Friday, February 28, 2020

Friday after Ash Wednesday

Friday after Ash Wednesday – February 28, 2020 – Job 42:6
  
[1]
By Thine hour of dire despair,
By Thine agony of prayer,
    By the cross, the nail, the thorn,
    Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies
O’er the dreadful sacrifice,
    Listen to our humble sigh;
    Hear our penitential cry! [2] 

Once confronted with his sin, Job is reduced to two simple words, “I repent.” Job makes a true confession as he comes clean before God. “I am deeply distressed on account of the imaginations of my heart, the words of my tongue, and the acts of my life. I roll myself in the dust, and sprinkle ashes upon my head.” Job is now sufficiently humbled.

In Lent, we’re confronted with the enormity of our sin. We consider the consequence of our life. It caused Jesus to pay the ultimate price for our transgressions. Yet beyond Jesus’ agony and suffering a greater good has come. The Lord considered Jesus innocent pain and death. The Father took notice of Jesus torment and affliction. In exchange for our transgressions the Lord grants us forgiveness and life.

God speaks to man: by His word and through suffering. Suffering is not punishment for our sin rather its aim is that our faith might be refined. The Lord can use suffering as a means to refine and strengthen us. Peter explains,  “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6–7)     

We beseech Thee, O Lord God, to turn Thy face from our sins, and to blot out all our transgressions; and as the publican, who stood afar off, was heard in his humility, so hear us not for our own merits, but for the merits of Him who, being co-equal with Thee, His Father, yet for our sakes took upon Him the form of a servant, our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen [3] 

Support us, O Lord, with Your gracious favor through the fast we have begun; that as we observe it by bodily self-denial, so we may fulfill it with inner sincerity of heart; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. [4] 

1 Image:  Job is tested, Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use
 2 Savior when in dust to Thee, Lutheran Service Book (c0 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
 3 A Lenten Prayer, © 2005 Lutheran Liturgical Prayer Brotherhood
 4 Collect for Friday after Ash Wednesday, http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm

Morning Prayer Reading 102: The Rich Man and Lazarus



Luke 16:19-31




19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

Footnotes:
Luke 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Thursday after Ash Wednesday

Thursday after Ash Wednesday – February 27, 2020 – Luke 18:13
  
[1]
1 Savior, when in dust to Thee
Low we bow the adoring knee;
    When, repentant, to the skies
    Scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
O, by all Thy pains and woe
Suffered once for us below,
    Bending from Thy throne on high,
    Hear our penitential cry! [2]

Two men went up to the temple to pray. One is a smug Pharisee, the other a despised tax collector. One boasted in himself. The other pleaded for mercy.  “The tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” 

Here is the heart of the Gospel. It is defined by mercy and grace. Grace is receiving what we don’t deserve while mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Both are rooted at the cross. One of the most profound prayers the people of God can utter is found in the words of the Kyrie, “Lord, Have mercy, Christ, Have mercy, Lord, Have mercy.”

In Matthew 15:22: the Canaanite woman cries out to Jesus, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David." while in Matthew 17:15 a distraught father pleads, “Lord, have mercy on my son!" From this perspective, our focus should not be on how far we have become rather how great our need. The Lord has promised to come to our rescue. In faith we cry out to Him. Bringing to Him our burdens and our cares. 

Throughout the days of Lent may this simple yet profound prayer be on our lips and our hearts.      

Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help; that in all our works begun continued, and ended in You, we may glorify Your holy Name, and, finally, by Your mercy, obtain everlasting life, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. [3]

Lord Jesus, Holy One of God, You showed that the kingdom of God had come by Your healing the sick and casting out demons. Heal us in both body and soul by the medicine of immortality of Your body and blood that we may truly be Your disciples; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. [4]



 1 Image:  The Pharisee and the Tax Collector, Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use
2  Savior when in dust to Thee, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
3 Collect for Thursday after Ash Wednesday, http://www.liturgies.net/Lent/LentenCollects.htm
 4 Collect for Thursday after Ash Wednesday Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Morning Prayer Reading 101: Jesus Heals a Demon Possessed Boy



Matthew 17:14-21



14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he has seizures and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, [b] and it [c] came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. [d] 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” [e]


Footnotes:
Matthew 17:20 Some manuscripts insert verse 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Luther's Seal © Higher Things permission granted for personal and congregational use

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Ash Wednesday



Ash Wednesday February 26, 2020

The Imposition of Ashes
Prior to the service those who wish to receive ashes to mark the start of the Lenten season may do so. Quietly come forward on each aisle and then return back to your seat. 

Silence for personal reflection

The Ringing of the Church Bell

The Opening Hymn LSB#440, v. 1
“Jesus I will Ponder Now”
The Sentences

P: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” the words of the preacher, O Lord, spoken as the final comment on life.

C: THE WORDS OF ENDING RECALL OUR BEGINNING, FOR OUT OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND GOD FORMED MAN AND BREATHED INTO HIS NOSTRILS THE BREATH OF LIFE, AND MAN BECAME A LIVING BEING.

P: “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” Lowly Adam, formed from dust, yet blessed by You with Your image, O Lord.

C: WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU ART MINDFUL OF HIM, AND THE SON OF MAN THAT THOU DOST CARE FOR HIM.  YET THOU HAST MADE HIM A LITTLE LESS THAN GOD, AND DOST CROWN HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR.

P: Yet, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” for we have sinned against You, Lord God, and we deserve the curse of the dust:  “Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life.”

C: THOU TURNEST MAN BACK TO THE DUST, AND SAYEST, “TURN BACK O CHILDREN OF MEN!”

All: THE LENTEN SEASON IS UPON US ONCE AGAIN, O LORD GOD, AND WE COME TO YOU WITH THE SIGN OF ASHES, THE SIGN OF WHAT WE ARE AND WHAT WE HAVE BEEN.  WITH REPENTANT HEARTS, WE COME TO YOU, BEGGING YOU FOR FORGIVENESS AND LIFE, FOR MORE THAN THE SIGN OF “ASHES TO ASHES AND DUST TO DUST.”

P: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him, because the Lord has anointed Him to bring good tidings to the afflicted, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.

C: TO GRANT TO THOSE WHO MOURN IN ZION, TO GIVE THEM A GARLAND INSTEAD OF ASHES, THE OIL OF GLADNESS INSTEAD OF MOURNING, THE MANTLE OF PRAISE INSTEAD OF A FAINT SPIRIT.

P: For surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows:

C: YET WE ESTEEMED HIM STRICKEN, SMITTEN OF GOD, AND AFFLICTED.

P: But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our 
iniquities.

C: UPON HIM WAS THE CHASTISEMENT THAT MADE US WHOLE, AND WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED.

P: All, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way;

C: AND THE LORD HAS LAID ON HIM THE INIQUITY OF US ALL.

P: He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth:

C: LIKE A LAMB THAT IS LED TO THE SLAUGHTER, HOW LIKE A LAMB, THE VERY LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD.

P: And like a sheep that before his shearers is dumb.

C: SO HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH.

P: By oppression and judgment, He was taken away; and for His generation who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living.

C: STRICKEN FOR THE TRANSGRESSION OF MY PEOPLE.

P: And they made His grave with the wicked and with a rich man is His death;

C: ALTHOUGH HE HAD DONE NO VIOLENCE, AND THERE WAS NO DECEIT IN HIS MOUTH.

P: That is why Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with ashes of repentance.

C: AND WITH THE HOPE OF LIFE OUT OF THE ASHES.

P: With the Lord Jesus in His suffering, humiliation, agony, and bloody sweat;

C: AND AT A CROSS WHERE HE TOOK OUR SINS UPON HIMSELF.
All: THAT GREAT EXCHANGE—GOD’S MERCY AND FORGIVENESS PURCHASED AT THE COST OF HIS OWN SON!  FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.  AMEN.

The Choir “Just as I am Lord”

The Passion Reading

The Sermon Hymn & Homily LSB #440 vs.5

Luke 18:31-34
If my sins give me alarm
            And my conscience grieve me,
Let Your cross my fear disarm;
     Peace of conscience give me.
Help me see forgiveness won
     By Your holy passion.
If for me He slays His Son,
      God must have compassion!
   
The Gathering of the Lenten Offering

The Confession and Absolution

The Ash Wednesday Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Jesus’ Words of Institution

The Distribution

The Distribution Hymns

“Love Divine All Loves Excelling” LSB #700
“Jesus Sinners Doth Receive” LSB #609
“A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth” LSB #438

The Post-Communion Collect

Luther’s Evening Prayer

The Benediction

The Closing Hymn LSB #878, vv. 1, 2, 8
“Abide with Me!  Fast Falls the Eventide”
                     

+ SOLI DEO GLORIA +

As we remember Ash Wednesday today, think about two important points, which this ceremony teaches us—first, our need of a Savior, and, second, the cross on which Jesus died to take away our sins.  

Images copyright © Google images,  Ed Riojas Higher Things 

Ash Wednesday



Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42


Celebrating our 182nd Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

Jesus I will Ponder Now
A Lenten series based on six Chorales written by Sigismund v. Birken & Johan Sebastian Bach

Ash Wednesday 26 February 2020
Luke 18:31-34

Introduction: Today we begin a six week process of observing our Savior’s Passion, suffering and death during the discipline of Lent. Under the theme: “Jesus I will Ponder Now” we will focus on six aspects of the Savior’s Passion as rendered and presented in six beautiful Chorales – four of which were penned by Johan Sebastian Bach. It is my prayer that as we focus on Jesus’ suffering through Scripture and song we will grow in a deeper appreciation of what Jesus has won for us on the bloody and cruel cross of Calvary.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus explains to His disciples, “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” {V.31}

As we consider Jesus’ Passion we observe His work in terms of sin and grace.

I.          If my sins give me alarm and My conscience grieve me.
A.        It is sin which causes us to be alarmed
1.         Sin of commission –committed and  done by
a.         Thoughts
b.         Words
c.         Actions           
2.         Sins of omission
a.         When we had opportunity to do good but failed.
b.         When we could have prevented sin but failed to act or didn’t want to get involved, or the time was not convenient.
B.        Our conscience is troubled when we consider past wrongs, failures, and the nagging question, “What will God do to me at the end of my days?”

Transition: How do we receive a clean conscience and peace of mind? Our hymn verse gives us a clear answer.

II.        Let Your cross, my fear disarm peace of conscience give me.
A.        The cross of Christ disarms our fears.
1.         At The cross the wrath of an offended God was poured out on Jesus Christ God’s own Son.
2.         Paul puts it this way; “God was in Christ reconciling us to the Father not counting our sins against us…               2 Corinthians 5:19
3.         As Christ has taken our sin there is nothing for us to fear.
B.        Peace of conscience is what Christ alone can give.
1.         He gives us His peace – “Peace I leave thee, My peace I give thee…      -John 14:27
2.         This is the only peace, which will sustain us – all other forms or attempts at peace - pale in comparison.

Transition: Christ suffered for us once for all. Yet the Devil will attempt to trip us up reminding us again and again of past failings. He will quote for us chapter and verse where we have sinned. That’s why we need a continued reminder of Christ’s work.

III.       Help me see forgiveness won By Your  holy passion.

A.        All Jesus asks of us is to trust Him.
1.         Trust is nothing more than another word for faith.
2.         Faith is nothing more than taking God at His word.
B.        We trust that what Christ accomplished at the cross is all that is needed to win for us salvation.
1.         Jesus’ words: “It is finished!” says it all!
a.         There is nothing left to be done. Jesus did it all at the cross.
b.         Trusting in Jesus’ work and merit is what our faith must focus.

Transition: As we focus on what Jesus has done we learn an eternal truth – the love and compassion of Christ.  

IV.       If  for me He slays His Son, God must have compassion.

A.        Smile - God loves you! Best summed up by Christ Himself in John 3:16-18

B.        He has had compassion. The Passion of the Christ is motivated by the Father’s compassion for a fallen world. When He gave up His own Son He did the very best. The Father shows that;

1.         He cares for us
2.         He loves us
3.         He sent us His own Son who redeemed this world to save us.

Conclusion: As we begin the discipline of Lent we focus on Jesus’ Passion. He has redeemed us lost and condemned creatures and has purchased and won us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. A great and mighty wonder is to unfold during this Lenten season we watch in awe and wonderment.

Artwork by Ed Rojas © Higher Things
Words - 777
Passive Sentences - 10%
Readability - 79.4%
Reading Level - 5.9


Ash Wednesday – February 26, 2020 – - Luke 18:31-34



Ash Wednesday – February 26, 2020 – - Luke 18:31-34
If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me
Let Your cross my fear disarm
Peace of conscience give me
Help me see forgiveness won
By Your holy passion
If for He slays His Son
God must have compassion [2]


Today, more than on any day of the year, we remember our mortality. Adam, created by the hand of God in His own image from the dust of the ground, is cursed to return to the soil from which he came. The earth is now cursed because of Adam’s fall. Thus, we face up to the cold, hard reality that we are nothing but dust and ash. “For dust thou art, And unto dust shalt thou return.” – Genesis 3:19

Today the journey begins. The process of reconciliation, renewal, and restoration this season offers us begins with brokenness, repentance, and hope, which will rise out of the ashes.[3]
The Lenten season is upon us once again, O Lord God, and we come to You with the sign of ashes, and the sign of what we are and what we have been. With repentant hearts, we come to You, begging You for forgiveness and life.[4]
Almighty God, You have created me out of the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be to me a sign of my mortality and penitence that I may remember that it is only by Your gracious gift that we are given everlasting life; through Jesus Christ my Savior. Amen[5]

Savior, the season of Lent is upon us. You have directed us to come imploring, crying out in Your Father’s name. As we have experienced the Father’s mercy and love, which You earned for us, may we demonstrate this same mercy with others especially those who do not yet know You for You demand both mercy as well as sacrifice from those who would bear Your name.[6]



[1] Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Jesus I Will Ponder Now, stanza 5, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[4] Taken from the CPH Lenten Series Don’t Be Afraid © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis MO