Monday, August 24, 2009

Time in the Word Pentecost 13 - Proper 17

The theme for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Faith in Action. The Pharisees of Christ’s day adhered strictly to the dietary restrictions laid down by God in His Law. They even extended them. However, they believed that this strict outward fulfillment would save them. They gave little thought to the condition of their hearts, for even as they were outwardly pious in following the letter of the Law, inwardly, they were filthy with sin, hating Christ and His disciples and even hatching a plan to murder Him.

Jesus tells us that what matters is not the outward act, but the condition of one’s heart. Now this does not mean that we are free to act however we will. True faith will always manifest itself in doing good works, and a desire to adhere to the Word of God. People will be able to see that we have put our faith in action by our love for others.

As for the dietary laws of the Jews, we can be thankful that Christ has fulfilled the Law and has declared all foods clean. We are free to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers, pork chops, shrimp, and much more without guilty consciences.

Monday, 17 August 2009—Psalm 51:7, 10–12; Antiphon, Psalm 51:2—Sunday’s Introit is a portion of David’s pœnitential psalm, the one he wrote after being confronted with his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1—12:14). David evinces true repentance: grief, shame, and contrition over his sin, but also faith and trust in God that he would be redeemed of all his iniquity. When we sing this as the Offertory, we make David’s plea our own: we ask for—and receive—a clean heart, a right spirit. We have been washed thoroughly from iniquity and cleansed from all sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009—Psalm 119:129–136—Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, and it extols the virtues of delighting in the Word of God. One who is righteous by faith has a great desire to live according to the precepts of God’s holy Word. The Word of God gives light and understanding; it keeps us from having our iniquity getting dominion over us. We the redeemed long to live by faith according to the Word; we shed tears because people do not keep God’s Law.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009—Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9—As the Children of Israel were about to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving them, Moses reminds them of all that the LORD had taught and commanded them. His advice is to them and to us, heirs through Christ of the spiritual Promised Land, the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be diligent to hear the Word of God and preserve it, making it known, not only among ourselves, but to our children and our children’s children.

Thursday, 20 August 2009—Ephesians 6:10–20—This last reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians fit exceptionally well with Sunday’s other readings. Moses had given his instruction to the Israelites because he knew how easy it is for people to fall away from God. In times of both adversity and prosperity, people may be tempted to forsake the Lord. Attacks will come, for the devil hates God and all whom He loves. The Christian must gird himself for spiritual warfare with the weapons which God has provided: truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation—with these, we are equipped for the assaults of the Evil One.

Friday, 21 August 2009—Mark 7:14–23—What defiles a person? Is it what goes into him? No. We are all defiled by sin. We have inherited our sinful nature from our first parents, and are inclined toward evil. Jesus gives a whole laundry list of wicked thoughts and actions which proceed out of our sinful hearts. We must ever be on guard, not only against the attacks of Satan, as in the epistle lesson, but even on the treachery of our own hearts. We must not depart from the Word of God, but read, hear, and learn it daily to know of both our salvation and of the will of God.

Saturday, 22 August 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Be Strong in the Lord (LSB 665) exhorts us to make full use of the armor of God, that we may withstand the wiles of the devil and our sinful nature. Having been equipped by our Lord, we can be certain of the victory.

Collect for Pentecost 13O God, the source of all that is just and good, nourish in us every virtue and bring to completion every good intent that we may grow in grace and bring forth the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeff Jeuning who serves Zion Casey and St John Dexter, IA

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