Friday, November 22, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 56: Elijah Pt.1

1 Kings 16-17
(selective verses)

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri began to reign over Israel, and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, he took for his wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 He erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made an Asherah. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him. 

17 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.” 2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. 6 And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land.

8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 55: King Solomon

1 Kings 1-8 
(selective verses)

32 King David said, “Call in Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah son of Jehoiada.” When they came before the king, 33 he said to them: “Take your lord’s servants with you and have Solomon my son mount my own mule and take him down to Gihon. 34 There have Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him king over Israel. Blow the trumpet and shout, ‘Long live King Solomon!’

3 Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.  the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign he began to build the temple of the Lord.He had spent seven years building it.When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple.

Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the Israelites came together to King Solomon. 22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive."

New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 54: Absalom's Rebellion

2 Samuel 15-18 
(Selective Verses)

King David's son Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, “From what city are you?” And when he said, “Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel,” 3 Absalom would say to him, “See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you.” 4 Then Absalom would say, “Oh that I were judge in the land! Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice.” 5 And whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. 6 Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

7 And at the end of four [a] years Absalom said to the king, “Please let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed to the Lord, in Hebron. 8 For your servant vowed a vow while I lived at Geshur in Aram, saying, ‘If the Lord will indeed bring me back to Jerusalem, then I will offer worship to [b] the Lord.’” 9 The king said to him, “Go in peace.” So he arose and went to Hebron. 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’”  And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing.

13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.14 Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom. Go quickly, lest he overtake us quickly and bring down ruin on us and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”

6 So the army went out into the field against Israel, and the battle was fought in the forest of Ephraim. 7 And the men of Israel were defeated there by the servants of David, and the loss there was great on that day, twenty thousand men. 8 The battle spread over the face of all the country, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword.9 And Absalom happened to meet the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a great oak,[a] and his head caught fast in the oak, and he was suspended between heaven and earth, while the mule that was under him went on. 10 And a certain man saw it and told Joab, “Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” And he took three javelins in his hand and thrust them into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the oak. 15 And ten young men, Joab's armor-bearers, surrounded Absalom and struck him and killed him.17 And they took Absalom and threw him into a great pit in the forest and raised over him a very great heap of stones. And all Israel fled every one to his own home. 

31 And behold, the Cushite came, and the Cushite said, “Good news for my lord the king! For the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.” 32 The king said to the Cushite, “Is it well with the young man Absalom?” And the Cushite answered, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.” 33 [d] And the king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept. And as he went, he said, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!

2 Samuel 15:7 Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew forty
2 Samuel 15:8 Or will serve
2 Samuel 15:12 Or sent

2 Samuel 18:9 Or terebinth; also verses 10, 14
2 Samuel 18:13 Or at the risk of my life
2 Samuel 18:18 Or Absalom's hand

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 53 - David Repents

2 Samuel 12 
(Selective Verses)

12 And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, [a] and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.5 Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master's house and your master's wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9 Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’  

13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, [b] the child who is born to you shall die.” 15 Then Nathan went to his house.

2 Samuel 12:3 Hebrew bosom; also verse 8
2 Samuel 12:14 Masoretic Text the enemies of the Lord; Dead Sea Scroll the word of the Lord

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Proper 29 Series C

Proper 29 Series C
Christ the King
(November 20 - 26)

Malachi 3:13–18
Colossians 1:13–20
Luke 23:27–43

Lord Jesus Christ, You reign among us by the preaching of Your cross. Forgive Your people their offenses that we, being governed by Your bountiful goodness, may enter at last into Your eternal paradise

Jesus Christ Reigns, Enduring the Cross — Its Scorn and Shame

The Lord Jesus reigns in love among those who are baptized in His name. “They shall be mine,” He says, “and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him” (Malachi 3:17). 

Jesus’ service through crucifixion for sinful men anchors us in new life. In the proclamation of His Son, God makes His justice clear, defining “the distinction between the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:18). 

He truly is “the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38), who governs His Church with all authority in heaven and on earth. He has come into His kingdom by His cross, and He graciously remembers us in paradise. Therefore, do not weep for Him, but with repentant faith “weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Then the mountains and hills of Jerusalem, His holy Church, shall cover you with His righteousness and peace. For He “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). 

"All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16), and “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” bodily in Him, reconciling all things to Himself “by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:19–20).

Jesus is a king on a cross. His enemies did not realize the truth of the mockery, "If You are the King of the Jews..."  The political authorities also did not realize what they wrote, "This is the King of the Jews."  

On Psalm Sunday the faithful sang praises to their King - "Behold, your king is coming to you."  There are various reactions to this king. The people - they watch from a distance as mere spectators - v.35. The rulers were scoffers and cynics - v.35.  The soldered mocked and ridiculed - v.36. Sinners offered prayers and petitions of penitence - Vv. 39-43.  

The Great Absolution: Father Forgive Them (Luke 23:34)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

Our Lord’s first words from the cross are universally and foundationally meaningful. As his accusers and tormentors accomplished their goal by giving Him the appointment with death through the torturous Roman cross, the Savior called out the intercessory absolution, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We here emphasize the first words, “Father, forgive them.”  (Indeed no sinner knows what he is doing; man’s mind is set against God.)

His wondrous words are universally meaningful because there is the universal sinful condition of mankind.  Many theologians have concluded that Christ’s absolution from the cross was for more than those who directly crucified Him. Scripture indicates all humanity—all sins—put Him to death. St. Paul states, “He died for all.”   St. John wrote:  “He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” From these inspired statements and many others we realize the universal payment for sin that was made by Christ at the cross. It was thus not merely the sins of those who were present at His crucifixion that nailed Him to the tree, but it was the sins of all humanity, from Adam to the end of time, that crucified Him. Even as He dies for all He also speaks absolution for all by praying, “Father, forgive them.” He thus intercedes for all humanity; His is a universal absolution.

As the crucified Son of God speaks to His eternal Father, “Father forgive them,” His words are foundational to all Christian truth and works. Holy Scripture echoes the foundational need for man’s forgiveness from God. What is the basis for such forgiveness?  Getting more specific, why would God forgive Adam and Eve?  Why did the animal sacrifices offer forgiveness in Old Testament times?  What was the foundation for the forgiveness pronounced, for instance, by Nathan to King David?  Why do Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution and the Holy Supper bring forgiveness?  Indeed the work of the cross creates the reason behind all forgiveness, but Christ’s prayer—Father, forgive them—marks the foundational petition behind all forgiveness—past, present and future. This foundation is thus that the Father in heaven forgives because of the crucifixion and because of the cross-supported request of His Son.

This forgiveness of God toward mankind creates other wonders of the Christian faith as well.  In our Father’s forgiveness of us there is the reason and the power to forgive one another. In Christ we are tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ has forgiven us. Additionally our gift of eternal life only flows from God’s foundational forgiveness of our sins, for, as Luther Biblically concluded, where there is forgiveness of sins there is also life and salvation.

Would the Father be forgiving us without the specific request made by the Son? Indeed the crucifixion of Jesus is in itself the absolution of humanity, but what joy and comfort is found in the absolving words, “Father, forgive them.”

Luke 23:26-43 
The Crucifixion - 

Luke 23:26 
Καὶ ὡς ἀπήγαγον αὐτόν, ἐπιλαβόμενοι [a]Σίμωνά τινα Κυρηναῖον ἐρχόμενον ἀπ’ ἀγροῦ ἐπέθηκαν αὐτῷ τὸν σταυρὸν φέρειν ὄπισθεν τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. 
And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.

Luke 23:27 
Ἠκολούθει δὲ αὐτῷ πολὺ πλῆθος τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ γυναικῶν [b]αἳ ἐκόπτοντο καὶ ἐθρήνουν αὐτόν.
And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 

Literally, “beating the breast." Pious women occasionally and customarily would lament those being sentenced to death.  

The term for 'the people' τοῦ λαοῦ is found in Revelation 7 

Luke 23:28
στραφεὶς δὲ πρὸς αὐτὰς [c]ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν• Θυγατέρες Ἰερουσαλήμ, μὴ κλαίετε ἐπ’ ἐμέ• πλὴν ἐφ’ ἑαυτὰς κλαίετε καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ὑμῶν, 
But turning to them Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 

"Weep upon yourselves and your children."  
"Daughters of Jerusalem" is reference to OT a way of referring to the OT church. See Palm Sunday Old Testament readings.

Luke 23:29 
ὅτι ἰδοὺ ἔρχονται ἡμέραι ἐν αἷς ἐροῦσιν Μακάριαι αἱ στεῖραι καὶ [d]αἱ κοιλίαι αἳ οὐκ ἐγέννησαν καὶ μαστοὶ οἳ οὐκ [e]ἔθρεψαν. 
For behold, (right here and now in time) the days are coming when they (NOT 'you') will say, 'Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!'  

The world is literally ending! It’s happening now. 

Luke 23:30 
ότε ἄρξονται λέγειν τοῖς ὄρεσιν• Πέσετε ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς, καὶ τοῖς βουνοῖς• Καλύψατε ἡμᾶς•
Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us.' 

- See Revelation 6:15-16. This what the unbelievers say of themselves of mocking the faithful of themselves.  These are not words of faithfulness but of panic not the words of faith. See also Hosea 10:8 

Luke 23:31
 ὅτι εἰ ἐν [f]τῷ ὑγρῷ ξύλῳ ταῦτα ποιοῦσιν, ἐν τῷ ξηρῷ τί γένηται; 
For if they do these things when the wood is green, (moist) what will happen when it is dry?" 

-A proverb? - see Proverbs 11:31 - an expectation of the coming persecution.

These are the beatitudes of evil. They are evil but not the ultimate evil.  

See the reference to Jesus' cursing of the fig tree.  Mark 11:12-25; Matthew 21:18–22[

Luke 23:32 
Ἤγοντο δὲ καὶ ἕτεροι [g]κακοῦργοι δύο σὺν αὐτῷ ἀναιρεθῆναι. 
Two others, who were criminals, (wicked workers) were led away to be put to death (executed) with him. 

Luke 23:33 
αὶ ὅτε [h]ἦλθον ἐπὶ τὸν τόπον τὸν καλούμενον Κρανίον, ἐκεῖ ἐσταύρωσαν αὐτὸν καὶ τοὺς κακούργους, ὃν μὲν ἐκ δεξιῶν ὃν δὲ ἐξ ἀριστερῶν.
And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 

Why is Jesus in the center?  He is set apart as an example. 

Luke 23:34
 [i]ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔλεγεν• Πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς, οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν. διαμεριζόμενοι δὲ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἔβαλον [j]κλήρους. 
And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.

See the variant reading, it belongs to the text. 

Luke 23:35
καὶ εἱστήκει ὁ λαὸς θεωρῶν. ἐξεμυκτήριζον δὲ καὶ οἱ [k]ἄρχοντες λέγοντες• Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, σωσάτω ἑαυτόν, εἰ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ χριστὸς [l]τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἐκλεκτός. 
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"

Luke 23:36
 [m]ἐνέπαιξαν δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ οἱ στρατιῶται προσερχόμενοι, [n]ὄξος προσφέροντες αὐτῷ 
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 

- See Psalm. 22, Psalm.69 

Luke 23:37
 καὶ λέγοντες• Εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, σῶσον σεαυτόν. 
and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 

A little word is added here "if"   

Luke 23:38
 ἦν δὲ καὶ [o]ἐπιγραφὴ ἐπ’ [p]αὐτῷ• Ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων [q]οὗτος. 
There was also an inscription over him, "The King of the Jews This." 

Luke 23:39 
Εἷς δὲ τῶν κρεμασθέντων κακούργων ἐβλασφήμει αὐτόν [r]λέγων• [s]Οὐχὶ σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστός; σῶσον σεαυτὸν καὶ ἡμᾶς.
One of the criminals who were hanged railed at (blasphemed) him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

More than joining the mocking...a double negative. 

Luke 23:40
 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἕτερος [t]ἐπιτιμῶν αὐτῷ ἔφη• Οὐδὲ φοβῇ σὺ τὸν θεόν, ὅτι ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ κρίματι εἶ; 
But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

 "in the same judgment we are" 

Luke 23:41
 καὶ ἡμεῖς μὲν δικαίως, ἄξια γὰρ ὧν ἐπράξαμεν ἀπολαμβάνομεν• οὗτος δὲ οὐδὲν ἄτοπον ἔπραξεν. 
And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."

Luke 23:42
 καὶ [u]ἔλεγεν• Ἰησοῦ, μνήσθητί [v]μου ὅταν ἔλθῃς [w]ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ σου. 
And he said, "Jesus, remember me (whenever) you come into your kingdom."

Luke 23:43 
 καὶ εἶπεν [x]αὐτῷ• Ἀμήν [y]σοι λέγω σήμερον μετ’ ἐμοῦ ἔσῃ ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ.
And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

Time in the Word - Christ the King - Proper 29

Preparation for next week, 
Christ the King
Proper 29 

The King of the Kingdom

The church year comes to a close on a triumphant note. Christ the King. It is a festival, not an ordinary day, and the liturgical color changes to white, a color denoting festivity, joy, and peace. The church year comes to a close not with a whimper but with a shout. Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” would be appropriate. The year ends not in defeat but in triumph. The Old Testament Malachi 3:13-18 the Lord promises to have pity and compassion upon His people. The Epistle Colossians 1:13-30 identifies the king as the Son of God Jesus Christ our Savior. The Lord is crucified for us in the Gospel and His kingdom is opened to a penitent thief.

Christ the King is the Last Sunday of the Church year. It is fitting that the Gospel gives the account of the end of Jesus’ life. He died as a king. Ironically His enemies ridiculed Him as the King of the Jews and as the reason for His crucifixion Pilate wrote, “King of the Jews!” We must see the whole life of Christ as a king. He was born a king and all through His life we can see his royal life and work, with the authority and power of the king of kings.

Collect for Christ the King Sunday: Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that He may lead home His bride the Church, that we with all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Almighty and merciful God, You break the power of evil and make all things new in Your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe. May all in heaven and earth acclaim Your glory and never cease to praise You. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God for ever and ever. Amen

Collect for Proper 29: Lord Jesus Christ, You reigns among us by the preaching of Your cross. Forgive Your people their offenses that we, being governed by Your bountiful goodness, may enter at least in to Your eternal paradise; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Psalm 46: Lord God, our refuge and strength, when the restless powers of this world and the waters of hell rise up against Your Holy City, watch over it and keep it safe. By the river that flows form the throne of the Lamb, purify this New Jerusalem as Your chosen dwelling for You are with us, our stronghold now and forever.

Collect for Psalm 98: Lord, we sing to You a new song, for Your victory is ever new. In the empty tomb You have given us a glimpse of Your future and in Your victory over death Yu have shown us now we shall overcome the last enemy.

This week’s Morning Prayer Readings 

November 18 Monday David Repents         2 Samuel 12
November 19 Tuesday Absalom’s Rebellion 2 Samuel 15-18
November 20 Wednesday Chapel
November 21 Thursday    King Solomon         1 Kings 1-8
November 22 Friday Elijah Part 1                 1 Kings 16-18

Catechism Review - 1st & 2nd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Monday, 18 November  2019Psalm 134; antiphon, Psalm 33:8—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray confidently Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. The word of the Lord lasts forever. Nothing can snatch us out of the Savior’s hand. The promises of God from of old are all fulfilled in the life, and ministry of Jesus Christ the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019Psalm 46 — This week’s psalm is the inspiration of Luther’s great hymn of the Reformation “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” This Psalm may have been written following Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32), some natural disaster, or in anticipation of the events heralding Messiah’s coming. Vv.4-5 Have a parallel in Revelation 22:1-5 where the ideal is perfectly realized. The psalmist glories in God’s presence with His people and His real and unassailable protection (See Vv. 1, 4-5, 7, 11)

Wednesday, 20 November 2019Malachi 3:13-18— In their arrogance and unbelief the Jews called blessed those whom the godly know to be cursed. But it is they who will be called blessed if they repent. Even at the final hour the Lord is still calling His people to repentance and faith. In the Day of Judgment the Lord will spare those who fear Him. They will be called the Lord’s most treasured possession. 2,500 years after these words were written the Lord is still calling His people back to repentance. This is our attitude, searching and calling those missing from the Father’s table.

Thursday, 21 November 2019Colossians 1:13-20—Our lesson gives us the scope of Christ’s kingdom. It is much needed because we think usually of Jesus as king of the Jews only, or of Christians only, or of the individual’s heart. Paul raises our sights and we see Jesus as king of the universe.

Look at your king; can you imagine the honor and privilege of being a servant of a king of such great dimensions? If Jesus is king of the cosmos, then He is not confined to one nation, race, or church. He rules the world, and all the nations, and all the planets. Who is this King? He is the creator of the vast universe - v.16. 

He is the eternal king – v. 17. He is the Head of the church – v.18. He is the reconciler and redeemer of the whole world – Vv.14, 20.

Friday, 22 November 2019 - Luke 23:27-43 — Jesus was a king on the cross. His enemies did not realize the truth of the mockery, “If you are the King of the Jews.” The political authorities also did not realize what they wrote, “This is the king of the Jews.” On Palm Sunday the faithful sang praises to their king – ‘Behold, your king is coming to you.” In the gospel lesson there are various reactions to this king. The people – they watched from a distance. They were mere spectators – v. 35. The rulers – they were scoffers and cynics – v. 35. The soldiers – they mocked and ridiculed – v. 36. Sinners – the offered prayers and petitions of penitence – Vv. 39-43.

Saturday, 23 November 2019Psalm 23 -  Our featured Hymn as we close out the Church Year is "The King of Love My Shepherd Is." (LSB #709). This suggested hymn is one of praise and thanksgiving to our good shepherd Jesus Christ. He is our king. He is our good shepherd. Thanks be to God that we are a sheep of His fold, a lamb of His flock, a sinner of His own redeeming. Tomorrow come to church expecting to offer praise and worship to our King of Kings Jesus Christ the righteous one.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 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

The Story of 50 Hymns © 1934 By General Mills, Inc Minneapolis, MN

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Proper 28 - Pentecost 23

Proper 28 – Pentecost 23
17 November 2019
Luke 21:5-19
Doing Your Best when things are at their worst

O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bounds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; Lord Jesus, bless Thy Word, that we may trust in Thee.[1]

The Church year is ending. Next week we proclaim, “Christ is King!” The rule and reign of Christ is the objective of the entire Christian story. Yet today, the Second-to-Last Sunday of the Church year, Jesus predicts that the end of days will come. We are reminded that this reign will come with sure, clear signs.

When will these stones fall?  That’s what the apostles wanted to know. The destruction of the Temple - Will that be the end of the world? Jesus wants to make one thing perfectly clear. When these things happen. It is not yet the end. It’s not the beginning. Nor the end. But the beginning - of the end.[2]

The word Luke uses to describe the utter destruction of the temple (καταλυθήσεται) is what we derive our word "catastrophe."  The days are coming when "all will be thrown down..."  It shall be destroyed. Torn down. Demolished. Abolished. Annulled. Made invalid.

Catastrophe” is an apt term for what happens when that in which we have trusted is utterly destroyed.  Breaking someone’s trust is like crumpling up a perfect piece of paper. You can smooth it over. But it’s never going to be the same again.

In whom do you trust? Trust not in princes. They are but mortal. Thus says the Psalmist, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psalm 146:3) Trust the One who cannot be destroyed - Jesus the Risen Savior.

Stones have been tumbling for centuries. This past week - The world would remember and recall the signing of the armistice. (November 11 1918) Announced as the end of a great and bloody war. – A war to end all wars.

But in no less than twenty years - came Kristallnacht. ("Crystal Night") A pogrom against the Jews throughout Nazi Germany. (November 9-10, 1938) And another World War would soon come. [3]   

We have now commemorated the destruction of the Berlin wall - November 9, 1989 – just 30 years ago.[4]  Yet stones continue to fall.  

In recent years, stones have been dropping in the Middle East in the streets of Iraq and Afghanistan. This week stones literally fell in Gaza and Syria.

It happens also in the private lives of people today; who lose jobs, despair over children, become estranged, get divorced, face medical issues and enter into hospice.

When these things happen. Be not deceived. The end is not yet. These are only birth pangs. Scripture calls them “labor pains.” When there are labor pains, we know that new life is near.

Rather than looking for escape into the afterlife, Jesus calls for us to give birth. In the midst of a world filled with stones falling, war and earthquakes (Vv.9-11) Jesus points you to cling to Him for life.

Today you have been put on notice. Turmoil in nature and amongst people will plague the earth. As a follower of Jesus, do not be surprised or shocked should you be singled out for persecution, betrayal and hatred. All because of His name. Yet, not a hair on your head will perish.

How can this be? How can you escape? How do you dodge the bullet aimed at every Christian? Over thousands of years and countless generations, Jesus speaks directly to us with the freshness of this morning. By your endurance, you will gain your soul.

You can’t help but feel that following Jesus isn’t unlike being a turtle without a shell. There is no call to arms. There’s no warning to stockpile goods. Or food. Or weapons. In preparation for what’s to come. There’s no command to build a bomb shelter. Or an ark. There are only three brief commands. Don’t be terrified. Don’t be led astray. Don’t prepare a defense.

Don’t be terrified. The old song sing: “Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed. For I am your God and will still give you aid; I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand. Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”[5]

Don’t be led astray. False Christ’s and counterfeit Messiahs are always about. They exist to seduce and mislead. Don’t follow them. Listen still to the voice of your shepherd Jesus.

When the world around you descends into darkness, you can still shine with light. Don’t expect society to go your way. Bear witness to another Way. Look to Jesus. He is the way the truth and the life.

You don’t need to prepare a defense. You already have Jesus’ clear inspired word. The reason you were born. The purpose for which God brought you into this world. Is to bear Christ’s forgiving presence into a world that is desperate for it.

As a child of God you live your life under the cross of Jesus Christ. Where? In a school. On a farm. In a family. In a business. In the everyday moments of this life. Doing what needs doing at the moment. You are the hands and feet the fingers and toes of Jesus in this world.

Because Jesus loves you, He always tells you the truth. Even when it is hard to find the good news behind the dire predictions.

These words of the Savior were spoken just before His Passion. The cross was always before Him. Jesus clearly sees what He must endure for your sake. He looks beyond His looming agony and foretells what you must endure for His sake.

To carry you home, Jesus will soon carry His cross. To follow Him home, you must carry your cross. For some, the cross is relatively light; minor inconveniences, petty prejudices, snide remarks, negative peer pressure, constantly navigating a world of vanishing values.

For others, the cross means martyrdom. Either by the sword or by prejudice. Many face sanctions - ranging from death to imprisonment, harassment to expulsion. For this reason you are given to pray for your sisters and brothers in Christ here at home and around the world.   

This Christian life is more than a marathon. It can also be a dangerous obstacle course. Expect to be tripped. Expect to sometimes fall. Endurance means more than just chugging alone. We must often pick ourselves up and get back into the race.

Says St. Paul, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”[6]

For endurance look not only to the cross, we look to the Resurrection. That’s because you know how this story ends. Not in tragedy. But in triumph. Jesus’ cross and empty tomb is the source of your strength. Your hope. Your joy. Let us run with perseverance. Looking to Jesus. Who endured the cross. So that you may not grow weary or lose heart.[7]

Thank you, Jesus. In Your love, we rejoice and endure.

Words –1,325
Passive Sentences –8%
Readability – 81.7%
Reading Level –3.9
Image copyright © Google Images

[1] Collect of the Day, Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year Lutheran Worship copyright © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis  
[2] Reference the words of Winston Churchill
[3] Almost 100 killed, 30,000 men arrested, over 1,000 synagogues burnt, over 7,000 Jewish businesses destroyed or damaged.
[4] I purchase a chunk of that wall for each of my children. It remains in a safety deposit box. At the time, breaching that wall was such a cataclysmic earth-shattering event. The wall was erected when I was their age. Now that wall is no more.
[5] How Firm a Foundation stanza 2 Lutheran Service Book copyright  © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[6]  2 Corinthians 4:8-12
[7] Hebrews 12

Friday, November 15, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 52 - David and Bathsheba

2 Samuel 11 
(Selective Verses)

11 In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

2 It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king's house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. 3 And David sent and inquired about the woman. And one said, “Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?4 So David sent messengers and took her, and she came to him, and he lay with her. (Now she had been purifying herself from her uncleanness.) Then she returned to her house. 5 And the woman conceived, and she sent and told David, “I am pregnant.”

6 So David sent word to Joab, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.” 14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die.” 16 And as Joab was besieging the city, he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew there were valiant men. 17 And the men of the city came out and fought with Joab, and some of the servants of David among the people fell. Uriah the Hittite also died. 

26 When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she lamented over her husband. 27 And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

David Rules over Israel

2 Samuel 5 
(Selective Verses)

5 Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh. 2 In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the Lord said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince [a] over Israel.’” 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. 4 David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. 5 At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.[b]

6 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who said to David, “You will not come in here, but the blind and the lame will ward you off”—thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7 Nevertheless, David took the stronghold of Zion, that is, the city of David.

2 Samuel 5:2 Or leader
2 Samuel 5:5 Dead Sea Scroll lacks verses 4–5

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

David mourns the deaths of Saul and Jonathan

1 Samuel 18 - 2 Samuel 1 
(Selective Verses)

6 As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated,

Saul has struck down his thousands,
    and David his ten thousands.”

8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?15 And when Saul saw that he had great success, he stood in fearful awe of him. 

19 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul's son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard." 

 31 Now the Philistines were fighting against Israel, and the men of Israel fled before the Philistines and fell slain on Mount Gilboa. 2 And the Philistines overtook Saul and his sons, and the Philistines struck down Jonathan and Abinadab and Malchi-shua, the sons of Saul. 3 The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers.  6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together.

2 And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul's camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. 3 David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.” 4 And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.” 5 Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?6 And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him9 And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ 10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

11 Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so did all the men who were with him. 12 And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the Lord and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. 14 David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed?15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died. 16 And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the Lord's anointed.’”

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 49 - David and Goliath Part 2

1 Samuel 17 
(Selective Verses)

41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”

48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.