Friday, January 23, 2015

Worship Notes for the Festival of the Conversion of St. Paul, 2015

Friday after Epiphany 2
January 23, 2015

Blessed Epiphany season

As we follow the liturgical calendar at Lamb of God, this coming Sunday may be recognized in one of two ways. The first is as the Third Sunday after Epiphany. The second is as the Festival of the Conversion of St. Paul. We will use the Festival option. As this is a fourth Sunday, we will also celebrate the Lord’s Supper. 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” and our post-communion canticle will be “Thank the Lord.” Our opening hymn will be “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens” (LSB 589). Our sermon hymn will be “By All Your Saints in Warfare” (LSB 517:1, 12, 3). Our closing hymn will be “Almighty God, Your Word Is Cast” (LSB 577). Our distribution hymns will be “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table” (LSB 618), “Hail, O Source of Every Blessing” (LSB 409), and “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” (LSB 524).

The appointed lessons for this Sunday, not surprisingly, accent the conversion of Paul. They are Acts 9:1-22, Galatians 1:11-24, and Matthew 19:27-30. Of course the Matthew reading does not directly refer to the conversion of Paul, but it does reference those who leave everything for Christ, which certainly describes Paul.

The sermon text will be Acts 9:4. The sermon is titled “God’s Voice.” We will be considering how people like Ananias, Paul, and others in the Bible hear God’s voice. Exactly what does that mean? Then how do we hear God’s voice.

Our opening hymn is “Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens.” The video below is of Bethany Woelmer playing one verse on her harp.

Once again the Synod does not provide summaries of the lessons for Feasts and Festivals, so below are our lessons, without a summary.

Acts 9:1-22
9:1         But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10          Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19and taking food, he was strengthened.
            For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Galatians 1:11-24
11          For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
18          Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. 20(In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24And they glorified God because of me.

Matthew 19:27-30
27          Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Some Additional Notes

  • The February newsletter will be posted on this blog before Sunday. For those who do not have internet access, print copies will be available Sunday.

  • Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 closest neighbors from 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.

  • Women’s Bible Fellowship meets Monday, January 26.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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