Friday, August 14, 2020

August 14—Friday prior to Pentecost 11 – Proper 15



Father welcomes all His children To His family through His Son. Father giving His salvation. Life forever has been won.” – Father Welcomes,” Lutheran Service Book #605

Matthew 15:21–28 Jesus heals a Canaanite woman’s daughter. In this regard faith embraces Christ – which is NOT about doing right things. Or being correct. Performing rituals to perfection. Or even eating certain foods. It is what is on the inside which is the most important.

This Canaanite woman is an unlikely candidate to be the ideal follower of Jesus. She’s Gentile. Yet she calls Jesus, “Lord” and “Son of David.” Unlike Peter who fails to understand anything Jesus was doing. Along with Jesus’ other disciples, who attempt to chase her away.

Discipleship is not automatic. Instead, a true believer is one who has absolute faith in Jesus. Paul in this week’s epistle (Romans 11:1–2a, 13–15, 28–32) is attempting to come to grips with the reality that his own people have not accepted Jesus as the Christ.  Yet all have been disobedient alike – both Jews and Gentiles together. In spite of everything, God is able to work through our disobedience to show us His mercy, love and care. 

In Jesus’ conversation with the Canaanite woman there is a wonderful exchange of words. Jesus responds to her by saying, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the family puppy.” She replies by saying, “Yes, Lord, yet even the mutts off the street eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.”

By her persistent prayer, that Jesus would have mercy and help her, even in the face of His initial silence and apparent rejection. This Canaanite woman boldly confessed her faith in Christ.

Her beautiful example encourages us to cling to the words and promises of the Gospel.  Even in the face of the Law.  That accuses and condemns us. Do not think you can walk your way into the Kingdom of God by some grand achievement. Paul commands a life of faith. By faith we receive the Father’s gifts. By faith we get precisely what we don’t deserve. And even more! That is why grace will always be karma’s worst nightmare.

Let Your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church; and because it cannot continue in safety without Your help, protect and govern it always by Your goodness; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. ~ Collect for Pentecost 11

Lutheran Service Book ©2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts “The Crucifixion” copyright © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.  

Morning Prayer Reading #3


Man in Paradise 
Genesis 2:7-9, 15-18, 21-25


Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat [a] of it you shall surely die.”

18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[b] him.

21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[a] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”[b]

24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

Footnotes:
Genesis 2:22 Hebrew built
Genesis 2:23 The Hebrew words for woman (ishshah) and man (ish) sound alike

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts "Man in Paradise" copyright © WELS used with permission for personal and congregational use 

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.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

August 13— Thursday prior to Pentecost 11 – Proper 15



St. Paul concludes, “That he may have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:32). The Canaanite woman from this Sunday’s Gospel reading, (Matthew 15:21–28) boldly confessed her faith in Christ. This woman’s faith and hope were not disappointed.  Her prayers were answered in the mercy of Christ. Not only does He grant us the crumbs from His table. He also feeds us with “the children’s bread” in the house of His Father.  

Faith believes that God is not a Divine Accountant of Probation Officer. Rather, He’s an indulgent father. Who throws a party for his indigent son. He’s like an employer, who pays employees a full day’s wage even though they only worked an hour. He’s like a lavish wedding host, who provides copious amounts of only the best and finest wine. He’s your Good Shepherd content to leave behind ninety-nine of His herd in safety. Who will risk all to save just one that is lost. 

This is the God who desires to bless all people I’m tempted to curse. He includes those whom I’d exclude. And embraces the very people I would shun. This good news, He says, is for all people. No one is to be excluded from the Father’s presence.

May this be our prayer, Lord, through the power of the Gospel - eclipse fear and hatred. By the power of Your love - eclipse violence and injustice. By the mercies of Christ - eclipse racism and bigotry.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts “The Crucifixion” copyright © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Morning Prayer Reading #2


The Creation Part 2
Genesis 1:20-2:3

And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds[a] fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.



24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make man [b] in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.


Footnotes:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut "The Fifth Day of Creation," "The Sixth Day of Creation," "The Seventh Day of Creation," copyright © WELS used with permission for personal and congregational use 

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.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

August 12— Wednesday prior to Pentecost 11 – Proper 15




Isaiah 56:1, 6–8—Writing about 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesies of the LORD: Soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance will be revealed. The LORD’s salvation and righteousness have been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for all, regardless of race, the LORD is pleased to gather to Himself people of all nations and races, and accepts their offerings and sacrifices: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

The Lord Jesus gave His command to reach out the entire world with the message of His salvation, “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)  

This prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost as Peter proclaimed, “And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21) and further, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) The end result was growth, “So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41)

Jesus calls us to himself and to his cross. Now, the Lord hears our prayers and accepts our sacrifice of praise upon the altar of His cross. (Isaiah 56:7)

Prayer for the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Go into all the world, copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
Collect from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Morning Prayer #1


The Creation Part 1
Genesis 1:1-19 (selected verses)

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.



6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse[a] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made[b] the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. 8 And God called the expanse Heaven.[c] And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.



9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,[d] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants[e] yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.



14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years,  16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.



Images: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts, "The First Day of Creation," "The Second Day of Creation," "The Third Day of Creation," "The Fourth Day of Creation."  copyright © from WELS used with permission for personal and congregational use


Footnotes:
Genesis 1:6 Or a canopy; also verses 7, 8, 14, 15, 17, 20
Genesis 1:7 Or fashioned; also verse 16
Genesis 1:8 Or Sky; also verses 9, 14, 15, 17, 20, 26, 28, 30; 2:1
Genesis 1:10 Or Land; also verses 11, 12, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 2:1
Genesis 1:11 Or small plants; also verses 12, 29
Genesis 1:14 Or appointed times
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.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

August 11 — Tuesday prior to Pentecost 11 – Proper 15


Psalm 67—All of the readings for this coming week express the fact that God’s salvation is for all people. The psalmist begins with the familiar Aaronic blessing. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24–26) For thousands of years God’s people have received this blessing. It is the benediction spoken to the people of God at the conclusion of the Divine Service.  It is a blessing God speaks to you individually and personally.

This blessing originally applied to the children of Israel, but then extends it to all people;” that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.”

May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known upon earth,
your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, has blessed us.
May God continue to bless us;
let all the ends of the earth revere him.

When we pray with Psalm 67 that "God continue to bless us" or when we end the end of the worship service with the promise that "the Lord's face shine upon you," we do so for the sake of God's mission. In order that through God's people, all of the world might experience God's saving help.

Prayer for Psalm 67 – Father through your power the earth has brought forth its noblest fruit, the tree of the cross. Unite all people in its embrace, and feed them with its fruit, everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Psalm 67, For All the Saints, A Prayer Book For and By the Church, © 1995 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
The Trinity copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

Monday, August 10, 2020

August 10 —Monday prior to Pentecost 11 – Proper 15



Psalm 28:1–2, 6–7; Antiphon, Psalm 28:8—This psalm of David was probably written during the rebellion of his son, Absalom. Recognizing that he is unable to protect and redeem himself, David cries to the Lord, his Rock, to hear the voice of his pleas for mercy, and then gives thanks to the Lord for having heard and delivered him. Verse 8, used as the antiphon, shows that God’s blessings extend to all His people.

David begs the Lord to not be silent in response to his prayer. David uses two different words that communicate basically the same message.

The meaning of that first use of silent can emphasize deafness – the inability of a person to hear. While the second use of the word silent emphasizes the inability to speak.

David asks the Lord to not be closed off to him – both when it comes to the Lord hearing and responding to David’s desperate cry for help. David needs God to both hear and respond to his request. This our Lord has promised to do every time we approach Him.

In the explanation to the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Luther reminds us, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.”

As we prepare to begin another school year we enter with some uncertainty. It is important for each of us to pray daily. With the coronavirus affecting and impacting so many people we can be tempted to fall into uncertainty, fear, worry, or anxiety about the future.

Prayer is effective…it can literally change everything – especially ourselves when we pray and petition God. As you meditate on these words of Psalm 28 Reach out to God as He has promise to come to you. 

Merciful and everlasting God the Father, You did not spare your own Son but delivered Him up for us all that He might bear our sin on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in our Savior that we that we may not fear the power of an adversaries; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. [1]

Strong Shepherd of your people, when your Son stretched out his hands on the cross, you heard him and he did not become life those who go down into the pit. By his resurrection straighten your people to offer you thanks for the mighty works that you have done and made our hearts dance for you; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. [2]


[1]A prayer for continued protection, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis  
[2] A prayer for Psalm 28, For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and by the Church © 1995 American Lutheran Publicity Bureau Delhi, NY
Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things




Sunday, August 9, 2020

Proper 15 Series A




Proper 15 Series A
16 August 2020

Isaiah 56:1, 6–8
Romans 11:1–2a, 13–15, 28–32
Matthew 15:21–28

The Church Lives Under the Cross of Christ and Prays in the Hope of His Mercy

By her persistent prayer that Jesus would have mercy and help her (Matthew 15:22, 24), and even in the face of His initial silence and apparent rejection (Matthew 15:23–26), the Canaanite woman boldly confessed her faith in Him (Matthew 15:27–28). Her beautiful example encourages us to cling to the words and promises of the Gospel, even in the face of the Law that accuses and condemns us. 

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29), and His Law “has consigned all to disobedience” for the very purpose “that he may have mercy on all” (Romans 11:32). Hence, the woman’s faith and hope were not disappointed, but her prayers were answered in the mercy of Christ. 

Not only does He grant us the crumbs from His Table, but He also feeds us with “the children’s bread” in the house of His Father (Matthew 15:26–27). He has brought us to His “holy mountain,” and He makes us joyful in His house, where He hears our prayers and accepts our sacrifice of praise upon the altar of His cross (Isiah 56:7).

Almighty and everlasting Father, You give Your children many blessings even though we are undeserving. In every trial and temptation grant us steadfast confidence in Your loving-kindness and mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord.

She Would Not Let Go
Rev. Dr. Daniel J. Brege

I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)

The patriarch Jacob wrestled with a mysterious man, and the wrestling match occurred because Jacob wanted this man’s blessing (Ge 32:22ff).  This man, as implied in the account and as explained by the prophet Hosea (12:3-4), is indeed God.   Jacob would not let God go until God blessed him.  Of this account Luther wrote:  “The unbelievable power of faith…prevails over God…God cannot shake loose.”

Now, almost 2,000 years after Jacob, a Canaanite woman comes to The Man, asking his blessing upon her demonically-troubled daughter.  Though the woman was not Jewish, she nonetheless believed that Jesus was the long awaited Christ, for she implores Him, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David.”  This Jesus whom the woman approaches is exactly what she believes: He is her Lord, the long awaited Son of David, the one prophesied to be the Merciful One.  Her faith in Jesus had been generated by someone who shared God’s Word with her, for faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ.

For the Apostles and for us who now read the account, Jesus rebuffs her faith three times.  He does this to reveal the woman’s bear-trap faith, which having snapped shut on the Christ would not let Him go.  He first gives her the silent treatment.  Then He informs her that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Thirdly Jesus tells this gentile-dog that it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. The Canaanite woman’s faith would not release Jesus.  Jesus finally reveals what He knew was happening all along:  “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (28).

Jacob confidently promised his wrestling opponent, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” (Ge 32:26).  In lieu of Jacob’s tenacious faith, God blessed him and changed his name to Israel, which means, “He strives with God.”  Through faith—a faith wrought by God through His Word—Jacob had striven with God, and prevailed; now Jacob is named Israel.  In Sunday’s Gospel account Jesus apparently denies giving help to the woman by informing her that He had been sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  As the Kingdom-work of Christ unfolded through His Holy Apostles, we realize who the citizens of the Israel of God are (Gal 6:15-16).  As explained by Paul in Romans 9, there is of course Israel according to the flesh…the physical descendants of Israel.  But then there is Israel according to the promise: For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring…This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring (6-8). The Canaanite woman who implored the Son of David to have mercy on her daughter was indeed a child of the promise, a spiritual descendant of Israel, a child of God by faith. We thus see how appropriate it was for Jesus to heal her daughter, for she was—in the loftiest sense—a lost lamb of the house Israel for whom Jesus had been sent.

Why was Jesus “sent”?  He was not sent by the Father to merely travel the countryside and heal/exorcise those who needed it, but he was sent to save, and not just to save the physical descendants of Israel. The universal salvation of Christ Jesus is attested by the fact that His death was for the entire world.  Scripture informs us He died for all, and thus God was reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor 5); He is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world (1 Jo 2).  Through the healing of the Canaanite woman’s daughter Jesus was giving a sneak-preview of the salvation that would reach beyond the Jews.  This salvation is not simply temporal healing, it is eternal.  It is received by the lost sheep of the house of Israel, by those brought to faith in the crucified and risen Christ.

Matthew 15:21–28
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

Matthew 15.21 
Καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἐκεῖθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὰ μέρη Τύρου καὶ Σιδῶνος.
And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.

Matthew 15.22 
καὶ ἰδοὺ γυνὴ Χαναναία ἀπὸ τῶν ὁρίων ἐκείνων ἐξελθοῦσα ἔκραζεν λέγουσα• Ἐλέησόν με, κύριε υἱὸς Δαυίδ• ἡ θυγάτηρ μου κακῶς δαιμονίζεται.
And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”

Matthew 15.23 
ὁ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῇ λόγον. καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἠρώτουν αὐτὸν λέγοντες• Ἀπόλυσον αὐτήν, ὅτι κράζει ὄπισθεν ἡμῶν.
But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”

Matthew 15.24 
ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν• Οὐκ ἀπεστάλην εἰ μὴ εἰς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ.
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Matthew 15.25 
ἡ δὲ ἐλθοῦσα προσεκύνει αὐτῷ λέγουσα• Κύριε, βοήθει μοι.
But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.

Κύριε, βοήθει μοι – the most powerful prayer in Scripture

Matthew 15.26 
ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν• Οὐκ ἔστιν καλὸν λαβεῖν τὸν ἄρτον τῶν τέκνων καὶ βαλεῖν τοῖς κυναρίοις.
 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.”

Matthew 15.27 
ἡ δὲ εἶπεν• Ναί, κύριε, καὶ γὰρ τὰ κυνάρια ἐσθίει ἀπὸ τῶν ψιχίων τῶν πιπτόντων ἀπὸ τῆς τραπέζης τῶν κυρίων αὐτῶν.
She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.”

Matthew 15.28
τότε ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῇ• Ὦ γύναι, μεγάλη σου ἡ πίστις• γενηθήτω σοι ὡς θέλεις. καὶ ἰάθη ἡ θυγάτηρ αὐτῆς ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης.
Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.[ ‘from that hour’]

Faith believes that God is not a Divine Accountant or Probation Officer. Rather, He’s an indulgent father. Who throws a party for his indigent son. He’s like an employer. Who pays employees a full day’s wage. Even though they only worked an hour. He’s like a lavish wedding host. Who provides copious amounts of only the best and finest wine. He’s your Good Shepherd. Content to leave behind ninety-nine of His herd in safety. Who will risk all. To save just one, that is lost.

This is the God who desires to bless all people I’m tempted to curse. He includes those whom I’d exclude. And embraces the very people I would shun. This good news, He says, is for all people. No one is to be excluded from the Father’s presence.

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.


Time in the Word - Proper 15


Time in the Word:
Proper 15
10-15 August 2020

The Church Lives Under the Cross of Christ  and Prays in the Hope of His Mercy

By her persistent prayer that Jesus would have mercy and help her (Matthew 15:22, 24), and even in the face of His initial silence and apparent rejection (Matthew 15:23–26), the Canaanite woman boldly confessed her faith in Him (Matthew 15:28). Her beautiful example encourages us to cling to the words and promises of the Gospel, even in the face of the Law that accuses and condemns us. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 10:29), and His Law “has consigned all to disobedience” for the very purpose “that He may have mercy on all” (Romans 10:32). Hence, the woman’s faith and hope were not disappointed, but her prayers were answered in the mercy of Christ. Not only does He grant us the crumbs from His Table, but He also feeds us with “the children’s bread” in the house of His Father (Matthew 15:26–27). He has brought us to His “holy mountain,” and He makes us joyful in His house, where He hears our prayers and accepts our sacrifice of praise upon the altar of His cross (Isaiah 56:7).

Monday, 10 August 2020Psalm 28:1–2, 6–7; Antiphon, Psalm 28:8—This psalm of David was probably written during the rebellion of his son, Absalom. Recognizing that he is unable to protect and redeem himself, David cries to the Lord, his Rock, to hear the voice of his pleas for mercy, and then gives thanks to the Lord for having heard and delivered him. Verse 8, used as the antiphon, shows that God’s blessings extend to all His people.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020—Psalm 67—All of the Propers of the day express the fact that God’s salvation is for all people. The psalmist begins with the familiar Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24–26), a blessing originally applied to the children of Israel, but then extends it to all people: that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020Isaiah 56:1, 6–8—Writing about 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesies of the LORD: Soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance will be revealed. The LORD’s salvation and righteousness have been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for all, regardless of race, the LORD is pleased to gather to Himself people of all nations and races, and accepts their offerings and sacrifices: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

Thursday, 13 August 2020Romans 11:1–2a, 13–15, 28–32—St Paul recounts how salvation is from the Jews (for Jesus was a Jew), but that it extends to all peoples, even to the Gentiles. Indeed, he laments over the fact that his people have now been disobedient by rejecting the Savior, but hopes that they may yet be saved.

Friday, 14 August 2020—Matthew 15:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus heals the daughter of one who was despised by the Jews of His day—a Cannanite woman. Jesus shows that His ministry is not limited to the Jews; it extends to all people. Like the woman, we are all poor beggars before the Lord, and are privileged to receive His crumbs of mercy, for even His crumbs are more than sufficient for us.
Some thoughts from this weeks Gospel 

Get this woman off my back!

The disciples show great compassion…Not! They say concerning this Canaanite woman, “Send her away! She keeps crying out after us!” How did Jesus feel about her? At first he ignores her, Then He insults her by calling her a dog!

No one likes someone who nags. Yet, she uses her nagging to get a cure for her daughter! Could we learn something from her today?

This woman had no right to nag.
1. She was a woman with no rights Vv. 21-22
2. She was a gentile with no claim on the Jews. Vs.26
3. She was a pagan, a devotee of a false religion. Vs.22

This woman had reason to nag. 
1. She had a serious need. Vs. 22
2. She had humility. Vv. 25-26
3. She had faith. Vs. 28

Saturday, 15 August 2020—The hymn of the day, In Christ There Is No East or West (LSB #653), reflects the theme of the readings: that, according to the order of salvation in Christ, there is no difference between any of the people of His Church. All man-made distinctions are gone as regards His forgiveness: Jew/Gentile, black/white, male/female, Anglo/Hispanic, etc. The Body of Christ, the Church, comes from all nations. Indeed, even our liturgy reflects this, as it is drawn from Jewish, African, and European sources. Likewise, our hymns come from many cultures across many ages.

Morning Prayer Readings for this Coming Week:

Aug. 11 Tuesday Opening Chapel
Aug. 12 Wednesday The Creation
Aug. 13 Thursday The Creation
Aug. 14 Friday Man in Paradise

Catechism Review 1st and 2nd Commandments

Prayers for the week:

Almighty and everlasting Father, You give Your children many blessings even though we are undeserving. In every trial and temptation grant us steadfast confidence in Your loving-kindness and mercy;

Almighty and everlasting Father, You give Your children many blessings even though we are undeserving. In every trial and temptation grant us steadfast confidence in Your loving-kindness and mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…

Prayer for the mission of the Church and her missionaries:Almighty and gracious God, You want all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Magnify the power of the Gospel in the hearts of Your faithful people that Your Church may spread the good news of salvation. Protect, encourage, and bless all missionaries who proclaim the saving cross that Christ, being lifted up, may draw all people to Himself, who lives and reigns…

Prayer for those outside the Church:Almighty and everlasting God, You desire not the death of a sinner but that all would repent and live. Hear our prayers for those outside the Church. Take away their iniquity, and turn them from their false gods to You, the living and true God. Gather them into Your holy Church to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…

Prayer for unity of faith:O God, Your infinite love restores to the right way those who err, seeks the scattered, and preserves those whom You have gathered. Of Your tender mercy pour out on Your faithful people the grace of unity that, all schisms being ended, Your flock may be gathered to the true Shepherd of Your Church and may serve You in all faithfulness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns…

Sources
Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006Concordia Publishing House



Pentecost 10 - Proper 14




09 August 2020
Matthew 14:22-33



What the Savior thinks of Little Faith
O man of little faith, why did you doubt?”   How the words must have seared Peter’s conscience, as they do ours. It’s embarrassingly easy to identify with Peter for we are so often tossed about by our doubts and fears. This morning let’s consider that the Savior has to say concerning a little faith.

I.        It shouldn’t exist.
A.         Jesus takes care of His disciples. Consider the situation in our text for this morning. (Vv.22-29)

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said. {Matthew 14:22-29}

1.      He sent His disciples away. They would not be tempted to join the crowd that wanted to make Him a bread king. “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd” (V. 22)

2.      He came to be them on the seas. Although the danger was overpowering. “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”  (Vv.23-25)

3.      He comforted them by identifying Himself. “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.”It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."  (Vv. 26-27)

4.   He granted Peter’s request with an enabling word. “Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said” (Vv.28-29)

B.         But His disciples forgot all this. (v. 30)

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

1.         Peter thought the wind and the waves were a bigger threat than Jesus was a help. We also face many forms of worldly forgetfulness.

a.       Some may half jokingly say, “I hope Judgment Day doesn’t come until after Friday night!”

b.   We may forget the Lord in our day-to-day concerns, relying instead on ourselves, our friends, our money, our cleverness, etc.

c.       In the church today there is a preoccupation with gimmicks. People then think it is only concerning with self-preservation.

2.         We believe Jesus – but only part way. And that’s worse of all. Peter was in no great danger until he got on the water and doubted.

Transition: Surrounded by doubt, fear, and little faith we must turn to Jesus our Rock and our Redeemer.

II.     Little faith willed with doubt and fear did not stop Jesus.

A.         He saves people of little faith. (V.31) “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

1.         He is motivated by grace. There is no question who is carrying for whom.

2.         He substituted for all – even those of little faith.

a.         He lived with constant confidence in God. (V. 23) “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.”

b.         He died facing the danger that results from little faith.

3.         Believing is receiving. Even when Jesus works a miracle its meaning must be apprehended in faith. “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Vv. 32-33)   Yet faith receives Him and His forgiveness regardless of how great or small our faith may be. “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or of a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

B.         This Jesus is the Son of God. “Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." {V.33}

1.         This is the great reality that exists prior to or even apart from faith. Even Jesus’ enemies had to recognize this.

2.         He has come to save not destroy. As the Son of God, He carried out the saving plan. His substitution worked because He is the Savior as St. Paul teaches, “God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting man’s sins against them. And He has committed to us this message of reconciliation.” {2 Corinthians 5:19}

3.         Those that have great faith are those who receive this great God in all His power and compassion.

4.         His Gospel word tells us about Him and brings Him to us. It engenders faith, just as this event strengthened the disciples’ faith.

The Lord is more than worthy of our trust. For a Christian to have faith in Him is like a child loving his parent.
________________
Words – 1,035
Passive Sentences – 3%
Readability – 75.8%
Reading Level – 5.8
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). Copyright © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

Confirmation



Pentecost 10 - Proper 14
09 August 2020
Matthew 14:27


But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.

Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

As Matthew tells the story of Jesus walking on the sea he uses a word that literally jumps off the page. He uses the word – Immediately.  Immediately Jesus compelled his disciples to enter the boat. He forced them to leave. And, as the story unfolds, immediately Jesus comforts them; reassuring his disciples that he is present that they do not need to fear.

It is easy to have faith when all goes well. Faith is seen like a lamp when night comes. The disciples had a night experience on the sea when their faith was challenged. We need a faith that will not fail in times of crises. A faith needed for troubled times.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”  (Vv.22-25)

Jesus sent His disciples away.  The disciples were “made” to go to sea. Jesus wanted and needed to be alone to pray about John’s recent murder by Herod.

The disciples are not stupid. In fact, they know a lot about the lake. They are experienced fishermen. They knew that storms brew at night.  They knew it is not safe to be in a boat in the middle of the night that far from shore. And yet, they obey.  They do as they are told. They follow Jesus’ command.  

In their obedience they ran into trouble, a storm at sea. There is a fundamental truth here.  We’re living in a broken world outside of Eden. We will get trouble, hardship, and crisis in this life. Jesus never promised all sunshine for his followers. Are you up for the challenge? Trouble will find you.  Hard times might come. But they last only for a season.  

There’s much movement in this story. The disciples are straining while Jesus is walking. The disciples are stressed under much pressure. Jesus comes to their rescue.  Jesus came to them walking on the seas. Although the danger was overpowering. Jesus brings calm.

The fourth watch came between three and six in the morning, the darkest time of the night. Jesus came to the storm-tossed disciples after they futilely struggle against the storm throughout the night. 

A person’s extremity is God’s opportunity to rescue. “When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified.”It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."  (Vv. 26-27) 

Yet Jesus comforted them by identifying Himself. The words of Jesus to Peter are pure promise: “It is I” Jesus is the great "I am." He is always present. Always near.  Never absent.  He is the ever-present Savior offering his gifts of forgiveness and life.

Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said” (Vv.28-29)  Jesus granted Peter’s request with an enabling word. “Since it is you, command me to come to you. Notice who is taking charge in this conversation.  Jesus commands the disciples to enter the boat. He commands Peter to come. He rescues. He saves.

Without this promise of his presence, Jesus’ words to Peter would be cruel.  Why can Peter take courage?  Because Jesus is there with him. Even in the midst of a storm.

Here is a gracious reminder that we can still be in the boat with Jesus and only have a little faith.  Having lots of faith is not a requirement for journeying with Jesus. Rather a word of encouragement and hope. Jesus is present even in the midst of a storm.

Believing is receiving. Even when Jesus works a miracle its meaning can only be understood in faith. “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." (Vv. 32-33)  

Yet faith receives Him and His forgiveness regardless of how great or small our faith may be. “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become the children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or of a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Jesus has come to save not destroy. As the Son of God, He carried out the saving plan. His substitution worked because He is the Savior as St. Paul teaches, “God was in Christ Jesus reconciling the world unto Himself, not counting man’s sins against them. And He has committed to us this message of reconciliation.” {2 Corinthians 5:19}

Lord save me!” That was the cry of Peter. It is the cry of the voice of faith. May this be our cry. Whatever the situation Jesus is able to help. Fear came knocking at the door, Jesus answered, and fear went away! May that be your experience throughout your journey of faith and your walk with Jesus as He orders your days and directs your path.

Image: Backhuysen, Ludolf. Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn.