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)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Joshua 3,5-11.17. 1. Sunday after Epiphany

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

Joshua 3,5-11.17        0819 
1. Sonntag nach Epiphanius 014 
Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, France 368
13. Januar 2019 

1. O God, Father of all grace and mercy, we praise You that You have also revealed the Redeemer of the world unto us and have enlightened us to realize that Jesus is the Light of the Gentiles and our salvation unto the ends of the earth. Grant us Divine grace to walk worthily of our heavenly calling (Löhe 455-56), receiving Him by faith whom You verbally declared to be Your beloved Son with whom You are well pleased, Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Amen. 
2. »Then Joshua said to the people: „Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." And Joshua said to the priests: „Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people." So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people. The Lord said to Joshua: „Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant: ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan’“ And Joshua said to the people of Israel: „Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.“ And Joshua said: „Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Perizzites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan.“ Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan.« 
3. The epiphany of Christ to the Magi is nothing new. God has been manifesting his presence among us since the opening chapters of Genesis. God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; God visited Abraham, spoke with him and ate with him. Another epiphany of God is found in Joshua 3. Joshua said Israel: »Here is how you will know that the Living God is among you.… Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan.«   
4. At Mount Sinai, the Lord told Moses to build this ark; it was a 4.33‘ x 2.58‘ x 2.58‘ rectangle or box made of wood and covered with gold. The lid of the ark had 2 cherubim facing each other with their wings pointed forward. This lid was called the mercy seat. The stone tablets of the 10 Commandments resided inside the ark, along with some manna and Aaron‘s rod. The ark represented the Lord’s presence among Israel. When the temple was built, the ark resided in the Holy of Holies and only the high priest could enter that room on Yom Kippur (the day of atonement). The ark also represented the Lord’s forgiveness of Israel’s sins.  
5. In Jesus’ day, the ark was not in the temple and its whereabouts unknown. The common theory is that the ark was hidden before Jerusalem was conquered by the Babylonians, but no one several centuries later knew exactly what had happened to the ark. As such, festivals that involved the temple and the ark underwent significant changes in how they were observed, particularly Yom Kippur. 
6. The ark represented God’s presence among His people. With that visible relic absent from Israel for 500 years, God slowly prepared His people for a new ark of the covenant. The apostle explains this to us in the Epistle to the Hebrews: »Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent then the old covenant as the covenant He mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second covenant. For He finds fault with Israel when He says: »Behold , the days are approaching, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt.… I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more« [Jeremiah 31,3-32.34] (Hebrews 8,6-9.12). 
7. The ark of the covenant contained Aaron’s rod. Of particular note is the event when Aaron’s rod budded as a sign from God that Aaron and his family were chosen to be priests for Israel and Levi as the priestly tribe. The chief ministry of the priests was to offer the sacrifices at the temple for the forgiveness of the people. Jesus is the better and greater Rod of Aaron for He offered Himself up as the sacrificial lamb that has forgiven all the world of all its sin. The ark also contained some of the manna that fed Israel during their 40 years of wandering. Jesus taught the Jews: »Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal. It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who descends from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the Bread of life; whoever draws near to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall not thirst. Everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day« (John 6,27.32-33.35.49). Jesus is the better and greater Manna from heaven for He gives everlasting life. Finally, the ark contained the 10 Commandments, the very tablets of the covenant, known as the law. Jesus taught in His beatitudes: »Do not think I have arrived to abolish the Law and the Prophets; I have not arrived to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished« (Matthew 5,17-18). „This notion of fulfillment, however, also contains a nuance of discontinuity. For the one who fulfills what was promised inevitably brings a new situation into the world. He stands in line with the Law and the Prophets. Yet he also, once he has accomplished his work of fulfillment, alters the relationship that God’s people will have with that OT revelation“ (Gibbs 267). Jesus is the Fulfillment of the Scriptures, that is, the Law and the Prophets. He fulfilled the Scriptures in His suffering, death and resurrection (Matthew 26,54.56). Christ Himself affirms this when He is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane: »All this has taken place so that the Scriptures of the Prophets might be fulfilled« (Matthew 26,56). „With the death and resurrection of the Lord, then, all things have taken place, and the new heavens and new earth have begun to manifest themselves in Jesus. And with accomplishing of all things in Jesus‘s ministry, which culminates in his death and resurrection, now the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled. The time when God’s Torah Commandments had unchanging significance for Jesus’ disciples has passed. To be sure, even after Jesus’ resurrection there is continuity between Jesus’ teaching and calling to his disciples and God’s teaching and calling to his people Israel in the Torah. Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets; he did not abolish them. Nevertheless, a change has taken place. Now the disciples of Jesus must hold fast to what Jesus has revealed and commended“ (Gibbs 270). Jesus has become the Law and the Prophets; He is the Word of God made flesh. He fulfilled the old testament and instituted the new testament. We see this in Jesus’ baptism where »the Spirit of God descending like a dove and arriving to rest on Him; and behold, a Voice from heaven said: „This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased“« (Matthew 3,16-17). God is also well pleased with us in Christ Jesus.   Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, the Justifier of the unjust; teach us to do Your will, for You are our God, so that Your Good Spirit leads us on level ground to be a rich blessing to our neighbor.  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 28. Revised Edition © 2012 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. 
Gibbs, Jeffrey A. Matthew 21:1 – 28:20. Copyright 2018 Concordia Publishing House.  

Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Matthew 2,1-12. Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord

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

Matthew 2,1-12            0719
Fest der Erscheinung des Herrn (Epiphanias)  013 
The Epiphany of our Lord 
6. Januar 2019 

1. O Well-beloved Lord God, Heavenly Father, who by the leading of a star did manifest Your Only-begotten Son to the nations: Mercifully grant, that we, who know You now by faith, may also be led to behold Your Divine majesty and glory (Löhe 455).  Amen. 
2. »Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying: „Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw His star when it rose and have arrived to worship Him.“ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him: „In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the Prophet: And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you will be a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.“ [Micah 5,2] Then Herod secretly summoned the magi and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying: „Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, so that I too may go and worship him.“ After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it went to rest over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.« 
  3. Saint Matthew tells us that when Jesus was around 2 years old magi arrived in Jerusalem from the East. In the 1. century AD, magi (wise men) were advisors to the kings and rulers of Mesopotamia and Babylon. They were similar to the men and women who make up the president’s staff and advise him on many different issues. The magi were well-versed in several academic studies akin to the Renaissance men who mastered different disciplines in the fields of religion, astronomy and other scholarly pursuits. We find such magi in the Prophet Daniel. During the Babylonian Captivity, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon added the young Jewish men who showed an aptitude in learning arcane knowledge and wisdom to His caste of advisors. Among the young Jewish captives initiated into the Magi Caste were Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Daniel 1,3-7). The Magi who visited Jesus may have received their information about the star from the Prophet Daniel, who had become the Chief of the Magi before the Jews returned from the Babylonian Captivity (Daniel 5,11). In this capacity, Daniel may have passed on to the magi a knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and the prophecies of the Jewish messiah. This new knowledge would then be studied and passed on to succeeding generations of magi. 

 4. Simeon proclaimed when Jesus was 8 days old that this Holy Child is »a Light to lighten the Gentiles, and the Glory of Thy people Israel« (Luke 2,32). The shepherds had been the first in Israel to worship Jesus on the night of His birth. Two years later the Magi were the first Gentiles to worship Jesus. They had told King Herod the Great that they had seen the Child’s star rise in the heavens to herald His birth. Starlight had alerted the magi of the arrival of a Royal Light, for stargazing was one of the vocations performed by the Mesopotamian magi. The heavenly signs told the magi that a majestic prince had been born in Judah who was destined for great things. 
5. The Torah tells us that a star is one of the symbols of the Messiah: »A Star will arrive from Jacob. A Scepter will arise from Israel« (Numbers 24,17). King David wrote this psalm: »The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge« (Psalm 19,1-2). Thus, Jewish tradition preserves a belief that the advent of the Messiah would be connected with some special star or heavenly sign like a comet or a planetary conjunction. This is how the magi and other ancients read the meaning of the star that appeared three times right before Jesus’ birth. Jerusalem is a mere 5.52 miles/8.89 km north of Bethlehem, and that is where the Magi went after this star appeared in the heavens, and they began their trek to Jerusalem, the capital of King Herod the Great, rightly presuming that this new prince was Herod’s son.  
6. Saint Matthew tells us about the importance of the star heralding Jesus’ advent. Furthermore, the Apostle John writes in his Gospel that: »The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome the Light. The True Light, which gives light to everyone, was entering the world. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His Glory, Glory as of the Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth« (John 1,1-5.9.14). The Holy Gospels all affirm that Jesus is the Light of the world. 
7. Starlight heralded the True Light’s arrival in the world. This Light is Jesus. He is the promised Messiah of Israel and the Christ of the Gentiles. His Light shines and gives Life to all lifeon this earth and furthermore gives Eternal Life to all who believe in Him as their Savior. The Serpent had tricked Adam to supplant the True Light with his own human light. This devilish trick plunged Adam and his descendants into darkness with the fellowship between God and man sundered. The Light upon mankind had waned, but not forever, for God had promised that the Light would wax again upon mankind. 
8. The Advent antiphon for 21. December heralds this approaching Divine Light that was waxing upon fallen mankind: 

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis. 

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

Christ is the Morning Star, who, when the night of this world is past, gives to His saints the promise of the light of life, and opens everlasting day (The Venerable Bede). 

O Christ, our Morning Star, Splendor of Light Eternal, shining with the glory of the rainbow, draw near and waken us from the grayness of our apathy, and renew in us Your gift of hope.  Amen. (The Venerable Bede) 

Christ is the morning star who, alleluia
when the night of this world is past, alleluia
brings to his saints the promise of the light of life, alleluia; 
and opens everlasting day, alleluia. 

Christus est stella matutina, Alleluia
Qui nocte saeculi transacta, Alleluia
Lucem vitae sanctis promittit, Alleluia;
Et pandit aeternam, Alleluia. (The Venerable Bede) 
9. The darkness, however, never yields willingly. King Herod reacted to the Magi’s declaration with paranoia. He was Herod the Great for good reason, and he refused to yield his throne to the Greater King that the star heralded. So it is with us, for every human heart revels in its own pride, hubris and enlightenment. My light will shine forth and no other light shall outshine me. Adam’s temptation to be like God is that his light should shine as brightly as God’s. Such is our fallen state we have inherited from Adam. 
10. The words of woe that the Prophet Isaiah spoke to the King of Babylon also humble us: »How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star,, son of the Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground. You have said in your heart: „I will ascend to heaven; I will make myself like the Most High.“ But you are brought down to Sheol« (Isaiah 14,12-15). To us narcissistically enamored with our own light, the True Morning Star has arrived. Jesus dwells in our midst and tells us: »I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star« (Revelation 22,16). »I will destroy this temple and in three days raise it up« (John 2,19). The True Light was covered in darkness for 3 hours, and then Jesus died. For a brief time our human light shined supreme and unchallenged. Until the Morning Star arose from the darkness of death and the grave; then His light shined even more brilliantly and He extinguished our lights, for Jesus has triumphed over all other lights. 
11. Jesus proclaimed: »The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, then your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, then your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, then how great is that darkness« (Matthew 6,22-23). »You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven« (Matthew 5,14-16). Our faith in Jesus makes us sons of the Light (John 12,36), and thus we walk in the light as He is in the light (1. John 1,7). 
12. At Epiphany, the star leads us to Bethlehem and shines down upon the Infant Jesus. The Holy Scriptures enlighten us about the Light He brings to the world, the Light of salvation that only God can bring. And bring it He did, in all His Brilliant Glory, Jesus Christ, our Light who shines now and always driving the darkness of death and grave into the abyss.  Amen. 
13. Let us pray. O Christ, Thou Eternal Light who is praised by the all nations and lauded by all peoples; be the Lamp for our feet and the Light on our path, so that we always remain in Your presence. 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, 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. 

Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand.

Matthew 2,13-18. 1. Sunday after Christmas

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

Matthew 2,13-18(19-23)      0619 
1. Sonntag nach dem Christfest  09 
David, King of Israel, 1050 bc
30. Dezember 2018 

1. O Almighty God, who has given us Your Only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin: Grant that we being regenerate, and made Your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by Your Holy Spirit.  Amen. 
2. »Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: „Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Out of Egypt I called My Son (Hosea 11,1). Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the magi, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the Prophet Jeremiah: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.« (Jeremiah 31,15) 
3. Today’s Gospel pericope recounts the Day of the Holy Innocents that is commemorated on 28. December. The joy of Christmas yields to the harsh realities of our fallen world. It is common for people to become depressed after the Christmas holidays, fall ill or die. Herod the Great was jealous and fearful at the end of his life, which is unfortunate because most of his reign was successful and fair-minded as he balanced the interests of both the Jews and the Romans. He was afraid of being usurped as King of Judea, and the attempt to kill the newborn Jesus stemmed from his fear that Jesus would one day replace him as king. So his decree to kill the newborns in and around Bethlehem is consistent with his paranoia as he also killed 3 of his sons (both Aristobulos IV and Alexander in 7 bc and Antipater II in 4 bc) during the last 4 years of his life. 
4. Herod’s paranoia lead to an attempt to end God’s plan to save mankind. St. John the Apostle hearkens back to this in his apocalypse where he writes: »And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red Dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the Dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her Child he might devour Him. She gave birth to a male Child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her Child was caught up to God and to His throne« (Revelation 12,1-5). 
5. Since Jesus had escaped to Egypt, Herod’s wrath fell upon the young infant boys born at the time when Jesus was born. St. Luke the Evangelist explained this horrible event by writing: »Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the Prophet Jeremiah: A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.« (Jeremiah 31,15). God did not abandon these martyred baby boys. Again St. John: »When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain 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?“ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been« (Revelation 6,9-11). »Then one of the elders addressed me, saying: „Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they arrived?“ I said to him: „Sir, you know.“ And he said to me: „These are the ones arriving from the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will shelter them with His presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes« (Revelation 7,13-17). 
6. The Lord works good from man’s evil intentions. Luke tells us: »This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: Out of Egypt I called My Son« (Hosea 11,1). Jesus’ family fled to Egypt in response to Herod’s wicked and murderous decree; by going to Egypt and then returning to Galilee after Herod has died, the Prophet Hosea is fulfilled. This is one of many Old Testament prophecies that Jesus would fulfill, and in fulfilling them He is proven to be the one, true Messiah went by the Lord. In the Old Testament Israel was brought out of Egypt and led into the promised land of Canaan in fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham that his descendants would dwell in the land of Canaan. In doing so, the Israelites were to be the light to the nations, that is, they were to be a blessing to the nations, meaning that through them and their covenant with the Lord, the Lord would bring salvation not only to his chosen people the Israelites but also to the Gentiles, that is to all the nations of the world. St. Luke tells us that the Infant Jesus fulfills that prophecy. And by fulfilling that prophecy, Jesus is the Glorious Messiah promised to Israel and the Light to the nations. 
7. The 1. Sunday after Christmas further explains why Jesus had been born in Bethlehem.  The world’s Savior has been born and that is a joyous event to be celebrated. This Sunday also reminds us that not everyone is overjoyed at Jesus’ birth and that they might attempt to turn a happy day into a mournful day. But St. Matthew is very clear on this point: God wins the victory for those who suffer on account of His Son’s birth. God remembers those who suffer for the Name of Jesus and He will reward them with heavenly blessings that far outweigh the earthly tribulations they may suffer. The Psalmist assures us that: »For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy arrives in the morning. O Lord, You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, so that my glory may sing Your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!« (Psalm 30,5.11-12). May this be on our hearts, minds and lips as we remember the good times and the bad from 2018 and look ahead to the new year 2019 where Jesus will be with us no matter the circumstance bringing good for us in every situation.   Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Amighty God, the martyred innocents of Bethlehem showed forth Your praise not by speaking but by dying; put to death in us all that is in conflict with Your will, so that our lives may bear witness to the faith in Jesus we profess with our lips. 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 28. Revised Edition © 2012 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. 

Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand. 

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Isaiah 9,1-6. Christvesper

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

Isaiah 9,1-6             0519
Christvesper  05
Adam and Eve
24. Dezember 2018 

1. O Well-beloved Emmanuel, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Highest, and Son of the Virgin, we give thanks unto You that, You have come to us from the Father’s throne into this misery below, taking upon Yourself our flesh and blood, so that we might be made partakers of Your own Divine nature. Now, indeed, has the Heavenly Father shared His loving heart with us; and in You is His wrath appeased. By Your holy birth, we are born again unto heaven, and You have become the veritable gateway of heaven for us; and by You we have access unto the Father, and abundant entrance into Your reign. O then help, Dear Lord, Gracious Emmanuel, so that we may rightly realize the mystery of Your revelation in our flesh (Löhe 448-50). 
2. But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time the Lord brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; You have increased its joy; they rejoice before You as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, You have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
3. When the Prophet Isaiah spoke the words of the Lord, Judah was in dire straights; they were in the midst of a 16-year rule by the wicked King Ahaz. He worshipped false idols and had offerings made to them on the high places, on the hills and under every green tree (2. Kings 16,4). Worse still, he offered up one of his sons to the fire of Moloch (2. Kings 16,3). Child sacrifice was part of Moloch worship: the large bronze statue had the head of a bull, the torso and arms of a man and the base was a furnace: children were thrown into the fire and sacrificed. 
4. Isaiah told Ahaz to repent: »If you do not stand firm in the faith of the Lord, then you shall not stand at all« (Isaiah 7,9). »The Lord will bring on you and on your people such days as have not been seen since the day Israel in the north was taken into captivity by the king of Assyria« (Isaiah 7,17). Isaiah promised a time of gloom and anguish for idolatrous Judah; the Lord judged Judah’s sin 100 years later when He sent the nation into Babylonian Captivity. 
5. Nevertheless, the gospel shone forth. »But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time the Lord brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a Great Light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.« The antiphon for 21. December proclaims: 

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

Jesus is the Morning Star whose Divine Light shines upon us, bathing us in His righteousness, and enlightening us who sat in our sin and the shadow of gloom. „Jesus Christ is the Morning Star and Bright Light in the heavens, who descended to mankind upon this Earth, His radiance is brighter than the sun, more radiant above all the stars, who illumines forever all the tides of time! He is God indeed begotten of God, True Son of the True Father, eternal without beginning in heavens’s glory, His handiwork is sorely needed, and He has entered our midst as the Radiant Sun to enlighten us who for too long were wrapped around with darkness and here in gloom, have sat the lifelong night; shrouded in sin death’s dark shadow we have endured. Now we faithfully trust in the salvation Christ brings to the host of men through His Father’s own Word“ (Cynewulf 104-120). 
6. the Prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Lord’s Messiah would: »break the yoke of our burden and the bar across our shoulders.« We celebrate the birth of this Savior tonight. »For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.« »He shall inaugurate endless peace for He shall establish and uphold this peace with justice and righteousness forever and ever« (Isaiah 9,7). 
7. The very Son of God was incarnate in the virgin Mary, has taken into His Godhood human flesh and was born in the city of David. Christ birth brings peace from God to you for He is born to be your Redeemer from sin and the devil. In Christ, you have peace, joyous peace. Rejoice and be merry, for unto you this day we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Christ Jesus, Born this day our Savior, on this day appears to us which God has sanctified. Help us to see this glorious gospel in Word and Carol which proclaims that today the Great Light descends upon the earth, so that we can rejoice in all things and give thanks to You who is the greatest gift given to us by our Heavenly Father.  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. 

Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand.

Luke 1,39-56. Rorate Caeli

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

Luke 1,39-56     0419 
Rorate Cæli; Shower down, O heavens; 4. Sonntag im Advent  04
Servulus, beggar at Rome 589 
23. Dezember 2018 

1. O Lord Jesus Christ, all Your holy Christendom rejoices this day to celebrate Your holy advent. We, poor, erring lambs, leap for joy that You, O Shepherd and Bishop of our lives, cause Your gracious presence to be realized among us in the blessed virgin Mary. O Lord do not depart from us with Your grace, but let us gratefully realize this gracious day of Your visitation, so that Your advent may always be salutary and full of grace unto us. With all Your pure Word, Your holy Sacraments, Your wisdom, support, favor, blessing and grace, visit us in our churches and our homes. We rejoice that You do not arrive as a Just Judge before whom we tremble, but rather You arrive as the Kind Redeemer with whom we will be co-heirs of the reign of heaven (Löhe 444-46).  Amen. 
2. »In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry: „Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should visit me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting entered my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.“ And Mary said: „My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name. And His mercy is for those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent empty away. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.“ And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.«  
3. It is the 4. Sunday in Advent, and the arrival of the Christ is now imminent. Today is the eve of Christmas Eve, and the heavens shower down the Glory of the Lord. Our Gospel pericope recounts when the Son of God was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary. Thus the Church believes, teaches and confesses that Mary is the θεοτοκος, the bearer of God. 
4. The Prophet Isaiah speaks of this 700 years earlier when he told King Ahaz in 735 bc: »The Lord Himself will give you a sign of His deliverance. Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and He will be named Immanuel, God is with us (Isaiah 7,14). Mary’s response to this prophetic fulfillment in her womb was to immediately go to her cousin Elizabeth so she could greet her who was pregnant with the Christ’s forerunner who would prepare His way. The very moment Mary’s voice is heard, John leaps for joy in his mother’s womb and Elizabeth blesses Mary and her Child. Luke tells us that the Prophets (particularly Isaiah 7,14 and Malachi 3,1; 4,5-6) have been fulfilled with the conception of John and Jesus.  
5. Mary’s Child would fulfill the promise given in Genesis 3,15: He would strike the head of the Serpent who had caused Adam and Eve to disobey God and thus fall into sin. In striking the Serpent’s head, Jesus defeats him and conquers sin, death and hades. Jesus is the Blessing for all nations, first to the Jews and also to the Gentiles. Jesus is the Son of God (Luke 1,35), the Son of Man (Luke 5,24), Immanuel (Matthew 1,23), Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9,6), the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5,5), the Α and the Ω, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22,13). Jesus was sent to save the world from its sin. 
6. The Apostle Paul told the Roman Christians: »The Jews are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the Law, the worship and the promises, the Patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever« (Romans 9,4-5). Jesus is the Jewish Messiah promised to the Patriarchs. His lineage stretches back through David, Jesse, Judah, Jacob (Israel), Isaac and Abraham. Paul also says that Jesus is the Gentile Christ. The Prophet Isaiah even foretold this: »The Root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples – of Him shall the nations inquire, and His resting place shall be glorious« (Isaiah 11,10). 
7. 23. December also concludes the final of 7 Advent antiphons expecting the arrival of the Christ. Today’s antiphon is: 

O Immanuel, our King, Law-giver and Lord, the Longing of the nations and their | Savior: *
Draw near and save us, O | Lord our God. 

Mary sang about this saving God to Elizabeth: »The Lord who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.« Mary’s Lord is our Lord; He has done great things for us. Tomorrow we will celebrate His birth into this fallen, depraved world of sinners and rejoice in God the Father’s great salvation gift to us.  Amen. 
8. Let us pray. O Holy Spirit, who creates a pleasing theme to overflow within our hearts; give us the joy in Christ, so that we may be comforted in our salvation and respond with verses of praise sung to His Holy Name.  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 28. Revised Edition © 2012 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. 
Löhe, Wilhelm. Seed-Grains of Prayer: A Manual for Evangelical Christians. Wartburg Publishing House, Chicago circa 1912. Concordia Publishing House; Concordia on Demand.