Watchword: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, for behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand.” (Isaiah 40:3.10)
Introit is the 85th Psalm: Lord, thou hast been favourable unto thy land: thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob. Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Thou hast taken away all thy wrath: thou hast turned thyself from the fierceness of thine anger. Turn us, O God of our salvation, and cause thine anger toward us to cease. Wilt thou be angry with us forever? wilt thou draw out thine anger to all generations? Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation. I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land. Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.
The Old Testament reading is from his prophet Isaiah 40: Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 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. 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: 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 voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
The holy Epistle is from the apostle St Paul to the Romans in the 4th chapter: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
The holy Gospel accourding to the evangelist St. Matthew chapter 11: Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Sermon text is from the apostle St. Paul in Romans chapter 15: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
The liturgical colour is violet. (Or blue!)
Together with the holy Christian Church we pray with this collect: LORD Jesus, our Light and our Salvation, you alone are the one who was to come to save us. We thank you for your coming and for your will to perform in us again your saving work. Rule us by your Holy Spirit, that henceforth we may wait for none other and put our trust in nothing in heaven or earth except you alone, our Lord, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Hymn of the week “Ye Sons of Men, Oh, Hearken” by Valentin Thilo, Jr., 1607-1662 translated by Arthur T. Russell, 1806-1874
- Ye sons of men, oh, hearken: Your heart and mind prepare, To hail the almighty Saviour, O sinners, be your care. He who of grace alone Our Life and Light was given, The promised Lord from heaven, Unto our world is shown.
- Prepare the way before Him; Prepare for Him the best, Cast out whate’er offendeth This great, this heavenly Guest Make straight, make plain, the way: The lowly valleys raising The heights of pride abasing. His path all even lay.
- The humble heart and lowly God lifteth up on high: Beneath His feet in anguish The haughty soul shall lie. The heart, sincere and right, That heeds God’s invitation And makes true preparation, It is the Lord’s delight.
- Prepare my heart, Lord Jesus, Turn not from me aside, And grant that I receive Thee This blessed Adventide. From stall and manger low Come Thou to dwell within me; Loud praises will I sing Thee And forth glory show.
The Lutheran Hymnal Hymn #75 Text: Luke 3:4, 5 Author: Valentin Thilo, Jr., 1659, translated by: Arthur T. Russell, 1851 Titled: “Mit Ernst, o Menschenkinder” Published in: „Neues Katechismus-Gesangbüchlein” Town: Hamburg, 1598
If you are called to preach this weekend, may the triune God give you joy and strength, wisdom, knowledge and insight – and the true words and pictures to preach his holy will faithfully according 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.” (Rom 1:16 NIV)