Thursday after Epiphany 4
February 7, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Transfiguration of our Lord., which is always the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany. It will also be February 10, which is the Commemoration of Silas, Fellow Worker of St. Peter and St. Paul. We will be using Divine Service 1 (page 151) for our liturgy. This is a “cathedral” service, which is a “liturgically correct” way of saying we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper. To prepare for the reception of Communion you may read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and Psalm 86.
The appointed lessons for Sunday are Deuteronomy 34:1-12, Hebrews 3:1-6, and Luke 9:28-36. The opening hymn is “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory” (LSB 416). The sermon hymn is “‘Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here” (LSB 414). The closing hymn is “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” (LSB 924). The distribution hymns are “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table” (LSB 617), “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 517:1,4,3), and “For Me to Live Is Jesus” (LSB 742).
“By All Your Saints” was selected in honor of Silas. He will also be remembered in our prayers with the appropriate collect. There are only five “Transfiguration” hymns in the hymnal, and we know only two of them. As this is Transfiguration Sunday, both of the Transfiguration hymns we know (414, 416) will be sung. “Lord, Dismiss Us” is a traditional and well-known end of worship hymn. “I Come, O Savior” is a traditional and well-known communion hymn. The final distribution hymn is “For Me to Live Is Jesus.” This hymn comes from the “Hope and Comfort” section of the hymnal, something the Lord’s Supper certainly provides us.
In our prayers Sunday we will remember American citizen and Christian Pastor, Saeed Abedini, unjustly sentenced to 8 years in prison in Iran. We will remember the persecuted believers in Colombia. We will pray for the Lutheran Church in Korea and their president, Dr. Hyun Sub Um. We will remember missionaries Jack and Cathy Carlos, who are working with the Maninka people in Guinea West. 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: Holy Cross, Clayton, NC; Our Savior, Clyde, NC; Grace & St. Peter’s, Concord, NC; Holy Trinity, Columbia, SC
Below is a video of our opening hymn, “Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory.” It is sung by the Lutheran Warbler.
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. Class begins at 9:00 am. Everyone is welcome to join in the discussion.
Preview of Lessons
This reading records the death of Moses. One minor point this reading brings out is that Moses didn’t write everything in the first five books of the Bible. Certainly at least verses 5 through 12 are from someone else’s hand. This in no way means there are uninspired portions of the first five books, for God inspired many people in the writing of His word, and we do not know all of them (for example 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles). Moses, the faithful servant of God, ascends Mount Nebo. There the Lord shows him the Promised Land by means of some kind of vision. He then dies and the Lord himself buries Moses. Joshua, who has been Moses’ right-hand man for forty years, takes the reigns. It is Joshua, not Moses, who will lead the people into the Promised Land. Isn’t it interesting that Moses doesn’t enter the Promised Land until the Transfiguration of our Lord. Jesus leads Moses into the Promised Land. The name “Joshua” is the Hebrew form of the Greek name “Jesus.” “Jesus” has always been the One that leads people into the Promised Land.
The writer of Hebrews (this is another book in the Bible whose author is unknown) compares Moses and Jesus. While Moses was faithful as a servant, Jesus was faithful as a Son. While Moses was great, Jesus is the greatest. We are called to hold on the greatest gift God has given humanity, Christ Jesus.
No surprise, this is one of the accounts of the Transfiguration. Jesus, along with Peter, James and John, ascend a mountain. There the disciples see Jesus transfigured. Appearing with him are Moses and Elijah, two giants from the Old Testament. They are discussing Jesus’ upcoming “departure,” i.e., his death. As the conversation is ending and the two Old Testaments saints are departing, Peter speaks up, hoping to extend the heavenly visit. Then the Father speaks, identifying Jesus as his Son and telling Peter (and us) to listen to Jesus. Abruptly, Luke says Jesus “was found alone” and that the disciples kept quite about what happened. Interesting aspects of Luke’s account include the dating. Luke says “about eight days.” We know from the other Gospels that it was actually 6 days. Luke clearly wants to use the number eight and so says “about.” Eight might refer to the new creation (creation week “starts over” on the eighth day). The transfiguration of Jesus, along with the glorified Moses and Elijah, gives us a peek at our future in the new creation. It might have salvation overtones, for eight people were saved in the Ark and Jesus rose on the eighth day, and the topic of conversation of Jesus’ atoning death. Another interesting aspect of the text is the word translated “departure.” It is the word “exodus.” At the very least, it is a nod to Moses. Probably we are to think that, just as the OT Exodus was the great shaping event for the OT people of God, so this new and greater “Exodus” of Jesus will be the greatest shaping event for the NT people of God. As God once created a people, he is now creating a new people, a new nation, a new Israel. Moses is great but Jesus is the greatest.
The Glory of God Is Manifested in the Body of Christ
“Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant,” but Christ Jesus “has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses” (Heb. 3:3, 5). A beloved and well-pleasing Son, faithful even to the point of death, Jesus’ own body was raised up on the third day as the house of God, and He has brought us into that house through the waters of Holy Baptism (Heb. 3:6). Thus, it was not Moses the lawgiver, but his successor, Joshua (the Hebrew name for Jesus), who led the people into the promised land (Deut. 34:1–4, 9). Now, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the New Testament Joshua appears in the glory that He is about to manifest by His “departure” (exodus) in Jerusalem (Luke 9:31). Having entered the waters of the Jordan in His Baptism, He passed through those waters and entered into glory by His Cross and Passion. What He thereby accomplished in His own flesh and blood, crucified and risen, He reveals and gives to His Body, the Church, by the means of His Word. Therefore, the Father declares from heaven, “Listen to Him!” (Luke 9:35).
The Board of Evangelism will have a Lunch meeting Sunday.
Our Stations of the Cross have been posted. They will remain up throughout Lent.
Lent begins this coming Wednesday, February 13, with our Ash Wednesday services. Worship services will be at 12:15 and 7:00 pm. The “noon” service lasts about half an hour and we sing only one hymn. The evening service lasts about 45 minutes and we sing three songs and we use a sung liturgy. Both services will be a little longer on Ash Wednesday. The evening service is preceded by our Soup Supper (6:15). Choir practice begins following the evening service.
Beginning Ash Wednesday, the Lutheran Hour Ministries daily Lenten devotions will be posted on this blog. The Lutheran Hour actually will send daily devotions to your e-mail if you ask them. This will give you a chance to examine the quality of their devotions.For more information see the post I put up earlier this week.
Well, I pray I’ll see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert