Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pentecost Sunday's TDP Gospel reading

In Luke 21:29-31, Jesus teaches us to look at the political troubles and "natural" disasters in a different way than other people look at them. These turmoils are like the signs of Spring, promises of new life in God's kingdom after the deadness of Winter.

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

Did you notice in the OT for Saturday of Easter 7

Numbers 21:4-9 never says that God removed the serpents after He forgave the repentant people. That's what the people pray for in verse 7. But verse 9 implies that the biting of serpents is an ongoing thing, even after the bronze serpent is constructed. However, the text does say God provided salvation and healing for the people. In the same way, God leaves us in the midst of many of our problems here in this life - and yet His salvation and healing in the midst of them is just as true and real as it was for Israel in those days. (As for the symbolism of the serpent on the pole, I'll let Jesus explain that to you in John 3:14-15).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday of Easter 7 and Pentecost

This Sunday's feast of Pentecost reminds us of God's grace, as the Holy Spirit changes the end of the story in Luke 20:9-18. Having been cut to the heart, some 3000 on that day now say v. 14 in a different way - "Jesus was the heir. We killed Him, so that the inheritance would be ours. But that only made us to deserve destruction. Yet by the grace of God in that same death of His Son, He has truly made the inheritance of His kingdom to be ours."

Note - even if you equate the tennants of the parable only with the religious leaders, there still is Acts 6:7.

What are you looking at, Erin?

Oh, I see. It's the author of the quote selected for yesterday and today's Writing from TDP.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday of Easter 7 - God Gets Angry

It seems like anger has been coming up in many conversations lately. God's people get uncomfortable with it because we most often experience the sinful form of anger. We need to understand 2 things about it. First, there is room in the Christian life for a righteous anger. God gets angry. He cleanses the Temple. He hates divorce. If His tears over the death of Lazarus give us permission to be sad at funerals - even though as Christians we are sure and certain about the resurrection of the body we bury - then His anger gives us permission to be upset when sin shows itself destroying the order God has put things in. But there is the second thing that we must understand about this emotion, as Paul (Ephesians 4:26) reminds us of Psalm 4:4, "In your anger do not sin" (NIV). If there were no other Law but this one from God, it would be enough to condemn me for I fail in this temptation often. When I respond in anger, I usually regret it later because I go too far, and trespass across God's boundary between righteousness and sin. But when Jesus looked back at cleansing the Temple, He had no regret. In His anger, He did not sin. And now the Father looks at us as if you and I have Christ's righteousness - even His righteous anger.

In today's OT and NT reading, God shows His anger over how His worship has been abused. And this not because His feelings are hurt. Korah is condemned and the Temple is cleansed for the sake of the safety of His people. Korah and the marketeers had put God's people in danger. (Some of these thoughts come from a sermon on the John 2 text - and yes, I think that was the first time Jesus cleansed the Temple and Luke's account for today during Holy Week was a second time.)

Lord, our hearts are deceiful. Even when you teach us Your ways, we misunderstand where our hearts should be. Help us to be properly angry over sin, and respond appropriately; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

On Using the TDP

Pastor Esget has a post about how to use the Treasury of Daily Prayer, based upon a workshop that he did in his parish. (It is also good advice for your life of Scriptural meditation and prayer if you do not have TDP. But if you don't have it, you have one last week to purchase it at half off at CPH.)
This type of workshop was something I wanted to do, but never did. Family matters and funerals.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24 and Easter 7B - Coincidental timing

The lining up of the date is rather interesting to me - at least for those of us following the three year series of readings in LSB. We heard of the casting of lots to replace Judas. Now if you turn to the back of TDP, page 1298, you'll find that May 24 is the day LSB commemorates Esther.

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.

Sunday of Easter 7

Our Lord annonces a third time (Luke 18:31-33) that He is willing to do what the Rich young ruler was unwilling to do (Luke 18:18-23) - To have a great treasure of people in heaven, the Son of God gave up all that He had and distributed to the poor. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Speaking of loving the neighbor in need over other things, Pastor Cwirla has this must read post.

And actually, being the grandson of a man who provided for his family through woodworking (and served our God through this craft too, building things for his church), Cwila's previous post about Sam Maloof is a great one too. (Mom, make sure you and Dad read it.)

This is a chair Grandpa Leistico made (which I think my dad and my godfather/Uncle Mel helped with, my mother-in-law re-upholstered, and my daughter is enjoying in this picture.)

Make sure to take note of Maloof's view on imperfections. The little imperfections of our new table is one of the things I like about it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday of Easter 6

Jesus knew about your failures in prayer. That's why the Holy Spirit inspired Luke 18:1 to be written, that we be encouraged to never give up.

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).

Friday of Easter 6 - a much needed prayer

I have been very aware this week of terrible (and minor) suffering. It was extremely timely and much needed for Our Lord through TDP to teach me to pray that God might make His people see that through suffering we are prepared to enter His glory.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday of Easter 6

It is foreign to us to give praise and thanks to the source of our blessings (Luke 17:11-19, especially v 18). Complaining is more native to our tongues (Numbers 11:1-14). "The devastation of sin is most evident in the difficulty that we have with prayer." (Weedon's New Lutheran Quote of the Day for yesterday, from John Kleinig, *Grace Upon Grace* p. 156)

Lord, we are truly unworthy servants. We have not done our duty. Increase our faith indeed! (Luke 17:5, 10).
(Image from "Evangelicae Historiae Imagines ", published 1593, planned by Jerome Nadal (1507-80), produced by Bernardino Passeri, Marten de Vos, and Jerome and Anton Wierix. Republished in 1594 and 1595 entitled "Adnotationes et Meditationes in Evangelia".)

TDP discussion

Scot K's comment reminded me to post that you can hear him discuss TDP on Wednesday afternoons on KFUO AM. He is the general editor of TDP, so he knows a bit more about it than I do. Here is a recording of yesterday's discussion.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing for Wednesday of Easter 6

wow, I never would have thought of the Ark of the Covenant being a picture of the Church. (The real one, not this movie prop, which I saw over a decade ago in San Francisco at Planet Hollywood - or was it Hard Rock Cafe?)

Ascension Day Sermons

Sitemeter notes that I have had a huge uptick in visits ever since I posted my homily from a few years back. Apparently I'm not the only one who searches the web for inspiration for my sermons. So, for anyone who is looking for this year, might I suggest this one from Pastor Weedon.

a prayer for Tuesday of Easter 6

(after all, this week's days before the Ascension have traditionally been days of prayer, especially for the harvest. You can read a little more about these days, and about prayer in this sermon.)

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

Monday Easter 6 - Luke 15

Ordinarily since I didn't have time yesterday to post, I might skip to today's treasures. But with such meaty, grace filled texts as Psalm 103 and Luke 15...
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.

Monday Easter 6 - Psalm 103

Psalm 103 has been one of my favorites for going on 11 years now, after I taught it in a Bible class in Delano, California - a place where you can see the east and the west on a clear day since it is between two mountain ranges in the great San Joaquin Valley. Here in Southern Illinois is pretty flat, though our section starts to get a little hilly. But only a little.

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.

Sermon for Ascension Day

This was originally preached to a circuit pastors' gathering in 2004.
The picture is by Garafalo, being used this year by Lutheran's for Life as a bulletin insert.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sermon on "Abide in My Love"

You can the sermon preached today here.

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.

Sunday of Easter 6

Sometimes the italicized Additional Reading at the end of a selection contains important texts. Like today. Numbers 6:22-27, the Aaronic benediction. Which means more than just, "Time to put your coat on, church is almost over" as one member told me it meant to him when he was a child. This benediction puts the Triune* Lord's name on His people. The name that is a strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). The name that brings us forgiveness (Acts 10:43, from today's first reading in the 3 Year series) and salvation. The name which we do not take in vain, but use in our prayers - and even pray for its holy use. In these ways and many more, we are blessed in this name.

* 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

Saturday of Easter 5

In Luke 14:1-6, the Lord could have avoided controversy. He could have arranged for the man with dropsy to meet Him privately later and then healed with no one else knowing. For that matter, He could have done it publicly the next day - after the Sabbath. But, knowing the ruler of the Pharisees and his buddies were watching Him carefully, Jesus makes a big show of it. Why? Our Savior also wants to heal the Pharisees of their pride, as indicated by the parables following the miracle, that they might also join in His Eternal Feast.

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

nothing eternally important

but I think President Wenthe would agree that this is a good First Article gift, and Paul does say "nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4).

Free Chocolate Friday

Friday of Easter 5 - once more to Genesis

Dr. Wenthe in the Isaiah class mentioned that when the Old Testament talks about Heaven, it speaks in terms of a return to Eden. The reading from Leviticus 26:1-20 contains this language. God says, "I will turn to you and make you fruitful and multiply you... I will make my dwelling among you... And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people." Of course, those words are also an apt description of when God became flesh and interacts with His new Israel - see John 1.

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

Thursday of Easter 5 - Repent or Perish

Jesus cuts to the heart of our natural theology. As long as things are going well, we think we need no improvement. When things go poorly, we wonder what needs to change so we can get back to our comfort level. For instance, financial problems at church often lead to someone stating, “We need to get more new members. We need to get our inactives back to church.” Absolutely we must be seeking the lost and wandering. It should be our hearts’ desire at ALL times for more people to join us around the Lord’s Altar – but these statements would carry a lot more weight if said also when things are going well at church. When things are going poorly, those not attending are seen as the fix to our financial difficulties. Until we find a way to get back to financial ease.

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

Comments encouraged

Please feel free to:
+ 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.

What others say #2 – Leviticus

Things to keep in mind while reading Leviticus. I pray they help you.

Wednesday Easter 5 Psalmody

Some time back, my sister asked what my confirmation verse is. I don’t know, nor have I found anything written down confirming that I received one. Today’s Psalmody, 116:12-19, would be very appropriate. (Note – of all things, this is the same selection of verses as for my birthday, November 13). What could I ever give to the Lord that He has not given to me first? Well, besides my sin, that is. He did not give me that. And, as I consider what I have withheld from Him that He first gave me… there’s a lot of it. But He renders to me all the more

+ 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

Tuesday Easter 5 Psalm

If you read today's Psalm and you know me, you probably think I'm going to say something about my quiver being full today.

Monday, May 11, 2009

What others are saying - Monday Easter 5

This from Pastor Weedon on the Leviticus readings.

May 11 - Cyril and Methodius

I'm noticing a trend here. Even Martin Luther is writing today about the blessing of God in us hearing the Word. Make sure to read both pages 270-1 AND pages 1296-7 in TDP today about Cyril and Methodius.

I think I heard Issues, etc is also supposed to have a segment about them today too.

Sunday of Easter 5

"I'd be lying to say I wasn't a little angry at first," McCourt said. "But it's nothing a good night's sleep doesn't solve. Anger gets you nowhere. It doesn't solve any problems."
- in response to Manny Ramirez failing a drug test
Those of you who know me, know my love for the Dodgers and knew I'd be disappointed with the news about Manny. Interesting that the owner of the team, Mr. McCourt, unknowingly echoes the assigned Psalm for yesterday. 37:8 says, "Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil."

Monday Easter 5 - View from a Pew

... or Blessed are those who hear the Word of God... I thought of this verse in a different way yesterday as I sat on the other side of the pulpit God has given me. (I'm recovering from outpatient surgery to clear out my sinuses.)
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

Sabbatical for today's feast

A friend reminded me that Jesus has some words for those who say that they were going to give to God what they should be giving to their parents. I think that applies to wives as well. So the time I would spend posting about today's readings (and pretty much the time of the whole day) will be devoted to the lovely and gracious mother of my children. (Not that there is anyone yet who is reading my posts.)

As for you, ponder the Fourth Commandment. Thank the Lord for moms. And then, as you are able, thank your mom(s).

Saturday Easter 4, part 2 - connecting Luke 10 and 11

In Luke 10, we never find out the end result in the lawyer's life. He starts off testing Jesus, but in the end he is the one who receives the test. Will he receive God the Samaritan's neighborly mercy? Will he stop trying to justify himself, admit he is the deadened traveler, and let Christ be the one to justify him - that is, heal his wounds and bring him to the inn of the Church? Luke does not tell us. Perhaps because to your individual life it does not so much matter how that lawyer responded, but how you respond to the Good Samaritan.
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

Saturday Easter 4

This blog gets its title from one of today's assigned verses - Luke 11:28, where Jesus says, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Today this verse made me pause and remember that if this blog becomes about me publishing things instead of keeping and treasuring the Words our Lord has published, then this blog needs to be either refocused, or deleted.
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

Thursday of Easter 4 - Too many Treasures!

It figures that I'd finally start this the day that such a rich text as Luke 10 would come along. I could be here for a while! Dr. Paul Schrieber once described texts like this as being like a diamond - the more you look at it, the more facets you see.

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.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Monday's Writing

Cyril of Alexandria refers to the Law and the Prophets (as represented by Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration) as being the "bodyguards" of Christ. Pr. William Weedon suggested maybe he meant honor guard. Any other thoughts on this?


This is my first attempt at a blog. The purpose is to jot down thoughts about CPH's Treasury of Daily Prayer readings.