Thursday after Pentecost 18
October 4, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the 19th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Pastor. Muhlenberg was a very important colonial pastor, as far as Lutheranism in America is concerned. You can read more about him in the post I will put on the blog Sunday. Sunday is also Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Sunday. This isn’t exactly a “liturgical” day. Nonetheless, many of our congregations will recognize it as a way of lifting up the kingdom work that the women in the LC-MS accomplish. We will do that at Lamb of God.
Our liturgy for Sunday will be the Service of Prayer and Preaching (page 260), with a few modifications to recognize our women. The two most noticeable modifications will be the congregation praying out loud the Collect for LWML Sunday and our Mission Statement will be replaced with the LWML Pledge. This pledge, written in 1955, should be something every Christian can wholeheartedly pledge. It is: “In fervent gratitude for the Savior’s dying love and His blood-bought gift of redemption we dedicate ourselves to Him with all that we are and have; and in obedience to His call for workers in the harvest fields, we pledge Him our willing service wherever and whenever He has need of us. We consecrate to our Savior our hands to work for Him, our feet to go on His errands, our voice to sing His praises, our lips to proclaim His redeeming love, our silver and our gold to extend His Kingdom, our will to do His will, and every power of our life to the great task of bringing the lost and the erring into eternal fellowship with Him. Amen. “
Our ladies will also play a more prominent role Sunday, handing out bulletins, ushering, reading, providing us with the Children’s Message and Tina Mullinax will be playing “Nearer My God to Thee” on her violin during our offering. The assigned lessons for Pentecost 19 are Genesis 2:18-25; Hebrews 2:1-18; Mark 10:2-16, and, as you will see, work well for LWML Sunday. We will also be using Psalm 128 (antiphon v. 1). Our opening hymn will be “One Thing’s Needful” (LSB 536), our “new” hymn. The sermon hymn is “O Father, All Creating” (LSB 858). Our closing hymn is “Lord, When You Came as Welcome Guest” (LSB 859). The sermon text is Mark 10:7, and its title is “Prelude to a Marriage.”
In our public prayers we will continue to lift up other Christian denominations and their leaders. This Sunday we will remember the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod and their president, Rev. Mark Schroeder. We continue to pray for our LC-MS missionaries around the world. This month we remember David & Joyce Erber, who work with English speaking people in Nigeria and West Africa. We pray that the Lord would raise up Christ-centered leaders of Lutheran congregations; that the Lord would protect David as he travels; and that the Holy Spirit would continue to sustain and grow the Lutheran church bodies in English-speaking West Africa.
We will remember the persecuted believers in Tunisia. Tunisia is in North Africa, right next door to Libya. Tunisia was a fertile ground for the Early Church, but the conquering of the area by Arab Moslems changed that. Non-Moslems must pay a 50% tax. Over the centuries, this policy, plus the mandatory execution of any Moslem who converts to a different faith, has diminished the numbers of non-Moslems. Recently, more radical Islamic groups, like Al Qaeda, have increased the danger to Christians. Just this past June a young man who converted to Christianity was martyred for his faith in the One True Triune God by having his head cut off with a knife. I refrain from putting the graphic video up here. Today there are maybe 25,000 Christians in Tunisia.
We will also remember, in our prayers, our sister SED congregations: Our Savior, Bryans Road, MD; Our Shepherd, Cambridge, MD; St. Paul, Catonsville, MD; Galilee, Chester, MD; and Bethlehem, Aiken, 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.
The following video is of a man playing our closing hymn, “Lord, When You Came as Welcome Guest” on the tuba. This is a well known tune as it is also used for “Jerusalem, My Happy Home” (LSB 673) and “Lord, Bid Your Servant Go in Peace” (LSB 937).
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We are starting the final chapter of Matthew, and considering what we will do next.
Preview of the Lessons
Genesis 2:18-25: The story of creation is actually broken into two parts in the Bible. The first part (Genesis 1) deals with the big picture. The second part (Genesis 2) deals specifically with humanity. In Genesis 1:26, when God says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” the word “man” does not mean “males” but humans. The dominion spoken of here applies equally to men and women. In Genesis 2 we have a close-up on the creation of humanity. These verses are commonly heard in wedding services. Anyone who has been to a few of these has certainly heard them expounded on many times. Some things to note include that Adam was made out of the ground. This reflects the connection we have with nature. Due to that connection, our “dominion” should not be one of master and slave, but one more akin to caretaker and what is cared for. In the same sense, the woman is made from Adam. Once again, the relationship is therefore not master-slave but care and support. This is especially true as the image of God is given to both. The mutual dependency is accented even stronger for a man and a woman than our mutual dependence with nature. Another interesting feature is that Eve is “born” of Adam, where as normally men are born of women. While a number of points might be illustrated from this, my mind goes to how Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, designates Jesus as the New Adam. Just as Eve (and through her all humanity) received “birth” through the Old Adam, so we all now receive our new birth into the Christian Faith through the New Adam, Jesus. Finally the final verse, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” can catch our attention. Here we see the stark difference between the perfect creation and the mire of our fallen creation. Adam and Eve could live in this state without all the lust such publications like Playboy engender in us. Such a state is near impossible to imagine for us fallen people. No one should take this to mean we are to strut around in our “birthday suites.” Sin changed things. So, in Genesis 3:21, God himself provided Adam and Eve with their first set of clothing.
Hebrews 2:1-18: We will finish out the Church Year with a series of readings from Hebrews. This is the first one. No one really knows who wrote this book. Some suggestions include Paul, Apollos, Luke and Barnabas. Even though it is anonymous, it was accepted as Apostolic right away. Because the writer does such an excellent job of interpreting the Old Testament in light of Jesus, I am inclined to think of him as one of the two “Emmaus Road” disciples (Luke 24:13-35). As far as I know, I’m the only one who thinks this. One of the main focuses of the book is to encourage converts to remain faithful to Jesus (2:3). This encouragement was important as persecution of Christians was enticing some to return to Judaism. The writer demonstrates the superiority of Jesus over angels. He then writes about how God, in Jesus, became enfleshed. Just as Adam and Eve were flesh and blood, so Jesus became flesh and blood. He ends with how this enfleshment of God made possible our Lord’s victory over the devil on our behalf. He also points out how the enfleshment of Jesus means that Jesus can relate to us. He has “walked in our shoes.”
Mark 10:2-16: Some say that this reading has Jesus’ teaching concerning divorce. That really isn’t so. It has Jesus’ teaching about marriage. The Pharisees ask when it would be okay to get a divorce. How human, as in fallen human. We always tend to want to know how to get around God’s will. So we get questions like, “What it the minimum requirement to get a divorce?” “What is the minimum requirement to be a Christian?” “What is my minimum responsibility to my neighbor?” God isn’t really all that interested in “minimum” questions. His goal is to provide “maximum” answers. We are always to be growing in the grace of God, at least, that is God’s desire. Jesus points to divorce as evidence of a hard heart. In stead, God desires marriage to be a live long union between a “male and female,” which produces the maximum about of support, blessing, joy, and contentment. Jesus doesn’t want our marriages to be examples of people scraping by, but a reflection of the same relationship Jesus has with the Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). The reading ends with the disciples trying to keep parents from bringing their little children to Jesus so Jesus could bless them. (This reminds me of people who will not baptize infants and small children.) Jesus rebukes the disciples “for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” In this reading Jesus affirms that small children can indeed have faith, for it is only by grace through faith that we are received into the kingdom of God.
- Our Cub Scout Pack will be meeting at Church, 1:00 pm, to go to King’s Mountain.
- As mentioned above, this is LWML Sunday.
- PLEASE DON’T FORGET, 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