Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church

Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
9 E Homestead Ave. Palisades Park, NJ 07650 201-944-2107 Sundays 11:00 a.m. We preach Christ crucified (1. Corinthians 1,23)

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Isaiah 63,15-16.19b; 64,1-3. Ad te Levavi

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

Isaiah 63,15-16. 19b; 64,1-3 0218
Ad te Levavi (2. Sunday in Advent) 02 
Melchiades, Bishop of Rome 314 
10. Dezember 2017 

1. O Blessed Jesus, who opens up the gates of  heaven to all believers, give us attentive and obedient hearts in this Advent season, so that we may diligently and reverently hear Your Holy Word, receive it and keep it in our hearts.  Amen. (Starck 50). 
2. Look down from heaven and see, from Your holy and beautiful habitation. Where are Your zeal and Your might? The stirring of Your inner parts and Your compassion are held back from me. For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is Your Name. We have become like those who are not called by Your Name. O that You would rend the heavens and descend, so that the mountains might quake at Your presence – as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil – to make Your Name known to Your adversaries, and so that the nations might tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things that we did not look for, You descended, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
  3. The Prophet Isaiah exhorts the Lord: »Look down from heaven and see from your holy and beautiful habitation.« This habitation was Israel, specifically centered upon His temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. The temple was the focal point of the Lord’s covenant promise to forgive His people’s sin. 
4. But Isaiah prophesied at a time when all was not right in Judah (742-687 bc). He proclaims: »Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth, for the Lord has spoken: I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against Me. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made« (Isaiah 1,2; 2,8). Judah’s idolatry lead to other sins: they shed innocent blood, lying became more acceptable, they spoke wickedly about their neighbors and justice was denied to victims (Isaiah 59,3-4). Isaiah and other prophets were sent to call Judah to repentance. The Lord’s wrath would strike them down, but in His favor He would also have mercy on them (Isaiah 60,10). In 587 bc the Lord sent Judah into Babylonian captivity but 70 years later He returned them to the promised land. 
  5. Isaiah reminded Judah that the Lord is our Father, our Redeemer from of old. Isaiah then exhorted the Lord to rend the heavens and descend so that the mountains would quake at His presence and all the nations would tremble. Jesus uses similar language in today’s Gospel lection: »There will be signs in sun, moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken and they will see the Son of Man descending in a cloud with power and great glory« (Luke 21,25.27).    
6. The destruction of the temple did not herald the end of the world, either in 587 bc or ad 70. The heavenly signs Jesus mentions in today’s Gospel periscope point to His 2. advent on the last day. The beauty of the Church Year and the Historic Lectionary is the symmetry between the beginning of the Liturgical Year and its ending. Both deal with the advent of Jesus: His first advent and His second. The first two Sundays in Advent look more at the return of Jesus on the last day, and in doing so remind us of His first advent in Bethlehem at Christmas. There were signs in heaven, Jesus arrived and our redemption drew near. First, an angelic choir sang in the heavens on the night when Jesus was born. The shepherds saw this choir and heard their anthem. They went into Bethlehem to see the newborn Jesus (Luke 2,13-15). The magi also saw signs in the heavens. The position of the planets and stars informed them that a great and glorious king had been born in Judea. They saddled up their camels, gathered their gifts and rode west to Jerusalem to pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews (Matthew 2,1-2). Jesus descended from heaven to earth with power and glory. O it may not have seemed that way. In all appearances Jesus was an ordinary boy born into an ordinary family. His begotten father was a carpenter from Nazareth. His mother was a young teenager who had not long before left her father and mother to marry her husband. The Infant Jesus looked no different than any of us when we were born, but that little baby is the very Son of God with all His Divine power and glory humbled and hidden from the world’s view. An angel of Yahweh told Joseph: »Mary will bear a son, and you will name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins« (Matthew 1,21). Months later an angel of Yahweh told the shepherds: »For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord« (Luke 2,11). Jesus was born to save fallen mankind from our sinfulness, and thus Christmas is a celebration of God’s salvation history (Heilsgeschichte) becoming flesh and dwelling among us. 
7. The 2. Sunday in Advent helps us to see the continuity between the first and second advent of Jesus to this earth. Jesus’ disciples thought that the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple would be the opening salvo of a series of cataclysmic events that would culminate with Jesus’ return. The answer Jesus gave to their question told them that such an understanding was wrong. There was no correlation between the timing of the temple’s destruction and Jesus’ return. Many well-meaning Christian teachers and preachers make a likewise errant connection with the return of Christ. Their argument goes: Now that Israel is restored as a nation, the return of Christ is at hand. This simply ignores the entire point Jesus put forth in Luke 21. Jesus lists all sorts of spectacular signs as heralds of the temple’s imminent demise, but does not link its destruction to His return and the end of the world. Jesus’ second advent was not connected to the temples’ destruction and it is not connected to Israel being recognized as a nation in 1948. Jesus teaches that His return will catch everyone by surprise, but that once He arrives there will be no doubt that He has returned. The same was true at His first advent. Other than Mary, Joseph and their close relatives, no one expected Jesus’ arrival until the angels announced it and the magi realized the signs in the heaven announced Jesus’ birth. 
8. The signs point us to Christ. The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son and will call Him: God is with us. (Isaiah 7,14). Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? We saw His star when it rose and have arrived to worship Him (Matthew 2,2). There will be signs in sun, moon and stars, and then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. Behold, there is the Christ! He slept in a Bethlehem manger. He rode an ass up to Jerusalem. He died on the cross and His grave is empty. He now is seated at the right hand of God His Father. All these signs remind us of the mercy and forgiveness of God manifested by Jesus. Just as surely as He arrived on this earth in Bethlehem to save us from our sinfulness, so He will arrive again in majestic clouds to usher us into heavenly eternal life. 
9 The heavenly signs point us to Christ. There will be signs in sun, moon and stars, and then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. 
10. Christ’s advent is a glorious event that rends the heavens and quakes the mountains, for His advent makes His Name known unto the nations. His birth, Passion and return are all events of cataclysmic proportions: humanity is redeemed, the wicked are judged and the believers exalted. Be patient, and take heart, for the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ is at hand (James 5,8).  Amen. 
11. Let us pray. O Christ, our Judge and Savior; judge the world in righteousness and Your Church in faithfulness, so that all see that You are fair and merciful.  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.  
   Franzmann, Martin H. „Thy Strong Word“. Lutheran Service Book. Copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Revelation 5,1-5; Populus Zion

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

Revelation 5,1-5 (6-14)   0118
1. Sonntag im Advent  01; Populus Zion
Sola, Abbot at Solenhofen, Bavaria 760
3. Dezember 2017 

1. О Merciful Jesus, Thou hast arrived to see and to save what was lost, grant us the strength of Thy Holy Spirit, so that we may spend this season of Advent in holy meditations and to the edifying of our souls (Starck 50).  Amen.  
2. Then I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice: „Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?“ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me: „Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.“ 
  3. Advent begins the Church Year and thus opens with Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Advent prepares us to celebrate Jesus’ birth at Christmas by pointing us to His cross. Jesus was born to die as the Lamb of God redeeming the sins of the world. He rode up to Jerusalem on an ass to unfold that redemption.  
  4. Sixty years later, the last remaining apostle, John, had a revelation. At the start of his vision he saw God the Father seated on His throne; a mighty angel proclaimed: »Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?« (Revelation 5,1-2). Was John standing before the throne of the Lord’s judgement or was he before the mercy seat of the Lord’s grace? It’s a mystery! It’s hidden! No one knows, for the scroll is sealed and no one has opened it! Is the verdict guilty or not guilty? We wait with anticipation, nervously eager for the answer. But, alas, John begins to weep loudly, for no one is found worthy to open the scroll or look into it (Revelation 5,4); John looks fervently, but no one in heaven, on the earth or under the earth was found worthy to open the scroll (Revelation 5,3). No one is found in heaven? The archangel Gabriel, who announced the birth of John to Elizabeth and the birth of Jesus to Mary and Joseph, he cannot open the scroll? What about the Archangel Michael, who is the Guardian of the Church, he cannot open the scroll? John is an apostle, hand-picked by Jesus Himself, and the last remaining apostle living on the earth, not even he, beloved by Jesus can open the scroll? We shudder to think of the underworld! Satan, the archangel who’s abode will be hell, the great accuser of mankind, cannot open this scroll? O how he would relish the task and spew out more condemnation upon us, but thankfully even he is unworthy to open the scroll in the hand of God the Father. Truly John weeps for us all as no one is found to open that holy scroll and its hidden words. 
5. At the bleakest moment, a voice of encouragement is heard! One of the 24 elders seated around the Divine throne speaks up: »Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals!« (Revelation 5,5). All of heaven erupts in praise and worship for Jesus is found worthy to open the seals and read the scroll (Revelation 5,6-14). 
6. The 1. seal releases a rider who goes forth conquering. The 2. seal unleashes Warfare, the 3. seal Famine and the 4. seal Death and Hades! The 5. seal reveals all the Christians who were martyred for their faith in Jesus. The 6. seal portends the day of great tribulation as the earth quakes and the sun turns dark (Revelation 6,1-17)! This does not bode well! Why open those seals? Keep the 7. sealed lest it be worse than the previous six! But open that fine seal Jesus did, and all heaven went silent for half an hour (Revelation 8,1). John ponders what he has thus seen in his apocalypse, and he recalls a similar day, a day he witnessed with his own tear-streaked eyes: the day his friend and messiah was crucified. The emblem of the Roman legions went forth as a conqueror paving the procession of Jesus to Calvary. The roman guards were arrayed in their terrifying implements of warfare. Famine, death and hades befell upon Jesus the Christ and who became the chief martyr off Good Friday. The earth quaked and the sun went dark the moment He died. But 3 days later John saw Jesus risen from death and alive. Ah, the 7. and final seal may be comforting! 7. The 7. seal culminates with Christ returning from heaven on a white horse at His second advent; the host of heaven descends with Him (Revelation 19). The wicked are judged and the Church is gathered up for everlasting life at the dawning of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 20). 
8. Jesus is worthy to open the seals and read the scroll in His Father’s hand. John tells us: »Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing« (Revelation 5,12)! 
9. And so we await Jesus’ 2. advent by remembering His 1. advent that culminates with Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. This blessed Holy Week culminates with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection for the redemption of the world. This is why in his vision John sees heaven worshipping Jesus: He is the world’s Savior and at His return He will draw the 1. heaven and the 1. earth into completion. This Jesus is the Lion of Judah and the Root of David. He entered Jerusalem as a humble prince on an ass, but He will return to Earth as a glorious king one an horse. Salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed (Romans 13,11); for blessed is Jesus who arrives in the Name of the Lord (Matthew 21,9)!  Amen.  
10. Let us pray. O Christ, out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, You shine forth; do not keep silent, so that by the declaration of Your mouth You proclaim our sins forgiven and the gates of heaven opened to us.  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. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 
VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. 

Starck, Johann Friedrich. Starck’s Prayer Book. Copyright © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Psalm 126,1-3.5.6; Isaiah 35,10a. Eternity Sunday

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

Psalm 126,1-3.5.6; Isaiah 35,10a 5717
Ewigkeitssontang  073 (27. Trinitatis)
Konrad, Bishop of Konstanz, Germany. 976 
26. November 2017 

1. O Lord, whose heavenly realm is likened to a wedding celebration, keep us always faithful and alert, so that we receive Your second advent with great joy and celebration.  Amen. (Gradual). 
2. O Lord, And the ransomed of the Lord will return and go to Zion with singing; everlasting joy will be upon their heads; When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, will return home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
  3. The Introit makes reference to the ransomed of the Lord going up to Zion; this is a reference to those Jews displaced by the Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities (721 and 586 BC). First the 10 northern tribes of Israel and then the 2 southern tribes of Judah had been conquered by foreign superpowers, many deported to far away lands and the temple worship brought to a halt. Such judgment was rendered by the Lord for their unrepentant idolatry. The Lord promised to bless Israel if they obeyed His covenant but He threatened to cast them out if they rejected His covenant (Deuteronomy 30,15-20). During their decades of captivity, Israel returned to the Lord and pleaded with Him: »O Lord, remember what has befallen us; behold our disgrace! Restore us to Yourself so that we may be restored; renew our days as of old« (Lamentations 5,1.21). Before Divine judgement fell, the Prophet Isaiah promised the Lord’s future salvation: »The ransomed of the Lord will return and ascend Zion with singing; everlasting joy will be upon their heads; they will obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing will flee away« (Isaiah 35,10). 
4. The Lord had promised Abraham: all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring (Genesis 23,18). The Lord had chosen Abraham from all upon the earth and raised up from Him Israel; this Israel was chosen by the Lord as a representative for all the nations. Like mankind, Israel rebelled against the Lord, was punished but also promised a redeemer. As the Lord saved Israel, through Israel He would save all the nations of the earth. The Lord told Isaiah: »I will make Israel as a light for the nations so that My salvation may reach unto the end of the earth« (Isaiah 49,6). John the Apostle proclaimed that Jesus is the Light of the world (John 14,9). The term „Israel reduced to one“ was first coined by Lutheran theologian Dr. Horace Hummel in the 1970s, and was put into print in 1979 with his book The Word Becoming Flesh. Dr. Hummel explained the term this way: „That is to say that Old Testament history really is our history via Christ…. Since Christ is ‘Israel reduced to one,’ and since Israel’s inner history was all recapitulated and consummated in Him, the ‘new Israel,’ the church, expresses [her] identity and mission in terms of the promise given the old Israel“ (Hummel 17). In Jesus’ temptation, we see a dovetailing of two Christological themes: Jesus, as Israel reduced to one, standing in our place, as the Christus Victor who triumphs victorious over our old, evil foe, the devil. Jesus stands in Israel’s place because Israel failed the testing Yahweh subjected them too in the Sinai Desert. Jesus stands in the place of all the nations because all the nations failed to  trust in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for their deliverance. Jesus stands in our place because we were born in bondage to sin and Satan. While Israel rejected their messiah, there was one who did not. Jesus, the Son of God sent to be Israel’s messiah, is also Israel reduced to one (Hummel 17). „Jesus is Israel, true man, but radically distinct from Israel, true God“ (Hummel 224). Jesus did not reject His messiahship; He did not reject His Father who sent Him to be the messiah. Jesus is »the Deliverer arrived from Zion, He banished ungodliness from Jacob« [Isaiah 59,20; 45,17]; Jesus is »His Father’s covenant with Israel when He took away their sins« [Isaiah 27,9]. In Christ Jesus, Israel has received, believed and confessed the messiah who has triumphed victorious over our sin, death and the devil. In Christ, God has mercy on everyone: to the Jew first, and then also the Gentile. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise given to the patriarchs and the prophets. 
  5. It is this Jesus that the bridesmaids await in today’s Gospel parable. When Jesus arrived, the bridesmaids were filled with laughter and joy for the Lord has done great things for them and restored their fortunes. We are the prepared bridesmaids in this parable for we eagerly and patiently await His return, that is, His second advent. On that day, we who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. We will return home with songs of rejoicing.    
6. The Gospel Readings for the past few weeks have told us that Jesus’ second advent will be a surprise. We don’t know when it will occur, so we wait ready for His arrival. We will become drowsy and fall asleep as we await His return, but when the cry goes out we will awake and join the wedding procession behind Jesus. Jesus will arrive to take His Church into the heavenly reign. Whenever Jesus arrives, we know we will be ready for we have faith in Him.  Jesus shows us in this parable a glimpse of what eternal life in His presence will be like. In Matthew, Jesus used the image of a wedding banquet. The Psalms and Prophets used images like peace existing among the nations and Israel again returning to Zion in celebration and worship. These images merely scratch the surface of what joys await us in the abiding fellowship with Jesus and all believers in Him. The Triune God created men and women to be in perpetual communion with Him. Our Fall into sin has temporarily severed that bond, but God the Father would not have that bond cut forever; He sent His Only Son to redeem us and restore His bond of fellowship with us. The Holy Spirit uses the means of grace to focus our attention on Christ and the salvation He has made for us. Many glorious days and activities await us in the new heaven and on the new earth. The gospel bespeaks us righteous; bright with Christ’s own holiness (LSB 578,3). It is all ours now by faith, and it is this faith that makes us prepared for the advent of Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen and Amen. 
7. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, make known to us the path of life, for in Your presence there is fullness of joy and at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore, so that we look forward to the last day as a time of renewal and rebirth in the resurrection that is promised to us along with the new heavens and new 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.  

   Franzmann, Martin H. „Thy Strong Word“. Lutheran Service Book. Copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Psalm 143,1-2.6.8.10; Psalm 96,13. 2. Last Sunday in the Church Year

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

Psalm 143,1-2.6.8.10; Psalm 96,13  5617
Vorletzter Sonntag des Kirchenjahres; 26. Sn. n. Trinitatis  071 
Elisabeth, Landgravine of Thuringia, 1231.
19. November 2017 

1. О Lord Thou Creator of the heavens and the earth, bring justice to Your creation, so that the wicked are judged and the righteousness are vindicated.  Amen. (Gradual
2. The Lord, arrives to judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness. O Lord, give ear to my pleas for mercy! Answer me in Your faithfulness and righteousness! Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You. I stretch out my hands to You; my soul thirsts for You like a parched land. Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground! 
  3. The Psalmist proclaims that »The Lord arrives to judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness.« Such Divine action occurs a number of times in the Bible. Mankind’s banishment from Eden (Genesis 3), the Flood (Genesis 7) and the Division of the Earth/Tower of Babel (Genesis 10,25; 11) are examples of Divine judgement on a global scale; Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), the Exodus (Exodus 6-14), the Assyrian Captivity (2. Kings 19; 721 bc) and the Babylonian Captivity (2. Kings 25; 587 bc) are examples of Divine judgment on a local or national scale. Last week’s Gospel pericope (Matthew 24,15-28) cited Jesus prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction that would soon occur in ad 70; Jesus said this tribulation would be an example of a future tribulation that ultimately ushers in the last day. 
  4. Before the Lord judges He sends messengers to urge people to repentance. Sometimes those prophets are ignored and His judgment commences, like Noah and the Flood; other times those prophets are heeded and His judgment is averted, like Jonah to Nineveh. One reason the Church has a rite of confession and absolution is to call Christians to examine their lives, repent of their sin and receive the Lord’s forgiveness. »If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world« (1. John 1,8-9; 2,1-2). Another reason is the Church intercedes on behalf of the wicked world and asks the Lord to be merciful. »The Lord said: „Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to Me. And if not, I will know“« (Genesis 18,17.20-21). 
5. Responsive Prayer 2 uses the Versicles as a meditative prayer of repentance: »Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry ascend to You. In the day of my trouble I call upon You, for You answer me. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and taken to Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit« (Psalm 102,1; 86,7; 51,9-12). The Versicles conclude with the assurance of the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness, and in doing so they echo the words of today’s Introit wether we are reminded that the Lord mercifully answers our prayers and exchanges judgment with justification. By this gracious activity, the Lord creates in us an eager waiting for adoption as children of God (Romans 8,23). 
6. As His children, theLord creates in us a desire to love and help our neighbor. We see this bear fruit in today’s Gospel pericope where Jesus announces to all mankind how His Christians have helped those in need, fed them, clothed them and simply showed them mercy ( Matthew 25,35-39), and in doing this unto others we have truly done it unto Christ. »A disciple is not above his teacher; it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher« (Matthew 10,24-25). »Whoever receives you receives Me, and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward« (Matthew 10,40.42). 
7. The Introit makes it clear that the Lord loves mankind: »Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God! Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground!« The Lord’s love for men and women is also our love as well. To walk the path of the Lord is to walk the path of loving mankind. The Apostle Paul tells us: »The love of Christ urges us on because we are convinced that One has died for all; therefore all have died. Thus we are ambassadors for Christ« (2. Corinthians 6,14.20). Our neighbors need to hear the gospel and to receive our good works. As Christ does for us so we do for others.  Amen.  
8. Let us pray. O Lord, the heavens declare Your righteousness and justice; give us the assurance that as Your children we love our neighbor, so that in showing this love we more importantly show them Your holy love for them.  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. 
The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers, Vol. 4. © 1963 Henry Regnery Co. 

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

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Psalm 90,3.7-8.13-14; Isaiah 38,17b. 3. Last Sunday in Church Year

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

Psalm 90,3.7-8.13-14; Isaiah 38,17b 5517
Drittlezter Sonntag des Kirchenjahres  070 (25. Trinitatis)
Jonah, Prophet, 838-797 bc 
12. November 2017 

1. O Lord, Thou who remembers Your people, remind us that You have purchased and redeemed us, so that we never doubt Your love and mercy.  Amen. (Gradual). 
2. O Lord, You have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for You have cast all my sins behind Your back. You return man to dust and say: „Return, O children of man!“ For we are brought to an end by Your anger; by Your wrath we are dismayed. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on Your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with Your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. 
  3. We have entered the home stretch in the Church’s Liturgical Calendar, and today marks the 3. Last Sunday in the Lectionary. When people think of the end of something they often have nostalgia and contemplate what they have done or not done. As sinners, we often contemplate before the Lord our self-worth. The Lord will judge the righteous and the wicked; all are from the dust, and to dust all return (Ecclesiastes 3,17.20). The Psalmist laments that »We are brought to an end by the Lord’s anger and dismayed by His wrath. Our iniquities are set before Him and our secret sins are brought to light in His presence.« Countless Christian men and women have lamented the truth that the Apostle Paul elegantly writes in his Epistle to the Romans: »Wretched person that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?« (Romans 7,24). 
4. The Prophet Isaiah offers comfort from the vanity of Ecclesiastes and the anguished cry of Paul: »The Lord has delivered our lives from the pit of destruction, for He has cast all our sins behind His back.« The Psalmist also speaks words of consolation: »O Lord, satisfy us with Your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.« The Apostle Paul likewise proclaims the gospel: »Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord who has delivered us from this body of death! There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Nothing will separate us from the love of Christ, for we are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us« (Romans 7,25; 8,1.35.37).  
5. Faith believes the consolation spoken to us by the Mouth of the Lord through His prophets and apostles. The Epistle to the Hebrews assures us: »Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen« (Hebrews 11,1). And the Apostle Paul declares: »We do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary afflictions preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but look to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal« (2. Corinthians 4,16-18).   
6. The wicked world will not fare well on the last day. Jesus tells us that a great tribulation will befall the world, greater than any tribulation in the past (Matthew 24,21). False prophets will proclaim a false gospel and others will claim to be Christ Himself and they will perform great wonders so as to deceive many (Matthew 24,24). The Apostle Paul spoke about this false gospel: he called it a different and a distorted gospel (Galatians 1,6-7). Paul says the true gospel is that Jesus gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1,4) and this gospel simply is that a person is only justified through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law (Galatians 2,16) for the righteous shall live by faith (Galatians 3,11).  
7. Christians will be blessed on the last day, for we will have endured tribulation. »We are afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; we always carry in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our mortal flesh« (2. Corinthians 4,8-11). As we await for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, let us be diligent to be found by Christ without spot, blemish and at peace (2. Peter 3,13-14). Let us love our neighbors. Respect all people. Warn those caught in wickedness and encourage those who believe in Jesus. Pray for all. Let our words and actions exemplify Christ and give Him honor. Our Lord has delivered us from the pit of destruction and He has cast all our sins behind us. Let us live as those delivered and forgiven, showing others the same grace and mercy Christ shows us day after day.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Righteousness and Redeemer; may our lips praise You, so that all may know that You are near to grant mercy and forgiveness.  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, November 11, 2017

Psalm 18,30-32.34-35a; Isaiah 41,9. 21. Trinity

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

Psalm 18, 30-32.34-35a; Isaiah 41,9  5417
21. Sonntag nach Trinitatis  066 
Berthilla, Abbess of Chelles, France. 692
5. November 2017 

1. О Lord Jesus Christ, our Eternal Dwelling Place, as You sustain the mountains and the earth, so sustain us with Your Providence, so that we may know day after day that You are our God and Savior.  Amen. (Gradual
2. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. God’s way is perfect; the Word of the Lord proves true; He is a Shield for all those who take refuge in Him. For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a Rock, except our God? He is the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the Shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand supported me. 
  3. The Prophet Isaiah tells us that: »The Lord is with us and is our God, therefore fear not nor be dismayed.« The celebration of the Reformation falls at the time of remembering the saints. Luther nailed his 95 Theses on 31. October, that is All Hallows’ Eve/Halloween, the day before All Hallows’ Day, that is All Saints Day. In fact, the Wittenberg University chapel is named All Saints Chapel, and it was on the door of All Saints that Luther posted his debate theses on indulgences. 
  4. All Saints Day is a feast whereby we remember all those Christians who have departed this temporal life to be in the presence of Jesus in Paradise. What we confess by faith these saints experience in perfection: »I am with you; I am your God.« Our God promises us: »I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.« In today’s Gospel pericope Jesus declares: »You must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect« (Matthew 5,48). Alas, who is perfect but God alone? Who is righteous but God alone? Not even the saints were perfect when they lived upon the earth. What fate awaits us who are imperfect and unrighteous when we meet God face to face in His Full Divine Glory? That was the dilemma that young Friar Luther had struggled with. Part of Luther’s duties at Wittenberg University was to teach the Bible. He taught Romans, Galatians and the Psalms between 1514-17. We know he finally saw the light of the gospel when he properly understood what St. Paul had written in his epistle: »The righteous will live by faith« (Romans 1,17). The Psalms further assured him of this great Pauline declaration; the Psalmist tells us this morning: »God’s way is perfect; the Word of the Lord’s proves true; He is a Shield for those who take refuge in Him. He is the God who equipped me with strength and made my way perfect.« 
5. The Lord had created mankind, Adam and Eve, in His Image and Likeness; He created them perfect and righteous. Their Fall into sin replaced that perfection with imperfection and original righteousness with original sin. Thus men and women throughout the ages have struggled with how to appease a righteous God. Religions and philosophies approach such appeasement from the ground up: we must ascend to God. Christianity and Judaism approach this appeasement from heaven downward: God descends to us. We see this first play out in Genesis 3: Adam and Eve attempt to appease God by hiding from Him, and making clothing from leaves, hoping He will not notice their sin and their nakedness, but the approach and appeasement rightly goes with God finding them, punishing them with the law but more importantly promising them a Savior who will redeem them. St. John tells us that Jesus is this Promise and Savior: »For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall 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). This Jesus has made our way perfect, blameless and righteous. 
6. The Apostle Paul proclaims: »No one is righteous, no, not one, but now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God, and all are justified by His grace as a gift through the redemption that is JesusChrist, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith« (Romans 3,11.21-25). The Psalmist looked forward to the time when God would give us the Shield of His salvation, and His right hand to support us. Jesus is our Shield of salvation and the right hand of His Father who supports us. 
7. Jesus declared: »You must be perfect (τελειοι), as your Heavenly Father is perfect« (Matthew 5,48); Jesus fulfills this for us. As Adam’s one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so also Jesus’ act of righteousness leads to righteousness for all men (Romans 5,18). You are now perfect through Jesus, as your Heavenly Father is perfect, and if you are perfect in God’s eyes, then you are saints, that is, holy ones.In 7 of his 13 epistles, the Apostle Paul addresses the Christians as saints; in the remaining 6 epistles the recognition that they are saints is implied. As such, Christians produce the saintly works that follow and flow from faith in Jesus. Such holy living was not mature in some instances, as the epistles to the Corinthians, Galatians and Thessalonians testify, but the Christians strove to live as the saints Jesus had declared them to be. Each of us attest to the lives of these saints, as we are all at a different point in the journey of faith, but we all strive to be the Christians Christ Jesus has called us to be by grace through faith. The gospel assures us that every Christian participates in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted to us by God (37. Thesis). 
8. The Apostle Paul exhorts us: »Let us not grow weary of doing good, for as we have opportunity let us do good to everyone« (Galatians 6,9-10). Faith in Jesus Christ bears the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness (Galatians 5,22-23). »For freedom Christ has set us free« (Galatians 5,1) to be certain of our salvation which is given freely by G and received by faith, to love our neighbors and rejoice in the righteousness we have from Jesus Himself.  Amen. 
9. Let us pray. O Lord, who loves and justifies sinners; receive our hymns of praise for the gospel of Christ Jesus Your Son, so that by our joyous singing and loving deeds our neighbors may believe the redemption You have given to the world through Christ the 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. 
VELKD. Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands. www.velkd.de. Copyright © 2013 Vereinigte Evangelisch-Lutherische Kirche Deutschlands.