Thursday after Pentecost 19
October 11, 2012
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the 20th Sunday after Pentecost. For our liturgy we will use the third setting of the Divine Service (page 184). This is a communion service. The assigned lessons are Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19; and Mark 10:17-22. Our opening hymn will be “O Blessed, Holy Trinity” (LSB 876). The sermon hymn is “Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain” (LSB 865). Our closing hymn is “Thine Forever, God of Love” (LSB 687). Our distribution hymns are: “One Thing’s Needful” (LSB 536), “Come unto Me, Ye Weary” (LSB 684), and “Lord Jesus Christ, Live-Giving Bread” (LSB 625). The sermon text is Hebrews 3:13 and its title is “A Line in the Sand.”
In our public prayers we will remember the leaders of our own denomination, our fellow LC-MS believers, specially those in Trinity, Chestertown, MD; Our Shepherd, Columbia, MD; St. Paul’s, Crofton, MD; Trinity, Cumberland, MD; and Calvary, Charleston, SC. 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 believers in Turkey. 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 was unable to find a video for any of the hymns we will be singing Sunday.
Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We have finished the gospel of Matthew. We will be starting an LLL Bible study titled “The Intersection of Church and State.” The study was prepared by Rev. Gregory Seltz. The LLL web site gives the following description:
In the U.S. the relationship between church and state is an energetic one. Voices and viewpoints line up across the spectrum. Some would argue from history there should be a "wall of separation" between the two. Others maintain co-existence is not only necessary and inevitable, but can lead to positive results. In real life, church and state do operate in similar spheres-both conflictingly and cooperatively. See how they interconnect in The Intersection of Church & State.
While some may propose a church and state separation is feasible, breaking this long-standing liaison is not likely. Though each entity has its separate function-the state to "promote the general welfare" of its citizens, the church to deal with spiritual concerns in this world, with an eye to the next-in reality they work together.
The Intersection of Church & State examines the dynamic give-and-take relationship that has marked the crossroads of church and state in this country. Though roadblocks are frequent where the two meet, there is still tremendous potential for cooperative work to be done. Using expert commentary from academics, church and civic leaders, agency professionals and others, this program underscores the healthy collaboration between church and state in caring for the needy, settling refugees, child adoption, chaplain services and more. It will also consider how these historical church and state partnerships are jeopardized. In the end, it will suggest a far superior metaphor in describing the church-state relationship is not one using a wall or barrier but, instead, an intersection, which benefits us all.
The Rev. Gregory P. Seltz is the Speaker of The Lutheran Hour® radio program. As host of The Intersection of Church & State, Seltz assists viewers in understanding the multi-layered discourse existing between church and state in the U.S. and how this relationship can be a fruitful force for good to those in need.
Below is the First Amendment and links that will take you to various documents that will help you dig deeper into the concepts and ideas in the first lesson.
THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Preview of the Lessons
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15: In the Old Testament the Israelites formed a united nation, after the period of the Judges, around 1050 bc. This political unity was destroyed after the death of Solomon (930 bc) and, after a rebellion against the son of Solomon, the people divided into two nations, Israel in the north and Judea in the south. Amos, who prophesized from around 760 to 750 bc, was a prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel was more wayward that Judea, though both kingdoms had faithfulness problems. In the time of Amos, the nation of Israel was prosperous and they interpreted that prosperity as evidence that God was pleased with them. This is how our fallen human nature works. We think, “God is good to me because I deserve it.” Forgotten are the words of Moses, “Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me into possess this land,’ … Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people” (Deuteronomy 9:4, 6). Their prosperity was interpreted as divine approval for the idolatry and injustice that permeated their society. Amos called the people to believe in and worship the true God and to a life in harmony with God’s will. Amos was just one of may prophets the Lord sent with this message. They were all ignored and/or persecuted. Marks of the corruption of Israel included injustice, persecution of those who point out injustice and how the culture had abandoned God, and the interpretation of temporal prosperity and the greatest blessing God can bestow. True life, which is granted only by the true God, is found in the Lord alone, as verse 6 directs us. It is true today as well. True life is not found in great vacations, great homes, great jobs, great families, great cars, and so forth. True life is located in a living relationship with the Lord, which is granted by grace through faith. In that relationship we learn how to truly live in a fashion that is pleasing to God, we learn to live in his grace.
Hebrews 3:12-19: The writer of Hebrews tells us to be on our guard against having an “evil and unbelieving heart” which can lead us away from the living God. This, of course, is what Amos found in our Old Testament lesson. Hebrews tells us that the job of Amos is actually our job, to “exhort one another every day.” As this forms the central thought for Sunday’s sermon, I’ll not write more about it here.
Mark 10:17-22: This story is also found in Matthew and Luke, which makes it had for us to read it simply in terms of Mark’s account. We tend to bring in information from the other accounts. For example, from Luke’s account, we know the man who comes to Jesus was a “ruler,” but Mark doesn’t tell us that fact. Matthew tells us that he was a young man, but Mark skips that fact. The story is basically an exposition of Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, which Jesus quotes in Mark 12:30-31. These are the two “great” commandments, of which all other commandments are simply expansions. In this particular case, the rich “young” “ruler” who came to Jesus valued his possession above both God and his neighbor. This also elucidates how the issues in the days of Amos continued in the days of Jesus. The words of Hebrews remind us that these issues continued to be prominent in the days of the Early Church. The temptation to usurp the place of God and neighbor in our hearts with something else continues to this day. In light of this, we should also pay close attention to what Mark reports, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.” Thank the sweet Lord that his love is not dependent on our righteousness (see the notes on Amos). The invitation of Jesus to this man to follow Jesus was sincere. The same sincere invitation is offered to all humanity to this day. In him we will find grace and forgiveness for every day of our lives. We will find the life that Amos spoke of.
- Before I arrived at Lamb of God, the congregation crafted its current mission statement. In it we acknowledge that we desire to reach out with the love of Christ Jesus. The Lutheran Malaria Initiative is just such a God pleasing effort. Remember our statement of purpose, and support our Pancake Breakfast, October 27, from 8 to 10 am., at FATZ in Boiling Springs. Sell tickets ($7.00), attend yourself, tell others about it, help greet people who come, and, when you sell the tickets you have, get more from Jill. Let us show the community we believe our mission statement through our actions.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert