Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

[Thursday] Lenten Evening Prayer at Emmanuel Lutheran Church: The Promise of Righteousness

I may have skipped Sunday services, but visitors didn't entirely take priority over usual routine.  Cat came along to Lutheran prayer with some reluctance (she's not Lutheran, though I pointed out I'm not either) but she ended up really enjoying it, for which I was glad.

Coming up the walkway, I saw Pastor Saling in the window and he waved.  When we got in we learned that they had actually run out of bulletins, so he left to photocopy more for us, but the people sitting near us gave us theirs.  (The service was just starting.)

The opening responsive was Psalm 42:1-10 (responses to the tune of "Go to Dark Gethsemane")
As a deer longs for the water brooks, so I long for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for you, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold your face, O God?  Day and night I cry, and tears are my only food; all the time my enemies ask me, "Where is your God?"

Why are you cast down, my soul?
Why are you disquieted?
Trust the Lord to make you whole,
As his faithful word has said.
Hope in God, whose saving grace
Lifts again the downcast face.

My heart breaks when I remember the past, when I went with the crowds to the house of God and led them as they walked along, a happy throng, singing their praise to you.  So, I cry out to you.  Lord God of my strength, "Why have you forsaken me?  Why must I go on suffering from the cruelty of my enemies?"

Why are you cast down, my soul?
Why are you disquieted?
Trust the Lord to make you whole,
As his faithful word has said.
Hope in God, whose saving grace
Lifts again the downcast face.

I am crushed by the insults of those who hate me; as they keep on asking me, "Where is your God?"  By day the Lord commands steadfast love, and at night your song is with me, a prayer to you, the God of my life.

Why are you cast down, my soul?
Why are you disquieted?
Trust the Lord to make you whole,
As his faithful word has said.
Hope in God, whose saving grace
Lifts again the downcast face.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, Simeon, who hungered and thirsted for righteousess, rejoiced in the gift of salvation as he beheld you with his own eyes.  Grant that we also may hunger and thirst for righteousness and be filled by faith as we await your coming in glory at the last day.

Scripture Readings:

Genesis 15:1-6
1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:
      "Do not be afraid, Abram.
      I am your shield, [Or  sovereign]
      your very great reward. [Or  shield; / your reward will be very great] "

2 But Abram said, "O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit [The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?" 3 And Abram said, "You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir."

4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." 5 He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Luke 2:25-35
25Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
      you now dismiss[Or promised, / now dismiss] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
    31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
      and for glory to your people Israel."

33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

The dialogue didn't bother me too much, though it didn't really define what "righteousness" is, which given that it explicitly defined "theologian" last week annoyed me more than a little.  (The "pastor" character frequently equated "made righteous" with "justified," but that doesn't really help, since lay understand "justified" even less than "righteous" I would think -- it's true of me, anyway.  At one point late in the dialogue the "pastor" also used "forgiven" as a synonym.) 

The lay person character kept talking about trying to be perfect (Matthew 5:48) and I remember the pastor character talking about how it's impossible for us to be perfect and talking about grace, and since I was with a friend I didn't bug the pastor afterward about the quality of the dialogue.  (I'm also annoyed by the fact that there's so little silent time in the service.)

Oh, and the pastor character mentioned the story of Abram in the dialogue, talking about how he tried to do things his way but eventually ran out of options and had to let God do it His way and thus we get, ultimately, Jesus, and I was troubled by this as I always am by stuff like this since it's so hard to discern when you're supposed to help God's plan along and when you're supposed to just let it happen.
Tags: church: e.lutheran: thursday service, lent: 2006: lutheran: beatitudes
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