Friday, December 19, 2014

Worship Notes for the Festival of St. Thomas, Apostle, 2014

Friday after the Third Sunday of Advent
The Commemoration of Adam and Eve
December 19, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is one of those Sundays where we have options in reference to what we celebrate. The first option is the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The second option is the Festival of St. Thomas, Apostle. In our hymnal we have three types of holidays. The first are (principle) Feasts (of Christ). This includes things like Christmas and the Visitation.  When they fall on a Sunday we use those appointed readings. The Second are Festivals. These also have their own distinctive propers (scripture lessons, etc.). However, congregations celebrate them according to local tradition. In other words, some celebrate some or all of them while other congregations ignore them. There is nothing wright or wrong, better or worse, about whatever a local congregation chooses to do in reference to the Festivals. The third type of holiday is the commemorations (like today). These have no assigned propers for the day and do not supplant the regular liturgical calendar. They are intended to remind us of significant people and events from history and, hopefully, encourage us to dig a little deeper. When celebrating a Feast (Christmas, Easter, etc.) it is most common to offer the Lord’s Supper. When celebrating a Festival congregations conform to local tradition, which means some will offer Communion while others will offer Communion only if it falls on a regular Communion Sunday. If congregations recognize the commemorations they might be remembered in the prayers or in a reference in the sermon, but otherwise not typically impact the Sunday worship.

As I said, we have a choice this coming Sunday and we will be going with the Festival of St. Thomas, Apostle. Selecting the Festival readings is far more common today than it was in my childhood. This reflects the current fad in liturgical churches, which began in protestant circles in the 60s, of making a wider used of the liturgical tradition. It broke into the Missouri Synod with the hymnal Lutheran Worship.
We typically celebrate the Lord’s Supper on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. This coming Sunday is a third Sunday. Therefore we will not offer communion Sunday. We will use Matins for our liturgy (page 219). We will use the Advent option for the first response on page 219. We will use the Benedictus for our Canticle (page 226). Our opening hymn will be “Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come” (LSB 350).  Our sermon hymn will be “We Walk by Faith and Not by Sight” (LSB 720). Our closing hymn will be “Hark the Glad Sound” (LSB 349). Our opening and closing hymns have been selected to reflect the Advent season while the sermon hymn reflects the message. The appointed lessons are: Judges 6:36-40; Ephesians 4:7, 11-16; and John 20:24-29. Psalm 136:1-4, antiphon verse 26, is our appointed Psalm. The sermon is titled “You’ve Got to be Kidding Me.” The text is John 20:25.

Below is a video of our opening hymn, “Come, Thou Precious Ransom, Come.” It is complete with words highlighted to make it easier to sing along.

Here are the lessons for Sunday.

Judges 6:36-40
36          Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Psalm 136:1-4 (26)
136:1      Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
                        for his steadfast love endures forever.
2           Give thanks to the God of gods,
                        for his steadfast love endures forever.
3           Give thanks to the Lord of lords,
                        for his steadfast love endures forever;

4           to him who alone does great wonders,
                        for his steadfast love endures forever;

26          Give thanks to the God of heaven,
                        for his steadfast love endures forever.

Ephesians 4:7, 11-16
7           But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. …
11          And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
John 20:24-29
24          Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26          Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Some Additional Notes

  • We will have a Voters’ Meeting Sunday following the worship service. There are two business items. The first will be voting on our budget for next year. The second is a resolution being presented by our Board of Evangelism where we commit ourselves to pray for our neighbors. Both votes are important for our future.

  • Thank you to everyone who helped GREEN the sanctuary this past Wednesday. Our decorations will remain up through our Sunday morning worship service on January 4. Following the service we will take the decorations down and all who are at the service will be invited to help.

  • Our Wednesday Advent services have concluded for the year. This coming Wednesday will be Christmas Eve. We will have a Candlelight Service at 7:00 pm. On Christmas day we will have a Service of Carols and Communion, beginning at 10:00 am. The entire “Meaning of Christmas is …” series can be heard on our sermon page.

  • Information for the January newsletter is due Sunday.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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