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)

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. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Psalm 47,2-3.6.8-9; Mark 16,19. Exaudi

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

Psalm 47,2-3.6.8-9; Mark 16,19 3117
Exaudi (6. Sonntag nach Ostern)  042 weiß 
Germanus, Bishop of Paris, 576
28. Mai 2017 

1. O Jesus, Christ, Thou Almighty Son of God, who is no longer in humiliation here on earth, but is seated at the right hand of Your Father, Lord over all things: We beseech You, send us Your Holy Spirit; give Your Church pious pastors, preserve Your Word, control and restrain the devil and all who would oppress us; mightily uphold Your reign, until all Your enemies shall have been put under Your feet, so that we may hold the victory over sin, death and the devil, through You, who lives and reigns with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, One True God, world without end.  Amen. (Veit Dietrich for Christi Himmelfahrt).  
2. The Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God. For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a Great King over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted! 
  3. This past Thursday the Church celebrated the Ascension of Jesus back into heaven. Our Introit describes the event this way: »The Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God.« To be at someone’s right hand is a position of great honor, and Jesus seated at the right hand of His Father indicates that He now rules on behalf of His Father: the Son speaks and acts in synchronicity with His Father. 
4. Jesus’ ascension is an important event, as the Introit tells us: »For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a Great King over all the earth. He subdued peoples under us and nations under our feet« Jesus’ ascension is another step in the culmination of God’s Heilsgeschichte (salvation history). Sin has been atoned for in Jesus’ crucifixion; death and the grave have been conquered in Jesus’ resurrection; the enemies of God now begin to yield before Jesus on his throne. Jesus is the Α και Ω (Αλφα and Ωμεγα; Alpha and Omega), who died and returned to life (Revelation 2,8); He has the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1,18); His Father makes His enemies a footstool for Jesus’ feet (Hebrews 1,13). On the last day Jesus will depart from His throne and lead His angelic host to gather all His saints into His presence (Revelation 19,7). He will strike down the nations and rule them (Revelation 19,15). He will cast the devil, Death and Hades into the lake of fire and sulphur (Revelation 21,10.14). Then Jesus will create a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21,1) where God will dwell with His Church for all eternity. 
5. Until that last day arrives, Jesus has given His Church a great commission: »All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And, behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age« (Matthew 28,18-20). Jesus has commissioned and authorized His Church to proclaim the gospel: Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins is preached; people are baptized, communed and absolved. The Lord desires all to hear and believe, and so His Church carries out His great commission throughout the four corners of the earth. 
6. Saint Luke records the event of Jesus’ ascension: »Then Jesus lead His disciples out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them. While He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God« (Luke 24,50-53). We are here today to join the disciples in worshipping the ascended Jesus, and we look forward to next Sunday’s celebration of Pentecost where the Holy Spirit was poured out and the nations began to draw unto the Lord in greater and greater numbers. Jesus said to His disciples: »When the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete (Helper), 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. And you also will bear witness« (John 15,26-27). 
7. We begin to bear witness to Jesus in our Gottesdienst (Divine Service) as we confess Him in the Apostles’ Creed, praise Him in our hymns and hear the words of His Holy Scriptures. Then we leave this sanctuary and return to our lives in the world where our kind words and good deeds bear witness of Jesus to our neighbors before we even tell them the gospel. Words of kindness and deeds of love help prepare hearts and minds to be receptive to the gospel. The Holy Spirit uses the gospel to create faith in Jesus. Each one of us has an important part to play in this great commission. The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian Christians: »What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Slaves through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. he who plants and he who waters are one, for we are God’s fellow workers« (1. Corinthians 3,5-9). 
8. The gospel tells us that God desires everyone to dwell with Him for all eternity, and to ensure this He sent to us His Son. Jesus promises us: »Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will return and will take you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also« (John 14,1-3). This is what Jesus is doing right now: He is preparing our place to dwell with Him forever. As we await our Lord’s return, we do so with joyful hope: »I am with you always, to the end of the age« (Matthew 28,20), and when the Lord returns on the last day He will usher in an eternal fellowship in His present that is infinite in joy and blessings.  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Christ Jesus, Thou who reigns over the nations upon Your holy throne; raise up our eyes unto Your ascended resurrection glory so that we are comforted that on the last day You will vindicate Your Church.  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.  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Monday, May 22, 2017

Psalm 95,1-3.6-7; John 16,24b. Rogate

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

Psalm 95,1-3.6-7; John 16,24b 3017
Rogate (5. Sonntag nach Ostern)  040  weiß 
Helena, Empress and mother of  Constantine, 328 
Hospitius, hermit, 681
21. Mai 2017 

1. О Lord God, Heavenly Father, who through Your Son did promise us so that whatsoever we ask in His Name You will give us: We beseech You, keep us in Your Word, and grant us Your Holy Spirit, so that He may govern us according to Your will; protect us from the power of the devil, from false doctrine and worship; also defend our lives against all danger; grant us Your blessing and peace, so that we may in all things perceive Your merciful help, and both now and forever praise and glorify You as our Gracious Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One True God, world without end.  Amen. (Veit Dietrich for the Rogate
2. Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be full. O let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us enter into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. O let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. 
  3. Jesus told His apostles on Maundy Thursday: »Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be full.« This statement is part of a larger teaching Jesus presented to them in the context of the Passover meal, the institution of the Lord’s Supper and hours before His Passion would begin ending with His crucifixion. His statement is sandwiched in the context of God blessing His people, thus His conditional statement is: when you ask, My Father will give you complete joy. 
4. The rest of Rogate’s Introit is verses from Psalm 95 that comprise the Venite (O come), which is liturgically sung in morning Matins. The Venite begins: »O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation!« The object of our singing is the Rock of our salvation. Recall the conversation Jesus had with Peter: »Jesus said to His disciples: „But who do you say that I am?“ Simon Peter replied: „You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.“ And Jesus answered him: „Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against her“« (Matthew 16,15-18). The rock of confessing is to confess Jesus to be the Rock of salvation, and immediately Jesus tells His disciples what it means to be this Rock, this Christ: »I must be killed and on the third day be raised« (Matthew 16,21). In John 16, Jesus is on the cusp of fulfilling this. He tells His apostles: »A little while, and you will see Me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see Me. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you« (John 16,16.20.22). 
5. Jesus grounds this promise upon His very own resurrection from the grave. The Apostle Paul tell us that Jesus’ resurrection is the certainty and cornerstone of our faith: If Christ has been raised, then your faith is certain and your sins are forgiven (1. Corinthians 15,17). Yes, Jesus is the guarantee that our joy will be full. The Venite assures us that »The Lord is a Great God, and a Great King above all gods«. The Apostle Paul proclaimed our Great God to the Athenian Greeks at the Areopagus (Acts 17,16-34). The Areopagus is the Hill of Ares (Mars, to the Romans, the god of war); it served as the chief court where murderers were tried (the Greeks believed this is where the Pantheon tried Ares for the murder of Poseidon’s son, Alirrothios). By Paul’s time, the Athenians had built a temple to the unknown god on the Areopagus. This temple represented any god not honored by the Greeks. The Greeks believed the gods punished those who neglected to worship and sacrifice to them, so this temple covered any god or goddess the Greeks may have not known about due to ignorance. 
6. Paul proclaims from the Areopagus: »Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: To the unknown god. What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, so that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him. Yet He is actually not far from each one of us, for In Him we live and move and have our being;[Epimenides of Crete] as even some of your own poets have said: For we are indeed His offspring.[Aratus’ poem Phainomena] Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead« (Acts 17,22-31). Paul told the Athenians: yes, you have been ignorant of a god, the Most High God, higher and mightier than your beloved Zeus. This unknown god is the God of the Jews and He sent His Son, not to punish you like Zeus’ sons Apollo and Ares were apt to do in fits of rage, but to die for you and rise again for you. Many of the Athenians who heard this mocked Paul for at that time Greek philosophy generally denied the resurrection of the dead. Rather they held to the Platonic ideal that one’s soul lived on after death and forever left behind the inferior and corrupt body of flesh. Nevertheless, some Athenians accepted Paul’s teaching about Jesus and His resurrection.  
7. The Introit exhorts us: »When you hear God’s Voice, do not harden your hearts.« The Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles are replete with examples of people hardening their hearts to God. Some harden their hearts because they cannot believe the miracles performed by God and through God in the Holy Scriptures. Others can’t accept some of Jesus’ teachings so they reject Him completely. Most reject God over the fact that the Scriptures claim that Jesus has redeemed us and we need do nothing in regards to our salvation but believe and trust in Christ. The Apostle Paul says it quite clearly in his Epistle to the Romans: »Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life« (Romans 5,1.10). The voice of God’s bishops cry out: Behold, Jesus is the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world, yes, He has taken away your sin! 
8. Jesus tells us: »Ask, and you will receive, so that your joy may be full« (John 16,24). We all have petitions and concerns that we take to the Lord in prayer; do so with confidence that our Lord hears your prayers and answers them. Sometimes God’s will and our will are not in sync, but rest assured that God answers our prayers so that His Name is ultimately glorified. The Church’s joy is that the gospel be preached to all and that all who hear it receive it in faith. We know that does not always happen, yet the Church continues to preach Christ to a world that needs Him. May you likewise pray to the Lord that His will be done in your lives and in the lives of all for whom you pray. »Let us sing to the Lord and bless His Name. For the Lord goes forth to judge the world in righteousness and the people in His faithfulness« (Psalm 96,2.13).   Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who does not reject our prayers nor removes His steadfast love from us, teach us to remember that You have risen indeed, and in rising have made our joy complete.  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. 

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Psalm 98,1b-2,4-6; 98,1a. Cantate

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

Psalm 98,1b-2.4-6; 98,1a  2917
Kantate (4. Sonntag nach Ostern)  039  weiß
Pachomius, Abbot in upper Thebais, Egypt 348 
14. Mai 2017 

1. O Lord God, Heavenly Father, who did through Your Son promise us Your Holy Spirit, so that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment: We beseech You, enlighten our hearts, so that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, so that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions and make us forever partakers of eternal salvation, through the same, Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One True God, world without end.  Amen. (Veit Dietrich for Cantate).  
2. O sing to the Lord a new song, Hallelujah, for He has done marvelous things! Hallelujah! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the Lord! 
  3. Cantate is Latin for sing, and our Introit exhorts us to sing a new song for the Lord has done marvelous things. His most marvelous thing is His Easter Resurrection. Many powerful and rich hymns are based on the events of Easter.  
4. The Introit exclaims: »The Lord’s right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him.« This is how the Gospels begin their story of Jesus. Matthew begins with Jesus’ genealogy tracing His ancestors from Abraham through to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Mark begins with John the Baptizer preparing the way for Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Luke begins with the accounts of John and Jesus’ births. John begins by telling us that in the beginning was the Word, this Word was God and that Jesus is this very Word and God. Each Gospel begins with its unique prologue showing that Jesus is bringing to us the promised salvation of God the Father. Mary the mother of Jesus sings the Magnificat (Luke 1,46-53). Zechariah the father of John prophesies the Benedictus (Luke 1,68-79). Both are proclamations of rejoicing in the salvation Jesus brings to our fallen world. 
5. This salvation play out in an odd way. The Gospels tell us that, in general, the Jewish crowds are receptive of Jesus and believe He is sent from God the Father; even Greeks and Romans behold Him as a mighty teacher. Most of the Jewish religious and political leaders, with a few exceptions, are critical of Jesus and accuse Him of either being a lunatic or a liar. Jesus explains the disrespect and disdain He receives from His own people: »But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children seated in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates: „We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.“ For John arrived neither eating nor drinking, and they say: „He has a demon.“ The Son of Man arrived eating and drinking, and they say: „Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!“ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds« (Matthew 11,16-19). Even worse, there were some who heard Him preach but refused to repent. Jesus excoriates them, saying: »I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you« (Matthew 11,24). Our generation and culture are no better and no different from that of Jesus’ day. 
6. In our Cantate Gospel lection, Jesus informs us that His Father has hidden the truth of salvation that no one truly knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him from the wise and intelligent, but has instead revealed these things to those who are like immature or little children (Matthew 11,25.27). Jesus’s biggest critics were the scribes and priests; the Pharisees concerned themselves with the Scriptures, the laws and the traditions of the elders, while the Sadducees concerned themselves with the animal sacrifices and the Jewish rituals. The scribes and the rabbis had the synagogues in the towns up and down Palestine; the Levites and priests had the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus preached and taught in the synagogues and the temple courtyard where at times He was challenged by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. These were the wise and intelligent men in Jewish society for they were the teachers and priests of Judaism. They thought the law and salvation were unchangeable precepts, but Jesus taught such things were pedagogues and guardians established to guide and prepare the people for the messianic fulfillment to arrive in the Son of God. The Apostle Paul, himself a prominent Pharisee, understood what Jesus’ arrival meant; he told the Galatian Christians in his epistle: »The law was our guardian until Christ arrived in order that we might be justified by faith, but now that faith has arrived, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God« (Galatians 3,24-26). The wise and intelligent would not receive such preaching with joy, for it undoes all they had built themselves upon: the meticulous keeping of the law to ear righteousness was dismantled and the solid foundation of animal sacrifices was demolished for righteousness and salvation are given through one man: the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jewish cross welcomed this because it remove the burden of self-righteousness and made it all about believing in Jesus to be righteous. Greeks and Romans who were burdened with their pantheon (of gods and goddesses) all demanding tribute and praise lest they punish you welcomed Jesus as the Only True God who did not give burdens but removed heavy yokes. Prominent Jews like Nicodemus and Zacchaeus, among others, realized that Jesus is the promised fulfillment that the Mosaic covenant had been preparing them for, namely, the arrival of the Lord’s Christ.  
7. Jesus extends His gospel to you: »Draw unto Me, all who have grown weary and are heavy laden, and I will give you relief. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, that I am gentile and meek in heart, and you will find rest for your lives, for My yoke is pleasant and My burden is light« (Matthew 11,28-30). Christ’s yoke is that we are justified by faith in Him; you are God’s child through faith in Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1,3-4). That is the gospel, and the gospel is a burden that is light and easy to bear. This gospel is not earned, but it is freely given. 
8. Our sinful flesh is tempted to follow a different gospel, a gospel that has demands added to it. These different gospels promise much, are delivered with persuasive eloquence by teachers who look respectable, but they really distort the gospel and rob Christ of His true glory and honor. Heed the Apostle Paul’s warning: »I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,  then let him be condemned. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be damned« (Galatians 1,6-9). 
9. The true gospel is that preached by the apostles, written in the Gospels and Epistles of the New Testament and preached from pulpits that Christ died for you, He has redeemed you and He is risen. Your Baptism connects you to Him and He assures you that your sins are forgiven and eternal life is yours only on account of His death and resurrection. »We are justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law« (Galatians 2,16). This gospel is an easy burden to bear. »God has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to us. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God« in Christ Jesus, His Chosen One. »Let us make a joyful noise to the Lord and break forth into joyous song and sing praises« for all that God the Father has done for us through Christ our Lord.  Amen. 
10. Let us pray. O Christ Jesus, our Risen Lord, bless us with the joy of Your gospel so that we sing for joy and proclaim Your goodness throughout all the earth.  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, May 13, 2017

Psalm 66,3.5-7a..8-9; 66,1b.2a. Jubilate

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

Psalm 66,3.5-7a.8-9; 66,1b.2a 2817
Jubilate (3. Sonntag nach Ostern)  038  weiß 
Flavia Domitilla, Virgin, Martyr in Rome under Trajan 100 
C. F. W. Walther, Pastor and Theologian, 1887
7. Mai 2017 

1. О Lord God, Heavenly Father, who of Your Fatherly goodness does suffer Your children to come under Your chastening rod here on earth, so that we may be like unto Your Only-begotten Son in suffering and hereafter in glory: We beseech You, comfort us in temptations and afflictions by Your Holy Spirit, so that we may not fall into despair, but that we may continually trust in Your Son’s promise, so that our trials will endure but a little while, and will then be followed by eternal joy; so that we thus, in patient hope, may overcome all evil, and at last obtain eternal salvation.  Amen. (Veit Dietrich for the Jubilate
2. Shout for joy to God, all the earth, Hallelujah. Sing the Glory of His Name, Hallelujah. Say to God: How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power so that Your enemies go cringing to You. Go and see what God has done: He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man. He rules by His might forever, Bless our God, O peoples; Let the sound of His praise be heard, who has kept our life among the living and has not let our feet slip. 
  3. »Shout for joy to God; sing the Glory of His Name!« The Service of Matins begins by singing responsively: 

O Lord, open my lips: * 
and my mouth will declare Your praise (Psalm 51,15; LSB 219). 

Then we sing those opening verses of the Venite

O come, let us sing to the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving, let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise. For the Lord is a Great God and a Great King above all gods (Psalm 95,1-3; LSB 220). 

So also the liturgy of our Divine Service III. Many parts in our Gottesdienst trace back 1500 years and in some cases to the very time of the apostles. Our Divine Service III follows almost identically the Common Service of 1888 which was prepared to help to resolve the confusion of a variety of Lutheran liturgies as the ethnic groups transitioned from their native languages to English. „This admirable work, a product of the confessional and liturgical movement which revived the church in Europe and America in the nineteenth century, was prepared by a Joint Committee representing the General Synod, the General Council, and the United Synod in the South. The plan of work and the excellence of its text commended it to all groups. Within a relatively few years it was included in the official Service Books of practically all the Lutheran Churches in the country. The principle or Rule which guided the framers of the Common Service, was: “the common consent of the pure Lutheran liturgies of the sixteenth century, and when there is not an entire agreement among them, the consent of the largest number of those of greatest weight.“ This decision to reproduce in the English language the consensus of the purified liturgies of the classic Reformation century, placed the project upon an objective, historical basis which limited the assertions of personal taste or preference. Thus, with few exceptions, the Common Service in its newest parts is as old as the time of the Reformation; in the order and great body of its material, it represents the pure service of the Christian Church of the West from the earliest times“ (www.ctsfw.edu/library/files/pb/704). Our Divine Service is one that praises God centered upon the work of Jesus. 
4. »Say to God: How awesome are Your deeds! So great is Your power so that Your enemies go cringing to You.« Contemporary understanding about God focuses almost exclusively upon the phrase: God is love, and in doing so hearing a verse like Psalm 66,3 sounds odd, perhaps even un-Christian. God, however, is not a Deity with only one characteristic or trait. God gives us both the law and the gospel, judgment and justification, punishment and mercy. Thus, God created both a heaven and a hell. Those who receive God in faith that looks to His Son are those who inherit heaven, but those who oppose God and reject Christ are those who merit separation from God in hell. The Holy Scriptures tell us: »The Lord says to my Lord: Be seated at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool« (Psalm 110,1; Hebrews 1,13). John heard and saw in his Revelation: »I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been martyred for the Word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice: „O Sovereign Lord, Holy and True, how long before You will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?“« (Revelation 6,9-10). Later John heard and saw an angel say: »Just are You, O Holy One, who is and who was, for You brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink It is what they deserve!« (Revelation 16,5-6).  
5. »Go and see what God has done; He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man.« From Genesis to Revelation the Holy Scriptures expound upon the acts of deliverance the Lord has done for mankind. »God turned the sea into dry land; Israel passed through the Jordan River on foot« (Joshua 3,13). The Lord saved Noah and his family from the Flood, spared Lot and his daughters from Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction. The Epistle to the Hebrews declares: »And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David, Samuel and all the prophets who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out weakness, became might in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection« (Hebrews 11,32-35). The Bible reports 11 resurrections, and the greatest of these is when Jesus Himself rose from His grave on Easter. Jesus blesses us through His resurrection, as the Apostle Paul writes: »All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead we too shall walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, then we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His« (Romans 6,3-5). Death no longer has dominion over Christ, therefore death no longer has dominion over us for we are united to Christ forever (Romans 6,9). Christ has fulfilled for us the words in our Introit: »God has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip.«
6. Jesus tells in today’s Jubilate Gospel lection: »I am the Vine, and you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in them bears much fruit, and My Father is glorified when you bear much fruit« (John 15,5.8). Christians do good works that flow from faith. Such works are the Ten Commandments, worshipping God faithfully and joyously, supporting the ministry of His Church when and as you can. All of this glorifies God the Father and benefits our neighbor. Thus, the Holy Spirit exerts us to be attentive to doing good works, and so we pray that more and more good works flow from from our foundation of faith in Jesus. »The prayer of a righteous person avails much« (James 5,16). 
7. Psalm 66 concludes: »Blessed be God, because He has not rejected my prayer or removed His steadfast love from me!« (Psalm 66,20). We worship and praise a Merciful and Gracious God who is slow to anger but abounds in love and faithfulness (Exodus 34,6) that is revealed in His Only Son Jesus Christ. St. John assures us of that very fact in his Gospel: »For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life« (John 3,16). May the Holy Spirit work in us to love the world as God the Father loves the world.   Amen. 
11. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou preserves the lives of Your Christian people. Give us Your life and strength so that we live, move and have our being in You alone, our Risen Lord.   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. 

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