Friday after Pentecost 2
Commemoration of The Ecumenical Council of Nicaea, AD 325
June 12, 2015
The Lord be with you.
This coming Sunday is the Third Sunday after Pentecost. The LC-MS Commission on Immigration and Refugee Services has asked the Synod Congregations to observe it as “Immigrants and Refugees Sunday.” While we will use the regularly appointed lessons for the day instead of the alternate readings the commission suggests, we will, nonetheless, recognize the immigrants and refugees around the world (and in America) in our prayers. Though the sermon isn’t done yet, I may work in an illustration that accents these individuals as well.
The appointed lessons for this coming Sunday are Ezekiel 17:22–24, 2 Corinthians 5:1–17, and Mark 4:26–34. The sermon text is Ezekiel 17:22. The sermon title is “Horticulture in Prophesy.” We will use Divine 1 (151) for our liturgy with the offertory form Divine 2 (176). This is a communion service. You may prepare by reviewing what the Small Catechism has to say about this sacrament. Our opening hymn is “Sing, My Tongue, the Glorious Battle” (LSB 454). The sermon hymn is “Your Kingdom, O God, Is My Glorious Treasure” (LSB 654). Our closing hymn is “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise” (LSB 680). Our distribution hymns are “O Blessed Spring” (LSB 595), “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee” (LSB 632) and “Christ, the Word of God Incarnate” (LSB 540).
Below is a video of our closing hymn, “Your Kingdom, O God, Is My Glorious Treasure” (LSB 654). The organist is Trevor Magness. The singer is Caitlin Magness. They are at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Broken Arrow, OK.
What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons and finally some additional notes.
The Cross of Christ Is the Tree of Life, Which Bears Abundant Fruit after Its Own Kind
The Parables of our Lord convey the mysteries of the Kingdom of God to those who are “able to hear it,” that is, “to His own disciples,” who are catechized to fear, love and trust in Him by faith (Mark 4:33–34). He “scatters seed on the ground,” which “sprouts and grows” unto life, even as “He sleeps and rises” (Mark 4:26–27). “On the mountain heights of Israel,” He plants a young and tender twig, and it becomes “a noble cedar.” Indeed, His own Cross becomes the Tree of Life, under which “every kind of bird” will dwell, and in which “birds of every sort will nest” (Ezek 17:22–25). His Cross is our resting place, even while now in mortal bodies, we “groan, being burdened” (2 Cor. 5:1–4). Yet faith we live for God in Christ, who for our sake “died and was raised” (2 Cor. 5:15). We know that, in His resurrected body, “we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1).
22 Thus says the Lord God: “I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. 23On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. 24And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
2 Corinthians 5:1–17
5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30 And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? 31It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, 32yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.
Some Additional Notes
- At the LWML meeting this past Sunday it was decided to move the Women’s Bible Fellowship back to Wednesday evenings. They will be every other Wednesday, and the first Bible study was this past Wednesday. The general them we are moving forward under is “Hymns.” Each study will take a hymn the ladies have selected and examine the theology behind it as well as other background information about the hymn. The hymns are selected from one of the nine hymnals and supplemental books either currently in use in the LC-MS, or have been approved and used in the past. In no particular order, the hymns so far submitted are: “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming;” “Lift High the Cross;” “Chief of Sinners Though I Be;” “When Peace Like A River;” “When I Behold Jesus Christ;” “I Know that My Redeemer Lives;” “Silent Night, Holy Night;” “All You Works of God, Bless the Lord!;” and “The Lamb.” The next WBF will be Wednesday, June 24, at church, beginning at 6:30 pm.
- The Board of Evangelism will meet Sunday, following the worship service, at Panera’s.
- After investigation it was discovered that there is no mold or mold damage in the sanctuary. The areas of the carpet in question have been damaged by sunlight over the years.
- Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We continue our examination of the biblical teachings concerning Vocation.
- Walking our neighborhoods and meeting our neighbors is going well. We have already reached for first two goals. Remember to record your miles each week on the bulletin board in the hallway. Our collective goal - 2,015 miles in 2015.
- Remember, we have pledged to pray for our neighbors. You can get a list of your 100 your closest neighbors from pray4everyhome.com. If you have no internet access, speak with Rachel Swain or Kitty Rickert and they will sign you up and get you a list.
- Finally, recently a new center for Reformation studies in Wittenberg, Germany, was recently opened. Lutheran's from around the world helped to make it possible. LC-MS president, Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison preached the dedication sermon. The opening service, with Harrison’s sermon, has been posted on the sermon page of this blog. There is also a link to the bulletin so you can follow the service. It is in both English and German.
Blessings in Christ,