Thursday, January 17, 2013

Worship for Epiphany 2 - 2013

Thursday after Epiphany 1
January 17, 2013

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday after Epiphany. It is also the commemoration of Sarah. While we will thank the Lord for her witness in our prayers, she will not be featured in our worship in any other fashion. Therefore, a quick word about her is in place at this time. Sarah was originally named Sarai. The Lord changed her name when she was quite old. Both Sarah and Sarai mean princess. Sarah was barren. However, at her advanced age, God promised her a son. That son was Isaac. This has been seen as a type of the birth of Jesus. In both cases you have women for whom it is impossible to bear children (one because she was past the age of bearing children and the other because she was a virgin). In both cases God intervened sending a messenger to tell of a promised birth. Both births were miraculous. Both children were boys. Both children were fulfillments of the promise of God. The child, in each case, was a blessing to many. Another way to consider the story of Sarah is to realize that she was “fruitful” even in her old age. This began when she received her new name. So we receive a new name in our baptism. So we can pray, in the words of the collect: “Give us a youthful hope in the joy of our own new name, being baptized into the promised Messiah, that we, too, might be fruitful in Your kingdom, abounding in the works of Your Spirit”.

We will be using Matins for our liturgy (page 219). The appointed Psalm is Psalm 128 (antiphon verse 5). The appointed lessons are Isaiah 62:1-5, 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, and John 2:1-11. Our opening hymn will be “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” (LSB 394). Our sermon hymn will be “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling” (LSB 700). Our closing hymn will be “We Are Called to Stand Together” (LSB 828).

The sermon is titled “Same and Different.” The text is 1 Corinthians 12:4. The epistle lesson is actually the first of several drawn from 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 and so we are going to have a mini-series drawn from these chapters.

In our prayers we will continue to remember those who have been mislead by our cultures advocacy of sexual immorality and abortion, asking for healing in the lives damaged by these sins and those who are trapped in modern-day slavery (often now called Human Trafficking). We will continue to remember the families and friends of the Sandy Hook murders. We will also remember The Lutheran Church - Hong Kong Synod and their president, Rev. Dr. Allan Yung. The LCHKS is a partner church with us. We will remember missionaries Tony and Constance Booker, who are in the Czech Republic. We will remember our sister congregations: Redeemer, Burlington, NC; Resurrection, Cary, NC; Redeemer, Catawba, NC; Advent, Chapel Hill, NC; and Good Shepherd, Greenville, SC. Finally we will remember the persecuted believers in Burma (Myanmar).

Our adult Sunday school class will begin a new study this Sunday. It is based on the Commission on Theology and Church Relations report titled: “together with all creatures: caring for God’s living earth.” In this study we will examine our relationship with the rest of God’s good creation. Quite obviously, this will have real implications about how we live on the earth. Class begins at 9:00 am.

Preview of Lessons

Isaiah 62:1-5
Our Old Testament lesson is another wonderful Gospel passage from Isaiah. This lesson speaks of the global nature of God’s love in Christ Jesus as Isaiah speaks of the “nations” seeing Christ’s righteousness and “kings” his glory. Even if you don’t “get” all the metaphorical language, the overall tone is unmistakable. This is “good news” that everyone enjoys for it encompasses everyone.

1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Paul writes concerning the roll of the Holy Spirit. There are two key verses one should pay attention to in understanding these and subsequent verses. They are verses three and eleven. We will unpack this reading more in Sunday’s message.

John 2:1-11
This is the traditional Gospel lesson for Epiphany 2. Jesus and his disciples are invited to a wedding. The host/groom runs out of wine. Mary gets Jesus involved and Jesus turns a huge amount of water into wine (which, no surprise, turns out to be the best wine the celebrators received at the party). The reason this lesson is a traditional Epiphany text lies in verse 11: “This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” Aside from the major theme of Jesus as God in human flesh and that we should believe in him, many minor themes can also be found. The wedding metaphor is often used in scriptures as an analogy for our relationship with God. Jesus attending a wedding underscores that marriage is a good thing. In fact, marriage is an echo of the Garden of Eden and the relationship of our first parents, Adam and Eve. The turning of water into wine underscores the goodness of God’s creation. (As a very small aside, it also indicates that consumption of wine is okay in moderation. To say anything else is to say Jesus encouraged (or even indorsed) sin.)


Our Health Fair (scheduled for Saturday, April 13) has a name: “Spring forward for Health.” Apparently this title won by a “healthy” margin (ugh, was that a bad pun or what?).

Junior Confirmation continues to me on Wednesdays, beginning at 6:30 pm.

Women’s Bible Fellowship has been canceled for tonight due to the threatening snow. We are rescheduling for next Thursday. We will then begin the study “The Bible on Trial: Beyond A Reasonable Doubt.” This study has many internet links. To make it easier for the ladies, those links have been posted on this blog and can be found in the post I made earlier today.

Below is a video of our closing hymn, “We Are Called to Stand Together.” It is being sung at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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