Sunday, May 31, 2009
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates;
Behold, the King of glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near;
The Savior of the world is here.
Life and salvation He doth bring;
Therefore rejoice and gladly sing.
To God the Father raise
Your joyful songs of praise.
A righteous Helper just He comes to thee,
His chariot is humility,
His kingly crown is holiness,
His scepter, pity in distress.
The end of all our woe He brings;
Therefore the earth is glad and sings.
To Christ the Savior raise
Your grateful hymns of praise.
How blest the land, the city blest,
Where Christ the Ruler is confessed!
O peaceful hearts and happy homes
To whom this King in triumph comes!
The cloudless sun of joy is He
Who comes to set His people free.
To God the Spirit raise
Your happy shouts of praise.
(LSB 341, stanzas 1-3)
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Note - even if you equate the tennants of the parable only with the religious leaders, there still is Acts 6:7.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
This type of workshop was something I wanted to do, but never did. Family matters and funerals.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Rev. Cwirla (who is getting a lot of mention here today) brings these two texts together in a sermon for this Sunday a few years back:
Have you ever noticed how often God hides His hand behind what appears to
be dumb luck? Luck used to be a holy thing, until the gamblers got a hold of it
and turned it into a religion. We talk about it all the time - how we just
happened to clear that intersection before the truck swerved out of control? Or
how things “just happened” to come together for that new job? If you didn’t know
better, you’d call it dumb luck or coincidence. If you want to read an exercise
in this, read the book of Esther, which never even mentions God. The Jewish
people even play a little game of chance on the festival of Purim to celebrate
their good dumb luck under the hand of God.
It was a fifty-fifty chance that the lot would fall on Matthias. Could it
have gone either way? Perhaps. And certainly God could have worked through
either one of those two men. But the lot fell on Matthias, and he was added to
the eleven. Lucky Matthias. The Lord gets the last word.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
And if you think you do not deserve to have your prayers heard because of your many sins, you are right. But you are also justified by Christ's blood (Luke 18:9-14, Romans 5:9).
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Lord, help us to be like the shrewd manager (Luke 16:1-9) - not in dishonesty and faithlessness, but in single-minded devotion to salvation for ourselves and for our neighbor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Here's something from a sermon I preached. (I most likely got the thoughts from some other brothers in the ministry.)
While his son “was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). Tears of joy streamed down his face. “The father expresses his complete reconciliation and acceptance of his son publicly – and he does this before the prodigal has uttered a word of confession” (Art Just, Concordia Commentary on Luke, pg. 601).
The father does not care what anyone thinks about his behavior. Let his fellow villagers see him running with his robes hiked up. Let them consider his action beneath him and foolish. So what if a wealthy man “with flowing robes never runs anywhere [because] to do so is humiliating,” undignified, shameful (Kenneth Bailey, Poet and Peasant, 181). And so what if his son had been a disgraceful brat - even wishing his father dead when he demanded the inheritance! Their thoughts, the rags on the back of his barefoot son, the wasted inheritance – none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was the joy of finding his son who “was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (15:24).
Dear brothers and sisters, that is a picture of your Lord and Savior. While we were still a long way off, God came down from heaven to seek and save us (Luke 19:10), to rescue us, to give Himself for us – His lost sons and daughters.
And in saving us, God allows Himself to be publicly humiliated and shamed and mistreated. The fellow villagers were disgusted as they wondered “What kind of noble father would run to his bratty, rebellious son?” But what kind of Almighty and Holy God hangs in weakness on a cross as a criminal?
What kind of God? The kind who is like the father running through the village. The True God who wants everyone to see His costly love. He wants everyone to know His love so deep for sheep who love to wander. He refuses to hide His reconciliation with His lost ones. If the bystanders think His actions are beneath Him and foolish, oh well. Their thoughts, the rags of your sin, the blood on your feet from wandering wicked paths – none of that matters to God. The only thing that matters is the joy of finding you, His child, who was lost.
And then Jesus celebrates, this man who receives sinners and eats with them (Luke 15:2). But it is not just Jesus alone with the found sinner. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit celebrate over your salvation. And this Triune joy overflows to the angels of God as they rejoice in heaven over one sinner who repents (Luke 15:10). For Christ fulfills the Father’s will to raise you up at the Last Day (John 6:39). That is the love of your Heavenly Father for you – like the father in the parable – throwing a great banquet and inviting many.
What do I like about the Psalm? It's emphasis on our Lord's care of both body and soul, His healing of physical and spiritual infirmities - like Isaiah 53 and Matthew 9.
This Psalm served well yesterday as I went to a hospitalized member (nothing too serious), and then the nurses asked me to come pray with the family of a dying man whose priest was in a meeting many miles away at the time.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Also, I'm a little frustrated by Copyright law right now. So, since I can't post it, you have a little homework to do in looking up LSB hymn #829. Stanza 2 would be excellent to use as a prayer before reading the Scriptures.
* note how many times the word "Lord" is used.
I hope to write more about Luke 15 later. But for now - how do you hear that Jesus "receives sinners and eats with them"? Lord, silence our grumbling, but cause our repentance that angels rejoice over.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
All glory be to our blessed Lord, who has invited those who cannot repay Him, even those blinded by jealousy – even us.
Friday, May 15, 2009
O Lord, You have brought us out of the kingdom of the Devil, that we should not be slaves to sin any longer. Forgive us our breaking of Your commandments, lead us not into temptation, and deliver us from our evil to Yourself in Heaven.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Luther nailed this “natural theology of good and bad times” in paragraphs 5-10 of his commentary on the First Commandment, which was Tuesday’s Writing from TDP. (If you don’t have Treasury of Daily Prayer, click on the link.)
Take that onto a societal level, and you have people saying it makes sense that horrible Katrina happened in New Orleans – that is such a terrible, sinful city. But the same people would be shocked if such tragedy happened in middle America. (Pastor Brown writes a little bit about that today in this excellent post about America being a not so Christian nation.)
Jesus reminds us that each and every one of us deserves to have Katrina-like tragedy slam down on us in today’s reading from Luke 13:1-5. Remember, repentance is different than regret. Regret is, “I’m sorry I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I won’t do it (that way) again.” Repentance is, “I should never have thought about putting my hand in the cookie jar.” Make sure to read today’s Writing selection from paragraphs 7-10 of the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
+ respond to something I wrote
+ or, if you noticed something in that day's readings, post your thoughts in a comment section from my post for that day (or a previous day if I haven't posted yet).
If the comment is really good, I'll be sure to create a post to highlight it.
+ in the Cup of Salvation which contains the blood that purifies me from those sins
+ and in the Name I call upon, the Name which is a strong tower, the Name in which I am baptized and by which I am absolved.
As He has called me to make vows at my ordination, I am sent to proclaim the precious nature of the death of His saints, that His people no longer be afraid of the one who holds the power of death, that is, the Devil. For through the precious death of His Son, the Lord has loosened my bondage to sin, and loosened my tongue. Seriously. When Pastor Rauschek asked a young acolyte one Sunday morning about 23 years ago if I had ever thought about being a pastor, I thought he had no idea what he was saying. (Actually I would have thought he was crazy. But sixth grade boys who think their pastor is right next to Jesus in holiness never accuse their pastor of being crazy.) If I were to be a pastor, that would mean I would have to stand in front of people and speak. What in the world would I say? I take great comfort in seeing the prophets who thought the same thing when God called them. No temptation comes upon me except that which is common to all.
But the God who is faithful to them is faithful to us. The Lord loosened my bondage to fear of speaking. Still does. Saying the wrong thing – or even the right thing in the wrong way – is a debilitating fear. But Jesus still appears behind doors locked for fear.
“I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all His people, in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.”
Luther’s Sacristy Prayer
Lord God, You have appointed me as a Bishop and Pastor in Your Church, but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task. If I had lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago. Therefore, I call upon You: I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you; I shall teach the people. I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon You Word. Use me as Your instrument -- but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.
There is also this thought. Make sure to read Pastor Fast’s comment.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Monday, May 11, 2009
I think I heard Issues, etc is also supposed to have a segment about them today too.
You are not accidently going to hear the Word. God has to bless for you to hear it. First He has to send it from His mouth. Then, just as the Word made flesh was sent, He must send His apostles out. Lots of reasons for them to stop speaking from their own sinful flesh, and from the sinful world, which eventually stops their mouths with exectutions (see Monday of Easter 5's reading, especially verses 4-12. But the Word they preached continues to spread - like wildfire, or like a forward on the internet - until one day it gets to you.
But still the obstacles to you hearing His Word remain. Just the ones that came to mind yesterday:
+ Health - Your spirit is willing. But your flesh is susceptible to colds and flu, broken bones, hearing loss (we got a new sound system at one of my congregations during Holy Week. Still working the kinks out so that more people can hear.)
+ Kids - Babies are noisy. 2 year olds (and older) like interacting with Daddy and Mommy during the sermon ("Listen to the Pastor, Timothy." And, in all honesty, I only had to say that twice, and our babies and older two were very good during the service. All credit for that goes to my wife.)
Before anyone thinks I think the answer should be to take kids out of church, let me echo the words of one of my predecessors here: "I would rather have kids crying in church than screaming in Hell."
+ Cell Phones
+ Political Climate - not yet a problem here by the grace of God, but plenty of places around the world suffer from governments that outlaw Christianity (and other non-governmental groups that hold power over people through threats of violence)
+ The life history and current context of the person - Where is the person's heart right now? What sins have been committed against them and what have they committed? Is there some disagreement between them and the pastor? Did the listener get enough sleep last night? Did the pastor?
+ What can you come up with that gets in the way?
To survive this "obstacle course," you really do need to be blessed byGod to hear His Word. And you have been. And, as Isaiah 55 reminds, it will accomplish the purposes for which God sent it. For in the wisdom of God, He chose this "foolish" way to create and sanctify you - His people. His Church.
UPDATE - Pastor Weedon apparently is thinking along these lines today too. His New Lutheran Quote of the Day for today is, "Our basic spiritual problem is that we have bad hearing. -- John Kleinig, *Grace Upon Grace* p. 126"
Sunday, May 10, 2009
As for you, ponder the Fourth Commandment. Thank the Lord for moms. And then, as you are able, thank your mom(s).
The same could be said for two Old Testament figures Christ mentions in Luke 11. Jonah is upset over Ninevah's repentance and so God rebukes him. King Solomon marries foreign wives, builds temples to their gods, and worships with them. Does Jonah join in the rejoicing of the angels over the great city that repents? Does Solomon return to true faith before he dies, and thus the angels rejoice? Or do they respond sinfully to God's correction? The writing ends without telling us. Again, perhaps it is so that the question is posed to us.
The other connection I saw is this - in Luke 10, you have Jesus with a private audience of Mary and Martha. In Luke 11, in a very public setting, Jesus teaches the same devotion to the Word as He highlighted in Mary. Blessed is the womb that bore you is not very far from the mindset that led Martha to grumble - the most important thing being what we do for Jesus. But true and eternal blessedness can only come to us as we listen to the Son. Let us not be too busy to receive Your words of eternal life, O Christ.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
I hope to post later some things I noted about Leviticus 19's teaching of the 10 Commandments and also about some connections I saw in Luke's context.
Yesterday included the Lord's Prayer. I still am being taught by the Lord to pray this prayer. So simple, and yet so much depth.
Friday, May 8, 2009
First, in passing, the Old Testament text from Leviticus 17 reminds me of a very not kosher post-Baptism dinner I had 11 years ago, which most likely included me consuming blood (I didn't know what it was. When later describing what I had put on my plate, Dr. Steven Mueller told me his guess was pig's blood. "You have to do something with it when you drain the pig you're going to roast")
Now on to Luke 10
Verse 29, "and he, desiring to justify himself..." - if you don't get this verse, you will never get this text right. It is so natural, since Adam and Eve first did it, to justify ourselves, to find the excuse that makes our sin not so bad, or not be a sin at all. Instead, let Christ be Christ. He is here to justify us. Not to excuse our sin, but to pay for it as the Samaritan pays for the wounded traveler.
Christ's first audience would never have heard about a Samaritan coming along and said, "Oh, this guy represents me." No, he's from a foreign kingdom.
He has compassion, splachnon in Greek, a word the New Testament authors mostly reserved for use in describing God. Jesus has this compassion in Luke 7 for the widow at Nain whose son died. Check out what Rev. Matthew Harrison said about this word to our Southern Illinois District Convention, starting around the 22:45 mark.
(I've really got to learn how to put URLs in this blog nicer).
Oh, and he also has something about justifying ourselves at about the 6:30 mark.
One thing I don't think I ever noticed before yesterday was that Luke puts the account of Mary and Martha right after the Good Samaritan. Your works will not justify you, Martha. Listen to the word that brings your necessary justification, the pronouncement of your innocence in Christ from Christ. Only then do we run the Good Samaritan text through 1 John 4:10-11 (from this Sunday's Epistle in the 3 Year series.)
I could write so much more about this, but children are starting to wake up upstairs.