18“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.
22“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the Lord,
so shall your offspring and your name remain. 23From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the Lord.”
Psalm 50:1–15; antiphon: v. 23
1The Mighty One, God the Lord,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting. 2Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth.
3Our God comes; he does not keep silence;
before him is a devouring fire,
around him a mighty tempest. 4He calls to the heavens above
and to the earth, that he may judge his people: 5“Gather to me my faithful ones,
who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” 6The heavens declare his righteousness,
for God himself is judge!
7“Hear, O my people, and I will speak;
O Israel, I will testify against you.
I am God, your God. 8Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you;
your burnt offerings are continually before me. 9I will not accept a bull from your house
or goats from your folds. 10For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills. 11I know all the birds of the hills,
and all that moves in the field is mine.
12“If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for the world and its fullness are mine. 13Do I eat the flesh of bulls
or drink the blood of goats? 14Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High, 15and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him. 6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
22[Jesus] went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
Psalm 117; antiphon: Psalm 96:6a; 115:18
Splendor and majesty are before him;
we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, all nations!
Extol him, all peoples!
For great is his steadfast love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Splendor and majesty are before him;
we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!
Collect of the Day
O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament – Jeremiah 23:16–29 16Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. 17They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’”
18For who among them has stood in the council of the Lord
to see and to hear his word,
or who has paid attention to his word and listened? 19Behold, the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked. 20The anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intents of his heart.
In the latter days you will understand it clearly.
21“I did not send the prophets,
yet they ran;
I did not speak to them,
yet they prophesied. 22But if they had stood in my council,
then they would have proclaimed my words to my people,
and they would have turned them from their evil way,
and from the evil of their deeds.
23“Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God afar off? 24Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. 25I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying, ‘I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, 27who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the Lord. 29Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”
Psalm 119:81–88 81My soul longs for your salvation;
I hope in your word. 82My eyes long for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?” 83For I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,
yet I have not forgotten your statutes. 84How long must your servant endure?
When will you judge those who persecute me? 85The insolent have dug pitfalls for me;
they do not live according to your law. 86All your commandments are sure;
they persecute me with falsehood; help me! 87They have almost made an end of me on earth,
but I have not forsaken your precepts. 88In your steadfast love give me life,
that I may keep the testimonies of your mouth.
Epistle – Hebrews 11:17–31; 12:1–3 17By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
23By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Gospel – Luke 12:49–56 49[Jesus said:] “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled! 50I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished! 51Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
54He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. 55And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. 56You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”
Introit – Psalm 55:1, 12–14, 16; antiphon: v. 22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it;
it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man, my equal,
my companion, my familiar friend.
We used to take sweet counsel together;
within God’s house we walked in the throng.
But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me.
Collect of the Day Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament – Genesis 15:1–6 1After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” 4And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Psalm 33:12–22 12Blessèd is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!13The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. 16The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.18Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, 19that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.20Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Epistle – Hebrews 11:1–16 1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.4By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.8By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
Gospel – Luke 12:22–34 22[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Introit – Psalm 147:8–11; antiphon: v. 7 Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre! He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth;he makes grass grow on the hills. He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen. Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God on the lyre!
Collect of the Day Almighty and merciful God, it is by Your grace that we live as Your people who offer acceptable service. Grant that we may walk by faith, and not by sight, in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament – Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12–14; 2:18–26 2Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity. . . .
12I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven. It is an unhappy business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 14I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. . . .
18I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned about and gave my heart up to despair over all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes a person who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave everything to be enjoyed by someone who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What has a man from all the toil and striving of heart with which he toils beneath the sun? 23For all his days are full of sorrow, and his work is a vexation. Even in the night his heart does not rest. This also is vanity.
24There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, 25for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? 26For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.
Psalm 100 1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! 2Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Epistle – Colossians 3:1–11 1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Gospel – Luke 12:13–21 13Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus], “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
Introit – Psalm 49:7–8, 13–14a, 15; antiphon: vv. 1–2 Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
rich and poor together!
Truly no man can ransom another,
or give to God the price of his life,
for the ransom of their life is costly
and can never suffice.
This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts.
Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol;
death shall be their shepherd.
But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol,
for he will receive me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Hear this, all peoples!
Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
both low and high,
rich and poor together!
Collect of the Day O Lord, grant us wisdom to recognize the treasures You have stored up for us in heaven, that we may never despair but always rejoice and be thankful for the riches of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Posted onAugust 2, 2019|Comments Off on Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon preached by Pastor Roth
Introit Ps. 119:145–149; antiphon: Psalm 50:15
Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!
I will keep your statutes.
I call to you; save me,
that I may observe your testimonies.
I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I hope in your words.
My eyes are awake before the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promise.
Hear my voice according to your steadfast love;
O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
Collect of the day
O Lord, let Your merciful ears be attentive to the prayers of Your servants, and by Your Word and Spirit teach us how to pray that our petitions may be pleasing before You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament Genesis 18:17–33 17The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, 18seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.” 20Then the Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, 21I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry that has come to me. And if not, I will know.”
22So the men turned from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the Lord. 23Then Abraham drew near and said, “Will you indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” 26And the Lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27Abraham answered and said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes. 28Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking. Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?” And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29Again he spoke to him and said, “Suppose forty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of forty I will not do it.” 30Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Suppose thirty are found there.” He answered, “I will not do it, if I find thirty there.” 31He said, “Behold, I have undertaken to speak to the Lord. Suppose twenty are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.” 32Then he said, “Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.” He answered, “For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 33And the Lord went his way, when he had finished speaking to Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.
Psalm 138 1I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise; 2I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word. 3On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
4All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth, 5and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord. 6For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me. 8The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Second Reading/Epistle Colossians 2:6–15 6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 11:1–13 1Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come. 3Give us each day our daily bread, 4and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation.”
5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
Posted onJuly 23, 2019|Comments Off on Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon preached by Pastor Roth
Introit Ps. 119:57–60, 64; antiphon: v. 105
Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
The Lord is my portion;
I promise to keep your words.
I entreat your favor with all my heart;
be gracious to me according to your promise.
When I think on my ways,
I turn my feet to your testimonies;
I hasten and do not delay
to keep your commandments.
The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love;
teach me your statutes!
Collect of the day
O Lord, grant us the Spirit to hear Your Word and know the one thing needful that by Your Word and Spirit we may live according to Your will; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament Genesis 18:1–14
1 The Lord appeared to [Abraham] by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. 2He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth 3and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. 4Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, 5while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” 7And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. 8Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”
1The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
2When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
4One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.
5For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will lift me high upon a rock.
6And now my head shall be lifted up
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
7Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
be gracious to me and answer me! 8You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.” 9Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
O God of my salvation! 10For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
but the Lord will take me in.
11Teach me your way, O Lord,
and lead me on a level path
because of my enemies. 12Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
for false witnesses have risen against me,
and they breathe out violence.
13I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living! 14Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!
Second Reading/Epistle Colossians 1:21–29
21You, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 10:38–42 38Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Posted onJuly 14, 2019|Comments Off on Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon preached by Pastor Roth
Introit Ps. 85:8–10, 13; antiphon: v. 7
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;
he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for his steadfast love endures forever.
Collect of the day
Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament Leviticus 18:1–5; 19:9–18
1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord. . . .
9“When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
11“You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”
1Blessèd is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; 2the Lord protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessèd in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. 3The Lord sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.
4As for me, I said, “O Lord, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!” 5My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die and his name perish?” 6And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad. 7All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
8They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.” 9Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me. 10But you, O Lord, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me. 12But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
13Blessèd be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.
Second Reading/Epistle Colossians 1:1–14
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
2To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
3We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, 6which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, 7just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 10:25–37
25Behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Posted onJuly 7, 2019|Comments Off on Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon preached by Pastor Roth
Introit Ps. 19:2, 4–6; antiphon: v. 1
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.
Their measuring line goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
Collect of the day
Almighty God, You have built Your Church on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. Continue to send Your messengers to preserve Your people in true peace that, by the preaching of Your Word, Your Church may be kept free from all harm and danger; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament Isaiah 66:10–14 10“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her; 11that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.” 12For thus says the Lord:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees. 13As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 14You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.”
Psalm 66:1–7 1Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 2sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise! 3Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 4All the earth worships you
and sings praises to you;
they sing praises to your name.”
5Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. 6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him, 7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves.
Second Reading/Epistle Galatians 6:1–10, 14–18 1Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5For each will have to bear his own load.
6One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches. 7Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. . . .
14But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
17From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 10:1–20 1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ 6And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ 12I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
13“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. 15And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
16“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
17The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Posted onJuly 1, 2019|Comments Off on Third Sunday after Pentecost
Sermon preached by Pastor Roth
Introit Ps. 85:8–10, 13; antiphon: v. 7
Show us your steadfast love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
Let me hear what God the Lord will speak,
for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet;
righteousness and peace kiss each other.
Righteousness will go before him
and make his footsteps a way.
Collect of the day
Lord of all power and might, author and giver of all good things, graft into our hearts the love of Your name and nourish us with all goodness that we may love and serve our neighbor; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament 1 Kings 19:9b–21
Behold, the word of the LORD came to [Elijah], and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus. And when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria. And Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel, and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death. Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.
Preserve me, O God,
for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
As for the saints in the land,
they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Second Reading/Epistle Galatians 5:1, 13–25
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. …For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 9:51–62
When the days drew near for [Jesus] to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village.
As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Posted onJune 23, 2019|Comments Off on Second Sunday after Pentecost
(The text of the sermon follows the readings below)
Sermon read by Elder Curt Mueller
Introit Ps. 71:20–24; antiphon: v. 3
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come;
you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.
I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God;
I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you;
my soul also, which you have redeemed.
And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long,
for they have been put to shame and disappointed who sought to do me hurt.
Collect of the day
O God, You have prepared for those who love You such good things as surpass our understanding. Cast out all sins and evil desires from us, and pour into our hearts Your Holy Spirit to guide us into all blessedness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
First Reading/Old Testament Isaiah 65:1–9
I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
I said, “Here am I, here am I,”
to a nation that was not called by my name.
I spread out my hands all the day
to a rebellious people,
who walk in a way that is not good,
following their own devices;
a people who provoke me
to my face continually,
sacrificing in gardens
and making offerings on bricks;
who sit in tombs,
and spend the night in secret places;
who eat pig’s flesh,
and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;
who say, “Keep to yourself,
do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”
These are a smoke in my nostrils,
a fire that burns all the day.
Behold, it is written before me:
“I will not keep silent, but I will repay;
I will indeed repay into their bosom
both your iniquities and your fathers’ iniquities together,
says the LORD;
because they made offerings on the mountains
and insulted me on the hills,
I will measure into their bosom
payment for their former deeds.”
Thus says the LORD:
“As the new wine is found in the cluster,
and they say, ‘Do not destroy it,
for there is a blessing in it,’
so I will do for my servants’ sake,
and not destroy them all.
I will bring forth offspring from Jacob,
and from Judah possessors of my mountains;
my chosen shall possess it,
and my servants shall dwell there.”
O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God.
But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill.
I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
I will not be afraid of many thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.
Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people!
Second Reading/Epistle Galatians 3:23—4:7
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Holy Gospel Reading Luke 8:26–39
Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. When Jesus had stepped out on land, there met him a man from the city who had demons. For a long time he had worn no clothes, and he had not lived in a house but among the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell down before him and said with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me.” For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. (For many a time it had seized him. He was kept under guard and bound with chains and shackles, but he would break the bonds and be driven by the demon into the desert.) Jesus then asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” for many demons had entered him. And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told them how the demon-possessed man had been healed. Then all the people of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes asked him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he got into the boat and returned. The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
Have you ever asked someone a big question, knowing the answer you receive will either break your heart or unleash wild joy? Love hangs in the balance.
Standing there in the front door, dripping mud head to toe, the eight-year-old boy can’t look Mom in the eye. “I told you not to do that,” Mom scolds. Then she pauses. “You know I love you, right?”
A young man whispers, “I love you,” as he opens the little box, the diamond’s glinting catching the young woman’s eye. “Will you marry me?”
Jack confesses to Jim. “I lied about you, but I’m sorry. I still want to be your friend. Will you forgive me?”
The old woman’s gnarled fingers grasp her son’s hand. “This time, they tell me I’m going to die. Will you promise to never let go of Jesus?”
Such questions change lives. The answer will be either a heartbreaker or elated joy.
In today’s Old Testament, God calls out with love’s urgency. Make or break! Will you hear God and be made whole? Or, turning from Him, stay broken and break God’s heart?
Through his prophet Isaiah, God cries out: “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am,’ to a nation that was not called by my name.” Do you hear God’s passion? God wants to be asked, sought, found. Again and again, he actively calls to those who did not ask or seek him. “Here I am, here I am,” God shouts out.
Who is this nation God so graciously invites? Already 1,300 years before Isaiah, God promised Abraham, “Your people will be called by my name.” God chose as His own nation Abraham’s descendants, Israel. Yet in Abraham’s day and Isaiah’s day and still today, God lovingly calls out beyond Abraham’s tribe. Who is the nation that was not called by God’s name? My own roots stretch back to Germanic tribes. Those Germans centuries ago worshiped trees and thunder. My blood people did not know God. The people who had not sought God—could it be each of us? In America today we believe in freedom, progress, and prosperity. These are good things. Can they be our god? When trouble comes, I turn to family and friends. I believe in my own hard work. Can these give to me all the help I need?
I was not asking for God, seeking God, when God first called to me. I was a helpless baby when God so generously adopted me. But there in Baptism God did give to me and you his name. God christened us, called us Christians. We Christians are his new nation. Most of us come from peoples who had never been called by God’s name.
In his Letter to Rome’s Christians, Paul marvels at God’s grace. Would God really call out to pagan Gentile nations? Would God love those who had never known him? For proof, Paul quotes this promise from seven hundred years before Paul, the words God gave Isaiah: “Isaiah is so bold as to say, ‘I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.’ But of Israel God says, ‘All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.’ ”
God’s Word through Isaiah turns just that quickly, from the Gentile nations to ancient Israel, from grace to justice, from invitation to threat. Can you imagine Isaiah’s heartbreak speaking God’s hard Word? These were his own compatriots! Ever since Abraham, through Moses and David, these people had been God’s prized nation. Now God accused them of being “disobedient and contrary.”
Isaiah was desperate to invite his people back to God. Can you see him acting out God’s heartfelt cry? “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices.” There lies the single “root” problem with Isaiah’s people: their rebellious heart! God in justice threatens these people because they rebel against him. They walk not in God’s good way. They follow their own foolish devices. Apart from God, they will be lost. Should they die, damned without him? This breaks God’s heart!
Isaiah lists some specific “fruit,” evidence of their single “root” problem. His people’s rebellious heart can be seen plainly in their provocative sins. Waving their wickedness in God’s face? Have they no shame? Worshiping nature, they practice the pagan fertility cults, “sacrificing in gardens” rather than at God’s house. God’s altar was to be constructed of raw, natural stone. But his people made offerings on bricks, crafted and carved like the idols’ altars. Would God’s own people actually sit in tombs, seeking oracles from the dead? They spend the night in those secret places, as if their dreams will bring news from beyond! They eat the flesh of pigs. Not kosher! Cackling over their cauldrons, mixing in tainted meat. Would they stir magic brews? cast crooked spells? Yet these people imagine themselves, as the King James Version translates, “holier than thou”! What a stench.
I love the smell of barbecue cooking on the grill, don’t you? When his people worshiped him with sacrifice, God himself delighted in that aroma. But now they worshiped idols. All day, every day, their rebellious hearts wickedly acted out. They stank like a burning garbage dump, the gagging smoke nauseating God’s nostrils.
Judgment may not be immediate, but it is certain. God warns Isaiah’s people, “The wrongs you’ve done I have written down. The books against you remind me. Justice demands that I pay back your hatred against me. You follow your parents’ wicked ways, thinking they got away with it. But you’ll have hell to pay. You try to buy the good life from gods you made up. You insult me. Get your lap ready. I will repay.”
We could say, “Isaiah’s people were so messed up! I’m glad we’re not like them.” Shouldn’t we rather wonder: “Does the rebellion lurk in my heart? Are my sins so different from theirs?” Many of Isaiah’s people still worshiped the true God. They only added others. The things they loved they believed in. Do you smell something fishy rotting here?
Truth be told, today we are the people of God. Jew and Greek, poor and rich, male and female, we are all one in Christ Jesus. God has called us by his name, christened us to be Christians! Do our lives show the world that “we are worthy of Christ’s name”? Or do our lives betray our heart? Do we provoke God?
The story of Isaiah’s people is our story. God in justice threatens his people when we get comfortable in our cozy sin. For God is desperate to call us back to himself. We can live only in his forgiveness. We thrive in his grace!
Once upon a time, a wealthy landowner came to his beautiful vineyard. Quite the romantic, he had invested himself in this gorgeous property. He had built protective walls up and down the hillsides. He cleared and turned the soil. He planted the choicest vines. He patiently fertilized and watered every root. He painstakingly pruned each branch. Now he filled the fruitful field with workers. The harvesters’ joyful songs echoed across the vineyard. At last they were bringing home the luscious fruit.
Suddenly a terrible cry stabbed the owner’s heart. One harvester screamed, “This cluster has gone sour. All is spoiled!” But then a whole chorus sang back, “Do not destroy it. The master himself put his blessing in those grapes. Let us salvage still the good fruit. Do not destroy it! Such a harvest remains, we will yet celebrate with delicious new wine!” Then the owner’s joy overflowed!
God promises, “Yes, my people have turned rotten and sour. Yet I will not destroy them all. My servants have worked that vineyard. The harvest is mine! To my people I will give faithful children. They will see what I do on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. They will see the sacrifice I give right there on Mount Calvary. All who remain faithful will possess all my mercy.” God in mercy has chosen us to be his people! He will preserve us, that we remain faithful to him. This is the Good News we own. God has made us his servants. In this grace we dwell. Despite our sour grapes, in his undeserved forgiveness we thrive. In his love alone we live. Arms outstretched, God lovingly calls us to himself!
This text’s one picture remains burned in my mind. God keeps calling out, “I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people.” The early Christians here saw “the power of the cross.” Irenaeus of Lyons marvels at our God: “As a weak and inglorious man . . . he should stretch forth his hands the whole day long. . . . By his passion and crucifixion he endured all.” In Jesus’ arms outstretched, God lovingly calls us to Himself! Amen.