The Introit p. 16
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #90 Come, Your Hearts
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #85:10 - 15 From Heaven Above to Earth I Come
- December 22nd - Norma Boeckler's Birthday.
- Randy Anderson is doing well after his surgery.
- Zach Engleman just had a birthday.
- Pastor Jackson's eye surgery, January 10 and 17.
- This week's services will be Wednesday at 7 PM, Christmas Eve at 7 PM, and Sunday (Boxing Day) at 10 AM.
- The laptop will monitor the live service in the chapel, and another blog will have this service (without the live Vimeo) on the big screen in the chapel.
Fourth Sunday In Advent
Lord God, heavenly Father, it is meet and right that we should give thanks unto Thee, that Thou hast given us a more glorious baptism than that of John the Baptist, and hast therein promised us the remission of sins, the Holy Spirit, and everlasting life through Thy Son, Jesus Christ: Preserve us, we beseech Thee, in such faith in Thy grace and mercy, that we may never doubt Thy promise, but be comforted by the same in all temptations: and grant us Thy Holy Spirit that we may renounce sin, and ever continue in the righteousness bestowed upon us in baptism, until by Thy grace we obtain eternal salvation, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
Martyrs Were Witnesses
KJV John 1:19 And this is the record [GJ - witness] of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou?
People are always finding fault with the KJV, word for word, so they might say, "Why record? Why that word?" And all the modernizing paraphrases have a go at it, then change the wording again a few years or months later. No one can use the same English word for the same Greek word, because no language works that way. How would you translate "drawn"?
The toy wagon was drawn by a little boy. That scene was drawn by his mother, an artist. His father watched while he had lobster with drawn butter. His wife said, "You need to eat more or get more sun. You look drawn."
Knowing the Biblical language helps, because we associate the original word martyr with those who were killed because they witnessed their faith in Jesus Christ. When John the Baptist confessed his faith, that was also his death sentence. So now we use the word martyr for suffering (often dramatic suffering), so it makes some sense to associate witnessing and death in the apostolic era, because persecution often rose up against the tiny Christian congregations. And that made the Faith grow, because they scattered to new areas in the Roman Empire. While most regions were locked in by water, mountains, and desert, the Roman Empire was by law connected by highways, some still being used today. Roman roads were military roads, like our Interstate system. Colonel Eisenhower had to take troops from one coast to another in the early days and swore one day they would have highways that were not slowed down by villages, stoplights, and various obstacles. As president, Eisenhower began the Interstate highway system.
In this case, the leaders in Jerusalem sent priests to ask about John the Baptist - and for good reason. The concept of the Messiah was well established through the Books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms - though not completely understood. Who can miss the shift in Isaiah, chapter 40? which is quoted by John in this passage. A prophet - in the desert - would arrive and announce the coming of the Messiah - Prepare the way of the Lord!
John was clearly a modern prophet, and he added to the excitement of the region. Great crowds came to hear him, and his preaching doubtless caused many to remember the excitement of the Star of Bethlehem and those exotic strangers who came openly and departed secretly. People remember those things. Just today I saw an article and debate about housing in my hometown area - nicknamed Flintstone Flats. There were various stories and denials of those stories, vague rumors and a few who witnessed the facts. One person said, "It's all true. I grew up there."
Who art thou?
Some people do not like "thou" which is still used today. It is singular, unlike "you" which can be singular or plural. They are only asking about John, not about some or all of his followers. Clearly, the response to his preaching had annoyed, alarmed, and excited people back in Jerusalem. The Messiah, a title taken from the anointing with oil of kings, was their concern. Have you noticed we still use the term "anointed" when speaking about a leader?
20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed [GJ - homiletics, preaching], I am not the Christ.
Removing a misunderstanding came first. And thus we have the root word for preaching, homiletics, which means explaining what we believe. This is used for official statements about Christian beliefs in confessions of various denominations - the Westminster Confession, the confessions in the Book of Concord. The term "confessional" is tossed around with great abandon, so leaders who deny and repudiate Justification by Faith also call themselves "Confessional Lutherans" (LCMS, WELS, ELCA, ELS, CLC]. Faith and action come together, as shown by the disgraceful weak response of those officials to the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (the only Reformation, which other nations tried to copy once it was safe).
John removed himself from the title Messiah, which many people must have used for him, or at least debated about him.
21 And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. 22 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself?
As I have said before, I have had people ask me questions, and a few questions in a row can narrow things down. "What synod are you?" followed by "Do you ordain women?" followed by "Do you then agree with Rome?" [No, with the Bible] And that leads the individual into the clutches of the Woke. Notice how this series of questions and answers narrows down who John must be. If he is not Elijah or the final prophet then what does he say about himself? This is causing grave concern in Jerusalem and among the Roman leaders.
23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.
For us, the wilderness is a dense forest with wolves howling and hungry. The literal meaning of this word is "dry place" or desert, not the forests of Wisconsin.
KJV Isaiah 40:3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
- The Bible is extremely concise. Focus on some phrases or words and see what they mean. I use the KJV concordance and look up (via the computer) every example of certain words or phrases.
- No one can know all of it, but we can specialize in favorite parts of the Bible. That could be the Psalms or the Gospel of John, or just the least-mentioned books of the Bible. I just found this - "Psalm 110:4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Also Hebrews 7.
- One person goes through TLH hymns and makes suggestions from those we know less well, if at all.
- We can pray especially for one person or family, even if we have not met them.