Friday, November 9, 2012

Worship for Pentecost 24 - 2012

Commemoration of Martin Chemnitz (birth), Pastor and Confessor
Friday, November, 9, 2012

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the 24th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Martin of Tours, Pastor. On the secular calendar it is Veterans’ Day.

Veterans’ Day was originally known at Armistice Day and honored those who fought and died in World War I. It was first celebrated in 1919. The date was selected because an armistice went into effect November 11, 1918, ending the hostilities of the war. The name was changed to Veterans’ Day in 1954, so as to include those who fought and died in World War II and the Korean “Conflict.” That November 11 happens to be the Commemoration of Martin of Tours didn’t enter into the picture, from a human point of view. However, Martin is a wonderful saint to remember on Veterans’ Day. His first job was as a soldier in the Roman Army and later he described himself as a “soldier for Christ.” For more on Martin, see the post I will publish November 11.

For our liturgy Sunday we will be using the third setting of the Divine Service (page 184). This is a communion service. If you have a hymnal at home, you may prepare by pondering the words of the hymn “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table” (LSB 618 & 619; LW 242; TLH 315).

The assigned lessons are 1 Kings 17:8-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; and Mark 12:38-44. Our opening hymn will be “Christ Is Surely Coming” (LSB 509). This is our “new” hymn. The sermon hymn is “O God of God, O Light of Light” (LSB 810). Our closing hymn is “Forth in the Peace of Christ We God” (LSB 920). Our distribution hymns will be: “What Hope! An Eden Prophesied” (LSB 342); “The Day of Resurrection” (LSB 478); and “God Bless Our Native Land” (LSB 965). The sermon text is Hebrews 9:24 and its title is “Copies of the Original.”

In our public prayers we will remember Apple of His Eye, an outreach to Jews, the believers in Vietnam, our sister SED congregations Ascension, Landover Hills, MD; Our Savior, Laurel, MD; Trinity, Lexington Park, MD; St. John’s, Long Green, MD; and Good Shepherd, Greenville, 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 also remember the Lutheran Malaria Initiative’s effort to end malaria in Africa by 2015.

Below is a video of the “Lutheran Warbler” singing, “God Bless Our Native Land,”our final distribution hymn, which was selected because of Veterans' Day.

Our adult Bible class meets at 9:00 Sunday morning. We have begun 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. Due to the lively discussion, we are not finishing a session per Sunday. Currently we are in the second part. If you have missed the study so far, you can easily join as we show the video again at the beginning of class concerning the section we are dealing with.
Preview of the Lessons

1 Kings 17:8-16:   Elijah (875-848 bc) was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  During his life the nation was economically, politically, and militarily prosperous, but spiritually bankrupt. At the time of this text, Ahab was the king and Jezebel of the Sidonians was his queen. The pair led the Israelites further from God, promoting the worship of Baal and Asherah. “Baal” means “lord,” or “master.” The idol was considered the chief of the gods. The idol Asherah, the “queen of heaven,” was his wife. The function of these idols varied somewhat, depending on the region. In Israel, one of their chief functions was to insure favorable weather and good crops. In an effort to call the people back to himself, God initiated a drought, and, in mercy, sent Elijah to inform the King. This reading takes place shortly after Ahab has been informed. In stead of repenting and leading the people back to the one true God, Ahab and Jezebel harden their hearts and seek Elijah, probably to force him to end the drought. God sends Elijah into hiding. He meets a widow from Zarephath, a city of Sidon (where Jezebel’s dad was king). At the beginning of the story this widow calls the true God, Elijah’s God, not her own. In a polytheistic culture, it is easy to recognize someone else’s “god” as a “god” even if you personally do not worship him. She is ready to die, along with her son, because of the drought. Elijah tells her that his God will take care of her and her son, but first she must share what meager possessions she has with the prophet. This she does and God does indeed provide for her and her household throughout the famine. Aside from the fact that there is only one true God and all other so-called gods are fakes, this story also teaches us about compassion for others, even if they do not believe in the true God, even if they actually come from the camp of the enemy (remember where the widow lived). In doing so, we emulate our Lord. Remember what St. Paul wrote: “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10).

Hebrews 9:24-28:            We continue with our lessons from Hebrews. This reading continues one of the major themes of the book, that Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and, to understand the Old Testament correctly you must see it as pointing to Jesus. Sunday’s sermon will explore this theme.

Mark 12:38-44:    This reading has the well know story of the “widow’s mite.” It is prefaced by a warning against pride, and the story of the “widow’s mite” should be read in light of this. Often people who can give a great deal too charitable causes are lauded by us, and such recognition can puff them up, giving them the impression that their charity is what makes them acceptable to God. We are acceptable to God because of the work of Christ. Before God we are all beggars, dependent on God’s mercy found in our Lord Jesus. Our acts of charity are done because, as children of God, we cannot help but do them. It is in our DNA as Christians. Certainly supporting the Lord’s work with our financial resources is one of the good works we do, but to limit this text to giving money to the Church is an artificial restriction. The main point of the text is humility. This is a Christian trait that is despised in our culture (and all others as far as I know). A Christian, though, knows that the good gifts in their life come from God (James 1:17). Luther was most certainly right when he wrote in his Small Catechism, “All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit of worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.”

  • Our Pancake Breakfast was a success. We have now raised over $500.00 for the Lutheran Malaria Initiative.
  • The board of Evangelism will meet Sunday, after the worship service.  
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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