Sunday, April 28, 2013

Time in the Word - Easter 7

Collect for the Sixth Sunday of Easter: O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer of praise and supplication: Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You for the abundant mercy that You this day so richly have provided for us, blessing us not only with daily bread for our bodies but also with heavenly food for our souls. Grant that Your living and powerful Word may abide in our hearts, working mightily in us to Your glory and for our salvation. We commit ourselves to Your divine protection and fatherly care. Let Your holy angels be with us that the evil foe may have no power over us. Look in mercy on Your Church and deliver it from all danger and adversities. By Your Holy Spirit comfort and strengthen all who are in affliction or distress, and grant Your abiding peace to us all; through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Prayer of adoration, praise, and supplication: Almighty and eternal God, we adore You as the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus, and with the whole Church on earth and all the hosts of heaven we ascribe to You honor and blessing, thanksgiving and praise. Holy, holy, holy are You, Lord God Almighty; heaven and earth are full of Your glory. You created us in Your own image and redeemed us with the precious blood of Your Son. By Your Spirit You sanctified us and called us out of darkness into Your marvelous light.

Grant that we may with thankful hearts receive these great mercies and express our gratitude, not only with our lips but also in our lives as we give ourselves to Your service and walk before You in holiness and righteousness all our days. Deliver us from sin and error, from the frailties of the flesh, the allurements of this present age, and the temptations of the devil. Give us faith that works in love, hope that never disappoints, kindness that never fails, confidence in You that never wavers, patience that does not grow weary, and courage always to be ready to confess Christ, that we may live in Your mercy and die in Your peace; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A vision into the future may very well be the theme for this coming week. In the first lesson Acts 16:9-15 we have Paul’s vision of a man from Macedonia begging Paul and his companions to come to him. In the epistle lesson Revelation 1:9-14,21-27 John is given a vision of the perfect city our new home in heaven. In the Gospel lesson John 16:23-33 Jesus predicts the time in which He will be return back to the Father and the believers will be scattered. We need not fear however because the believer has a true and genuine faith. In this world there is never a lack of trouble, unhappiness, stress, sadness, marital strife, addictions, family complications, and even death itself. Yet we need not fear for Christ has overcome the world. The suggested hymn for the weeks tells us of the Father’s plan of salvation and its completion in the life death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The woodcut is a depiction of this coming week’s Epistle lesson

Monday, 29 April 2013Psalm 55:4, 16-18; antiphon, Psalm 55:22— David’s heart is in anguish. What shall he do? He casts his burden upon the Lord for he knows the Lord will care for him. David is assured that the Lord will hear his plea and relief will come at the proper time. The antiphon assures us of the many promises of the Lord “He will never let the righteous fall.”

Tuesday, 30 April 2013Psalm 67—Sunday’s psalm is a communal pray asking for God’s blessing. It is suggested that it may have been sung at the conclusion of worship just prior to or immediately after the benediction. God has promised to bless His people and the people are moved to praise His holy name. Two verses at the beginning contain the prayer while the two verses at the conclusion speak of the effects of God’s answer. In the middle the people seek to motivate God’s answer by referring to the worldwide praise that His mercies to His people will awaken.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013Acts 16:9-15 - In a vision a man from Macedonia begs Paul and his companions to come to his aid. They see this as a clear sign that the Lord was directing them to this region. We need not trust in visions for we have a clear message from the Lord – His inspired and inerrant Word. How powerful is this Word? As Paul speaks the word to a crowd which had gathered in Philippi a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth is converted. She and the members of her entire family are baptized. Notice also her act of stewardship. She provides for the disciples as a response to the Gospel. We give not due to pressures from the Law but as a response to the Savior and His love.  She was not coerced rather she responds with joy and thanksgiving. Her life had literally been changed. Works always flow from faith.    

Thursday, 2 May 2013Revelation21:9-14, 21-27— Imagine, a city without a church. Who would dare to live in a city without a church? Without a church a city would become godless and utterly corrupt, a place unsafe for decent people. It is the mission of the church to plant churches wherever they are needed that people might know, love and obey God. Through the work of the church sin is curbed and righteous living is fostered. In our lesson john sees the time when a church (temple) is not needed. This is the city of God – heaven. This is the goal of Christian work: to build a society when a church is unnecessary. Until such time comes, the church must keep planting churches.

Friday, 3 May 2013John 16:23-33—So you think you have to be perfect for God to use you? Stop it! Such thinking nullifies the cross. Jesus explains why the disciples can come directly to the Father in prayer. It is because the disciples have loved and trusted in Jesus and in love God will hear their requests in Jesus’ name. The disciples had faith but not enough to stand firm in the face of disaster. Jesus knew they would fail; however, His church is not built on people’s strength but on God’s ability to use people even after they had failed. Notice the contrasts in verse 33 between “in me” and “in this world” and between “peace” and “trouble.” Once again Jesus affirms His final victory a victory we have in Christ.

Saturday, 4 April 2013Romans 5:1-2The Hymn of the Day, Dear Christians, One and All Rejoice  (LSB #556), was written by Martin Luther it tells the story of salvation from the believer’s perspective. It starts with man’s condition of sin, explains Christ’s glorious work and concludes with the believer’s new nature. Some may claim “I don’t know how to share my faith; I don’t know what I would say?” You can use this hymn from start to finish explaining to a neighbor or a friend the truths of the faith.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things

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