# Praise God! He’s Not Forgotten Us!

##### by Pastor Edwin Lehmann on January 1, 2022 in Luke 1:68-79

Second Sunday after Christmas                                                                                                     January 2, 2022
Text: Luke 1:68-79                                             CW-ILCW Series C                                           22:2295
Theme: Praise God! He’s Not Forgotten Us!

I. The Savior comes to rescue us.
I saw an angel and could hardly believe my eyes. And when I heard the angel’s message, I didn’t believe my ears. “That’s impossible!” I said. “Quite impossible!”
I was an old man when this strange thing happened to me. As a priest to God’s people of Israel, I was serving in the temple in Jerusalem. That was a glorious opportunity for me. God provided the nation with many priests, all from the tribe of Levi, and all were descended from Aaron’s family. There were so many that we only served in the temple twice a year, a week each time. While there we lived in the priests’ quarters on the temple grounds. But the other weeks of the year, we were free to go home.
My wife Elizabeth and I lived in a small house in the hill country of Judea, to the northwest of Jerusalem. She also was from the tribe of Levi and, like me, held a deep longing in her heart for the Savior whom God had promised us. We prayed for His coming, hoped for it, and clung to God’s promise. There were many others who laughed at such hope. It had been over 400 years since God last spoke through His prophets to us. They were silent years. Some of our people, perhaps like some of yours in your day, even said that God was dead. We don’t listen to such foolish talk. It’s wicked. We continue to hope, pray, and trust in God for all things, even though the silent heavens seemed to mock at our belief.
Elizabeth and I also shared a common sorrow. We had no children. It was a heartbreak for us because our society considered children as precious in our day. How many anguished prayers we had sent to God above! Year after year we prayed and hoped and prayed again. After a long while we realized that God was not going to give us what we desired so much. God does not always answer prayers the way we think He should. But He always has good reasons in mind, not to harm us but to help and strengthen us in faith. Now we were too old to have a child. So, we prayed for grace to submit to His holy will. Most of all we prayed that God would look with compassion on His suffering people and send the promised Savior.
But I wanted to tell you about the angel. I was serving my week in the temple. At the time I had been chosen to offer the incense to God in the Holy Place in front of the curtain. This was a great honor for rarely did people enter the sanctuary. It might happen to a priest only once in his lifetime, and to many priests the honor never came at all. But this week it fell to me in my old age. Humbled I was.
The great crowd of worshipers stood outside in the temple courts, praying as I took the incense in hand and entered the Holy Place alone. There I placed the sweet-smelling incense on the glowing coals of the altar that stood just in front of the Holy of Holies, where God Himself dwelt among us. As the incense ascended to heaven, the prayers of the worshipers outside went with it. And that’s when it happened.
There at the right side of the Golden Altar stood the angel. I knew that when I entered the sanctuary, I came into the very presence of God. But I certainly did not expect a messenger from God to appear before my eyes. That does not happen! It frightened me. He spoke, “Do not be afraid, Zachariah. Your prayers have been heard. You and Elizabeth will have a son and you are to call him John. He will bring joy to you and to many other people for he will be great in the sight of God. From the day he is born he will be filled with the Holy Spirit and will turn the hearts of many back to God, to prepare the way for the Lord.”
All my life I had trusted and believed God’s promises. But this was too much for me. It was more than I could believe in my old age. “How can I be sure of this?” I asked. “My wife and I are too old to have a baby. The angel replied, “I am Gabriel and stand in the presence of God. I was sent to bring you this good news. But now you will not be able to speak until the day it all happens because you did not believe my message.” Then he was gone. And that’s exactly what happened.
For nine months I couldn’t speak a word. No sound fell from my lips. All the while I watched my wife grow great with child. You might think this was a horrible time for me, but it really wasn’t. I could still communicate with my wife through a writing tablet. Instead of sorrow, joy filled our little house. At last, we were to have a son, after all hope seemed gone for us. But there was even greater reason for joy.
My wife’s relative, Mary, came to visit. She told us of even more astounding news. Gabriel appeared to her also, announcing that the time was right. The Savior was to be born and Mary was to be His mother. Finally, after years of waiting, God was going to fulfill the sacred covenant that He swore to our father Abraham and our people. He was coming to save us from the curse of Eden by sending the Messiah to free us from the clutches of Satan. Our greatest enemy sin could not hold us back any longer. He would free us from its curse. From now on we could serve God in holiness and righteousness like He intended. No more fear, no more shame, no more hatred, no more doubting God’s mercy. The Savior was coming to rescue us! Incredible! Such miraculous events! Praise God! He had not forgotten us!
I wanted to shout it from the rooftops. But I couldn’t talk. On the inside I was bursting with news. I wanted to sing for joy. But I was speechless because I had doubted God’s promise. He gave me this as a sign to help me remember that He doesn’t forget us. By the way, my name, Zechariah, means “The Lord remembers.”

II. And we just have to sing..
For 9 long months I didn’t say a word. Then came the day our son was born. Can you believe it? God answered our prayers in His time! Our boy was everything the angel had promised.
When he was eight days old, we arranged to have him circumcised at our house. He would wear the mark of God’s promise in his flesh. God had given us this sign long ago to seal His covenant with Abraham so that we would remember from generation to generation that God doesn’t forget us.
Everyone was there – aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors. They all wanted to hear what our son’s name would be. When Elizabeth told them John, they were shocked. “Why?” they asked. “There’s no one in the relation by that name.” They came to me to settle the argument. So I took my tablet and wrote in big letters, “His name is John!”
John means, “God is gracious” a fitting name to mark the things that we were experiencing. This boy would get people ready for the Messiah, and the Savior Himself would come to rescue us. We were right in the middle of the fulfillment of God’s promise. We got to see it. Truly God is gracious, even when we forget it.
No sooner had I written John’s name then God showed how gracious He is. He hadn’t forgotten me either. My tongue was unloosed; I could speak again. But I didn’t just speak. My heart was so filled with joy that I sang. I burst out in a song of praise to the Lord who had remembered me, Elizabeth, my people, and, yes, all of you, too: “Praise to the Lord, because He has come and has redeemed His people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us…as He said through His holy prophets of long ago, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us – to show mercy to us and to remember…the oath He swore to our father Abraham, to rescue us from our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness all our days.”
I sang like I never sang before. I couldn’t help it. The dawn of a fresh new day, a brand new year of grace had broken over us, an eternal year of God’s grace and goodness. His light was shining upon us. And even though at times we are filled with doubts and misgivings and the bitterness of life that affects us in the years past, when we cling to God in faith trusting His gracious promises, and then get to see His saving hand at work, we just have to sing. I did. I sang and sang for joy. Praising God for His unforgettable goodness towards us is one of the greatest ways we serve Him.
You know, you have an even greater reason to sing His praise, even in the midst of the troubles you have experienced these past years. You have seen all of these things that were promised me take place. I heard of the Savior’s birth because the little Lord Jesus was born just 6 months after my son John was born. I heard about some things from His early life. But I was an old man when these things took place. I wasn’t around to watch my son grow up and get people ready for the Savior. I didn’t stand at the foot of His cross, nor marvel at the wonder of an empty tomb. I didn’t see God’s people spread throughout the world, sharing His redeeming love with others. But you have seen and experienced all these things. I pray that they make your joy unbounded so that you sing even more than I did during the years that lie ahead of you. Praise God! He has not forgotten us! He remembers us in our need and rescues us. It’s what my name means. God grant you the joys of these truths in the year that lies ahead, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

Zion Lutheran Church of Springfield

(A member congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod)

4717 S Farm Rd 135 (Golden Avenue)

Church phone: 417.887.0886                                 Pastor’s cell phone: 417.693.3244

You can also find us on Facebook

The Second Sunday of Christmas      January 2, 2022

“The Rising Sun from on high will visit us…to shine on those who sit in darkness.” Lk.1:78f

F o r   O u r     V i s i t o r s

The family of Zion welcomes you as we worship the Lord today. We encourage children to worship with us. However, if you need to leave with your child, there is a nursery room to the right as you exit the sanctuary. The rest rooms are located in the hallway between the sanctuary and the fellowship hall. Visitors, please sign our guest book to the right, just outside the sanctuary. We’re glad that you are here and pray that through our worship the Lord grants you peace.

U p o n   E n t e r i n g   G o d’ s    H o u s e

“Praise the LORD from the heavens. Praise Him all His angels.   Praise the LORD from the earth…all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD” (Psalm 148).

W h a t   T h i s   S u n d a y   i s   A b o u t

Born to Be Our Brother. Lying in Bethlehem’s manger on Christmas Eve was a genuine wonder. By a miracle of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary conceived and gave birth to a child.   The Son of God had come to earth and had taken on human flesh and blood. God certainly could have come in any form. Yet, in order to save the world from sin, it was crucial that He become human like those whom He wanted to save.

When Mary held the baby Jesus in her arms, she held human flesh and blood. Yet, that baby was more than mere flesh and blood; He was the divine Son of God. The Son of God loved us weak human beings so much that He was willing to humble Himself to the point of becoming our brother so that He might suffer and die for us. Too often we take this for granted. Don’t!   Like the song writer said, “Is not this a wonder?”

Therefore, we pray: Almighty God, You have filled us with the new light of the Word who became flesh and lived among us. May we never take the miracle of the incarnation lightly but glorify You always for it.   Amen.

– T h e   W o r d   o f   G o d   f o r   T o d a y –

The Old Testament Lesson: Genesis 17:1-7

When Abram was 99 years old, God confirmed His covenant with Abram. He promised Abram that his descendants would become a great nation and that he would be the father of many nations whom God Almighty would love as His own sons and daughters.

The Epistle Lesson: Galatians 4:4-7

At just the right time in the course of human events, God fulfilled His promise and sent His Son to save us. That Son was divine, yet Jesus took on human flesh and became a man so that He might live under the law and redeem us to be God’s children and heirs.

The Gospel Lesson: Luke 1:68-79

At John’s birth, his father, Zechariah, burst into song, praising God for the salvation He was bringing upon the earth. He would redeem and free His people held captive by sin, death, and hell.

O u r   P r a c t i c e   o f   H o l y   C o m m u n i o n

Out of deep love for the truth of God’s Word and precious souls, we follow the practice of Close Communion in our congregation. This has been the practice of Christians for centuries and reflects the Bible’s teaching on unity of faith in the reception of the Supper (1 Cor.10:17). It does not judge a person’s heart but anticipates agreement in that which God says. Since we do not wish to put anyone in the position of declaring such agreement with us before study in the Word is possible, we ask that only those who are communicant members of this or another Wisconsin Synod or ELS congregation come to receive the Sacrament.

The Organist: Jane Rips                The Preacher: Pastor Edwin Lehmann

Point to Ponder: “There is only one who can wipe out the debt of our sins. It is he who made atonement for us all with His blood, Jesus Christ. As an eight-day-old boy He was circumcised,…obedient to the divine Law. The drops of blood Christ shed at His circumcision were the first of the payments He made for the immeasurable debt of the world’s sins. Let us in faith and joy embrace the holy Christ-Child. Now no law can damn us. Like the old year itself, all of our old sins have eternally disappeared.”   (Jesus’ circumcision is commemorated by the Church on January 1, New Year’s Day).                                  — CFW Walther on Luke 2:21

Outline of  Our Worship

The Preparation

Opening Thoughts on the Service

Opening Hymn: #76

Order of Worship:     The Common Service with Holy Communion: page 15-16

Hymn of Praise: #61

Prayer of the Day

The Ministry of the Word

Genesis 17:1-7

Galatians 4:4-7

Hymn: #35

Luke 1:68-75

The Nicene Creed pg.18

Hymn: #275

Sermon:  Luke 1:68-79     Praise God!  He Has Not Forgotten Us

Our Response to the Word

Offertory Hymn: #43 st.1-2

The Offering

Prayers & The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord Blesses Us

Order of Holy Communion     Hymnal pages 21-23

Distribution Hymn: #72

Thanksgiving Prayer & Blessing     Hymnal pages 24-25

Closing Hymn: #75

Silent Prayer

The Second Sunday after Christmas – Series C

Old Testament: Genesis 17:1-7 God’s Everlasting Covenant to Abram

1When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty. Walk before me and be blameless. 2I will make my covenant between me and you, and I will make your descendants very numerous.”

3Abram fell on his face. God spoke with him: 4“As for me, this is my covenant with you. You will be the father of many nations. 5Your name will not be Abram anymore, but your name will be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a large group of nations. 6I will make you extremely fruitful, and I will produce nations from you. Kings will come out of you. 7I will establish my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you as an everlasting covenant throughout their generations. I will be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Epistle Lesson: Galatians 4:4-7 At the Set Time, God Sent His Son

4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son to be born of a woman, so that he would be born under the law, 5in order to redeem those under the law, so that we would be adopted as sons. 6And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to shout, “Abba, Father!” 7So you are no longer a slave, but a son. And if you are a son, then you are also an heir of God through Christ.

Gospel Lesson: Luke 1:68-79 Zechariah’s Song of Joy for the Savior

68Blessed is the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has visited us and prepared redemption for his people.

69He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David,

70just as he said long ago through the mouth of his holy prophets.

71He raised up salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,

72in order to show mercy to our fathers by remembering his holy covenant,

73the oath which he swore to Abraham our father,

74to grant deliverance to us from the hand of our enemies,

so that we are able to serve him without fear,

75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

76And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High

because you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77to give his people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins,

78because of God’s tender mercies, by which the Rising Sun from on high will visit us,

79to shine on those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.

The Holy Bible, Evangelical Heritage Version® (EHV®) copyright © 2019 The Wartburg Project.

C a l e n d a r     &     A n n o u n c e m e n t s     f o r     Z i o n     L u t h e r a n     C h u r c h

 Today Jan.2 Mon. Jan.3 Tues. Jan.4 Wed. Jan.5 Thurs. Jan.6 Fri. Jan.7 Sat. Jan.8 Next Sun. Jan.9 9:00 am Divine Worship Service with Holy Communion online -Facebook 10:15 am Fellowship & Bible Study   Christmas 2 11 am Midweek Bible Study 4:30 pm Confirmation Class Choir Day of Epiphany 9:00 am Divine Worship Service online – Facebook 10:15 am Fellowship & Bible Study       Epiphany 1

A Brief Bible Study on God’s Word for Today

God’s activity at that first Christmas when Jesus was born was the unfolding of the grand covenant of world-wide blessings. It was the covenant that He made to Abraham some 2000 years earlier. Now, approximately 2000 years after Jesus’ birth, we continue to reap the benefits. Through Christ we enjoy a “dear Father—son” relationship with the almighty God Himself.

The Epistle Lesson: Galatians 4:4-7  (answers are found below)

1. What do you understand by “when the time had fully come?”
2. What is the result of Jesus coming?

Those We Remember In Our Prayers:   Greg Miller; Lou Schulz; Norine Richardson; Jodi Milam; William & Laurie Moon; Pauline Jaeger; Dave Ballou; Lois Wiese; Barbara Long; John Workentine, Schulz’s brother-in-law; Brandon Schulz with spinal injuries; Khendra Murdoch; Paul & Patsy Michelson; Kevin & Tom Jaster, Laurie Moon’s brother and nephew, with Covid; Gary Sellin; Clyde Johnson, now at Jacob’s Ladder, a special care facility.

New Hymnals   Zion’s copies of Christian Worship – 21 and its accompanying volumes arrived this past week. They are unboxed and may be found in the fellowship hall if you would like to see them.   It may be a while before we make full use of them as we first wish to familiarize ourselves with their content. It will help if you have the time to look at them over the next few weeks. There are materials found in this hymnbook that will also be an aid to family devotions at home.

Thank You for your kind holiday greetings and gifts by which you have remembered our family this Christmas.   Your expressions of thoughtfulness mean a lot. We are happy to say with Paul: “I always thank God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus.   For in Him you have been enriched in every way.” May the Lord bless your families with a rich measure of grace in the days of the New Year that lie ahead. A blessed New Year to you in Christ.

– The Lehmann family

No Face Mask Regulations Facemasks are not required in a church setting in Springfield. If you feel more comfortable wearing a face mask, you may certainly do so. Masks, disposable gloves, and sanitizer are in the narthex and the fellowship hall for your use.

2022 Offering Envelopes are in your mailboxes or fellowship hall where you may pick up your new set for the year ahead.

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, January 11 – Monthly Church Council Meeting

Sunday, January 16 – Annual Meeting

The Week in Review

Christmas Eve Worship: 19; Last Sunday: 17; No Bible Classes; Christmas Eve Offering: $1,868; Sunday Offering:$698.

Next Sunday’s Lessons: Uncovered. What the eye sees differs from what God decrees.

Epiphany 1 – 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 3:15-23 (CW-21, 3-Year Series C)

Answers to Today’s Epistle Lesson Brief Study:

1. God’s plans for us have not only a specific purpose but also a specific time schedule. Jesus was born at a specific time because all the elements God was putting in place were ready. His countdown was over. What wisdom we see in the way He carried it out so that the world would know the Savior!
2. God’s Son became fully human and under law (including circumcised on the eighth day). He did this so that He could free us from the curse of law. Now we receive the full relationship and blessings of being free sons (inheriting children) of God and can live in the security, peace and love of an eternal relationship with Him.

This week I am praying for……

The Story of the Poinsettia

Poinsettia plants are native to Central America. The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett. He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina and sent some of the plants back, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this: There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up. ‘Pepita’, he said “I’m sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy.”

Pepita didn’t know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the ‘Flores de Noche Buena’, or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ; the white leaves His purity.

Poinsettias Given in Honor or Memory by:

Dee Bruck in memory of Chris and in honor of our grandchildren

Sharon Burk in memory of Kenneth & Stella Natvig (parents)

Jim & Purr Inniger in memory of Marilyn Inniger and Talmadge Huston

Pastor & Elizabeth Lehmann in memory of Arnold & Esther Lehmann and Joe Hobson

Laurie Moon in memory of Don & Gwen Jaster

Norine & Wade Richardson in memory of Bobbie and grandparents

Glen & Beth Schulz in memory of Shirley Schulz and Roy & Carol Handrich