Thursday after the Epiphany of our Lord
January 8, 2015
Blessed Epiphany season
For those who missed it, the Epiphany service at Good Shepherd went well. There were about 40 people in attendance. Pastor Steve Saxe preached a good sermon that connected all the appointed lessons. It is always a joy to gather with our sister congregations here in the upstate.
This coming Sunday is the First Sunday after the Epiphany. The appointed lessons for this Sunday always accent the baptism of our Lord at the Jordan River by John the Baptist. (In the same way, the Last Sunday after the Epiphany always accents the Transfiguration of our Lord.) Because of this baptism of our Lord emphasis, and because that baptism is a significant event in the life and ministry of Jesus, this day is a Festival and known as, you guessed it, The Baptism of Our Lord.
For our liturgy we will use the first setting of the Divine Service (page 151). Our hymn of praise will be “This Is the Feast.” Our post-communion canticle will be “Thank the Lord.” We will use the common responses. Our opening hymn will be “To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord” (LSB 407:1-4). Our sermon hymn will be “To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord” (LSB 407:5-7). Our closing hymn will be “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise” (LSB 394). Our distribution hymns will be “O Lord, We Praise Thee” ( LSB 617), “Baptized into Your Name Most Holy” (LSB 590) and “O Word of God Incarnate” (LSB 523). Notice that the opening hymn and the sermon hymn are the same hymn, just different verses. This way we get to sing the whole hymn and receive its entire message.
The appointed lessons for the day are Genesis 1:1-5, Romans 6:1-11 and Mark 1:4-11. The text for the sermon is Mark 1:11. The sermon is titled “Jesus Revealed by Baptism.” You might catch the general theme of Epiphany and its season in that title. That general theme is to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” So Jesus is revealed at his baptism, at the wedding feast in Cana, at the transfiguration, and so forth. As our Gospel lessons will generally follow Mark this year, and Mark is keen on us understanding that Jesus is the Son of God, it will not be surprising that the lections from Mark will point us to that conclusion in many different ways.
The video is from a service at Martin Luther Chapel. Why this huge building is called a “chapel” I’m not quite sure. When I hear the word “chapel” I think of a smaller building. Maybe I’m wrong. At any rate, it kind of low on the volume scale because there are not enough people to fill the expanse with their voices. Nonetheless, it is one of our distribution hymns.
The following summary of the lessons is provided by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. In case you are interested in finding summaries for other Sunday’s in the Church year, you can find them at: http://www.lcms.org/page.aspx?pid=449. These summaries overlook the appointed Psalms, Introits, and all other “propers,” and focuses solely on the OT, Epistle and Gospel lessons.
In Holy Baptism, the Triune God Reveals Himself and Recreates Us in His Image
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Then, as “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2), God spoke His Word: “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). In the same way, “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mark 1:1) brings about the new creation through the waters of Baptism by the same Word and Spirit of God. When John the Baptist came, “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,” Jesus also came “and was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mark 1:4, 9). Although He had no sins of His own, He took His stand with sinners in His Baptism and took the sins and mortality of the world upon Himself. He was baptized into His own death, by which the heavens are opened and the Spirit is given to us. God the Father is well pleased with His beloved Son and raises Him from the dead. As we share His Baptism and are “united with him in a death like his” (Rom. 6:5), we also share His resurrection unto “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
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.
6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. 7And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. 8I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Some Additional Notes
- The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday for lunch and planning.
- Thank you to everyone who helped take down our Christmas decorations this past Sunday. Most everyone remembered to take home their poinsettias. However, if you are not one of those “most everyone,” you poinsettia is in the adult Bible study room.
- Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 closest neighbors from pray4everyhome.com. Pastor has signed up the congregation and is waiting for confirmation, but you can sign-up as an individual.
- New sign-up sheets for 2015 have been posted in the narthex.
- Monday, January 12, will be the next meeting of our Women’s Bible Fellowship, 10:00 am.
- I gave Kitty some bad information for the January calendar. I told her that the Elders would be meeting Tuesday, January 13, and that is what the calendar says. However the Elders do not meet until Tuesday, January 20. On the 13th I will be in Columbia leading the Circuit Pastors’ gathering. (We call them Winkels.)
Blessings in Christ,