Sunday, February 16, 2014

Time in the Word - Epiphany 7

Be What God Is

This theme seems to focus upon the nature of God and our responsibility to match His nature in our lives. Because God is perfect, according to the Gospel lesson, we too are to be perfect. Be perfect as God is perfect. 

Because God is holy, according to our Old Testament lesson, we are to be the same. Because God’s temple is holy according to the Epistle lesson we are holy for we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. The Psalm mentions God as one of  compassion and mercy. Because God is what He is, we are to reflect the same nature.

Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.

Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.

Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.

Collects for Epiphany 7: O God, the strength of all who put their trust in You, mercifully grant that by Your power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Father. Keep before us the wisdom and love You have revealed in Your Son. Help us to be like Him in word and deed, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

O Lord, keep Your family and Church continually in the true faith that they who lean on the hope of Your heavenly grace may ever be defended by Your mighty power; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who live and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 17 February, 2014Psalm 103:1-8; antiphon, Psalm 103:2-3— The Psalmist reminds us, Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits who forgives all your iniquities who heals all your diseases. He addresses himself in the early verses of the psalm. He finds himself blessed as he has received not only the spiritual benefits from the Lord but also temporal blessings.
Whenever we recover from hardship, sickness, or setback it is the Lord who has done this. We remember all of the Lord’s dealings with us as we praise His holy name.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014Psalm 119:33-40 — This section of the psalms is based on the Hebrew letter “He” The key verse for the appointed Psalm for this coming week is verses 35, “Direct me in the paths of Your commands, for there I find delight.” As the child of God is directed by the law of the Lord, we find contentment, delight and peace.  

Wednesday, 19 February 2014Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18 The Lord commands His people to be holy and to love one’s neighbor. In chapters 18-20 of the book of Leviticus, the phrase, “I am the Lord” appears twenty times! It occurs twice in this reading. It is the basis for obeying the commands of the Lord. It is God who commands. Because He is God, He has the authority to command., To disobey is to be faithless to God. Sin is unbelief. Moreover, God Himself is the absolute standard for human conduct. Morality is not based on permissiveness or upon consensus. The absolute is the very nature of God. Because He is holy, so must we be. Because He loves, we, too, are expected to love one another. A good person is a godly person. “Good” and “God” come from the same word.

Today the emphasis is “love yourself.” The text is not a command to love self. Rather, love of self is taken for granted as a normal and natural phenomenon. The command is to love neighbor as much as you love yourself. To love oneself is normal. It is abnormal to hate oneself or to love oneself excessively. We can go to both extremes – either into depression or into pride and arrogance. If we love our neighbor as ourselves, we would put the neighbor first and would desire for the neighbor only the best things in life.

Thursday, 20 February 20141 Corinthians3:10-11, 16-23—As God’s temple, Christians are holy people belonging to Christ. If a Christian or a church is compared to a building, Paul says Christ is the foundation. Since there can be no building without a foundation, it teaches us that Christ is essential, indispensable. Any other foundation for life or a church is inadequate and is trustworthy. To have a foundation of Christ is to look at the Christian and the church as a building project or a process. No Christian or church is ready-made. It is constantly in the making, in the building. Therefore, no one can claim to have arrived, or to be finished, or perfect.

Friday, 21 February 2014Matthew 5:38-48—Christians are expected to do more than the Law requires. Jesus teaches, ‘Do not resist one who is evil.’ This raises a lot of questions. Don’t resist one who attacks you? Who steals from you? Who demands involuntary service/ He calls for passive resistance. It reminds us of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. Not to resist means not to hate, not to fight back but take whatever is given with patience. It is using moral persuasion, and in the cases of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, it seemed to work. Is there a theological basis for passive resistance? They key to the passage is the nature of God. He does not resist evil, even to the point of the cross. Humanity is to follow His example.

Who can be perfect? The word does not mean moral perfection. Since Jesus was the only one who could say, “Which of you convinces me of sin?” there is no way to reach that goal in this life. “Perfect” means wholeness, maturity, holiness, and fulfillment. In the Biblical sense, a perfect person is one who has completed or fulfilled his life’s purpose. We are to be perfect because God is perfect.

Saturday, 22 February 2014Psalm 103;  Isaiah 40:6-8– Tomorrow’s hymn of the week is “My Soul, Now Praise Your Maker” The Lord has had compassion on His people. Thus we sing the fame and might of what the Lord has done. As we close out the season of Epiphany we remember the blessings the Lord has showered down upon us and we praise Him with our life and conduct in acts of mercy toward our neighbor.  
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing Lima OH

For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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