Thursday, April 24, 2014

For those who make music in the church

God of majesty, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven, we give You thanks that You provided music for Your Church through musicians. Through music You give us joy on earth as we participate in the songs of heaven. Bring us to the fulfillment of that song that will be ours when we stand with all Your saints before Your unveiled glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

photo from the Bach Collegium of Ft. Wayne, IN

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Wednesday

Long Before the Word is Waking – Lutheran Service Book #485
John 21:1-17

Long before the world is waking,
Morning mist on Galilee,
From the shore, as dawn is breaking,
Jesus calls across the sea:
Hails the boat of weary men,
Bids them cast their net again.

The Savior’s appearance after the resurrection was for our great comfort. Who but Christ Himself could satisfy the deep longing of the human heart at a time of confusion and sorrow? Jesus appears to His disciples to assure them that He is indeed risen from the dead. By their testimony to we confess and believe.

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collect for Easter Wednesday © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Tuesday

Jesus Lives! The Vict’ry’s Won – Lutheran Service Book #490
Romans 8:11, 35-39; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Philippians 1:20-21

Jesus lives! The vict’ry’s won!
Death no longer can appall me;
Jesus, lives! Death’s reign is done!
From the grave will Christ recall me.
Brighter scenes will then commence;
This shall be my confidence.

Besides deliverance from spiritual death, Christ’s resurrection establishes our own resurrection and a share in eternal glory. Fulfillment awaits us in the future. Recall God’s promises (John 11:25; 14:19) In Him we have new hope now! (see 1 Peter 1:3-4)

Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collect for Easter Tuesday © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Monday

Christ the Lord is Risen Today, Alleluia – Lutheran Service Book #463
Mathew 28:5-7; 1 Corinthians 5A:7-8; John 1:29; Romans 6:9

Christ the Lord is ris’n today; Alleluia!
Christians, hasten on your way; Alleluia!
Offer praise with love replete, Alleluia!
At the paschal victim’s feet. Alleluia!

How different life is, now and in the future, when we grasp and share the victory of our glorious Lord.  By His resurrection, we are assured of deliverance from and victory over the death that sin brings. To accomplish this, Jesus truly was dead. The message of Lent and Holy Week reminds us Jesus died for us. Christ’s resurrection is God’s endorsement of His sacrifice (Romans 4:25) Thus the resurrection is the basis for our deliverance from sin, (Ephesians 1:7) for the new life with the Father, (Ephesians 2:1, 4-6) and for power to live new lives. (Romans 6:4)

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collect for Easter Monday © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Sunday

Christ has Arisen, Alleluia – Lutheran Service Book #466             
Matthew 28:5-7; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Christ has arisen, alleluia
Rejoice and praise Him, alleluia
For our Redeemer burst from the tomb,
Even from death, dispelling its gloom
Let us sing praise to Him with endless joy;
Death’s fearful sting He has come to destroy.
Our sin forgiving, alleluia!
Jesus is living, alleluia!

After the women learned that Jesus was risen, their lives were never again the same. We too have problems. We still need direction in life. We now have meaning and hope for life. We cling to God’s promises in the trials of life. Of ourselves we are already dead spiritually. Yet in Christ there is new hope and new life. 

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.[1]

[1] Lutheran Service Book, Collects for Easter © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


20 April 2014
John 20:1-9
Christ is Risen!

O God, for our redemption You gave Your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross and by His glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of the enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned by daily repentance and that day by day we may arise to live before You in righteousness and purity forever.

He is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The resurrection Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of our faith. St. Paul would remind us, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep”. -1 Corinthians 15:17-20

1.       Faith looks at the evidence.
A.      Mary had the evidence but drew the wrong conclusion.
B.      Peter and John had the evidence but were blinded by overwhelming emotion.   –v.9
C.      You have conclusive evidence.
1         The Old Testament prophecies. “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”[1]  “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; [a] when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.”[2]
2         The predictions of Christ Himself. “ .”[3]  “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” “[4]
3         The testimony of the angel at the open grave. “Why seek the living amongst the dead? He is not here. He is risen! Remember how He told you while He was in Galilee? The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day be raised again.”[5]
4         The testimony of Jesus’ enemies. “But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!”[6]
5         The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. In our Gospel lesson, Peter and John ran to the tomb.[7] He appeared to the twelve when the doors were shut.[8] On the road to Emmaus[9] St. Paul will remind us, “He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.  Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”[10]

The evidence of Christ’s resurrection is overwhelming. Faith rejoices in this.

2.       Faith rejoices in the consequences.
A.      Jesus indeed is the Son of God. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.[11]
B.      Jesus is with us as our living Lord. “Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” [12]
C.      The Father has accepted the sacrifice of Christ. “Who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” [13]
D.      Christ’s resurrection is the pledge of our resurrection. “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” -1Corithians 15:20

What treasures there are for us in the empty tomb! “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”[14]

Biblical Source:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

[1] Psalm 16:10
[2] Isaiah 53:10-11
[3] John 2:19;
[4] Matthew 20:18-19
[5] Luke 24:6-7
[6] Acts 5:39
[7] John 20:11-18
[8] John 20:19-31
[9] Luke 24:13-35
[10] 1 Corinthians 15:4-8
[11] John 2:19
[12] Matthew 28:20
[13] Romans 4:25
[14] 1 Corinthians 15:57

Easter Sunrise

 Easter Dawn
20 April 2014
Colossians 3:1-4
New Life

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened for us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  – Collect for Easter Sunrise, Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis.

Jesus lives!  The promise for you is this – “Because I live” Jesus reminds us, “you will live also!” –John 14:19 You have been given a wonderful promise of new life. Not just in a physical, earthly way. But in a higher, heavenly way. The life you live in Christ is to be lived at the highest level.

1.       We have died to sin. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  –Colossians 3:3
A.      Your sinful nature was buried with Christ in baptism. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” –Romans 6:3-4
1.       Since we are not yet rid of sin in our bodies, we continue to feel the effect of sin.
a.       We may become preoccupied with things earthly – making money, acquiring things, getting ahead. These in themselves are not bad. They only become stumbling blocks for us if they become our chief priority.
b.      Our minds may dwell on evil rather than on good – and envying, lusting, and coveting.
c.       We sometimes forget that evil thoughts, as the ancient collect for the 2nd Sunday in Lent puts it, “assaults and hurts the soul.”
2.       Yet we can consider ourselves dead to sin. “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” –Romans 6:11
B.      Christ’s power is available to us to put down sin in our bodies.
1         The same power that He displayed in His resurrection, He now uses fully at the Father’s right hand. As the living, ascended Lord, He gives us power to live on a higher level.
2         We do not have to set our minds “on things that are on earth.” (v.2) Nor do we have to occupy our minds with what is sensual and mean. Rather we can think on those things that age good, right, noble, and true.  Yes, our thoughts are important. Terribly important. “As a man thinks within himself, so he is.” –Proverbs 23:7

2.       We have been raised with Christ.
A.      We were made spiritually alive in our baptism.
1.       We live through faith in the forgiveness of sins. Christ’s resurrection guarantees this. “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,” –Colossians 2:12-13
2.       We are now sensitive to God’s towards toward us.
B.      Our life is hid with Christ. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”   –Colossians 3:3
1.       Christ is withdrawn from the world of sense, yet He is with us always
2.       It is a mystery that we can be in Christ and He in us. Yet this is now your reality.
3.       Christ in us draws us to Himself and enables us to think His own thoughts. “Do not be conformed to this world, [a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
C.      Our life will be manifested when Christ appears. “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” –Colossians 3:4
1.       Our living Lord will come again. Then we shall be like Him in glory.
2.       Our life in Christ will have perfect bodily expression. But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.” -1 Corinthians 15:35,42,43

Life in Christ makes for heavenly-minded living. Continue to live with your sight heavenward.