Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pentecost 18 - Proper 24 - Time in the Word

We Are Recreated in the Image of God by the Cross of Christ

Plotting against Jesus, the Pharisees attempted “to entangle Him in His talk” by asking about the payment of taxes to Caesar (Matt. 22:15). The Lord pointed to coins required for the tax, and He answered that we should “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). But if coins bearing the image of Caesar should be rendered to him, then man—who is made in the image of God—must be rendered to the Lord. That tax is paid for us by the Lord Jesus, the Image of God in the flesh, by His self-offering on the Cross. And from His Cross, as the Lord’s Anointed, He reigns as the true Caesar over all nations “from the rising of the sun and from the west” (Is. 45:6). The Lord once called and anointed Cyrus “to subdue nations before him and to loose the belts of kings” (Is. 45:1). Now by the preaching of the Gospel, “in power and in the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:4), foreigners from all over the world are “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9–10).

Collect for the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost: O God, the protector of all who trust in You, have mercy on us that with You as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for good government: Eternal Lord, ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that, guided by Your Spirit, they may be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer for the nation: Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Grant that we, who came from many nations with many different languages, may become a united people. Support us in defending our liberties, and give those to whom we have entrusted the authority of government the spirit of wisdom, that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, may our hearts be thankful, and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Prayer for responsible leaders: O merciful Father in heaven, from You comes all rule and authority over the nations of the world for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do well. Grciously regard Your servants, those who make, administer, and judge the laws of this nation, and look in mercy upon all the rulers of the earth. Grant that all who receive the sword as Your servants may bear it according to Your command. Enlighten and defend them, and grant them wisdom and understanding that under their peaceable governance Your people may be guarded and directed in righteousness, quietness, and unity. Protect and prolong their lives that we with them may show forth the praise of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Monday, 10 October 2011Psalm 121:1–4, 7–8; Antiphon, Psalm 121:5Psalm 121 is a Song of Ascents; it was sung by pilgrims making their way up to the holy city of Jerusalem for the celebrations of the great feasts and festivals. It speaks of the help and assistance rendered by the Lord to His people. The first verse is a bit surprising: for people who had to travel great distances from home on foot, hills were often dangerous places, where thieves or wild animals could hide, lying in wait for unwary travelers. But here, the hills refer to the hills surrounding Jerusalem, the place where God dwelt with His people in the temple. It is from Him that our help comes, it is the Lord who watches over us.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011Psalm 96:1–9All the peoples of the earth are called to sing to the Lord, because he has provided salvation for the whole world. Christ won peace and forgiveness not only for Israel but for all people. Since Christ died for all the world, God’s people are to proclaim the message of salvation to the whole world. (People’s Bible)

Wednesday, 12 October 2011Isaiah 45:1–7Isaiah was sent by God in the eighth century b.c. to prophesy to the nation of Judah (the southern kingdom), warning them to repent of their wicked ways, lest they suffer the same fate as their northern brethren, who had been carried off into captivity by the Assyrians. In 586 b.c., the Babylonians fulfilled God’s decree. But Isaiah also prophesied that God would send someone to deliver them from the Babylonians and allow them to return to their homeland. This one was Cyrus, the Persian king. This portion of Isaiah speaks of him. Astoundingly, though Cyrus was a pagan, God calls him His ‘anointed’. Though this term was usually reserved for Israelites who were consecrated as priests, prophets, and kings, this foreign heathen would become the instrument of God to deliver His people. Likewise, in our day, God works, even through godless regimes and governments to take care of Hos people, even when we cannot understand His methods and reasons.

Thursday, 13 October 20111 Thessalonians 1:1–10In this last portion of the Church Year, the epistle readings are drawn from St Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica in Greece. The congregation had been established by Paul whilst on his second missionary journey. All of Paul’s work in the region of Macedonia was marked by severe persecution; the congregation at Thessalonica faced fierce opposition from Jews. When he got to Athens, Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to strengthen the fledgling congregation and to bring a report. The report cheered Paul’s heart, as it told him that, more than just withstanding persecution, the congregation was actively spreading the Gospel throughout Macedonia. The first half of the letter (through 3:9), therefore, expresses his love, thankfulness, and concern for the Christians at Thessalonica.

Friday, 14 October 2011Matthew 22:15–22We Americans often have an adversarial relationship with the civil authorities. We worry about what the government is going to do to us, rather than for us. We may be tempted to withhold what we rightly owe, thinking that they won’t spend it correctly, or that they don’t deserve so much. But Jesus councils us to pay the taxes we owe, but also drawing a line of demarcation between the government and God. There is rightly a separation of Church and State. We do not want the civil government interfering in the affairs of the Church; neither should the Church interfere in matters of state.

Saturday, 15 October 2011As the psalm for the day calls upon all peoples of the earth to praise the Lord, so, too, the hymn of the day, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name (LSB #940), calls upon every creature, on earth and in heaven, to join in the chorus.

Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Ed Riojas, ©Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

This week's Time in the Word written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning 

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