The Commemoration of The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, AD 325
Thursday after Pentecost
June 12, 2014
The Lord be with you
Today is the Commemoration of the Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, AD 325. This was a seminal moment in time when the Church faced a fork in the road, would it remain faithful to the faith handed down from the Apostles or follow new and trendy teachers. The new and trendy teacher was Arius and his followers were called Arians. The leading advocates of remaining faithful to the biblical faith were Alexander, bishop of Alexandria, and his deacon, Athanasius. Arius denied the Trinity and (obviously) that Jesus was the eternal Son of the Father. In supporting the biblical Faith, the Council adopted the earliest version of the Nicene Creed, which in its entirety was adopted at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381. For more about these events and people, follow this link to an earlier post: http://www.lutheran-in-sc.blogspot.com/2012/06/ecumenical-council-of-nicaea.html
This coming Sunday is the Feast of the Holy Trinity. The first Sunday after Pentecost is always the Feast of the Holy Trinity. Because Pentecost is fifty days after Easter, and because the date of Easter moves, the date for this feast also moves from year to year.
“Having celebrated the greatest event in God’s history of salvation, the death and resurrection of the Son of God, we pause a bit at the Feast of the Holy Trinity to consider the essence of God. Certainly the essence of God is beyond our weak comprehension, but He has graciously revealed Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we want to summarize all the Holy Scripture says about God as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, we call Him the Holy Trinity. Even beyond the glorious summary of the persons and work of God found in the Creeds, to speak of God as the Holy Trinity says at one time all the many things that the Scriptures say about God. Our worship never ceases confessing our faith in the triune God and giving glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.” (Treasury of Daily Prayer, 352)
This coming Sunday is also Fathers’ Day. It is what I think of as a “Hallmark” holiday. While this national holiday will not be the focus of our worship, if one wanted to use it (as many churches do) one could either focus on the Fatherhood of God or the vocation of fatherhood and indeed the whole family. We will remember the day in our prayers.
For our liturgy Sunday we will be using the third setting of the Divine Service, with a twist. We will use the Athanasian Creed instead of the Nicene Creed. This wonderful creed is the longest of the three Ecumenical Creeds (which includes the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds). It is called the Athanasian Creed, not because Athanasius wrote it, but because it clearly expresses the faith he defended at the Council of Nicaea. Divine Service III is a communion service. To prepare for the sacrament you may use the “Christian Questions with Their Answers” found in most copies of Luther’s Small Catechism and page 329 of our hymnal.
Our opening hymn, “How Awesome Is This Place,” is not in our hymnal but will be printed on an insert. It is set to the tune WAS FRAG ICH NACH DER WELT, which probably means nothing to anyone except Karen. It is the same tune used for “When All the World Was Cursed” (LSB 346) and “What Is the Word to Me” (LSB 730). Our sermon hymn will be “Holy, Holy, Holy” (LSB 507). Our closing hymn will be “Stay with Us” (LSB 879). This will be the fourth Sunday we have sung “Stay with Us.” The hymn will now enter the “known” category of hymns for us and, based on the singing last Sunday, the congregation seems to know it quite well. Our distribution hymns will be “Glory Be to God the Father” (LSB 506), “Jesus Comes Today with Healing” (LSB 620) and “All Glory Be to God on High” (LSB 947).
The appointed lessons for Sunday are: Genesis 1:1—2:4a; Acts 2:14a, 22–36; Matthew 28:16–20. The sermon text is Acts 2:33. The sermon is titled “God In Action.” Because the Old Testament lesson is so long, and because we will be using the longest of the three Ecumenical Creeds, and because we will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, the sermon will be shorter than usual.
Trinity Sunday marks the beginning of the second half off the Church Year, sometimes call the non-festival half of the Church Year. That is because most of the major Feasts and Festivals (Christmas, Easter, etc.) fall in the first half of the Church Year. For the most part the color of our paraments will be green, reflecting growth. They will be white this Sunday because Holy Trinity is a major feast.
Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”
Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. Last week we covered some introductory information about the book of Ruth. This Sunday we will dive into the text. Everyone is welcome.
What now follows is a summary of Sunday’s lessons provided by the LCMS, and then the lessons themselves.
The Holy Triune God Recreates Us in the Image and Likeness of Christ Jesus
The holy Triune God “created the heavens and the earth,” and “behold, it was very good” (Gen. 1:1, 31). However, after Adam and Eve fell into sin and plunged God’s good creation into decay and death, the Son of God would be “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” to be “crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). As Jesus “received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:33), He also raises up all the baptized and pours out the Spirit upon them through the preaching of His Gospel. He sends out His apostles to “make disciples of all nations” by “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and “teaching them to observe all that [He has] commanded” (Matt. 28:19–20). Through such baptizing and teaching — Gospel and Sacraments — the holy Triune God recreates us in the image and likeness of His incarnate Son, Jesus the Christ, and behold, it is “very good” (Gen. 1:31).
1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” 10And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, 15and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
4 These are the generations
of the heavens and the earth when they were created …
Acts 2:14a, 22-36
2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: …
22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—23this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25For David says concerning him,
“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’
29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,
“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’
36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Two Quick Notes:
- Sunday I will be leaving after worship to go to Good Shepherd, Charleston, to assist that congregation in a call service. We will remember them in our prayers.
- We will have available invitations Sunday for you to use to invite people to our Summer Series, “Resolving Everyday Conflict.” It will begin Wednesday, June 25, at 7:00 pm. Also, don’t forget, in order to insure we have enough material, we are asking you to sign-up. The sign-up sheet is on the coffee table.
Well, I pray we will see you Sunday morning.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert