Thursday after Pentecost 8
July 18, 2013
The Lord be with you
As anyone knows who lives in the Spartanburg area, we had a large thunderstorm roll through our area yesterday evening. It pounded the area with heavy rain, strong winds, and a great deal of cloud to ground lightning. No big surprise, our Wednesday Vespers service was impacted. The typically small group was reduced to our organist Karen, my wife Kitty, and myself. So we canceled the service and went out for ice cream.
This decision has left me with a sermon I didn’t preach. Therefore I will use it this coming Sunday. Instead of using the regularly appointed readings, we will use the readings that were selected for Wednesday. Those readings are: Ecclesiastes 1:1-4; Galatians 1:3-5; and Matthew 6:19-24. Both Vespers (the liturgy scheduled for last night) and Matins (the liturgy scheduled for Sunday) use an appointed Psalm instead of the appointed Introit. As I’ve done with the lessons, so we will do with the Psalm, and use the one scheduled for Wednesday (Psalm 119:49-56, antiphon verse 49).
Both Matins and Vespers have three hymns, so hymn selection for Sunday is also complete. They are: “What Is the World to Me” (LSB 730), “I’m But a Stranger Here” (LSB 748), and “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise” (LSB 917).
Below is a video of our closing hymn, “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise.”
The sermon is titled “Prosperity Problems.” The text is Matthew 6:24.
This coming Sunday is the 9th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Ezekiel. We will pray the collect for the commemoration of Ezekiel.
In our prayers, we will also remember The American Association of Lutheran Churches and their Presiding Pastor, Rev. Franklin E. Hays. We will remember the persecuted believers in Nigeria. We will remember Emily Goddard, our missionary in South Africa. Emily writes, “I would appreciate prayers for God to open the hearts of the community where I serve and that He would use me as a tool to spread His love and the Gospel to the people of South Africa. I also ask for prayers to prepare me for all that lies ahead. And, please pray for the school, including its teachers, administrators, students and families.” We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Living Hope, Stafford, VA; Concordia, Triangle, VA; Hope & Prince of Peace, Virginia Beach, VA; and Bethlehem, Aiken, 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 are in our second read through of the Gospel of Luke. We are using the “book” method of studying Luke. This means we are giving our own titles to the book, and smaller sections of it, seeking to capture in our own words the message of Luke. Everyone is welcome to join us 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
These are the opening words of the book (obviously). Ecclesiastes has traditionally been ascribed to Solomon in his old age. The book considers the pursuits that often engage our days and concludes that these human endeavors are meaningless. The only thing that lasts is our relationship with the Lord. Fame, power, wealth, knowledge, all fade and are forgotten. Don’t think so? Here is a quiz. See if you can answer without checking the internet or a reference book. Identify the following people: Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, Sebastian Pinera, Dilma Vana Rousseff, Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena, and Stephen Joseph Harper. Having any problem? Hinojosa is the president of Mexico. Pinera is the president of Chile. Rousseff is the president of Brazil. Cartagena is the president of El Salvador. Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada. These are all important people as far as the “world” is concerned. Maybe you knew some. What if I put the leaders of these countries in 1960? How about another question? What do the following men all have in common: Peyton Randolph, Henry Middleton, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay, Samuel Huntington, Thomas McKean, John Hanson, Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathaniel Gorham, Aurhur St. Clair and Cyrus Griffin? Answer – They were all President of the United States under the Articles of Confederation (that is, before George Washington). Do you know who Mansa Musa I (died 1331) was? He ruled the west African Malian Empire and is/was the richest man in the history of the world (after adjusting for inflation). The pursuit of wealth is also vanity. Well, you get the idea.
This is the opening blessing of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia. It includes what is timeless, the opposite of the vain pursuits of humanity.
Jesus also points out the vanity of the pursuit of “mammon” (KJV). The ESV has the weaker translation of “money.” The things that last are the “treasures of heaven.” Such treasures are where our hearts should be. Mammon actually becomes an idol when we place our hearts focus there. This is a problem throughout time, but an especially strong one in American culture.
- Newsletter information is due Sunday.
- 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.
- How rainy has it been? According to today’s paper we have had in July 11.27 inches of rain. Our average for July is “only” 4.8. We still have almost half a month to go and are over double the average rainfall.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert