Friday, November 23, 2012

Worship for the Last Sunday of the Church Year - 2012

Friday after Pentecost 25
Friday, November, 23, 2012

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Our assigned lessons are Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-25, and Mark 13:1-13. We will be using the first setting of the Divind Service (page 151) for our liturgy. This is a Communion Service. To prepare to receive the sacrament you may read (or sing), and ponder the words of, any of the hymns in the hymnal section “The Lord’s Supper.” The assigned readings are: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 1:4b-8; and Mark 13:33-37. The text for the sermon is Revelation 1:5 and the sermon is titled “Christ the King.” For those who have a long liturgical memory, you will recognize the title of the sermon as a “tip of the hat” to the name for this Sunday back to the days we used a one-year lectionary; “Christ the King Sunday.” Our opening hymn is “Seek Ye First” (LSB 712). The sermon hymn is “Let the Earth Now Praise the Lord” (LSB 352). Our closing hymn is “Jesus Shall Reign” (LSB 832). Our distribution hymns are “Prepare the Royal Highway” (LSB 343), “Spread the Reign of God the Lord” (LSB 830), and “Eat This Bread” (LSB 638).

In our public prayers we will remember Apple of His Eye, an outreach to Jews, our sister SED congregations Good Shepherd, Olney, MD; Christ the King, Owings Mills; Redeemer, Parkton, MD; Galilee, Pasadena, MD; and Mt. Olive, Irmo, SC. 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 a home-schooled children’s choir in Pennsylvania singing Prepare the Royal Highway in a Christmas program. For those who think being home-schooled necessarily means missing out on some of the fun things schools can offer, like a choir, this video can be an eye-opener. The children are as good as any public school children’s choir.

Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We 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. Sunday we are beginning part three. That means viewing an new video segment. As always, everyone is welcome.

Preview of the Lessons

Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14:      For some background on the book of Daniel, see last week’s Worship Notes. In this vision Daniel sees what amounts to a heavenly court. Presiding is the “Ancient of Days,” who is God the Father. This identification is confirmed by the appearance of one like the “Son of Man” in verse 13. The esv does not have “son of man” capitalized, but the title should be capitalized as it is referring to Jesus. The description of the Father emphasizes his holiness and echoes the appearance of God at Mt. Sinai and Christ in the book of Revelation. God is being served by a myriad (though finite because they are created beings) number of angels. The books are opened and judgment will now be meted out. Because “books” is a plural, there are at least two books opened. Many have speculated that one book is the Book of Life and the other book contains the deeds of the individuals who appear to be judged, and those who think this may well be right. The information in these books is effectively what people are judged by. The other way some view the books is that they are filled with the deeds of the people judged, and as such are pure Law, for the evidence will only condemn. The vision is interrupted by verses 11-12 in which Daniel sees the beast being killed. These verses are omitted in Sunday’s reading. Verse 13 resumes the court scene. Jesus appears before the Father and receives “dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him.” This is clearly a look at what happens when Jesus ascends back to heaven, having accomplished his purpose of defeating Satan on the cross. Jesus rules, now and forever.

Revelation 1:4b-8:           The first part of verse four, which is omitted in Sunday’s reading, is simply an address line “John to the seven churches that are in Asia”. As the book of Revelation is being sent to seven churches, we can take this book as being sent to the whole Church. God deals with those who are in Christ in grace, granting us the peace that passes all human understanding. The Holy Spirit is described as “the seven spirits who are before his throne.” Again the esv should be capitalizing words that they do not. Seven is the number that indicates God (3) interacting with the world (4), and it is the Holy Spirit that “calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies” us so the number seven in describing him accents this work of the Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s roll in general in relationship to believers. Christ’s roles as savior, witness and ruler of all are included in his title. This mighty God loves us and redeems us through his atoning death, bringing us into his kingdom, where we serve in joy and peace for all eternity. Starting in verse seven, the Second Coming of Jesus is accented. The general resurrection of the dead is revealed in that “every” eye will see him, even those who pierced him. This is a great comfort for Christians, but a real terror for all who have battled against Christ and his Church. It is not at all surprising that non-Christians strongly reject and ridicule this biblical teaching. How frightening for them to face the resurrected and enthroned eternal, almighty, God they rejected. Of all mankind, only those who have received his grace and peace will stand that day in confidence and joy.

Mark 13:33-37:    This Sunday is the final Sunday of the current liturgical year. That means that it is also the last Sunday when our Gospel readings will predominately be drawn from the Gospel of Mark (at least until Advent 2015). Jesus urges us to be always ready for his Second Coming. The analogy he uses brings out several points strongly. First, he will return. Second, no one knows when that will be. Third, from a human point-of-view, it will take some time before the Second Coming happens. (This, by the way, underscores a mistake made by many modern commentators, who believe the first century Christians expected Jesus to come back in their life-time. Some surely did, but always being ready is not the same thing as expecting Jesus’ return tomorrow. They accented always being ready, whenever Christ might return.) Fourth, we have a purpose, a job (or more precisely, jobs) to which we are called while we live.

  • The newsletter has been posted on the blog (go to the link on the right hand side of this page). Sunday, print copies will be available for those who do not have internet access. 
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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