Thursday, August 16, 2012

Daily Readings for August 19-25, 2012

Sunday’s Divine Service—God Be Merciful To Me, A Sinner
“The Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain
and his offering” (Genesis 4:1–15). For unlike Abel, Cain’s offering did not
proceed from a heart that revered and trusted in the Lord. Thus, the lowly tax collector who prayed, “God be merciful to me, sinner!” was the one who went down to his house justified before God, not the respectable, outwardly righteous Pharisee who trusted in himself and his own good living (Luke 18:9–14). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:1–10). The one who penitently despairs of his own righteousness and relies completely on the atoning mercy of God in Christ is the one who is declared righteous. For Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1–10). Therefore, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (LSB hymnal notes)

Copies of Sermons are on the back table for your reference and study.
Please Pray For: Emily Rodenbeck, Phyllis McElroy, Ada Dambacher Dorothy Robison, George Van Huss, Crystal Ray, Ruth Hedrick, Walt Hedrick, Erna Van Winkle, Mary Kay Schmidt, Kathy Schmidt, John Haynes, Bill Uchtman, Colin Starks, George Shepherd, and Donna Smith.
Military: Please keep in your prayers all Military persons, especially Brittany Worth who is deployed to Afghanistan.
Hospitalizations: Please notify Pastor GeRue about any sickness or hospitalizations.

LUTHERAN HOUR August 19  “Hard to Believe, But True!” Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Gregory Seltz
Jesus has the words of eternal life. He is God's answer to your prayer before you even call. (John 6:66-69)
WLUJ              Springfield, IL    89.7 FM                  Sunday 3:00 pm
WLLM             Lincoln, IL          1370 AM Sunday 7:00 am & 7:00 pm
WSMI              Litchfield            1540 AM                Sunday 9:30 pm

Lutherans for Life –
Life Thought: Those who are “light in the Lord,” “walk as children of light” and have no part in the “unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:8-11a). But the “fruit of light” (5:9) does more than avoid such dark works. It exposes them (5:11b). We do not do it arrogantly or angrily, but the Church is compelled to call wrong things wrong.

Life Quote: “You can be a voice of prayer praying for our Church, our country, hurting people. You can be a voice of service reaching out to those who need an encouraging word, a helping hand, a comforting presence. You can be a voice of education helping others understand how God’s Word of truth and grace connects to the life issues. You can be a voice of witness pointing people to the true source of rescue. You can be an activist voice participating in Life Chains, Marches for Life, and prayer vigils. You can be a political voice practicing Christian citizenship and bringing your influence to bear through the political process.” Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb, executive director of Lutherans For Life)

Saturday     August 18           5:30 pm                            Divine Service
Sunday       August 19           9:00 am                                 Bible Class
                                             10:00 am                            Divine Service
Monday, August 20 – Friday, August 24       Pastor at Army Training
Wednesday August 22          7:30 pm                                             AA
Saturday     August 25           5:30 pm                            Divine Service

Isaiah 29:17–24
2 Corinthians 3:4–11
Mark 7:31–37
Faith Comes from Hearing
A man who was deaf and therefore also had an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus (Mark 7:31–37). In the same way, all are by nature deaf toward God and therefore also unable to confess the faith rightly. For ―faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Rom. 10:9–17). Jesus put His fingers into the man’s ears, and He spat and touched His tongue. Even so in Holy Baptism, water sanctified by the words of Jesus’ mouth is applied to us; and the finger of God, that is, the life–giving Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:4–11) is put into our ears in the hearing of the baptismal Gospel. Jesus’ sighing - Ephphatha opened the man’s ears, and his tongue was loosed to speak plainly as Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah, ―In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book (Is. 29:18–24) So also, He who sighed and breathed His last on the cross for us has given us to hear and believe in Him and has opened our lips that our mouths may declare His praise.

Readings for the Week of 11th Sunday after Trinity
August 19 Parable of the Pharisee & the Tax Collector—Luke 18:9-14
                                            2 Samuel 11:1-27, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
August 20                     Paul Is Arrested in the Temple—Acts 21:1-17
                                              2 Samuel 12:1-25, 1 Corinthians 12:1-13
August 21                   Paul Preaches to the Mob—Acts 21:37—22:16
                                      1 Kings 1:1–4, 15–35, 1 Corinthians 12:14-31
August 22        Paul Is Protected as a Roman Citizen—Acts 22:17-29
                                                   1 Kings 2:1-27, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
August 23   Paul Appears Before the Sanhedrin—Acts 22:30—23:10
                                                     1 Kings 3:1-15, 2 Corinthians 1:1-22
August 24                                 The Plot Against Paul—Acts 23:11-35
                                               1 Kings 5:1-18, 2 Corinthians 1:23–2:17
August 25                                       Look ahead to Sunday's Readings
                          Isaiah 29:17–24, 2 Corinthians 3:4–11, Mark 7:31–37

Sermon August 18-19, 2013 Trinity 11

August 18-19, 2012    Trinity 11        Luke 18:09-14

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

Two men went up to the Temple to pray. One man came down to his house justified.

The first was a Church bureaucrat, a Pharisee in a suit. He had long served his church, helping it to grow, teaching it about stewardship, vision-making, and planning. Coming from a long-line of Church workers, he lived a morally decent life. He had learned that those who do not steal are better liked by their neighbors, that fidelity to one's spouse means a happier and easier home life, that not coveting leads to contentment. He had even learned that charity enriches the giver. And thus, he was satisfied. He had found a righteousness in this life by means of the Law. He had found honor among men. He had his reward, and he sought to help others obtain it.

The second was a tax-collector, a traitor to his people, an oppressor. He was the ancient equivalent of a drug-dealer trafficking in child pornography. He was a scumbag. He was not satisfied. His life was a mess. He was ashamed and afraid. So he came to the Temple, to the House of Prayer for all people, to the place of sacrifice and the ark of the Covenant, to pray. He stood on the blood-stained pavement and beheld the curtain that kept him from seeing the place of God's presence. There behind the curtain, by Divine command, was the Holy of Holies. In it was the ark that held the fragments of Moses' law. That law that condemns men. But over the ark, between the cherubim God promised to place Himself. He shields His people from the Law, satisfies its demands in Himself. That place is called the "mercy seat." And thus, the tax collector came to the Temple to hold God to His Word. He pleads for Him to be true to Himself, to be merciful, to be forgiving, to be gracious, to keep His promise of deliverance. And He does. That man, the sinner, went home justified, righteous, holy, innocent, and pure.

This parable was spoken to some who trusted in themselves, that they were righteous and despised others. We must despise ourselves as unrighteous, and trust in Him, who is righteous, for mercy. Here we see the irony of Christianity: those who are without sin, those who have been Baptized, Named by Him, belong to Him, such as you and the believing tax-collector, feel sin. It hurts you. You struggle with it. But those who are in sin, who embrace it and seek to justify themselves, like the Pharisee, they are satisfied and comfortable.

That is how it is in the Kingdom of God. It is a Kingdom of reversals and irony. God became Man. Life became Death. He who knew no sin became sin. The King of this Kingdom does not send soldiers off to die in struggles meant to enrich himself and enlarge his territories, like the kings of this world, but this King dies, gives up His life, to enrich rebels and traitors who spoke against Him! This loving Shepherd looks at a pool teeming with man-eating piranhas and He loves those slimy, scaly, teethy monsters. He lies down in the pool, gives His life to and for them. Knowing full well what will happen and able to stop it at any moment, He lets them devour Him. And in the process, by that glorious Death, He makes them lambs, His life for theirs. This God makes something from nothing. It is only the blind who are given sight, the sick healing, and the dead life. It is only the repentant who are forgiven. It is only sinners that He makes into saints.

Come, then, like the tax-collector. Come with your pain, your fear, your worries, your shame, your loneliness and your doubt. Come to where God promises to be, where He extends His mercy, where He gives Himself to you. Come to the Temple made without hands, torn down by men, but rebuilt by God on the third day. Have that Holy of Holies, that embodiment of the Mercy Seat, placed into your mouth, and thus, in that Holy Communion, become the Temple of His Holy Spirit. Go home justified, holding a righteousness that is not your own, and which will not wither and fade. Go home, my friends, forgiven and loved.

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