Thursday after the Festival of the Holy Trinity
June 4, 2015
The Lord be with you.
This coming Sunday is the Second Sunday after Pentecost (the First Sunday after Pentecost is always the Festival of the Holy Trinity on our liturgical calendar). We now enter the non-festival half of the Church Year. It stretches through the summer and fall, ending at the beginning of December with Advent. The work of the Holy Spirit is the emphasis of the Pentecost Season. We recall from Luther’s Small Catechism that the Spirit’s work is to “call, gather, enlighten and sanctify the whole Christian Church on earth.” This is the sort of thing the assigned Scripture readings and prayers accent.
There are only three Feasts during these months, and only one of them falls on a Sunday this year. Sunday, November 1, is All Saints’ Day. There are fourteen Festivals in the Pentecost Season, but only one falls on a Sunday this year (St. Luke, Evangelist, October 18). The Festival of the Reformation (October 31) falls on a Saturday this year. As is our practice at Lamb of God, we will observe this Festival on the last Sunday in October (October 25).
We recognize Feasts and Festivals with Communion services and the special appointed readings and prayers for the particular day. Our observance of the Reformation is on a Sunday that we normally offer the Lord’s Supper, so no change there. St. Luke, Evangelist is on a third Sunday and All Saints' is on a first Sunday, neither of which are regular Communion Sundays for us. We normally use one of the services of word and prayer, like Matins, on first and third Sundays, so we will have a change in our regular patter for these two Sundays. Other than that, the Pentecost Season will follow our normal communion pattern of second and fourth Sundays.
The appointed lessons for this coming Sunday are Psalm 130, Genesis 3:8-15, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1, and Mark 3:20-35. The sermon text is Mark 3:27. The sermon title is “The Spider and the Fly.” (Yes, the title echoes the Mary Howitt poem and I will refer to the poem in the sermon. The poem is at the end of these notes for those who don't remember it.) We will use Matins (219) for our liturgy. Our opening hymn is “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” (LSB 528). This was to be sung this past Sunday as our final distribution hymn, but we didn’t need it. It fits well with this Sunday’s readings so we will get our chance this coming weekend. The sermon hymn is “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LSB 575). Our closing hymn is “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful” (LSB 554).
Below is a video of our closing hymn, “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful” (LSB 554). The organist is William Ewan. The words are provided and you can hear a congregation singing off in the background.
What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons and finally some additional notes. As is the practice, the synopsis does not include the Psalm. I expect this is because the Psalm is typically used in non-communion services and the worship gurus in the LC-MS (and many other denominations) push to have communion every Sunday, thus effectively removing such services like Matins for the worship life of most people.
Jesus Has Defeated the Devil and Released Us from the Bondage of Sin and Death
The devil deceived us, enticing us to disregard and disobey the Word of God, and driving us to hide “from the presence of the Lord God.” But the Lord in His mercy promised a Savior, who would set Himself against the devil on our behalf (Gen. 3:8–15). The “stronger Man” come, the incarnate Son of God, conceived and born of the Woman. He “first binds the strong man,” Satan, by atoning for the sins of the world, thereby removing the condemnation of the Law and the fear of death (Mark 3:27). Now He plunders the devil’s house by calling all men to repent. Though He appears to be “out of His mind” (Mark 3:21), He fulfills the will of God and makes of us His own brothers and sisters. Therefore, “we do not lose heart,” despite the suffering, sin and death that we experience in this fallen world. “He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus.” By His grace, we are “being renewed day by day.” For the Gospel is daily bringing us into His presence, not for punishment, but for “an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:14–17).
Psalm 130 (7)
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
2 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
3 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” 11He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14 The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
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.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”—30for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.” 33And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Some Additional Notes
- The June newsletter has been posted on this blog. Just go to the newsletter page.
- The LWML has a scheduled meeting for Sunday, following the worship service.
- The congregation has been invited to join Bethlehem Lutheran in Aiken for the installation of their new Pastor, Rev. Barry Williams. The Service will be Sunday, beginning at 4:30 pm.
- There has been some talk about having a special voters’ meeting following the worship service this coming Sunday. If it happens, the topic that will be discussed is the possibility of mold being in the sanctuary.
- 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 off and walking. 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.
- As I said above, I will refer to the Mary Howitt poem in Sunday’s sermon. The poem is too long to quote in full. Below is the poem, just in case you have never read it.
The Spider and the Fly
Mary Howitt (1799-1888)
Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."
"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"
"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."
The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue –
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!
And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.
Blessings in Christ,