Wednesday, May 27, 2020

May 27 - Wednesday prior to Pentecost




Numbers 11:24–30  is the Old Testament lesson for this coming Sunday the Feast of Pentecost—Because the task of caring for the children of Israel was overwhelming, the Lord instructed Moses to appoint seventy men as elders to assist him. For some unknown reason, two of them, Eldad and Medad, failed to present themselves at the tabernacle for commissioning. Yet, the Spirit rested upon them, also. Some of the others thought that they should be stopped from prophesying, proclaiming the Word of the Lord.

Moses exclaims, “Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” Though pastors are appointed to fulfill certain tasks in the Lord’s Church, all Christians are called upon to give witness to the hope that is in them (See 1 Peter 3:15) by proclaiming the Word of God, as opportunities are presented.

As our state and community is slowly beginning to open up now is an excellent time for you to give witness to the hope that is in you. Especially now, Christians have something people desperately need and many are missing: hope. Now, of all times, we must be prepared to give an answer to anyone and everyone who asks about the hope that is in us.

To offer hope we need to engage with others in significant conversation – dialogue that’s been missing as people have become more isolated during recent weeks when many were ordered to stay at home. Significant discussion involves not only speaking but also listening. This is where you can do your part.

Listening is half, yet an integral and essential part of a successful conversation. We’ve all experienced at some time an exchange that was limited to, “Let’s talk about me and then let’s talk about me some more.” When you take turns to talk, everyone feels heard. This is great communication. Empathic listening—understanding your neighbor fully, rather than seeing what they talk about through your own point of view is critical. The Bible emphasizes the importance of listening. James instructs believers to be “quick to listen and slow to speak.” -James 1:19

Listening is essential to evangelism and witness. Listening is like a stethoscope to the human heart. We can find out what is happening inside the heart of a person by simply listening—an invaluable tool when sharing Christ. Ask the Lord to help you to become a better and much more engaged listener.

It might take some time before people feel comfortable around others.  Some are eager to move on and move forward. In the coming weeks, as we focus on practicing good social distancing skills become proactive in developing good listening skills. Listen to their story. And when the opportunity arrives don’t be afraid to give witness to the hope that is in you.

Lord, open my ears and my heart to the needs of others around me. As we engage in significant conversation may I truly listen and become empathetic. Only then can I effectively speak of the hope to which we have been called.  

Image of Psalm 32.5 copyright © Ed Riojas 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

May 26 - Tuesday prior to Pentecost




Psalm 25:1–15—This psalm of David makes an excellent prayer for daily use. It first contrasts godly (the one who trusts in God) with the ungodly. In verses 4–11, we consider our sins, especially as contrasted with the righteousness of God, and pray for forgiveness and spiritual renewal, trusting in the mercy and steadfast love of the Lord.

Verses 12–15 deal with sanctification—godly living—asking for guidance and instruction. The closing verses of the psalm, though not appointed for next week’s reading, brings the plea full circle, as, once again, we pray for deliverance from suffering and from persecution by our foes, those who are opposed to the Lord and to those faithful to the Lord.

By means of instruction the Psalmist reminds us of a simple yet powerful aspect of our faith – we receive mercy; God’s undeserved compassion and forgiveness. God does not require us to earn His forgiveness or gifts. He teaches and leads the humble; those not esteemed by the world.  Those who live by faith receive the blessings of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness. Faith does not earn these blessings but receives them.

In these difficult economic times, how much we want to hear the promise that God will make us abundantly prosperous in our undertakings and in the fruit of our bodies, livestock, and soil. (Deuteronomy 30:9) No need for another stimulus package. A God-ensured economic recovery must surely be right around the corner. Yet, as a response to this reading, Psalm 25 leads us to pause and contemplate what it means to prosper in God.

Psalm 25:1-10 is not a heartfelt expression of gratitude for a windfall, but a heartfelt expression of trust in God. "The first ten verses of the psalm, which make up the present lection, constitute, at root, a theological reflection and heartfelt plea rising out of that reflection."[1] 

In fact, rather than a rousing chorus of "Happy Days Are Here Again," these verses are an introit to lament and an expression of the trust that makes it possible to complain to God. The psalmist asks God for instruction on how to avoid shame and disgrace and then provides instruction of those who wait on the Lord.

"To you, O Lord, I lift my soul," the psalmist declares (25:1). Anyone who has regularly sung Psalm 141 as part of Vespers or Evening Prayer will find in these simple words a profound description of prayer. To lift up one's soul to God is shorthand for lifting up one's hands in an outstretched position in prayer. The gesture signifies holding one's conscious identity, one's life, outstretched to God in sole and complete dependence upon God and God's help. To pray, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul" (25:1) "is a psalmic synonym for 'In you I trust' (verse 2) ... and 'I wait for you' (verses 3-5, 21)."[2] 

To prosper in God is to own and acknowledge one's utter dependence upon God. Deserving has nothing to do with it.

Lord our God, you show us your ways of compassion and love and you spare sinners. Remember not our sins; relieve our misery; satisfy the longing of your people. And fulfill all our hop for eternal peace through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.[3]



[1] Roger E. Van Harn and Brent A. Strawn (eds.), Psalms for Preaching and Worship: A Lectionary Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 109.
[2] James Luther Mays, Psalms, Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1994), 124-125. 
[3]Prayer for Psalm 25  For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and by the Church copyright © 1994 The American Luther Publicity Bureau Delhi, NY


Monday, May 25, 2020

May 25 – Monday prior to Pentecost




Psalm 104:24, 27–28, 30; —On the Day of Pentecost, we focus our attention on the Holy Spirit and His role in establishing the Mission activity of the Christian Church.  The antiphon read during the Introit on the Day of Pentecost is a portion of an ancient prayer to the Holy Spirit: “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love.”

Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise celebrating the wonders of God’s creation.  But it is careful to direct our attention not so much to the creation, but to the Creator. The Lord did not merely set the world into motion and then take His hands off the wheel. He continues to nurture and preserve all He has made. Luther in his Large Catechism explains, “He causes all created things to serve for the use and necessities of life.” (LC II, 14) In the explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed Luther simply explains, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them.”

All around us, seeds sown into the ground just a few weeks ago are beginning to sprout. We anticipate an abundant harvest. The Lord’s abundant power of creation is seen each spring as we witness life flourishing around us.  The Lord has promised to preserve and sustain the earth. “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”  - Genesis 8:22

There seems to always be a guarantee in life that change will happen. Change is something we tend to fear and become anxious about because we do not feel in control of life.  The Psalmist assures us that the Lord is our sure defense. As He preserves you He will safeguard your life even in these unprecedented times.

The portion of the psalm used in the Introit proclaims that the Holy Spirit; whom, with the Father and the Son, was involved in the creation, especially of man, into whose nostrils God breathed the breath (Spirit) of life.

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this planting season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness.[1]

Today is Memorial Day. We recall those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the freedoms we enjoy.


A Memorial Day Prayer: Heavenly Father, as our nation pauses today to remember those in the military who have given their lives for freedoms we enjoy, we pray you would have us all look to you for strength, comfort and guidance. Be with all who serve in our Armed Forces. Bless them and their families. Grant your loving protection. Let peace prevail among all the nations, O God. Especially let your mercy rest upon our land, even as we acknowledge with thanksgiving your past goodness on this country. If it is your will, preserve the lives of the men and women in uniform as they defend our citizenry. Most of all, we pray that you would turn the hearts of all – military and civilian – to your holy Word where we find the true peace for our sinful souls that surpasses all understanding. Keep us repentant of sin. Move us to know, take hold and treasure your saving grace. In the name of Jesus, our Savior and Your beloved Son, who alone gives this peace and hope for eternity, we pray. Amen. [2]



[1] Collect for Agriculture, Lutheran Service Book copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. St. Louis
[2] A Memorial Day Prayer copyright © The Evangelical Lutheran Synod https://els.org/2012/05/28/a-memorial-day-prayer/


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Pentecost



Pentecost


THE DAY OF PENTECOST
(31 May 2020)
 Series A
Numbers 11:24–30
Acts 2:1–21
John 7:37–39

The Risen Lord Jesus Pours Out the Holy Spirit

The Lord took “some of the Spirit” that was on Moses “and put it on the seventy elders” of Israel (Num. 11:25), and they “prophesied in the camp” (Num. 11:26). In the same way, our risen Lord Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost — the 50th day and the “Eighth Sunday” of Easter. When “a sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire appeared” and rested on each of the 12 apostles, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and proclaimed “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:2–4, 11). The Lord Jesus grants this same Spirit to His Church on earth to proclaim Him glorified on the cross and risen victorious from the grave for us sinners. From His open heart, our crucified and risen Lord pours out His Holy Spirit in “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and invites everyone who thirsts to come to Him and drink freely (John 7:37). Through this life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, we hear our pastors “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11) and “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

John 7:37–39
Rivers of Living Water


John 7:37
Ἐν δὲ τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ μεγάλῃ τῆς ἑορτῆς εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἔκραξεν λέγων· Ἐάν τις διψᾷ ἐρχέσθω πρός με καὶ πινέτω

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 

John 7:38
ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ, καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή, ποταμοὶ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ ῥεύσουσιν ὕδατος ζῶντος.

Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 

John 7:39
οῦτο δὲ εἶπεν περὶ τοῦ πνεύματος οὗ ἔμελλον λαμβάνειν οἱ [b]πιστεύσαντες εἰς αὐτόν· οὔπω γὰρ ἦν [c]πνεῦμα, ὅτι Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάσθη

Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.



-The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
-ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
-Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘Pentecost ’© WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
-LCMS Lectionary notes © 2018 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
-Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis


Time in the Word - Pentecost


Preparation for next week, the Day of Pentecost


The Risen Lord Jesus Pours Out the Holy Spirit

The Lord took “some of the Spirit” that was on Moses “and put it on the seventy elders” of Israel (Numbers 11:25), and they “prophesied in the camp” (Numbers 11:26). In the same way, our risen Lord Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost—the fiftieth day and the “Eighth Sunday” of Easter. When “a sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire appeared” and rested on each of the twelve Apostles, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and proclaimed “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:2–4, 11). The Lord Jesus grants this same Spirit to His Church on earth to proclaim Him glorified on the cross and risen victorious from the grave for us sinners. From His open heart, our crucified and risen Lord pours out His Holy Spirit in “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and invites everyone who thirsts to come to Him and drink freely (John 7:37). Through this life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, we hear our pastors “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11) and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Collect for Pentecost Eve: Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost Day: O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord;

Collect for Pentecost Monday: O God, who gave Your Holy Spirit to the apostles, grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord;

Collect for the Holy Spirit: Lord God, heavenly Father, let Your Holy Spirit dwell in us that He may enlighten and lead us into all truth and evermore defend us from all adversities; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord'

Monday, 25 May 2020Psalm 104:24, 27–28, 30; antiphon, Liturgical Text—On the Day of Pentecost, we focus our attention on the Holy Spirit and His role in establishing the Christian Church. The antiphon is a portion of an ancient prayer to the Holy Spirit: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Psalm 104 is a hymn of praise celebrating the wonders of God’s creation. But it is careful to direct our attention not so much to the creation, but to the Creator. The portion of the psalm used in the Introit proclaims that the Holy Spirit, too, with the Father and the Son, was involved in the creation, especially of man, into whose nostrils God breathed the breath (Spirit) of life.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020Psalm 25:1–15—This psalm of David makes an excellent prayer for daily use. It first contrasts godly (the one who trusts in God) with the ungodly. In verses 4–11, we consider our sins, especially as contrasted with the righteousness of God, and pray for forgiveness and spiritual renewal, trusting in the mercy and steadfast love of the LORD. Verses 12–15 deal with sanctification—godly living—asking for guidance, instruction. The closing verses of the psalm, though not appointed for next week’s reading, brings the plea full circle, as, once again, we pray for deliverance from suffering and from persecution by our foes, those who are opposed to the LORD and to those faithful to the LORD.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020Numbers 11:24–30—Because the task of caring for the children of Israel was overwhelming, the Lord instructed Moses to appoint seventy men as elders to assist him. For some unknown reason, two of them, Eldad and Medad, failed to present themselves at the tabernacle for commissioning. Yet, the Spirit rested upon them, also. Some of the others thought that they should be stopped from prophesying, proclaiming the Word of the Lord. 

Moses exclaims, Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them! Though pastors are appointed to fulfill certain tasks in the Lord’s Church, all Christians are called upon to give witness to the hope that is in them (1 Peter 3:15) by proclaiming the Word of God, as opportunities are presented.

Thursday, 28 May  2020Acts 2:1–21—The Epistle reading for the Day of Pentecost is, as you might imagine, the account of the giving of the Holy Spirit on the first Day of Pentecost, and the establishment of the New Testament Church. This special gift was given to the disciples in the early Church for two main reasons: to testify that these men were speaking by the authority of God (for only God could grant such a gift in fulfillment of prophecy), and in order to proclaim the Word of God to people of many different tongues. Since the New Testament had not been written down yet, it also could not be translated yet. In our day, the written Word of God, the Bible, fulfills both these purposes, delivering the truth of God in a language which we can understand.

Friday, 29 May  2020John 7:37–39—Jesus foretells the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit will be fully poured out upon the Church, causing living waters to flow out from their hearts, that is, all believers will be empowered to testify to the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation which comes through Jesus Christ alone.

Saturday, 30 May 2020—The majestic Hymn of the Day, Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord (LSB #497), was written by Martin Luther. In addition to writing catechism hymns for each of the six chief parts of Christian doctrine, Luther wrote this one to help remember the third article of the Apostles’ Creed. The chief teaching of the Christian faith—the doctrine of salvation by faith rather than works—is clearly proclaimed throughout this great hymn. Sing it confidently and boldly. The Holy Spirit has brought you to faith, and by Word and Sacrament, He will continue to keep you in the one true faith.
___________________
Lectionary summary  from LCMS Commission on Worship
Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, "The First Pentecost" copyright © WELS Permission granted for congregational and personal use
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House


Easter 7



Easter 7
24 May 2020
John 17:1-11
“The Glory Hour Has Arrived!"

Jesus, fully aware that His mission of salvation. Will soon reach a successful culmination. He is anxious. To return back to the Father in heaven. Through whom He also will be glorified.  And He comes to His disciples. In whom, through faith, He also dwells in glory.

By faith you will glory in knowing Christ. And in participating by grace in a perfectly crafted salvation plan for which God in His fullness deserves all glory.

We are often slow to understand this glory. And even slower to realize that life eternal is knowing God completely. All because we too readily follow our natural inclination to be with ourselves.  Alone.  And not to be one with God.

Through the Gospel - God leads us from sin to salvation.

Almighty God, as Your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into the heavens so may we also ascend in heart and mind  to continually dwell there with Him. Ascended Lord, Bless Thy Word, that we may trust in Thee.

Sometimes, people pat themselves on the back because no one else will do it. They want at least someone to acknowledge that they have done something praiseworthy. If no praise will come they might act out just to get attention.

So often we see this happen in the classroom at school. From observation. And from experience. We might soon discover that the "class clown" acts up because at least he is getting some sort of recognition. Acknowledgment. Or attention.

 Do we have to act up or speak out to get God's attention? Not so. God has honored us. Not because we have done something worthy.

But because He has done something noteworthy for us. He has glory in the accomplishment of our salvation. And we, by grace, are granted the privilege to share in His glory.

In Christ's redemptive work there is no question that The Glory Hour Has Arrived!

1          The glory hour has arrived for a Father whose plan is always perfect.

A.        As a part of this plan God the Father gave Jesus the power to save us. ‘For You granted (the Son) authority over all people, that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him.” (V.2)

That was the Father's perfect plan. From the very beginning of time. To save the world through His Son Jesus. He gave His Son both the power and the authority to grant life eternal to those who are called to believe and trust in Him.

B.        Your salvation was never left up to mere speculation. The Father was directing your salvation every step of the way. He guided the process. - From the beginning to the time it was brought to completion.

 I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work you gave Me to do. And now, glorify me in Your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (Vv.4-5)

C.        What wonderful news this plan of salvation happens to be. The Father not only directed the process from beginning to end. He also directed His Son to the right people. In the right way. With exactly the right words to say. This is what we call "divine" or "special" revelation. The voice of Jesus when He spoke while being in the world. And now.  As it comes to you from the pages of the Bible. He speaks the Father's message to you.

            I have revealed You to those whom You gave me out of this world. They were Yours; You gave them to Me and they have obeyed Your word.” (v.6)

He delivered His word of truth when He said from the cross; "It is finished!" He further confirmed that Word in you. When He called y by the Gospel in your baptism. And today.

Through the power of that same Word He says to you, "I am with you always even until the end of the age" (Matthew 28:28)

Transition: The Father set His plan of saving this world into motion when His own Son Jesus Christ broke into time and space. To live with and among us. As Jesus walked the face of this earth. He was moving in a fixed direction to the cross. By these words spoken by our risen Savior. He says to the Father that His mission has been accomplished.

2                   The Glory Hour has arrived for Jesus whose mission was accomplished.

A.     To accomplish His mission Jesus gave up something. He surrendered His rightful glory in order to carry out His work.  And now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” (v.5)
John in his gospel describes Jesus' leaving the glories of heaven this way, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...and we have beheld His ...full of grace and truth" (John 1)
B.     In accomplishing this mission. Which the Father gave to Jesus. He did exactly what the Father told Him He was supposed to do.

1.        The meaning of eternal life was made plain in this plan. For Him to suffer and die meant that there would be a great exchange taking place. The Father exchanged your sin for His own Son's righteousness. That you might receive all of the righteousness of God which was found in Him.

2.        What does this mean for you? What all this means is that the people to whom Jesus was directed learned of Him and believed. You have learned of Jesus. And you too believe. These words of the Savior are directed and intended for you. The glory hour has arrived. You have beheld the glory of Jesus. And by faith.  Worked into your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.  You too believe.

Transition: In sending His Son the Father had you in mind. He sent Jesus to accomplish His mission for you, that you might receive salvation and live. As a result this salvation is for each and every believing child of God.

    3.                The Glory Hour has arrived. For it is intended for those whose faith in Christ is central.

A.        As a believer you are the recipient of a saving knowledge that only God could give. You know and believe in Jesus Christ. Because Christ. Working through His Holy Spirit. Has brought you to a saving knowledge, faith and trust in Him.

B.        As a believer. You have a Savior who is also praying for your endurance in faith. Jesus says, "Father I am praying for those who will believe that they might remain strong and pure and committed no matter what circumstance might come their way." (v.11)

Jesus knew that there would be challenges in living the faith. And remaining faithful. That is why He went to the Father in prayer for you. And continues to intercede for you.  That you might remain faithful unto death - and thus receive the crown of everlasting life
C.     As a believer - You now have the honor of reflecting the "oneness" which comes from knowing Christ by faith. As the Father and the Son are one. So likewise - In having a connection with the Savior - You are one with Christ.
As the hymn writer so wonderfully reminds us "As the branch is to the vine, I am His and He is mine." [TLH #342 stanza 1]. There is an oneness. A uniqueness.  A togetherness. That each Christian has with the Savior. And it is all made possible because the Savior’s prayer for you. That you might remain in Him.

When Jesus was on the verge of accomplishing everything He came to do. He knew the time for glory had arrived. His Father deserved glory. He received glory. But wonder of wonders. And miracle of miracles. You as a believer. As being a part of being His people. You too benefit from the glory of His salvation.

In Christ the "glory hour" has arrived. And He has honored you by inviting you through faith to share in it.

Therefore come and receive these good things. For in Christ you share in His glory.
_________________
Words – 1,370
Passive Sentences – 7%
Readability –80.4 %
Reading Level -4.4

Window Dedication


Dedication of The Good Shepherd Windows
Easter 7
May 24, 2020


The Good Shepherd Windows gracing our entryways are dedicated to the glory of God in honor of sainted parents now in glory - O LORD, I love the habitation of your house and the place where your glory dwells. Psalm 28:6 

May the light that shines through these windows be a blessing to us and remind us of Christ the true light.


P: Lord of Light, in the beginning, you separated the light from the darkness and said it was good.

All: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

P: When Moses and the children of Israel escaped in darkness,

All: You sent a pillar of flame to light the way.

P: When in our sin we turned away and called for darkness to surround us, you pursued us.

All: Even the darkness is not dark to you, O Lord; the night is as bright as day.

P: In a stable dark, your light was born in human form.

All: The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

P: So, may the light that shines through these windows be a blessing to us and remind us of your true light. Lord, bless these windows for the glory of your name.  Lord of Light, in the beginning, you separated the light from the darkness and said it was good.

All: You are the true light which enlightens all people.

P: May the light that shines through these windows be a blessing to us and remind us of your true light.

All: Bless these windows which we now dedicate to you, for the adornment of this church and the inspiration of your people.

P: Grant that as the light shines through them in many colors, so our lives may show forth the beauty of your many gifts of grace.

All :Let our light shine in the sight of all people so that, seeing our faith, all may give glory to you.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

May 23 – Saturday prior to Easter 7



Acts 2:21 – “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “Christ is the World’s Redeemer“{LSB 539}. The suggested hymn for this week reminds us that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Having examined the realities of Easter, we now go out into the world as witnesses of the Savior. This is what living the faith means. Expressing what those 1st Century disciples proclaimed, “We are witnesses to these things.” – Luke 24:48; Acts 5:32; 10:39;

This is the bridge between the Easter appearance of Christ to His disciples and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; the birthday of missions. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."  Acts 1:8

From the preamble of our parish mission statement:The birthday of Missions occurred on the day of Pentecost circa AD 30 in the city of Jerusalem. On February 25, 1838, Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church was chartered to be a House of Peace, a Haven of Hope for those who suffer and a Harbor of Light in this sin-darkened world. As followers of Jesus, we are Christ’s ambassadors – commissioned by Him who has reconciled the world to Himself to be salt and light in this world.”  

Collect for Easter 7 - O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

For Agriculture - Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this planting season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness. May we see by this noble vocation that by Your aid we are helping to feed the world and cause all who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.

An Evening Collect for Eastertide Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with Your grace and goodness, with Your Holy Word and sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity.

Christ the King, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

Collects from Lutheran Service Book copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, May 22, 2020

Wyneken Graduation




Wyneken Graduation
Endurance
22 May, 2020

Matthew 10:22 - "And you will be hated for my name's sake.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved."

A week or so ago I sent an e-mail to some of your teachers.

I asked them, “Describe for me, if you could, this class, in one or two words.” 

Here are some of their responses…

“This is a tough one. It really depends on the day! I thought about "fun-loving." I thought about "joy" but then…"challenging " also came to mind.
“Extremely social.”
“Perpetual motion.”
“Strident.
And…“Rarely silent.”
I thought, "Athletic."
They are both "Creative," and “Artistic.” 

Each of these students is so unique that they cannot be lumped together in one or two words, except for maybe "Individual" or "Unique".  "Unique" definitely sums up the end of this school year.  I guess “Unique,” is fitting for this group of students!

There you have it! “Unique!” Yes you are! –

Consider if you would…

Pr. Yeager. He showed up two years ago. You were the first class he ever taught here at Wyneken.

Pr. Brock – you’re the first class here at Wyneken - he’s seen all the way through – from Pre-K to 8th grade.

Pr. Brege and I have been around here so long – we’ve had the privilege to teach some of your parents!

You think your parents as old?  We’re as old as dirt!

But the word you’ve chosen as your text for this night is the word “Endurance” – “But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Endurance. You’ve had to be “patient and enduring” as the world around you has literally been put on hold. “Distance learning,” “Home based-education,” and “Social distancing” have now become the watch words of your world. 

When the history books report and instruct the next generation concerning these events you can say, “I lived it!”

Tonight –we have come together not only to recognize the completion of your education at Wyneken but to send you out into this world to be salt and light. We send you out to be a ‘sermon in shoes.’ And to achieve that end; you will need endurance. “But the one that endure to the end shall be saved.”      

Christ is always there for you. Even in your darkest hours. Even when you feel like there is no help left. Put your trust in Him. And He will lift you in His arms.   Christ remains present.  You can even glory in you weakness. For when you are weak. You are made strong by the power of Christ.
   
Delivered from sin and death, you now live before God in the righteousness of Christ.

1.     Christ has set you free.

Where does this freedom come from? It comes to you in and through your baptism. The place where the Father names you as His own dear child. And not because of what you have attained. Accomplished. Brought to the table. Or achieved.
In class, you perfected, “Let’s make a deal.”

But you can’t barter with God. ‘Your arm’s too short to box with God.’  Your freedom comes to you simply because Christ has chosen to love you and adopt you as His own. 

Christ has now brought you “from death to life." Because you have died to sin you have been raised to newness of life in Christ. No longer does sin reign over you. You now live in the light of your union with Christ.

2. You are now a new person. Created in Christ Jesus.

No longer are you under the law. In Christ you died to sin. In Christ you were raised to newness of life. And thus you now live a new and different life in and through Him.

Now you live "under grace."   Because you have died to sin you have been raised you newness of life in Christ. Rather than presenting you bodies as servants of sin we now present our bodies as instruments of righteousness.

You know, the law always accuses. The law always destroys. No – you are not perfect. There will be times when you will be confronted – by your sin. When that happens – simply repent. To receive the full forgiveness, which is yours in Christ. Sin will have no dominion over you. Since you are no longer under law.
           
3. There is hope for today and tomorrow. This was not how any of us planned for your experience here at Wyneken to end – But it did. And it stinks! And it’s difficult. And sometimes it’s just not fair. So have a plan. Work the plan. Yet plan for the unexpected.

There is a difficult phrase in you verse for tonight. It needs to be addressed. Jesus says, you will be hated for my name's sake. Let’s deal with it in the form of a question; which do you prefer to be liked or to be respected?   

Such is your courage in the face of those "who kill the body but cannot harm the soul."  Do not be afraid to speak clearly and openly what Christ has taught you. Be courageous to speak the truth of Scripture clearly and openly for all to hear even if it appears unpopular or dangerous.
  
You abide in the care of Christ.  Fear not. Your Father will not let anything happen to you apart from His gracious will. You are of more value than many sparrows. Not one of them will fall without your Father's will. No harm will befall you but what your Father wills.

If God has work for you to do you cannot be undaunted. The Lord has given you talents abilities and gifts. Use them. In praise to your heavenly Father and in service to your neighbor.  Every time you roll past a Service Master TM truck remember your vocation – you live in service to your Master.

So I appeal to you. Do not yield to the spirit of this age. Love the truth. What you learn of Christ in the closet speak in the light. What you hear in the Scriptures proclaim from the housetop. You need not fear the face of any man. You are in Christ.  

4. Have faith in God’s care for you – Fear God and you lose the fear of failure. People may ask. “What if I fail?” “What if it all goes wrong?” “What if it doesn’t work?” The Father loves you. He’s concerned for you. He’s by your side. He’s in your corner. He’s got your back.

Your heavenly Father took the lead. He sent Jesus to the cross. To be you substitute.  He lived a perfect life for you. He suffered and died at the cruel and bloody cross for you. He broke down the door of death. He ascended into heaven. He prepares a place for you. He is with you at this very moment. In His Word. In His Sacraments. To strengthen and preserve you.  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Vv.29-31

The Father loves you. You are His. He sustains, directs, supports you. He leads you through troubled waters. He points you to His promises, which will calm your fears and turn your anxieties and suspicions into a quiet confidence. It is well with your soul when Jesus guides and leads you.

So trust in His timing. Rely on His promises. Wait for His answers. Believe in His miracles. Rejoice in His goodness. Relax in His presence. Come near to Jesus and He will come near to you.  James 4:8

If we take these words of Jesus seriously, we have to come to this conclusion; your heavenly Father is completely fascinated with you. He’s taken the time to count the number of hair on your head. Who else would do something than that other then He who is in love with you!   

Fare thee well child of God. Fare thee well. – Godspeed and God bless. 
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Words- 1,405
Passive Sentences-6%
Readability – 89%
Reading Level – 2.8