Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Great ‘O’ Antiphons: O Adonai






December 18
O Adonai and ruler of the house of Israel, who appears to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai; Come with an outstretch arm and redeem us.

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain
Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

Morning Prayer Reading 73

The Visitation
 Luke 1 (Selected Verses)



The Birth of Jesus Foretold


26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.

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.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Great ‘O’ Antiphons: O Wisdom





December 17
O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High, pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go.
Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel

shall come to you, O Israel.

Morning Prayer Reading 72

The Annunciation Part 1 
Luke 1 (Selected Verses)



5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,[a] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden.

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.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Advent 4 Series C


FOURTH SUNDAY IN ADVENT – Series C

Micah 5:2–5a
Hebrews 10:5–10
Luke 1:39–45 (46–56)

The Lord Comes to Visit Us in Peace

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; 

The Fourth Sunday in Advent turns our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With Mary we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Spirit of God. As the Lord dealt graciously with her and did great things for her (Luke 1:48–49), so also He manifests Himself and His glory to us in mercy and gentleness. He comes to rule His people in peace, to “shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord.” He comes forth not from the great capital city of Rome or Jerusalem, but from lowly little Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, 4). He comes to sacrifice Himself, in fulfillment of His Father’s will, for the salvation and sanctification of His people (Hebrews 10:10). He who once visited Elizabeth while hidden in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:39–45), now comes to visit us today, hidden in the lowliness of simple water, bread and wine.

Luke 1:39 – 
Ἀναστᾶσα δὲ Μαριὰμ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις ἐπορεύθη εἰς τὴν ὀρεινὴν μετὰ σπουδῆς εἰς πόλιν Ἰούδα,
In the days(those days) of Mary and Elizabeth's pregnancy.  She goes in haste. 

The only action of Mary...everything else is Elizabeth. 

2 Samuel 6, The ark and Mary are met with shouts of joy..."how should the ark come to me?" says David. Both the ark and Mary stay three months...notice the parallelism...”Savior of the nations come.” 

Luke 1:40 –
καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν οἶκον Ζαχαρίου καὶ ἠσπάσατο τὴν Ἐλισάβετ.  
she entered the house of Zachariah and greeted Elizabeth. 

A reversal? Shouldn't Elizabeth greet Mary?  See if there a Jewish greeting..."what is the news of the day?" 'When I heard the sound of your greeting...'

Luke 1:41 –
 καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἤκουσεν [a]τὸν ἀσπασμὸν τῆς Μαρίας ἡ Ἐλισάβετ, ἐσκίρτησεν τὸ βρέφος ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἐπλήσθη πνεύματος ἁγίου ἡ Ἐλισάβετ, 
when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting (it happened) the baby- brephos- (John) - leapt and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit...

at that moment she is inspired...we can trust her message. Specifically applied here, not universal.

Mary asks - "how shall this be?"
Zachariah asks - "how shall I know?" Wrong question...he looks for proof outside of the Word. 

Note: when Zachariah was to speak he should have spoken Aaron's benediction "the Lord bless...". Instead, he speaks, "blessed be the Lord..."

Luke 1:42 –
αὶ ἀνεφώνησεν [b]κραυγῇ μεγάλῃ καὶ εἶπεν• Εὐλογημένη σὺ ἐν γυναιξίν, καὶ εὐλογημένος ὁ καρπὸς τῆς κοιλίας σου.  
In a loud voice, my means of a great cry...“blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you bear."

she offers here a prayer...descriptive...objective, different then the beatitudes of Matthew 5. Completely passive. “You are blessed by God...”

Luke 1:43 –
καὶ πόθεν μοι τοῦτο ἵνα ἔλθῃ ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ κυρίου μου πρὸς [c]ἐμέ; 
why wherefore what do I owe this that am I favored that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 

The zygote is my Lord
John Jefferson Davis, in his book Evangelical Ethics, points out that the incarnation of Jesus Christ has an important role to play in affirming the value of human life (p. 158). He points out that the Creed places the beginning of the life of Christ not at birth but when “he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.”

Likewise, he references Hebrews 2:17 which applies the efficacy of the incarnation to the fact that “in all things He had to be made like his brethren.” Many of the early Church fathers understood the significance of this in terms of their Christology. The early maxim was ‘whatever is not assumed is not healed.’ Thus, God became a zygote in order to heal all zygotes. God became an embryo to heal all embryos. God became a fetus to heal all fetuses. God took upon himself the entirety of human nature from conception on. God became human to heal humanity. Thus, abortion, at any stage of pregnancy, is an implicit attack on the incarnation.

Luke 1:44 – 
 ἰδοὺ γὰρ ὡς ἐγένετο ἡ φωνὴ τοῦ ἀσπασμοῦ σου εἰς τὰ ὦτά μου, ἐσκίρτησεν [d]ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει τὸ βρέφος ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ μου.
as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 

ἰδοὺ Right now the Word reached my ear! An event in time. 

Luke 1:45 –
καὶ μακαρία ἡ πιστεύσασα ὅτι ἔσται τελείωσις τοῖς λελαλημένοις αὐτῇ παρὰ κυρίου. 
blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will  happen, be fulfilled. 

Mary is blessed because she bears the Word and believes the Word. This is pro-formative speech. 

Humility is a subjective position not false degradation. Not looking to self. Forget self and receive what is given to you. 

How is she perceived?  The Pharisees would say to Jesus, "we were not conceived of fornication." – John 8:41

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

Time in the Word - Advent 4

Time in the Word
17–22 December 2018
Preparation for next week, the Fourth Sunday in Advent

This Week’s Morning Prayer Readings
Read and review the following Bible stories for each day…
Monday, December 17- Annunciation- Luke 1- selective verses
Tuesday, December 18 –The Visitation –Luke 1- selective verses
Wednesday,  December 19– Christ is Born – Luke 2 –Selective verses
Thursday, December 20- Christ is Born – Luke 2 - selective verses
Friday, December 21- Chapel Day
From the Catechism Conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer & What is Baptism

The Magnificat:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
He has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The theme for the Fourth Sunday in Advent is How God Sent His Son. Next Sunday, we turn our attention toward the Nativity of Our Lord. With Mary we await the coming of the Christ, her Son, conceived in her womb by the Word and Spirit of God. As the Lord dealt graciously with her and did great things for her (Luke 1:48–49), so also he manifests Himself and His glory to us in mercy and gentleness. He comes to rule His people in peace, to “shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord.” He comes forth not from the great capital city of Jerusalem, but from lowly little Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2, 4). He comes to sacrifice Himself, in fulfillment of His Father’s will, for the salvation and sanctification of His people (Heb. 10:10). He who once visited Elizabeth while hidden in the womb of Mary (Luke 1:39–45), now comes to visit us today, hidden in the lowliness of simple water, bread and wine. 


Monday, 17 December 20181 Samuel 2:1b, 2, 5b–7; Antiphon, Luke 1:46b–47—As the birth of our Lord draws near, the sense of anticipation and expectation is heightened. The antiphon is taken from the Magnificat, the song of the blessed Virgin when she visited and was blessed by Elizabeth, and the as-yet-unborn John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb in joy of being in his Savior’s presence. The entire antiphon looks forward to the salvation of the Lord, the salvation made concrete when the Son of God assumed flesh, and the salvation which was accomplished when He died on the cross. By His death and resurrection, He has brought us to life, made us rich, and exalted us.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018Psalm 80:1–7—Twice in this section (and thrice in the entire psalm), the refrain beseeches the Lord, Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we | may be saved! The immediate context of the psalm was the dark days which had fallen upon the Northern Kingdom of Israel, the people and her kings having forsaken the true God and lapsed into idolatry. For us, the darkness is that of sin, which we desire to be put away and atoned for. Such has been accomplished for us by the Savior of the world, God in man made manifest to us: Jesus Christ. He hassaved and restored us.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018Micah 5:2–5a—Seven hundred years before the birth of our Lord, the prophet Micah was sent by God to rebuke the people for their idolatry and prophesy about the coming Christ. Here, he tells where the Savior is to be born: Bethlehem, the city of David (who was from the clan of Ephrathah). In his Gospel, St Matthew cites this prophecy as fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, 20 December 2018Hebrews 10:5–10—Christ came as a tiny Baby born in a manger in Bethlehem, but let us take care not to romanticize the scene too much. He came for one purpose, and that was to do His Father’s will by offering up His body as a sacrifice for us, so that we—who could never please God, whether by our conduct or by any sacrifices which we ourselves could offer—so that we might be saved and made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Friday, 21 December 2018Luke 1:39–45 (46–56)—The Gospel for Sunday tells of the Visitation, when the blessed Virgin Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist. Both John and Elizabeth were jubilant to be in the presence of the Son of God, even while He was in the womb of His mother. John leaps, Elizabeth blesses Mary, and Mary responds by singing the Magnificat.

Saturday, 22 December 2018—The hymn of the day, Once in Royal David’s City (LSB 376), was designed by composer by Cecil Frances Alexander as a catechism hymn, to go along with the Second Article of the Creed: I believe in…Jesus Christ…conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. It tells the story of the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem, Royal David’s City, as foretold by the prophet Micah.

Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent:Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come and help us by Your might, that the sins which weigh us down may be quickly lifted by Your grace and mercy; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Advent 3




Advent 3 – Series C
December 16, 2018
Philippians 4:4
O Rejoice Ye Christians Loudly


The theme of rejoicing for this the third Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday - reminds us that Advent is not all sorrow, solemnity, and seriousness. For example, the much-loved carol “Joy to the world” is an Advent hymn, not Christmas. The focus of this Sunday is that you are to rejoice for Christ is coming to visit His people. You rejoice as you anticipate Christ who is coming. Today is a time of excitement over Jesus and His coming.

1.      What to do – Rejoice – under all kinds of circumstances – even in the midst of suffering.  The prophet Habakkuk tells his hearers that he will rejoice regardless of the circumstances, which surround his life. We have just come off a challenging growing and harvest season. It is easy for circumstances; especially difficult conditions, to dictate your rejoicing and the reasons for you to rejoice. Recall however, what the Prophet tells us: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3: 17-18)

Transition: The prophet’s rejoicing is not dictated by circumstance, a difficult as they may be. The target of His rejoicing is in the Lord.

2.      Why should we rejoice – We rejoice in the Lord – We live in a dark and sinful world. Circumstances and factors beyond our control can bring us low. But what is truly at the root prohibiting our rejoicing is our sin. And to break the bondage of sin Jesus has promised to come.

There is trouble. That comes simply from living in a fallen world. Things don’t work right. Cars break down. Nature doesn’t work right. Tornadoes and hail damage and flooding. People don’t do the right thing. They do things that hurt us, whether directly or indirectly. Economic decisions, way above our heads, cost us money. Or, more directly, thieves break in and steal our stuff. There’s emotional hurt, too. People we care about betray us and break our hearts. People we love–we see them suffering, and we suffer, too. We lose the people we love, whether to death or to distance, and we miss them. All these are troubles we face simply by living in a fallen world, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a Christian or not. You’ve got your troubles; I’ve got mine. We’ve all got them, in one form or another - together.

Jesus is for those who feel bad. They look to their lives and see failure. Their sins rise up against them in a flood of accusations. Jesus has come for people whose faith is battered and weak. He has come for those who want to enjoy the Christmas cheer and join in the holiday celebration, but often feel less than joyous this time of year, so they feel bad about that, too, wondering is Scrooge wasn't right after all.      

To these people comes the Child of Bethlehem. He gives them what they need. He is not content to make them "feel" good. Soothing words are not His to give. Sentimental nonsense never comes from His lips.  He is a real Savior. Who saves real sinners. He didn't come into this world to be venerated or adored. He came to us to be abandoned. He was born to die. Not a noble death. Applauded by the religious. But a death of loneliness. Engulfed in scorn and shame. And that miserable death saved us. For it was your sin which He took, away. The reason for your rejoicing is that you focus on the Lord Jesus.

3.      When do we rejoice? – We rejoice Always!  This is what prompted Paul to write “I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:4-8)

You have the peace and presence of God, which sustains you regardless of circumstance. Not the peace of mind, not the peace of heart, not the peace of men, but the people of God. This divine peace passes all understanding, and keeps the heart and mind focused on Christ. Surely this is good reason for you to rejoice.  Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say, rejoice!
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Words-810
Passive Sentences – 4%
Readability – 78.8%
Reading Level-5.2