Monday, September 22, 2008

Time in the Word - Proper 21 - September 22-27, 2008

In the Lessons for this week deal with sin and an appeal to turn to God for mercy. The Gospel lesson tells of two sons, one of whom repented and entered the Kingdom even though at first he disobeyed the Father. Through Ezekiel god appeals to sinners to repent lest they die, for His will is for every one to live. In the Epistle lesson Paul deals with the problem of disunity in the Philippian congregation resulting from selfishness and arrogance, and appeals for unity by adopting the humble mind of Christ. The suggested Psalm deals with the theme by asking God not to remember the sins of our youth and appealing to God’s mercy and steadfast love.

Collect for Proper 21Lord God heavenly Father, since we cannot stand before You relying on anything we have done, help us trust in Your abiding grace and live according to Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, September 21, 2008Psalm 147:1-5, Antiphon, V. 6, “The Lord lifts up the humble He casts the wicked to the ground.” Those who acknowledge that they are without resources in and of themselves the Lord lifts up while others who trust in themselves will be cast down. This is the definition of faith.

Tuesday, September 22, 2008Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32 –God wants all to repent and live. In Sunday’s first reading God appeals to Israel to repent and live.

Turn from evil to good and you shall live. With that we can agree, but the rub comes in making the turn. What will create a desire to change? Where does one get the power to break away from sin to walk in righteousness? The answer is in “a new heart and a new spirit.” But how does one get a new heart? This takes us to Jesus who said, “You must be born new.” Thus, one does not straighten out his life and then come to Jesus. He comes to Jesus as he is in sin and gets a new spirit. He then follows a new way of life.

Wednesday, September 23, 2008Philippians 2:1-4, 14-18 –Turn from conceit to humility for unity. Paul in the Epistle lessons appeals for unity in the Philippian congregation. Paul, in appealing for unity, presents Jesus as the model of humanity and obedience. Paul pleads for unity in the congregation at Philippi. He uses Jesus as an example of humility. In this lesson Paul shows the dual reality of the humanity and divinity of Jesus. His deity is indicated by the words, “in the form of God” and “equality with God.” His humanity is expressed in the phrases, “emptied himself,” “the likeness of men,” “in human form,” “obedient unto death.” This humility and obedience led to Christ’s exaltation. It is God’s will that every tongue confess him as Lord. In the light of this, Christians are to work out their salvation as God works in them.

What is the solution to lack of church unity? Paul urges his people to have the mind of Christ. His mind was one of humility demonstrated in his taking the form of a servant and dying on a cross. Humility is expressed by considering others better than yourself and being concerned more about others than yourself. Arrogance and pride divide and cause trouble while humility draws together into a unity.

Thursday, September 24, 2008Matthew 21:23-27 – The sinner who repents enters the Kingdom of God. With this parable, Jesus confronts the religious leaders of his time (priests, scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees) who condemn Jesus for his association with sinners (publicans, prostitutes, and so on). This one son who says, “I go” but does not, represents the religious leaders. The other son who says, “I will not go” but later changes his mind and obeys, represents the sinners. Moreover, Jesus points out that when the religious leaders saw sinners repenting upon hearing John the Baptist, they still did not repent. Consequently, the sinners will enter the kingdom before the leaders will.

Here is a case of repentance in action. One son refused to go to work in his father’s vineyard. Then he changed his mind and went to work. This about-face, change of mind from disobedience, from no to yes, from going in the wrong direction to turning in the right direction is the meaning of repentance. When the religious leaders heard the Baptist’s call to repentance, they did not heed it, while the sinners of the day did. It was shocking to the professional religious leaders that Jesus claimed the sinners and not the religious ones were in the kingdom.

Friday, September 25, 2008 Psalm 25:1-10 - The Psalm appointed for next has as the key verse, verse 6. “Be mindful of thy mercy, O Lord, and of thy steadfast love, for they have been from of old” The Psalmist asks the Lord to remember the Lord’s long-standing mercy and love but not to remember my long-standing sin.

Saturday, September 26, 2008John 8:31– This passage is the inspiration for the hymn. “Lord Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word”. Faith clings to the Lord and His teaching. We are called to be faithful; faithful the Lord, to His Word, to each other.

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO


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