The people of God are to be holy as He is holy. Therefore, we should fear, love and trust in Him above all things, and in such faith “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). Such faith toward God and love for the neighbor are the two great commandments upon which “depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:40). The Lord our God Himself has fulfilled His Law on our behalf—in His great love for us, with all His heart and soul and mind, and in a body of flesh and blood like ours. David’s Lord has become David’s Son, so that all our enemies might be put under His feet and that we might be exalted to the right hand of God in Him (Matt. 22:43–45). So His servants bear His Cross in faith and love. For the sake of the Gospel they suffer persecution for their work, bearing their burdens in gentleness, “like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (1 Thess. 2:7). In like manner and with tender affection, they exhort and encourage “like a father with his children” (1 Thess. 2:11–12).
Collect for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost: O God, You have commanded us to love You above all things and our neighbors as ourselves. Grant us the Spirit to think and do what is pleasing in Your sight, that our faith in You may never waver and our love for one another may not falter; 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 Feast of St Luke (18 October): Almighty God, our Father, Your blessed Son called Luke the physician to be an evangelist and physician of the soul. Grant that the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments may put to flight the diseases of our souls that with willing hearts we may ever love and serve You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Collect for the Feast of St James of Jerusalem (23 October): Heavenly Father, shepherd of Your people, You raised up James the Just, brother of our Lord, to lead and guide Your Church. Grant that we may follow his example of prayer and reconciliation and be strengthened by the witness of his death; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Prayer for holiness and purity: Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Prayer for deliverance from sin: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that we turn from our evil ways and live. Graciously spare us those punishments which we by our sins have deserved, and grant us always to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,
Monday, 17 October 2011—
Psalm 9:1–2, 9–10; Antiphon, Psalm 9:18—The
readings for next Sunday all point to holiness of living. As the Old Testament
reading will show, God relates justice with holiness. The Introit helps
establish that theme by proclaiming that, in the eyes of the Lord, the needy shall not always be forgotten, and
the hope of the poor shall not perish forever. How does the Lord look after the poor and the needy? Through His
Church. Along with the proclamation of the Gospel, the Church must always be
the Lord’s arm of mercy toward the less fortunate.
Tuesday, 18 October 2011—
Psalm 1—The psalm for the day draws a picture of the one who is holy:
He walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night. Who is that one? Certainly no
unregenerate man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth
( Gen 8:21). So the
psalm points first to Christ, who fulfills it perfectly, and then to those who
are in Christ, though we fulfill it imperfectly so long as we are this side of
Wednesday, 19 October 2011—
Leviticus 19:1–2, 15–18—What does God expect? What is His
standard for living? You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. Included in the Lord’s concept of holiness is concern
for justice, concern for the poor and needy, and showing love toward those whom
the Lord God has given as our
neighbors. That we can never live up to His standard perfectly, and need a
Savior from our sin, does not excuse us from the obligation to care for others,
using wisely the resources with which the Lord
has richly blessed us.
Thursday, 20 October 2011—
1 Thessalonians 2:1–13—The epistle reading continues St
Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. Here, Paul recounts the faithful
ministry he carried on in Thessalonica, by the grace of God. Paul is not
boasting in himself, but giving encouragement to those Christians who were
feeling the heavy hand of persecution: We had boldness in our God to declare
to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. Further, he was
countering claims by some that his ministry was self-serving: We never came
with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is
witness. Nor did we seek glory from people. Rather, Paul was eager to
preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, and to show mercy to them: We were
ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves,
because you had become very dear to us.
Friday, 21 October 2011—
is the Lord’s measure of holiness? Love. Love toward God and love toward the
neighbor. Jesus summarizes the two tables of the Law: You shall love the
Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind
(Commandments 1—3); You shall love your neighbor as yourself
(Commandments 4—10). These commandments are perfectly fulfilled by Christ, and
are God’s standards for holiness in our lives. Thus, after we have received the
forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation in the Sacrament of the Altar, it is
our prayer that God would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You
and in fervent love toward one another: the two tables of the Law (which
are depicted on the cover using Hebrew numbering).
Saturday, 8 October 2011—The hymn of the day is The Law of God Is Good and Wise (LSB #579). Though the Law of God always condemns us, because we are unable to keep it perfectly, it does not follow that the Law is defective. On the contrary, it reveals God’s standard for living, and, when we see that we are unable to meet that standard, the Law drives us to the cross of Christ, where our salvation was accomplished, and to the Means of Grace—Word and Sacrament—where His salvation is apportioned to us. The hymn on the facing page, The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace, is the perfect complement.
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 is written by Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Casey, IA and Zion Lutheran Church, Dexter, IA