Thursday, April 9, 2015

Worship notes for Easter 2, 2015

Thursday after the Resurrection of our Lord (Easter)
April 9, 2015

He is Risen.

This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday of Easter (Easter 2). The Easter season continues for fifty days and concludes on the Pentecost Eve. Pentecost marks the beginning of our next season in the Church Year. Forty days after Easter is the celebration of the Ascension of our Lord. Normally we have a worship service with the other LC-MS congregations in the upstate, over in Greenville, for Ascension. However, this year, the Southeastern District Convention begins on Ascension so we will not be able to have such a service on Ascension Day. We are talking of moving it to another day, but nothing is set in stone yet. Once the day is selected, you will be informed.

The lectionary we use is a three-year one. It is followed by most of our sister congregations. This is year B, which means most of our Gospel lessons will come from Mark. The three-year cycle is: A = Matthew; B = Mark; C = Luke. John is used in all three cycles as a supplement, providing readings that are not covered in Matthew, Mark or Luke. One of those accounts unique to John is the story of Thomas doubting the resurrection. So, on Easter 2, in each of the lectionary series, the Second Sunday of Easter uses the Gospel of John and gives us the story of Thomas’ struggles.

Another feature of the lectionary during the Easter season is the change in the first lesson read from the Bible. Normally the first lesson is drawn from the Old Testament. However, in the Easter season, it is drawn from the book of Acts. You might think of it as the story of the spread of the Easter message.

Our appointed lessons for Sunday are: Acts 4:32–35; 1 John 1:1—2:2; John 20:19–31. The sermon text will be John 20:26. The sermon is titled “The Continuing Story of Easter.” While Thomas is certainly spoken of in the message, the main thrust of the sermon will be the spread of Easter.

For our liturgy we will use Divine Service setting 1. This is a communion service. Our reflect, either our readings (sermon hymn), the place in the service (one of the distribution hymns) or the season (all our other hymns). The opening hymn is “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” (LSB 469). Our sermon hymn is “These Things Did Thomas Count as Real” (LSB 472). Our closing hymn is “This Joyful Eastertide” (LSB 482). And finally our distribution hymns are “I Am Content! My Jesus Ever lives” (LSB 468),             “Jesus Comes Today with Healing” (LSB 620), and “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” (LSB 465).

Below is a video of one of our distribution hymns, “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” (LSB 465). The congregation is Grace Lutheran in San Diego, a church I have visited in the past.

What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons. Following that are some additional notes of interest.

The Risen Christ Breathes His Peace in the Holy Absolution
The crucified and risen Lord Jesus appeared to His apostles on the first Easter Sunday. He came and stood among them,” and with His Word and the wounds in “his hands and his side, He granted them His peace (John 20:19–20). He sent them as ministers of the Gospel in His name to bestow the life-giving Holy Spirit for us and for His whole Church through the forgiveness of sins (John 20:21–23). Through this apostolic ministry, He calls us to believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God,” so that by such faith we may have life in his name (John 20:31). The apostles have seen and heard this divine life manifested in the flesh of Christ, and those who succeed them in this apostolic ministry now proclaim that same Absolution to us, so that we “too may have fellowship with the risen Christ, with the apostles and with one another (1 John 1:1–7). The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church lives by their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus,” and all who believe this Word are of one heart and soul,” because in Him they truly have everything in common (Acts 4:32–33).

Acts 4:32-35
32          Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord 33Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, 35and it was distributed to each as any had need.

1 John 1-2:2
1:1         That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
5           This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
2:1         My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 20:19-31
19          On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
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.”
30          Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Some Additional Notes

  • Again, thank you to those who provided us with breakfast Easter morning.

  • The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday after the worship service.

  • Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am.

  • Walking our neighborhoods and meeting our neighbors officially begins this coming Sunday.  

  • Thank you to our seasonal Choir for their dedication to the Lord and willingness to serve him and his people.

  • Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 your closest neighbors from If you have no internet access, speak with Rachel Swain or Kitty Rickert and they will sign you up and get you a list.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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