Preparation for next week, the 6th Sunday after Epiphany
All Things Are Made New by the Washing of Water with Jesus’ Word
“Moved with pity,” the Son of God has come in the flesh, willing and able to save us. He goes to the Cross to give His body as a sacrifice and to shed His blood for the forgiveness of all our sins. Now He stretches out His hand to touch us with His body and His blood in the Sacrament, and with His Word He cleanses us of all iniquity (Mark 1:40–42). Already in the Old Testament, by the promise of His coming, the Word that He spoke by His prophets had the power to cleanse and restore the flesh of fallen man. Thus, “according to the word of the man of God,” Naaman, the Syrian warrior, was cleansed of his leprosy when he washed in the Jordan, and “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child” (2 Kings 5:14). By the washing of water with His Word, we also are cleansed of all our sins and set free from the burden of the Law. As little children of God, we now seek the good of our neighbor and “do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:24–31).
Collect for Epiphany 6—O Lord, graciously hear the prayers of Your people that we who justly suffer the consequence of our sin may be mercifully delivered by Your goodness to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers for the sick: O Father of mercies and God of all comfort, our only help in time of need, look with favor upon Your servant(s) [name(s)]. Assure [him/her/them] of Your mercy, deliver [him/her/them] from the temptations of the evil one, and give [him/her/them] patience and comfort in [his/her/their] illness. If it please You, restore [him/her/them] to health, or give [him/her/them] grace to accept this tribulation with courage and hope; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.
O Lord, You are the great Physician of soul and body; You chasten and You heal. Show mercy to Your servant(s) [name(s)]. Spare [his/her/their] life (lives) and restore [his/her/their] strength. Even as You gave Your Son to bear our infirmities and sicknesses, deal compassionately with Your servant(s) and bless [him/her/them] with Your healing power. We commit [him/her/them] to Your gracious mercy and protection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.
Prayer for those undergoing surgery: Lord Jesus Christ, hear our prayers on behalf on Your servant(s) [name(s)] as [he/she/they] undergoes(undergo) surgery. Bless [him/her/them] with faith in Your loving-kindness and protection. Endow the surgeon(s) and the medical team(s) with ability and skill so that, according to Your will, this surgery may bring Your servant(s) to a full restoration of health and strength; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.
Prayer in times 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, Your Son, our Lord.
Prayer of thanksgiving for restoration of health: Almighty and gracious God, we give thanks that You have restored the health of Your servant [name], and for this blessing we praise Your name. Grant that [he/she] may continue joyfully through the days You have given [him/her] in this world and also share in eternal glory at the appearing of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Monday, 6 February 2012—Psalm 112:1, 3, 7–9; antiphon, Psalm 112:4—Psalm 112 speaks of the blessedness of the man who fears the LORD. This psalm is a complement to the preceding psalm, which tells of the blessings, physical and spiritual, which God bestows upon us. Those who trust in Him—who fear the LORD—show their gratefulness to Him by their lives, which are conformed to His will. The one who trust in the Lord greatly delights in His commandments.
Tuesday, 7 February 2012—Psalm 30—This psalm of David is written and sung in gratitude for the Lord’s deliverance. He thanks the Lord for physical blessings in vv. 1–5, and thanks Him for adversity in vv. 6–10. Thanking the Lord for adversity? Yes, because it was just that which caused David to turn from his pride and trust in himself, and to plead to the Lord for mercy. Thus, the Lord has turned his mourning into dancing, resulting in David’s pledge to give thanks to You forever!
Wednesday, 8 February 2012—2 Kings 5:1–14—What would you do to be healed of a horrible disease? Naaman was willing to do almost anything—except place his trust in the LORD and in His prophet. When his unbelief was pointed out by his servants, he relented, and was healed, as God had said through the prophet Elisha. Verse 15, not included in our reading, shows that Naaman then trusted in the one, true God.
Thursday, 9 February 2012—1 Corinthians 10:31—11;1—St Paul boasts, not of himself, but of the Gospel. What a privilege it is for him, and all of us, to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Christ Jesus! He cannot but go out to all—Jew, Gentile, weak, strong—and proclaim the forgiveness that belongs to all men through the merits of Christ.
Friday, 10 February 2012—Mark 1:40–45—We live in a fallen world. One of the effects sin has on our world is disease. When Jesus walked here on earth, He healed diseases, beginning the work of restoring the fallen creation. When He died on the cross, he won the victory over sin and the devil. On the Last Day, that victory will be brought to fulfillment, as the present heaven and earth pass away, to be replaced by a new heaven and earth—one in which there is no sickness or disease.
Saturday, 11 February 2012—The hymn of the day, Songs of Thankfulness and Praise (LSB 394), recounts some of the epiphanies, or appearances, of our Lord: in His birth, to the Wise Men, in His Baptism, in His healing, and, finally, at the Last Day. What is our response to these epiphanies? Songs of thankfulness and praise! ‘Anthems be to Thee addressed, God in man made manifest!’
This week’s Time in the Word is written by The Revd Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor St John's Evangelical Lutheran Church Casey, Iowa and Zion Lutheran Church Dexter, Iowa
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things