Sunday, July 1, 2018

Time in the Word Pentecost 7 - Proper 9

Collect for Proper 9 – O God, Your almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy. Grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be called to repentance and made partakers of Your heavenly treasures; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

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.

Prayer for our countryAlmighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Make us who come from many nations with many different languages a untied people. Defend our liberties, and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that they may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful. In troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Pentecost 7– Proper 9
 July 2-6, 2118

The theme for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 9) will focus upon the word of the minister (prophet). His work of proclamation is very difficult due to the unreceptive attitude of the people to whom he is sent to preach. Even Jesus in the Gospel lesson didn’t do a good work in His hometown because the people do not believe in Him. Ezekiel is called (Old Testament lesson) to preach to a people whom God describes as “impudent and stubborn.” Paul, (in the Epistle lesson) prays to have a thorn removed that he might be more effective in his ministry, but the request is denied. We are blessed when pastor and people work in harmony and peace. Yet we live in a broken world. May we pray the Spirit’s help to always be open and receptive to the preaching of God’s holy Word. 

Collect for Pentecost 6Grant, 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; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, 1 July 2018—Psalm 132:13-16; Antiphon, Psalm 34:8— David reminds us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” The circumstances surrounding each of our lessons for next week might suggest that all is not well. Yet the Psalmist reminds us that our Lord’s care for His people goes beyond circumstance. He is our Lord in good times and in stressful times. He is with us when we are successful in life and when there are objects “in our road”. Despite obstacles to ministry, the Lord’s church moves forward. As we see the Lord active in His church and in the individual lives of His people, we can join with the Psalmist and say, “taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Tuesday, 2 July 2018—Psalm 123—This Psalm of David is a prayer of God’s humble people for Him to show mercy and so foil the contempt of the proud. There are many obstacles to ministry in this world. This earth is fallen. Yet despite obstacles, the Lord has not left His church to ruin nor has He turned His back on us. To the contrary, this psalm speaks of God’s control of the universe, His church and His people.

Fare thee well child of God the Lord remains constant regardless of the contempt and ridicule the world might bring upon us.

Wednesday, 3 July 2018 Ezekiel 2:1-5— Obstacles to ministry may occur with the rebelliousness of God’s people. Ezekiel receives the Spirit and is sent to preach to a rebellious people. In this passage, Ezekiel is commissioned to go to the exiles in Babylon to preach God’s Word. To do this he is empowered by the Spirit. The Lord warns him that the people may not listen to his preaching because they are a rebellious people. It is not important whether his preaching is accepted. At least, they will hear God’s Word and know a prophet was with them. Application to our day? How do you want people to respond to you? Would you rather be accepted or respected? What’s the difference? Which of the two is more difficult and why?

Thursday, 4 July 2018—2 Corinthians 12:1-10— Obstacles to ministry may occur with the handicap of the preacher.  Paul is promised grace to bear his thorn in the flesh. Paul is fed up with his opponents who cast doubt on his apostleship and boast about their work and religious experiences. This lesson is a part of the “terrible letter” (chapters 10-12) in which Paul makes a heated defense of his apostleship. If his opponents can boast of their accomplishments, he can, too.

This passage is part of his boasting. Paul claims he, too, has had an abundance of revelations, but to keep him humble God gave him a thorn in the flesh. Repeatedly he prayed to have it removed, but God assured him His grace was enough to bear it. Now Paul boasts of his weaknesses, handicaps, and sufferings, for through weakness the power of Christ comes upon him. Americans love winners. There is an aversion in our day to weakness, pain, and suffering. Where are you weak? When has God said “no” to your prayers only to say, “My grace is sufficient”?  What life lessons can we gain through suffering, setback and loss?  

Friday, 5 July 2018—Mark 6:1–13—The rejection by one’s own people. Obstacles to ministry may occur with rejection. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth takes offense at Him and His work.  Earlier Jesus was rejected by His family and religious leaders. Now He is rejected by the people (friends and relatives) of His hometown, Nazareth.

They were astonished at His teaching and mighty works. They could not explain His greatness; they referred to Him as a carpenter and as the son of Mary along with brothers and sisters. Unable to explain Him, they took offense or were scandalized by Him. Jesus reacted by saying that a prophet was without honor among His own people. He was unable to do mighty works because of the people’s unbelief. Therefore, Jesus left with His disciples to teach in other towns. This week we celebrated our country’s independence. God has blessed America in that given our representative form of democracy and our rights to practice our faith as outlines in the constitution the Gospel has had free reign. Not all however is well within our country. Many would want to stifle the Gospel. We have no guarantee that America will last forever. The Lord could allow the Gospel to flourish in another place. Many of our Lutheran forefathers (and others) came toAmerica to escape religious persecution happening in Europe. If the church in America received the same reception as did the Savior in His hometown would many simply stop coming?  How do some today practice their faith because it is convenient?      

Saturday, 6 July 2018— Luke 1:78-79 The first stanza of Sunday’s hymn of the day, O Christ, Our True and Only Light (LSB 839), asks the Savior to enlighten those who sit in night. There are many today missing from the Father’s table because they sit in ignorance. They know nothing of the saving work of Jesus Christ. While there are obstacles to ministry, there are tremendous opportunities to witness in the midst of our nation’s heartland. As the Lord gives us opportunity may we “gossip the Gospel” that souls may be won and the kingdom expanded.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

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