Saturday, May 7, 2011

Daily Readings May 29-June 4, 2011

Daily Lectionary

May 29 Numbers 3:1-16, 39-48; Luke 14:25-15:10
May 30 Numbers 8:5-26; Luke 15:11-32
May 31 Numbers 9:1-23; Luke 16:1-18
June 1 Numbers 10:11-36; Luke 16:19-31
Ascension Day Numbers 11:1-23, 31-35; Luke 17:1-19
June 3 Numbers 11:24-29; 12:1-16; Luke 17:20-37
June 4 Looking Ahead to Sunday 2 Kings 2:5–15; Acts 1:1–11; Mark 16:14–20

2 Kings 2:5–15; Acts 1:1–11; Mark 16:14–20

Jesus Is Ascended, but Not Absent
On the fortieth day after His resurrection, our Lord ascended to the right hand of the Father. But although Jesus is hidden from your eyes, He is not absent from you. For He now fills all things in heaven and on earth. He continues “to do and to teach” (Acts 1:1), preaching repentance and forgiveness of sins through those sent in His name (Mark 16:14–20; Luke 24:44–53), giving you His true body and blood in the Supper. Jesus is your great Elijah who pours out on you a double portion of His Spirit in the Word and the Sacraments (2 Kings 2:5–15). He is Lord over all things for the sake of the Church. He whom heaven cannot contain has raised your human nature to share fully in the glory of God. You who believe and are baptized into Christ’s body are already sitting in the heavenly places; for you are in Him who is at the Father’s right hand. When He comes again in the clouds on the Last Day, you also will appear with Him in glory.

Daily Readings May 22-28, 2011

Daily Lectionary

May 22 Leviticus 20:1-16, 22-27; Luke 11:37-54
May 23 Leviticus 21:1-24; Luke 12:1-12
May 24 Leviticus 23:1-22; Luke 12:13-34
May 25 Leviticus 23:23-44; Luke 12:35-53
May 26 Leviticus 24:1-23; Luke 12:54-13:17; Leviticus 25:1-55
May 27 Leviticus 26:1-20; Luke 13:18-35
May 28 Looking Ahead to Sunday Numbers 21:4–9; James 1:22–27; John 16:23–33

Numbers 21:4–9; James 1:22–27; John 16:23–30 (31–33)

The Father Answers Our Prayers Because of Jesus
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you” (John 16:23). To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray as one who has been baptized. For it is in the water that He put His name upon you, claiming you as His own, making you a son of God with access to the Father. By His incarnation and crucifixion, our Lord Jesus broke through the barrier of sin which separated us from God, opening a portal to the Father. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray with faith in Him as the one Mediator between God and men, who gave Himself a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:1–6). Like Moses in the wilderness, Jesus is our go-between and intercessor before the throne of heaven. He was lifted up for us on the cross that we might be saved and restored to fellowship with the Father (Numbers 21:4–9). Looking into this perfect teaching of liberty (James 1:22–27) we pray with boldness and confidence as dear children of God.

Daily Readings May 15-21, 2011

Daily Lectionary

May 15 Leviticus 8:1-13, 30-36; Luke 9:1-17
May 16 Leviticus 9:1-24; Luke 9:18-36
May 17 Leviticus 10:1-20; Luke 9:37-62; Leviticus 11:1-15:33
May 18 Leviticus 16:1-24; Luke 10:1-22
May 19 Leviticus 17:1-16; Luke 10:23-42
May 20 Leviticus 18:1-7, 20-19:8; Luke 11:1-13
May 21 Leviticus 19:9-18, 26-37; Luke 11:14-36

Isaiah 12:1–6
James 1:16–21
John 16:5–15
Jesus Promises to Send His Holy Spirit, the Helper
Though Jesus has departed from us visibly to the right hand of the Father who sent Him, yet this is to our advantage. For Jesus—who is Lord over all creation, who intercedes for us before the Father, who is preparing a place for us in heaven—has sent the Helper, the Spirit of Truth (John 16:5–15). “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” through Jesus Christ (James 1:17). The Holy Spirit helps us by taking what is Christ’s and declaring it to us. In the Word of truth, the Spirit works repentance and delivers to us the forgiveness of sins, the righteousness of Christ, and victory over the devil. For the ruler of this world is judged and defeated by the cross. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we have been brought forth to new life in Him who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Confident of our resurrection with Christ we confess, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid” (Isaiah 12:2).

Sermon for 3rd week of Easter May 8, 2011

Misericordia Domini
3rd Sunday of Easter
John 10:11-16
May 7–8, 2011

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Our time of rest, our lying down in green pastures beside still waters, though paid for and assured, has not yet come. We are still in the wilderness. We are still drinking from the Rock and being sustained by Manna. What is it? It is the Word of God in all its forms, the Word made Flesh, conceived in the Virgin´s womb who speaks through the prophets and apostles and His ministers, who stirs the water of the fonts all around the globe and heals sick souls, who gives Himself for food hidden in bread and wine, who hears the cries of His children and responds in compassion and in mercy.

But though we eat like kings, upon that for which we did not labor, quail and bread and pure water, still we have not yet arrived. We do not live in palaces but in temporary dwellings. Our rest has not yet come. And in our weariness, our baser desires seem essential. Our flesh deceives us. It remembers what it wants. It imagines all the fun of sin, though fun it never really is. Its vain thoughts of wealth, prestige, luxury, drunkenness, prostitutes, honor among men are but the equivalent of longing for Egyptian cucumbers back in the days of slavery.

Herein lies the totality of our problem: covetousness, which is really just idolatry, which is really just unbelief. We act as though God is holding out on us. We think we could be happier, more satisfied. We try to steal what God would give. We don´t want to be who God has called us to be. We despise our children when they need us. We like to play catch. We like to see them do cute things. We like their affection. We want to be the occasional uncle who drops by for rough housing and ice cream. We don´t want to be real parents. We don´t want to change diapers or discipline. We don´t want to do the real work, fulfill the actual office of mother or father. We just want to have fun.

When it comes to our spouses we are even worse. Self-sacrifice and service are the last things on our minds. We want to be served. We want her to clean the house, do the dishes, fix the meals, give the kids a bath, and run the errands. And we want credit for it. We keep score, hold grudges, and manipulate. Far be it from us to take the blame for her sins, to bear her burdens in our bodies, to wash her clothes after she betrays us to sleep with the devil - even thought that is what has been done for us. And thus the ancient problems of man: teen-age pregnancy, divorce, depression, unrest, war.

Repent. Give up the fantasy. The devil is lying to you. He never delivers. There is no easy way, no paradise on earth, no family is without trouble and hardship. They are not the cause of your uneasiness or difficulty. They are the solution. They are God´s gifts to and for you. Do not seek to escape through alcohol, pornography, violence, or even in extreme busy-ness or television. Those things only causes pain, division, and sorrow. Repent. Turn away from them. Embrace what God has given you to do in the place where He has put you. Rejoice and pray for your spouse and children, your job and co-workers, your country, and even your Church. Give yourself over to those things. Read your kids a book. Clean the living room. Mow the lawn. Do your job. Say a prayer while washing the dishes. That is how God rightly praised and believed - in service to the neighbor.

Now this day in the Church´s year of grace is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The symbol for it might well be a shepherd bearing a lamb on his shoulders. But for this day, I´d prefer for a symbol a crucifix. A crucifix is the symbol of Our Lord´s laying down His life. It is through that sacrifice that He shepherds us into the gates of heaven and the wolf that seeks us is defeated. For it is not scratching behind our ears and whispering sweet nothings that has made this Man born of Mary, begotten of the Father from all eternity, our Shepherd. His death and resurrection have done that! That is who He is and how He is know. The Good Shepherd is good not because He is cuddly, not because He is kind, but because He dies and rises again. He is the Christ, the long-expected Messiah, who redeems the world through His own bloody sacrifice. His Father loves Him because of this, because He has loved us to the end, laid down His life and taken it up again. He has forgiven us, restored us, called us to be new creatures in word and deed, in body and soul. And what He calls you to be, you are, whether the world recognizes it or not.

You are father, mother, citizen, and friend. He has placed into this world for the good of this world, to serve your neighbor, to bear witness to His goodness, to proclaim His death until He comes again. You are a Christian - baptized! God has called you out of darkness. He has placed His Name upon you. The perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are yours. In Him, you are perfect and you are free. For He makes it so. And there is no one to judge you, to accuse you, to point out your flaws. For they have been removed and forgotten on high.

Now you are free. You can´t make a bad choice. God will bless whatever you do because He loves you, He has died for you, He has purified you. You are His. To keep you safe from the wolf He gives you His Word in all its forms: in the Bible, in preaching, in bread and wine, in the Holy Absolution, in spouse, children, and the like. He gives you friends, brothers and sisters, those who love and care for you. He does not leave you or forsake you. He remembers you. He prays for you. He sanctifies you. He has laid down His life for you and taken it up again to give you peace and joy in your suffering, to give you freedom in your bondage to this flesh. Soon the day comes when He will complete what He has begun. You will be perfect inside and out, in the sight of both God and men. The victory already won will finally be delivered in full and every tongue confesses what all creation knows, Jesus is Lord. Then comes the rest that remains for you.

In + Jesus´ Name. Amen.

Daily Readings for May 8-14, 2011

Daily Lectionary

May 8 Exodus 32:15-35; Luke 6:39-49
May 9 Exodus 33:1-23; Luke 7:1-17
May 10 Exodus 34:1-28; Luke 7:18-35
May 11 Exodus 34:29-38:20; Luke 7:36-50
May 12 Exodus 38:21-39:8, 22-23, 27-31; Luke 8:1-21
May 13 Exodus 39:32-40:16; Luke 8:22-39
May 14 Isaiah 40:25–31; 1 Peter 2:11–20; John 16:16–22

Those Who Wait on the Lord Shall Rejoice
The people of God are pilgrims and sojourners in this world, looking ahead to a destination yet to come (1 Peter 2:11–20). Though we are now children of God, the fullness of what we shall be has not yet been revealed (1 John 3:1–3). We are those who wait on the Lord. “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lam 3:25). Jesus tells us that the wait is just a little while. “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me” (John 16:16). Though you must experience sorrow for a time, though you must live as strangers in a world that is at enmity with Christ, yet your sorrow will be turned to joy when He returns. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31). The little while of weeping shall be replaced with an eternity of rejoicing in the presence of Christ the crucified and risen Savior. “And no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22).

Old Testament: Isaiah 40:25–31 [On Eagle’s Wings]
Epistle: 1 Peter 2:11–20 [Living As Free Men]
Holy Gospel: John 16:16–22 [Grief Into Joy]