opportunity to support Emily by responding to her request in our Sunday worship. We will remember the persecuted believers in North Korea. Communism has never been friendly towards the Church, and North Korea is a Communist nation. However the LC-MS has been able to make some very positive strides there with an international school. We will also remember our sister SED congregations: Christ, Norfolk, VA; Trinity, Norfolk, VA; Unity, Norfolk, VA; Redeemer, Portsmouth, VA; Bethlehem, Aiken, 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 recording of our first distribution hymn, “The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord” (LSB 634). It includes the words in a sing-a-long fashion. Those words are not exactly like the ones in our hymnal, which have been “updated.”
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. This Sunday we will finish Matthew 23 and begin chapter 24. This teaching of our Lord occurred during Holy Week. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the Lessons
Proverbs 31:10-31: I must admit, this is one of my favorite Bible passages to give people who think they have a good handle on what the Bible has to say about women. It just doesn’t fit anyone’s stereotype. First, though written down by “King Lemuel,” the opening verse clearly identifies his mother as the source of the chapter. The opening verses, which are omitted in our reading, have some general advice for rulers, including to watch out for women, but clearly she does not mean the type of women spoken of beginning with verse 10, a woman with a “noble character.” The feminist will object that such a woman brings her husband “good, not harm,” and that her husband is “respected in the city gate,” saying why should the husband be the recipient of her hard work. The traditionalist will object that this woman is engaged in the work force, which certainly should be the husband’s duty. The beauty queen will object to the words “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting.” One thing that comes through loud and clear to me is that women are individuals. To use modern vernacular, women are people in their own right. However, God has made humanity as social beings, and this is true of women as well. So, while they are individuals, they are not islands. This also comes through in Proverbs 31. Finally, Proverbs 31 lets you know that you can’t pigeon hole women any more than you can pigeon hole men. In both cases, the one who “who fears the Lord is to be praised.”
Acts 13:26-31: Paul is on his first missionary journey. He and his company have arrived in Pisidia Antioch. Invited to speak at the local synagogue, Paul launches into a review of Jewish history, culminating in Jesus as the fulfillment of all the promises made to the Hebrews. The leadership didn’t recognize this, and had him crucified. But God raised him from the dead, and the witnesses to this are still alive. It is this reference to the witnesses that earned this reading a place during the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, for she was one of those witnesses. Of course, the witnesses are not the main focus of the text. That focus belongs to “the message of salvation” which is focused on Jesus.
John 20:1-2, 10-18: This is a portion of the Easter story told by John. Mary Magdalene is prominently featured as the first person to see the resurrected Lord. After seeing Jesus, Mary is commissioned to tell the disciples, which she does. John doesn’t tell us the response of the disciples. His accent is on the resurrection and the multitude of witnesses as he continues to report post-resurrection appearances. Mary is privileged to be the first to see Jesus and to be the first to be commissioned to share the message. Many have pointed out that this account screams authenticity because a woman, in a male dominated culture, is the first to see Jesus and the first to faithfully tell about his resurrection. If the story was a fiction, the writer would have made the first witness someone believable, like Peter. Because women were considered unstable, their witness wasn’t allowed in the courts, but Jesus selects a woman to be his witness. How is that for a special place for a woman?
- Information for our August newsletter is due Sunday.
- Our Voters’ Meeting went well this past Sunday. Some of the reports were clearly looking towards the future. Jill Snow reported on the Lutheran Malaria Initiative. The general attitude of the voters was that this was something we should find a way to support. The Elders reported on a proposed Spiritual Life Survey to assist in planning for our future. This was also well received and the Elders are moving forward in finalizing the form, which will be given to the congregation, hopefully, sometime in August. Thanks to the efforts of many, we are still paying our bills. Kitty reported on the Southeastern District’s Convention, to which she was our lay representative. All in all, a good meeting.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert