Category Archives: Rev. Roth

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

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Preached by Pastor Roth

Old Testament

Ruth 1:1–19a

1In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

6Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

19So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem.

Psalm

Psalm 111; antiphon: v. 10

1Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

Epistle

2 Timothy 2:1–13

1You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

8Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13if we are faithless, he remains faithful—

for he cannot deny himself.

Gospel

Luke 17:11–19

11On the way to Jerusalem [Jesus] was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Introit

Psalm 34:2–4, 17; antiphon: Psalm 48:1a

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
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.
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!

Collect of the Day

Almighty God, You show mercy to Your people in all their troubles. Grant us always to recognize Your goodness, give thanks for Your compassion, and praise Your holy name; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Mental Illness and the Christian Faith

*Originally published in St. Peter’s June 2019 Newsletter.
Written By: Pastor Roth

Last month I shared something online that struck a cord with many. The basis for the post was a cartoon by a Christian cartoonist titled, “Depression, Anxiety, Meds, and Shame” (If you using an electronic device you can click the link to view the cartoon.) It speaks on misconceptions about mental illness and faith. It’s message touched my own heart and life, so I decided to share it with a little of my own story of depression and anxiety in the hope of encouraging others who may be suffering.

I did not expect the response I received. The public comments, messages, and in person responses by those inside and outside our congregation, laity and pastors, gave me reason to reflect and consider that sharing my story in our newsletter may be beneficial to many. Some of what I will share may shock and startle some of you, maybe even give you pause in relation to me as your pastor, but I pray it gives those who have never experienced mental illness a glimpse into the suffering, and those of you who have suffered or are suffering the knowledge that you aren’t alone, you are not to blame, you are not the cause nor issues with your faith, and God has not forsaken you.

The hope of reaching a single person who suffers or even giving insight to the family of someone who is suffering outweighs any hesitation I have in sharing my own story. There are many reasons I have not yet talked openly about my struggle with depression and anxiety. It is not that I am ashamed of my illness, for there is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, I have shared pieces with some of you as I felt appropriate or helpful. The main reason I have hesitated is that I did not want to give you all cause for stumbling in the faith. For many, the idea of a pastor who suffers from anxiety and depression is hard to swallow. There are many misconceptions about mental illness, especially regarding the faith, and I did not want to give any of you concern or opportunity to stumble.

However, I pray we have reached a level of trust in the near three years that I have been serving among you that I am now able to freely share my story and do my part to help confront misconceptions and help those who need to hear that they are not alone; even pastors are not immune to mental illness. Because the truth is, mental illness is much more prevalent than you might think.

The Enigma of Mental Illness
If you believe you do not know anyone who suffers from mental illness it’s likely because you simply do not know. The CDC reports an estimated 50% of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in life. One in five Americans (children included) will experience mental illness in a given year; one in twenty-five Americans live with serious mental illness; “serious” meaning it significantly interferes with one or more major life activity.

So consider this: we have an average of about a hundred people in worship on Sundays, split roughly even between services. That means when you sit in worship, there are likely about ten people worshiping with you who are suffering from a mental illness, two of whom cannot function normally in their daily life.

The CDC also reports 50% of all chronic illness begins by age 14 and 75% by 24. Mood disorders are the third most common cause of hospitalizations for those under the age of 44. Suicide, often associated with symptoms of mental illness, is the 10th leading cause of death and 2nd among people aged 15-34. Serious mental illness costs about $193.2 billion in lost earning per year. Those with mental illness are also at greater risk of physical health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease, and those with serious mental illness on average die 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.

With so many who suffer and the severity of effects, it seems there should be more awareness, knowledge, and understanding of mental illness. Even so, mental illness remains an enigma, an elusive mystery to most. Those who have never suffered from it do not understand; those who study and treat it have no clear objective way to do so; those who suffer have difficulty understanding and explaining it. No two people experience mental illness the same way (there are over 200 classified types!) and there is no single cause. A variety of factors may contribute to a mental illness including early adverse life experiences (like trauma and/or abuse), experiences of other chronic ongoing medical conditions, biological factors (genes or chemical imbalances in the brain), use of alcohol or recreational drugs, and the feelings of loneliness and isolation. All of this paints a very complex picture of mental illness that is quite hard to understand.

Misconceptions of Mental Illness
Unfortunately, as we do with so many other things we do not understand, the enigma of mental illness gives rise to many misconceptions. This is true not only in society, but especially within the church. One of the most common I’ve heard is that those who suffer choose to suffer, as if they could simply muster the will-power to “get over it” or “snap out of it” or “suck it up” and “be happy” in order to get on with life. The ‘church’ version of this is that people who have a mental illness simply need to “have more faith,” as if faith was our own work and not a gift from God for the salvation of mankind. Such claims not only hurt the psyche but also the soul.

Mental illness is not so easy to overcome. There are a lot of factors that contribute to a mental illness, as discussed in the last section. Depression for example isn’t your everyday blues. It’s not even normal grief. Depression goes down to the very core of a person and takes strangle hold on not only what they think and how they feel but even on who they are. Every day becomes a battle just to make it through. For some, the will power required to even get out of bed in the morning is more will power than most people will exert in a normal day.

The extra heartbreak is when this comes from the church, the very people who should understand that this world is corrupted on account of sin. Most would consider it horrific to tell someone suffering insulin shock, “If you had enough faith then you wouldn’t suffer from diabetes! Now just will your blood sugar levels back up and get on with life.” Yet many of those same people wouldn’t think twice about tell someone suffering a depressive episode, “If you had enough faith then you wouldn’t suffer from depression!” Maybe not in those exact words, but with the same meaning. Of course, they wouldn’t think of adding, “Now just will your serotonin levels back up and get on with life,” because, well, they don’t understand that most often there are physical realities behind the emotional suffering.

Another misconception is that mental illness is a personal weakness or a familial failure. Often people just want to point fingers and lay blame, but that helps nothing. And then there are the stigmas: they’re manipulative, they use people, they only care about themselves, they push people away, they’re self-destructive, they refuse to do what needs to get done, they’re lazy, and so on. The reality is that people who suffer from a mental illness are often incapable of thinking at such levels. Their illness impairs their higher functioning abilities and they simply react. When it takes all you can muster to get out of bed in the morning and face the world, there is hardly any energy left to plan out the rest of the day, much less plot out some master manipulation of others.

People who suffer from mental illness already have feelings of guilt and shame, being unloved, alone, and misunderstood, and much more. Misconceptions and stigmas only serve to drive them deeper into isolation. If they have not already been diagnosed, then fear from the misconceptions and stigmas often keep them from seeking a diagnosis and they remain untreated. There is not much care and compassion for those who suffer and so it’s no wonder that so many people are afraid to talk openly about their own struggles with mental health. That is why I want to share my own story with you all. I pray to give some insight to those who do not understand, but ultimately to let any of you who might be suffering from a mental illness know that you are not alone!

My Story: Early Childhood—The Storm Brews
*Please note: this is my reflection. Some of it I have come to understand through the help of counseling, but some remains through the lens of depression and does not always reflect the reality outside of me.

For most of my memorable childhood I suffered. Life was hardly enjoyable, but I didn’t know different. I am the youngest of five and so I thought it all was just part of the chaos of life, a chaos that seemed to absorb and swallow me whole. That chaos formed me in many ways. For example, my parents were so busy with all of my older siblings activities that they never seemed to have any spare time or energy to focus on me. So I told myself at a very young age that I needed something to stand out from my siblings in order to get my parents’ attention and finally receive the love, care, and attention from them I desperately desired.

As I watched, I noticed how much stress my older siblings seemed to cause my parents with not only their busy schedules but also with poor performance, causing trouble, or giving them grief. My little brain then concocted the idea that I would win my parents adoration by being “perfect”, the child who needed nothing from them, did well on everything, and never stepped out of line. You can probably see the storm brewing. A child should never have such thoughts in regard to their parents. This is the Law in the place where the Gospel should be.

How reflective of reality these feelings were is not relevant to the discussion of my story, as what is important is that was my internal reality and this was the most formative experience for me. Believing I had to be perfect to win my parents attention, approval, affection and care I became emotionally unbalanced. I developed an overly active sense of guilt, shame, self criticism, and insufficiency over even the slightest mess up or the smallest mistake. I was not winning the love from my parents I desired and believed it was all my fault for not being good enough. I seemed to just be disappearing father into the chaos of life.

One memory that exemplifies and compounded this internal experience is when I attended a meeting with my mom. I was bored and didn’t want to disrupt, so I asked to go to the playground. After what seemed like forever the loneliness became unbearable. I went in to find my mom, but she wasn’t there. No one was. I went to the parking lot and it was empty. Fear seized me and not knowing what else to do (it was too far to walk), I went back to the playground to try and figure out where I could sleep that night as it was already dark. I have no idea how much time passed, but eventually I saw headlights pull into the parking lot. My friend from down the street came to my house to give me a birthday gift and that is when my family realized I wasn’t there and what had happened.

Events like this weren’t often, but they were enough to reinforce my internal experience: I was not good enough to be noticed, loved, and cared for. I did not have the emotional intelligence or stability to cope with or communicate this, nor was I given the tools or space to learn. No one knew what was going on, that I was suffering, feeling unloved and unwanted. My pain manifested in emotional breakdowns. My family just thought I was oversensitive. They became impatient with me. My breakdowns were met with demands to “stop being a baby” or the like. This led to continued feelings of rejection and being unloved and unwanted by my family driving me deeper into self-criticism, guilt, shame, and feeling insufficient. I began thinking, “If you weren’t such a screw up and a baby then they’d love you. If only I were perfect…” It was a vicious cycle, and I thought I was to blame.

As all kids do, I transferred this way of relating to parents and family to the way I related to the world. I believed if I was perfect I would finally receive the attention, approval, and affection from teachers and peers that I was not receiving at home. My anxiety began to mount every time I tried something new or was placed in new social situation. I was so afraid of failing or making a fool of myself because then no one would love me. Every failed or unsatisfactory interaction I had became my responsibility, my fault. It became so overwhelming that soon I stopped trying new things all together and avoided social interaction. I became an extremely reserved child.

My Story: Middle School—The Storm Unleashed
You may have heard me say, “You couldn’t pay me enough to go back to middle school,” or the like. Sometimes, even now, I don’t know how I survived those years. It was beyond the regular middle school ugliness. My middle school experience drove me deep into the suffering that had already begun in my early childhood. Since I was reserved I had few friends for support and the middle school kids are just ruthless. I was the token last-picked that never got passed the ball. There were some kids that even made me their favorite target. It would seem like they would go out of their way to ridicule me.

The teachers didn’t help either. Most didn’t notice or didn’t care about the bullying. Some even bullied me themselves. There was one PE teacher that was set against me for some reason, even though he was never my teacher. Once when had free play in the gym I had boys in my class throwing basketballs at me. The teacher watched and did nothing. Another time in health class another boy held down my arm and drew an inappropriate picture on it. The teacher would not let me go to the bathroom to wash it off as my “punishment” for “letting” the kid draw it on me. My band teacher was no better. In eighth grade I left band for theatre and my teacher refused to speak to me the whole year, ignoring me when we passed in the hall.

I even had an incident with a vice-principal from a different grade. She called me a liar and threatened to punish me because I would not confess to an incident she accused me of. She claimed I bullied another kid on the bus and said she had a video of the whole event. She said she was going to punish me whether I confessed or not. I insisted I only stuck up for the kid. She called him in and he corroborated my story. (His parents were the ones who reported it.) She finally let me go, but not without threats of punishment if she ever caught me doing the slightest thing. I had never even had a detention before. Remember, I devoted myself to never causing my parents trouble.

These are just some of the experiences in Middle School that reinforced my internal experience and transformed it from “I must be perfect to stand out and be loved” to “I am unlovable, and no matter what I do the whole world is against me.” My anxiety and insecurity skyrocketed. I began to despair and I had nowhere to turn. No one understood what all I was going through and experiencing. When I tried to talk about it with my family I would break down and told that I was being overly sensitive and I just needed to toughen up and stop being a baby. So I learned to swallow all those dark feelings deep inside and pretend like everything was okay. In order to survive I learned to numb myself to the pain. Of course, those feelings never actually went away. They only festered deep down into full on depression, corrupting me to the point where I was paranoid that everyone hated me and was bent on hurting me.

My dog and Confirmation class were my only relief, the only things I looked forward to seeing and doing. They are probably what brought me through. I was convinced my dog was the only living creature who loved me, and I enjoyed learning about God and His promises: what He has graciously done for us and what He continues to do. Even though I was suffering my faith increased. It did not take away the pain, though, nor did it protect me from any further suffering. My faith had no effect on my depression, and in fact it was on account of my faith that I began to beg God to simply come and take me away.

My Story: High School—Surveying the Damage
By the time I entered high school I had suffered for many years and depression had taken over my life. I was in such despair that, though I was never suicidal, I would fantasize my own death. A recurring fantasy was letting go of the wheel on a particular windy road that I drove. In my distorted thinking there were two reasons I would never do it: 1. I was a coward, and 2. I felt guilty at the cost my parents would incur in paying to bury me and a new vehicle. Part of me knew deep down my parents would grieve, but I believed it would be on account of the tragedy of it all and not in actually losing me. No, in fact I was convinced they’d be happier without me weighing them down, that the friends I made in theatre would be happier without me holding them back, that the world would be a better place without me in it since I was simply a failure and a screw up.

My sophomore year my friends and I discovered an “online journal” site where we could write and post whatever we wanted. (Facebook wasn’t available until my junior year!) I finally found a place I could vent all my pain and share it with whoever. Somehow my sister discovered my journal and read some of what I posted. She had friends who had depression and she recognized symptoms in me. She shared her concern with my parents. A few days later I came home from school to my parents waiting for me. They confronted me with some of the things I wrote and asked me if I would go to a counselor. They had already scheduled an appointment in case I said yes.

For the first time in my life I realized life wasn’t supposed to be like this and there may be hope. I was so tired of living life that I was willing to do anything that might help. So, I went and talked and received a diagnosis. That was about 15 years ago. My counselor then worked with me for nearly a year. She helped me challenge my thought patterns to come to a more rational understanding of things. I can’t forget one situation she helped me think through because it shows just how badly depression had messed with even my ability to think. I remember telling her how my sister and my mom conspired against me because my sister came home from college one day and asked my mom to make my favorite meal when I was busy that evening and wouldn’t be home for dinner. My counselor helped me realize that my sister most likely desired that meal and didn’t even consider that it was my favorite. No conspiracy afoot.

I owe much to that counselor. She helped me find a foundation and a way forward. I could distinguish normal thoughts from depression induced thoughts. I could start seeing a world in which things sometimes happened and there was no master plan against me. Despite that, depression had still left it’s devastation. My anxiety remained, and is still something that I have to fight against, as well as a sleeping disorder I developed, a common symptom that comes with depression and other mental illnesses. I have had two sleep studies done at different times, both confirmed I had sleep problems yet were unable to offer any solutions.

By the time I graduated High School though I was a different person, but I needed a fresh start. I chose a college where only one other person from my school was going. I was ready to put the past behind me and see what the future held.

My Story: Life Beyond—Recovery Efforts
I didn’t realize at the time, however, that it wasn’t going to be that easy. Depression is an illness and doesn’t simply go away. I learned that the hard way. I had decided by the end of my freshman year that I was going to become a pastor, but instead of a reason to rejoice my faith became a point of turmoil. After a variety of difficult situations and circumstances my depression came back. Several of my close friends were into a different kind of theology and claimed to “experience God” in ways I had never heard before. It was intimate and I did not know why God did not give me the same experiences but instead let me slip back into depression. I was hurt and tried to run from God, but He never let me run far, neither would He let me get lost in false theology. I wanted to so bad that I once tried to eat a paint chip that fell from the ceiling hoping it was “manna from heaven.” Once I realized what it was I gave up trying to force God’s hand and tried to be satisfied with what He gave me.

My last semester of college was particularly rough. I had to drag myself out of bed each morning in order to get to class. I didn’t always make it. I had lost 50 pounds in a couple of months because of my anxiety and depression. Throughout that time I was looking forward to entering the seminary to become a pastor. When I finally got there I was deep in depression once again. Marie can testify that the first couple of years of our marriage were not easy nor happy ones. My faith was growing by leaps and bounds, but even preparing to be a pastor did not make me immune to depression.

Thanks be to God for “Pastor as Counselor.” The class required us to have six sessions of counseling. I asked a professor, Dr. Bruce Hartung, not knowing what to expect. We began to meet and much to my surprise we had much to discuss. I learned although I had learned to change my thought patterns there were still deep roots to my depression that were living and active: primarily that voice that told me that I had to be perfect in order to be loved. The irony is when I began those sessions with Dr. Hartung I wanted to be “the perfect patient” so that he would be pleased with me! He helped me address those roots of depression and that’s when I realized that this was going to be a lifelong battle. Once my requirement for class was fulfilled I continued to meet with him and work through even more. He helped drag be back out of the pit of depression by helping me understanding more about myself and my past. He also helped me understand that depression was just another thing that happened in this fallen world, and that it was noting to be ashamed of or to assign blame for. That last part was really important to my healing because I so bad wanted to protect my parents from blame (it was their love and approval that I desired in the first place after all) that I avoided saying anything that could be taken as placing blame at their feet. He freed me to be able to address all of that and helped me walk through the trauma I experienced as a child.

My time at the seminary also helped fix all the bad theology that I had accumulated in college. I began to understand that suffering is not a sign of weak faith, but instead the mark of a true Christian. We endure all things for the sake of Christ, depression is not excluded. Depression is just yet another expression of the corruption of creation by sin. Suffering from depression makes you no less a Christian than does diabetes or heart disease or even allergies. Sanctified reason gave me a foundation and a way forward, but the Gospel gave me life.

Even after all of that, knowing my struggle with depression, the seminary still allowed me to graduate and I still received a call and was ordained. Now, as a pastor I get to preach that life-giving Gospel every week and guess what: I still am not immune to my depression. Some days are better than others, but I have gone through several rough patches since I arrived in Humboldt. I fought off many of them, but at the beginning of this year I those familiar voices of guilt, shame, self-criticism and insufficiency became more powerful and I knew it was time to seek help. I reached out to a former LCMS pastor in Topeka who retired to do full time clinical work and have been meeting with him via telemedicine about twice a month. I informed both President Lange and our elders what was happening and that I began meeting with him. He has helped me once again to return from the abyss.

Once I no longer need to meet with him I know it will only be a matter of time before I need help again. I have managed my depression with counseling thus far and have not needed to take medication, but that may change in the future. There is nothing wrong with using medication either, and some people need it. These are gifts God has given to help us live in this fallen world. Faith does not make you immune to depression, and believing it does is a severe lack of understanding of the Christian faith. If you suffer from depression or any other mental illness and would like to reach out to me I’d be happy to hear from you. If you’d like to ask me any questions about my depression I’d love to answer. Blessings be to you.

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (LWML Sunday)

Image result for Luke 17:1-10

Sermon preached by Pastor Roth

Old Testament

Habakkuk 1:1–4; 2:1–4

1The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.

2Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not hear?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
3Why do you make me see iniquity,
and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
4So the law is paralyzed,
and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
so justice goes forth perverted.

1I will take my stand at my watchpost
and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

2And the Lord answered me:
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
3For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.

4“Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him,
but the righteous shall live by his faith.”

Psalm

Psalm 62

1For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress;
I shall not be greatly shaken.

3How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress;
I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

9Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

Epistle

2 Timothy 1:1–14

1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

2To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

3I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

8Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Gospel

Luke 17:1–10

1[Jesus] said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! 2It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. 3Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, 4and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

5The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

7“Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

Introit

Psalm 119:162, 164–165, 167; antiphon: v. 166

I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil.
Seven times a day I praise you
for your just and righteous decrees.
Great peace have those who love your law;
nothing can make them stumble.
My soul keeps your testimonies;
I love them exceedingly.
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.
I hope for your salvation, O Lord,
and I do your commandments.

Collect of the Day

O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, by Your grace hear the prayers of Your Church. Grant that those things which we ask in faith we may receive through Your bountiful mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The Feast of St. Michael and All Angels

Image result for st. michael the archangel painting

Sermon preached by Pastor Roth

Old Testament

Daniel 10:10–14; 12:1–3

10And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. 12Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. 13The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, 14and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come. . . .”

1“At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Psalm

Psalm 91

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Epistle

Revelation 12:7–12

7Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

Gospel

Luke 10:17–20

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.”

Introit

Psalm 103:20–22; antiphon: v. 1

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works, in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
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.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Collect of the Day

Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Feast of the Holy Cross

Sermon preached by Pastor Roth

Old Testament

Numbers 21:4–9

4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Psalm

Psalm 40:1–11

1I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.

4Blessèd is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

6Sacrifice and offering you have not desired,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8I desire to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.”

9I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O Lord.
10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.

11As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!

Epistle

1 Corinthians 1:18–25

18The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Gospel

John 12:20–33

20Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

27“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” 29The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” 30Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. 31Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

Introit

Psalm 98:1, 4, 6; antiphon: v. 2

The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things!
His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
make a joyful noise before the King, 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.
The Lord has made known his salvation;
he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations.

Collect of the Day

Merciful God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, was lifted high upon the cross that He might bear the sins of the world and draw all people to Himself. Grant that we who glory in His death for our redemption may faithfully heed His call to bear the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon preached by Pastor Timothy Roth

Old Testament

Deuteronomy 30:15–20

15“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

Psalm

Psalm 1

1Blessèd is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

3He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Epistle

Philemon 1–21

1Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our beloved fellow worker 2and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

4I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, 5because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and all the saints, 6and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. 7For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

8Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, 9yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an old man and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— 10I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I became in my imprisonment. 11(Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) 12I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. 13I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel, 14but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will. 15For this perhaps is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back forever, 16no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother—especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

17So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. 18If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. 19I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. 20Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.

21Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say.

Gospel

Luke 14:25–35

25Now great crowds accompanied [Jesus], and he turned and said to them, 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

34“Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Introit

Psalm 119:28–32; antiphon: v. 27

Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to your word!
Put false ways far from me
and graciously teach me your law!
I have chosen the way of faithfulness;
I set your just decrees before me.
I cling to your testimonies, O Lord;
let me not be put to shame!
I will run in the way of your commandments
when you enlarge my heart!
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.
Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wondrous works.

Collect of the Day

O merciful Lord, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all. Grant us courage and strength to take up the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

Image result for pastor as shepherd

Sermon preached by Pastor Roth

Old Testament

Proverbs 25:2–10

2It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.
3As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4Take away the dross from the silver,
and the smith has material for a vessel;
5take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
and his throne will be established in righteousness.
6Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
or stand in the place of the great,
7for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
What your eyes have seen
8do not hastily bring into court,
for what will you do in the end,
when your neighbor puts you to shame?
9Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
and do not reveal another’s secret,
10lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute have no end.

Psalm

Psalm 131; antiphon: v. 2

1Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.

3O Israel, hope in the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore.

Epistle

Hebrews 13:1–17

1Let brotherly love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Gospel

Luke 14:1–14

1One Sabbath, when [Jesus] went to dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees, they were watching him carefully. 2And behold, there was a man before him who had dropsy. 3And Jesus responded to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or not?” 4But they remained silent. Then he took him and healed him and sent him away. 5And he said to them, “Which of you, having a son or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” 6And they could not reply to these things.

7Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, 9and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. 13But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Introit

Psalm 75:1–2, 6, 9; antiphon: v. 7

It is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.
We recount your wondrous deeds.
At the set time that I appoint
I will judge with equity.
For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up.
But I will declare it forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
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.
It is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.

Collect of the Day

O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your Holy Spirit to follow the example of Your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon Preached by Pastor Roth

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 Lord17They 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 Lord25I 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 Lord29Is 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.

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Sermon preached by Pastor Roth

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.

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;
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 Lord23Then 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!”