Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Daily Readings for February 19-25, 2012

Daily Lectionary February 19-25, 2012
February 19                                 The Stilling of the Storm—Mark 4:35-41
                                                                                 1 Corinthians 12:12-31
February 20 Jesus Teaches Us to Pray in the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 6:5-15
                                                                                   1 Corinthians 14:1-40
February 21                               Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer—John 17:1-26
                                                                           1 Corinthians 15:58–16:24
February 22                                                                ASH WEDNESDAY
                                 Joel 2:12–19, 2 Peter 1:2–11, Matthew 6:(1–6) 16–21
February 23 Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane—Matthew 26:36-45
                                                                                   2 Corinthians 2:1–3:3
February 24                                                           2 Corinthians 6:11–7:16
February 25                                                                       Lent 1 Invocabit
                              Genesis 3:1–21, 2 Corinthians 6:1–10, Matthew 4:1–11

Ash Wednesday and the Beginning of Lent—February 22
The beginning of Lent is Next Wednesday. Ash Wednesday will be a very unique and special service, including the Imposition of Ashes, the Lenten Litany, corporate confession and individual absolutions. From ancient times the season of Lent has been kept as a time of special devotion, self-denial, and humble repentance born of a faithful heart that dwells confidently on His Word and draws from it life and hope. Let us pray that our dear Father in heaven, for the sake of His beloved Son and in the power of His Holy Spirit, might richly bless this Lententide for us that we may come to Easter with glad hearts and keep the feast in sincerity and truth. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday Divine Services at 7:00 p.m. We will have a soup and sandwich luncheon before each of the midweek services. Watch for more details to come.

Look forward to First Sunday in Lent (Invocabit)
Genesis 3:1–21, 2 Corinthians 6:1–10, Matthew 4:1–11
Jesus Does Battle in Our Place
In the Garden, man exalts himself to be a god in place of God (Genesis 3:121). He succumbs to the temptation of the devil, and eating of the forbidden fruit, he receives death. But in the sin-cursed wilderness, God humbles Himself to become man in place of man (Matthew 4:111). He does not eat but fasts and bears the onslaughts of the devil for us that we may be restored to life. Jesus stands as David in our place to do battle against the Goliath, Satan (1 Samuel 17:4051). Though outwardly Jesus appears weak, yet He comes in the name of the Lord of hosts. He draws from the five smooth stones of the books of Moses and slings the Word of God. The stone sinks into the forehead, and the enemy falls. In Christ we are victorious over the devil. Let us therefore not receive the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:110), but seeing that we have a great High Priest, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain help in time of need (Hebrews 4:1416).

Saturday   February 18                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service
Sunday     February 19                 9:00 am       Bible Class / Sunday School
                                                   10:00 am                            Divine Service
Monday    February 20                 6:30 pm                           Parish Planning
Wednesday February 22                5:00 pm                              Confirmation
                                                     7:00 pm             Ash Wednesday Service
                                                     7:30 pm                                              AA
Friday       February 24                                                  Pastor’s Family Day
Saturday   February 25                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service

SUNDAY’S DIVINE SERVICE— JESUS SETS HIS FACE TOWARD JERUSALEM AND HIS PASSION   Jesus spoke clearly about His passion, death, and resurrection, yet "these things were hidden" from the disciples, so that they did not understand His words. It was necessary that the Son of Man suffer and die alone, for salvation from sin, death, and hell is entirely the work of our Lord. It must be received by us as a gift alone or it cannot be received at all. For their benefit the disciples were prevented from knowing these words, lest anyone of them boast in his superior knowledge or understanding. The mysteries of the faith are revealed to the blind by the Spirit of God, and so, Jesus has mercy upon blind Bartemaeus opening his eyes, in token that the mysteries of salvation are revealed to us so that we might believe in the Lord and give all praise and glory to God.

Lent 2012

February 22 - Ash Wednesday – Pastor GeRue
                     Psalm 6      “Save Me Because of Your Unfailing Love”
                     Catechism: What does such baptizing with water indicate?
Midweek February 29 – Pastor Stuenkel - Sherman
                    Psalm 38    “Make Haste to Help Me”
                   Catechism: What do you believe according to these words?
Midweek March 7 – Vicar Peters - Sherman
                  Psalm 51    “Against You and For Me”
                  Catechism: What is confession?
Midweek March 14 – Pastor Strong - Farmersville
                  Psalm 102  “But You, O Lord, Are Enthroned Forever”
                  Catechism: What sins should we confess?
Midweek March 21 – Pastor GeRue
                  Psalm 32    “Hiding from God or Hiding in God?”
                  Catechism: What is the Office of the Keys? Where is this written?
Midweek March 28 – Pastor GeRue
                 Psalm 143  “Teach Me to Do Your Will, For You Are My God”
                 Catechism: Which [sins] are these?
Holy Thursday – April 5 – Pastor GeRue
                Psalm 116  “Delivered”
                Catechism: What is the benefit of this eating and drinking?
Good Friday – April 6 – Pastor GeRue
                Psalm 130  “Divine Forgetfulness”
Easter Vigil – April 7 – Pastor GeRue
                Psalm 118; Exodus 14       “Destroying the Enemy”
Easter – April 8 – Pastor GeRue
                Psalm 16; Mark 16:1–8      “The Path of Life”
                Catechism: Explanation of the Second Article (second part)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sermon for February 18-19, 2012

50 Days Till Easter
Luke 18:31-43
February 18 – 19, 2012

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

Our Lord set His Face toward Jerusalem for all the things the prophets wrote: the delivery to the Gentiles, the mocking, the insulting, the spitting, the scourging, the killing, and finally, the rising. But that is not all the prophets wrote. They also wrote: “Strengthen the weak hands and make strong the feeble knees.” He set Himself to suffer violence in order to remove fear and bestow salvation.

But the disciples did not understand. It was hidden from them. They saw a glimpse of His power in the miracles. They felt the depth of His wisdom in His teaching. They recognized that He was the prophet greater than Moses, that John was His Elijah, that He was the Son of the Living God.  But the real point of His compassion, of His mercy, what it would cost Him, was mostly lost on them.

That is because they were not yet ready to beg, not yet ready for the mocking, insulting, spitting, scourging, and killing. They didn't want to face what their sins would do to Him. They read the prophets like a book of quotes, skimming about for the good bits.

But where they were blind: the blind man saw. He was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. But he cried out for mercy from the Son of David.

We might have thought he would ask for justice, for something to make up for his sorrows and the hardships of his life, that he would appeal to the inequities and indignities that he had suffered by an accident of birth. We expect him to say: “This is not fair. Make me whole.”

And if he was afraid, if he was uncertain as to whether the mercy of Jesus could help him or not, we'd expect him to follow the warning of the seeing. Don't they better understand what is happening than he does? And isn't he dependent upon them? Does he risk annoying them?

But where they blind, were he saw. He would not be silent. But neither would he complain. He did not say, “This is not fair.”  He made no appeal to his own virtue or difficulties. Instead, he cried for mercy.

Again, they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was coming. But he called Jesus by the Messianic title: Son of David. He knew what he was doing. He knew who Jesus was. He brought the full weight of the prophets to bear. He did not approach the Lord as one who had been cheated or who was a victim, who was wronged by fate or by men. He cried out as a criminal and a beggar, as a man desperate for the prophecies to be fulfilled, for God to keep His Word. He cried out for mercy that he did not deserve.

How could Our Lord refuse? He was on His way to Jerusalem for the sake of mercy, to save sinners, to rescue criminals. His mercy endures forever.

He set His face toward Jerusalem to re-create and re-order creation, to endure the most unjust judgment the world has ever known, the greatest affliction in body and soul, the most heartbreaking of betrayals and self-serving weakness from his friends. And along the way His face was turned to this blind man, to a need for mercy.

It is for this that the Lord would be mocked and spat upon, derided by all, even forsaken by His Father. Who is blind and He is not blind? Who is hurt, betrayed, afraid, or in any way afflicted and He is unmoved? He keeps track of the sparrows. He counts your hairs. He knows your sorrows, feels your pain. He has compassion. Because His mercy, which drove Him to the cross like a lamb to the slaughter, endures forever.

And everyone who asks the Lord for mercy finds mercy. The blind man received mercy: His eyes were opened.

Then he was full of joy. He had mercy, forgiveness, grace. He followed Jesus to Jerusalem. He glorified God for the delivery to the Gentiles. He glorified God for the mocking, insulting, spitting, scourging, and killing.  And he glorified God for the rising. The Word of the prophets was fulfilled in Jesus. Mercy came to earth. God in the Flesh made good on His promise by giving His life as a ransom to save fallen men.

We set our faces to Jerusalem today. We are fifty days from Easter. Three days from ashes. We brace ourselves for the fast, eager for the feast. Skull Hill and the burial plot of Joseph of Arimathea are not our true goal and destination. They are the means. Our real goal is the new Jerusalem, where all suffering, all blindness of eyes and minds, comes to an end.

So let us learn from the blind man to hold Jesus to His Word.  Let us not be too proud to beg.  Stop the excuses.  Stop the pretend piety and insincere attempts at reform.  Make this Lent a holy preparation, a cleansing and renewing of body, mind, and soul. Come not as a victim, as one entitled, as one who has been wronged. But come as a criminal, undeserving. Admit. Confess. Tell the Truth.

Ask not for justice or vengeance. Ask not that things to be set right, that life be fair. Ask - nay -- beg! -  for mercy. Because everyone who asks Our Lord for mercy finds mercy.

Embrace the sufferings and sorrows of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Do not be ashamed of the prophets or of the holy cross. It gave way to His resurrection.  It delivers your justification. Praise God for the mercy of Jesus Christ. Adore the Blood that He has shed. Glorify Him for the Life He gave. He has compassion, mercy, on us poor sinners. He has compassion on you.

This is the Love that abides.  It suffers long and is kind. It does not envy or parade itself.  It is not puffed up, and does not behave rudely or seek its own. This Love is not provoked. It thinks no evil, and does not rejoice in iniquity. It rejoices in the Truth. This is not how we love one another, it is how God loves us in Jesus Christ. Jesus bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never fails.

Easter is coming.

In X Jesus' Name. Amen.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Funeral for Joan Shipp

Kept in Christ
Funeral Sermon for Joan E. Shipp
December 29, 1927 – February 11, 2012

Family and friends of Joan, grace to you and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from Psalm 121 verse 8, The Lord will keep, your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Joan E. (VonBehren) Shipp was born December 29, 1927 in Detroit, MI a daughter of Harry and Frances C. (Buehler) VonBehren. She married Orville T. Shipp, March 10, 1946 at Zion Lutheran Church Chestnut, IL. Joan was a homemaker and also worked at Dickey-john Corp starting at the Chatham facility for three years then moving to the present facility in Auburn, IL, until she retired in 1985 with many fond memories. Joan was a member of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Girard, IL where she was a Sunday School teacher for many years and later in life her and her husband did volunteer work making up Braille books for the blind at Zion Lutheran Church in Carlinville, IL. Joan loved her red geraniums that she planted every spring.

Joan was preceded in death by her husband Orville T. Shipp on 1/6/2011, her parents, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. She is survived by her two daughters, Susan K. (Keith) Coe of Virden, IL, Linda Williams of Springfield, IL, two sons, Michael D. (Linda) Shipp of Virden, IL and Richard A. (Wanda) Shipp of Jacksonville, IL, 14 grandchildren, 26 great grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren, her twin sister, Rosemary (George) Jones of Oreana, IL and her brother, Leland "Bud" (Shirley) VonBehren of Alton, IL.

It is nearly impossible to evaluate the life of someone eighty four years old, who was married at eighteen, and lived to see sixty five years of married life. They raised four children.

How would one describe Joan? I suppose there are lots of words we could use. Words like loving or dedicated. Cheerful or faithful. I think I would use the word motherly. I’m sure each of you have your own descriptions.

It is also important to recognize that her life was not all roses and knitting. Their early years where filled with hard work and not much pay. She could get discouraged and frustrated, even angry sometimes. Joan was certainly a sinner, as are we all.

So what made things make sense for her? How did she survive the good times and bad, the lifetime of experiences that make up her story? The answer lies in her Baptism. She was baptized into Christ. When that happened, everything changed for Joan. She was adopted into another family, a family far more wondrous than anything here on earth.

We hear in Psalm 121 about a journey. Originally the Psalm was a traveling song. It was a song that the children of Israel would sing when they were to begin a journey. The song tells the story of how the first thing the Israelites would do is lift up their eyes and see that the beginning and end of the journey was in God.

God is the one who would not leave her alone on these many travels. He does not sleep. He is her keeper. He is the one who kept her safe in so many trials and tribulations. Every step of her life, God was there. Beginning, middle and end.

I was blessed to visit Joan many times before her illness got so severe. So I know that God was still with her, blessing her, giving Joan His own Son’s body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. Every time she heard the Gospel lesson she would respond, ‘Oh – that is beautiful.’ When either I or my daughters would sing a hymn she would say, ‘One more, please, One more.’ I can hear her saying it even now. The Gospel is beautiful.

And dear friends,  Joan is now reunited with our Lord, and with Orville, with her parents, her two grandchildren, and a great-grandchild who have gone before us and died in the faith. She heard the voice of Her Savior again Saturday morning as He said to her, “Come, dear sister and daughter, come and rise up.”
We too will rise again and see our Lord and all these loved ones. Perhaps Job put it best so long ago when he wrote,

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! Job 19:25–27

The day is coming, beloved, when Christ will come again. Until that time, we weep at losing Joan. She has been our friend and mother and grandmother for many years. But we weep with hope. Because Christ is risen from the dead, Joan and all who have gone before us in faith will rise as well. It is okay. Jesus Himself wept at the death of His friend, Lazarus. But weep with hope. Your weeping will come to an end. This world will be left behind. There will be joy and rest that only He can give us.

So rest well, Joan. Rest until we are reunited again in heaven. Rest well, until we rise again with you.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.