Thursday after Trinity Sunday (Pentecost 1)
May 23, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday after Pentecost. We are beginning the second half of the Church Year, sometimes called the non-festival half of the Church Year. We will use the service of Matins for our liturgy (page 219). This is a non-communion service. Our appointed lessons are: 1 Kings 8:22-24, 27-29, 41-43; Galatians 1:1-12; and Luke 7:1-10. Instead of the Introit, we use the appointed Psalm with Matins, which is Psalm 96:1-9 (the antiphon is verse 2). The text for the sermon is Galatians 1:9. The sermon is titled “Fool’s Gold.” Our opening hymn will be “By Grace I’m Saved” (LSB 566). The sermon hymn will be “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 575). Our closing hymn will be “The Church’s One Foundation” (LSB 644).
Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less,” once again sung and played for us by the Lutheran Warbler.
In our prayers, we will remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil and their President, Rev. Egon Kopereck. We will remember the persecuted believers in Libya. We will remember our missionary in Hong Kong, Megan Birney. She asks we “pray that the Lord would pave the way and open hearts to the ministries of LCMS World Mission, Church of All Nations, and The Lutheran Church—Hong Kong Synod. Ask that the Lord would grant her discernment and wisdom as she serves in this leadership role. Please pray that God will continue to bless the ministry in Hong Kong and that nothing would hinder the work of the Holy Spirit!” We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord St. Paul’s, Falls Church, VA; St. John’s, Farmville, VA; Redeemer, Fredericksburg, VA; Prince of Peace, Glen Allen, VA; and Incarnate Word, Florence, SC.
Naturally we will continue to remember all those who have been misled by our cultures advocacy of sexual immorality and abortion. We ask, not only that the Lord turn our country around, but also that he bring healing to the lives damaged by our current culture. We also remember the modern slave trade and ask God to bless all efforts pleasing in his sight to end this sinful practice.
Our Sunday morning Bible study will begin to study the Gospel of Luke, and will follow that up with a study of Acts. All are welcome. Bible study begins at 9:00 am.
Preview of Lessons
1 Kings 8:22-24, 27-29, 41-43
Solomon reigned over a united Israel during what many consider the “golden age” of OT Israel. One thing that marked Solomon’s reign was many ambitious building projects. The Temple in Jerusalem, which was planned by David, was probably the crowning achievement of his building program. After the temple was finished there was a grand worship service that went on for days and days, dedicating the temple. Our reading from 1 Kings is excerpts from a prayer by Solomon given during that worship service. Solomon was the king and not a priest, so one general observation might be that it is acceptable for laity to participate in leading a congregation in worship. This does not mean the pastor can abdicate his responsibility for the worship service, but it doesn’t have to be a one-man-show. Even in a larger congregation that might have multiple pastors and other paid “professionals,” involvement of the laity can be a real blessing for the congregation. In Solomon’s prayer we notice the monotheism of the true faith (23) and that this one God is merciful and faithful to his word (23-24). God is transcendent (27), and yet has chosen to dwell with his people as they gather together for corporate worship (29). One also notices the foreshadowing of Pentecost (41). Even in the OT God was reaching out to the “foreigner.” Notice that the “foreigner” hears about God. How might that happen? Not by angels bringing the message but by the people of God sharing the word of God. I’m reminded of the slave girl who told Naaman about her God (2 Kings 5) and Naaman was brought to faith in God.
Paul gives an impassioned plea for the Gospel. The Galatians had come to faith in Christ through the work of Paul. After Paul left, some people from the “Judaizing party” came to Galatia and began to distort the Gospel with works. “Sure, what Paul taught was a vital first step, to be truly Christian, to be a real follower of Jesus, to have assurance that you are really saved, to know that God is pleased with you, that you will have a home in heaven, then you must do this or that. Then you will be a real Christian. Then you will have God’s richest blessings. Just do the following works, and you will complete what you have begun.” In this particular case, the added “this or that” were dietary restrictions, observations of certain “holy” days, and probably circumcision. Of course, the “Judaizing” preachers could point to various Bible passages to support their case. Paul has no use for such “completions” of the Gospel. Instead of completing the Gospel, such additions actually change the Gospel into something utterly foreign. Such is true of all adulterants of the Gospel to this very day. Mankind always wants to add something to the completed work of Christ, and thereby take credit for their own salvation. We are but poor beggars before God. The only merit we may claim is Christ’s.
This passage is a foreshadowing of Pentecost and an echo of our Old Testament lesson. It echoes the OT lesson because we see one of those “foreigners,” in this case a Roman centurion, who has come to faith in the true God. His prayer for the health of a beloved servant is directed towards Jesus instead of the temple in Jerusalem. However, as Jesus is now the “temple” (John 2:18-22), and as such the presence of God among us, the centurion’s prayer is not only appropriate, but is a model for all prayer. Some debate just what kind of faith this centurion had. Observe that he trusted in Jesus and that his “faith” was greater that anyone Jesus had met in Israel (Israel is a religious designation). This Israel would include the disciples! Clearly the centurion, then, believed Jesus was the fulfillment of the hope of the Old Testament. He was saved. This, then, also echoes Paul’s letter. There is only one place to find salvation. Not in our good works (as some of the centurion’s friends seem to feel), but in Christ alone. After Pentecost, there is an explosion of “foreigners” coming to faith.
Faith Receives Good Gifts from God in the flesh
(Summary from LC-MS)
There is only one source of life, revealed in only one saving Gospel. Corrupting that Gospel is serious business. Thus, St. Paul is amazed when the Galatians “are turning to a different gospel” (Gal. 1:6–7). He insists that he is not trying to “please man” but be a true “servant of Christ” as he calls down a curse on any “gospel contrary to the one you received” (Gal. 1:9–10), for that Gospel alone saves. It saves as it reveals God, whose kindness is manifested in Christ and who reckons among His people all who share the miraculous faith of the centurion in God’s Son: “Lord … I am not worthy to have you come under my roof … but say the word and let my servant be healed” (Luke 7:1-10). For indeed, though as Solomon admits “the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built?” (1 Kings 8:27), nevertheless in our Lord Jesus’ flesh and blood, He whose mighty word is faithful to what He promises, comes to us even today in His Eucharist to dwell in us and bring to all who trust His promise the gift of everlasting life.
- Our first summer Vespers service will be Wednesday, June 5, beginning at 7:00 pm. The sermon series is titled “Breaking the Rules,” and focuses on seven “Christian” rules which are no more Christian than what Paul is contending against in Sunday’s epistle lesson. One might even say that this Sunday’s epistle lesson is the theme for the whole summer series. The first message is titled “Our Fickle Hearts.”
- Just a reminder, we are all on “Walkabout.” So, get out into your neighborhoods and start walking about. When you see someone, say hello. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself. It is that simple.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert