Learn more about the readings, music, and worship-service planning helps for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (June 24, 2018).
Season & Preparations
The season of Pentecost gives us time to reflect on God’s many wonders. On the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost, we consider God’s authority as Creator, as the author of all things. Consider the wonders of the earth. It is not a planet of great size, but its dimensions and properties have been designed perfectly for us to live upon it. God molded the earth and His creatures to fit together perfectly. He gave us a planet perfectly suited for us, not because we deserve it, but because of His love and grace.
Readings & Theme
Throughout the Book of Job, Job loses everything. His wealth is taken away from him. His children are killed. He is covered with sores all over his body and loses his health. Three friends come to comfort him but offer him no comfort at all. Job doesn’t understand why God is doing what He is doing. Job wants an answer from God, but God remains silent toward Job for the entire book until chapter 38, where our reading for this week picks up. God’s speaking is an answer to Job’s prayers. And yet what does God say? Effectively, “I am God. You are not.” God controls the design of the universe. God determines the limits of the seas. God made the measurements of the earth exactly the way they are because He is God and His ways are right even when we cannot understand them.
The Gospel lesson, from Mark 4, reveals that Jesus has the very same authority and control over creation. Crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples, Jesus decides to take a nap while the disciples work their way across the lake. A great storm arises, and the boat is about to sink when the disciples finally wake Jesus up. Jesus rebukes the wind and says to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” (v. 39). And the wind and the waves obey the voice of their Lord. People often look at this text and take away the idea that God calms the storms of our lives. While this is certainly true, it is not the point of this text. The point of this episode is that Jesus has authority over all creation, that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is God incarnate.
In the Epistle, Paul begins with these words: “Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). After this, Paul goes on to describe how he and his partners in the spreading of the Gospel have endured all kinds of trials and afflictions for the sake of Christ. Paul is showing the Corinthians how to receive the grace of God—through whatever happens.
This connects extremely well to Job, who endured unimaginable physical, emotional, and spiritual pain and yet confesses, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21). Job did not receive the grace of God in vain. Likewise, Jesus’ rebuke to the disciples after the storm is one that accuses them of not recognizing who was in their midst. They were taking the grace of God in vain by not recognizing who Jesus was and what He had authority to do.
Hymns & Music
The Hymn of the Day is “Evening and Morning” (LSB 726), a Paul Gerhardt classic. This hymn draws on the themes present in Job 38 and Mark 4 of God’s authority as Creator. God gives all the good gifts we have by grace, and, as Paul writes, we should not receive such grace in vain.
Another hymn to consider for this day is “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (LSB 733). Stanza three connects well to the Job reading:
Before the hills in order stood
Or earth received her frame,
From everlasting Thou art God,
To endless years the same.
Also consider another Paul Gerhardt hymn, “Entrust Your Days and Burdens” (LSB 754). This piece reflects a theme present in all three readings: trust in God and hope that God will deliver us from every circumstance, because He is God and He has authority to do so.
Additional Resources for Worship & Study
As you work through Mark’s Gospel in this Pentecost season, I highly recommend using James Voelz’s Concordia Commentary: Mark 1:1–8:26.
Looking for additional information on planning for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost? Download our planning sheet to help you get started!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Quotations marked LSB are from Lutheran Service Book, copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.