Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Daily Readings for November 13 - November 19, 2011

 The healing of the Nobleman's Son is a sign that teaches us that the
Word of Christ gives what it says: forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.
Christ's Word carries Christ's saving presence. The Nobleman "believed the
word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way." The man then learned that
his son was healed at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, "Your son
lives." Christian faith does not live from human experience, emotions, or the
will of the flesh. Christian faith lives solely from the Word of God. The Word of
God creates faith. By the Word of God we know the truth of who we are before
God and who we are before Him. The Word of Christ is the sole content of
saving faith.

LAST DAY OF THE CHURCH YEAR (Sunday of the Fulfillment)
Isaiah 65:17-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11, Matthew 25:1-13
By Faith We Are Prepared for Christ’s Return
“The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thesselonians 5:1–11). The arrival of the bridegroom will be sudden and unexpected. Therefore you are to be watchful and ready like the five wise virgins. “For you know neither the day nor the hour” when the Son of Man is to return. (Matthew 25:1–13). The lamps are the Word of Christ. The oil in the lamps is the Holy Spirit, who works through the Word to create and sustain the flame of faith in Christ. The foolish are those who do not give proper attention to the working of the Holy Spirit in baptism, preaching, and the supper, and so their faith does not endure. The wise, however, are those who diligently attend to these gifts of the Spirit, and who therefore have an abundance of oil. The flame of faith endures to the end. By God’s grace they are received into the eternal wedding feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth created by the Lord for the joy of His people (Isaiah 65:17–25).

Daily Lectionary For November 13–19, 2011
November 13   Ezekiel 27:1-28:26, Hebrews  11:17-31, Psalms 111:1-10
November 14 Ezekiel 29:1-30:26, Hebrews  11:32-12:13, Psalms 112:1-10
November 15 Ezekiel 31:1-32:32, Hebrews  12:14-29, Psalms 113:1-114:8
November 16     Ezekiel 33:1-34:31, Hebrews  13:1-25, Psalms 115:1-18
November 17            Ezekiel 35:1-36:38, James 1:1-18, Psalms 116:1-19
November 18         Ezekiel 37:1-38:23, James 1:19-2:17, Psalms 117:1-2
November 19                                         Last Sunday of The Church Year
                      Isaiah 65:17-25, 1 Thessalonians 5:1–11, Matthew 25:1-13

Please Pray For: Annaleise McKain, Juanita Rankin, George Van Huss, Joan Shipp, Crystal Ray, Ruth Hedrick, Walt Hedrick, Erna Van Winkle, Mary Kay Schmidt, Talon Fickas, John Haynes, Margaret Branham, Mary Ehrat, Art Ehrat, Katie Ketchum, Colin Starks, George Shepherd, Donna Smith, and Bill Hoff.
Military: Please keep in your prayers all Military persons, especially Brittany Worth who will soon deploy to Afghanistan.
Hospitalizations: Please notify Pastor GeRue about any sickness or hospitalizations.

Saturday    November 12                        5:30 pm                      Worship Service
Sunday      November 13                         9:00 am                             Bible Class
                                                           10:00 am                      Worship Service
Monday     November 14                        6:30 pm                       Parish Planning
Tuesday     November 15                         9:00 am                                  NMMA
Wednesday  November 16            12:00 noon       Chamber / Senior Lunch
                                                           5:00 pm               Confirmation Class
                                                           7:30 pm                                        AA
Thursday    November 17                         9:00 am                        LuHigh Chapel
Friday        November 18                                                    Pastor’s Family Day
Saturday    November 19                       5:30 pm                      Worship Service
Sunday      November 20                       11:00 am                                    Voters

Sermon for November 12-13, 2011, 21st Sunday After Trinity

November 12-13, 2011
Trinity 21
John 4:46-54

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

“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will by no means believe.” Why should we? Why should we believe and risk playing the fool without signs and wonders? What good is faith if it does not deliver? If it does not cause mountains to jump into the sea should it not at least make the chicken pocks go away? Where are the flames that lit upon the apostles’ heads? Where is Gideon’s fleece dry when the ground is wet? Where is the towering column of fire and of smoke? Why were these signs and wonders given to them while we are rebuked? Why must our sons die in Capernaum instead of drinking wine in Cana?Publish Post

The nobleman had left his dying boy to bring home a miracle worker. That took some faith, some latent hope, some burning ember of belief that Jesus could help. But the miracle worker who turned water into wine would not go with him. He would not leave Cana. The nobleman’s authority was not enough to command Him and only earned him a rebuke. It must have seemed as though the faith and hope, the desperate prayers from Capernaum to Cana, had all been in vain.

Jesus would have surely failed the seminary. In the face of such desperation He dares to preach the Law. He sees that faith is still lacking, still imperfect, and He will not pretend that it is good enough, that He is impressed. He will not be winsome or polite. He will not be patient or seemingly even kind. He will not meet felt needs. He sees into the man’s heart by the man’s words. He rebukes. He brings faith to its knees. He makes the father come to full desperation and forget his nobility. Then He commands: “Go your way” and all he adds is “Your son lives.” But what does that mean to a father full of fear? Does it mean that his son lives in heaven? Does it mean he lives right now but will die within the hour? Or does it mean, does he dare to hope, that the fever has left him? The nobleman is not told. Nothing is explained. No promise is made. It is not “Your son will live.” It is a simple declaration in the present tense: “Your son lives.” That is it. Nothing more. Take that and go on your way.

Miracle of miracles: that mysterious sentence changed the nobleman. He had tried to command Jesus. He did not ask. He commanded: “Come down before my child dies.” But Jesus said: “Your son lives” and everything changed. It was not the nobleman who believed. It was the man, the father of the son. His nobility was stripped away. John had called him a Basilikos, that is royalty, or a nobleman. But after Jesus says: “Your son lives” it is not the Basilikos, the nobleman, who be levied. It was the anthropos, the man, who believed. The Word of Jesus changed him. He went on his way. He obeyed and believed as a simple man, stripped of pretensions, no longer glorying in his faith, no longer making demands of God, but resting in the Word of Jesus. He still doesn’t know just what it means, but Jesus said it and that is good enough. This is how faith lives between Cana and Capernaum without signs or wonders.

He was not the first parent to get a son back from the dead. The widows in Nain and Zarephath had experienced this miracle as well. The Syro-Phonecian woman got her daughter back from demons. Abraham, too, got Isaac back from the mountain and Issac got Joseph back from brotherly murder. God provides. He always does. But most significantly Our Father in heaven got His Son back from the dead. When it was finished He gave up His spirit and went the heaven. That Son didn’t have to die. He didn’t have to be forsaken by the Father and feel the hatred of the mob burning in His hands and feet. He didn’t have to - except that His love demanded it. He Himself said that it was necessary. Love drove Him to the cross. It was necessary. Love desired to drive off the fever in Capernaum and change water into wine in Cana. Love demanded death to put death to rest, so that Jesus could stand in the upper room and pronounce peace upon the Church and establish the Ministry of reconciliation. The Father lost the Son on the cross. He turned Him over to the devil and set Him to endure the tortures of Hell. And there was no where for Him to turn, no ram caught in the thicket, no miracle worker to seek, no prayer left to be said. He was alone. When it was finished He committed His Body to rest in the grave for three days, but not His soul. His soul did not delay. He went straight to the Father. He went to heaven and told Our Father what He told the nobleman: Your Son lives. The Sacrifice is complete. The Father’s wrath has been appeased. Hell has lost its claim. God’s good will has been restored.

Jesus lives. Go on your way this dying, autumn day. Take this with you: Your Son lives. Not the one that has come from your loins, not the one who calls you “Dad” or “Mom.” A different Son, a Son more fully yours than those temporarily placed into your care. Your Son lives - even if you are yet a child or never had a child. For this Son is your Son but you are not His father or mother. He is the Son given to you in the waters of Holy Baptism. He is placed upon your tongue in the Holy Communion. You are His and He is yours. He is your Son even as His Father and His Spirit are your Father and your Spirit. He has caused Himself to become your Lamb, slain for your transgressions and raised for your justification. You’ve come this day to modern day Cana, not where water is turned into wine, but where wine carries the Blood of Christ and makes glad the hearts of men like the hearts of men have never been. You’ve got your miracle and sign. It is the Body and Blood Jesus. Be thus strengthened and encouraged and then go on your way. Go back to Capernaum and the workaday world. Your Son lives. So will your children. So will you. Jesus lives. This is enough for faith. It will see you through.

In + Jesus’ Name. Amen.