Thursday after Pentecost 9
Festival of St. James the Elder, Apostle
July 25, 2013
The Lord be with you
This coming Sunday is the 10th Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, Kantor. Anyone who makes a list of the greatest composers of all time has to put him on the list. Many would rank him number one. For Bach, his music was an expression of his Lutheran faith. One lesson we can all learn from him is that, whatever our calling, our calling should be an expression of our faith. It may be more obvious how this can be done for a musician than a clerk or cook, but everything we do, we do for the Lord. So we value Bach, not only for his wonderful music, but also for giving us a great example of living our lives for the Lord.
We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper this Sunday. To prepare you can read what your Small Catechism has to say about the Lord’s Supper. We will be using Divine Service I (page 151) for our liturgy. Our opening hymn will be “Awake, O Sleeper, Rise from Death” (LSB 697). Our sermon hymn will be “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus” (LSB 685). Our closing hymn will be “My Faith Looks Up to Thee” (LSB 702). Our distribution hymns will be “Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways” (LSB 707), “Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness” (LSB 636), and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” (LSB 525).
Our lections will be Genesis 18: (17-18), 20-33; Colossians 1:21-29; Luke 11:1-13. The sermon text will be Colossians 1:22. The sermon is titled “Are You Righteous?”
Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Let Us Ever Walk With Jesus.” It is preformed by “2GuitarGirls.”
In our prayers, we will remember the blessing of music, The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Haiti and their President, Rev. Marky Kessa. We will remember the persecuted believers in North Korea. 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 Bethany-Trinity, Waynesboro, VA; King of Glory, Williamsburg, VA; Our Savior, Winchester, VA; Grace, Woodbridge, VA; and Calvary, Charleston, 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 small sections, 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
Genesis 18: (17-18), 20-33
This is the well-known story of Abraham interceding with the Lord on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah. Angels, and the pre-incarnate Christ, visited Abraham. They made known the plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah due to their very great sin. Abraham intercedes until God says if only ten righteous people were found the cities would not be destroyed. Abraham probably thought things would be okay as he knew his nephew Lot, his wife, and three daughters lived in Sodom. His own flesh and blood should fill half the count. As we know, it turned out that his family were the only “righteous” people found. We also know that God spared them, but the cities were destroyed. Prayer certainly is accented in this lesson. Because one of the major sins of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexual activity, many focus on this. However, as the prayer of Abraham accents, it wasn’t any specific sin that brought ruin upon these cities, but that the people were not “righteous.” In biblical language, a person is righteous by grace through faith in Jesus. So, ultimately, these cities fell because they abandoned God. We may also learn that prayer for those outside the Christian Faith is a vital part of our prayer life. Even the heathen pray for those they love and who love them. Christians pray also for their enemies. Another lesson often extracted from this story is that God was indeed willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if only a handful of believers were found. So why does a country stand when many have forsaken the Lord? It may well be for the sake of the believers who remain. God does not wish to destroy the righteous with the wicked.
This reading is the foundation for the sermon, so I’m not going to say much. However, it is packed. Paul reminds us that we have been saved by the power of God, and we are to cling to him in faith. Based on that foundation, we live for him.
The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus does so. Therefore this lesson ties in with our Old Testament lesson, which is also about prayer. As our lesson from Genesis points out , God is merciful to those who believe in him. Jesus also indicates that God is merciful to those who pray to him in faith. Jesus also gives us the family prayer of the Church, the Lord’s Prayer. Notice that this prayer is in the plural. Even if we pray this prayer in solitude, we are praying it with the whole Church. Therefore we pray that God gives all of us our daily bread, that God forgives all of the Church, just as the Church forgives, a forgiveness based on Jesus’ merit, not our merit, and so forth.
Lesson Synopsis (from the LC-MS)
The Prayer of the Church Is the Voice of Faith
Jesus catechizes His disciples in the way of faith by teaching them how to pray. He promises us: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). If earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children, “how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (Luke 11:13). Thus, father Abraham was bold in his prayer because he believed the gracious promise of the Lord, that he would “surely become a great and mighty nation” (Gen. 18:18). When we pray in Jesus’ name, we also hold “fast to the Head” (Col. 2:19), “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith” (Col. 2:6–7).
- The August Newsletter will be posted, probably tomorrow. Print copies will be available 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.
- Our Youth/Adult VBS will be in just a couple of weeks (August 5-9). Time will be 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Refreshments will be available.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert