The theme for the Third Sunday after Pentecost is God Loves You. He shows us His great love in a number of ways: by keeping us safe throughout our lives, as the Introit attests; by healing us and preserving us in body and soul, as the psalm declares; by chastising us, that we might repent of our sins, and seek His mercy, as the Old Testament reading shows; by attending to our needs through the work of others, as portrayed in the Epistle reading; and by overcoming death and destroying its power, as recorded in the Gospel reading.
All the love that God shows us is due to nothing that is in us, for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment, to use the words of the Small Catechism. But the Lord has saved us and provides for all our needs purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.
Monday, 22 June 2009—Psalm 121:5–8; Antiphon, Psalm 121:1–2—Like yesterdays Psalm of the Day (Psalm 124), this is a Song of Ascents, that pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem. On the journey, they had to go through mountains, or hills. To whom do they—and we—look to keep them safe, not just on the way to Jerusalem, but throughout life? 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 and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Tuesday, 23 June 2009—Psalm 30—This Psalm of David praises the Lord for having preserved his life, granting him healing. When he seemed to be at the brink of death, the Lord restored him to life among those who go down into the pit. More than just physical healing, however, the Lord also granted David spiritual healing: when David, trusting in himself, said, ‘I shall never be moved,’ the adversity made him repent of his pride. As a result of physical and spiritual healing, David proclaims, ‘You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!’
Wednesday, 24 June 2009—Lamentations 3:22–33—In the midst of a lament over the fall of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah extols the mercy of the Lord: His steadfast love never ceases…the Lord is good to those who wait for Him. When the Lord’s chastisement has brought about its intended results, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. This gives comfort to us, too: when we repent of our sins, the Lord is quick to bestow forgiveness upon us.
Thursday, 25 June 2009—2 Corinthians 8:1–9, 13–15—When the Christians in Jerusalem were in distress, the churches in Macedonia, though they were also beset by poverty and affliction, gave beyond their means to support their suffering brethren. This was not of themselves, but a display of the grace of God that allowed them to give themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Paul then explains also the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
Friday, 26 June 2009—Mark 5:21–43—Jesus demonstrates His great love for those suffering from some of the consequences of the Fall, sickness and death. Out of compassion, he agrees to go to the home of Jairus, whose daughter is near death. On the way, he is sought out by a woman with an issue of blood. Tenderly, He tells her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well.’ At Jairus’ house, He is met with the news that the little girl is dead. Christ Jesus, who will conquer death on the cross, raises her from the dead, showing His power over death and beginning the work of the restoration of creation. This compassion and mercy flows from the great love God has for us.
Saturday, 27 June 2009—The first stanza of Sunday’s hymn of the day, In the Very Midst of Life (LSB 755), dates back to the ninth century. Luther altered it somewhat and added two stanzas. It is one of the foremost hymns we have for the dying. It strongly proclaims that by Jesus’ blood alone we have atonement for sin and, consequently, refuge from sin and peace with God.
Collect for Pentecost 4—Heavenly Father, during His earthly ministry Your Son Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. By the healing medicine of the Word and Sacraments pour into our hearts such love toward You that we may live eternally; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer in time of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for a sick child: Almighty God, Father in heaven, watch over Your child now afflicted with sickness. Mercifully spare the life You have given. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, and restore her health according to Your gracious will, that she may be raised to a life of faithful service to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for one near death: Eternal Father, You alone make the decisions concerning life and death. We ask You to show mercy to Your servant, whose death seems imminent. If it be Your gracious will, restore him and lengthen his earthly life; but if not, keep him in his baptismal grace and in Your abiding care. Give him a repentant heart, firm faith, and a lively hope. Let not the fear of death cause him to waver in confidence and trust. At Your chosen time, grant him a peaceful departure and a joyous entrance into everlasting life with the glorious company of all Your saints; through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Prayer for time of bereavement: Heavenly Father, into whose keeping we entrust our loved ones, help us to look to You in our time of sorrow, remembering the cloud of faithful witnesses with which we are surrounded. Grant that we may one day share in the joys of those who now rest in Your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Collect for the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (24 June): Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS
Pr. Jeffrey Keuning wrote this week's Time in the Word He serves St. John, Cacey and Zion, Dexter congregations in the Iowa District West - LCMS