Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Worship for St. Michael and All Angels - 2013

Tuesday after Pentecost 18
September 24, 2013

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Michael is an Archangel, and so it seems odd to say “saint” Michael. However, when we remember the word “saint” literally means “holy one,” then calling an angel a saint doesn't seem that odd. We are saying “holy” Michael. Of course, all the angels are holy.

The readings reflect the angel/Michael theme. Our Old Testament lesson is Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3. Our second lesson is Revelation 12:7-12. For our Gospel lesson, we are given a choice, either Matthew 18:1-11 or Luke 10:17-20. I have chosen the Luke reading. As we will be using the service of Prayer and Preaching (page 260) for our liturgy, we will be using the appointed Psalm for the Day instead of the Introit. It is Psalm 91. The antiphon is verse 11. Many of you will recognize it as the Psalm that inspired Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.”

Our opening hymn will be “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” (LSB 661). Our sermon hymn will be “Stand up, Stand Up for Jesus” (LSB 660). Our closing hymn will be “Onward, Christian Soldiers” (LSB 662).

Our sermon is titled “Combat” and the text will be Revelation 12:10. Typically I preach thematic sermons. However this Sunday I will deliver an “expository” sermon. What that basically means is that I will go through the lesson from Revelation, verse by verse, and “expound” on it. It will be a little bit more like a Bible study.

In our prayers, we will remember the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Presbyterian Church in America, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. We will remember the persecuted believers in Tajikistan. We will remember Ginger Taff-Lagergren, our missionary in South Africa. We will continue to remember the churches in our denomination. This week we lift up before our Lord Christ, Dundalk, MD; Immanuel, Easton, MD; Faith, Eldersburg, MD; Advent, Forest Hill, MD; and Good Shepherd, 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 will remember the modern slave trade and ask God to bless all efforts pleasing in his sight to end this sinful practice. We will remember the Lutheran Malaria Initiative as we seek to end Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. Of course we will also pray the collect of St. Michael and All Angels.

Don’t forget that our “Opening Worship Moments” actually begin a little before 10:30. During these moments we receive prayer requests and greet each other in the name of the Lord. This way we are singing our opening hymn at 10:30.

Each of the hymns Sunday are well known. Below is a video of our opening hymn, “The Son of God Goes Forth to War” (LSB 661).

We continue in the Gospel of Luke in our Sunday morning Bible study. All are welcome. Bible study begins at 9:00 am.  

Preview of Lessons
Daniel 10:10-14; 12:1-3
Daniel’s book is a fascinating read, though portions can be difficult to understand. He was one of the Jews that were taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 605 bc. He was selected, along with others, to be trained as an adviser and administrator in the Babylonian empire. He continued on in that position when the Persians conquered the Babylonians. He interpreted dreams and had visions of his own. This reading comes from his visions. In Daniel 10:1-10 the prophet had a vision he did not understand. He prayed for understanding. In verses 10-14 an angel appears to explain things. The angel says that as soon as Daniel began to pray he was given the job of coming to Daniel, but Satan interfered. Michael then came and engaged Satan, freeing up the other angel to complete his mission. Satan here is called the “prince of Persia.” One thing this reveals is that spiritual forces are indeed involved in the governments of the world. The angel refers to the “Latter Days,” which is the Old Testament way of referring to the “End Times,” that is, the New Testament Age. In the reading from chapter 12, Michael again appears. He is called the “great prince who has charge of your people.” Some understand this as referring to the Jews of today. It certainly did refer to the Jews of Daniel’s day for they were the Lord’s people. However, someone becomes one of the Lord’s people by grace through faith. Therefore the understanding that Michael’s is the angel with special responsibilities for Christians today seems a better fit. Daniel sees the resurrection, on the Last Day, of all whose name is written in the Book of Life.

Revelation 12:7-12
Verses 1-6 tell of how Jesus came to earth and returned in the ascension. Satan opposed this, and lost. Verses 7-12 will be the topic of the sermon, but in summary we can say that Satan looses the right to accuse us and he isn't happy about that. Verses 13-17 have Satan being cast down onto the earth, where he rages against Christ’s Church. As this is the text for the sermon, I’ll write no more here.

Luke 10:17-20
As I said above, there are two options for Sunday’s Gospel. The reading from Matthew speaks more of angelic activity. This reading speaks more of the defeat of Satan. Jesus sent 72 disciples out, preparing towns for his anticipated visit. They come back and report on their activity, very excited. Jesus first interprets what they have done. Every time the word of God is received, Satan is defeated. We should understood the words “serpents” and “scorpions” in a symbolic way. Calling Satan a serpent dates back to Genesis 3 and the Fall of humanity. The scorpion image comes much from the sting of scorpions. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56; Revelation 9:5). However the real joy for a believer is not any moment by moment victory of Satan, but the eternal victory we receive because our name is written in the Book of Life.  

Lesson Synopsis (from the LC-MS)
Our Father in Heaven Protects His Children
by Giving His Holy Angels Charge Over Them
We live in “a time of trouble” (Dan. 12:1), in the midst of great tribulation; for Satan and his wicked angels have been thrown out of heaven and have come down to earth “in great wrath,” with woeful “temptations to sin” and with constant accusations (Rev. 12:8–12; Matt. 18:7). Even so, we are encouraged by the presence and protection of St. Michael and the holy angels, whom God sends to help us in the strife (Dan. 10:11–13). By “the authority of his Christ,” His holy angels guard and keep us in body and soul. These heavenly servants of God preserve His human messengers on earth, the ministers of “the blood of the Lamb,” against all the power of the enemy; for by “the word of their testimony,” the Church is saved and the devil is defeated (Rev. 12:10–11; Luke 10:18–19). By their preaching and Baptism of repentance, the old Adam and the old evil foe are “drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6); and as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, so are His people delivered and raised from the dust of the earth through the forgiveness of their sins (Dan. 12:1–3).


  • As those who were in Church this past Sunday know, I am in San Diego right now. I will be returning Friday evening. I am visiting my mother, whose health is declining.  
  • The LWML is having a Tea after our worship service this coming Sunday.
  • The newsletter should be available Sunday.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor John Rickert 

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