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Archive for April, 2016

Meme of the Day

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Meme of the Day

 

 

Romans 1

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

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This past Sunday, the Second Lesson in the Three-Year Lectionary, in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod was Revelation 21:  1—7.  This is a glorious passage of hope in Christ Jesus, the risen and ascended Lord and the, “… new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  It is not about earth ascending to heaven, just as the Word became flesh, the new creation.  The hope is clear in Christ, the Lamb of God,

 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

The nourishing of our hope in Christ is crystalline: 

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

The spring of water is Baptism. It is His Word. As it is written in John’s Gospel as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well,

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 The “water of life without payment” sustains us in our struggle in this world, “The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” And that is the last verse appointed to be read.

The next verse was not included which is obviously integral to John in the paragraph:

“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

I do not know why the framers of the Three-Year Lectionary did not include verse 8.  When I was in The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I always thought that that liberal denomination did not want to hear it, so I was a little bit surprised it was not included for this past Sunday in our more confessional Lutheran church body. 

One thing that can be said about verse 8’s omission: no, it does not fit in.  It does not fit it with the sin denying culture we live in and move and don’t have our being. The people listed have been given over to the lusts of their unrepentant hearts.  They did not want God’s forgiveness and so their sins were retained (St. John 20: 22-23).  Like Judas, they turned their backs on the Lord. Those listed do not fit into the new Jerusalem as they are just too big for it in their overweening pride.  The second death is spiritual death, eternal death. They did not want the fire of God’s love in Christ and the Holy Ghost, as they wanted the fire of their sin.   The Lord did not choose that for them, nor for us, but He chose for us in Christ eternal life. His eternal decision in Christ is eternal life. 

By the way, I read the entire paragraph this past Sunday. I need to hear it as a warning and others need to hear it as warning as well, “For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (St. Matthew 6)

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In the Liturgy the first spoken (or chanted) prayer is The Collect of the Day.  It is the summation of the Biblical theme of that day in the church year.  The word “collect” in this instance is pronounced:  käl ekt; but it is the same definition as the normally pronounced collect.  The Collect collects our thoughts in prayer to the Lord. 

The Collect of the Day for the Fifth Sunday of Easter (April 24th)

O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Meditation:  This prayer acknowledges a frank truth that we live among many changes in this world. This world includes our nation, our family, our lives and our work.  The chances and changes around us tire us, at least they do me.  We need something to steady us and so the Collect above prays that in these many changes, “…our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found”.  “Fixed” as in steadied, calmed, and looking up and so looking out for one another.  This prayer’s variation is also employed on other Sundays.  “Fixed” has also the meaning of “repaired”.  I do not know if that is the intent of the prayer but it seems to work.  I seek many false joys. My heart needs to be repaired, fixed in God’s love for us in Jesus. He gives that repair as we pray we love what the Lord commands and promises, Law and Gospel, that is, His steady and steadying Word to us and even more:  for us.  It is so important as we collect our thoughts to the Lord that we look up and out where true joys are found to steady us in our work, our play and our lives.  St. Paul encouraged:

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From St. Luke 24:  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.[1]

What we can do about His mercy toward His enemies, the powerless, that is, all of us (each by name) is as the angels said:  Remember what He told you.  What a joyous response:  You remembered!  What a sad response:  I forgot.

You tell a friend about your mother that she is sick.  Please pray for her, you ask your friend.   A week your friend asks you, How’s your Mom?  In your heart, you rejoice because your friend remembered.  You know your friend prayed for your Mom.  You doubly rejoice.  “Thanks for remembering”.  “And (the women) remembered (Christ’s) words.” 

Every Word, Christ spoke and taught, is as alive as He is.  We are not told what joy was the women’s.  They returned from the tomb with no idle tale, but the joy of proclamation:  Christ is risen!  Remembering is thanksgiving.  Jesus came through just as He said He would.  Jesus seeks to bring to Himself us all, as a shepherd seeks his lost sheep, as woman finding her lost coin, as a Father seeking and finding his lost son in the far country.  He went as far and as deep as hell, as He descended even into hell,

“(Hell) took a body and met God face to face.  It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen and fell upon the unseen.  O Death, where is thy sting?  O Hell, where is thy victory?”[2]

Our lives in Christ are one of remembrance of Christ.  The devil’s strategy is for us to forget.  We are baptized to remember His Word as it points out where we have gone astray and ever points us to the living Way Who is Christ, the crucified and risen Lord. 

Remembering is learning.  Tests in school, and trials in life, are to see if we do remember.  Tests and trials also are for us to remember our lessons and our Lord.  The purpose of school is not for us to feel good about the subject matter, but to learn it.  Jesus risen was taught by the angels and the women.  When we forget, we die.  Remember what He told you.  We must learn.  We are learning in Christ to love as He first loved us.  He had said three times, the Son of Man MUST suffer, be killed and rise again.  The women remembered because the angels reminded them, as do angels in our lives. A divine MUST all the way around is His death and resurrection and so acquiring and learning by faith His resurrected life for us and for our salvation.

“O Holy Trinity, You Self-sufficient Love, ignite also in our hearts this fire of Your Love.”[3]

Christ is risen!

[1] The angels instructing the women to remember, is reportage unique in St. Luke’s Holy Gospel.

[2]  Fom the Paschal Sermon by St. John Chrysostom read by the Eastern Orthodox at the Vigil

[3] Rev. Johann Gerhard (+1637)

 

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I feel there are especially necessary for me in this life two things without which its miseries would be unbearable. Confined here in this prison of the body I confess I need these two, food and light. Therefore, You (O Jesus) have given me in my weakness Your sacred Flesh to refresh my soul and body, and

You have set Your Word as the guiding light for my feet. Without them I could not live aright, for the Word of God is the light of my soul and Your Sacrament is the Bread of Life.

These also may be called the two tables, one here, one there, in the treasure house of holy Church. One is the table of the holy altar, having the holy Bread that is the precious Body of Christ. The other is the table of divine law, containing holy doctrine that teaches all the true faith and firmly leads them within the veil, the Holy of Holies.

Thanks to You, Lord Jesus, Light of eternal light, for the table of Your holy teaching which You have prepared for us by Your servants, the prophets and apostles and other learned men.

Thanks to You, Creator and Redeemer of men, who, to declare Your love to all the world, have prepared a great supper in which You have placed before us as food not the lamb, the type of Yourself, but Your own most precious Body and Blood, making all the faithful glad in Your sacred banquet, intoxicating them with the chalice of salvation in which are all the delights of paradise; and the holy angels feast with us but with more happiness and sweetness. (Quote in The Treasury of  Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)

 

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Meme of the Day

Luther quote 1 | "THE CHURCH ITSELF DOES NOT FOLLOW ITS OWN WORK OR WORD, BUT THE WORD OF GOD"-LUTHER | image tagged in martin luther | made w/ Imgflip meme makerQuote from Luther’s Works, Volume 13, page 383,  Commentary on Psalm 111

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