Worship Helps for Pentecost 9

Artwork: Mary and Martha
Artist: Nathan Greene

Worship Theme: Doctors sometimes tell sick, weak people to put on some weight. Their body needs proper nourishment. That is true also for our souls. Even after we become Christians through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, our faith-life needs daily nourishment to fight against the power of sin inside us and around us. And how is our faith-life nourished? Only through God’s gospel promises in Word and Sacrament.

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 3:1-10 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." 5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." But Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." So he went and lay down. 6 Again the LORD called, "Samuel!" And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." "My son," Eli said, "I did not call; go back and lie down." 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, "Samuel! Samuel!" Then Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant is listening."

1. When young Samuel woke up and heard someone calling his name, who did he think was calling him?

2. What did Samuel say to the LORD when he realized who was calling to him?

Epistle: Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

3. First Paul tells us to love others, be thankful, etc. Then he tells us to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. What is the connection, probably?

4. Paul does not picture a group of people sitting passively as one person reads and applies God’s Word to them. What does Paul picture, instead?

Gospel: Luke 10:38-42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" 41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

5. When Jesus came to visit their home, with what did Mary and Martha busy themselves, respectively?

6. According to Jesus, which sister made better use of her time?

7. True or false: Jesus is suggesting that work is a waste of our time.

1. Samuel thought Eli, the high priest, was calling to him at night.

2. Samuel said, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

3. The connection between us loving others, being thankful, etc., and the word of Christ dwelling in us richly is that we will only do the actions in the first group if the word of Christ dwells in us richly. God’s good news in Christ is the power plant for energy to love God and others.

4. Paul is not telling us it is wrong for a pastor to preach to a congregation of Christians, but Paul also envisions Christians teaching and warning each other with all wisdom as we sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to each other— all in connection with God’s grace.

5. Martha busied herself with preparing a meal for Jesus, while Mary busied herself with sitting at Jesus’ feet for the nourishment of her faith-life.

6. When Martha became upset at Mary, Jesus told Martha that her sister had chosen the more necessary thing.

7. False. Jesus is simply pointing out that the nourishment of our faith-life through the gospel is far more necessary than worrying about earthly needs (see Matthew 6:25-34). Work is a blessing from God as we are given the opportunity to serve him and one another in unselfish love. Martha showed her selfishness when she became angry at Mary. Instead she should have graciously accepted the task of preparing the meal by herself without any thought of what Mary was doing! Instead of being angry at Mary, she should have rejoiced that Mary was being granted such a wonderful opportunity to be nourished through the gospel.

Putting your faith into action
We sometimes think that we are the first generation to ever have been busy—the first generation to ever have to make choices concerning the use and stewardship of our time. It’s not true, of course. What Martha wouldn’t have given for the use of a time-saving microwave! Mary surely had many things beckoning to her that day—including God-pleasing service to her Lord. But even that paled in comparison to using her time for the one thing needful—the hearing of her Savior’s Word. Yes, there is a need for council meetings and trimming the church’s hedges and balancing the congregation’s checkbook and organizing the congregation potluck, but the best stewardship of our time still comes when we sit with Mary at Jesus’ feet.

A reading from the Book of Concord for Pentecost 9
The eternal Father calls down from heaven about His dear Son (Matthew 17:5) and about all who preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name, “Listen to Him”.

All who want to be saved ought to listen to this preaching.  For the preaching and hearing of God’s Word are the Holy Spirit’s instruments.  By, with, and through these instruments the Spirit desires to work effectively, to convert people to God, and to work in them both to will and to do.

A person can hear and read this Word outwardly, even though he is not yet converted to God and regenerate.  As said above, a person even since the fall has a free will to a certain extent in these outward things.  So he can go to church and listen or not listen to the sermon.

God works through this means (i.e., the preaching and hearing of His Word).  He breaks our hearts and draws us to Him.  Through the preaching of the Law, a person comes to know his sins and God’s wrath.  He experiences in his heart true terrors, contrition, and sorrow.  Through the preaching of, and reflection on, the Holy Gospel about the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ, a spark of faith is kindled in him.  This faith accepts the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake and comforts itself with the Gospel promise.  So the Holy Spirit is sent into the heart. – Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article II, Free Will (paragraphs 51-54)

Hymns: 735; 290; 282; 283; 293

735  Speak, O Lord

1  Speak, O Lord, as we come to you
To receive the food of your Holy Word.
Take your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in your likeness
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All your purposes for your glory.

2  Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility.
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of your purity.
Cause our faith to rise, cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail,
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

3  Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of your plans for us.
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time,
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as you walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, as your Church is built
And you fill the earth with your glory.

Text: Keith Getty, b. 1974 and Stuart Townend, b. 1963 © 2006 Thankyou Music; admin. EMI CMG Publishing. International copyright secured. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


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