Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Time in the Word - Proper 27

Time in the Word
Proper 27
November 3-8, 2008
The Day of our Lord

The Lessons for this coming week help us prepare for the coming of our Lord. In the Old Testament lesson the prophet Amos encourages us to prepare for the day of the Lord by exceeding justice. In the Epistle lesson Paul assures us that at the Judgment Day Jesus will bring with him all who died and the Christian people still living on earth will go with them to heaven. The Christians of Paul’s day believed that Christ’s return was at hand. This caused concern for those who already died. Would they miss the glorious event and the opportunity to go with Jesus to heaven? Paul assures them that the dead in Christ will come with him and then he will gather the living. Together the dead and living will go to heaven to be forever with Christ. In the Gospel lesson we find the parable of the wise and foolish maidens. Only Matthew gives the parable. It concerns the return of Christ. His coming is delayed. During the delay, foolish people go to sleep and run out of oil for their lamps. At midnight when least expected, the Bridegroom (Christ) comes. The unprepared have the door shut in front of them. The parable teaches us to be constantly alert and prepared for the sure and sudden return of Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 3, 2008 Psalm 84:1, 9-12 - The Antiphon for this coming Sunday is from Psalm 84:3 “Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008 – Amos 5:18-24- Through Amos God is speaking, “I hate, I despise....” Can God hate? Is he not love? Since God is a personality, he has, like us, the capacity to hate as well as to love. In fact, if one cannot hate, one cannot love. But what or whom does God hate? It is not “whom” but “what.” Always he loves the sinner but not the sin. God hates our wickedness, our insincere worship, and our religiosity: “feasts,” “solemn assemblies,” “noises of your songs.” God hates your hypocrisy. If God hates sin, should Christians not also do the same?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – Paul uses “sleep” to describe the dead in Christ. They are asleep in Jesus. “Sleep” is a comforting concept of the Christian dead. When we sleep, we are at rest. Our labors are over and we rest at peace. When we sleep, we are not dead but alive. We shall awaken out of sleep. We fall asleep on earth to awaken in heaven for a fuller, better life with Christ.

We grieve over the loss of loved ones, but not as those who have no hope of heaven. In Paul’s day, people were grieving because they were worried lest the departed miss out on the return of Christ. They wanted the dead to share in his victory, to see the destruction of Satanic powers, and to rejoice in the spectacular glory of Christ. For Christians, the end time will be a glorious time and we want our loved ones to share it.

When Christ returns at the end of time, the living and the dead in Christ will be together. When Christ leaves heaven for earth, he will bring with him those who died in faith. There is going to be one great, colossal reunion of heaven and earth! Since this is the case according to Paul, we know where our departed loved ones are now. They are with Christ in heaven. To be with Christ is to have life, love, joy, and peace. What more could we want for ourselves or our dearest?

Thursday, November 6, 2008–Matthew 25:1-13 – Five girls are wise and five are foolish. Could there be that many foolish people? According to this, five go to heaven and five to hell; five have life and five have death; five have joy and five are miserable. We fall into one of these two categories. There is no in-between state. When it comes to being prepared for Christ’s return, we are either wise in being prepared or foolish in not being ready to receive him.

Christ’s return is delayed, because the first Christians expected his return in their lifetimes. Since this time, there were Christians in each century who expected the last great day to happen within a short time. Here it is the beginning of the twenty-first century and he still has not come. We humans tend to get weary in waiting to the point that we conclude he is not coming in our time. This results in carelessness expressed in “sleep” (v. 5) and not having an adequate supply of “oil” (v. 3). The delay is fraught with danger for us.

Friday, November 7, 2008 Psalm 50 - This Psalm is the appointed for this Sunday. Verse 1 is the key verse, “O Lord, make haste to help me.” This is the prayer of faith. When we reach out to the Savior with our burdens, joy, sorrow and cares He answers every petition. Our only request, “Thy will be done Lord, Thy will be done.

Saturday, November 8, 2008 Matthew 25:1-13 –- Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn; “Wake Awake, for Night is flying”. The bridegroom comes at midnight. Surprise! Who would imagine a bridegroom coming for his bride at the ungodly hour when the world is asleep? It is the least expected time. Those who stay up late are surely in bed by midnight, and even the early risers would not get up at midnight.

Jesus said his return would be like this. No one would know the day and hour — so be ready! Moreover, the signs of his coming are associated with the midnight of day which becomes the noonday of hell: wars, earthquakes, catastrophes, fear, and so on. When times are at their worst and when people are at their lowest and darkest moments, Christ will come.
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO


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