* = quite the comfort to men who fail as pastors, let alone Christians! Ironically, I was talking with Rev. Doug Nicely today at the hospital about this very fact, that if God hadn't been with the Church, foolish human mismanagement would have put it out of business a LONG time ago!
As for the Scripture readings, Mark 1 tells us that Jesus silences the demons after we have let the Devil have his say in our life for far too long. On the first Sabbath (Genesis 2), God could rest. On that Sabbath in Capernaum, He had work to do to free us from the devil's work. Reminds me of this post by Rev. David Peteren some years back, which helps me think of last night's Divine Service in a new light, granting me rest before an extremely busy day today of serving the Lord and His people (three hospitals-five visits, plus a shut in communion):
During the course of his lectures Kleinig made some profound, off-hand
remarks about the 3rd commandment and the prohibition of labor on the Sabbath. I
am surprised it never occurred to me before, but Kleinig talked about how
strange and magnificent it is that God commands His people to worship Him by
doing nothing. What are we to do? Nothing. God does it all. How do we worship
Him? By doing nothing, by reception of His gifts. The Divine Service is not
where we appease God's wrath or primarily where we serve Him, but where He
serves us. How did I go so long teaching the Catechism and not see this?