Monday, November 30, 2009

Time in the Word - Advent 2

The Preaching of Repentance Prepares Usfor the Coming of the Lord
The preaching and baptism “of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) prepare us for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. The historic work of John the Baptizer was completed with the first Advent of our Lord Jesus in the flesh, but the ministry of the Forerunner continues in the preaching of Law and Gospel and in Holy Baptism. Through His messengers, the Lord calls people of all nations to “see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). Our haughtiness is removed, and our mountains of pride are brought low, but the Lord humbles us in order to exalt us in His mercy; He fills up our valleys with His peace. As the Lord has begun this good work of repentance in us, so also does he perfect it by His Word and Holy Spirit, and He “will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). He purifies us to be His priestly people, precious in His sight, abounding in faith and love, so that our very lives are offered in righteousness to the Lord (Mal. 3:3–4).

Monday, 30 November 2009—Psalm 81:8, 10–11, 13; Antiphon, Luke 3:4b—The children of Israel had been delivered by the Lord out of their bondage in Egypt, and yet rejected Him. The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit exhorts us to heed John the Baptist, who came to prepare the way of the Lord by preaching repentance. During this pÅ“nitential season, let us examine ourselves, repent of our sins, and prepare to meet our Savior who comes to us.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009—Psalm 66:1–12—A song of praise to the Lord for all of His benefits to His people. All the earth worships You and sings praises to You; they sing praises to Your Name. is echoed in a later Christian hymn which we sing in the Office at Mains, the Te Deum Laudamus.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009—Malachi 3:1–7b—Four hundred years before the birth of Christ, Malachi prophesies about Him (the Lord whom you seek and the messenger of the covenant) and His fore-runner, John the Baptist (my messenger). Jesus will usher in the last judgment and will judge between the self-righteous who simply pay lip service to Him and those who worship Him in truth and purity, trusting not in their own efforts, but in the Savior who alone can gain our salvation.
Thursday, 3 December 2009—Philippians 1:2–11—In Advent, we look forward to the coming of Christ, not only as the holy infant born in Bethlehem, but also His Second Coming. In the epistle for Sunday, St Paul speaks of the increasing sanctification of the Philippians as that day comes nearer. His prayer for their preparation is also his prayer for ours: that our love may abound more and more, that we have knowledge and discernment, and that we may be filled with the fruit of righteousness.
Friday, 4 December 2009—Luke 3:1–14—The Gospel reading tells of the work of the fore-runner of Christ, John the Baptist, in preparing for the coming Savior. John’s message was simple: ‘Repent.’ That is his word to us, also, every day, but especially in this pÅ“nitential season. The life of the baptized is always one of repentance and the subsequent bringing forth of fruits in keeping with repentance, as we confess in our Small Catechism: the Old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die…and a new man daily come forth and arise, who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Saturday, 5 December 2009—The hymn of the day, O Bride of Christ, Rejoice (LSB 335), expresses the joy that Christ’s Church has as she waits in expectation of His coming, not only into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, but especially at the day of glory foretold in ancient story, the Last Day, when He comes to judge the world and take all believers to eternity in heaven.
Collect for the Second Sunday in AdventStir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing HouseSchnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
This week's edition was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion Casey, IA

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent 1


All powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at His coming and call us to His side in the kingdom of heaven, where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

The theme for this the 1st Sunday in Advent is the return of Christ. You and I are encouraged to watch and pray as preparation for the sudden return of Christ. At the start of a new church year it is useful to be reminded of the sobering fact that some day soon the world, with all its history, will be bought to a sudden halt by the return of our Lord in glory. As that old song sings - “soon and very soon we are going to see the King!” At that point the future will no longer be an extension of the present. Instead, it will offer us a glorious alternative to all the sorrow of and anguish of this present existence.

With that prospect before us we shall do well to take up a portion of Scripture that deals with the sings that immediately precede the end of all things. Jesus says to us this day – remain ready to stand.

1. Remain ready to stand amid growing chaos. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Vv.25-26)

A. Sun, moon, and stars were set by the Creator to rule the day and the night. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:17-18) As “powers of the heavens” they keep reminding us of the order and stability that God built into the universe at the time of creation.

1. But just before the Lord’s return to bring the course of history to its end, even these steady elements in our cosmos will begin to show signs of breaking up. The prophets of the Old Testament predicted these events as we approach the coming Day of the Lord.
a. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light Isaiah 13:10
b. I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light. Ezekiel 32:7-8
c. The sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine Joel 2:10

2. The sea is a symbol on Scripture of nations churning in turmoil (Daniel 7:2) but kept under control by God’s providence and power (Psalm 65:7). But there, too forces and events will be allowed to become unhinged, as it were.

B. People exhibit a twofold reaction to these awesome signs.

1. Panic, anxiety and dismay grip those who do not know the Son of Man.

2. New courage and a fresh heart characterize those who recognize the signs as the prelude of God’s mighty act of deliverance.
C. The followers of Jesus Christ will recognize the signs of God’s kingdom coming in glory.

1. After these cosmic disturbances people everywhere will see the Son of Man returning by way of the kind of cloud with which He was taken up into glory. After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. (Acts 1:9)

2. He will come in power and great splendor. The era of his “veiled” activities in grace will end.

D. Jesus description of the growing chaos in the universe summarily dismisses false dreams.

1. Rejected are people’s dreams of creating their own utopias here on earth. This text is a reminder that no new social or political structures will bring in a perfect setting, as liberation theology and Marxism proclaim.

2. Equally unacceptable is every type of expectation that a millennium will precede the Parousia.

2. In the presence of the Son of Man. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)

A. Knowledge of Jesus Christ as the Son of Man prepares us to stand in His presence. Jesus Himself preferred to use this title during His earthly ministry, a ministry in which He demonstrated its meaning.

1. The Son of man has authority to do what is the prerogative of God alone; to forgive sins. But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . .” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” (Mark 2:10)

2. The Son of Man is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 ready to go into death. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” (Mark 10:33-34)

3. The Son of Man is the celestial figure of Daniel 8:23, who has received power and dominion to rule for His church as its Head. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)

B. Christians are called to live a life that readies them for the return of the Son of Man.

1. We cling to Jesus’ words because they will never pass away, they remain steady and sure and all chaos and disruption. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away (Luke 21:33)

2. We stay alert in prayer always. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (v.36), asking for a way to escape with “the skies fall in.”

3. We avoid hangovers from yesterday’s debauchery, the drunkenness that is expected to drown today’s sorrows, and the worries dealing with tomorrow’s problems. Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (v. 34)

4. We recognize the announced cosmic disasters as ushering in the time of release from the oppression and affliction that often beset God’s children. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near (v.28)

The first Sunday in Advent serves us well as an occasion to recall the why and the how of being ready always to stand up straight amid the debris of history and in the face of the coming judgment. For “that day” will be hard on those who “sit on the face of the earth” (v.35) in pursuit of their own comfort and convenience. Therefore, be ready to stand.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day

Have you ever helped someone who showed no appreciation? That’s probably where the phrase “no good deed goes unpunished” comes from, or, at least is derived from. When that happened to you, you were of course disappointed. Jesus had a similar experience. Ten men were miraculously healed. But only one returned to give thanks. Jesus question reveals His disappointment – what happened to the nine?

1. This question points to the common failure to give thanks.
A. The nine who did not return to give thanks had faith enough to ask but not to thank.
1. They looked to Jesus for help. “…they called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (Vs.13)
2. They obeyed Jesus’ word without question. When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.” (Vs.14)
3. They were glad to be healed but felt little gratitude to the healer.
B. Are we inclined to ask more often than to thank?
1. When we were delivered from a calamity we perhaps cried out, “Thank God!” but did we continue to live each day in conscious gratitude to God for fulfilling His gracious purpose in our lives?
2. If things have gone well for us, have we remembered to thank God for those pleasant and successful days?
3. If things have gone badly for us, have we been able to thank God for the good that can come to us even through trials?

Where are the nine? What happened to them? Then and now this question points to the common failure to give thanks. We so easily begin to take God’s’ blessings for granted. In our lives there is more petitioning than praising.

2. This question reminds us that there is reason to give thanks.
A. Jesus healed all 10 from an incurable disease. (Vs.14)
1. The Samaritan understood better than the others the meaning of the healing.
2. He looked beyond the healing to the healer (Vv. 15-16)
3. He grasped the greatness of Jesus (V.19)
B. Jesus has not healed us from leprosy, but for all of us He has done something greater.
1. As the Christ of God He died for us to deliver us from Satan, sin, and hell and then rose form the dead to prove His deliverance.
2. He creates and sustains our faith in Him by means of the Word and Sacraments.
C. Jesus gives us man other things that we request, as well as things for which we may not be asking.
1. He gives us health or strength to endure illness.
2. He gives us worldly possessions, if we have little in the way of worldly goods we must nevertheless acknowledge that He supplies our daily needs.
3. He gives us a family in which we give and receive love, friends who support us, and work that fulfills us.
4. He has given us a country in which we enjoy political freedom and also the freedom to worship Him in the way our conscience directs.

Where are the nine? What happened to them? This question reminds us that there is reason to give thanks. What we are and have as redeemed people and as citizens of this country we owe to God. Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.



Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

Lord God, You have revealed Your kindness to all people. Gather the nations into Your Church, that in all the various tongues of this world one hymn of praise may be offered to You; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the Psalter it is also the Bible's central chapter. It is the very center of the 1,189 chapters found in Genesis 1 through Revelation 22. Whereas Psalm 115 was national and Psalm 116 personal, this one is global. and His disciples sang this psalm following the Last Supper prior to going out to the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s kindness and faithfulness has been shown in the past and of this we can be sure it will continue forever. This Psalm is the inspiration for such great hymns as “From all that dwell below the skies” and “Praise to the Lord the Almighty”

1. The Call to PraisePraise the Lord, all you nations; laud Him, all you peoples. (vs.1) This word can be translated as “sing praise.”
A. The world in its totality is lovingly invited to praise Him. God has and will continue to show Israel His kindness and faithfulness. God commands praise from all peoples.
B. The world by its tribes is loudly invited to adore Him. The Lord’s faithful love prevails over all.
C. Father, help me be a witness through my praise for You.
D. Lord, save people from all the nations.

2. The Cause for praiseFor His loving-kindness toward us is great, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. (Vs.2 a-b)
A. The loving triumph of the Lord. The salvation of God’s people is the reason for universal praise. The gospel of Christ is ordered to be preached to all nations, and by him those that were afar off are made nigh. We are among the persons to whom the Holy Spirit here speaks, whom he calls upon to join his ancient people in praising the Lord.
B. The lasting truth of the Lord.
C. Thank You Lord for Your steadfast faithfulness toward Your people.
D. In God's kindness there is mercy, because,
1. Our sin deserves the reverse of kindness.
2. Our weakness requires great tenderness.
3. Our fears can only be so removed.

The Command to praise – Hallelujah! (vs.2c) Thus, we have thanksgiving! In His attribute—He is always faithful. In His revelation—He is always infallible. In His action – it is always according to His promise.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Time in the Word - Advent 1


This is a busy week. Thanksgiving celebrations will be taking place in our homes. Many travel during this time of the year making this week one for family reunions and activities. Many of our college students will be home for a brief break before final exams in a few weeks. The busiest shopping days of the year will be this coming Friday, know to many as “black Friday” as finally stores can start running in the black financially. While many may seem rushed during this particular time of the year spend some time with your Lord in devotion and prayer. Consider the many blessings He has given you as we begin to prepare for His coming as the promised Savior and redeemer of the world.

The theme for the first Sunday of the Church year Advent 1 falls under the theme “The return of Christ” In the Old Testament lesson we learn that God will send a Messiah to execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In the Epistle St. Paul reminds us to prepare for Christ’s return by being blameless in holiness. In the Gospel lesson we are told to watch and pray as preparation for the sudden return of Christ.


Collect for Advent 1Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 23 November 2009Psalm 89:6, 14-16, 18, Antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b – Behold your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation. These words were fulfilled by Jesus when He entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. They hailed Him then but later rejected Him. How would Jesus fare if He were to enter our city today? Christ is always coming to us whether we recognize Him or not. In which ways does He come to us? Hint: it all starts with the word “W” Word, Wafer, Wine, and Water. Prepare for Him now while there is still time. There will come a time when time shall be no more.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009Psalm25:1-10; key verse v6 Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.- The Advent season is a time spent in reflection. We remember the Savior’s prophecies and we see how He fulfilled them. We remember His promises to restore and forgive us and we see how He worked everything out according to the Father’s plan. As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Advent season spend some time thinking of the many gifts and blessings the Savior has given you. How ought we respond with thankful and grateful hearts? How can thanksgiving be translated into thanks living?

Wednesday, 25 November 2009Jeremiah 33:14-16–God’s promise to send a Branch from David will be fulfilled. In verse 14 God promises to fulfill a promise. Was not the promise fulfilled in Christ? Is there still a promise to be fulfilled? Has the promise been fulfilled in you. Let’s look at the one who is coming. Who is He? He is the Son of David- royalty. (v.15) He is work is justice and righteousness. (v.15b) The results of His coming is salvation. (v.16)


Thursday, 26 November 20091 Thessalonians 3:9-13– Be blameless in holiness at the return of Jesus Christ. When Christ comes, we are to be pleasing to Christ. Paul explains what these requirements are. Who can meet them? Is it possible to meet these demands? Love – not only Christians but all people. (v.12) Be blameless in holiness – not only before men but before God. (v.13) How is such perfection obtained? It is found in the holy one of God.

Friday, 27 November 2009Luke 21:25-36– Conditions of the world prior to Jesus’ return. Of this we can be certain the end will come. Will it be this generation? Consider verse 36. The signs of the end are clearly given in verses 25-26. Know the signs! Thus in this Advent season we prepare for the end and for the celebration of Christ’s return. How might we do this? Consider verses 34-36.

Saturday, 28 November 2009—-Luke 19:28-40 Sunday’s hymn of the day is The Advent of Our King. (LSB 331) We come to the beginning of a new church year. The harvest is complete. Thanksgiving festivities have come to a close. We now prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. We anticipate Christ’s sure and certain return in glory. This year will it be a miserable or a merry Christmas? If you are prepared to meet Christ when He comes in the clouds of heaven you will be in the right frame of mind to celebration His first Advent. Circumstances may change. Our perception to them is what is important.
Collect for HarvestLord, 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 or adversity may drive us from Your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for ThanksgivingAlmighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness, though undeserved, still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for the Glorious Reign of ChristLord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer for Christ’s returnO Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplicationAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesu Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Christ the King

Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that He may lead home His bride, the Church, that we with all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

As He stood trial Christ found Himself before Pilate. But Pilate was before Christ as are all people, as Jesus proclaims Himself to be the King of Kings.

1. The King
A. Not an earthly king.
1. He had no army or other trappings of royalty.
2. When the Jews wanted to make Him their king, He refused. Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. (John 6:15)
B. But He was a King indeed.
1. He is a King from eternity. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. (Ps. 24:8; John 1:1)
2. He was predicted in the Old Testament. Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Zechariah 9:9; Isaiah 9:6-7)
3. Yet, He was born a King for us. The wise men from the East asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Matthew 2:2; John 1:14)
a. He is God and man in one person. I and the Father are one. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (John 10:30; Matthew 14:33)
b. He came to bear witness to the truth. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matthew 9:35)
c. He came to die for the sins of the world. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. …and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (John 10:11; Matthew 1:21; 18:11)
d. He came to rise again as conqueror of sin, death, and hell (1 Corinthians 15:55-57) Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Transition: Jesus is King above all kings. To Him has been given a kingdom which shall have no end.

2. The Kingdom
A. The origin of the Kingdom.
1. Planned in eternity through God’s choice of the elect. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)
2. Planned in Christ Jesus. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
B. This Kingdom is worldwide. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16)
C. The blessings of the Kingdom.
1. Not security from want and war.
2. But the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
D. The growth of the Kingdom.
1. Not by military might.
2. But by the proclamation of the truth. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)
E. The duration of the Kingdom.
1. Earthly kingdoms rise and fall.
2. But Christ’s kingdom is everlasting. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen (2 Timothy 4:18)
F. All who hear His voice are members of the Kingdom. When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

To the King of kings and Lord of lords be honor and power everlasting. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen (1Timothy 6:13-16)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time in the Word - Christ the King


The theme for the last Sunday of the church year is the King and His Kingdom. Without any difficulty the theme of kingship can be seen in the lessons. We now come to the end of the church year. Throughout the year we have covered the life, work and teachings of Jesus, and it comes to a glorious climax today with a “Hallelujah Chorus.” The Gospel reminds us that Jesus’ kingdom is not a worldly kingdom. The Old Testament lesson pictures the Son of Man upon His ascension receiving an eternal and universal kingdom. The King of kings will return to earth, according to the Epistle lesson. The refrain of the Psalm for the day could not be plainer: “The Lord is King.”

Collect for Christ the KingLord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 16 November 2009Psalm 39:4-5, 7-8, 12a, Antiphon, 2 Peter 3:13b–We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. The Antiphon expresses the desire of every believing child of God – to be home with the Lord. This is our destiny. We are not earthbound. We are only strangers here – heaven is our home.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009Psalm 93; key verse v1- “The Lord is King” This refrain is the theme of the entire day –The Lord is King. He is the king above all other kings, the one and true God. We offer Him our worship and praise for He is worthy of our worship, praise, glory and honor. He is truly the Christ, our King.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009Daniel 7:13-14– God gives the son of man an eternal kingdom. A vision of the son of man’s presentation to the Lord who gave Him an indestructible kingdom. Here we get the picture of one like a son of man appearing before the Lord, not coming to earth as in Mark 13. By the time of the New Testament, the Son of Man was conceived as an individual, a heavenly figure. Jesus used the term to signify His messiahship. This is the proclamation of the final establishment of Christ’s kingly rule. It says that at the end all things in the world will be subject to Christ and that all nations will serve Him. This is the basis for Christian hope.

Thursday, 19 November 2009Revelation 1:4b-8 – The King of kings’ return will be seen by all. Christ the king of kings will return to the earth. This passage contains a greeting similar to Paul’s, a doxology, an announcement of Jesus’ return, and God’s declaration of His being alpha and omega. Grace and peace come from the Trinity: (God-father; Christ-son; Holy Spirit – “seven spirits”, the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.) The beginning and the end of the passage deal with God, but Christ is the subject of the central section. Jesus is a witness, the firstborn of the dead, the king of kings (death, resurrection and ascension.) Because of His love, Jesus redeemed us, made us a kingdom, and will come to judge the earth.

Friday, 20 November 2009John 18:33-37– Christ’s kingship is totally other than this world. Jesus explains to Pilate that, though He is a king, His kingship is not of this world. Pilate has Jesu inside his court and the Jews are outside. Pilate is torn between the two. He is trying to make up his mind by asking Jesus questions., His first question is whether Jesus is a king. This is a political term and thus it is very dangerous. Jesus dodges the question by asking Pilate if this was his or others’ opinion. The other question concerns what Jesus has done. Jesus explains that His kingship is not of this world. This is proved by the fact that Jesus is not using force to defend Himself. Jesus explains that His mission in the world was to bear witness to the truth. But, only those of the truth and of God will accept His words as truth.

Why was Jesus born? Here we have the answer in Jesus’ own words He was born to bear witness of the truth He was sent by God. He was given a message. He had a destiny. Because of this, He had a reason to live and knew the meaning of life. In a world where many drift and are confused as to the way and wherefore of life, Christ has a message: Discover your divine destiny. As a follower of Christ, one’s mission is to bear witness to the truth – the truth of God’s love for a fallen humanity.

Saturday, 21 November 2009Colossians 1:5, 20, 23, 27 Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 2:24- Sunday’s hymn of the day is O Jesus King Most Wonderful. (LSB 554) As you come to worship tomorrow come expecting to offer your Savior the worship with which He is worthy. Come to offer Him your gift of adoration and praise. But do more then simply come to a worship service – in service worship Him.
Collect for the Glorious Reign of ChristLord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer for home and family: Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

A prayer for Christ’s returnO Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For strong faith in ChristAlmighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved; through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplicationAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesu Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pentecost 24 - Proper 28

O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

People are always curious about the future. What is going to happen? Religious fanatics draw upon isolated passages in Scripture, tear them out of context, and make biblical symbols represent modern nations or persons. Jesus in the words of our Gospel simply tells us what to expect - nothing more and certainly nothing less. With this we ought to leave it.

Is there anything we can do about the coming of the end of the world? Do we sit with folded hands and wait for the worst? Are we passive victims of world conditions? The Gospel gives us plenty to do until the end of days. About this we need to be concerned rather then fixating on the specific day and hour of the end.

This Christ would have us do –

1. Expect trouble. Vs. 2 – “Do you see all these great buildings?" replied Jesus. "Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." Again, in time, Jesus’ words were fulfilled. In the year 70 AD when the Romans entered the city of Jerusalem the great temple was torn down. Not one stone was left to stand on another. To this day there is only a small remnant to that great temple. The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is all that remains of this great temple.

Yet to this hour there are days and times of trouble. People who expect peace will not find it. Those who want to rid this world of injustice will become disappointed. This coming Saturday members of our congregation and our Decatur community will gather at Wyneken School to prepare 40,000 meals. Will it eradicate hunger? Of course not! But we can, at least in a small way, make a significant impact in our community. Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you”. (Matthew 26:11) These words should remind us that trouble and challenges will always befall us, for we live in a broken world that does not always play fair, which is a not always kind, where good people do suffer and bad behavior will sometimes be rewarded. Circumstances differ for each individual, but all share the same experience. As you cry out to God in your need, He hears. He answers.

2. Take heed. Vv.5, 9 - Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you… You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them.” There is a reason Christian for you being the target for such scrutiny and prejudice. It’s not about you – it’s about Him. On account of Me you will stand before governors and kings. Because of Christ and your allegiance and commitment to Him you will be met with resistance. But at the same time you will be given opportunity to be witnesses to them.
Ten years ago this nation reeled in horror at the news of a senseless school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO Cassie Bernall a 17 year old teenager when asked by her killers “Do you believe in God?” answered “yes”. Then they asked her why, though they didn't give her a chance to respond. In the words of Cassie’s mother, “They just blew her away." Cassie Bernall, by her own description of herself, wasn't much different then that of her killers. She was also an outsider, lonely, "a loser without a date for the prom." And. indeed, at a point, she was strongly tempted to the same kind of anger, hatred and bitterness as her killers. Yet, how different her life ended from theirs. Her killers died angry, hysterical, and mad with rage. She died, not unlike Jesus, praying, refusing bitterness, loving, even as she could taste the exact same loneliness as her killers. In Cassie's case the good won out, she died in a fashion remarkably similar to Jesus. She died refusing bitterness in the midst of rejection.[1]
3. Proclaim the Gospel to the nations. Vs.10 - And the gospel must first be preached to all nations (and then the end will come).” The Gospel of the kingdom has been preached around world as a testimony to the nations. Jesus said in Acts, “And you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Within the first generation of Christians that prophecy was fulfilled. Look at a globe. Find a place where the gospel has not been proclaimed. The gospel has literally been preached around the world.

But in this generation, something extraordinary has taken place. Our world took a dramatic change on September 11, 2001 when three commercial airplanes were used as weapons of destruction against American interests. The war on terror was officially declared on that date – September 11, 2001. How significant was that event in world history?

Most of you can recall with vivid memory what you were doing on that Tuesday morning eight years ago. But do you recall what happened four days later on a Saturday morning, September 15, 2001?

On that day, September 15, 2001, a prayer service was held at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. That service was beamed around the world into every corner of this planet. On that day Billy Graham proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ from that church and his message was heard literally around the world. For us, in this generation, Mark 13:10 was literally fulfilled on September 15, 2001. Of all the places our Wyneken eighth graders go to visit in May the National Cathedral is the place where the words of Christ concerning the end took place for us in time and space. They were in kindergarten then. I’m sure they don’t recall much of the events of September 11, 2001.

When this year’s 8th grade class goes to DC they will have hardly any recollection of the events of September 11th - but they will see where September 15, 2001 now takes on far greater significance and importance for us - as we anticipate the last pagan to be converted. When that happens – when the last pagan is converted - then the end will come.

4. Endure to the end. Vs.13 – “All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Notice the Savior’s words. “He who stands firm to the end will be saved.” In spite of great opposition, in spite of challenges great and small, in spite of a future which we do can not see – God wins! All the Lord asks of us is to remain faithful. Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of everlasting life. This the Savior promises. Stand firm in His promises.

Lord, let at last Thine angels come
To Abr’ham’s bosom bear me home
That I may die un-fear-ing
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing
And then from death awaken me,
That these mine eyes with joy may see
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my fount of grace
Lord Jesus Christ my prayer attend my prayer attend
And I will praise thee without end
.[2]


[1] By FR. RON ROLHEISER in the WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER © May 19, 2003 http://www.wcr.ab.ca/columns/rolheiser/2003/rolheiser051903.shtml
[2] Stanza 3 of Lord, Thee I Love with All my Heart Lutheran Service Book © Concordia Publishing House 2006 St. Louis
Martin Schalling 1532-1608

Thursday, November 12, 2009

IN MEMORIAM

Olga Reifsteck
Born into this world: November 2, 1917
Born again in Baptism: November 11, 1917
Confirmed in Christ: March 29, 1931
With Christ in Glory: November 11, 2009
Behold, I stand at the door and knock if any one hears My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with Me. - Revelation 3:20

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bach Collegium to perform Sunday


On Sunday afternoon November 15, 2009 the region’s only early music choral and instrumental ensemble will perform their opening concert of the season at Simpson United Methodist Church, 2501 South Harrison Street in Fort Wayne, Indiana at 5:00 p.m. EDT.


Works to be performed include “The Spirit Also Helpeth” a lilting and engaging work by J.S. Bach; a Magnificat by Schuetz; a preview of the holiday season with a Christmas lullaby by Michael Praetorius; and a never-before-performed work by Scandellus entitled “O Jesus Christ, You Bless All”. Scandellus is a little known 16th century Italian born-German composer and the double choir piece is his only one that has survived. The performance (of the Scandellus) will mark the world premier of this piece, and is well worth a listen.


In its ongoing educational efforts to expose young people to singing Baroque music, the Bach Collegium's membership will swell by 42 at this concert to include the students of the Manchester College A Capella Choir, an auditioned ensemble under the direction of Dr Debra Lynn. The ensemble has toured throughout the US. and abroad, recently including performances at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Vatican in Rome, as well as the Basilica of San Marco in Venice. These college choral singers will join the 30 musicians and 10 college students already singing with the Collegium.


Mission Statement The purpose of the Bach Collegium--Fort Wayne is to enrich the community culturally, emotionally, and spiritually through performances and lectures presented by trained musicians and scholars focusing primarily on the music of J. S. Bach and the Baroque Era.


Philosophy The organization's unique contribution to the Fort Wayne community is this: that the Collegium is the only local choral-instrumental group whose goal it is to perform with a full ensemble of period instruments and make extensive use of Baroque performance practices. As such, the ensemble creates a most harmonious blend of musical forces, including a warmth with Baroque A-415 (not modern A-440) pitch and historically-tempered tuning, and an expressiveness, enhanced by the gentle sonorities and articulation of Baroque reeds, winds, brass, and strings (with the delicate yet invigorating style of Baroque bowing). Collegium presentations bring together internationally acclaimed Bach artists and scholars.
Photo © Bach Collegium – Ft. Wayne, IN

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Time in the Word Pentecost 24 Proper 28


Sunday’s Theme is simply “The Coming End of the World” Mark’s “Little Apocalypse,” chapter 13 is being used to introduce the theme of the end times. Sunday’s Gospel deals with the events of disaster and persecution which mark the birth-pangs of the final end of the world. The Old Testament lesson was chosen to harmonize with the Gospel for it, too, speaks of the end of time and God’s deliverance of His people. The Epistle lesson continues the discussion of Christ as high priest, but indicates that after His once-for-all sacrifice, He is waiting in His exalted state for the defeat of His enemies. As the church year comes to a close, it is fitting to dwell on the end of the world and the return of Christ.

Collect for Proper 28O Lord, by Your bountiful goodness release us from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, that we may stand firm until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 09 November 2009Psalm 48:11-14, Antiphon, Mark 13:13b– The one who endures to the end will be saved. The words of the Antiphon are simple, direct, and profound. If you endure to the end you will be saved. Lord grant while worlds endure we keep God’s teachings pure throughout all generations!
Tuesday, 11 November 2009Psalm 16; key verse v11— You will show me the path of life. The Psalm for this week reminds us that God is our refuge in trying times and assures us that God will not abandon us in our trials.

Wednesday, 12 November 2009Daniel 12:1-3– At a time of great trouble, both the living and the dead will be delivered and the wicked condemned. This week’s Old Testament lesson comes from the prophet Daniel. It deals with the Persian period of history and predicts the end of history. At the end there will be great trouble in the world, but God’s people will be delivered because Michael, Israel’s angelic guardian will come to their rescue. The saved will be those living and dead who have their names in the book of life, a list of God’s faithful people. Here is a statement of the resurrection from the Old Testament. The dead will be raised for eternal life or for eternal death (“contempt”). This life is not the end, but the final verdict comes at the resurrection.

Thursday, 13 November 2009Hebrews 10:11-18 – After his perfect sacrifice, Jesus is seated at God’s right hand until all of His enemies are defeated. The one supreme sacrifice of Christ removes the necessity of repeated sacrifices of animals. These repeated sacrifices cannot remove sin. Jesus’ one sacrifice perfected the faithful. After the perfect offering, Jesus is seated now at God’s right hand waiting for all evil forces to be subjected to Him. This once-for-all-time offering initiated a new covenant which cancels all former covenants and their sacrifices. It is a new covenant of forgiveness. Since there is forgiveness in and through the new covenant, there is no need of other sacrifices for sin.

Friday, 14 November 2009Mark 13:1-13– Before the end of the world comes, there will be natural disasters and Christ’s followers will be persecuted. This chapter from Mark’s Gospel, is known as the “Little Apocalypse.” It is the last long teaching of Jesus in Mark, as though it were a farewell speech. The destruction of the temple is predicted and the disciples privately asked Jesus when this would occur and what would be the signs of the end. But these signs mark only the beginning of the end: earthquakes, wars, and persecution. The end will not come until the Gospel is preached to all nations. When will the end come? When the last pagan is converted.

Saturday, 15 November 2009Hebrews 12:1-3; Revelation 2:10; 14:13; 17:14- Sunday’s hymn of the day is For All the Saints. (LSB 677) Soon we will close out the church year. As citizens of the United States we are also citizens of another country – the Kingdom of Christ in glory. This week we will celebrate Veteran’s day honoring those who have served in the armed forces of our nation. At the same time we honor Christ who has served us defeating our last great enemy death and opened for us the gate which leads to eternal life.
Collect for Pentecost 24O Lord, we pray that the visitation of Your grace may so cleans our thoughts and minds that Your Son Jesus Christ, when He shall come, may find in us a fit dwelling place; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For those in distressed times - Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may mark and receive Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A Prayer for Peace: O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works proceed, give to Your servants that peace which the world simply cannot give that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended by You, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.

A prayer for home and family: Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

A prayer for Christ’s returnO Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For strong faith in ChristAlmighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved; through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pentecost 23 - Proper 27

O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, being ever mindful of the end of all things and Your just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Verses 38-40 serve as an introduction to our lesson for this morning. Jesus warns the disciples against the scribes, for in their greed they devour widow’s houses. By contrast, we see an impoverished widow who places two of the smallest coins, worth a penny, into the temple’s treasury.

Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gifts being given. He calls attention to the widow’s penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich. He claims that she gave more than any other. She gave the most because she gave out of her poverty while others gave out of their abundance.

The heroine of the Gospel is an unnamed widow. She needed the money more than the temple or the priests needed it. It would be expected that those who have shall give and those who have not - do not give. But here is a woman who had as her total wealth two coins. Her net worth – a penny! She is the example for us.

What could she have done?

1. She could have given nothing because she had almost nothing. - But a poor widow came… Vs.42a
This is the final incident in Jesus' public ministry. This story contrasts the greed of the teachers of the law with the generosity and the gift of the widow. This woman had nothing, Think about it for a moment. She had no means of support, no security, nothing. How can you give what you do not have? The point is obvious – you can’t!

2. She could have given one coin to God and kept one for herself. – But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Vs.42 She placed in the box two of the smallest coins in circulation in Palestine. Is this not how we have been instructed how to live? We’ve been taught to live within your means. There are priorities in life. You have to pay for the basic necessities of life – food utilities, shelter and transportation in that order. Then there are your other bills. When all has been paid how much is left? How can you save in this down economy?

3. She gave everything to GodThey all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on Vs. 44 She had given more than all the rich people put together because she had given her whole living. Now she had nothing left! Not even enough to buy a piece of bread. Yet, Jesus knew she would be taken care of by God, in whom she trusted. For this reason her faith is counted as great! It was not the amount of the widow’s gift but the attitude in which she gave. She gave as the Savior gave of Himself.

During these difficult times, especially in times of hardship you need to know of Christ’s presence and power to save. When Jesus preaches in His hometown of Nazareth the people reject Him for He offends them what they had not asked. It was a sad day for the people of Nazareth as they abandoned the Savior – it remains a sad day whenever someone rejects the Savior and His message of grace. And yet, the Savior still calls us to be witnesses for Him in this world for He uses you to be His ambassador of peace and good will. As we gather to worship, to pray, to meet the Savior as He comes to us through His means of grace His message of life and salvation will encourage, strengthen and comfort you.

Jesus does all the work, as He points us to the place where our salvation was won; at a cross and empty tomb. The Father is the one who lifts us up to Himself through His mercy and grace. All He asks of us is to step on the elevator and enjoy the ride. He asks us to place our faith and confidence in Him and to trust Him to do the work He has promised to do.

Jesus sees how much we give. We are among the most generous when, regardless of the size of our money gifts, we contribute sacrificially for the work of Christ’s church. Jesus is not dependent on your gifts. What a relief! Yet, He has arranged to carry out His church’s work through people just like you.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gone!




They will be back in March 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 23 Proper 27

Sunday’s Theme of sacrifice is evident in all three of our lessons for this coming week. In the Gospel a widow makes a sacrifice of money by giving her last penny. The widow of Zarephath gave her last portion of meal and oil to Elijah out of obedience to his command. Jesus made the once-for-all-time sacrifice for the sins of the world out of love for humankind. The Lessons call upon us to give our all as a sacrifice to God. As we are nearing the end of the church year the sermon hymn reminds us to keep our heads up to be vigilant as the Son of man will return at the right time to bring this earth to a close.

Collect for Proper 27O Lord, by Your bountiful goodness release us from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, that we may stand firm until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.


Monday, 02 November 2009Psalm 107:1-2, 41-42, Antiphon, Psalm 107:8 – Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love, for His wondrous works to the children of men! The Antiphon along with the entire psalm is a call to praise the Lord for His unfailing love in that He hears the prayers of those in need and saves them. The Lord has heard the cries of His people in times of great need. Our God will act to help and save His people.
Tuesday, 03 November 2009Psalm 146; key verse v9a—The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow but He frustrates the ways of the wicked. In both the Old Testament lesson as well as the Gospel a poor widow gives all that she has because of great obedience and a strong faith. The key verse reminds us that the Lord will vindicate His own especially the stranger, the widow and the orphan. The Psalmist invites us to praise the name of the Lord especially for His tender mercies to His people.

Wednesday, 04 November 20091 Kings 17:8-16– The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of obedience. A widow feeds Elijah out of her minimum supplies for many days because the supply of oil and meal was never exhausted. The setting is the northern kingdom of the 9th Century with Ahab as king and Elijah as prophet. Because of Israel’s faithfulness, Elijah calls down a drought which lasts three years. When the brook dries up, God sends Elijah to a widow in Zarephath for food and drink lest he starve. However, the widow and her son are also dying of starvation. They have a tiny amount for a last meal before dying. Elijah commands her to give food to him and promises that the meal and oil will not fail. True to his word, each day there was enough for one more meal. The Lord preserves His prophet and is faithful to His Word.

Thursday, 05 November 2009Hebrews 9:24-28 – The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of love. Christ offers Himself but once for the sins of the world and is coming again. The author of Hebrews uses the cult to explain the atonement and return of Jesus. As the Jewish high priest annually entered the holy of holies in the temple, Jesus, the high priest, entered the heavens, the temple of God. The high priest offered a sacrifice annually, but Christ as high priest offers His sacrifice but once.
The high priest offered not his own blood, but Jesus did. His one-time sacrifice took away sin. As judgment comes after a person’s death, so Christ will return for the judgment of the world and to receive those who are waiting for Him.

Friday, 06 November 2009Mark 12:38-44– The sacrifices of God – a sacrifice of faith. Jesus compliments a poor widow for her sacrificial gift to the temple. Vv. 38-40 serves as an introduction to our Gospel lesson for Sunday. Jesus warns the disciples against the scribes, for in their greed they devour widows’ houses. By contrast we see an impoverished widow who places two of the smallest coins, worth a penny, into the temple’s treasury. Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gift being given. He calls attention to the widow’s penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich. He claims that she gave more than any other, because she gave out of her poverty while others gave out of their abundance.

A widow was almost always poor because she had no husband to support her. There was no insurance policies, no death benefits plan, no Social Security. Because she was extremely poor, she could have been excused from giving to the Lord’s treasury. Rather she should have been given something from the treasury. Her gift proved that she was not poor spiritually. She had the riches of faith in God to motivate her.

Saturday, 07 November 2009Luke 21:25-36; Matthew 25:31-46- Sunday’s hymn of the day is The Day Is Surely Drawing Near. (LSB508) Just as the days are growing shorter so also time is counting down to the end of the church year and the end of the world as we know it. This calls for vigilance, patience and faith. These themes and ideas are all communicated in this much treasured hymn.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH