Friday after Pentecost 4
June 21, 2013
First Day of Summer
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost. Not that it has any liturgical value, but it will also be the first Sunday of summer, which officially begins today. It is our practice to offer the Lord’s Supper each second and fourth Sunday of each month, which means we will offer the Sacrament this coming Sunday. We will be using Divine Service 1 (beginning on page 151) for our liturgy. The assigned lessons are Isaiah 65:1-9, Galatians 3:23-4:7, and Luke 8:26-39. The sermon is titled “Coming of Age,” and the text is Galatians 3:24.
Our opening hymn will be “Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty” (LSB 901). Our sermon hymn will be “In Christ There Is No East or West” (LSB 653). Our closing hymn will be “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” (LSB 924). Our distribution hymns will be “Water, Blood, And Spirit Crying” (LSB 597), “At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing” (LSB 633), and “Away from Us!” the Demon Cried (LSB 541). This final distribution hymn reflects our Gospel lesson for the day. Below is a video of our closing hymn.
In our prayers, we will remember the , Lutheran Synod of Mexico and their President, Rev. Isaac Garcia. We will remember the persecuted believers in Mindanao, Philippines. 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 St. Matthew & St. Paul’s, Meharrin, VA; New Hope, Midlothian, VA; Resurrection, Newport News, VA; and Good Shepherd, Charleston (which will soon begin the call process). 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 have begun studying the Gospel of Luke using the “book” method. This approach asks us to read through the book, without comment, until the end. Comments are then focused of the overall message, with an effort to sum up the entire book with a title. As it turns out, we can read about nine chapters out loud during the Bible study hour. That means we are still on our first read through. This Sunday we will begin with chapter 19 and should finish and we will all have a chance to title the book, seeking to encapsulate the big, unifying, idea in the book. A secondary objective will be to divide the book into major sections for us to read and title. Everyone is encourages to read again chapters 1 through 18 before Sunday so we can pick right up without a lot of time spent on review. Bible study (reading) begins at 9:00 am.
Preview of Lessons
As I have said many times in these posts, much of what we read in the Prophets from the Old Testament is poetry, or, if you prefer, lyrics. There is good reason to think these words from God were sung, just like the Psalms. This means that we use the “rules” of poetry in understanding God’s Words. The thought driving this song is the patience of God in reaching out to a rebellious people, a people who have turned their back on him despite all his blessing. This patience will not last forever. God will finally judge. However, that judgment will be tempered with mercy. The “servant” in verse eight I take to be Jesus, so should be capitalized. It is because of his incarnation, birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension, that we receive mercy instead of justice from God. God’s justice was poured out on Jesus that we might receive his mercy. The “offspring from Jacob” and those from “Judah” who are “possessors of my mountains” are the same group of people, using the Hebrew poetry style called parallelism. This group includes all actual physical descendants of Abraham who have come to faith in Abraham’s Messiah, Jesus. It also includes all who are not physical descendants of Abraham who come to faith in his Messiah. In other words, the Church. The blessing in the cluster of grapes is the promised Messiah. He came from the line of Judah, and he is still proclaimed through Word and Sacrament in the Church today.
The sermon will be based on this lesson. We will explore the larger concepts of a guardian and coming of age in the Roman world, which is the background to this passage and enables us to understand Paul’s metaphor. So I will not address those thoughts here. Some points that might not make the sermon includes verse 27. Notice that baptism is not simply a symbol but conveys an actual connection to Jesus. This connection to Jesus, established through baptism, makes us Abraham’s offspring and heirs of Abraham’s promise. This ties us in with the remnant referred to in the closing verses of our Old Testament reading. Some twist verse 28 to support ordaining women, while ignoring the clear passages that would argue otherwise (1 Timothy 3:2, 12; etc.). Verse 28 has nothing to do with ordination. It has everything to do with salvation being available to all. Notice also 4:7. Earlier Paul makes it clear that we are made sons through baptism. Now he says that, because we are sons, we have the Holy Spirit. Those who look for the Holy Spirit apart from the Means of Grace (Word and Sacrament) are looking where God has not promised to meet us. He has promised to meet us in His Word and Sacraments.
This lesson is the story about how Jesus and his disciples met a man possessed by many demons in the region of the Gerasenes. Jesus drives the demons out. They enter some pigs (unclean animals from a Jewish dietary point of view) who immediately commit suicide. The people from the town ask Jesus to leave, and Jesus does. The healed man asked if he could go with Jesus, and Jesus gives him a commission to spread the word about him instead. He takes the job gladly. One thing this text points out is the blindness of fallen man (Isaiah 6:9-10). The people from the town saw the gracious Lord and rejected him. So today many still close their eyes to the goodness of God.
Jesus Brings Release from the Bonds of Sin, Death and the Devil
(Summary from LC-MS)
The Lord finds those who did not seek Him or ask for Him. He spreads out His hands “to a rebellious people” (Is. 65:2) and calls them to be His people and to dwell in peace upon His holy mountain (Is. 65:9). For wherever Jesus Christ enters in, Satan is cast out. Those who were enslaved and driven mad by the assaults and accusations of the devil, are set free by the Word of Christ. He drowns and destroys the old Adam in us with the waters of Holy Baptism and thereby brings us out of death into life. No longer naked in our shame, living “among the tombs” (Luke 8:27), we are brought into the Lord’s house, fully clothed by Christ; for He has come, in “the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4) to fulfill the Law on our behalf and to redeem us from its every accusation. Therefore, having been justified by His grace through faith in His Gospel, “you are no longer a slave, but a son” (Gal. 4:7).
- Our second summer Vespers service was this past Wednesday. We had five in attendance. We heard about Moralism, trusting rules to connect us with God instead of Christ. It is part of our series “Breaking the Rules.” Our next service will be Wednesday, July 3, at 7:00 pm.
- Remember, 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.
- LitWits will meet Sunday at Connie’s, at 6:30. I think we will be discussing The Great Divide by Alvin Schmidt. I think that because it was scheduled for our previous meeting, which we skipped for various reasons. Originally scheduled was The Greatest Stories Never Told. I’ve read the first book but not the second. I guess the group will decide.
- Information for the July Newsletter is due Sunday.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert