Thursday after Pentecost 6
July 12, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday will be the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost. The appointed lesions are: Amos 7:7-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29. Because we will be using Matins for our liturgy (page 219), we will be using the appointed Psalm for the Day instead of the appointed Introit for the Day, which is Psalm 85:1-13. The antiphon is verse 7. Our hymns will be “Baptismal Waters Cover Me” (LSB 616) (the hymn we are learning this month), “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens” (LSB 589) and “Almighty God, Your Word Is Cast” (LSB 577). The sermon text is Mark 6:20 and the sermon title is “Words.”
In our prayers on Sunday we will remember The American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC) and their President, Rev. Franklin E. Hays. The AALC is 25 years old and views themselves as continuing the tradition of the American Lutheran Church (ALC), a denomination with whom the LC-MS was in altar and pulpit fellowship but since has been absorbed by the ELCA. The LC-MS is currently in altar and pulpit fellowship with the AALC. 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 Nigeria. Nigeria is in West Africa and is the nation on that content with the most people. The northern part of Nigeria is mainly Moslem and the southern part is mainly Christian. Radical Islamic sects in the north, demanding a separate Islamic state, have greatly increased the death total in recent years, though the government is trying to keep things under control. These separatist groups attack and kill Christians as well as Moslems who desire to maintain peace in the country. We will also remember our sister SED congregations: St. Matthew, Meherrin, VA; St. Paul’s, Meherrin, VA; New Hope, Midlothian, VA; Resurrection, Newport News, VA; Grace, Summerville, 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, on a harp, of “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens”. Only one verse, and no one is singing, but it is nice.
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. This Sunday we will be in Matthew 23, walking with our Lord through Holy Week. While the events in the chapter occur during the final week in the life of Jesus, they are not the events of which we normally think. Those events typically are Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Matthew 23 has our Lord’s teaching on Monday through Wednesday. As always, everyone is invited to come.
Preview of the Lessons
Amos 7:7-15: Amos is one of the “minor” prophets. They are called “minor” only because their books are short, not because their books are unimportant. They are all grouped at the end of the Old Testament, not because they all worked near the end of the Old Testament time period, but because all twelve could fit onto one scroll. Amos lived and prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 bc) (see 1:1), and he was active probably from around 760 to 750. His work was in the northern kingdom of Israel, which fell to the Assyrians in 722. Through him the Lord warned Israel and called them back to Him, a warning and call the king and the majority of the people ignored. In this vision Amos sees a wall and a plum line. Plum lines are a string with a weight at the bottom. They are used to determine if a wall is “true,” that is, straight. With different terrains and such, your eyes can play tricks on you. But the weight makes sure the string is being pulled straight down so if the wall doesn’t line up with the plum line, the wall isn’t “true.” If the wall is “true,” it passes. If it doesn’t pass, you tear it down and start again. The wall might represent the “house of Israel” or the “house of Jeroboam.” It doesn’t matter because they are really one and the same. The plum line is the word of God. The house is not true. Instead of repenting, the religious leaders and king tell Amos to move to Judah, where faith in the True God is more welcomed.
Ephesians 1:3-14: This is a wonderful passage to read if you are feeling down or questioning your salvation. This passage speaks about predestination. While this teaching troubles many, in the Bible it is always used for our comfort. We are predestined, in Christ, for good. Predestination is, in the New Testament, always associated with Jesus. The evidence of predestination is our faith. Do you believe that Jesus died for you? That is the mark of being predestined. So, if you have faith in Jesus, then you also have “every spiritual blessing.” These blessings come in the manner God chooses, and that manner is through word and sacrament. How frustrated some Christians become by chasing after other ways to receive these great blessings from God! The phrase “word of truth” is referring to the word of God. The phrase “sealed with the Holy Spirit” refers Paul’s readers back to their baptism. How do you know you have the Holy Spirit? Were you baptized in the name of the Triune God? Then you have been sealed with the Holy Spirit. This reading could be a whole book. For now, just read it and thank God for all the great gifts he has for you.
Mark 6:14-29: This reading picks up where last weeks reading ended. It is how Mark introduces the death of John the Baptist. It is not a “current event” in this account. In stead, Jesus’ popularity is growing and the news reaches Herod. In identifying Herod, Mark tells how Herod speculated that John the Baptist had come back from the dead, and about the how Herod had John beheaded. The stage is set for this speculation by Herod by informing us that Herod knew John was a “righteous and holy man” and that he heard John “gladly” even though the message of John disturbed him. In contrast to those Paul wrote to, who received the word of truth and the joy that such reception and trust brings, Herod rejected the word of truth (like Israel and Jeroboam) and so was troubled. Now his guilty conscience was kicking in. Of course, Herod is not really the focus for Mark, but John the Baptist and how John’s words about the importance of Jesus were fulfilled. John said, “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” John had passed away. Jesus had arrived. Those who did not attend to John were not going to easily understand who Jesus is and what he came to do.
- There will be a voters’ meeting following our worship service Sunday. The focus of the meeting will be on reports. Kitty will tell us about the SED convention. Pastor will tell us about what the surveys reveled concerning the Stations of the Cross project on which he is working. Our Elders will tell us about some ideas concerning proposed worship services, and an upcoming survey to make it easier to plan for our future. Of course we will be given the latest information about our financial health. All boards and committees will have an opportunity to share.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert