Thursday after Pentecost 2
June 6, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday after Pentecost. As is our practice every second and fourth Sunday, we will celebrate the Lord’s Supper. For this we will use Divine Service 1, which begins on page 151 of our hymnal. Our appointed lessons are 1 Kings 17:17-24, Galatians 1:11-24, and Luke 7:11-17. The text for the sermon will be Galatians 1:11 and the sermon title is “Who Told You That?” Our opening hymn will be “Almighty God, Your Word is Cast” (LSB 577). Our sermon hymn will be “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens” (LSB 589). Our closing hymn will be “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” (LSB 917). Our distribution hymns will be “Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread” (LSB 589), “What Is This Bread” (LSB) 629), and “Jesus Savior, Pilot Me” (LSB 917).
The video below is of Bethany Woelmer playing one verse from our sermon hymn, “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens,” on a harp.
In our prayers, we will remember the Confessional Lutheran Church of Chile and their President, Rev. Cristian Rautenberg. We will remember the persecuted believers in Malaysia. We will remember our missionary in Hong Kong, Megan Birney. We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord St. Paul on the Shore, Hallwood, VA; Christ Community, Leesburg, VA; Emmanuel, Hamilton, VA; Nazareth, Hopewell, VA; and Grace, Summerville, 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 has begun studying the Gospel of Luke. We are using the “book” method, which means Sunday we will read the entire Gospel and then each of us will seek to come up with a “title” for the book that sums it up (“The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St. Luke” will not be acceptable.) In the weeks to come we will break the book down into smaller and smaller sections, again giving titles. This method provides amazing insight, helping a person to see both the forest and the trees. Bible study begins at 9:00 am.
Preview of Lessons
1 Kings 17: 17-24
This is the account of how God raised the son of the widow of Sidon, which foreshadowed the resurrection of the Son of God, who was the widow of Joseph. This happened during the drought that ended with the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. God directed Elijah to this widow, assuring him that the widow would care for him (and in return, God provided for the widow). Sidon was a coastal city outside the national boundaries of Israel, so Elijah was safe from Israel’s king. (An interesting side-bar to this is that Sidon was the home town of the Queen, who hated Elijah.) They did have a different religion. We see the reality of a polytheistic world when the woman meets Elijah. She says, “As the Lord your God lives …” She had no doubt that the God of Israel was real, he just wasn’t her god. While Elijah stayed with her, God provided for the woman and her family. Apparently this wasn’t enough to convince her to change religions. Maybe she reasoned her “god” was providing through Elijah. Maybe it was just a nationality thing. The son became ill and died. The woman brought her complaint to Elijah, the prophet of a foreign God (from her perspective). Why? Maybe she was moving towards the God of Israel as her God. Maybe she was simply going to the closet prophet. Maybe she thought Elijah’s God was angry with her and so Elijah could intercede for her (her words make this possibility likely, at least in part). In her complaint, she recognized her own sin. This makes her wiser than many today. In coming to Elijah, she is turning to the only real God. This also makes her wiser than many today. Some might think that God struck the child dead because of Elijah’s prayer. Elijah doesn’t say that. He asks a question. Some may think this story gives support to the idea that God will heal us always if we have enough faith. The text doesn’t say that either. First, the boy was dead. No faith. Second, the woman still was not an adherent of the Israelite’s God, so her faith isn’t in play. Third, nowhere in the text do we find a promise that God will always heal his children of illnesses in this life. Fourth, Elijah asks for a favor, not the fulfillment of a promise. Yes, God can heal us. But the great healing of all physical problems will happen at the Second Coming. This passage is descriptive, not prescriptive. While many have interpreted the woman’s words in verse 24 to indicate she has finally changed religion, it really stops short of that. In a polytheistic world, believing someone else’s god is real is normal. Believing that that god has prophets is also normal. Still, it is a strong statement which gives us reason to hope she came to believe in the Lord as her God.
To sum this passage up, Paul’s “Gospel” was given to him by Jesus Christ himself. His conversion was utterly unexpected, by him as well as by the Church. But, by God’s grace, Paul was converted.
In this reading, Jesus arrives at a town named Nain. A funeral procession is leaving the town. The only son of a widow was going to be buried. Jesus raises the young man back to life and returns him to his mother. This again foreshadows Jesus’ resurrection (like the OT lesson). By the way, we may also see the resurrection of the dead on the Last Day being foreshadowed in these resurrections as Jesus’ resurrection is a foreshadowing of that event (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). Once again, we have a descriptive passage, not a prescriptive passage. There is no promise that Christians will never taste physical death if they have enough faith. Something we are apt to miss is the touching of the bier by Jesus. This would have made him ceremonially unclean. The compassion of Christ breaks across the ceremonial wall and brings the touch of life.
Jesus Raises Us from Death to Life
(Summary from LC-MS)
St. Paul’s apostolic office was not a self-chosen pursuit, but a divine call to preach the Son of God “among the Gentiles” (Gal. 1:15–16). What he preached was “not man’s gospel” (Gal. 1:11), but the revelation of Christ Jesus. The Old Testament prophets also preached the same Lord Jesus in many and various ways. Though death is a harsh reminder of sin (1 Kings 17:18), Elijah’s raising of the widow’s son confirmed that the Word of the Lord is truth (1 Kings 17:24). It pointed forward to the death and resurrection of Christ. So also, when Jesus raised the widow’s son at Nain, He anticipated His own Resurrection. Just as “He came up and touched the bier” (Luke 7:14), so He takes our sin and death upon Himself in order to atone for our sin and destroy our death by His cross and Passion.
- Our first summer Vespers service was this past Wednesday (June 5) and went quite well in my opinion. There were ten of us, which for something we are just beginning is a good number (again, my opinion). Vespers services will continue every other week throughout summer. Our next one, then, will be Wednesday, June 19, beginning at 7:00 PM. The sermon series is titled “Breaking the Rules”. The focus is on seven “Christian” rules which are really not Christian at all, but infiltrate our thinking. Therefore it can be quite challenging, as we will examine beliefs we might hold dear, but are contrary to the Word of God.
- 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.
- The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday, following the worship service.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert