Friday in the week of Lent 1
February 22, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Commemoration of St. Matthias, Apostle. It is also the Second Sunday in Lent. We will be using the assigned readings for the commemoration.
We will be using the first setting of the morning service, which begins on page 151. This is a communion service. As we are in the Lenten season, “Hallelujahs,” and other such “joyful” parts of the liturgy are removed. They will return with Easter. We also omit the Hymn of Praise (Gloria in Excelsis/This is the Feast). We will use the Lent option for the verse (page 157), the Nicene Creed (because we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper), and the Nunc Dimittis (page 165) for our post-communion canticle. (The Nunc Dimittis is used throughout Lent because Thank the Lord has alleluias in it.)
The appointed lessons for the Commemoration of St. Matthias, Apostle, are: Isaiah 66:1-2, Acts 1:15-26, and Matthew 11:25-30. Our opening hymn will be “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary” (LSB 423). Our sermon hymn will be “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 517:1, 13, 3). Our closing hymn will be “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (LSB 643). Our distribution hymns will be “Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior” (LSB 619), “Christ, the Life of All the Living” (LSB 420), and “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee” (LSB 632).
The choir has been practicing a beautiful piece titled “Peace I Leave with You.” It is built on one of the many benedictions found in our Scriptures. Instead of singing it in one of the typical places, it will be used as our benediction Sunday.
In our prayers Sunday we will continue to remember American citizen and Christian Pastor, Saeed Abedini, unjustly sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran. We will remember the persecuted believers in Cuba. We will pray for the Lutheran Church in the Philippines (LCP) and their president, Rev. James D. Cerdeñola. We will remember missionaries Anthony and Jamie DiLiberto, who work in Peru. Anthony writes, “Please pray that as the team and I reach out to Peruvians with the Good News of the Gospel, we would ‘resolve to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified’ for the free forgiveness of our sins (1 Cor. 2:2) as we proclaim the Good News that God has mercifully reconciled the world to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Please pray for me as I search for ways our mission team and new members of the church can be merciful, just as our Father in heaven is merciful (Luke 6:36). May every single human care activity we’re involved with point people to Christ, whose death on the cross was the ultimate manifestation of God’s mercy for all of humankind.” 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 remember our sister congregations: Lake Norman, Denver, NC; Grace, Durham, NC; Our Redeemer, Fayetteville, NC; Resurrection, Franklin, NC; Grace, Summerville, SC
Below is a video of our first hymn Sunday, “Jesus Refuge of the Weary.” As I currently do not have sound on my computer (what a hassle updating our systems), I can’t confirm by listening that it is the same as in our hymnal. However, because it is of the “Lutheran Warbler,” and because the title references our hymnal, I feel confident it is the hymn we will be singing Sunday.
Our adult Sunday school class will continue the study “together with all creatures: caring for God’s living earth.” This is an excellent and biblical examination of ecological issues. Quite obviously, this will have real implications about how we live on the earth. The study begins at 9:00 am. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.
Preview of Lessons
Mankind is capable of all kinds of remarkable things. There is nothing new about this (Genesis 11:4). In every age people produce “wonders” at which we marvel. Sometimes we might even think that God should (or does) stand in awe of our accomplishments, specially if those accomplishments are done in his name. But what impressed people and what impressed God are two very different things. These two short verses remind us just how upside-down we are compared to the Divine.
As we are celebrating the commemoration of Matthias, it isn’t surprising that this is the account of him being selected to replace Judas. The events occurred after the Ascension of Jesus and before the first Pentecost, a space of ten days. The qualifications for being selected an apostle are given and only two men are found that fill the bill. Those qualifications included being an eye-witness to the ministry of Jesus, so Matthias was present at most of the major events in the life of Jesus, including the Ascension. It has been pointed out by some that Matthias is not mentioned again after this story. Others notice that St. Paul becomes an Apostle (bringing the number of “the Twelve” to thirteen). These facts have been used to disparage the selection of Matthias. However, when we consider passages like our Old Testament lesson, such detractions seem to be just more of our upside-down thinking. One might also point out that the Bible has little, or nothing, to say about the post-Pentecost ministry of many of the apostles.
In this reading Jesus is praying. In this prayer we again see humanities upside-down view of reality when compared to God. Jesus reveals the Father to “little children” instead of the “wise and understanding.” Jesus is, naturally, not speaking of the wisdom and knowledge referred to in places like Proverbs 1:7 and 9:10. He is talking of that “wisdom” and “knowledge” that makes us overly proud and actually hampers our recognition of Jesus. Such “wisdom” and “knowledge” is often praised by humanity, though it can easily hamper eternal salvation! It is also very important to notice that no one can know the Father without knowing Jesus. This is not my contention, but the contention of Jesus. Therefore, all those who think there is salvation outside of Jesus, or that different faiths all worship the same God, are mistaken. While this is not “politically correct” it is correct in God’s eyes.
- The Church Council was going to meet last week, however, because the service was canceled, the meeting has been rescheduled for this coming Sunday, following the worship service, in the library.
- Due to anticipated icy roads, last Sunday’s worship service was canceled. Of course the roads were not as bad as the weathermen predicted, but there was no way of knowing that Saturday afternoon when we had to make the decision. Because the service was canceled, we received no offerings. As our members know, we are very tight in reference to making our budgeted needs. The bills do not stop because of the weather. So we need everyone to “make up” their offerings from last week. Thank you for supporting the Lord’s work at Lamb of God with your generous giving.
- The March newsletter should be ready Sunday.
- Our Stations of the Cross have been posted. They will remain up throughout Lent.
- Each Wednesday throughout Lent we will have two worship services (12:15 and 7:00 PM). The evening service is preceded by a soup supper (6:15 PM). All are welcome.
- Choir practice follows the Wednesday evening Lent service.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert