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Archive for April 7th, 2015

COLLECT OF THE DAY

Almighty God,through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS

Daniel 3:8-28

Psalm 2

Acts 13:26-33

St. Luke 24:36-49, with comments

44Then He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.

Comment:

      The pattern of Christ’s death and resurrection is the pattern of the apostolic message He gives to “all nations” for His Church to proclaim:  “repentance and forgiveness of sins”.  I hear too often in the media about the Church about “what the Church says” and it is usually on morality.  Morality is Biblical but so is the disciples not acting morally courageous:  me, too.   When the Lord said that “the Law of Moses” is also “written about me”, the Decalogue in particular is also written about me, and you:  the way we should go and have not gone. Repent, turn around, make a u-turn and the sign of the u-turn in going down the dead end of iniquity is the Cross of Jesus.  By His death resurrection He effects our u-turn.

     The 5 books of Moses also contains  the Gospel, that is, the Lord who frees His people out of the house of bondage, not by their will, but according to the Lord’s Word.  St. Luke alone tells us that in the Transfiguration Jesus and Moses and Elijah discuss His “departure” (Luke 9:31).  “Departure” is the translation of the Greek, exodun, exodus! “The law and prophets” point to Him as He fulfilled perfectly the Law and the Prophets(Matthew 5:17) so that as all of the Scripture points to Him (John 5:39The Law not only and merely contains our carnal instincts but the Law is spiritual as it shows us our sin and the Gospel proclaims our Savior that we can turn toward Him daily. This is daily living in Baptism.   Luther:  

“(Baptism) signifies that the old Adam in us should, by daily contrition and repentance, be drowned and die with all sins and evil lusts, and, again, a new man daily come forth and arise; who shall live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”

      Yet, we are living in a time in which the Lord’s message of “….repentence and forgiveness”  proclaimed in Jesus’ Name has fallen away in churches  serviced by progressive pastors to prosperity gospel preachers to pablum preachers. In a thoughtful article in The Federalist, How Well Will American Christians Wear Our Cross? by Leslie Loftis, wrote:

“I think the faithful will find that our ranks are smaller than we expect. Our churches are full on Sundays, true, but they are swollen by Prosperity Gospel teachings. “God wants to give you things, all you have to do believe and pray for what you want,” they say. But this idea only thrives in lands with small, surmountable problems. It offers no comfort or recourse when life isn’t the happy standard. In the pressure days to come, it is just a path to despair.”

Here we bear our cross, not in despair but in hope, as the Old Adam is crucified daily  in true repentance. We can so die and rise because He has baptized us into Himself in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The key to understanding the Scriptures is the unilateral grace of God to the disciples, to us, to the whole world. Bearing our cross may be at the expense of social discomfort, others and ourselves, and even worse, but the risen Lord’s command to Apostles, and the holy, catholic and apostolic Church to proclaim repentance and forgiveness in His Name has not been rescinded. 

Beloved in the Lord, we see here yet another revelation of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Father sends the Son and the Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit so that beginning in Jerusalem, the Word of so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:2-4) is preached into which we are baptized. The Holy Trinity is the one God, if you will a “conspiracy”:  literally con, with, “spirare” to breathe, (same root word for breath or  for spirit), literally” to breath together,  breathing as one the Word of Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father into a sin-soaked, dark world.  

“O Holy Trinity, You Self-sufficient Love, ignite also in our heart this fire of Your Love!”

Rev. Pastor Johann Gerhard:  

Whoever preaches forgiveness of sins without preaching repentance is not holding to Christ’s  command. For He sets both together: repentance and forgiveness of sins. Wherever there is a broken and shattered heart, there Christ wants to live, Isa. 57:15, and wants to impart His blessings which He won through His death and resurrection. He, indeed, calls sinners to Himself, but (He calls them) to repent, Matt. 9:13. True repentance is the pathway by which sinners come to grace.

We were widely separated from God by sin, Isa.5. Just as the Lord Christ promised His Apostles the Promise of the Father—that is, He wanted to send them the Holy Spirit and clothe them with Power from on high—so also He proffers to us the comforting promise that He does not want to leave us orphaned or comfortless; instead, He desires to send into our hearts the Holy Spirit, who makes us strong in the inner man and comforts us in every anxious doubt.

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