The Church Year in Sermon and Song February 11th, 2024
Opening Hymn "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" LSB #803
Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love! Hearts unfold like flow’rs before Thee, Praising Thee, their sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness Drive the gloom of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, Fill us with the light of day.
Thou art giving and forgiving, Ever blessing, ever blest, Wellspring of the joy of living, Ocean-depth of happy rest! Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Fountainhead of love divine: Joyful, we Thy heav’n inherit! Joyful, we by grace are Thine!
CALL TO WORSHIP
P: The Lord is present in His temple. He bids us to come to this worship hour. He promises, "wherever two or three have come together in My Name, I am there with them."
C: By Your Spirit's power, make us aware of your awesome presence, Lord. We have come to worship you, for you are worthy of all glory, honor and praise!
ALL: Lord God almighty, open our hearts to the majesty and wonder of your grace and love, Lead us beyond ourselves and all our distractions to seek you in this worship hour. Ready us for worship, heavenly Father; We stand in your holy presence, prepare us for Your life-changing Word.
L: Let us pray; 0 Lord who in Jesus Christ has done many great and gracious works among us, grant us strength to ponder these works with faith and to respond to them with grateful and obedient lives; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. AMEN
OPENING REMARKS Pastor Norris
P: How dull life would be if the seasons never changed! No matter how much you might prefer certain seasons of the year, I'm sure that you'd get tired of it, if it never ended. Most of us crave variety and that's what the changing seasons offer us. The Church Year is divided into two parts consisting of seven seasons in total. The first half of the year begins next Sunday with the season of Advent. As we worship through this part we re-live the main events in the life of our Lord. Since most of the important days fall during this period, it is call the Festival Half of the Church Year. In the other half on the church year, the Non Festival Half, we study the life of the Christian. We see what the life, death and resurrection of Christ mean to us in our everyday lives.
I believe that if we all become more aware of these different seasons and what they are all about, our worship will be much more interesting and beneficial to us. And so today we are going to have a different kind of service in which we will lead you as you sing the church year, see it change before your eyes and prayerfully, all of you will go home with a greater appreciation for our Church Year.
The Christian calendar is retained in Christian Church bodies throughout the world for several reasons. First, a regular calendar is helpful to keep the remembrances before us. Just as God commanded the Jewish people to recall how He delivered them in the past (e.g., the Passover, Exodus 12:14; Leviticus 23:4–8), so, too, early Christians recalled the historic time-related events that were important to their faith, as Jesus had encouraged His disciples to do (Luke 22:19).
Second, following their Jewish predecessors, Christians consider the regularity of the holidays as teaching moments, with the celebrations of the events of Christ’s life used to tell and retell the Good News. Finally, Christians recognize that this life is not an end in itself. Christ’s victory over death means that daily life focuses beyond the mundane to eternity. A calendar of Christian events unites present-day believers with those of the past as well as the future.
Advent (The Blue paraments are placed on the altar)
Hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” LSB #357
O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear. (Chorus)
(CHORUS) Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel!
O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heav’nly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. (CHORUS)
A Narrative Word
P: The Church Year begins with the season of Advent with means, "coming". The typical colors for the season are either violet, which shows Christ is the royal Prince of Peace and Savior of the nations, or blue, which invokes the hope of the Messiah promised to Israel and the world.
The name comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming in to.” This name confesses the fact that in Advent, the Church eagerly awaits Christ’s past, present, and future coming—in the past His birth as a child, in the present as He comes to us in His Word and Sacraments, and in the future when He returns to judge the world. Advent highlights Christ’s arrival. It is the four-week period right before Christmas in which we prepare to celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world. As we look forward to the day of His birth there is, of course, much joy and gladness in our heart. The color Blue reminds us of the joy of our salvation which draws near, and the color of the God Grace showered upon us Baptismal waters. Blue is the color of eternity. Because of the Christ of Christmas, we have the gift of eternity.
“Joy To the World CHRISTMAS (The WHITE paraments are placed on the altar
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let ev’ry heart prepare Him room
And heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n and nature sing, And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.
He rules the world with truth and grace And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders of His love.
A Narrative Word
P: Christmas is one of the greatest days in the entire Church year. Christmas Day may have either Gold or White paraments on the altar. We are fortunate that we have beautiful White Christmas paraments depicting the Biblical narrative of the manger scene. On Christmas Day, the Church celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ by the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. It’s a big deal! To start the season, some churches will hold a Christmas Eve service stemming from a tradition of a midnight service as the first and immediate celebration of Christ’s birth. Beginning with Christmas Day, the season continues for twelve days and culminates with a new season, the Epiphany of Our Lord on January 6th each year.
It is the birthday of our Lord. At Christmas we set aside the restraints and the penitence of Advent as we burst forth with holy joy. God has kept His promise. He has entered our world in the form of a newborn Child. This babe of Bethlehem will do for us what we could never do for ourselves- - - He will set us free from sin and bring us back to God. The colors gold or white, reflect our radiant joy and divine glory that inspires it. The fine Gold thread used throughout the year reminds us of the gift of God given to us a Christmas, the gifts of the wise men and the gifts we bring in the form of our tithes each week.
EPIPHANY (The GREEN paraments are placed on the altar)
Hymn "Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning" LSB #400
Brightest and best of the stars of the morning, Dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid;
Star of the East, the horizon adorning, Guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
Vainly we offer each ample oblation, Vainly with gifts would His favor secure. Richer by far is the heart’s adoration; Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor.
A Narrative Word
P: Epiphany follows right after Christmas and its season, beginning on January 6th. Epiphany begins with the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord, which celebrates the visitation of the Magi to the infant Christ. Epiphany Sunday has White Paraments on the Altar as it closes the Christmas season, whereas the remainder of the season has Green Paraments. The First Sunday after Epiphany is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord, which celebrates Christ taking on the sins of Israel and all mankind and modeling repentance for our wayward world. The word Epiphany means “manifestation” or “revealing, showing forth." It comes from the Greek word epiphaneia. Epiphany also marks the first time the Messiah was shared with those outside of Israel, the Gentiles. During this season we, ponder the different ways in which Christ was revealed to the world as God and Savior. The first showing forth was to the wise Men by means of a star which guided them to His manger crib. Later on Christ revealed Himself through His miracles and through His preaching.
The final Sunday during Epiphany celebrates Christ’s Transfiguration. It commemorates the day when Christ shared a glimpse of His divinity to the disciples Peter, James, and John up on a mountain. Appearing between Moses, a symbol of the Law, and Elijah, a symbol of the prophets, Christ showed Himself to be the fulfillment of both. The season varies in length from one to seven Sundays depending on the date of Easter.
LENT (The PURPLE paraments are placed on the altar)
Hymn "What Wondrous Love Is This" LSB #543
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul! What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this That caused the Lord of bliss To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul, To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on; And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on. And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing His love for me, And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on, And through eternity I’ll sing on.
A Narrative Word
P: After Epiphany, the mood of our worship changes abruptly. Lent is a somber forty-day period (not including Sundays) before Easter where the Church reflects on human sinfulness and practices repentance. The name comes from the old English word lencten, which referred to the early months of spring, the same time Lent began. But the earliest reference to the practice comes from the council of Nicaea in AD 325. It begins with Ash Wednesday, when God’s people receive a cross of ashes on their foreheads along with a reminder: “For you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). “The placing of ashes on the forehead is a sign of penitence and a reminder of human mortality” (Treasury of Daily Prayer, p. 10). Following Ash Wednesday, Lenten Sundays are numbered, and their readings include Old Testament passages on repentance and portions of Christ’s ministry. Most churches also continue to practice Wednesday evening services throughout Lent. Palm Sunday comes one week before Easter, initiating Holy Week and commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. During Holy Week, the events of Jesus’ final days come in quick succession, with Holy (Maundy) Thursday commemorating the Last Supper, Good Friday remembering His betrayal and crucifixion, and Holy Saturday anticipating Christ’s resurrection.
THE CONFESSION OF SINS (Pastor Olckers)
P: Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true hear and confess our sins unto God, our Father, beseeching Him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness. Our help is in the name of our Lord. C: Who made heaven and earth.
P: I said, will confess my transgressions unto the Lord. C: And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
P: We pray together
ALL: 0 Almighty God, Merciful Father, I, a poor miserable sinner confess unto thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended you and justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray for Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be Gracious and merciful to me, a poor sinful being.
HYMN "The Old Rugged Cross"Suggested by Barbara Haak, Judy Heroux, Dan&Debbie Hefflinger
Holy Week and GOOD FRIDAY (The BLACK paraments are placed on the altar)
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, The emblem of suff’ring and shame; And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain. (Chorus)
(CHORUS) So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross Til my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, And exchange it someday for a crown.
To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true, It’s shame and reproach gladly bear; Then he’ll call me someday to my home far away, Where his glory forever I’ll share. (CHORUS)
A Narrative Word
P: Palm Sunday comes one week before Easter, initiating Holy Week and commemorating Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday can be commemorated by having Red on the Altar. During Holy Week, the events of Jesus’ final days come in quick succession, with Holy (Maundy) Thursday commemorating the Last Supper and White can be used on the altar to recognize the purity of the Lord’s Supper.
Black is the color for Good Friday remembering His betrayal and crucifixion. Our beautiful new Black paraments depict the Suffering our Lord endured on that first Good Friday. Although most would rather not pause and acknowledge the day our sins were paid for, I think Good Friday is the most overlooked and misunderstood of all Christian observances. Without Good Friday there would be no need for Easter Sunday. There’s no mistaking the message that this sober color Black gives. Black is the absence of light. Good Friday, or Black Friday in combination with Ash Wednesday, calls for sober reflection on the cost of our redemption. Without Christ’s sacrifice on the day the sky turned dark and hid the light of the sun, there would be no bright Light of Christ to live in, nor new life in Christ to enjoy.
EASTER (The GOLD paraments are placed on the altar)
Hymn "Crown Him with Many Crowns" LSB #525
Crown Him with many crowns, The Lamb upon His throne; Hark how the heav’nly anthem drowns
All music but its own. Awake, my soul, and sing Of Him who died for thee, And hail Him as thy matchless king Through all eternity.
Crown Him the Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave And rose victorious in the strife
For those He came to save. His glories now we sing, Who died and rose on high, Who died eternal life to bring And lives that death may die.
A Narrative Word
P: On Easter, Christian hope and happiness reach their highest point, for this is the day on which our Lord rose from the dead. Easter Sunday uses the color gold, celebrating the resurrection as a crowning glory of Christ’s work. The color white may also be used, but regardless white or gold paraments are used during the entire six Sunday season of Easter. As we stand before the empty tomb, we discover with the disciples that Christ's death was not a tragic failure but rather a glorious success. Faith in the Risen Christ brings us tremendous joy because the victory that he won on this great day in our victory, too. His resurrection paved the way for our resurrection into eternal life hereafter. The date of Easter Sunday each year is based on the Jewish dating of the Passover, which relies on a lunar month calendar. Following this, Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox the first day of spring which is this year March 19th, 2024. It is a lot of firsts, but Christ’s resurrection was also a first!
ABSOLUTION (Pastor Olckers)
P: Because of this victory and based upon you confession, I by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you all your sins in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN
OFFERING (Mike Bardon)
PENTECOST (The RED paraments are placed on the altar)
SONG "Wind, Wind" The Other Song Book #255 Vs. 1&4
Jesus told us all about You How we could not live without You With His blood the power bought
To help us live the life He taught (Chorus)
(CHORUS) Wind wind blow on me Wind wind set me free Wind wind my Father sent
The blessed Holy Spirit
Set Us free to love our brothers Set us free to live for others That the world the Son might see
And Jesus’ name exalted be (CHORUS)
A Narrative Word
P: Forty days after Easter Sunday, the Church celebrates the Ascension of Our Lord. On the final Sunday of the season, the Church celebrates Pentecost. Pentecost means ''fiftieth." On the fiftieth day after Easter, Christ sent the Holy Spirit upon His disciples, Just as he has promised. Appearing in tongues of fire that rested on their heads, the Spirit filled these first believers with courage and strength. They immediately began to preach and speak to others about the Crucified and Risen Christ and more than 3,000 were converted in a single day. The Holy Spirit has never left Christ's people, but has been our constant contact with the Lord, our never failing source of inspiration and zeal. The paraments are red. Red reminds us of the fire of Pentecost and the Blood shed for us one the cross of calvary. In addition to the celebration of Pentecost red is also seen on the altar at special festival days of the church such as Reformation and the Ordination or Installation of Pastors. In some other churches, Days commemorating the Saints of the church such as St. Peter and St. Paul also find red on their altars.
PRAYERS OF THE CHURCH (Olckers and Bardon)
P Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs.
L For the Lord’s flock here at Trinity Lutheran Church, that we would be granted faithfulness, humility and patience in our various vocations, striving to love God and neighbors in all that we say and do, let us pray to the Lord: C Lord, have mercy.
P For families, that parents would teach the faith to their children and that the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in all households; and for all expectant mothers, that they and their babies would be kept safe and healthy throughout their pregnancies, let us pray to the Lord: C Lord, have mercy.
L For all those who have been placed in authority over us, that they would serve with integrity and honor, having the welfare of all in mind; and for our country, that division, conflict and strife would give way to unity, peace and quietness, let us pray to the Lord: C Lord, have mercy.
P For those who are in need, [especially _____________,] that God would grant them relief and comfort through the promise of sharing in eternal glory with Christ, let us pray to the Lord:
C Lord, have mercy.
L Lord God, heavenly Father, teach us to listen to Jesus and ever fix our eyes on Him and His innocent suffering and death for our forgiveness. By Your grace and mercy, strengthen us to remain faithful in all circumstances of trial, temptation and persecution. Preserve us to the end, that we may die a blessed death believing in Your beloved Son with whom You are well pleased; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. C Amen.
TRINITY (The GREEN paraments are placed on the altar)
HYMN “Holy, Holy, Holy”
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee; Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!
A Narrative Word
P: The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost, known as the Great Fifty Days, was the first liturgical season observed in the first three centuries of the Church. This fifty-day celebration is a week of weeks, renewed in the last decades by emphasizing the Sundays as being “of Easter.” Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian Church as the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and they gave their compelling witness about the resurrected Lord. Pentecost Sunday is celebrate with the color red, used for festival days and special days within the church. The first Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday, when many Churches celebrate the holy mystery of the Trinity and recite the Athanasian Creed.
After Trinity Sunday, the next several months consist of counted “Sundays after Pentecost,” sometimes known as Ordinary time. This period runs until the end of the Church Year, setting the stage in late November for the beginning of Advent. The Trinity Season is the longest Church Season of the year. There are from twenty-two to twenty seven Sundays in it. During this season we study the Christian life. We consider what Jesus Christ means for our everyday thoughts and actions. The color is green signifying the new life and growth which we are to achieve.
REFORMATION AND ALL SAINTS DAY
(The RED Reformation Paraments are placed on the Altar.)
Hymn “Christ Is Our Cornerstone” LSB #912
Christ is our cornerstone, On Him alone we build; With His true saints alone The courts of heav’n are filled. On His great love Our hopes we place Of present grace And joys above.
Here may we gain from heav’n The grace which we implore, And may that grace, once giv’n,
Be with us evermore Until that day When all the blest To endless rest Are called away.
A Narrative Word
P: During the final Sundays of the Trinity Season, as we come to the close of the church year, we celebrate two other festival Sundays. Reformation which is celebrated on October 31st each year or the Sunday before or the Sunday following depending on which is closer to the 31st. Our altars are adorned in RED but a different Red from Pentecost as we have our own Reformation Red Paraments. Reformation commemorates the start of the Protestant Reformation throughout Europe, when on November 31st,1517 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther posted the famous 95 Thesis or questions he was posing to the Holy Catholic Church for debate. After several years of debates and interaction Luther eventually excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church, laying the foundation for the rise of Protestant Church throughout the world. our attention is drawn to the end of the world and the last judgement.
The Sunday following Reformation Sunday is All Saints Sunday. The altar is adorned once again with white paraments honoring all those individuals who entered into glory in the year immediately preceding. It is a day of remembrance for the love, life and legacy of those loved ones who have preceded us into the eternal presence of our God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Concluding Sundays of each Church Year the church focuses on the end times and the conflicts we may face in this life prior to transitioning to the Season of Advent which starts the whole church year cycle once again.
As one reflects upon the church year, we are not only reminded by the colors but also by the readings. We follow the three-year lectionary series consisting of assigned reading from the OT, NT, and Gospel for each Sunday. Currently we are in the Series B selections of reading. Then of course the hymns, the prayers, psalms and choir anthems all attempt to reflect the season of the year that we are in on any given Sunday. As we come to the close of this service let us rise uniting our voices in one accord as we speak together the Nicene Creed.
THE NICENE CREED
All: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, god of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten not made, being of one substance with the Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our Salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead whose kingdom will have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, Who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one Holy Christian and Apostolic church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. AMEN
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
THE BENEDICTION (Pastor Olckers)
P The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.
THE CLOSING HYMN "When Peace, like a River" LSB #763
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way; When sorrows, like sea billows, roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
(CHORUS) It is well (It is well) with my soul, (with my soul), It is well, it is well with my soul.
He lives—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought; My sin, not in part, but the whole, Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (CHORUS)
And, Lord, haste the day when our faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trumpet shall sound and the Lord shall descend; Even so it is well with my soul. (CHORUS)