When the prophet Elijah became discouraged and despaired of his life, “the Word of the Lord came to him” (1 Kings 19:9b) and stood him “on the mount before the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). The Lord made Himself known to the prophet—not in the impressive power of gale force winds, nor in an earthquake, and nor in the fire, but in “the sound of a low whisper” (1 Kings 19:12). Today God reveals Himself among us through the frail preaching of the Gospel. The Son of Man sends “messengers ahead of Him…to make preparations for Him” (Luke 9:51–52). Putting their hand to that plow of preaching, they “go and proclaim the kingdom of God,” and they do not look back (Luke 9:60, 62). What they preach is not the power of the Law with its “yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1), but the power of God unto salvation through the Gospel of forgiveness, by which “Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1).
Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Pentecost: Lord of all power and might, Author and Giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Collect for Psalm 16: Lord God our Father, keep safe Your servant on the path of eternal life, for You alone are my refuge. When my last hour comes, may my body rest secure in the promise of the Lord's resurrection; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer for likeness to Christ: O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for spiritual renewal: Almighty God, grant that we, who have been redeemed from the old life of sin by our Baptism into the death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit to live in righteousness and true holiness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for grace to love and serve God: O God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Monday, 20 June 2016— Psalm 85:8–10, 13; antiphon, Psalm 85:7—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Show us Your steadfast love, O Lord, and grant us Your salvation. God has shown His steadfast love and salvation to us by sending His Son into the world to save us. Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people. God speaks His peace to us through His holy Word, especially in the Gospels, where we have a record of the words and the deeds of Jesus, who accomplished our salvation for us. Truly, His salvation is near to us who fear Him!
Tuesday, 21 June 2016— Psalm 16 - In the psalm for the day, David takes delight in an unwavering commitment to the Lord in both life and death. This ought also to be our attitude and joy, for He has made known to us the path of life. We have a beautiful inheritance: life with God forever in the kingdom of heaven.
Wednesday, 22 June 2016—1 Kings 19:9b–21—On the lam to escape wicked Queen Jezebel, Elijah fell into despair: few people in Israel wanted to have anything to do with the Lord or His prophets, and the queen had sworn to kill him (1 Kgs 19:2). In the midst of his despondency, the Lord strengthened Elijah both physical (1 Kgs 19:4–9) and, in the reading for Sunday, spiritual. The Lord instructed Elijah to step out of his cave while the He showed him three tremendous displays of natural forces—a great and strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire. Then He came in patience and love, with gentleness and mercy—in a low whisper. He told Elijah that he had not been a failure; there were still seven thousand faithful in Israel. To encourage Elijah, God also gave him a threefold assignment. He was to head north and anoint the next king of Aram, who would be God’s scourge on Israel. He was also to anoint a new king over Israel, who would wipe out the dynasty of Ahab and destroy Baal worship in Israel. Finally, Elijah was to anoint the man who would succeed him as prophet. The mission of Elijah was to be continued in Elisha.
Thursday, 23 June 2016— Galatians 5:1, 13–25—We Americans are justly jealous of our freedoms; they were won and preserved at great cost. But, with freedom comes responsibility. As Christians, we have received an even greater freedom—freedom from the curse of the Law. With this freedom also comes great responsibility—the responsibility to use our freedom in service to God and neighbor. The only way we are able to do this is to be led by the Spirit, whose fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Friday, 24 June 2016— Luke 9:51–62—In Luke 9:51, the whole tenor of the Gospel according to St Luke changes, when Jesus sets His face to go to Jerusalem. Now the focus is on the cross, where He will redeem mankind from the clutches of Satan, from bondage to the Law, and from everlasting death. Our eyes, too, must ever be focused on the cross of Christ. It is there alone that we are able to find true freedom, as proclaimed in the epistle from Galatians. Likewise, if pastors are going to faithful to the Lord, as was Elijah, they must always preach Christ crucified as a sacrifice on our behalf.
Saturday, 25 June 2016— Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Come, Follow Me, the Savior Spake (LSB #688), is an exhortation to live our lives under the cross. We, who have been set free from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, must now live our lives in service to Him by walking in His way. How can we ever hope to accomplish such a thing? By firmly clinging to His Word (stanza 5).
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Luther’s Seals © Higher Things