Thursday, October 22, 2015

Worship Notes for Reformation Sunday, 2015

Thursday after Pentecost 21
October 22, 2015

The Lord be with you.

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. To his surprise, these debate topics started an uproar in Europe, and eventually around the world. That “uproar” was in the form of a movement historians now call the Reformation.  By common consent, Protestant churches that use liturgical calendars have designated October 31, the anniversary of nailing of the 95 Theses to the Castle Church door, as Reformation Day.

Reformation Day usually does not fall on a Sunday. Today churches that wish to remember the Reformation typically move their celebration to the last Sunday in October. That is what we do at Lamb of God. That means that this coming Sunday will be observed as Reformation Sunday, even though the following Sunday, November 1, is actually much closer to Reformation Day. However, November 1 is All Saints’ Day so the first Sunday in November is reserved for that Feast.

This year Reformation Sunday falls on a Sunday when we would regularly receive the Lord’s Supper. So our observance this Sunday will include that sacrament. Our liturgy is one especially designed for a Reformation service. In its responsive readings, it includes numerous quotes from the Lutheran Confessions. The Lutheran Confessions are found in the Book of Concord and I feel they should be found in every Lutherans’ home and part of our regular reading.

Because this is a special liturgy, I can’t simply say which setting of the morning service we are using Sunday. However, when we use portions of the liturgy (like the Gloria in Excelsis) we will be using the third setting of the Divine Service.

Our opening hymn will be “Thy Strong Word” (LSB 578). Our sermon hymn will be “A Mighty Fortress” (LSB 657). Our closing hymn will be “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” (LSB 643). As we receive the body and blood of our Lord the congregation will be singing “O Lord, We Praise Thee” (LSB 617), “Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word” (LSB 655) and “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise” (LSB 680).

The assigned readings for Reformation are: Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; and John 8:31-36. The text for Sunday’s message is John 8:31-32. The sermon is titled “Freedom.”

On our liturgical calendar October 25 is the Commemoration of Dorcas (Tabitha), Lydia, and Phoebe, Faithful Women. This commemoration will be largely ignored. However, we will have a special collect for that commemoration and something about them will be posted on this blog.

Our sermon hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” was composed by Martin Luther. It was based on Psalm 46 and has often been called the “battle hymn of the Reformation.” Luther, of course, wrote the hymn in German. It has been translated into more languages than any other hymn in history. It has also been translated into English many, many times. Finding two recordings with the same words is difficult. The one below doesn’t actually have the same words as our hymnal, but it does have the same tune. In reference to the tune, it was an original by Luther. However J.S. Bach jazzed it up a bit. Many know Luther’s original and many know the Bach modification. We will be using the Bach modified tune. Below is a recording with that tune.

Our adult Bible class continues with the study, Word: God Speaks to Us. Though you may have missed the first half, you are still encouraged to attend. What you learn will be a blessing. The Bible study hour begins at 9:00 am. Fill free to bring children. Class is provided for them as well.  

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

The Son of God Has Set Us Free from Sin and Death by His Grace
“Wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Matt. 11:19), and the true Wisdom of God, Christ Jesus, the incarnate Son, has justified us by His deeds. He prepares His way by the preaching of repentance, but He has suffered the violence of the Law and voluntarily handed Himself over to violent men, that we might eat and drink with Him in His Kingdom and “remain in the house forever” (John 8:35). He is “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:18–19), and He has rescued us by His grace from the slavery of sin and death. By the proclamation of His eternal Gospel “to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people” (Rev. 14:6), “the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law” (Rom. 3:21), “that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). And by the hearing of that Gospel of Christ Jesus, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Rom. 3:25), “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31–32).

Revelation 14:6-7
6              Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Romans 3:19-28
19          Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
21          But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27          Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

John 8:31-36
31          So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34          Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Some Additional Notes

  • A special voters’ meeting has been called for November 1 to consider the recommendations made by Rev. Seaman. Please keep it your prayers.

  • Our Second Coat Drive is in full swing. We team with the Bethlehem Center, who distributes the coats to individuals in need. An insert will be in the bulletin with more information.

  • Following our worship service we will have a potluck lunch. We will also play “Luther-Bingo.” Don’t know what “Luther-Bingo” is? Come and find out.

  • Our November newsletter will be posted shortly and print copies will be available on Sunday.

  • Keep Praying for your Neighbors and Walking your Neighborhoods.

  • Don’t forget to check out the other posts from earlier this week. An easy way to review the titles is by looking at the left hand side of this blog. If a title catches your attention, just click on it and you will go to that post. 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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