Laetare: 4th Sunday in Lent +

Watchword from the gospel of the evangelist St. John chapter 12: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” [Verse 24]

Introit Psalm 84: How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. 

Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

God’s holy Word from the prophet Isaiah the fifty-fourth chapter:  For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.. (7-10)

The second epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians the first chapter:  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. (3-7)

The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. John the twelfth chapter: And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (20-26)

The sermon is based on the holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. John the sixth chapter: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (53-65)

The liturgical colour is violet.

A collect for this Sunday: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, Your mercies are new every morning; and though we deserve only punishment, You receive us as Your children and provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn of the week

  1. Jesus, priceless Treasure,
    Fount of purest pleasure,
    Truest Friend to me.
    Ah, how long in anguish
    Shall my spirit languish,
    Yearning, Lord, for Thee?
    Thou art mine, O Lamb divine!
    I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
    Naught I ask beside Thee.
  2. In Thine arms I rest me;
    Foes who would molest me
    Cannot reach me here.
    Though the earth be shaking,
    Every heart be quaking,
    Jesus calms my fear.
    Lightnings flash And thunders crash;
    Yet, though sin and hell assail me,
    Jesus will not fail me.
  3. Satan, I defy thee;
    Death, I now decry thee;
    Fear, I bid thee cease.
    World, thou shalt not harm me
    Nor thy threats alarm me
    While I sing of peace.
    God’s great power Guards every hour;
    Earth and all its depths adore Him,
    Silent bow before Him.
  4. Hence, all earthly treasure!
    Jesus is my Pleasure,
    Jesus is my Choice.
    Hence, all empty glory!
    Naught to me thy story
    Told with tempting voice.
    Pain or loss, Or shame or cross,
    Shall not from my Savior move me
    Since He deigns to love me.
  5. Evil world, I leave thee;
    Thou canst not deceive me,
    Thine appeal is vain.
    Sin that once did blind me,
    Get thee far behind me,
    Come not forth again.
    Past thy hour, O pride and power;
    Sinful life, thy bonds I sever,
    Leave thee now forever.
  6. Hence, all fear and sadness!
    For the Lord of gladness,
    Jesus, enters in.
    Those who love the Father,
    Though the storms may gather,
    Still have peace within.
    Yea, whate’er I here must bear,
    Thou art still my purest Pleasure,
    Jesus, priceless Treasure!

Lutheran Hymnal Text: Matt. 13: 46
Titled: “Jesu, meine Freude” Composer: Johann Krüger, 1649

If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, enthusiasm and wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully accourding to his most precious revelation of his will and promises in both the Old and New Testament! However, if you are not preaching, but listening – then listen as if God is talking to you + His precious gospel is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16f)

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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