Thursday, September 3, 2015

Worship Notes for Pentecost 18, 2015

Thursday after Pentecost 18
September 3, 2015

The Lord be with you.

This coming Sunday is Pentecost 15. It is also Labor Day Weekend, so be careful on the roads. We will be using the Service of Prayer and Preaching for our liturgy (page 260). This is a non-communion service. We use the appointed Psalm instead of the Introit for the Day on non-communion Sundays. Our readings will be Isaiah 35:4-7a; James 2:1-10, 14-18; Mark 7:24-37 and Psalm 146 (antiphon v. 2).

One of the features of the three-year lectionary we use is a generally continuous reading through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke as well as through the Epistles. Readings from John’s Gospel supplement each of the other three Gospels during “their” years where John covers topics the other Gospels omit. We have just finished reading through Ephesians. Starting Sunday we will begin James. This is an often misunderstood epistle and people, confused about the difference between God’s Law and God’s Gospel, think the letter teaches salvation by works. Therefore, starting this Sunday, our sermons will focus on James. All total that will be four Sundays. This coming Sunday’s message is titled “Faith and Works.” The text is James 2:18.

A Small Aside: In the Gospel lesson we have the story of the “Syrophoenician Woman.” This passage has been misunderstood by many critics of the Bible, imputing to Jesus all kinds of ugly and sinful motives. I suggest such critics examine their own hearts for the bigotry and hatred that they think they find in our Lord. Jesus (who knows our hearts – Matthew 9:4; Luke 9:47) knew that his words would not drive the woman away but encourage her to cling ever closer to him in faith, thus giving us (and her) a powerful lesson on faith. I mention it now because, 1) the synopsis below doesn’t cover this point; 2) I will not cover it in the Sunday sermon; and 3) because of the great many silly comments about this story, many good Christians become troubled and confused.

Our opening hymn will be “Salvation unto Us Has Come” (LSB 555). This hymn has ten verses. We will sing the first five. “Salvation unto Us Has Come” will also be our sermon hymn, only we will sing the final five verses (6-10). Our closing hymn will be “Lord, Help Us Walk Your Servant Way” (LSB 857).

Our adult Bible class is working through the study, Word: God Speaks to Us. The author is John T. Pless and it is part of the Lutheran Spirituality series published by Concordia Publishing House. This Sunday we will finish the second lesson, “The Words That Kill and Give Life.” We have extra study guides. Join us and be blessed by the Word of God, which is a means of grace.

Below is a video of the Concordia Theological Seminary Kantorei singing our opening/sermon hymn, “Salvation Unto Us Has Come.” If you like what you hear, you will like their recordings as well.

What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons. As always, the synopsis does not factor in the appointed Psalm, but you should have no trouble understanding how it relates. Following the readings are some additional notes.

Our Merciful Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Does All Things Well
The Lord proclaims the Gospel to those who have an anxious heart to comfort and encourage them with His presence. He comes not only with threats of vengeance and recompense,” but with His gracious salvation (Is. 35:4). He opens the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf,” and He loosens the tongue of the mute to sing for joy (Is. 35:5–6). Like water on thirsty ground, He speaks His life-giving Word to people of all nations. With His Word and the touch of His hand, He does all things well,” so that you may now speak plainly (Mark 7:31–37). You confess the truth of God in Christ to the glory of His holy name, and you call upon His name in every trouble, confident that He will hear and answer. As you pray and confess with your tongue, so also love your neighbor as yourself (James 2:8). Show your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory,” by loving without partiality. For God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (James 2:1–5).

Psalm 146 (2)
1           Praise the Lord!
            Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2           I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
                        I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

3           Put not your trust in princes,
                        in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4           When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
                        on that very day his plans perish.

5           Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
                        whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6           who made heaven and earth,
                        the sea, and all that is in them,
7           who keeps faith forever;
                        who executes justice for the oppressed,
                        who gives food to the hungry.

            The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8                       the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
            The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
                        the Lord loves the righteous.
9           The Lord watches over the sojourners;
                        he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
                        but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10          The Lord will reign forever,
                        your God, O Zion, to all generations.
            Praise the Lord!

Isaiah 35:4-7a
4           Say to those who have an anxious heart,
                        “Be strong; fear not!
            Behold, your God
                        will come with vengeance,
            with the recompense of God.
                        He will come and save you.”

5           Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
                        and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6           then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
                        and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
            For waters break forth in the wilderness,
                        and streams in the desert;
7           the burning sand shall become a pool,
                        and the thirsty ground springs of water; …

James 2:1-10, 14-18
2:1         My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
8           If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. …
14          What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18          But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Mark 7:24-37
24          And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.” 29And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
31          Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Some Additional Notes

  • The September newsletter has been posted. Check it out by clicking on the newsletter page on the right-hand side of this blog.

  • Keep Praying for your Neighbors and Walking your Neighborhoods.

  • Don’t forget to check out the other posts from earlier this week. Two you might be especially interested in is the announcement of a Sept. 15 Webinar concerning the Tax-Exempt Status for the church, which some are attacking. A U.S. Senator is speaking. Another one is a podcast of an interview with District President Denninger where he speaks about ineighborhood. As members of Lamb of God know, I’ve been encouraging our church to walk this path. Of course, there are other posts, like reviews and news.

  • Remember, you can link one or more of our blog posts to your facebook (or other social media) page. Find one you like and share it.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

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