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Archive for June 30th, 2013

 

The Old Testament reading for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, 1 Kings 19: 9-21,  is part of the narrative of Elijah fleeing from Jezebel when he hears she is out to kill him.  The prophet hides himself in a cave.  He is scared and frightened, after the Lord triumphed over the idols of Jezebel and Ahab, in quite a dramatic way.  The pastor this morning correctly pointed out that our idols, are our “I”-dols, what I want, I desire and in this world of idols, in an I-Phone world, that the Christian is up against overwhelming odds, as Elijah was. We think the whole Christian life begins to look pointless, “what’s the point”, I can’t do anything.  Elijah said to the Lord:

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.

Elijah thought it was pointless and that’s the point.  It was pointless on his own.  He was looking to himself “only”.  The Lord dramatically through His illustration that He did not speak through strong winds, earthquake or fire, but He spoke His Word through a “small whisper”.  Even through the  weakness of a whisper, His Word is powerful to save, indeed!  For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1: 25)

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“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3: 13, NIV)

Today’s New Testament reading in the Daily Lectionary,    Acts 10 : 1-17, is a portion of the conversion of Cornelius and his household through the preaching of the Word of Christ Jesus by His chosen apostle Peter.  Peter baptized Cornelius and his entire household and they, and us (!), were and are baptized body and soul. Faith comes by hearing the Word and in no other way. (Romans 10:17).   This is  clearly and powerfully stated in the Lutheran Confessions, the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, II 50:

“…out of His immense goodness and mercy, has His divine eternal Law and His wonderful plan concerning our redemption, namely, the holy, alone-saving Gospel of His eternal Son, our only Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ, publicly preached; and by this [preaching] collects an eternal Church for Himself from the human race, and works in the hearts of men true repentance and knowledge of sins, and true faith in the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And by this means, and in no other way, namely, through His holy Word, when men hear it preached or read it, and the holy Sacraments when they are used according to His Word, God desires to call men to eternal salvation, draw them to Himself, and convert, regenerate, and sanctify them 1 Cor. 1:21

And in this same faith, the Lord’s salvation is of us body and soul.  His Church  is not only about “saving souls”.  Peter baptized Cornelius and his household body and soul. The Lord revealed that with the coming of the death and resurrection and ascension of His beloved Son, that He has made a new creation through water and the Word, that nothing the Lord has created is “common”,as Peter found out so he could go and preach Christ to Cornelius and his household. (Acts 10: 16).  As nothing the Lord has created is common, neither is His salvation and it for our good and the welfare and benefit of our neighbors. You are made clean by Jesus Christ in Baptism.  I did not go to Church this morning.  I went as a baptized member of His Church, His Body (1 Corinthians 12:27) to receive the fullness of His Body and Blood, His Word for ear and heart, hand and mind, body and soul, in His Church, His Body, His Temple, (1 Corinthians 11:26-28) where He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctified the whole Christian Church on earth and keeps it united in Jesus Christ in the one true faith (see Luther’s Small Catechism, article III, the Apostles’ Creed).

Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth, You opened Peter’s eyes to see that all of creation is good and is to be used by Your people for their delight and joy.  Open our eyes to see that our bodies, restored by You in Holy Baptism, proclaim the goodness of Your creative will, that in paradise we will come to the fullness of what you reacted us to be;  through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

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