Monday, February 22, 2016

Time in the Word - Lent 3

The Theme for Lent 3 is “A Life of Repentance.” In the Old Testament lesson (Ezekiel 33:7-20) the prophet is told that he has been called to be a watchman, to speak of warning. If he fails to call men to repentance, he is responsible for his brother’s fall. In the Epistle (1 Corinthians 10:1-13), Paul calls his hearers to repent to avoid destruction. In the Gospel (Luke 13:1-9), Jesus warns us to repent before it is too late or perish.

Collect for Lent 3 – O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for a Church Anniversary – Almighty God, You have promised to be with Your Church forever. We praise You for Your presence in this place of worship and ask Your ongoing blessing upon those who gather here. Dwell continually among us with Your holy Word and Sacraments, strengthen our fellowship in the bonds of love and peace, and increase our faithful witness to Your salvation.

A prayer for newness of life in Christ – Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.  

A prayer for Home and Family – Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A morning prayer – Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep safe our going out and our coming in, and let Your blessings remain with us throughout this day. Preserve us in Your righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A prayer before worship – O Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter, as we come to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You may open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word, so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His same.  

Monday, 22 February 2016—Psalm 5:4-8, Antiphon, Psalm 1:6: For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. In keeping with our theme – a life of repentance – the antiphon reminds us that the righteous will be saved but the wicked will perish. They will perish for they do not repent. Implicit in the destinies of the two lifestyles are the destinies of those who choose them. This will be further explained in the Old Testament lesson for the week.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016—Psalm 85; key verse,  verse 8:  I will listen to what God the Lord will say; He promises peace to His people His saints – but let them not return to folly. When we repent, we take responsibility, we show remorse, we repair what we can, and we repeat not! This is what the psalmist is driving at when he says, “but let them not return to folly.” When we repeat, when we return to visit from whence we came, we provoke God’s displeasure again. Thus, we need to ask the Lord to send us His Holy Spirit to lead us into right living. And when we fall or fail, we need to confess our sin, repent, and rely on His grace to save us. This is the pattern of a life of repentance.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016—Ezekiel 33:7-20–When confronted by the Lord, Cain asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” [Genesis 4:9] Ezekiel is called to be a watchman. He is to warn his fellow citizens of the sure destruction, which is to come. If they repent, they are spared. If they refuse to repent, they will be punished, but Ezekiel will not be held liable. However, if he chooses not to warn his brothers, they will surely be punished yet he will be held responsible for his brother because he failed to warn them. We have a responsibility to preach both Law and Gospel. God will judge each individual whether righteous or wicked. God takes no pleasure in punishing. This is his alien work. (This will hurt me as much as it hurts you) But it is a part of God’s nature. We are our brother’s keeper. Each will be judged individually yet there is a moral obligation toward our neighbor to sound the alarm of the coming judgment. 

Note: our congregation was chartered on February.25.1838

Thursday, 25 February 2016—1 Corinthians10:1-13–St. Paul pleads with his hearers to turn from their sin (repent) to avoid destruction. He uses lessons to be learned from the Israelites’ experiences in the wilderness. The gist of Paul’s pleading: don’t think that just because you were baptized and receive Holy Communion, you are safe from sinning. Look at the Israelites who were baptized into Moses and ate supernatural food. They perished for their sins. Christians can sin, too. Pride goes before a fall. Do not be smug and think you have it made, that nothing can happen to you, and that you are safe from God’s judgment. Yet God will provide an escape from temptation to sin that you need not perish. As Christians, you need to live a life of daily repentance. 

Friday, 26 February 2016 – Luke 13:1-9–Repent before it is too late. Judgment is delayed to allow time for repentance.  The parable of the fig tree emphasizes God’s forbearance and patience in waiting for repentance. The emphasis is on the plea of the vinedresser to give the tree more time to produce before its destruction.

Suffering and tragedy do not necessarily follow sin. A natural catastrophe like the tower of Siloam and man’s violence like Pilate’s massacre of those in the acts of worship do not imply that the victims were special sinners deserving this fate. All need to repent. Whether or not they are victims of disaster, all are guilty of sin. Thus, unless all repent, they will perish like the victims of the tower and the massacre. 

Saturday, 27 February 2016—Mark 15:29-30; Isaiah 53:4-5:11— Sunday’s hymn is Jesus Refuge of the Weary (LSB 423).  This much-loved Lenten hymn is a meditative song drawing the listener to reflect not only on Christ and His cross but also upon its effect on the Christ’s life. Meditate upon what Christ has offered you – His life, His love in exchange for your sin.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

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