Thursday after Pentecost 17
September 27, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the 18th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture. As Commemorations have no specific readings assigned in our lectionary, we will use the appointed lessons for Pentecost 18, which are: Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; James 5:[1-12] 13-20; Mark 9:38-50. The reading from James has the first verses in brackets. The idea behind this is that each church that uses our lectionary series may choose to read the entire chapter, or may choose to use only verses 13 through 20. We will be reading the entire chapter. However, because of the length of both the Old Testament lesson and the Epistle lesson, the print for the Scripture lessons on the bulletin insert will be quite small. If your eyesight is not what it once was, you will need to depend on the reader alone.
For our liturgy we will be using Morning Prayer (page 235). This is one of our services based on the Prayer Hours that developed in the monasteries and intended for daily use. As such, it does not incorporate the Lord’s Supper. Also, instead of the Introit for the Day it uses the appointed Psalm for the day, which is Psalm 104:27-35. The antiphon is verse 24. Our opening hymn is “One Thing’s Needful” (LSB 536). This is the hymn we are currently learning. The sermon hymn is “Rejoice, My Heart, Be Glad and Sing” (LSB 737). Our closing hymn is “Have No Fear, Little Flock” (LSB 735). The sermon text is Numbers 11:10, and the sermon is titled “Did God Drop the Ball?”
In our public prayers we will continue to lift up other Christian denominations and their leaders. This Sunday we will remember the various Methodist churches, the United Methodist Church, the Primitive Methodist Church in the U.S.A., and the Free Methodist Church – USA. Methodist denominations tend to use the title “bishop” for their leaders. We continue to pray for our LC-MS missionaries around the world. This month we remember Ginger Taff-Lagergren, who is in South Africa. She specifically asks us to petition the Lord to use her to spread His love and that she would be a help to others with challenges in their day-to-day lives. We ask the Lord to protect Ginger and keep her in good health, so that she may serve to her fullest capacity. Finally, we also thank the Lord that Ginger has answered His call to serve in South Africa.
We will remember the persecuted believers in Tibet (China). Tibet is an “Autonomous Region” region in China. As Tibet is part of Communist China, the greatest threat to any religion comes from the government. Tibet lost its short-lived independence as a theocratic Buddhist state in 1950 when China re-invaded the land. China’s central government has systematically sought to destroy the culture, religions and ethnic identity of the Tibetan people. Resistance to the occupiers has resulted in frequent revolts and unrest. More than 6,000 monasteries have been destroyed, over one million people may have lost their lives and a further 100,000 may have been forced into exile, including the Buddhist and political leader of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama.
Tibetan Buddhism permeates society and has a powerful hold on the people. It incorporates many elements of the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, which still exists in its own right. Bon has powerful demonic and occult influences and spirit appeasement. The high places of the Tibetan plateau are known to be a spiritual stronghold highly resistant to the gospel. In Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), there are still 1,789 monasteries and 46,000 Buddhist monks.
There may be just over 1,000 evangelical and 2,000 Catholic Christians among the five million ethnic Tibetans in the world. Christian materials in Tibetan languages and dialects are limited, but growing. Political sensitivity and tensions in Tibet make entry and travel in the country difficult for both Chinese and foreign Christians who desire to share the love of Jesus there. (There are also a few, maybe 400, Moslems in Tibet.)
Our main prayers for Tibet is for open doors and freedom to proclaim the gospel and that present sufferings may be God’s means for bringing spiritual freedom to Tibetans.
We will also remember, in our prayers, our sister SED congregations: St. Matthew, Bel Air, MD; Pilgrim, Bethesda, MD; First, Bowie, MD; Trinity, Bowie, MD; and Grace, Summerville, SC. We will continue to remember those who have been misled by our cultures acceptance of abortion and advocacy of 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. We will also remember the Lutheran Malaria Initiative’s effort to end malaria in Africa by 2015.
I could not find a video for any of our hymns this Sunday.
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We are currently in Matthew 27. The chapter has the death of Judas, Jesus before Pilate, soldiers mocking Jesus, our Lord’s crucifixion, death and burial. In other words, we are almost through the book. Join us for these pivotal events in world history.
Preview of the Lessons
Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29: This is one of the stories about when the Israelites grew dissatisfied with their lot and grumbled against Moses. In this case they were complaining about the manna, and longed for the “the fish [they] ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” It is remarkable that, in their grumbling, they forgot their lot as slaves and thought of Egypt as a time they lounged around eating the fat of the land. Such, though, is the short-sited nature of sinful man. Moses doesn’t come off much better than the “rabble.” He grumbles to God, thinking it would be better to die than put up with the constant complaints of the people. God provides leadership relief for Moses. Of the seventy men who God designates for this role, two had not gathered with the others. When God provided them with a one-time-only gift of prophecy, the two who were not in attendance, prophesied in the camp. Joshua, alarmed, asked Moses to rebuke them. Moses responds with the memorial words, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord ‘s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” This desire of Moses is fulfilled in the New Testament, for all Christians have the Holy Spirit and all Christians have the word of Christ to share with others. This gift is strengthened through regular worship.
James 5:[1-12] 13-20: Verses 1-6 deal with wealthy people. One should note that James doesn’t condemn wealth, per se, but the misuse of wealth. The wealthy are always tempted to believe the here and now is the ultimate good, and use their wealth to oppress others and gain more wealth for themselves. Those who use their wealth this way will face Judgment on the Last Day. Verses 7-11 deal with the poor. Again, poverty itself is not condemned. How the temptation of the poor is to grumble against God, wealthy people, and even against other poor people. James urges patience, knowing that all will be settled on the Last Day. Verse 12 deals with being true to your word, something both groups should attend to. In general, these verses remind us that sin is a divisive thing. Unity is a gift from God through faith in Christ. As we are able to get along with each other, our witness to the unbeliever is enhanced. As we quarrel and grumble against each other, our witness to the love of God in Christ Jesus to the unconverted is hurt. Verses 12-18 deals with the value of faith when facing various trials and struggles. A faith in Jesus enables us to endure all kinds of things, for the glory of our Lord. Verses 19 and 20 deals with the importance of caring for each other, especially in the area of the content of our faith. If someone wanders from the correct faith, we are to restore them in a loving fashion. It is not a matter of winning a battle, but winning a soul. You can win an argument and lose the person. Through Gospel of Christ the Spirit converts and restores people, as our confessions say, “when and where” he chooses.
Mark 9: 38-50: The first part of this reading echoes the concerns of Joshua in our Old Testament reading. Someone was casting out demons in the name of Jesus but the twelve tried to stop him “because he was not following us.” The “us” probably also included the “70” Jesus sent out, and maybe others. The point, though, is that they were viewed, for whatever reason, as a break-off group. Jesus tells the disciples to not hinder the man, “for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. For the one who is not against us is for us.” Such an admonition from our Lord should help us when it comes to dialogue between denominations. The reason such care should be taken is because of the offense that can be given. Such offense can be a real stumbling block, specially to weak Christians. Why would we engage in actions that can hinder entrance into heaven? Heaven is so wonderful that nothing should keep a person away (the point in the remainder of this reading). The Church should always be seeking to bring the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus to bear. In him we have a loving God.
- A speaker from the Gideon’s will be with us Sunday.
- The LWML will have a meeting following the worship service Sunday.
- The October newsletter will be posted on the blog before next Sunday.
- Print copies of the October newsletter will be available Sunday for those who do not have internet access.
- We are sponsoring a Pancake Breakfast, Saturday, October 27, at the Fats restaurant (http://www.superpages.com/bp/Boiling-Springs-SC/FATZ-Cafe-L0006431720.htm) in Boiling Springs, to support the Lutheran Malaria Initiative (LMI). Members are asked to sell tickets for $7.00 (of which $4.00 will go to LMI and $3.00 will go to Fats to cover their costs) for this event. Tickets will be available Sunday. Additional help will be needed in the form of greeters who will also sell tickets at the door and/or accept donations. You can expect more information over the next two months on this blog about our Pancake Breakfast and LMI.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert