Thursday after Pentecost 5
Commemoration of Cyril of Alexandria, Pastor and Confessor
June 27, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after Pentecost. We will be using Matins for our liturgy (page 219). With this service we use the appointed Psalm for the day instead of the introit, with is Psalm 16 (antiphon verse 11). The other appointed lessons are: 1 Kings 19:9b-21; Galatians 5:1, 13-25; and Luke 9:51-62. The sermon is titled “Christian Freedom and the text is Galatians 5:1.
A quick peek ahead reveals that the USA will be celebrating Independence Day Thursday, July 4. We will not have a special service on Thursday, however we do not wish to take the blessings of the Lord that he has granted us through our country for granted. We will, therefore, reflect our gratitude with our opening and closing hymns (“Before, You Lord, We Bow,” LSB 966, and “God Bless Our Native Land,” LSB 965). Our sermon hymn will be “Rise, Shine, You People,” LSB 825.
Below is the Lutheran Warbler singing “God Bless Our Native Land,” our closing hymn.
While we remember our nation, or specific aspects of our national life, every Sunday, this Sunday our nation will receive a little extra attention in our prayers due to our approaching birthday. We will also remember the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Paraguay and their President, Rev. Norberto Gerke. We will remember the persecuted believers in Mauritania in West Africa. We will remember George and Shary Frahm, our missionaries in Cambodia. They specifically ask for prayers as they learn the Khmer language; that members of the Church would consider how they might be involved in God’s mission in Cambodia; for the Angels Dormitory—that it would be a successful ministry; that they would have courage and creativity and that the dormitory would serve as a model for similar ministries in the future; that their family, children, grandchildren and friends would accept and celebrate the sacrifices they’ve made to serve in Cambodia. We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Christ, Trinity & Unity, Norfolk, VA; Redeemer, Portsmouth, VA; and Incarnate Word, Sumter, SC. 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.
In our Sunday morning Bible study we begin our second read through of the Gospel of Luke. Those present last week gave a new title for the book, one which reflects the overall theme of the book. This week we will begin our second read through the book, keeping our major theme in mind, and titling smaller sections (but still more than one chapter). Everyone is welcome to join us as we begin this second read through and provide your own section titles. In discussing the titles of our choice and why we like them, we are discussing the themes of Luke. Bible study (reading) begins at 9:00 am.
Preview of Lessons
1 Kings 19:9b-21
Elijah was a great “non-writing” prophet in the Old Testament. By “non-writing” I do not mean illiterate, but that he authored no book in the Bible. His story is found in 1 Kings and Sunday’s reading is part of his story. Leading up to this account is Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal, in which God proved himself to be real and Baal proved to be nothing. Queen Jezebel, who worshiped the idol Baal, determined to kill Elijah and sent him word to that effect. In fear, Elijah ran for his life, and went into hiding. Coming to Mt Horeb (another name for Mt Sinai), Elijah takes up residence in a cave. While there, the Lord spoke to Elijah and sends him on his next mission, anointing the next generation of leaders. Things you might notice in this reading including that Elijah was afraid and complaining. Even the great “saints” are sinners and struggle. Note that Elijah’s fear came right after a great victory. Next, the appearance of the Word of the Lord to Elijah came is an unexpected and apparently insignificant way. So, today, many look for the Lord in mighty works, but he still comes to us in his Word. We want fire from the sky, earthquakes, and the like. He chooses Word and Sacraments to make himself known. One last observation. The ministry is the Lord’s, not Elijah’s. The ministry goes on, even after we are gone. Elijah is instructed to pass the torch. We too should pass the torch to subsequent generations.
Galatians 5:1, 13-25
We continue with our trip through Galatians. Paul speaks of Christian Freedom. This will be the focus of Sunday’s sermon.
These two paragraphs stand in tension. In verses 51-56 a Samaritan village refuses to receive Jesus because he is headed to Jerusalem. While James and John want to call fire down on them, Jesus “rebukes” them, and they move on. Here Jesus deals kindly with those who reject him. In verses 57-62, various people are either called by Jesus to follow him, or they offer to follow him. In each case, the Lord ups the ante. The unifying theme seems to be Jesus dealing with people where they are, and calling them to a deeper realization of who he is and what it means to follow him.
Christ’s Messengers Proclaim His Kingdom
(Summary from LC-MS)
When the prophet Elijah became discouraged and despaired of his life, “the word of the LORD came to him” (1 Kings 19:9b) and stood him “on the mount before the LORD” (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord made Himself known to the prophet — not in the impressive power of gale force winds, nor in an earthquake, nor in the fire, but in “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). Today God reveals Himself to us through the frail preaching of the Gospel. The Son of Man sends “messengers ahead of Him ... to make preparations for Him” (Luke 9:52). Putting their hand to that plow of preaching, they “go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” and they do not look back (Luke 9:60, 62). What they preach is not the power of the Law with its “yoke of slavery,” but the power of God unto salvation through the Gospel of forgiveness, by which “Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).
- Our third summer Vespers service in our series “Breaking the Rules” will be this coming Wednesday, July 3, at 7:00 pm. The message is titled, “Our Muddled Minds.”
- Remember, we are all on “Walkabout” all summer long. So, keep walking in your neighborhood, and beyond. When you see someone, say hello. If you don’t know them, introduce yourself. It is that simple.
- Pastor and Kitty will be going to California for a week, leaving July 4. The main point of the visit is to see Pastor’s mother, who turns 93 this year.
- The July Newsletter should be available in print Sunday. I still have some articles to write. I’m a bit behind schedule because I was down in Charleston helping Good Shepherd with the preliminary steps of a pastoral vacancy as they prepare for the departure of Pastor Sandeno. I’m guessing the newsletter will not be posted on the blog until sometime Saturday.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert