Saturday after the Sixth Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord
May 11, 2013
He is Risen!
This coming Sunday is the Seventh Sunday of the Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter 7), May 12. It is also the last Sunday of Easter. This past Thursday was Ascension Day. Therefore the Christ Candle, which has been lit every Sunday since Easter, will no longer be lit. This marks that the visible presence of our Lord has been removed from our sight.
Sunday will also be Mother’s Day. This, of course, is not really a religious holiday but a secular one. Nonetheless it is a worthwhile one. Mary, the Mother of our Lord, is a great saint to remember on this day. To learn a bit about her, follow this link.
Our readings from our lectionary for Sunday are: Acts 1:12-26; Revelation 22:1-20; and John 17:20-26.The text for the sermon is Revelation 22:20 and the sermon is titled “A Book for the Ages.” For our liturgy we will be using the “Divine Service, Setting 3,” which begins on page 184. This is 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.
The hymns Sunday bring forward three themes: Ascension, Easter, and the Word of God. Ascension because this past Thursday was Ascension Day. Easter because this is the last Sunday of Easter. The Word of God because of the sermon. Our opening hymn is the Ascension hymn “Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels” (LSB 491). The sermon hymn, “Faith and Truth and Life Bestowing” (LSB 584), and our closing hymn, “On What Has Now Been Sown” (LSB 921) both accent the Word of God. Our first distribution hymn is the Ascension hymn “On Christ’s Ascension I Now Build” (LSB 492). The final two distribution hymns are Easter hymns: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today: Alleluia” (LSB 463) and “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” (LSB 465).
Below is a video of our opening hymn, “Up Through Endless Ranks of Angels.” The words are also provided. It is sung by “the Lutheran Warbler.” However, this time, she is using an organ.
In our prayers Sunday we will remember those trapped in slavery today, those who have been misled by our cultures advocacy of abortion and sexual immorality, the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, and our sister congregations in the SED (this Sunday: Our Savior’s Way, Ashburn, VA; Holy Cross, Ashland, VA; Holy Trinity, Bristol, VA; Good Shepherd, Callao, VA; Holy Lamb, Myrtle Beach, SC). We also continue to remember believers around the world. This Sunday we remember the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church (SELC) and their Bishop, Rev. Vsevolod Lytkin, the persecuted believers in Laos, the African Immigrant Mission of North America, and our missionaries in Macau, Matt and Kim Myers. And, of course, we will remember our mothers.
Preview of Lessons
This story happens right after the Ascension of our Lord. It is the account of how Matthias was selected to replace Judas. The reading refers to “a Sabbath day’s journey.” This was the distance between your home and the local synagogue (or Temple if you lived in Jerusalem). About 120 believers, including the Apostles, gathered in what must have been a rather large upper room. This would indicate that at least one member of these followers of Christ was well off. Luke, who wrote Acts, refers, not only to the Apostles, but also the Lord’s Mother (could have been used for Mother’s Day) and other women. Here we notice again the integrated role women had in the Apostolic Church. In the First Century this would have been VERY unusual. We also see a reference to Jesus’ “brothers.” There are many ideas about who these “brothers” are, for me, I accept the idea common among most Protestants, that they are the children of Joseph and Mary, born after Jesus was born. All these are gathered, praying. Peter then gives a sermon, based on Psalms, about replacing Judas. We have prayer and preaching, which indicate a worship service, as it turns out, an installation service. The final choice to replace Judas was made by casting lots, an approach not common among us today. However, I think the Mennonites still use this approach. The idea is not that they left the choice up to chance, but they left it up to the Lord. However, other methods for selecting ministers are also present in the New Testament, so this example is not prescriptive but descriptive. (Actually, this is the general rule for all actions. So the multiple wives of Solomon is descriptive, not prescriptive, etc.)
Revelation 22: 1-20
John continues to see heaven. The number 12 represents the people of God (12 tribes, 12 apostles, etc.). Heaven, here, is like a reestablished Eden. Notice the equality between the Father and the Son. “His name will be on their forehead” is a reference to baptism. Verse 6 affirms the inspiration of the Old Testament as well as the New. “Soon to take place” means without delay. Verses 8-9 give us a warning against idolatry. Sometimes idolatry seems quite reasonable, but it is never right. Verses 10-11 remind us that sin and the church will remain until the end. Verse 12: Christ will come as Judge of the living and the dead. Verse 13: Christ holds everything in his power. Verses 14-15: Those who trust Christ will enter heaven, those who reject Christ go to hell. Verse 16: Christ is the fulfillment of prophecy. Verse 17: The Gospel call to all. Verses 18-19: live by the Word of God. Verse 20: Christ is not delaying.
Jesus is praying his “high priestly prayer.” In this portion he prays for you and me, for we are some of the heirs of the Apostles' work, their preaching. We find (v 20) that it is the word that brings people to faith. (More fully stated, the Holy Spirit working through the word.) This faith unites us to Jesus and thus to the Father, for Jesus is united with the Father. This union will one day be fully realized when we can see, in person, the glory of the Father and the Son.
Jesus Is with Us in His Holy Christian Church
(Summary from LC-MS)
On the night when He was betrayed, Jesus interceded for His Church — for His apostles and all who believe in Him through their word — that all of His disciples “may become perfectly one” in the Father and the Son (John 17:21–23). For Jesus became flesh and dwells among us in order to reveal the Father and His name, to share with us the glory of His righteousness, and to bring us to the Father in Himself. As the Father loved the Son from “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24), so He loves the whole world (John 17:23, 26). Through the apostolic witness to the baptism, cross and resurrection of Jesus (Acts 1:21–22), the Lord gathers His disciples throughout the world “with one accord,” as one body in Christ (Acts 1:14). And so with one voice and by one Spirit, His Bride prays, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17). And He comes to us. He gives us “the water of life without price” to wash our robes and quench our thirst (Rev. 22:17); and He feeds us from “the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit” (Rev. 22:2).
- This coming Sunday is Mothers’ Day. As far as I know, we have nothing scheduled so people can spend time with their family.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert