Saturday, November 30, 2019

Advent 1

Advent 1 Series A
01 December 2019
Advent 1
Matthew 24:37-44
Be ready for the unexpected day of Jesus’ return

Vigilance is needed because the return of Christ will be unexpected for many living in this world.  It is a common failure among some people to ignore the signs of the times of impending disaster. It is confirmed at the time of an earthquake or hurricane. Such events were well documented and demonstrated in the storms of Katrina and Rita and in forest fires in California Arizona and other western states. 

People didn’t think things could get that bleak. They didn’t leave when they were suppose to and then it came to a point when evacuation was impossible there was no escape. At first they would not leave then they could not leave.  Some refuse to heed the warnings and so they suffer the consequences of the storm.

Vigilance is the price of preparedness.

1. Danger of preoccupation – V. 38 “For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;”

For the people of Noah’s day it was a case of business as usual. They just did not think of a possible flood. The warning signs were all about. Noah would preach judgment, the approaching flood, and continued to build the ark. His message fell on deaf ears. The people were preoccupied with the business of living.

Some might lay the same claim against us Christians especially in this Advent season.  ‘You keep talking about Jesus coming back to this earth,’ they say. ‘It’s been 2,000 years, He hasn’t returned.  Maybe you’re just a little preoccupied with all this talk of Jesus and His 2nd coming’. 

And yet, in this world people are constantly thinking about their future. They plan for retirement, they pre-arrange for their funeral, they make provisions for financing their children or their grandchildren’s education – planning, investing, saving for future events years in the making. Yet, they fail to make provisions for their immortal soul. What’s the difference? Some have a different set of priorities in life.    

Why all this concern?  Because there are people living even in our own community “without a prayer”.  They are living their day to day lives “without a prayer” of tomorrow or of their future destiny. They are missing – missing from fellowship – missing from a relationship with the Savior – mission from spiritual union with other believers. They are on the outside looking in – and they don’t even know it. 

You and I make provisions for the eventual return of Jesus Christ. Like Noah we speak about the eventual return of Christ and His visitation and we build and invest in ministry now. We work now to in making disciples for the kingdom for there will come a time when opportunities will cease and there will be no more time or hours to work but only night.   

Transition: There is the danger of preoccupation of time. There is also a danger in the danger of judgment.  

2. Danger of judgment – Vv. 40, 41 “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.”

One will be taken into glory and the other will face judgment. The one taken was prepared for the Lord’s coming. For the other, it was too late. Their time of grace was wasted. How many shattered lives? How many misspent years attempted to gain the whole world only to have lost their soul?

The coming day is not to be put off. What words can more strongly describe the suddenness of our Savior’s coming! Men will be at their respective businesses, and suddenly the Lord of glory will appear. Women will be in their place of employment, but in that moment every other work will be laid aside, and every heart will turn inward and say, “It is the Lord! Am I prepared to meet him? Can I stand before Him?” And what, in fact, is the Day of Judgment to the whole world, but the day of death to every one?  This the Savior reminds us, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42 -KJV)

Transition: There is the danger of preoccupation, the danger of judgment, and the danger of the unexpected.

3. Danger of unexpectedness – V.43 “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have left his house be broken into.”

A thief strikes when least expected. A Christian needs to live on the alert for Jesus’ coming. There needs to be a heightened awareness. Christ could return at any moment. Or, His return may be delayed.  No one is certain of the day or the hour.  Pay attention!  

In the verse just prior to our text, {V. 37} Jesus reminds us that the time of His return is unknown to men. “No one know about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Those who spend their time attempting to predict the date are like those who spend their hours attempting to break the bank at Vegas. Yet, know this; the date in time has been fixed.

“Oh, the Places you’ll go!” – happens to be the last book written and illustrated by children's author Dr. Seuss. A young boy, referred to simply as “you,” initiates the action of the story. Dr. Seuss tells us “The Waiting Place” isn’t fun for anyone. Here people wait for other people...for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No....

Waiting…is a part of life. And no, it isn’t fun. In life we wait - for anything and everything - even second chances.  In Advent it seems as if the saying or slogan is “Ready, set, Wait!”  Yet, vigilance is the price of preparation. Be on your watch. The end will come according to the Father’s appointed hour.

Words – 1,080
Passive Sentences –8% 
Readability – 75.9%
Reading Level – 5.8
Advent Image copyright  © Higher Things
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving – the quintessential American Holiday

Thanksgiving Day
November 29, 2019
Luke 17:11–19  
“Thanksgiving – The Quintessential American Holiday”

Ten lepers cry out to Jesus with one voice: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” All ten share in the same condition. They are all leprous. They are all outcasts. Cut off from society. All of them.  Have faith in Jesus to heal them. “Have mercy on us!

"Ten" is a perfect number. All together. They cry out for mercy. But at a distance. They have nothing left to lose.

Lepers were like death-row inmates. They were as good as dead. Dead men walking. For death itself was in their flesh. Lesions. Sores. And scabs. Bore witness to their decay. As living symbols of death. They were unclean. As such. They were shunned from society. They were cast out of the community. Barred access to home. Market. And synagogue. 

Their leprosy made them dead to family and friends. Leprosy made them dead to religious practice. Only a cure for their leprosy could bring them life. But cures were rare. So rare, in fact. That the rabbis of the day considered the cure of a leper equivalent with raising a person from the dead. Lepers were the living dead.

These men  didn’t call out to Jesus just to say “Hello.” They called out because they were sick. In fact dying a very slow death. And it is precisely those people. Whom our Lord came to rescue. Perhaps the greatest virtue of the Samaritan was his sense of self. The man knew precisely what he was. And what he needed. More to the point. He knew where to get it. [1] 

All ten are cleansed by Jesus. The skin of every leper is restored. As they go their way to the Temple. Only the Samaritan, however, goes back to Jesus to give thanks. And Jesus commends him for his faith. 

Rise and go your way,” says Jesus. “Your faith has made you well.”  Rise up. Go. And keep going.  Your faith has. And continues to save you. Faith is always busy and active.

Jesus doesn’t give the Samaritan any direction.  He simply says “Rise and go.” The implication is that the Samaritan can go wherever he wants. He worships God in Spirit and Truth. He doesn’t need to go to the Temple. Or the priests in Jerusalem. He is not merely cleansed of leprosy. He is also saved. His soul is clean. He is reconciled to God. There is no one to accuse him.

Today is Thanksgiving – the quintessential American Holiday. In the midst of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln declared that a grateful nation would simply pause to give thanks to God. That is why you have gathered here today. As the people of this parish have gathered - for the past one-hundred fifty-six years. 

We pause to give thanks. To the one who has shown mercy. To the one who could have left us dead in our trespasses and sin. But instead determined to save and redeem us. 

Not with a wave of His hand. But with hands and feet which were pierced. And a side which was wounded. And with a back which was scared by the whip of and an oppressor. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.’ 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus took responsibility for our sin. By taking our curse. (Galatians 3:13) Our penalty. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Our consequences. (Matthew 27:46) Our punishment. (Isaiah 53:5).  

Nine were hesitant to give Jesus the glory. This stranger. This outcast.   The one who had no purpose. And no status. Returned to give thanks. 

Secure then of His promises. Let us believe the past. Recognize the present. Hope for the future. ‘The blessing of the Lord are for evermore. Amen and Amen.’ (Psalm 89. 51) Thanks to His mercy. Thanks to His grace. We express our thanks. We do not give them. Nor return them. Nor repay them. We express our thanks in words. He saved us for no reward. He heeded not our impieties. He searched us out. When we searched not for Him. He found. Redeemed. Emancipated us from the bondage of the devil. And the power of wicked angels.[2] 

Almighty God, in fulfillment of the promise made to David’s descendants You established a lasting covenant through Your firstborn Son. You anointed Your servant Jesus with holy oil and raise Him higher than all kings on earth. Remember Your covenant, so that we who are signed with the blood of Your Son may sing of Your mercies forever; through Jesus Christ Your Son.” Amen  [3] 
Words - 860
Passive Sentences – 6%
Readability – 86.3
Reading Level-2.7

[1] From a sermon delivered by Pr. Ken Kelly Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity posted 9.18.2019 via facebookTM

[2]  St Augustine on the Gospel (From Exposition on the Psalms  in Vol. VIII, NPNF) Exposition of Psalm 89:51  Psalm passages related to Ingratitude and Thankfulness
[3] Collect for Psalm 89, For All The Saints, A Prayer Book For and by the Church © 1995 the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY 

Images copyright © Google Images 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
 Psalm 118:1
27 November 2019
A Prayer for Thanksgiving

The prayer for Thanksgiving is more than our feeble attempt at communication with God.  It is a wonderful opportunity for the Lord to teach us the lessons of Thanksgiving.  As we speak to the Lord He speaks back to us. This evening as we pray to the Lord may He speak to us through this powerful prayer:

Almighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness though undeserved still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit that we may heartily acknowledge your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve you in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I.       Almighty God.  In thanksgiving we address the Lord, the author of all life. What is it that we can say about the Lord? Our prayer suggests three important realities.

A.     Whose mercies are new every morning. The Psalmist reminds us that “His mercy endures forever.”[1]  Yet they come to us each day. Every day is a new day. Every day is an opportunity to serve the Lord in this generation. Every day is the Lord supplies us with everything we need to support our body and life. In the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer the question is asked: What is meant by daily bread? Luther sums it up with these words. “Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband or wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rules, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.[2]

B.    Whose goodness though undeserved.  The Lord’s goodness has nothing to do with you. Notice that we must acknowledge the complete opposite. The Lord’s goodness is completely undeserved. We daily sin much and deserve nothing but punishment. Yet, in spite of our sinfulness, in spite of our pettiness, in spite of our haughtiness, in spite of our meanness and condescension the Lord chooses to bless us. And we don’t deserve it!

C.     Still [He] abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, So also with you – without your Heavenly Father you could not survive. The Lord not only provides but He does it abundantly for every want of body and soul.  We used this evening the explanation of the 1st Petition of the Apostles’ Creed as our confession of faith. During this Thanksgiving Holiday read through it again. It’s quite a list. It explains so well how our Lord chooses to provide for you - everything you need not just physically but spiritually as well.

II.    Grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit 

A.     That we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us. We need the Holy Spirit for the things of God are spiritually appraised. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to understand the things of God. We need the Holy Spirit so that we can come to a greater understanding of everything the Lord has done for us. 

B.    Give thanks for all Your benefits.  In thanksgiving we offer to Him our worship and praise. In thanksgiving we offer our praises in worship. In thanks living we praise God as we serve our neighbor.

C.    And serve You in willing obedience. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to want to serve God faithfully. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His statutes with a willing heart. Reflecting on the blessings of God allows us to follow His commandments obediently.  

III. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord,

A.     Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Godhead are involved in the blessings I receive. Each person of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Ghost are active in my life.       As we have just celebrated Christ the King Sunday we worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who lives and reigns through all eternity.

B.    One God. He is one true God, the only true God. He is without beginning and without end. Yet, He has broken into time and space to be our Redeemer, Savior, Shepherd and friend.

C.    Now and forever. This is not a simple phrase. It reminds us that the truths of God will never cease. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  The praises we offer Him tonight we last into eternity. The blessings He bestows on us today will continue once time ceases. We worship an eternal God whose mercies cannot be counted.

The only thing left to say after any good prayer is simply the Word Amen. What is meant by the word “Amen”? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”[3] And it shall be so – in Jesus’ Name! A blessed Thanksgiving!

Words -1045
Passive Sentences -8%
Readability -75.2%
Reading Level – 5.9
[1] Psalm 118
[2] Explanation to the 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer
[3] Luther’s Small Catechism Conclusion to the Lord’s Prayer

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Advent 1 Series A

Advent 1 Series - A 

Isaiah 2:1–5
Romans 13:(8–10) 11–14
Matthew 21:1–11 or Matthew 24:36–44

1 December 2019

Stir up Your power O Lord, and come that by Your Protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.  

The Lord Comes in Meekness and Humility to Save Us Now

The Lord Jesus enters Jerusalem “humble, and mounted on a donkey,” riding on “a beast of burden” (Matt. 21:5), as He Himself bears the sins of the world in His body. Now He comes by the ministry of the Gospel to save us from sin, death, the devil and hell. Therefore, we sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:9). 

For we are called “to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,” His holy Church, “that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths” (Isaiah 2:3). By His Word, we “walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5). That is to live in love, which “does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). 

We “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,” for “salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11, 12). Hence, the entire Christian life is a time to wake and watch, “for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42).

The Lamb Begins the Year – First Sunday in Advent 
(Matthew 21:1-11)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

As Christians begin another sacred church year, realize that for centuries before Christ the Jews had their sacred “church year”.  God initiated this Jewish ecclesial calendar when at the Passover event He directed, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.” (Ex. 12:2). This new “first month” was the seventh month of the secular year.  So the Jews in effect celebrated two “New Year’s Days”:  The sacred New Year was initiated by the celebration of the Passover, and the secular New Year began with the celebration of Rosh Hashanah, which itself marked the beginning of highly sacred events in the seventh month of the Jewish church year.  Interestingly every seven months the Jews celebrated New Year’s Day, alternating with the sacred New Year’s Day and the secular New Year’s Day.

Some believe Christianity should begin its sacred New Year with Holy Week.  Instead, most in the U.S. begin it with Advent, the penitential time preparing for the celebration of Christmas.  The traditional Gospel for the First Sunday in Advent is usually a Palm Sunday reading—a reading connecting Christ’s work to that of the Passover.  Psalm Sunday was the day when many at the time of Jesus—imitating that initial Passover—selected their Passover Lamb to be sacrificed at the Temple later that week. On that first Palm Sunday God thus “selected” His Beloved Son to be the eternal Passover Lamb, so by His death, death would truly pass over mankind in resurrection.

Jesus was riding into Jerusalem to fulfill His life’s purpose—to die as our Passover Lamb.  This was why He was born, and thus His birth, which we will soon celebrate, is directly associated with His sacrifice as our Passover Lamb.  How appropriate that we begin Advent with this Passover-related reading!

Shepherds were among the first to see the newborn Christ.  These shepherds, tending their sheep only a few miles from Jerusalem, had as their primary occupation the raising of sheep for Jewish sacrifice—primarily sheep for the Jewish Passover celebration. The Jewish historian Josephus states that at a single Passover at the time of Christ 250,000 Passover lambs were slain at the temple. What a grand event and a grand feast this was for God’s people!  But God’s ultimate Passover Lamb and His ultimate feast were, uniquely on Palm Sunday, arriving in Jesus of Nazareth.

Thus the Passover Lamb marks the beginning of both the Jewish Church Year and—because of the Palm Sunday reading and because Jesus is THE Passover Lamb—the beginning of the Christian Church Year.  On that first Palm Sunday the Jews were preparing for numerous unwilling lambs to be sacrificed.  For Christianity that Palm Sunday beheld the willing Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Now we regularly (often weekly) celebrate our Passover feast:  “Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.  Let us therefore celebrate the feast…”  (1 Corinthians 5:7b, 8a)

Matthew 21:1-11
"The Triumphal Entry"

Matthew 21:1
Καὶ ὅτε ἤγγισαν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα καὶ ἦλθον εἰς Βηθφαγὴ [a]εἰς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, τότε [b]Ἰησοῦς ἀπέστειλεν δύο μαθητὰς 
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,

when they were near Jerusalem they came to Bethpage to the Mt. Of Olives” 

Bethpage near Bethany SE (2 miles) of Jerusalem...this is Sunday of Holy Week

Matthew 21:2-
λέγων αὐτοῖς• [c]Πορεύεσθε εἰς τὴν κώμην τὴν [d]κατέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ [e]εὐθέως εὑρήσετε ὄνον δεδεμένην καὶ πῶλον μετ’ αὐτῆς• λύσαντες [f]ἀγάγετέ μοι.
saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 

"go to the Village 'opposite,' 'against,'  'ahead,' of you"

The Lord is in control of His own Passion. He knows where the donkey is. He Orders everything.

Matthew 21:3
καὶ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ τι, ἐρεῖτε ὅτι Ὁ κύριος αὐτῶν χρείαν ἔχει• [g]εὐθὺς δὲ [h]ἀποστελεῖ αὐτούς.
If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

say the Lord has need of them.” 

Jesus the Creator has/owns everything yet he has need of it.  He knows what will happen before it does...yet everything is  " borrowed" - manger, donkey/colt, tomb...

The donkey was the one animal in the OT to be redeemed...

Matthew 21:4-
 Τοῦτο [i]δὲ γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος•
This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

Matthew 21:5
Εἴπατε τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιών• Ἰδοὺ ὁ βασιλεύς σου ἔρχεταί σοι πραῢς καὶ ἐπιβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὄνον καὶ [j]ἐπὶ πῶλον υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου. 
“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt,[a] the foal of a beast of burden.’”

Everything is done to fulfill prophecy - only Matthew will quote the prophecy. 

Matthew 21:6
πορευθέντες δὲ οἱ μαθηταὶ καὶ ποιήσαντες καθὼς [k]συνέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς
 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.

The Disciples did as Jesus instructed them

Matthew 21:7
ἤγαγον τὴν ὄνον καὶ τὸν πῶλον, καὶ ἐπέθηκαν [l]ἐπ’ αὐτῶν τὰ [m]ἱμάτια, καὶ ἐπεκάθισεν ἐπάνω αὐτῶν.
They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them.

They brought colt/donkey, the placed their cloaks and He sat on them.” 
See Solomon 1 Kings 1:32-34, a king after David, one of wisdom

Matthew 21:8-
ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ. 
Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 

Matthew 21:9
οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες [n]αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον λέγοντες• Ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυίδ• Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου• Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.
And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

See Psalms and wave offerings in the OT - singing the same Psalms as the Passover Liturgy Psalms 112-118 the Psalms of assent - this would be the people's only response, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord... Hosanna

Matthew 21:10-
 καὶ εἰσελθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα ἐσείσθη πᾶσα ἡ πόλις λέγουσα• Τίς ἐστιν οὗτος;
And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”

Matthew 21:11
οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι ἔλεγον• Οὗτός ἐστιν [o]ὁ προφήτης Ἰησοῦς ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲθ τῆς Γαλιλαίας.
And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Jesus enters, the people ask, the city is stirred ~ John 12:17  The crowd that gathers had just witnessed the raising of continues to increase...

Matthew 24:36-44
Jesus Your Coming King
He came, He comes, He Will Come

"No one knows of that hour..."      

Matthew 24:36 
Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης καὶ ὥρας οὐδεὶς οἶδεν, οὐδὲ οἱ ἄγγελοι τῶν οὐρανῶν [a]οὐδὲ ὁ υἱός, εἰ μὴ ὁ [b]πατὴρ μόνος.
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matthew 24:37 
 ὥσπερ [c]γὰρ αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ Νῶε, οὕτως [d]ἔσται ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου• 
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:38 
[e]ὡς γὰρ ἦσαν ἐν ταῖς [f]ἡμέραις ταῖς πρὸ τοῦ κατακλυσμοῦ τρώγοντες καὶ πίνοντες, γαμοῦντες καὶ [g]γαμίζοντες, ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας εἰσῆλθεν Νῶε εἰς τὴν κιβωτόν, 
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

Matthew 24:39 
καὶ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἕως ἦλθεν ὁ κατακλυσμὸς καὶ ἦρεν ἅπαντας, οὕτως ἔσται [h]καὶ ἡ παρουσία τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου.
and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:40 
τότε [i]δύο ἔσονται ἐν τῷ ἀγρῷ, [j]εἷς παραλαμβάνεται καὶ [k]εἷς ἀφίεται•
Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.

Matthew 24:41 
 δύο ἀλήθουσαι ἐν τῷ [l]μύλῳ, μία παραλαμβάνεται καὶ μία ἀφίεται.
Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.

Matthew 24:42 
 γρηγορεῖτε οὖν, ὅτι οὐκ οἴδατε ποίᾳ [m]ἡμέρᾳ ὁ κύριος ὑμῶν ἔρχεται.
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

Matthew 24:43 
ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε ὅτι εἰ ᾔδει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης ποίᾳ φυλακῇ ὁ κλέπτης ἔρχεται, ἐγρηγόρησεν ἂν καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴασεν διορυχθῆναι τὴν οἰκίαν αὐτοῦ.
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Matthew 24:44 
διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ὑμεῖς γίνεσθε ἕτοιμοι, ὅτι ᾗ [n]οὐ δοκεῖτε ὥρᾳ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἔρχεται.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. - 

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 - Advent 1

The Day of the Lord

Advent begins a new church year and is designed to prepare us for Christ’s coming both personally and cosmically. Advent 1 deals with Jesus’ Second Coming. It is the one Sunday of the year that is totally given to the doctrine, although the Epistles lesson in Advent 3 urges us to patiently wait for the Lord’s return. The Prayer of the Day cries for the Lord to come. The Hymn of the Day calls for us to prepare for Christ to enter our lives. The Gospel lesson emphasizes the need of constant preparedness for Christ’s return because the time of his coming is unknown. The Epistle lesson urges us to put on Christ as preparation for his coming which Paul considers to be soon. When God comes to us, according to the Old Testament lesson, all nations will have their differences settled and peace will return.

Collect for the first Sunday in Advent: Stir up Your power, O lord and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Collect for Psalm 122: Lord Jesus; give us the peace of the New Jerusalem. Bring all nations into Your kingdom to share Your gifts, that they may render thanks to You without end and may come to Your eternal city, where You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen

Prayer for Harvest: Lord God, heavenly Father, through whose kindness we have again received the fruits of the earth in their season, grant us ever to rejoice in Your mercy that neither prosperity nor adversity may drive us from Your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Prayer for Thanksgiving: Almighty God, whose mercies are new every morning and whose goodness, though undeserved, still abundantly provides for all our wants of body and soul, grant us, we humbly pray, Your Holy Spirit, that we may heartily acknowledge Your merciful goodness toward us, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Morning Prayer Readings for this Week 

November 25 Monday Elijah Part 2         1 Kings 17
November 26 Tuesday Elijah & Baal Pt. 1 1 Kings 18

Catechism Review: 3rd Petition of the Lord’s Prayer

Time in the Word
25-30 November 2019
Preparation for next week, Advent 1

Monday, 25 November  2019Psalm 118:25-28; antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b —In the Introit for Sunday, we pray Behold you king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation. Fulfilled prophecy is one feature which makes Christianity so appealing. Throughout the season of Advent we will find prophecy after prophecy which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Here is one among so man that the Lord as king would come to His people. During this busy and important season we prepare for Christ’s return in glory and we make ready our hearts and minds to celebrate His birth. If we prepared for the former we will be in the right frame of mind for the latter.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019Psalm 122 — This week’s psalm is what the pilgrims may have sung as they neared the temple gate within the city walls. The pilgrim prays for the peace of the city -the center of worship and the seat of government for the world nation.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019Isaiah 2:1-5— Isaiah tells us what will happen in the “latter” days. This refers to the end of the world. We may be living in the “latter” days now. In the latter days “all the nations” will see God on the highest mountain on earth. God will be the highest value and the center of the universe. They will come to God to receive his instruction how to live. This will result in international peace. The significance of “all” is that world peace depends upon “all” coming to God. Peace is not a unilateral project. Will it be possible to get “all” nations to come to God? If they are to come at the end-time, why not now? Here is one good reason to the church’s overseas missionary program.

Thursday, 28 November 2019Romans 13:11-14— When Augustine heard a child’s voice say, “Take and read,” he opened his Bible and read verse 14 from our Epistle for this week. Obediently, he “put on” Christ and he became one of our greatest Christians. To “put on” means to be incorporated into Christ so that one is “a man in Christ.” 

To be ready for the Lord’s Great Day, we put on Christ so that in us Christ confronts Himself. We are His people. He is one of us. To be properly dressed for the Lord’s Great Day, we are to put on Christ’s robe of righteousness. This calls for a human response. Christ is coming. We are to be ready by putting on Christ. This we do at baptism.

Friday, 29 November 2019Matthew 24:36-44 — To be ready for the Lord’s Great Day is a “must.” Not to be ready is to be lost just as the people in Noah’s day were not ready with boats for the flood. Jesus is not waiting for us to be ready. Whether we are ready or not, He is coming. Not to be ready spells eternal disaster. What does it mean to be “ready”? To be ready for the end is to live daily in a state of grace. If we are always reconciled to God by faith in Christ, it does not matter when Christ will return.

Saturday, 30 November 2019John 1:1; Luke 2:30-32- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Savior of the Nations Come. (LSB #332). John would remind us that the eternal God, the creator of us all broke into time and space to be our redeemer. This is what the season of Advent is all about. We make ourselves ready to celebrate the fact that God has become human. We celebrate that God has come to visit His people. He came at just the right time and He will usher us home at just the right time. This majestic hymn tells the story of salvation. As you review it think of Christ’s impact on your life, your family, your church and community and then share His story with those you meet.
 Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY
The Story of 50 Hymns © 1934 By General Mills, Inc Minneapolis, MN
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Image "Thanksgiving © Google Images 

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Family Life Center update

Lots and lots of stone for the base...

Christ the King Sunday - Proper 29

Christ the King
Luke 23:27-43
24 November 2019
Jesus Lord at Thy Death

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

Jesus is dying on the cross. Yet today. We celebrate the festival of Christ the King. How so? Execution as a criminal is usually considered a time of disgrace and defeat. Critics at the cross acknowledge this by saying, “He saved others, let Him save himself…If you are the king save yourself.” In a few weeks at Christmas we will be singing a line of “Silent Night” which says, “Jesus Lord at Thy birth.” Can we sing today, “Jesus Lord at Thy death”?

See how Jesus is Lord even at His death.

1. He was Lord over His enemies by not responding to their insults – Vv. 35-37 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also scoffed at him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, offering him vinegar, and saying, if thou art the King of the Jews, save thyself.

Here we find a wonderful picture of Jesus. The suffering servant. He willingly and obediently went to the cross. He could have turned away. He did not have to die for you. But willingly and obediently He bore the cross. Along with its agony. And its sufferings. He endured the cross and its shame. He bore your sins in His own body. He died for you in your place. He withstood the insults. The criticisms. The harsh tones. The mistreatment. And abuse.

He simply prayed: “Father, forgive them…Father forgive them for they know not what they do!”  Such patience is hard to even imagine. But He took this for He knew that this was the only way to merit and win salvation for you.  There was no other way to save you. This was the only way out for you. There can be no other options.  For you to receive the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation -look only to Christ and Christ alone. Your own works will not do. Your good intentions -   cannot sustain you. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. An alternative form is "Hell is full of good meanings, but heaven is full of good works".  And those good works are the works of Christ!1

Only in Christ is the salvation and life. On this Christ the King Sunday - Let this be known - Jesus has borne for you the cruelty of the cross. In that cross of Christ I glory. For it stands as a sign and a seal of your forgiveness.

TRANSITION:  The Lord Jesus was Lord in His suffering. He is also Lord in His power to save.

2. He was Lord in His power to save sinners – Vv. 39-43 And one of the malefactors that were hanged railed on him, saying, Art not thou the Christ? Save thyself and us. But the other answered, and rebuking him said, dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom.  And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

Jesus, remember me!” was the prayer of the sinner. He didn’t have time to get his life back together. He didn’t have time to render service for the Master. He was on his death bed. All he could do was look to Jesus and ask to be remembered.

This is saving faith. Which takes Jesus at His word. As the thief took comfort in Jesus the Lord of Life. In His passion. And His ability to save. So you are saved by His stripes and wounds. This is truly good news. Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Christ - The power of God. Christ -  The one who has overcome the powers of sin. Death. The devil. And hell itself. He delivers the goods. He brings salvation. And the hope of heaven. This Jesus. King of Kings. And Lord of Lords. You serve Him as His people. You are saved and safe by His victory over the grave.

We have come to the conclusion of yet another church year. It began in our anticipation of the coming of Christ at Christmas. As we celebrated His nativity. We saw that He was the One sent from the Father. We walked with Him during His passion in the Holy season of Lent.  In the Easter and Pentecost seasons we meditated upon His words.  Which bring salvation and life.

Next week will mark a new church year season. We will again walk with the Savior.  May our worship. Our work. Our prayers. Our service. Be dedicated to Him. Who is the way the truth and the Life.  Truly His is the Lord and King of all.

Words – 682
Passive Sentences –6%
Readability – 85.5%
Reading Level – 3.4
1 "The road to Hell is paved with good intention,s" Probers,infobase Publishing 2007, p.234, ISBN 9780816066735
Image of The Crucifixion of Jesus   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. 

Good Friday Image copyright © Higher Things 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Proper 29 Series C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luke 23:26-43 
The Crucifixion - 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See the variant reading, it belongs to the text. 

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

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

- See Psalm. 22, Psalm.69 

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

A little word is added here "if"   

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

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

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

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

 "in the same judgment we are" 

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

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

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

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

Time in the Word - Christ the King - Proper 29

Preparation for next week, 
Christ the King
Proper 29 

The King of the Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This week’s Morning Prayer Readings 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Collect for Pentecost 24 from Lutheran Worship © Concordia Publishing House

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

For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

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

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Proper 28 - Pentecost 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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