Friday, December 12, 2014

Worship Notes for Advent 3, 2014

Friday after the Second Sunday of Advent
December 12, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday will be the Third Sunday of Advent. For our liturgy we will use the Divine Service, setting 1 (page 151). Because we are in Advent we will omit the Hymn of Praise (the “Gloria in Excelsis” or “This is the Feast”). We do this because Ad vent, like Lent, is a penitential season. We will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper so we will use the Nicene Creed for our confession of faith. For our Post-Communion Canticle we will sing the “Nunc Dimittis.” This canticle is used as it is more in keeping with the Advent season than “Thank the Lord” as the “Nunc Dimittis” is the very song Simeon sang when confronted with the baby Jesus.

Our opening hymn will be “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” (LSB 357). This is one of the best know Advent hymns as has been selected to reflect the Advent season. Our sermon hymn will be “Hear Us, Father, When We Pray” (LSB 773). The general theme of the sermon is “prayer” and this hymn has been selected to reflect that. Our closing hymn will be “On What Has Now Been Sown” (LSB 921). This is a favorite hymn for the closing of a worship service and asks God to bless and use that which we have received during the past hour. Our first two distribution hymns reflect the Lord’s Supper. Our third distribution hymn reflects the Advent season, in particular the role of John the Baptist. John’s role is featured in the day’s Gospel lesson. The hymns will be “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” (LSB 637), “Come, My Soul, with Every Care” (LSB 779) and “On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry” (LSB 344).

The appointed lessons for the day are Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24; and John 1:6–8, 19–28. The sermon will be based on 1 Thessalonians 5:17 from the epistle lesson. The sermon will be titled “Pray Without Ceasing.”

Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Hear Us, Father, When We Pray,” performed on a harp by Bethany Woelmer. She does only one verse. 

What follows now is a synopsis of our appointed lessons, provided by the synod, then the actual lessons, and finally a few important notes.

The Coming of the Christ Brings True Rejoicing in His Forgiveness
When he preaches repentance, John the Baptist points us to Christ Jesus.  John was sent by God “as a witness, to bear witness about the Light, that all might believe through him” (John 1:7).  He baptizes with water in order to “make straight the way of the Lord,” who shall redeem His people from their sins (John 1:23).  That Lord Jesus “who comes after” John now stands among us and makes Himself known to us (John 1:26–27).  He has been anointed by the Holy Spirit “to bring good news to the poor” and “to bind up the brokenhearted” (Is. 61:1).  By the washing of the water with His Word and Spirit, He clothes His Church with “the garments of salvation” and adorns her with His own righteousness “as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Is. 61:10).  Therefore, we “rejoice always” in the Lord, “pray without ceasing,” and “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16–18).  For “the God of peace,” who has called you by the Gospel, will surely “sanctify you completely,” so that “your whole spirit and soul and body” will “be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23–24).

Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11
61:1        The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
                        because the Lord has anointed me
            to bring good news to the poor;
                        he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
            to proclaim liberty to the captives,
                        and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2           to proclaim the year of the Lord 's favor,
                        and the day of vengeance of our God;
                        to comfort all who mourn;
3           to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
                        to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
            the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
                        the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
            that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
                        the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
4           They shall build up the ancient ruins;
                        they shall raise up the former devastations;
            they shall repair the ruined cities,
                        the devastations of many generations. …

8           For I the Lord love justice;
                        I hate robbery and wrong;
            I will faithfully give them their recompense,
                        and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
9           Their offspring shall be known among the nations,
                        and their descendants in the midst of the peoples;
            all who see them shall acknowledge them,
                        that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.

10          I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
                        my soul shall exult in my God,
            for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
                        he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
            as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
                        and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11          For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
                        and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
            so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
                        to sprout up before all the nations.

1 Thessalonians 5:16–24
16          Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not despise prophecies, 21but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22Abstain from every form of evil.
23          Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

John 1:6–8, 19–28
6           There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. …

19          And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24          (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Some Additional Notes

  • We will be GREENING the sanctuary Wednesday. This will be done following the worship service. “GREENING” means decorating the church for Christmas. The decorations will stay up through Sunday worship, January 4. Following that worship service, we will take the decoration down.

  • We have only one more Wednesday Advent service left (there are only three this year). The first two messages (“The Meaning of Christmas is Love” and “The Meaning of Christmas is Family”) can be found on sermons’ page of this blog. The homily for this coming Wednesday is “The Meaning of Christmas is Giving.” Join us at 6:15 pm for our Soup Supper, followed by worship at 7:00 pm. Choir rehearsal follows the worship service, beginning around 8:00 pm.

  • The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday for lunch and planning.

  • LitWits will meet Sunday, 6:30 pm, at Sam’s home. The book we will talk about is “The Christmas Box.” As always, the meeting is open to all.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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