Preparation for next week – Sent to Serve
The theme for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 10) is sent to serve. Christians are people who are sent by God to serve Him and His people. Jesus sent His disciples to preach and heal. John the Baptist is beaded for his refusal to stand down to wicked King Herod. Faithfulness to God was far more important than obeying the dictates of a mad king. As John dies innocently, so must the Christ. Amos claimed that the Lord chose him as a shepherd to go to Israel to preach in the Old Testament lesson. In the Epistle lesson, we gain the impression that we are destined to be God’s people through Christ and appointed to glorify Him. We are a people with a mission and on a mission given to us by God. Occasionally we might be opposed. This need not be our chief concern. One thing is needed and that is faithfulness.
Collect for Pentecost 7—Grant, Lord, that the course of this world may be so governed by Your direction that Your Church may rejoice in serving You in godly peace and quietness;
Prayer in time 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, our Lord. Amen
Absolution is neither a response to a suitably worthy confession, nor the acceptance of a reasonable apology. To absolve means not only to loosen, to free, to acquit; it also means to dispose of, to complete, and to finish. When God pardons, He does not say He understands your weakness or makes allowances for your errors. Rather, He disposes of; He finishes with, the whole of your dead life and raises you up with a new one. He does not so much deal with your failures as does He drop them down the back hole of Jesus’ death. He forgets your sins in the darkness of the tomb. He remembers your iniquities no more in the forgetfulness of Jesus’ death. He finds you in the desert of death, not the garden of improvement. And in the power of Jesus resurrection, He puts you on His shoulders, rejoicing, and brings you home. – Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of Grace, pg. 39
Collect for Proper 10 – Lord, You granted Your prophets strength to resist the temptations of the devil and courage to proclaim repentance. Give us pure hearts and minds to follow Your Son faithfully even into suffering and death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Monday, 06 July 2015—Psalm 143:1-2, 8a; Antiphon, Psalm 143:1— O Lord hear my prayer listen to my cry for mercy in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. In each of our readings for this coming week the righteous find themselves confronted by evil forces. There are those who would want the Christian to cease and desist. Thus, we must pray to the Lord for deliverance from all our enemies. Psalm 143 is such a prayer. As we make our appeals known to God, not only will He hear us but also He will act, in His own time to rescue and defend us.
Tuesday, 07 July 2015—Psalm 85(1-7) 8-13; key verse v.7— Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. This is how God chooses to act on behalf of His people. He has every right to punish, condemn and destroy. In love, He will offer forgiveness, life, and salvation. How could He? The cross of Calvary shows us how deep and profound the Father’s love is for His people.
Wednesday, 08 July 2015—Amos 7:7-15—Amaziah orders Amos to stop preaching and go home to Judah. Amos, a herdsman from Tekoa, is sent by the lord to Israel to preach. It is at the time of King Jeroboam that Amos preached at Bethel, the site of the royal sanctuary. Amaziah is the high priests who warms the king of Amos’ treason and who commands Amos to go back to Judah to preach there. Amos replies that he is not a professional prophet, just a layman, who was called by God to preach to Israel. He is not preaching for a living, but in obedience to God’s call.
Amos was preaching in the holy place of Bethel, the royal seat and place of worship. Amaziah tells Amos to go home to the South to preach, for the temple is the “king’s sanctuary.” Since Amos’ message was against the king and nation, Amos had no right to speak there; it was the king’s chapel and not God’s house. If it is the king’s then speak in support of the king’s policies and practices. If it is God’s house, God speaks in His house through His called spokesperson. It was a matter of civil religion v. true religion.
It was a religious service head in a “White House” where you would expect sermons supporting the nation. The high priest of Israel accuses Amos of treason. His preaching does not support the nation. The king is to be killed and the people are to go into captivity. This spells the end of the nation. This is a hard message. Amaziah reports this to the king. The truth often hurts. It does not always approve what we do.
Thursday, 09 July 2015—Ephesians 1:3-14— God’s chose and destined us to be His children through Christ. For the next few weeks, the Epistle lesson will come from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. This lesson is difficult to relate to the other two lessons. The central theme of the letter to the Ephesians is the church. This lesson is on praise to God who in Christ has poured out His love for us, who calls us to be His children, redeemed us through the blood of Christ, and revealed His will to us. He has given us His Spirit who is a guarantee of our salvation and eternal life.
Friday, 10 July 2015—Mark 6:14-29 —Mad king Herod had John the Baptist killed to honor an oath, to save face in front of his dinner guests, to quiet a man who firmly told him that his illicit affair with his sister-in-law was sinful and shameful and to honor Herodias’ request. Verse 20 is the key verse. Although Herod knew he was doing wrong, his conscious bothered him, and John’s words condemned him Herod was still drawn to listen to John. When we are overcome by the fear of confronting someone, we can be comforted in the fact that the Law does convict. God through the preaching of the Law prepares us to hear, understand and savor the Gospel. John the forerunner of Christ will preach, baptize and die all like Christ. First he must die. With the death of John now, the cross becomes the focus of Christ’s destiny.
Saturday, 11 July 2015— Luke 10:2 - Sunday’s hymn of the day, Spread the Reign of God the Lord (LSB 830). Who will work for the Lord and His cause? There is plenty of work to be done. May we pray the Lord would use each of us to be doing His will in our daily vocations. The opportunity to serve Him is rewarding enough. As we can find work to be done may we do it joyfully and willingly.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH