Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
9 E Homestead Ave. Palisades Park, NJ 07650 201-944-2107 Sundays 9:30 a.m. We preach Christ crucified (1. Corinthians 1,23)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Psalm 106,1-2.4-5; Psalm 106,47. 5. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 106,1-2.4-5; Psalm 106,47  3817
5. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  050 
Ruth 
16. Juli 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, our Shield and the Anointed One of God, give ear to our pleas and hear our prayers, so that we learn to rely on You for this life and the next.  Amen. (Gradual
2. Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations, so that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Who can utter the mighty deeds of the Lord, or declare all His praise? Remember me, O Lord, when You show favor to Your people; help me when You save them, so that I may look upon the prosperity of Your chosen ones, so that I may glory with Your inheritance. 
  3. In Jesus’s day, one of the more common expectations of the Lord’s Messiah was that he would be a strong political King, like the revered David, who would free Judah from Roman rule and reestablish a mighty nation akin to the golden age of the reign of David and Solomon. Make Judah Great Again would summarize the nationalistic pride of many of Jesus’ contemporaries, including many of His own apostles and disciples. The opening verse of today’s Introit certainly verified such Jewish fervor: »Save us, O Lord, our God, and gather us from among the nations.« Several other psalms speak in terms of a Davidic Messianic King (Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45). Thus in 1. Century ad the average Jew expected the messianic age to make Jerusalem the capital of the world and for Palestine to yield abundant harvests. 
  4. The events in today’s Gospel lection would tend to support this common Jewish Messianic expectation: »Jesus said to Simon: „Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.“ And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking« (Luke 5,4.6). After this, Simon Peter, James and John left everything and followed Jesus (Luke 5,11). Each miracle Jesus performed further convinced the apostles, His disciples and more and more people in the crowds who flocked to see and hear Him that Jesus certainly must be the Messiah.  
5. Messiah is a Jewish noun that means anointed one. In Greek it is translated as our familiar word Christ. By Jesus’ day, this title had become burdened with a lot of interpretive baggage that diverted from the Scriptural foundation of the Messiah. This is why Jesus preferred the more neutral title Son of Man, rather than Messiah, for Himself. Son of Man was a 1. Century ad Messianic title, but it lacked the misinterpreted baggage that had been yoked upon Messiah. Son of Man first appears as a Messianic title in the Prophet Daniel: »I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there arrived one like a Son of Man, and to Him was given dominion, glory and a reign« (Daniel 7,13-14).  
6. Jesus begins to refer to Himself as the Son of Man at the beginning of His ministry. St. Luke in his Gospel records numerous times Jesus using the title Son of Man. As the Son of Man, Jesus has the authority to forgive sins and heal the sick (Luke 5,24). The Son of Man must suffer and be rejected by the Jewish leaders, be crucified and rise on the 3. day (Luke 9,22). The Son of Man was a sign to His generation (Luke 11,30). The Son of Man arrived to seek and save the lost (Luke 19,10); the Son of Man arrives in a cloud with power and great glory (Luke 21,27). Jesus teaches His disciples and the crowds that the primary mission of the Son of Man is to forgive the sin of the world and save all people; this mission had been written about by the Prophets and culminates in His death and resurrection (Luke 18,31). Jesus as the Son of Man shows us that the Lord is good and His steadfast love endures forever. 
7. God the Father shows His favor upon men and women through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is His Messiah and Christ, His anointed one who is the Son of Man sent to redeem the human race. Jesus told Pontius Pilate: »My reign is not of this world« (John 18,36). The Son of Man was not a political messiah in the mold of King David establishing a mighty nation and vanquishing all pagan political adversaries. The Son of Man claimed the throne of His heavenly reign which is far superior to a mere territorial one centered on Judea and Palestine, for it spans nations, tribes and languages. St. Paul describes it as: »In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, for you are all one in Christ Jesus« (Galatians 3,26.28). The reign of the Son of Man transcends time, for it is an eternal and everlasting reign that is centered upon Jesus, who said to the Pharisees He was eating with on a particular occasion: »Behold, the reign of heaven is in your midst« (Luke 17,21). 
8. »The reign of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. One was brought to him who owed him 10,000 talents, and since he could not pay, his king ordered him to be sold and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring the king to have patience. And out of pity for him, the King released him and forgave him the debt« (Matthew 18,23-27). In this parable, Jesus teaches that everyone of us has a huge debt owed to God the Father, a debt we can never pay off. In His great mercy, God forgives that debt by sending His Son, Jesus, the Son of Man, to take up the burden of our debt. Jesus did this by bearing our sinful debt upon Himself on the cross; He has paid our debt in full and our account is balanced. That is the point Jesus taught again and again: the Son of Man is a Savior of souls; He seeks and redeems the lost. He paid off our debt of sin with His own blood; the reign of heaven is open to every one. Jesus said: »The reign of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one perl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it« (Matthew 13,45-46). You are that pearl Jesus was looking for, and He paid everything He had to obtain you. Such is the gospel proclaimed about the reign: The Son of Man seeks to save those who are lost, and He does out of His Divine goodness and mercy. 
9. Jesus is the Son of Man who shows favor to mankind and saves us. In Him we rejoice, for He is our Messiah and Christ. He has paid our debt, forgiven our sin and made us heirs to His heavenly reign.  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Lord, Thou hast made known Thy salvation in Christ Jesus, guide our hearts and eyes to Him so that we believe and see Him as the Righteousness of the nations.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Psalm 9,2-3.5.8-9; Psalm 11,7. 4. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 9,2-3.5.8-9; Psalm 11,7 3717
4. Trinitatis  049
Ephraem the Syrian, Deacon, 378/79
9. Juli 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, Thou Anointed One of God, hear our prayer and be our Shield, so that You protect us from all things earthly and spiritual.   Amen. (Gradual). 
2. For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright will behold His face. I will be glad and exult in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High. When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before Your presence. You have rebuked the nations; You have made the wicked perish; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The Lord judges the world with righteousness; He judges the peoples with uprightness. The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 
3. We can sum up the Nature of God with the first verse of today’s Introit: »For the Lord is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright will behold His face.« Jesus applies this righteous Nature of God to us in His Beatitudes, saying: »Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the reign of heaven« (Matthew 5,8.10).  
4. The Introit then reminds us that righteousness does not infer that God will not punish those who are wrong. »O Lord, You have rebuked the nations; You have made the wicked perish; You have blotted out their name forever and ever. The Lord judges the world with righteousness; He judges the peoples with uprightness.« The Holy Scriptures are filled with accounts of God punishing sinners: Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, Cain was sent away, Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, Babylon fell to God’s judgment and the Flood in Noah’s day.
5. The Psalmist assures us that: »The Lord’s anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime« (Psalm 30,5); »The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love« (Psalm 103,8). Abraham learned this several times throughout his life, most powerfully when God had told him to sacrifice his only Son, Isaac (Genesis 22,2). The Lord will provide (Genesis 22,14), for He provided a ram to take the place of Isaac (Genesis 22,13). Thousands of years later God the Father would send another son as a sacrifice, His Only Son, Jesus, who Himself is the Lamb of God whom God provided for the sin of the world (John 1,29). The Apostle Paul Proclaims: »There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, God condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us« (Romans 8,1.3-4). 
6. »The Lord is a Stronghold for the oppressed, a Stronghold in times of trouble.« This promise is seen in its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and Luther was inspired by Holy Scripture to write in his hymn: „A Mighty Fortress is our God …. He helps us free from every need. For us fights the Valiant One whom God Himself elected …. Jesus Christ it is … He hold the field forever“ (Luther 656,1.2). Luther pictures Jesus in this hymn as the lord of a castle who rides forth to the field of battle to engage the Devil; Jesus is a mightier lord and He has won a great victory over the Devil by dying and rising again. The Apostle John portrayed Jesus similarly in his Apocalypse: »I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one seated on him is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems. And the armies of heaven were following Him« (Revelation 19,11-12.14). Jesus is the Rider of this white horse who at the end of the Apocalypse leads His angelic host forth to capture and judge the beast, the false prophet and finally the ancient serpent and dragon, Satan himself (Revelation 19,20; 20,2). 
7. The trials and temptations we face as the people of God are temporary. Jesus promises to see us through to the end where all suffer ceases and all sin is removed in the blessed realm of heaven. Jesus has won the victory. He has declared us righteous. We receive this righteousness by faith.   Trust in Jesus and put all your cares upon Him for He will see you through it to the end.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O God, whose Name alone is worthy of praise, give us peaceful days so that we may give thanks to You without fear of persecution.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  

All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Psalm 103,8-12; 103,13. 3. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 103,8-12; Psalm 103,13  3617
3. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  048 
The Visitation of Mary
Otto, Bishop of Bamberg Germany, † 1139 
2. Juli 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, Thou who bears our burden, we call upon You to save and redeem us, so that trusting only on You we have redemption and salvation.  Amen. (Gradual
2. As a father shows compassion to his children, 
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness. He will not always chide, nor will he keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His loving-kindness toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.
  3. When reading the Bible, we find two sides of God: the Angry God who punishes and the Loving God who forgives. During the 2. century ad a teacher named Marcion (85-160) began preaching that there are two gods in the Bible: the god of the Old Testament who is an angry tyrant that punishes sinners, but the god of the New Testament is the Father of Jesus who is merciful and forgiving. He called the god of the Old Testament the Demiurge and the god of the New Testament the Heavenly Father. He limited his Biblical canon to an edited Gospel according to St. Luke and 10 edited Epistles of St. Paul (minus the pastoral epistles and Hebrews). The Church at Rome soon excommunicated him and the Early Church Fathers likewise condemned Marcion and his heretical teachings, but the spirit of Marcion continues even to this day. 
  4. Many people summarize the Bible this way: the Old Testament is the law and shows us a God who punishes sinners and the New Testament is the gospel and shows us a God who forgives sinners; this is similar to what Marcion falsely taught and eventually lead him into heresy. In actuality we find both the law and gospel in the Old and New Testaments along with a God who at times punished and other times is merciful. Today’s Introit indeed shows us a Loving God in the Old Testament: »As a father shows compassion to his children, so Yahweh shows compassion to those who fear Him. He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness« At Mount Sinai and the giving of the Mosaic law, Yahweh declares: »I Yahweh your God am a Jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the 3. and 4. generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to the 1000. generation of those who love Me and keep My commandment« (Exodus 20,5-6). 
5. God is not a vindictive tyrant nor is He an anything-goes as long as it makes you happy teacher. God is a God of order and laws: there is cause and effect; sinful actions have real consequences that He may chose to visit with addition Divine discipline. God is a God of mercy and love: there is forgiveness and acceptance. » God will not always chide, nor will He keep His anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities« 
6. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to offer up the sacrifices for a first-born son, Simeon proclaimed: »O Lord, mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of Thy people Israel« (Luke 2,30-32). And our Introit: »For as high as the heaven are above the earth, so great is God’s loving-kindness towards those who fear Him.« John the Baptizer said of his younger cousin: »Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!« (John 1,29). »As a father shows compassion to his children, so Yahweh shows compassion to those who fear Him. He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness« Again our Introit: »As far as the east is from the  west, so far does Jesus remove our transgressions from us.«
7. It is no surprise, then, that Jesus declares in this morning’s Gospel pericope: »There will be more joy in heaven over 1 sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who need no repentance« (Luke 15,7). Those who only view God as a strict God of laws and obedience will constantly stumble over this Divine pronouncement. Often in the Gospels, many of the scribes and Pharisees stumbled over Jesus’ teaching. In Luke 15 they were offended that Jesus received tax collectors and sinner; even worse, that He ate with them (Luke 15,1-2)! God wants all to repent and believe in His Son, for there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents (Luke 15,10). 
8. Those who only view God as a liberal god who cares not as long as it makes you happy will constantly stumble over His Divine pronouncement: »The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah« (Luke 11,32). Not every thing men and women do is good, right and salutary. Sinful actions are to be repented and abstained from. Jesus exhorts us to love and treat well our neighbors. 
9. All this is grounded upon the traits of God the Father: »He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness.« The Apostle John summarizes this succinctly in his Gospel: »For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but He sent Him so that the world shall be saved through Him« (John 3,16-17). His Son, Jesus Christ, has removed our iniquities from us. This is why God wants all people to repent and believe in Jesus, for in Jesus full remission has been made, paid for on the cross and promised eternal life guaranteed upon His resurrection. »To Christ alone, the Eternal King, be glory forever and ever.«  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Lord, Thou art merciful and gracious; teach us to likewise be slow to anger and abounding in loving-kindness to our neighbors, so that they may see in our love Your Divine love and grace thereby calling upon You for salvation.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Psalm 36,6-7a.8-10; Matthew 5,6. 2. Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 36,6-7a.8-10; Matthew 5,6 3517
2. Trinitatis  047
Sosipater, Romans 16,21
Prosper of Aquitaine, 463 
Presentation of the Augsburg Confession, 1530
25. Juni 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, Thou who answers the prayers of those who are in distress that call upon You, deliver us from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue and the slander of wicked people, so that our name and honor is upheld to the glory of Your Holy Name.  Amen. (Gradual).  
2. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast You save, O Lord. How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light do we see light. O continue Your steadfast love to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart! 
  3. Jesus proclaims in His Beatitudes: »Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.« Our Lord has in mind the words of the Prophet Isaiah: »Thus says the Lord: Dray near, every one who thirsts, draw near to the waters« (Isaiah 55,1). And thus in this morning’s Gospel pericope Jesus declares: »Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the reign of God« (Luke 14,25). 
4. This is great news; it is the gospel! Naturally, everyone should want to receive and enjoy this blessing. But history shows that many would rather settle for the fading joys of this world than celebrate with the eternal joys of heaven. The Introit declares: »O Lord, Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; Your judgments are like the great deep; You save both man and beast.« Yet, in today’s Gospel parable where Jesus discusses how His Father gives  out this blessing as a banquet feast, lo and behold, people make excuses why they cannot attend! (Luke 14,18). In the parable, the lord of the banquet becomes angry and refuses to let those with their excuses from tasting his banquet (Luke 14,21.24).  
5. Jesus told this parable while attending a meal at the home of a leader of the Pharisees (Luke 14,1). Those offering excuses in His parable referred to those Pharisees and other Jews who would not accept Jesus’ declaration to be the Messiah. They made excuses as to why they could not accept His claim. One reason they made excuses was because Jesus challenged their messianic preconceptions. Jesus preached not only to the Pharisees and the noble Jews, but also to the poor, sick and crippled; He welcomed women and children, Romans, Greeks and even Samaritans. His words of life were for all the nations, as St. Paul explains in his epistle: »There is no longer Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus, and ifs you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise« (Galatians 3,28-29). The irony was: poor Jews and even Gentiles were being welcomed into the reign of God by Jesus while the Pharisees, scholars and priests were choosing to forsake both their inheritance and salvation. 
6. Jesus’ parable taught the basic truth found in today’s Introit: »How precious is Your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in You.« God the Father wants His banquet hall full for His grand celebration. He first invites the Jews to His meal, and with plenty of open tables, He then extends the invitation to the Gentiles. He welcomes in the poor, the crippled, blind and lame. He still has plenty of room, so He sends out His invitation far and wide to compel people to enter his banquet hall (Luke 14,21-24) where »they feast on the abundance of His house and He gives them drink from the river of His delights.« This cup overflows with God’s goodness and mercy (Psalm 23,5-6), »for with God is the Fountain of Life.« 
7. Yesterday was Midsummer on our calendar; it is the longest day of the year opposite that of the winter solstice in December with its hottest day and its liturgical antiphon: 

O Morning Star, Splendor of Light Everlasting and Sun of Righteous- | ness: * 
Draw near and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shad- | ow of death. 

Our Introit reminds us: »O Lord, in Your Light do we see light.« The Apostle John tells us that Jesus is the Light of the Lord who shines forth the grace and truth of His Father. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the Light no darkness can vanquish (John 8,12; 1,5); His Light scatters the darkness and illumines His Church (1. Corinthians 4,5; 2. Corinthians 4,6). It is this Light, yea, Jesus Himself, that makes us righteous. As the sunlight scatters the darkness, so Jesus scatters our sins away. As the sunlight reveals the world as it is, so Jesus reveals that we are His Father’s beloved children. As the sunlight is essential for life on Earth to thrive, so Jesus is our True and Only Source of everlasting life. Just as His Divine Light will never fade, so too will our eternal life never draw to an end. 
8. »The Lord continues His steadfast love to those who know Him, and His righteousness to the upright of heart.« Draw near to the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Fountain of eternal eternal life and the Light of God His Father. He is in heaven preparing a lavish banquet; His invitation has been sent to you: do not excuse yourself from His grace and generosity, for He desires to give you an inheritance full of blessing and eternal fellowship with Him.  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O God, our Lord and our Strength, be Thou our Fortress and Deliverer, so that in time of need we may confidently lean upon You for our redemption and salvation.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Psalm 34,2.5.9-11; 34,22. 1. Sunday after Trinity

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 34,2.5.9-11; 34,22  3417
1. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  046 
Marcus and Marcellianus, Martyrs at Rome, 286 
18. Juni 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, Thou art gracious and merciful, in our day of trouble, heal us and forgive us, so that we learn to fully trust in You who is the blessed of those poor in spirit.  Amen. (Gradual
2. The Lord redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. O fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Draw near, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 
  3. Jesus’ Parable of the rich man and Lazarus reinforces the truth proclaimed in today’s Introit: »The Lord redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.« The Lord saves people through the Holy Scriptures. He promised Adam and Eve a redeemer who would save them from their fall into rebellion and sin. He saved Noah and his family from the great Flood. He called Abram out of Mesopotamia and a life of idolatry, changed His name to Abraham and revealed Himself to be the One and Only True God. He returned Jacob to his homeland and redeemed his brotherly relationship to Esau. He vindicated Joseph in Egypt and rationed food out to those starving from seven years of draught and famine. He freed Israel from slavery, revealed Himself at Sinai and gave them the land promised to Abraham: Canaan. He rose up judges, kings and prophets to lead His people and call them in repentance back to God. 400 year before the first Christmas, Malachi prophesied: »Behold, Yahweh will send you the Prophet Elijah before the great and awesome day of the Lord arrives. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers« (Malachi 4,5-6). 
4. The Epistle to the Hebrews proclaims: »In many and various ways, God spoke to His people of old by the prophets, but now in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son« (Hebrews 1-2). The new testament unfolds God the Father speaking to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. St. Mark the Evangelist writes: »The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God, saying: „The time is fulfilled, and the reign of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.“« (Mark 1,1.14-15). Jesus is the promised rest for the people of God (Hebrews 4,8-11). 
  5. Jesus teaches in His parable that Lazarus received his Sabbath rest in Paradise at Abraham’s side (Luke 16,22). Jesus declares that believers will receive this rest in God’s presence, for they have listened to Moses and the Prophets, therefore longing for the arrival of the Christ; they also have listened to Jesus and the Apostles who declared that the promised Christ has arrived and Jesus is this promised Christ.  
6. Lazarus epitomizes the words of today’s Introit:  »My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.« Abraham and Lazarus are in fellowship together in the Lord’s Paradise. The Apostle Paul tells us why Abraham is a giant among the patriarchs: Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness (Romans 4,3), for he was fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised (Romans 4,21). Lazarus is at the side of Abraham because he has the same faith as Abraham: God has promised us a savior and He will fulfill that promise. As it is for Abraham and Lazarus, so it is for us: righteousness will be credited to us who believe in God the Father, who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our righteousness (Romans 4,24-25). 
7. »Those who seek the Lord lack nothing,« for Jesus promises: »Seek first the reign of God and His righteousness, and food, drink and clothing will be added to you« (Matthew 6,33). Abraham was a wealthy man blessed by the Lord; Lazarus was a man who was dirt poor and deathly ill. Both trusted in the Lord and sought His righteousness; both now enjoy the Sabbath rest of Paradise as they await the resurrection of the body on the last day. Jesus promises us this, saying: »I Am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die« (John 11,25-26).  
8. The Introit exhorts us to fear the Lord. Solomon tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1,7), and from continually seeking the Lord we learn to know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight and to receive instruction in wise dealings, in righteousness, justice and equity (Proverbs 1,2-3). When we fear the Lord, our eyes are focused upon God and His Word, which is manifested before us in Jesus Christ. The Spirit of the Lord rests upon Jesus and His delight is in the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11,2-3). People go to the house of the Lord to be taught His ways and to learn to walk in His paths (Micah 4,2).
9. And so on this, the Lord’s Day, we gather to hear His Word and receive His comfort. Our eyes are upon the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose to make us righteous. On account of Christ we are not slaves, but sons and heirs through God (Galatians 4,7). The riches of heaven are our inheritance. Abraham and Lazarus await our arrival where the poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the reign of heaven, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they shall be satisfied (Matthew 5,3.6).  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Lord, Your testimonies are righteous forever; give us understanding so that we may productive lives here on earth and receive eternal life by Your grace in heavenly glory.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever
Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum

Psalm 145,1.3-4.7.13; Liturgical text 3317
Tag der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (Trinitatis)  045 weiß 
Barnabas, Apostle, Martyr in Salamis, Cyprus 61
11. Juni 2017 

1. O Jesus Christ, blessed are You, who dwells between the cherubim in the firmament of heaven; watch over us, guide us and protect us, so that we may praise Your Triune Name forever.  Amen. (Gradual).  
2. Blessed be the Holy Trinity and Undivided Unity. I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your Name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation will commend Your works to another, and will declare Your mighty acts. They will pour forth the fame of Your abundant goodness and will sing aloud of Your righteousness. Your reign is an everlasting reign, and Your dominion endures throughout all generations. The Lord is faithful in all His words 
and kind in all His works. 
  3. In the Athanasian Creed we confess this truth: »Blessed be the Holy Trinity and Undivided Unity.« Around 490 the last of the three great creeds of the Western Church was composed. The creed is attached to Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria for he was an outspoken theologian and confessor of what the Athanasian Creed affirms. Simply stated: We believe in 1 God who is comprised of 3 Persons of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 
4. There are three monotheistic religions in the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam; about one-half of the world’s population believes in 1 God. The Christian faith is unique from Judaism and Islam; for both of those religions say there is only 1 God and He is only 1 Person in the Godhead. We find this concept of the Trinity particularly articulated in the Gospel according to St. John, where Jesus says: »When the Helper, the Holy Spirit, arrives, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness about Me« (John 15,26). 
5. Of what does the Holy Spirit bear witness about Jesus? A: God the Father sent Jesus to redeem fallen mankind; this redemption was finished when Jesus died for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave. This is the foundational proclamation of the apostles and the Church; the Holy Spirit bears witness to this in our Scriptures where the Gospels, the Epistles and the Revelation all teach and confess what Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection mean for the world: sin has been atoned for, death is undone by life and hell’s gates closed to us but heaven’s gates stand wide open to welcome us into God’s presence and fellowship. 
6. Our creeds teach us the core of what we believe, teach and confess. The Athanasian Creed teaches that the Christian faith confesses that there is 1 God comprised of 3 Persons and that Jesus, the 2. Person of the Triune God, is both God and man in one Person. This Triune God is the God who has had mercy upon us. The Father created us, the Son redeemed us and the Holy Spirit has sanctified us and made us holy. In His Very Divine Nature, God is loving and merciful. God can get angry, punish us and discipline us, but He does not do this out of hatred, anger or spite rather, He disciplines us as a father disciplines his child. Wise King Solomon tells us: » God corrects those whom He loves, as a father corrects the son in whom he delights« (Proverbs 3,12). God is a loving Father who delights in welcoming home His children who have strayed away, He forgives them and assures them that they are His dear children. Jesus taught the apostles this truth on Maundy Thursday: All that the Father has is Jesus’; the Holy Spirit takes what is Jesus’ and declares it to us (John 16,15). The real work of the Trinity is focused on Jesus and giving to us the blessings that are His. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are one in Substance, have the same will and carryout that will with unified purpose. 
7. Trinity Sunday focuses our confession upon the personableness of God. He is not some detached, transcendent Deity dwelling in the clouds far above men and women. He is not some Deistic Watchmaker who merely shows up once in a while to make sure His creation is still ticking along nicely. He is not petulant and cruel to mankind like Zeus’ modus operandi far too often in the Greek myths. He is not some neutral Force that we can tap into and use for good or evil. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are Persons. That is something we can comprehend. We can relate to persons, speak to them and seek to understand them. As we can interrelate to each other, so can we interrelate with God. Men and women are created in the Image and Likeness of God. We can relate and interact with God in a different and higher way than can the animals. And this is why when mankind fell into sin, God did not abandon us to an eternal separation from His presence. For what use is existence to the creature if it cannot know its Creator (Athanasius § 11). God saves and redeems us from our sin and its consequences; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit each have their unique role and duty in redeeming us. 
8. Bishop Athanasians described our salvation this way: „Jesus became man so that we might become divine; and He revealed Himself through a body so that we might receive an idea of the Invisible Father; and He endures insults from men so that we might inherit incorruption“ (Athanasius § 54). This is why the Athanasian Creed confesses: „It is necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ“ (§ 27). This incarnate Christ „suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will return to judge the living and the dead“ (36-37). »Christ’s reign is an everlasting reign, and His dominion endures throughout all generations.« 
9. »The Lord is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works.« After Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, the Lord promised a redeemer would be for from Eve’s lineage. The history of the old testament is how the Lord carried forth this promise from generation to generation. The majesty of the Truine God is seen in His fulfilling His words: God the Father who create us, God the Son who redeemed us and God the Holy Spirit who has sanctified us will keep us unto the return of Christ. At that time, Adams’ fall will be undone and Eve’s children will dwell eternally with her most precious offspring, Jesus who is both her Lord and her Son in the flesh.  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Triune God, You are praised for mighty deeds; pour upon us grace and truth so that we may glorify Your Name rightly and confessionally.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Soli Deo Gloria

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4th Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27th Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart.  
All quotations from the Book of Concord are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using Die Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche, 12. Edition © 1998 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.  

Athanasius, On the Incarnation

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Psalm 118,16.24.26-28; Wisdom 1,7. Pentecost

One Message: Christ crucified and risen for you
The Word of the Lord Endures Forever 
se cwide þæs béaggiefan ábireþ ferhþ

Psalm 118,16.24.26-28; Wisdom of Solomon 1,7 3217
Pfingstsonntag  043 
Quirinus, Bishop of Syscia in Pannonia, Martyr 304
4. Juni 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, Almighty Son of God: We beseech You, send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts, through Your Word, so that He may rule and govern us according to Your will, comfort us in every temptation and misfortune and defend us by Your truth against every error, so that we may continue steadfast in the faith, increase in love and all good works, and firmly trusting in Your grace, which through death You have purchased for us, obtain eternal salvation, You who reigns, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end.  Amen. (Veit Dietrich for the Pentecost
2. The Spirit of the Lord fills the world, and that which contains all things has knowledge of the Voice. The right hand of the Lord exalts, the right hand of the Lord does valiantly! This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Blessed is he who arrives in the Name of the Lord! We bless you from the house of the Lord. The Lord is God, and He has made His Light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! You are my God, and I will give thanks to You; You are my God; I will extol You. 
  3. Our Introit begins the celebration of Pentecost by saying: »The Spirit of the Lord fills the world, and that which contains all things has knowledge of the Voice.« Pentecost is the 50. day after Jesus’ resurrection and the fulfillment of the promise He had given to the apostles at His ascension: »Remain in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit has clothed you in power« (Luke 24,49). „Let us here consider what are common expressions for the Holy Spirit: the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Truth, who proceeds from the Father (John 15,26), the Spirit of virtue and a Commanding Spirit (Psalm 1,12.14)“ (Basil 8 ¶ 1), the Author of Holy Scripture (2. Timothy 3,16; 2. Peter 1,21), Paraclete (Comforter, Counselor and Advocate) (Isaiah 11,2; John 14,16; 15,26; 16,7), the Spirit of Christ (1. Peter 1,11), the Spirit of Life (Romans 8,2), Teacher (John 14,26; 1. Corinthians 2,13) and several others. 
4. The Holy Spirit was sent to continue the ministry of Jesus after His ascension. The Intorit says of this: »The right hand of the Lord exalts and doses valiantly!« The Holy Spirit, as we confessed in our Nicene Creed, is God, specifically the 3. Person in the Trinity. The primary work of Jesus was to justify us and make us righteous by His crucifixion and resurrection; the primary work of the Holy Spirit is to flesh out this justification by sanctification and making us holy. St. Paul writes in his Epistle to the Galatians: »Walk by the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace;  patience, kindness and self-control« (Galatians 5,16.22-23). And to the Ephesian Christians he writes: »Do not grieve the Holy Spirit. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God« (Ephesians 4,30.32; 5,1). And again to the Roman Christians: »The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words« (Romans 8,26). 
5. Pentecost is rightly seen through the eyes of today’s Introit: »This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.« On Pentecost the Holy Spirit poured out Himself upon the apostles with such power and glory that tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them and they began to speak in other languages (Acts 2,3-4). These apostles then went forth in Jerusalem and preach the gospel in 15 distinct languages (Acts 2,9-11). 
6. The Corinthians Christians had gotten too caught up in the particular spiritual gift of speaking other languages; it was using division in their congregation (1. Corinthians 12,4-7). It had gotten to the point that they marveled in speaking different languages over the proclamation of the gospel. Paul thus told them: »In church I would rather proclaim five words of the gospel than ten thousand words in a foreign language« (1. Corinthians 14,19). Paul reminds us all that on Pentecost, the true gift was not the different languages the apostles miraculously spoke but the very gospel they preached. The languages served the preaching of the gospel. Paul then reminds us that there are even greater gifts of the Holy Spirit: »If I speak in the languages of men, but do not have love, then I am a noisy gong. If I preach and understand all mysteries and knowledge and have all faith, but lack love, then I am nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it isn’t arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way or rejoices a wrong doing. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never ends. As for preaching, it will one day pass away; as for languages, they will cease. So now abide in faith, hope and love, but the greatest of the is love« (1. Corinthians 13,1-2.4-8.13). 
7. For God so loved the world that on Pentecost He sent the Holy Spirit, so that the apostles could preach the gospel of Christ crucified to people in their native language and that in hearing they would believe that in Christ they are forgiven and redeemed. God’s love is eternal. 2000 years later the Holy Spirit is still working to proclaim the gospel to people in their native languages. The gospel continues to spread around the world through preaching the Word and translating the Scriptures into languages people can easily read and understand.  
8. The Introit reminds us: »Blessed is He who arrives in the Name of the Lord! We bless You from the house of the Lord.« Many of the Jews at Pentecost lived across the vast stretches of the Roman Empire; they did not know about Jesus or what had recently transpired. Thus St. Paul: »Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved [Joel 2,32]. But how are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel [Isaiah 52,7]! So faith is created by hearing the Word of Christ« (Romans 10,13-15.17). The Holy Spirit was sent and the apostles preached in Jerusalem. The Holy Spirit sent  the apostles to preach the gospel throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. The Holy Spirit sows the gospel north, south, east and west. Today, you have heard the gospel again. Pass it on, pay it forward, in the situations and places you find yourself in. The Holy Spirit has put you there for a reason: bear witness to Jesus.  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Holy Spirit, sent for by the Father, draw near to us and pour out upon us Your holy power, so that our consciences are comforted in the gospel and that we then encouraged to tell others of the great love of God shown to us in Christ Jesus.  Amen. 

To God alone be the Glory 
Gode ealdore sy se cyneþrymm

All Scriptural quotations are translations done by The Rev. Peter A. Bauernfeind using the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 4. Edition © 1990 by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart, and the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland 27. Edition © 1993 by Deutsch Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart. 
ELKB. Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. www.bayern-evangelisch.de/www/index.php. Copyright © 2013 Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche in Bayern. 
Lutheran Service Book. Copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Volume 3. M. F. Toal, D.D. translator. Copyright © 1959 Henry Regnery Co.

VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands.