Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Day


Thanksgiving 2017
Once again we have come to another Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving here at Zion is much more likened to a harvest festival in which we return thanks to the Lord who has given us another year to serve Him in providing the people of this world food to eat.

We have again experienced the four seasons which are so critical and significant to our farming community. There is first, the dormancy of winter in which the world around us sleeps and enters hibernation. But with the emergence of spring comes the hope of another season. Planting leads to growth and maturation in summer which gives way to the harvest of autumn. Each year has its own challenges and this year has had its own.  How should we view this year’s harvest? Let us consider these realities.

  1. Through the kindness of God we have again received the fruit of the earth in their season. Having called upon our Lord we are drawn to the many blessings which flow from His mighty hand. We recall His kindness. His blessings. The richness of His grace. His forgiveness. These we do not deserve – yet, He lavishes them upon us - because He is kind and gentle toward us. This is His nature. He can do nothing else.

As He acts on our behalf we have again received the fruits of the earth. True, our farmers put in many hard and long hours. Fields don’t plant themselves. And someone has to work the harvest. Your work is important. Tremendously important. And yet we find a significant and profound truth. It is the Lord who multiplies and gives the increase. He sends the rain at the proper time. He sends the sunshine. Everything is fixed according to His timetable.

And the harvest which is received comes at the proper time in their season. The Lord has promised that there will always be a crop.  Though we may often times go through cycles of adversity and challenge that Lord has promised there will always be another growing season. The land lays dormant now. Just as Advent leads to Christmas and the discipline of Lent segues into Easter so also the death of winter will only give birth to spring, The Lord promises “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will not cease.” – Genesis 8:22

  1. Our prayer should be that we rejoice in Christ’s mercy. Without the Lord we have nothing. Without His sustaining hand we are left living a life which is dictated to chance. Without His hand ordering our days and guiding our path we are left to circumstances directing our life. We need a balanced life. It is Christ which brings this balance.    

  1. Our prayer should be that neither prosperity nor adversity would drive us from Christ’s presence.

A.   So that neither prosperity in times of plenty, both when the stock market is climbing, and the prices are souring. When yields are high and dividends are increasing. 

B.   Nor adversity – such as the time in which we live today when the future is not so certain when the experts try to explain that we are entering into uncharted waters, where the solution is uncertain.

C.         We pray that these may never drive us from Jesus’ presence. Instead we look to the Lord for direction and life. David reminds us in Psalm 46 “God is our refuge and d strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”

By adopting gratitude, we can discover God’s abundance. Gratitude takes math out of the equation. When gratitude replaces anxiety, even when we find we have less than we had during our worry days, gratitude reveals that we have far more than we need.

Look at the birds of the air,” says Jesus.  “Consider the lilies of the field.” Jesus wasn’t being idealistic. He was being practical. Worry will not add one inch to your stature. Nor can you extend you life through worry. Medical science however has shown that by not worrying, we can add to our life span. We don’t have to worry about our lives day to day – what we are going to eat or drink or wear? Nor do we have to worry about our children’s needs. All we have to do is say thank you, knowing that what needs to happen will, and the rest is not all that important. Gratitude is the secret.

  1. Of course, we always pray through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
A.         Who lives and reigns - For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water, And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.- Revelation 7:17

B.          With You and the Holy Spirit. Blessed by the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to Him because He has shown His mercy to us. -Liturgical Text from the Introit for Trinity Sunday

C.         One God, now and forever. With the evangelist John we can say Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our god forever and ever. Amen -Revelation 7:12

D.         Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father. Place yourselves under each other's authority out of respect for Christ. -Ephesians 5:18-21


Lord God heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presences. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen -A Blessed Thanksgiving - in Jesus’ Name.

Words – 1,025
Passive Sentences –8%
Readability-77.7%
Reading Level –5.5







Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
November 22, 2017

As we gather this night to give thanks to the Lord for another harvest, for an opportunity to serve Him let us come to Him as He has invited us simply to come, for we come at Christ’s great invitation.
Christ’s Great Invitation

I.        Come – UNTO ME – For Rest. Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

A.     Are you burdened? Weighed down by the load and cares of this life? And the troubles of this world? Does sin hamper and consume you? Where can we find relief?

B.     The rest we find comes from the Lord Jesus who suffered, died and rose again for you. To give you eternal rest and gladness. He bore your sins in His own body on the cross that you might die to sin and live unto righteousness.

Transition:  Look to Jesus for rest from the burdens of sin and strife. Look to Him for life. 

II.     Look – UNTO ME – for Life Isaiah 45:22 “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.

A.     The Lord is specific – turn to Me to be saved. There is salvation in no one else. Jesus is the only way to salvation. He desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. He desires all from the ends of the earth to come to Him and be His.

B.     Apart from Christ there is no other way of salvation. There is no other way! He is not just one among many. He alone is the only way.

Transition: As He comes to us for rest, as He comes to us for life He comes to us for us to be made whole.

III.   Turn – UNTO ME – for Restoration Nehemiah 1:9 “but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.”

A. The Lord has a plan, to gather all men to Himself. He desires us to return back to Him. How do we come to Him? We come to Him with humble and thankful hearts. We come at His bidding, at His urging, at His calling.

B.     We come to the place He has chosen. It might be this service tonight. It might have been at a moment in your life when you realized God’s call. It comes daily as He speaks to us clearly through His Word and in His Sacraments. His calling, urging, prompting, is His Holy Spirit at work in you.

Lord God heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presences. At harvest time we praise you as the Lord of all creation. We pray that Your kingdom would come. We thank you for Your amazing generosity to us as You provide for us and support us every day. Forgive us for our indifference and help us to be good stewards of your creation – for everything we have and are – is Yours

Words – 565
Passive Sentences – 10%
Readability – 85%
Reading Level – 4.7








Sunday, November 19, 2017

Time in the Word - Christ the King - Proper 29



Time in the Word
Christ the King 
(Proper 29)
 November 20-25, 2017
Preparation for the Kingship of Christ


The Lessons for this coming week deal with the Last Sunday of the Church year, Christ the King Sunday. On Christ the King Sunday, it is obvious that the kingship of Christ is the theme. The church year closes with a climax in which Jesus is crowned Lord of all. His kingship is universal and eternal. The Gospel portrays Jesus as King-Judge of all nations. The Old Testament lesson is related to the Gospel by the fact that Jesus compares his sheep to himself. Paul depicts Jesus as the victor over the world with all things under Christ’s feet, including death. The Prayer of the Day refers to the Theme of the Day: “King of all Creation” and “The glorious and gentle rule of your Son.” The Psalms pick up the idea of the sheep, but there is reference to “a King above all gods.” The Hymn of the Day uses the phrase “King of kings and Lord of lords,” and refers to the coming judgment.

Collect for Christ the KingMerciful and gracious Lord, You cause Your word to be proclaimed in every generation. Stir up our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may receive this proclamation with humility and finally be exalted at the coming of Your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever


Collect for Thanksgiving - Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and Your generously provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience all our days.

Collect for the HarvestAlmighty God, Your crown the fields with Your blessing and permit us to gather in the fruits of the earth. As stewards of Your creation, may we receive Your gifts in humble thankfulness and share Your bounty with those in need; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer for responsible citizenshipLord keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name.



For blessing on the WordLord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.

Monday, November 20, 2017 - Psalm 39:4-5, 7-8, 12a - The Antiphon for this coming Sunday is from 2 Peter 3:13, “ In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth the home of the righteous.” 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 - The Shepherd King will gather His people. As the shepherd for his people, Yahweh will seek the lost, gather, and feed his sheep with David as the prince among them. A popular metaphor for a religious-political leader in Judah was “shepherd.” False shepherds, says Ezekiel, led Judah to ruin and captivity. So, the Lord will be her shepherd who will bring his sheep out of captivity in Babylon, feed them with justice, and restore them to their former homeland. The nation will be restored under a new leader, a Messiah, a son of David.

The Lord says He will be the shepherd of His people. A shepherd is considered a king in Hebrew writings. He acts like a king who cares for his people. He is a good shepherd, the perfect one. He does only good for his people; seeks, gathers, and feeds them. He has compassion on the lost, the crippled and the weak. Nor does he neglect the healthy ones whom he feeds with justice. “My God, how wonderful thou art!

Wednesday, November 22, 20171 Corinthians 15:20-28 - The King will conquer the world. God has put all things in subjection to Christ. On this Christ the King Sunday, we see Christ as the king over death. His resurrection was the first person to rise from death. Since He rose, the Christian dead will also rise. At the end of time, He will deliver His kingdom to God. All enemies, including death, will be defeated by King Jesus. Then the Son will subject himself to God the Father that God may be everything to everyone.

Thursday, November 23, 2017Matthew 25:31-46 –Jesus will judge the nations. Christ the King will judge the nations. At the end of time Christ is to come as judge of the nations. As Shepherd-King, Jesus will separate the sheep and goats, the good and the bad. The basis of the separation is the nations’ ministering or lack of ministering to the hungry, thirsty, sick, and imprisoned. The passage is not primarily an appeal for social justice or economic aid. 

The main point of the parable is the coming separation of the good and the bad who are destined either for heaven or hell. It should also be noted that what was done to Christ was done not to people in general, but to “the least of these my brethren.” The brethren are Jesus’ disciples.

The word “Me” is used fourteen times in this lesson. It refers to Christ. Is Christ the one who is hungry, naked, and in prison? The sick “brother” is not Christ himself; the hungry man is not Christ.

When we help the needy, we do it as to Christ. This is because Jesus identifies with the afflicted. When we love someone, we say to one who helps the beloved, “What you do for him, you do for me.” Anyone who befriends your child is automatically a friend of yours. Thus in everything we do we do it unto the Lord. 

Friday, November 24, 2017 - Psalm 95:1-7a - This Psalm is the one appointed for this Sunday.  Verse 7a is the key verse, “We are the people of his pasture.”  Our Savior has promised to shepherd us; we are never in want. Thus we cast our worries and cares into His hands as He orders our days and directs our path. He alone is our good shepherd and king. 

Saturday, November 25, 2017 - Hebrews 2:19 -Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn, “The Head that Once was Crowned with Thorns.”  As the Church year comes to a close, we recall that He who Ascended will return in glory. If we are prepared to receive Him on the last great day, we will be ready to celebrate at the time of His birth. The baby in the manger, the death of the man on the cross, and the king who comes in triumph are all one in the same – Jesus our Savior.  

Sources 
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use. 


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Proper 28

Proper 28 –19 November 2017– Matthew 25:14-30

Grace! It's recklessly amazing!



Our Gospel lesson is a continuation from the parable related to the Lord’s return from last Sunday. In the parable of the 10 virgins a basic and yet profound principle is made – each must believe for himself. In the parable concerning the talents the question for us to consider is this - so now that you have come to a saving relationship with Christ what have you done with the Gospel of Jesus Christ? Did you use it or did you abuse it? Did you let your light shine? Or did that light go out?



According to the parable, the Lord’s return is long delayed “It will be as a man who went on a journey…After much time the Lord of those slaves came back and took up works with them.” (Vv.14k 19)

The servants are asked to give an account of their investment. This is the day of reckoning. Two servants doubled the investment and the third buries what he was given. The third servant was condemned for not making the most of his talent. It was taken from him and given to the other two.

Jesus has ascended and His return has been delayed. At His coming. There will be a reckoning. And this parable begs the question. What do you think of Jesus? What is your attitude toward Him? Burger King boasts, “You can have it your way!” And so teaches this parable.

The kind of God you want is the God you get. Have you gossiped the gospel? Or have you cared only for your own security? When Christ returns. He will ask each of us “What have you done with the Gospel entrusted to you?

 Let us pray…

Lord God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by your Holy Spirit that, always keeping in mind the end of all things and the day of judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of life here and may live with you forever in the world to come.”

The parable continues… “To one servant He gave five talents. To a second, two. To a third, one.  Each according to his own power/might/ability…then he went away.”

This is not a lesson on equality. The Master gives the servants what they can handle. No little. No less. Equality is predicated on difference. Not sameness.

You'll be given opportunities according to your ability. Not everyone gets the same opportunity, because not everyone is capable of handling the same amount of responsibility. Whether you're faithful with a little or a lot, God is equally pleased. Being responsible always leads to even more responsibility.

God gives each a gift according to each one’s ability to use it. In the last analysis, however, we are all equal in being accountable for whatever gift we have. A person's Christian calling should not lie hidden and barren: it should be out- going, and self-sacrificial. Don't lose your effectiveness; instead, trample on your selfishness. Or do you think your life is for yourself?

A talent – τάλαντον - had one of two meanings. It was the tribute one country owed another. Consider what’s been making the news these days? Our president has just returned from his Asian trip negotiating trades with other countries because either they owe us or we owe them. So when you hear that one servant received “one talent” think to yourself, he received $1 Trillion!

The value of a talent , could also mean, a sum of money. About twenty-five years of labor by an ordinary person. If that is the case. Here we’re talking about $ 750K to $1 million.[1] So, whether we talking collectively, or individually, it really doesn’t matter. A talent was huge. And that’s the point Jesus makes in this parable.

The Father is reckless when it comes to grace. He hands over a huge amount with no instructions on what to do with it. But they do with it as they believe their Lord to be. These servants are all the same. They are given no instructions on what to do with it. Yet they use their talent based on what they believe their Lord to be.    

When the three are called notice their reaction.  “Coming to him the one with five say, “Lord, you handed over to me five. Look! It gained five more!

Notice also the response of the Master. “Said to him his Lord, well done slave – good and faithful. You have been faithful with “a little” (5 trillion is small!) enter into the joy of the Lord!”   And what is the joy of the Lord? See Revelation 7

This slave offers a confession of grace. Like his master, he too is recklessly investing his gift. And to his amazement, “Look! It gained five more!”  These servants are all the same. They are given no instructions on what to do with what has been entrusted to them. Yet, they do with it as they believe their Lord to be.

The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.' "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Vv. 22-23.

Notice. The response to the two is verbatim! It is the continued generosity of the Lord.

To the servant who was give only one he said, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed.  I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” v. 25. 

You can have it your way! You get the God you believe. This one hated the Lord’s generosity. So He hid his talent. Digging a hole. For fear of what the Master would do.  It’s not that he didn’t want to lose it. He didn’t want the gift in the first place. He gave it back. Because He hated the Master.

He simply says, “Here is what belongs to you!”  He turns his back on the Lord and His gifts. And like the five moronic virgins, who attempt to enter the wedding banquet hall without oil the Master could not acknowledge them for He did not know them. And to them, the door was shut.  

The reason why the Master was so angry at the servant who buried his talent was because he did…nothing. Because he believed…nothing.   God's grace is Amazing.  It’s huge. It is endless. Therefore you never need to give up. But when you give up, you close the door on God changing you.

Consider the Master’s response…”You evil, lazy, servant! Did you really know I a am a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed?” The servant believed a lie. He had abandoned the truth of the gospel and exchanged it for a myth.

Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. v. 27.

The servant who was given five talents was called good and faithful because he was reckless like his Master. He went at once to put his talents to work—do the same. Whatever it is that you need to accomplish in your life, there is something you can do TODAY to get started. It's not your job to worry about what you don't have; it's your job to make the most of what you have.

Your life is for God. For the good of all men. Though your love for your Lord. Your talent. Is it buried? Dig it up again! Make it yield.

Remember. The Father is reckless when it comes to grace. He hands over a huge amount with no instructions on what to do with it. But you do with it. As you believe your' Lord to be.

Christ has entrusted you to the work of His kingdom – the Gospel!  Why? Because His Word works! Because His Gospel works! Because His grace is sufficient. Because He believes in you.
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Words – 1,400
Passive Sentences 9–%
Readability – 83.5%
Reading Level – 3.8




[1] In an article published in the 11.18.2017 edition of the  Journal Gazette the medium annual  income for residents in Adams County was listed at $35,000.  
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Time in the Word - Pentecost 24 ~ Proper 28




Time in the Word
Pentecost 24 ~Proper 28
 November 13-18, 2017
"Preparation for the Lord’s Coming"



The Lessons for this coming week again help us prepare for the coming of our Lord. In the Old Testament lesson, the prophet Zephaniah reminds us of the reason the Lord must return. Sin will cause death and destruction. In the Epistle lesson, Paul assures his readers the children of light will not be surprised when the day of the Lord suddenly comes. The Christians of the first century were concerned about the exact date of Jesus’ return. Paul reminded them that no exact day could be determined, for Jesus will come suddenly and unexpectedly as a thief comes in the night. In the Gospel lesson, we are given the parable of the talents. This is another parable related to the Lord’s return. According to the parable, the return is long delayed (v. 19). The servants are asked to give an account of their investment. Two servants doubled the investment and the third preserved what he was given. The third servant was condemned for not making the most of his talent. It was taken from him and given to the other two. Jesus has ascended and His return has been delayed. When He comes, He will ask for an accounting whether they worked for Him while He was absent or whether they cared only for their security. A hoarded gift is lost and the hoarder is condemned.

Collect for Proper 28Almighty and ever-living God, You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who trust in You.  Dispel from us the works of darkness and grant us to live in the light of Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith may never be found wanting; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever

Prayer for responsible citizenshipLord keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name.

For blessing on the WordLord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.

Monday, November 13, 2017Psalm 143:5-6, 10-11 - The Antiphon for this coming Sunday is from Psalm143:1: “Hear my prayer, O Lord, give ear to my pleas for mercy! In Your faithfulness answer me, in Your righteousness!” David calls for deliverance from his enemies and for divine leading. As he makes his appeal to the Lord, he is confident the Lord will act on his account. Thus we are directed to pray in the morning and evening “…into Thy hands I commend myself…”

Tuesday, November 14, 2017Zephaniah 1:7-16 - The prophet reminds his hearers sin will cause destruction and death. Zephaniah calls upon the nation to be “silent” before God. Similarly a psalmist wrote, “Be still and know that I am God.” If one is to hear what God has to say, there must be silence. Because of this, silence is requested in a library or concert hall. But, there is greater reason for silence. In the face of something catastrophic or terrible, our only reaction is silence. When the seal is broken in heaven, there is a half hour of silence. Zephaniah has a dreadful word from God: The day of the Lord is coming as a day of doom, gloom, destruction, and death for all people. That is enough to shock us into silence.

The “end” is final. There is nothing beyond or it would not be the end. The wrath of God will not be spent until the end of everything. It reminds us of the result of nuclear warfare and the end of the earth. This passage gives us no hope, no solution. The end is promised and it will come, unless.... Or, is it too late?

Wednesday, November 15, 20171 Thessalonians 5:1-11 -Since Christians are children of the day (righteousness) and not of the night (wickedness), they are to remain sober and awake. To be ready and to be equipped to do battle against evil, they are to be equipped with faith, hope, and love. Paul comforts and assures them that God has not destined them to wrath, but to salvation so that whether they live or die, they might be with the Lord.

Thursday, November 16, 2017Matthew 25:14-30 – What the servants have is not their own. The rich man of the parable gave his property to his servants as a trust until he returned. As servants of God, all we have has been given to us: our world, gifts, and our very own lives. Thus, we are stewards of God’s wealth. We are not free to do with his possessions as we wish. God holds us accountable for what we did or did not do with His property.

The Bible teaches us to fear God, but not to be afraid of Him. The servant who did nothing with his talent was afraid of God. Though God is a just God who demands justice, holiness, and righteousness, we need not be afraid of Him, for He loves us. Fear Him? Yes! Fear Him in terms of reverence and awe! When we are afraid, we freeze, hold back, fear to venture. The servant was afraid he would lose his one talent and he knew the master would demand a return of his money. In all ways, fear in terms of being afraid, makes us inhibited, cautious, and withholding. Love dares to venture and invest.

Friday, November 17, 2017 - Psalm 90:1-12 - This Psalm is the appointed one for this Sunday.  Verse 17 is the key verse, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,” David says.  As You Lord only have been our security in the world so also make our labors to be effective and enduring – though we are so transient. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Luke 21:25-36 - Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn; “The Day is Surely Drawing Near.” As the Church year comes to a close, so we look to the time of Christ’s second coming. We need not fear these days for we are confident of Him who orders our days and directs our path. 

Sources
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Service of Hope and Remembrance


A Service of Hope and Remembrance


 I will look to the hills...
GATHERING

We gather in silence, using this time for meditation and preparation for worship, respecting those who value this time of prayer.

INTRODUCTION

We gather as a church, as a community of faith, as family, friends and neighbors, because we need to gather. We gather because our world has been changed this week and nothing is as it was before. So we will worship differently today as well. We welcome anyone who is here as a guest or visitor and hope that you will feel comfortable enough to enter into this worship service fully and to know that you are more than welcome to join us.

There have been so many words this week, so much analysis, so many questions, so much bewilderment. But we begin our worship by remembering particularly those whose lives have been taken this week in acts of violence and terror.

SCRIPTURE – Revelation 7 (selected verses)

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal? They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

LITANY
When the world is in tumult and peace is shattered
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When hearts are breaking and minds are confused
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When words fail and love is frustrated
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When anger rises and hostility surrounds us
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When the way is unknown and the path dimly lit
We turn our hearts to you, O God.
When we turn our hearts to you, O God,
You hear the cries of your people, and answer in love.

PRAYER

Let us pray:

God of mercy,You heal the broken in heart,And bind up the wounds of the hurting.Strengthen us in our weakness,Calm our troubled spiritsAnd dispel our doubts and fears.Renew our faith; restore our joy in this life,For it is you who promises lifeAnd gives us hope for the life to come. Amen

De Profundis  (Psalm 130)

We remember

Let us pray:

Rest eternal grant unto these, O God,And let light perpetual shine upon them.May their souls, and the souls of all the departed,Through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

  
HYMN O God, our Help in Ages PastLSB #733

Text:  Isaac Watts, 1674-1748, alt.  Tune:  William Croft, 1678-1727; setting:The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941.  Text and Music:  Public domain.LSB Hymn License No.  100013721.  Used with permission..

SCRIPTURE– Selections from the Psalms

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud,
Be gracious to me, and answer me.
“Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!”
Your face, Lord, do I seek.
Do not hide your face from me. – Psalm 27

Be gracious unto me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
My eye wastes away from grief,
My soul and body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow,
And my years with sighing;
My strength fails because of my misery,
And my bones waste away. – Psalm 31

HYMN Jesus, Lead Thou On LSB #718


Text:  Nicolaus Ludwig von ZZinzendorg, 1700-60; tr. Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-97, alt.  Tune:  Adam Drese, 1620-1701; setting:  Joseph Herl, b. 1959.  Text and tune:  Public domain; Setting ©2006 Concordia Publishing House, LSB> Hymn License No. 10001372`1.  Used with permission.

SCRIPTURE– Selections from the Psalms

As a father has compassion for his children,
So you have compassion for those who fear you.
As a mother comforts her child,
So you comfort us, O God.
For you know how we were made.
You remember that we are dust.
As for mortals,their days are like grass;
They flourish like a flower of the field;
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place knows it no more.  – Psalm 103 with Isaiah 66:13

The sorrows of death encompassed me
And the pains of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered in distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, save my life!” – Psalm 116

I lift up my eyes to the hills
From whence will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
He will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out
andyour coming in
from this time on and forevermore. – Psalm 121

HYMN Praise the Almighty LSB #797


Text:  Johann danieHerrnschmidt, 1675-1723; tr. Alfred E. R. Brauer, 1866-1949, alt.; Tune:  New-vermehrteChristlicheSeelenharpf, Ansbach, 1665; setting:Christian Worship, 1993.  Text and music:  Public domain.   LSB License No. 100013721.  Used with permission.

Prayers of Intercession

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Now in the words that Jesus taught us, we pray together saying:

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.

HYMN Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise LSB #917


Text:  John Ellerton, 1826-93; Tune: Edward J. Hopkins, 1818-1901; setting:The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941.  Text and music:  Public domain.  LSB Hymn License No. 100013721.  Used with permission.

Depart in Silence

+ Soli Deo Gloria +

In Remembrance


Where is God in the midst of tragedy?
 12 November 2017
Remembering the Saints in the Sutherland Springs 1st Baptist Church Shooting


Sutherland Springs, TX. A tiny, one-horse town. With only one stop light.  The 1st Baptism Church. You’ve never heard of the place. You could have hardly found it on a map.  Until last Sunday. Now it’s a part of our nation’s fabric. 

Where is God in tragedy? Where He always is: in the crucified Christ, where He displays His love for all humanity. He makes our grief’s and sorrows and sins His own; and brings us through death to the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.[1]
Says the Psalmist David, “I cry aloud… that God may hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted. [From Psalm 77]
Yet, we can’t be completely comforted because a very evil act was committed against innocent people. And if we, as a country, and a faith community are troubled, we can only imagine the depth of pain for those who were involved, and for those whose lives have been forever altered.
We should not be too quick to expect people including ourselves to feel “better” after a tragedy. As Christians we must also recognize that this is, at the heart of it all, a spiritual battle with what the apostle Paul calls, “principalities and powers” which suggests that we are locked in combat with a force that does not want to be controlled.  And that gives us a clue as to what; our unique contribution can be at times like this: Prayer.
There is one particular prayer that Jesus teaches and models. It is remarkable part of Christian faith and life. It’s the prayer of Stephen as he was stoned and of Jesus on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” It is one way we obey Jesus’ command to love enemies, even murderous ones—whether they target us or those with whom we sympathize.
Lord, we pray… for those who hate us and those who love us.” Those words might not come easy. For it is something that which does not come naturally to us: loving our enemies—and the enemies of all those we love.
But it would shape us. To become a people, to be Christ’s presence in a hateful and divided world—a world that needs to know of His presence more than ever.
While we can never explain away the unexplainable or make sense of the senseless, we need to be there for our family and especially for our children in tangible ways. Parents, remind you children again and again of your love for them and of Christ’s unfailing love for them as well. This is an opportune time, even at a time like this to express the compassion of Christ.
When tragedy strikes Christ remains. This is nowhere more clearly than in the cross of Jesus, where God was joined to the fullest human experience of loss - suffering an unjust and cruel death -- out of love for us. God is present - not causing chaos but entering into it. Not sending calamity by suffering through it. Not standing over us but holding tightly onto us and promising never to let go. Wherever there is human tragedy and pain, the incarnate and crucified God is there.  
We do not know what condition our nation and society will be tomorrow, or in the future. But we do know where Christ will be from now unto eternity.

Stat Crux Dum Volvitur Orbis” –“ The cross stands while the world spins.” While the world appears to be breaking apart all around us, the cross of Christ stands strong.  We are not given to panic but to pray. So continue in the vocation, which God has placed you. Bloom where you are planted. Gossip the gospel. Stay focused. Be a blessing.
SGD
Words – 650
Passive Sentences – 12%
Readability – 75%
Reading Level -6.2