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Archive for May, 2020

Pentecost Sunday around the world in 2020 | Office Holidays

Readings: Numbers 11:24–30  Psalm 25: 1-15 Acts 2:1–21 St. John 7:37–39

The Risen Lord Jesus Pours Out the Holy Spirit:  The Lord took “some of the Spirit” that was on Moses “and put it on the seventy elders” of Israel (Num. 11:25), and they “prophesied in the camp” (Num. 11:26). In the same way, our risen Lord Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost — the 50th day and the “Eighth Sunday” of Easter. When “a sound like a mighty rushing wind” and “tongues as of fire appeared” and rested on each of the 12 apostles, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” and proclaimed “the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:2–4, 11). The Lord Jesus grants this same Spirit to His Church on earth to proclaim Him glorified on the cross and risen victorious from the grave for us sinners. From His open heart, our crucified and risen Lord pours out His Holy Spirit in “rivers of living water” (John 7:38) and invites everyone who thirsts to come to Him and drink freely (John 7:37). Through this life-giving work of the Holy Spirit, we hear our pastors “telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God” (Acts 2:11), and “everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

Vexillology is the study of flags. What color on the flags above stand out?  

The header photo on top, and on your right is the Altar at Concordia Lutheran Mission for Pentecost.  In the Church Year, the color is red for Pentecost, symbolizing the fire of the Holy Spirit and the tongues of fire that rested on the ApostlesWe put up the flags as a reminder that beginning at Pentecost, and to this day, 2,000 years later that the nations hear the Word of God in their own language (Acts 2:  6 and 11). The Lord is the Lord of all nations.

Red is also the color for the Altar (paraments)  and Pastor (vestments) for the feast days of martyrs.  Red signifies blood.  In the flags of nations, shedding of blood can mean valor and strength.  Valor and strength risking one’s life in defense of a nation: remember D-Day. Red also signifies the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s fire to burn away the dross of sin (the Law) and lightened us with warmth of the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and for the valor and strength of the martyrs who confessed Christ with their blood.

The blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit is for you!  Jesus died for the life of the world. The many flags of the world with the color of red can be a salutary reminder that God so loved the world, He gave His only-begotten Son.  His blood covers the earth. In an intimate connection, red can remind us of the Holy Spirit:  The Holy Spirit who is God before time and in the beginning,  “…was hovering over the face of the waters.”  (Genesis 1). The Holy Spirit who descended on the 120 Galileans gathered in Jerusalem and then gave the gift of language to speak the Gospel for all the nations gathered there for Pentecost (Acts 2: 6-11).  The Holy Spirit, as the Son taught concerning the Spirit, “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16: 14). 

The Holy Spirit’s book is the Bible and the core curriculum is Christ for us and for our salvation.  Many translations of the Bible have the words of Christ in the color of red. The Lord sends out the Apostles as witnesses (John 16:27), with the Spirit to forgive and retain sin (John 20: 21-23).  He sent them baptizing and teaching  “all nations”  (Matthew 28: 19-20): all races, tribes, tongues and peoples.  As we are baptized in the Name of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are baptized in the Holy Spirit.  This is for all nations as even the secular flags of the world give mute witness to the Lord of all nations shedding His blood for the life of the world and sending the Holy Spirit in His Church to preach the Blood of Christ. The Holy Spirit witnesses to the Son in His blood of the New Testament beginning in Baptismal waters, as John sums it up for us:

This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify:the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son.  (1 John 3)

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)

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Lessons: Isaiah 11: 1-5 Psalm 138 Romans 12: 9-16 St. Luke 1: 39-56

Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and despised. Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities  is set in  London and Paris, powerful world capitals, during the seismic upheaval of the French Revolution.  Another familiar fiction title referencing twin power centers is from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second book, The Two Towers.  The one tower  is in the land of Mordor and the other in Isengard:  the former  tower is in the dark abode of the dark lord, Sauron  and the latter, under the control of a ‘white’ wizard Saruman tempted and fallen into the lies of Sauron. Saruman’s is called the Black Tower.  Closer to home, the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan were a conspicuous sign of corporate power and influence, no doubt the reason for them being a target for the murderers from the east.

Luke began his Gospel with the narrative of the birth of John the Baptist and of Jesus and so the central figures are their Mothers: Elizabeth and Mary and the story of  their pregnancies.  Luke chapter 1 could be called, “The Tale of Two Wombs”.   

Reflect with me on the contrast between a tale of two cities and the Tale of Two Wombs.  Elizabeth bore John, the forerunner of the Christ, and Mary, the Mother of the Lord.  Both narratives have this in common: both are about power, but power of wholly/holy different kinds. Yes, power exerts influence over nations and peoples but Tolkien’s two towers  are about the power to wage war with the engines of war.    The blessed wombs of Elizabeth and Mary are about peace, the peace of God which surpasses understanding which keeps our hearts and minds in Christ (Philippians 4:7).  The cities and towers of this world offer temporal peace, the children of Elizabeth and Mary give eternal peace, not as the world gives. 

The influence of the two different twos make are considerable.  The former is terror over the hearts and minds of men and the latter comfort for sinners to repent from hatred and greed to the living God. The Gospel midst the terrors of nations is that war will one day cease and the peace of Kingdom of God will have no end.  The tale of two cities and towers are about death. The tale of the two wombs are about life, eternal life.

The figures of Saruman and Sauron fascinate us with their aura, even mysticism of the raw exercise of influence…and evil. The origin of the word “fascinate” is most interesting:

“1590s, “bewitch, enchant,” from Middle French fasciner (14c.), from Latin fascinatus, past participle of fascinare “bewitch, enchant, fascinate,” from fascinus “a charm, enchantment, spell, witchcraft,” which is of uncertain origin. Earliest used of witches and of serpents, who were said to be able to cast a spell by a look that rendered one unable to move or resist. Sense of “delight, attract and hold the attention of” is first recorded 1815.

“To fascinate is to bring under a spell, as by the power of the eye; to enchant and to charm are to bring under a spell by some more subtle and mysterious power. [Century Dictionary] (Online Etymology Dictionary)

The point is another comparison between the ‘twos of this world” and the two wombs, the true stories of Elizabeth and Mary, and it lies with us, the Old Adam and Eve wanting to be like God, controlling good and evil…or we think we can. We enjoy  and are fascinated by those who are apt at the exercise of power in this world, but the tale of two wombs is  not fascinating because this is power sadly foreign in the world of sin: the power to create life and recreate life.

“Fascinate” has to do with being bewitched, under a spell.  Man needs something to break that spell.  In the stillness of the Visitation we drawn away from spells of the evil one. In Luke chapter 1, is the Verbal icon of  the sheer beauty of these two women. It is my opinion that the thousands of painting and icons of the Visitation are mute proof of the joy of this embrace.  There is no joy in Mordor nor at a guillotine, and joy abounded when Mary visits Elizabeth. When Mary goes to see Elizabeth, her kinswoman, the encounter is celebrated with this feast day:  The Visitation.  This visitation is no “power lunch”, no high stakes conference.  The Visitation is beautiful because of the great grace of God unveiled in their wombs for the fallen sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve.  There is no beauty in Mordor nor at a guillotine because it is devoid of agape, of love.  There is power  in the Visitation: the power to save and give life not to destroy and take life. If the fascination of the Old Adam is a spell and the enchantment of evil (and I think it is), then the Visitation begins to break the spell.    This is the true story of the light shining in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1) The spell is broken finally and fully at the Cross of the Son of Mary. He breaks the power of sin and evil and gives eternal life.

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Pentecost Eve

Lessons:

Exodus 19:1-9  Psalm 113   Romans 8:12-27  St. John 14:8-21

 Intro:  Pentecost is the third, but by no means the last, of the Three Great Holy Days of the Christian Church year.  Each day, and its season, corresponds to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

  • Christmas, originally Christ Mass, is the celebration of God the Father.  God the Father in the fullness of time sends His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary and He is the Word made flesh.
  • Easter, or Pascha, is the celebration of God the Son, Who after His earthly ministry and then sufferings, crucifixion, rises again on the Third Day.
  • Then Pentecost, 50 Days after Pascha, the Holy Spirit is publicly poured out upon the 120 (Acts 1: 15) gathered together and they begin to speak of wonderful deeds of the Lord He accomplished in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  

As the Holy Trinity is one so are the 3 great feast days of His Church.

Reflection:  The word “spirit” in Biblical Hebrew is “ruah”.  Spirit in Biblical Greek is “pneuma”.   Our English word, which is from the Latin, “spirare” translates well both Hebrew and Greek: all three words can also be translated as “breath” or “wind”.  So our Lord uses these different definitions in a word play  in John 3.  Scripture reports in Acts 2 that the descent of the Holy Spirit was like a “mighty rushing wind.”

Now our English word “spirit” and it’s Latin original “spirare” is also the second syllable of these following words and taken together form a whole Bible study of the work of the Holy Spirit.

  • expire
  • respire
  • inspire
  • conspire
  • transpire
  • perspire
  • aspire

Expire:  literally without breath .The “s” has dropped out in our pronunciation.  We were dead in our trespasses, spiritually dead, expired.  In sin we are spiritually in the tomb with Lazarus until the Lord calls out by His Word: Come out!   When we sin again we are without breath till repentance and forgiveness.

Respire:  literally, to breathe again. The Holy Spirit performs resuscitation in the work and word of Jesus Christ so we  can breathe again.

Inspire:   breathe in.  All Scripture is inspired by God, God-breathed.  He breathes in the Word and makes it alive as Jesus Christ is alive.  Scripture is also for the Holy Spirit to rebuke sin and reconcile us once again to the Lord.  Every Word of the Bible, either Law or Gospel, is inspired.

Conspire:  literally breathe together.  The Holy Spirit builds us up in Christ to the glory of God the Father, a holy conspiracy, that is, His Church so that the Word is preached, taught, administered, served, confessed and believed upon in the world.

Transpire:  literally breathed across, as in the whole history of Israel culminating in the 3 great feast days of the church and in the Church today till the day when forgiveness will no longer be needed in the Resurrection and the new heavens and earth: Come, Lord Jesus, come. The Spirit and the Bride say come!

Perspire:  literally breathe through, that is sweat! The Holy Spirit works and man sweats, when we know the depth of our wrong and nothing we can do to extricate our selves from it.  We sweat and panic and the Holy Spirit blows upon us the Word of Christ to soothe,cool, heal…forgive and so make us holy. 

Aspire:  to breathe towards, to want to do better.  We can not aspire and be saved on our own, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ.  But once baptized and forgiven, we aspire to be made holy in our lives through faith, the fruit of which is love, joy, peace, etc. by walking in the Spirit, feeding on His Word and Sacrament day by day, for as branches are to the vine, we can do nothing without Him.

All of these words describe the work of the Holy Spirit in the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ.  The Holy Spirit is not an independent operator but works in perfect sync with the Father and the Son, who is forever to be worshiped and glorified in His Church, one God, one Lord,  both now and forever. Amen!

 Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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Concordia and Koinonia

Lessons:

Exodus 19:1-9  Psalm 113   Romans 8:12-27  St. John 14:8-21

 Intro:  Pentecost is the third, but by no means the last, of the Three Great Holy Days of the Christian Church year.  Each day, and its season, corresponds to the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

  • Christmas, originally Christ Mass, is the celebration of God the Father.  God the Father in the fullness of time sends His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary and He is the Word made flesh.

  • Easter, or Pascha, is the celebration of God the Son, Who after His earthly ministry and then sufferings, crucifixion, rises again on the Third Day.

  • Then Pentecost, 50 Days after Pascha, the Holy Spirit is publicly poured out upon the 120 (Acts 1: 15) gathered together and they begin to speak of wonderful deeds of the Lord He accomplished in the death and…

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This quote is from Doctor Johann Gerhard’s, An Explanation of the History of the Suffering and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the four evangelists, presented so that we may be awakened in the knowledge of the love of Christ and may blessedly grow according to the inner man (1663). I think this also serves as an apt commentary in part on the Pentecost Gospel (Year A): St. John 7:37-39 .-Pr. Schroeder

Since Christ thirsted for us, our soul indeed should in turn rightly thirst for Him, even as David had such a spiritually thirsty soul, Psa. 42 As the deer cries out for fresh water, so cries out my soul, O God, for You. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, as if to say: You are the well of Life, with You there is a living fountain, Psa. 36. Thus thirsts also my exhausted soul and languishes for You. Psa. 63: God, You are my God; my soul thirsts for You. My flesh longs for You in a dry and parched land, where there is no water. It is as if he means to say: My soul’s thirst cannot be satisfied with temporal things; they all are dry and arid. However, the Tree of Life is able to quench it. Psa. 143: My soul thirsts for You like an arid land. Whoever, then, will drink this water, which God the Lord gives to a soul that thirsts for Him, such a person will not thirst in eternity, as Christ teaches, John 4. Yea, He also wants to give the thirsty to drink free of charge from the well of living Water, Revelation, chapter 21.

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Bede (673-735) was the last of the early church fathers and the first to compile the history of the English church. Born in Northumbria, Bede was given by his parents to a monastery in Northern England at the age of seven. The most learned man of his time, he was a prolific writer of history, whose careful use of sources provided a model for historians in the Middle Ages. Known best for his book, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, he was also a profound interpreter of Scripture; his commentaries are still fresh today. His most famous disciple, Cuthbert, reported that Bede was working on a translation of John’s Gospel into English when death came, and that he died with the words of the Gloria Patri on his lips. He received the title “Venerable” within two generations of his death and is buried in Durham Cathedral as one of England’s greatest saints.

About the year 680, at the age of seven, a boy was sent by his parents to the monastery of Monkwearmouth, in the country known today as Ireland by his family to be educated later by Abbot Ceolfrith, recognized as saintly. The abbot and the boy  were at the monastery in Jarrow  and most likely the boy had become a monk. In 686, plague broke out at Jarrow. The only two surviving monks were capable of singing the full offices; one was Ceolfrith and the other a young boy, who according to the anonymous writer had been taught by Ceolfrith. The two managed to do the entire service of the liturgy until others could be trained. The young boy was almost certainly Bede.  In the middle of a lock down of a virus, the courage and bravery of the Abbot and Bede during a plague, should shame us today who want to stay away from Church. There is no ‘virtual Church’, only the Church, the Body of Christ, a body of virtue in the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of their faith in Christ endures. We thank the Lord for this pastor.

My times are in your hand (Ps. 31). We know what the Lord’s hands look like:  imprinted with nails as His feet. The Lord Himself in the flesh knew and knows the uncertainty of the times marked by trial and temptation, sore abuse and scorn of sinners, us.  By His hands He has delivered us and Bede and Ceolfrith. Another church body has as it’s motto, God’s Work, our hands but it should read, God’s Work, Christ’s Hands.  My times are in your hand.   This is a meaning of our Lord’s Ascension: His hands, the nail imprinted hands can now be everywhere at the right hand of the Father bringing the message of Savior and His so great a salvation by His forgiveness to the world, a timorous, prideful, fearful, vengeful world.

Bede died on the Feast of the Ascension, Thursday, 26 May 735, on the floor of his cell, singing “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”. He was buried at Jarrow. Bede wrote the hymn, A Hymn of Glory Let Us Sing, centered on our Lord’s Ascension.

Let us pray…Heavenly Father, when he was still a child You called Your servant Bede to devote his life to serve You in the venerable disciplines of religion and scholarship.  As he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of Your truth to his generation, grant that we may also strive to make You known in all the world in our various vocations;  through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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Let us pray…O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Sermon at Concordia Lutheran Mission: There is a movie about Jesus Christ, entitled “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. Without doubt the true story of God becoming man,sending His only begotten Son to be born of the virgin Mary, attended by a cast of thousands but only seen by shepherds, grow up, learn His step father Joseph’s trade as the “son of the carpenter”, be baptized in the Jordan like a sinner, who knew no sin to bear the sin of the world, preach, teach, do mighty deeds and signs, touch the world, then be rejected, betrayed and denied and just as He said: then be crucified, and on the third day rise from the dead, is the greatest true story ever told, ever lived. In fact St. John tells us that all the books in the world can not contain what He said and did…

But the narrative did not stop there…and it is a story, the greatest and it is a story of an adventure. We heard on Ascension Thursday the first lesson from the beginning of Acts.  We note with wonder that the Lord ascended into heaven but that was just the beginning…the powerful deed was the Lord’s Word, He send out the apostles:  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  The Lord had equipped them by teaching them day and day out for three years, the volumes of God’s Word.  He told them He was sending them into hostile territory, not safe, facing persecution and death to bring the Word of life to dying people.  He then tells them He Himself would equip them in the Holy Spirit to the ends of the earth as His witnesses, Greek word of witness, martyrs. A Jewish diplomat and theologian Pinchas Lapide said the only accounting of Christianity is that Jesus did bodily rise from the dead, but I think more.  12 Galilean fishermen and others go into the world, the Roman Empire with message of Christ and Him crucified.  What would a Las Vegas bookie put the odds for them to succeed?

In Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo has been charged by Gandalf to bring the ring of power to Rivendell…and eventually to Mount Doom…Frodo is accompanied by his gardener and friend, Sam-wise Gamgee. When not far from their home in the Shire, the two of them are walking through a field, and Sam stops dead in his tracks. Frodo turns around and asks him, What is it, Sam? “The next step I’ll take will be the farthest from home I have ever been.”  Sam then crossed his Rubicon.  Can you imagine the Apostle Peter, his whole lived on the shores of the Sea of Galilee…would preach in Rome and there be crucified upside down. Thomas was said to have evangelized in India. 11 of the12 apostles were martyred.

Later in Lord of the Rings, when all is hopeless, their world is being destroyed by evil, these two small hobbits on aseemingly fool’s errand, Frodo burdened by ring, Sam, what’s the use. Sam:

“I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.”

 The apostles kept going because they had something to hold on to.  Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Kept=imprison, that’s keeping something close.  And more, Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. The church kept the truth as the Lord kept them…us. An adventure…advent, to come, to draw near, that is the Lord.

The disciples kept His Word as He kept them safe, their souls and their bodies unto the Day.  Jesus prayed for His disciples. He interceded, prayed for them all.  He still does. Romans 8: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”   Christ is ascended. He is ascended, indeed, allelulia!  The Lord sent His disciples into the world, but, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  verses 16-17, as Jesus prays for His apostolic Church and the disciples. 

 The Apostle Peter’s encouragement is needed today as it was then:

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

From the Ascension to Pentecost, the Apostles, Mary and women joined together in prayer, not a marathon church council meeting nor a Synod or district assembly.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  It is not that in Christ Jesus we are NOT going have anxiety.  We will. It is what it is done with it:  according to God’s Word.  Note:  The Word first says we can cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares FOR YOU.  Luther wrote that the words FOR YOU are the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Casting is praying.   He can take it.  He has on the Cross.  All our anxieties take us away from the Lord and each other.  And the devil uses them as such .  The devil knows that anxieties are his segue way into something worse, that is temptation and sin. The devil wants you to always be looking inside and not outside for help, that is, to the Lord.  Anxieties are not the last word:  Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and grace in His Church is the first Word and the last Word.

Be sober-minded; be watchful.

Sober-minded in regards to what is happening in the world. As I read religion articles in the secular news, they are mostly anti-religion articles, especially, anti-Christian, even antichrist articles.  Watchful yes and sober-minded about it all because no one can respond to it all.  

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The devil in false doctrine, remembers, does not want you to know that Jesus died and rose for you and your salvation:  period.  He will always be trying to turn that period into a comma and all the while sounding mighty pious and religious and spiritual about the whole thing, again see Islam and Mormonism.

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Temptation is common to the brotherhood through the world.  In the  wealthy city, of Wenzhou in China,  which has many Christians, the State had ordered all the crosses to be removed from church buildings because of “building codes”, all of a sudden.   A few years back, In Sudan, a Muslim woman, Meriam Ibrahim,  married to a Christian, Daniel,  herself became a Christian.  She was condemned to death for conversion, accused of “apostasy”.  She was pregnant when arrested and she gave birth in prison while her legs were shackled. Even so, she gave birth to her daughter.   In our country too many want to remove all mention of the Cross of Christ from the public square or even churches lifting up the cross and the preaching of the Crucified right out of churches.  The devil devours, he does not take little bites. Steadfast in the faith is steadfast in the doctrine, the sound doctrine as Jesus intercedes, prays,  for us all.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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Let us pray…O Lord, almighty and everlasting God, You commanded us to pray and have promised to hear us. Mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may direct and govern our hearts in all things that we may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of Your Name; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,one God, now and forever. Amen.

New Testament Reading: Luke 18:1-17 The Parable of the Persistent Widow

‘And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3  And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary! ‘For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, ‘yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.”‘ ‘And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. ‘And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 11 tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will find faith on earth?

“…The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”   (Exodus 34:6, KJV)

 The translation of 1 Corinthians 13: 4 is usually:  “Love is patient…”   The word for “patient” is the Greek: makrothuma.   Another rendering of makrothuma and its related words is “long-suffering”.  A form of  “long-suffering” is in our Lord’s parable of the Persistent Widow,  Luke 18: 1-8.  The King James Version renders the verse,  “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?”  “Bear long with them” is a form of makrothuma, that is, the Lord long-suffers with His people as they are invited and called by the Lord to consistent and daily prayer to Him. In 2 Timothy 3: 14—4: 15, 4: 2, the Apostle  encourages his fellow pastor, “…preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience (long-suffering, makrothuma) and teaching.”

 Rev. Lockwood in his commentary on 1 Corinthians states that makrothuma,

“…is marked “not so much in the expression as in the extension of emotion, the drawing out, taming, literally the ‘lengthening’ (makro-) of emotion.  The Christian is not short-tempered, but longsuffering with others.” 

Christian long-suffering obvioiusly is not a self-cultivated virtue! It is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5: 22.  Makrothuma comes from and has it’s roots in the Lord’s long-suffering, bearing long with us all.  St. Paul knew that: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1: 16) It is clear that the Lord’s encouragement in the upcoming Gospel reading to prayer is likewise rooted and grounding in the Lord’s makrothuma

Long-suffering is so needed in this short-tempered world we live in.  Again, Rev. Lockwood comments on 1 Corinthians 13: 4, love is long-suffering: 

“In the fast-paced, achievement-oriented world entering the third millennium, when the spirit of the age tempts churches to look for quick and impressive results, it is salutary to reflect on the priority Paul accords to the love which expresses itself in being longsuffering, a love that can wait (cf. 1 Cor 1:7; 11:33; James 5:7-8).”

I assert that “long-suffering” is almost a synonym for the divine love/charity, the Lord’s perfect makrothumia.  A love that can wait:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. Psalm 62: 5

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M.V.P.D.

It seems that Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory (BBT) foretold the covid lock down and the ultimate way of surviving:

Sheldon did this, after a few physical mishaps, in order to prolong his life. Maybe we should all have mobile virtual presence devices and stay in bed, like Sheldon? With this political lock down, we are doing the about the same, except it does not work. The Lord has made us body/soul to live in His creation and yes death is there. This BBT episode is a reductio ad absurdum argument* for us. This very funny clip shows us the fallacy inherent in the lock down. By artificially prolonging our lives by sequestering ourselves, we’re actually not living as the Lord intended. We are actually committing a slow individual and societal suicide. Death may be near, and the risen Lord is nearer still.

*Reductio ad absurdum, (Latin: “reduction to absurdity”), in logic, a form of refutation showing contradictory or absurd consequences following upon premises as a matter of logical necessity and so showing the theory/practice is a fallacy, e.g. artificial prolongation of life or even a lock down, a ‘quarantine’ of well people.

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