Sunday, October 10, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 21 - Proper 23

Concerned Christians

The lessons for this coming Sunday give us a picture of people in luxury, affluence and leisure but without concern for the less fortunate. In the Gospel Dives has no concern for the hungry man at his palace gate; the dogs have more compassion for Lazarus than Dives does. In the Old Testament lesson we are shown a people enjoying the height of prosperity but who have no concern for the future of the nation. In the Epistle lesson we are admonished not to be concerned about worldly possessions but about the attainment of spiritual values. The theme of this week speaks to our culture, a people with more wealth, comforts and leisure than any other in the world’s history.

Can we find the Gospel in our lessons for this coming week? Where is the gospel in the Old Testament lesson? It is a passage dealing with judgment on a life of luxury. The Epistle calls for a Christian to “aim,” “fight,” and “keep” the Christian faith. In the Gospel the wealthy man goes to hell for not sharing his food. The five brothers are to avoid the fate of their brother by hearing Moses and the Prophets – no suggestion of eternal life by accepting Christ. This takes us to the theme for the day – having concern for others. Concern comes from being in Christ by faith. We have first experienced the concern of Christ and now we are concerned about our neighbor.  

Monday, 11 October 2010Psalm 119:73-75, 77; antiphon, Psalm 119:76— The Psalm section that makes up this week’s introit is taken from one of the many acrostic psalms and is based on the Hebrew letter “Yohd”. Compare verse 73 with verses 80,74, and 79 as well as verse 75 and 78,76 and 77. David asks the Lord to complete the forming He made in his life to help him conform to the Lord’s righteous laws that the arrogant may be put to shame and those who fear may rejoice.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010Psalm 146— The focus is on God, the hope and help of His people, utterly dependable, caring for all in need. God reigns. While I live I will praise God. I will sing praise to God while I have any being. The grand outburst of Hallelujahs, with which the book of Psalms comes to a climatic close, is carried over to the end of the Bible itself, and is echoed in the heavenly choirs of the redeemed (Revelation 19:1, 2, 4, 6).

Wednesday, 12 October 2010Amos 6:1-7— The lessons for this week give us a picture of people in luxury, affluence, and leisure but without concern for the less fortunate. The Old Testament lesson shows us a people enjoying the height of prosperity but who have no concern for the future of the nation.

Thursday, 13 October 20101 Timothy 3:1–13—Our reading through Paul’s first letter to Timothy gives the qualifications for those who hold office in the church namely church workers. In the Greek culture the word was used of the presiding official in a civic or religious organization. Here it refers to a man who oversees a local congregation. The equivalent word from the Jewish background of Christianity is “elder.” The duties of the elder or overseer were to teach and preach (3:2; 5:17) to direct the affairs of the church (3:5; 5:17) to shepherd the flock of God (Acts 20:28) and to guard the church from error (Acts 20:28-31).

Friday, 14 October 2010Luke 16:19-31— The parable of Lazarus is the basis of the gospel lesson for this coming Sunday – In our parable, the rich man has no concern for the hungry man at his palace gates; the dogs have more compassion for Lazarus than the rich man. The parable teaches us that there are no assets after death, thus we reap what we sow now; seeds which lead to eternal life or seeds which will lead to destruction.

In this parable we have a description of wealth and total depravity. This is a description of today’s world. On the one hand is America’s wealth giving us the highest standard of living in the history of the world. On the other hand, we have a third world of poverty and hunger. It could be that the so-called wealthy, either nation or individual, is really the poor man a was the case in the parable. Americans may be the richest on earth, but they can be suffering from the poverty of their abundance.

In this parable there is a unique conversation of the dead. Abraham and Dives. The dialogue tells us some important things about the dead. One is in hell and the other is in paradise. This dialogue can give us a perspective of eternity which can influence our life on earth. There ids a reality of a post-earthly existence. There is another world after death. It is an existence in heaven or hell. Like Abraham and dives, people maintain their identity and recognize each other.

Saturday, 15 October 2010John 10:27-28; Psalm 23 — Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Lord take My Hand and Lead Me (LSB #722). This is a much loved hymn that has made its way back to the hymnal in the pew. When German was the chief language this hymn was sung at almost every funeral. It speaks of the fact that the Savior leads us through every circumstance. As we journey through life realize that the Savior like a shepherd has promised that He will order your days as he shapes your life.

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