Thursday after Pentecost 10
August 9, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the 11th Sunday after Pentecost. The assigned lessons are: 1 Kings 19:1-8, Ephesians 4:17-5:2, and John 6:35-51. For our liturgy we will be using Setting 3 of the Divine Service which begins on page 184 of the hymnal. This is a Communion service. To prepare you may wish to read Psalm 51. The sermon text is John 6:51 and is titled “Junk Food of Good Food.” Our opening hymn is “With the Lord Begin Your Task” (LSB 869). The sermon hymn is “O Word of God Incarnate” (LSB 523). Our closing hymn is “Praise to You and Adoration” (LSB 692). Our distribution hymns are “The Gifts Christ Freely Gives” (LSB 602), “Eat This Bread” (LSB 638), and “Built on the Rock” (LSB 645).
We will continue to lift up other Christian denominations in our public prayers. This Sunday we will remember the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and their leader, Archbishop Demetrios. We also pray for our LC-MS missionaries around the world. This week we remember Andy and Stephanie Jones, who are in Germany. We have been asked to specifically to ask the Holy Spirit to help them adjust to their new roles and cultural surroundings; to pray that the Lord would protect them and bless them as Stephanie travels frequently and Andy educates and supports the Trinity youth and congregation in Frankfurt; and to pray that the Lord would use them to communicate with passion the stories of our Eurasia missionaries and partner churches. We will remember the persecuted believers in Qatar, a tiny Moslem country on the Arabian Peninsula. There are about 120,000 Christians in Qatar, about 8.5% of the population. Until 2008 their worship services were all underground. However they are now allowed to build churches and worship, and there are at least 14 such public worship homes in Qatar. It is against the law for Christians to share their faith with Moslems, but television, radio, and the internet are used extensively by Christians and seem to be having a powerful effect. Compared to other Moslem controlled countries, Qatar is a model of toleration. Still, the believers need our prayer support. We will also remember our sister SED congregations: Living Hope, Stafford, VA; Concordia, Triangle, VA; Hope, Virginia Beach, VA; Prince of Peace, Virginia Beach, VA; and Holy Trinity, Columbia, 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 playing and singing our opening hymn, “With the Lord Begin Your Task”
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We are currently in Matthew 25.
Preview of the Lessons
1 Kings 19:1-8: Elijah was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. While he left us no writings (like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others), his story is recorded in 1 & 2 Kings. This particular story comes on the heals of his showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. God won the contest and the false prophets of Baal were executed (1 Kings 18:16-46). There had been a drought in Israel for years (1 Kings 17:1) brought on by God because the people had gone after Baal. Baal was the idol believed to be in charge of rain. In the contest, some three years into the drought, Baal was unable to bring lightning down (something a rain god surely should be able to do) to light the sacrifice. God, on the other had, did just that, as well as send rain. This is where our reading picks-up. Jezebel, the queen, was enraged. In stead of rejecting the idol, she determined to have Elijah murdered. Upon hearing this, Elijah becomes despondent and flees. He actually prays to God and asks to die. God sends an angel to strengthen him and then sends him on to Mount Horeb (another name for Mt. Sinai), where he will hear the “still small voice” of God (9-18) and, in essence, is re-commissioned. When the angel meets and strengthens Elijah, he does this by giving Elijah a “cake baked on a stone.” This has been seen by many over they centuries as foreshadowing the Lord’s Supper, by which we are strengthened for our trip through this life. One lesson we can learn from this story is that, no matter how bleak things may seem, the Lord is with us. Another lesson to learn is that true believers can experience depression. During these dark times it is vital we do not turn from our Lord.
Ephesians 4:17-5:2: This reading picks up where our reading from Ephesians ended last week. Once again it is very rich. The big message is to not compromise with the world but to live our Christian Faith. Examples of worldly actions and thinking given are sexual immorality, lying, greed, theft, corrupting talk, bitterness, holding on to anger, malice, slander, and so on. In stead, we are to speak the truth in love, be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving, and in general, “be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” As we see in our Old Testament lesson, such a life does not guaranteed the “world” will welcome us with open arms. Sometimes it is quite the opposite. We are not called to do this by our own power or will, but by the grace of God. When Paul says we were “sealed” by the Holy Spirit, he is referring to our baptism and its ongoing benefit for us. When he says, “we are members one of another,” he is referring to our life together as the Body of Christ, the Church. When he says you are “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” he is referring to “Word and Sacrament” ministry. When he says our conversation should be “only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” he is talking, no only about sermons and Bible study, but about our daily conversations. Yes, God’s grace is in the words of each of us as we speak (or at least it should be).
John 6:22-35: This reading picks-up where last week’s reading ended. We are still in Jesus’ “Bread of Life” discourse. The people are still focused on their bellies. Jesus begins to introduce the Lord’s Supper overtones with his reference to “thirst.” This is an advancement over simply “eating.” However the focus is still on believing in Jesus. As we apply this to the Lord’s Supper, we see how important faith in Christ is for the proper reception of the Sacrament. Jesus describes himself as the one who has come down from heaven. He thus identifies his divine origins. When Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” he is teaching the same as St. Paul, that we are saved by grace and not by our good works. Everything about coming to Jesus is a gift from God. We take no credit. As this reading ends, Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” With these words he is making his Lord’s Supper allusion even stronger. We see that the Lord’s Supper is not just a memorial meal (though it is that also), but one in which we receive the real body of the Lord in a miraculous way. However, Jesus has not instituted Communion at this time. Only after he has done so will believers look back at this sermon of our Lord’s and see the connections to the sacred meal.
- A “Spiritual Life” survey will be handed out Sunday. The results from this survey will help guide us over then next year. Every regular attendee is asked to fill one out and place the completed survey into the Elders box in the narthex no later than Sunday, August 26. A copy will also be e-mailed to everyone on our e-mail list as well.
- The board of Evangelism will meet Sunday after the worship service.
- Our Lutheran Malaria Initiative group rescheduled their meeting for this coming Wednesday.
- Our Greek club will meet for translating Monday at Panera’s, 8:30 am.
- Tomorrow, on this blog, will be a post about Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr, who is commemorated on our calendar every August 10.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert