Thursday, November 29, 2012

Worship for Advent 1 - 2012

Commemoration of Noah
Thursday after the Last Sunday in the Church Year
November 29, 2012

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the First Sunday in Advent and, as such, marks the beginning of a new Church Year. I will post a little something on this blog about the Advent Season later.

Our assigned lessons are Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, and Luke 21:25-36. You might notice that our Gospel lesson is taken from Luke instead of Mark. With the beginning of a new Church Year we move to series C in our three-year lectionary cycle. The first year accents the Gospel of Matthew. The second year accents readings from the Gospel of Mark. The third year accents the Gospel of Luke. These three Gospels are sometimes called the “synoptic” Gospels, which means “seen together.” That is because they cover much the same ground in much the same way. The Gospel of John, written years after the first three, provides much information that is not covered in the first three, and skips over many things that were well covered in the first three Gospels. Therefore the Gospel of John is used to supplement the Gospel readings each year.

We will be using Matins (page 219) for our liturgy Sunday. We will be modifying our liturgy cycle this coming year. In past years we have used four different services each month (Divine Service, setting 1 and 3; Matins and the Service of Prayer and Preaching). When the month had five Sundays we used Morning Prayer (page 235). For a visitor, that meant that they would hear the same service only once a month making it difficult to learn the liturgy. This year we will be rotating our services quarterly. So, for the first quarter, we will be using Matins for our non-communion Sundays and Divine Service, Setting 1, for our communion services. In the end, this means we will not use Morning Prayer but, because we used it so infrequently, even our regulars struggled with the music.

The sermon is based on our Old Testament reading. The text is Jeremiah 33:15. The sermon title is “An Eternal Moment.” Matins uses only three hymns. They will be “The Advent of Our King” (LSB 331), “When All the World Was Cursed” (LSB 346), and “Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring” (LSB 353). We also chant the appointed Psalm in Matins. This Sunday it is Psalm 25:1-10. The antiphon is verse 6. We will be using the Advent options in the liturgy and the Benedictus for our canticle. The choir will be singing “Sing of Mary, Pure and Lowly.”

In our public prayers we will remember our denomination (the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod), our president, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, and our district (the Southeastern District) and president, Rev. Dr. John Denninger. We will also remember our sister congregations Immanuel, Preston, MD; Church of the Cross, Rockville, MD; Bethany, Salisbury, MD; Calvary, Silver Springs, MD; and Good Shepherd, Charleston, SC. We will remember Concordia International School Hanoi (Steven Winkelman, Head of School), and the persecuted believers in Afghanistan. We will also 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 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 remember the Lutheran Malaria Initiative’s effort to end malaria in Africa by 2015. We will remember those seeking to recover from Hurricane Sandy. 

Below is a video of our opening hymn, “The Advent of our King.” It has words and music, but no singing.

Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We are doing a study titled The Intersection of Church and State, produced by the Men’s Network of the LLL. It is a four-part video-based study. We have begun part three. As always, everyone is welcome.

Preview of the Lessons

Jeremiah 33:14-16:         Advent, which means “coming,” has three large “coming” themes: The coming of Christ in time about 2,000 years ago, the coming of Christ at the end of time, and the coming of Christ into our lives by grace through faith. This reading accents the first of these three comings, which is the first Christmas. However the work of Christ is not limited to any one generation but transcends time. It is also not limited to any one nation or ethnic group. The promise made to Israel was a promise for all people that would be fulfilled through the Jewish race.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13:            Paul offers thanks to God, and prayers on behalf of the believers in Thessalonica. As is the case for all who trust in Christ, he looks forward to being a blessing to others. This is also the blessing he bestows on the readers. In faith towards God and in love towards our neighbors, we look forward towards the Second Coming of Jesus, who will arrive on the Last Day accompanied with all the saints who have gone before us.

Luke 21:25-36:     Jesus instructs his followers concerning the days leading up to his Second Coming. His return will be visible. The lone thing that is eternal in this creation is the word of Christ. It is as we sing in A Mighty Fortress, “God’s Word forever shall abide, No thanks to foes, who fear it.” In spite of the fact that Jesus speaks of signs pointing to his Second Coming, he tells us plainly that the day will “come upon you suddenly like a trap.” In other words, no one will know when the end will come. Therefore we must always be on watch, always ready. (This ties into what Paul writes in our Epistle lesson.) Jesus uses an agricultural metaphor to make this point. A modern metaphor might be something like “it ain’t over until the fat lady sings” (referring to opera). One might think of the turkey in the oven being prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. The aroma fills the house. You know full well what it means, the turkey is coming. But the aroma fills the house long before you are sitting at the banquet table. So the “aroma” of the Second Coming fills the air, but we just don’t know when it will actually happen. Still, we want to always be ready for when the dinner bell rings.

  • After the worship service Sunday there will be a meeting of all ladies interested in a mid-week Bible study. All options will be on the table. That includes a Christmas party.
  • Advent Services will begin this coming Wednesday. You can find the schedule in the newsletter. Simply go to the newsletter link on the side of this page. As in the past, we will have two services, one at 12:15 and a second at 7:00. The evening service will be preceded with a soup supper and followed by choir practice.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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