Thursday, May 30, 2013

Worship for Pentecost 2 - 2013



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.

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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.

Galatians 1:1-12
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.

Luke 7:1-10
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.

Tidbits

  • 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

Friday, May 24, 2013

IT IS TIME TO VOTE FOR THE NEXT SYNODICAL PRESIDENT!!!

It is time to vote for the president of our synod; I will be voting on June 10th. As the information on the candidates running for this office has been out for quite awhile now, you probably don't need the information provided below; however, I need to know if any members have a preference for whom I cast my vote! If you do, please put a note in Kitty Rickert's box at church BEFORE June 10th. Thanks. Below you will find the short bios of the men running for the office of synodical president:




Those Who Serve

Friday after Pentecost
May 24, 2013

The Lord be with you

Below is a video titled "Those Who Serve" that was developed by the LC-MS. I share it here as we approach Memorial Day.



Blessings in Christ,
Pastor

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Feast of the Holy Trinity - 2013



Thursday after Pentecost
May 23, 2013

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday, the first Sunday after Pentecost, we celebrate with much of Christendom the Holy Trinity. While we, along with all believers, recognize and celebrate the Triune God every Sunday, the Western Church sought a special day dedicated to lifting up this reality. Various days in the year were used in various areas. Finally, in 1334, Pope John XXII selected the first Sunday after Pentecost, apparently first done in Li├Ęge, Belgium, under Bishop Stephen (reigned 902–920). Falling between the first and second halves of the Church Year, this date accents the central place the Trinity has in Christian teaching. This is the Sunday we get to use the Athanasian Creed. In my opinion, the Athanasian Creed is the best short treatment of the Trinity.

When we speak of the Trinity, we are speaking of a great mystery, one we would know nothing about if God himself had not revealed it in the Bible. Even with that self-revelation by God, people have difficulty with this truth because it is contrary to all we know in nature. However, that should not be surprising as God is incomprehensible. Therefore, non-Christian religions have no doctrine that parallels the Trinity. They may oppose murder, they may think of God as creator, but they do not know God as Triune. For that, you must depend on God’s self-revelation in the Bible.

Our readings from our lectionary for Sunday are: Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; and John 8:48-59.The text for the sermon is Acts 2:32-33. The sermon is titled “We Worship One God in Trinity.” This will be a Communion service. You may prepare to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood by reading again the section on “The Sacrament of the Altar” from Luther’s Small Catechism.

For our liturgy we will be using the Divine Service, setting 3 (page 184). Because it will be the Feast of the Holy Trinity, we will use the Athanasian Creed (page 319). Our opening hymn will be “Father Most Holy” (LSB 504). Our sermon hymn will be “Triune God, Be Thou Our Stay” (LSB 505). There are two ways to sing this hymn. The first way is as a single verse. The second way is with three verses. The verses are in italics if you are singing the second way. We will be using the second approach. Our closing hymn will be “Holy, Holy, Holy” (LSB 507). Our distribution hymns will be “Be Present at Our Table, Lord” (LSB 775), “Glory Be to God the Father” (LSB 506), and “Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior” (LSB 627).

Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Father Most Holy.” It is one of those hymns we learned when we were learning a new hymn each month. It is being sung by the “LutheranWarbler.”


This coming Sunday will be Memorial Day in the USA. This will be reflected in our prayers as we use the “Collect for Armed Forces of our Nation.” There is an excellent video produced by the LCMS titled “Those Who Serve.” I’ll post it on this blog a little closer to Memorial Day.

Also, in our prayers, we will remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina and their President, Rev. Edgardo Elseser. We will remember the persecuted believers in Lebanon. 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!” As I mentioned in last Sunday’s sermon, it is estimated that China and India now have the largest populations of Christians in the world. That doesn’t mean the Christians are in the majority, just that there are more Christians in those counties than elsewhere. This is due, in part, to the fact that these two countries simply have the largest populations in the world. We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Immanuel, Charlottesville, VA; Grace, Chester, VA; Christ the King, Danville, VA; Living Savior, Fairfax Station, VA; and Holy Trinity, Columbia, SC.

Naturally we will continue to remember all those who have be 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 has gotten about half way through the Bible study developed by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services about slavery. We will finish it and also consider where we want to go next.

Preview of Lessons

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
This passage has long been recognized as relating to Jesus. In English, we might be surprised with the pronoun “she.” However Hebrew is an inflected language. Different words have “gender.” As is common in inflected languages, most concepts are “feminine.” “Wisdom” is a feminine word so all pronouns used with it are feminine. This is not a reference to “maleness” or “femaleness.” So, just because the Hebrew uses the feminine pronoun does not mean “wisdom” is a female. Here “the Lord” is the Father. “Wisdom” is the Son. The eternal relationship is seen all over. The Father “possessed” the Son at the beginning. Through the Son all things are created (he is the “master workman”). The language about Jesus having been brought forth before all of creation was created is summed up in the Nicene Creed with the words “begotten of His Father before all worlds.” It is also very special to see in this passage how much joy the creation, and humanity, bring God. Notice also that God calls to us (v 4). He did then. He does now. He calls through his word.

Acts 2:14a, 22-36
Last week we began the story of Pentecost. This reading continues the story. The third part of the story, the rest of Acts 2, is not included in our lectionary this year. This reading includes a large portion of what Peter says. He is emphatic, our righteous is insufficient. We need to repent and believe in Jesus, the Jesus who was crucified and rose from the grave. Many of those who heard Peter’s sermon would not have been present for the crucifixion of Jesus. Nonetheless Peter says, “you crucified and killed” him. We are all guilty of the crucifixion of Jesus, for he died for our sins. Notice how important the Old Testament is to the New Testament Church. It should be equally important to us. Notice how Peter includes our Lord’s descent into Hell (31) in his summary of the Gospel. This is a message often overlooked today, but was important in Peter’s Pentecost sermon. The grave, Hell, and the devil were crushed by our Lord. That Jesus ascended and is now at the “right hand” of the Father indicates his Kingomd has come. Jesus rules now. Notice the eyewitness nature of the report Peter gives. It wasn’t just him. “We” are witnesses of these things. How many eye witnesses do you need to verify a report? Well they have over 500 (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)! The word “Israel” should be understood in light of Romans 9-11. The Trinitarian references in the text are rich, which is why I’ve selected Acts 2:32-33 for the sermon text. I’ll save my comments on that aspect of the text for Sunday.

John 8:48-59
This passage begins with the words “The Jews.” Of course Jesus, his apostles, and all the followers of Jesus were Jews. But none of these people are accusing Jesus of being a Samaritan and being demon possessed. This is just one of the many examples of how John typically uses the term “Jew.” It basically refers to the leadership of the Jewish people who rejected Jesus. Not all of the leadership rejected Jesus (Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea come quickly to mind [John 19:38-40]). These Jewish leaders would not be included in John’s “the Jews.” So, for John, a Jew himself, “Jews” always has an adversarial tone. We are not to think of it in an ethnic way but in terms of religious rejection of Jesus. Those Jews who receive Jesus are part of Israel, as all believers are (Romans 9-11). In spite of what they hear and see, the “Jews” reject Jesus and say all sorts of vile things about him. It is the same today. No matter what they see and hear, those who reject Jesus say all sorts of vile things about him and his Church. Such hardness of the heart can be pierced only by the Holy Spirit. The power of Christ’s word, our Lord’s eternal nature, his unity with the Father, eternal life in Jesus, are all in this reading. So naturally, the “Jews” try to kill Jesus. The reason they wish to kill him is because they understand Jesus is claiming to be God, one with the Father.

The Triune God Reveals Himself in Christ Jesus
(Summary from LC-MS)
The divine Word of the Father is also the holy Wisdom who “was beside him, like a master workman,” who “was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always” (Prov. 8:30). This Word became flesh and suffered death, in order to bestow life by the preaching of His Gospel “to the children of man” (Prov. 8:4). He honors the Father, and the Father glorifies Him by raising Him from the dead, so that all who keep His Word “will never see death” (John 8:51). Long ago, “father Abraham rejoiced” in the day of Christ, for “he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Though Christ was “crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men,” “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death” (Acts 2:23, 24). As He “received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:33), so it is by and through the Son that God the Father pours out the Holy Spirit upon His Church.

Tidbits

  • Memorial Day is Monday. Banks and such will be closed. The following prayer, which will be used Sunday, would be a good one to use Monday also as you gather with others: “Lord God of hosts, stretch forth Your almighty arm to strengthen and protect those who serve in the armed forces of our country. Support them in times of war, and in times of peace keep them from all evil, giving them courage and loyalty. Grant that in all these things they may serve with integrity and with honor; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
  • The June newsletter will be posted within days. In it will be some important information about the upcoming election of the president of the LC-MS. Each congregation and their pastor will cast a vote (this is a change). Information about the candidates will be in the newsletter.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pentecost/Confirmation Sunday

The Lord be with you

This is a picture from Sunday, May 19, which was Pentecost. Gregory Chastain and Joshua Snow were confirmed.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor


Friday, May 17, 2013

Worship for Pentecost 2013



Friday after the Seventh Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord
May 17, 2013

He is Risen!

This coming Sunday is Pentecost. Pentecost (also called the Feast of Weeks, First Fruits, or Booths [Exodus 23:16, Leviticus 23:15-21, Deuteronomy 16:13]) was one of the major Old Testament festivals and so Jerusalem always had many visitors. If was 50 days after the Passover was celebrated (7 weeks), so it was also 50 days after the resurrection of our Lord. The name “Pentecost,” taken from Latin, refers to that 50 day time period. Sometimes Pentecost is also called “Whitsunday” (as it was in The Lutheran Hymnal). This is an Old English word meaning “White Sunday.” It comes from the tradition of baptizing people on Pentecost and those people wore white robes.

I should point out that those baptisms were adult baptisms, which followed an extended period of instruction. Infants were baptized right away, as there was no guarantee that an infant would live a year, and many didn’t. Therefore Pentecost has become a traditional day to receive confirmans into communicant membership.

The story of Pentecost is well known to Christians. The believers were gathered in an upper-room when the Holy Spirit manifested himself in a miraculous and powerful way. The disciples began sharing the mighty works of God. Peter gave a sermon. 3,000 people were baptized and believed in Jesus. The account takes up most of Acts 2. The reading from Acts is spread over two Sundays, Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday (the Sunday following Pentecost Sunday). Pentecost has often been called the “birthday of the Church.” It seems that the Church had no problem in recognizing how special Pentecost was and began to celebrate it right away (Acts 20:16). I might add that there are several references to Pentecost as a major festival among the writings of the generation that followed the Apostles. Therefore Pentecost was the second festival celebrated annually by Christians, Easter being the first.

At Lamb of God we will celebrate Pentecost several ways. First, in harmony with the tradition of the Church, we will bring two young men into communicant membership. They are Gregory and Joshua, who have completed two years of study and are ready to confess their faith publicly in our worship service. This is no simple “I believe in Jesus,” but a confession that encompasses and understanding of who Jesus is, an understanding of the Trinity, an understanding of baptism, an understanding of the Lord’s Supper, an understanding of God’s Law and the Gospel of our Lord. Second, we will have a specially designed liturgy. Third, we will have a picnic, following the service. Members are asked to bring a side-dish (beans, salad, desert, etc.). It should be a fun day for all.

Our readings from our lectionary for Sunday are: Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 2:1-21; John 14:23-31.The text for the sermon is Acts 2:4 and the sermon is titled “I Believe in the Holy Spirit.” This will be a Communion service. The Confirmans, along with their families, will comprise the first “table.” Following that, the rest of the congregation will commune. You may prepare to receive the Lord’s Body and Blood by reading again the section on “The Sacrament of the Altar” from Luther’s Small Catechism.

As already mentioned, we will have a special liturgy for Sunday. Many of our regular liturgical pieces will be replaced with hymns. Those “liturgical” hymns will be “Create in Me” (LSB 956), “Holy, Holy, Holy” (LSB 507, verses 1 and 2), and “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy” (LSB 434). The Confirmation hymn will be “Thine Forever, God of Love” (LSB 687). The Distribution hymns will be “O Day Full of Grace” (LSB 503), “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” (LSB 6374), and “Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid” (LSB 500). Our opening hymn will be “Holy Spirit, Light Devine” (LSB 496). Our sermon hymn will be “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” (LSB 497). Our closing hymn will be “Go, My Children, with My Blessing” (LSB 922). We will also be blessed with two special pieces, “The Gift of Love” and “The Shepherd Psalm.”

Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Come Holy Ghost, God and Lord.” The words are provided. The congregation singing is St. Lorenz Lutheran, a fellow LC-MS congregation.


Our Sunday morning Bible study has finished the CTCR document concerning our place in the overall creation. This coming Sunday we will turn our attention to the study put together by the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services titled “Resolved: A Bible Study on Ending Human Trafficking.” This study was developed at the request of the last LC-MS convention, which passed a resolution opposing the modern slave trade. It is estimated that the study will take one hour. As our actual time in Bible study is probably closer to 45 minutes, we will probably take two Sundays for the study.

Preview of Lessons

Genesis 11:1-9
Genesis begins with a global view, works its way down to focus on Abraham and his descendants, and then to that One Descendant, Jesus. Through Jesus, the Bible returns to a global view. This portion of Genesis is at the tail-end of the beginning global view and contains the story of the Tower of Babel. We see the very thing that tempted Adam and Eve (to be god-like) continues to tempt humanity (as it does to this very day). Their defiance of God is seen in one of the purposes of the tower and city they are building, to keep from dispersing over the face of the whole earth. Yet God had commanded humanity to spread out and do exactly what these people wanted to prevent. At any rate, God mercifully prevented their return to rebellion by confusing their language. Language is, of course, constantly changing. These people didn’t speak Spanish, English, Swahili, etc. Such languages would not develop for a long, long time.

Acts 2:1-21
This is the first half of the Pentecost story. The second half will be one of next weeks readings. The sermon is based on this lesson, so I’ll only mention things that have already been cut from the sermon. Our English text says “when the day of Pentecost arrived,” but the festival of Pentecost was seven days long. The Greek actually says, when Pentecost had “fully arrived,” indicating the last day of the festival. The nations that are referred to in verses 9-11 can be thought of in two groups. Parthians through Judea are Old Testament lands while Judea through Arabia are New Testament lands. (Okay, Arabia is in both Testaments.) The fact that everyone heard the Gospel in their own language is often seen as a reversal of Babel. Notice that it takes God’s word to understand the events. Without the guiding of God’s Word, people will always draw faulty deductions because their foundation for their deductions is corrupted human reasoning. I am, of course, speaking of spiritual matters. One should note, however, that the physical and spiritual are not divorced for each other, as the incarnation clearly proves. The very physical Jesus made a very spiritual difference. Also the resurrection on the Last Day screams the connection between the physical and the spiritual. Also note that Peter claims that the Joel prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus. That is because Jesus marks the beginning of the Last Days. Those who don’t recognize this often waist a great deal of time trying to figure out when the Last Days are to begin.

John 14:23-31
This passage is so theologically rich, one hardly knows where to begin. Jesus explains that our faith is a living and active thing. However that activity is not self-chosen. It is directed by God’s Word. He promises to dwell with us. He also promises that, because the Father is in Him and He is in the Father, therefore the Father also dwells with us. He then moves to His Ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit, who is one with the Father and Jesus. Therefore we have the Trinity revealed here. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things. This is not a reference to new doctrines, but understanding “all that I (Jesus) have said to you.” In other words, the Holy Spirit is essential to a correct understanding of the Scriptures. Jesus says, “If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father …” The mark of a mature faith is rejoicing in the will of God. Those who oppose the will of God (Babel) do not love God, even if they say they do. At best, they love an idol. “The Father is greater than I (Jesus)” refers to the incarnate Son. It is as the Athanasian Creed puts it, “equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.” Jesus alludes to his atoning death with the words “the ruler of this world is coming.” This is not a loss of control, for Jesus is only obeying his Father. So much more could be said, but this will have to do.

The Holy Spirit Gives Peace
(Summary from LC-MS)
Following the flood, Noah’s descendants failed to spread out and fill the earth as God had spoken. Rather, they exalted themselves; with one language and the same words (Gen. 11:1) they spoke proudly and arrogantly. The Lord humbled them by confusing the language of all the earth, dividing and dispersing the people (Gen. 11:9). That dispersal was reversed on Pentecost Day (the fiftieth day of Easter), when God caused the one Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to be preached in a multitude of languages. At this sound the multitude came together (Acts 2:6), for the preaching of Christ is the primary work of the Holy Spirit, whereby He gathers people from all nations into one Church. The Holy Spirit teaches and brings to our remembrance the words of Jesus, which are the words of the Father who sent Him. These words bestow forgiveness and peace to those who keep and hold on to them in love for Jesus. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27).

Tidbits

  • Don’t forget the picnic, Sunday.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert