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Archive for April 6th, 2021

Collect of the Day

We give thanks to You, O God, creator and fashioner of the universe, for the work of Your servants Albrecht Dürer and Lucas Cranach; and we pray that by the vigor and strength of their creations you would open our eyes to the wonder of life, the glories of creation, and the exploration of our place in the world; through Your son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

About: Lucas Cranach (1472-1557), a close friend of Martin Luther, was a celebrated painter of portraits and altar pieces and a producer of woodcuts of religious subjects. Albrecht Duerer (1471-1528), a native of Nuernberg, Germany, was one of the most learned of Renaissance artists and also an ardent admirer of Martin Luther. He was considered tHis paintings and woodcuts include examples of the splendor of creation and skilled portrayals of biblical narratives. Both Cranach and Duerer are remembered and honored for the grandeur of their works of art that depict the glory and majesty and the grace and mercy of the triune God.

“Who can exhaust all the virtue and power of God’s Word? The Holy Scriptures, sermons, and all Christian books do nothing but praise God’s Word, as we also do daily in our reading, writing, preaching, singing, poetizing, and in painting. This blessing abides and sustains us when the temporal blessings vanish and when through death we part from them and from one another. This blessing does not leave us or depart from us; it goes through death with us, tears us out of it, and brings us to eternal life, where there is neither death nor fear of dying.” – Martin Luther

This Durer piece is probably his most widely known work:

After Durer's Praying Hands Art Print by Peter Jochems

Lucas Cranach’s Wittenberg Altarpiece, in the Church in which Luther preached, portrays the Church nourished in Word and Sacrament which is based upon Christ’s death and Resurrection and prayer and Baptism, Altar and Absolution all go together in the crucified and risen Lord:

How Did Christians 500 Years Ago “Do Church”? | Painting, Medieval ...

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Image result for Luke 24:36-49

 

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

From Today’s Appointed Gospel Reading:

Then 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. (emphasis added)

Whatever happened to repentance? The call to repentance is hardly heard in churches these days, while “fulfillment”, “your best life now” and feel good preaching fills too many pulpits, air waves and cyberspace.  While wickedness, a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah of false teaching and practice runs unabated in church and society. The crucified and risen Lord is clear: The pattern of Christ’s death and resurrection is the pattern of the apostolic message He gives to “all nations” for the apostles to proclaim:  “repentance and forgiveness of sins”.   The 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.

 The first attack by false preachers is the Law, a question as old as the devil, “Did God say?” (Genesis 3).  The devil misuses Scripture to his own purpose when he tempted the Lord in the wilderness.  Jesus’ recourse was clear: “It is written”. He knew the Bible while we live in a time of Bible-denying ‘scholars’ and ‘scholarship’.  Once the Law is denied, so is the necessity of Christ Jesus and the call to repentance go hand in His wounded hand.  The word still stands, “… repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name (Christ’s)…” to us all. Rev. Professor Johann Gerhard (+17 August 1637) wrote:

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.

There is also 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.”

We can so die and rise because He has. We must hold fast to Christ’s command.  This is for our encouragement. The “and” in “repentance and forgiveness of sins” is important as that conjunction is not an additive but connective.  Repentance without Christ’s forgiveness is tyrannical. Forgiveness without repentance is license and fantastical.  Repentance and forgiveness of sins go together in the preaching of Christ for the balm and healing of our lives through faith by grace.  Repentance and forgiveness harvests in the Lord His resurrection life. The opening of our minds is effected by the center of the whole Bible, Jesus Christ and He holds the key to the opening of our minds: His death and resurrection for our grace, mercy and peace in His forgiveness, in the Name of the Father, +Son and Holy Spirit! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed, Alleluia!

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“CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH AND UPON THOSE IN THE TOMBS: BESTOWING LIFE!

Introduction to Bright Week: The Eastern Orthodox Churches have a great custom by calling the first week of the Paschal (Easter) Season “Bright Week”.  The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod has complete sets of propers (appointed Scripture readings, graduals, etc.) for Easter Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday which indicates that the first week of the 50 Days of the Paschal Season are significant as reported in the Bible.  Bright Week is a great way to begin the 50 Days of Pascha leading to Pentecost, as we look at what our risen Lord taught His Church for her life and mission into the world and still does.   Easter, like Christmas, is not only a day each, but  a season each.

COLLECT OF THE DAY

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

READINGS: Exodus 15:1-18 or Daniel 12:1 c-3  Psalm 100 (antiphon: v. 5) Acts 10:34-43 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b-8  Luke 24:13-49

VERSE:  Alleluia. Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Alleluia. 2 Tim. 1:10

As  Lent is time of preparation for seekers to be Baptized, then the Paschal Season is a time for the newly baptized, and the ‘oldly’ baptized as well, to be instructed in the Way of the Lord more fully.  St. Basil the Great wrote it well regarding Baptism in Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection:

“This is what it means to be born again of water and Spirit: the water accomplishes our death, while the Spirit raises us to life. This great sign of baptism is fulfilled in three immersions, with three invocations, so that the image of death might be completely formed, and the newly baptized might have their souls enlightened with divine knowledge. If there is any grace in the water, it does not come from the nature of the water, but from the Spirit’s Presence, since baptism is not a removal of dirt from the body, but an appeal to God for a clear conscience (1 Peter 3: 21)  The Lord describes in the Gospel the pattern of life we must be trained to follow after the (baptismal) resurrection: gentleness, endurance, freedom for the defiling love of pleasure, and from covetousness. We must be determined to, acquire in this life all the qualities of the life to come. To define the Gospel as a description of what resurrectional life should be like seems to be correct and appropriate, as far as I am concerned.”  (from On the Holy Spirit by St. Basil the Great; emphasis my own)

 Reflection:   St. Basil gives both a good encouragement and exhortation. The way of the Baptismal life is engendered by repentance and forgiveness as the Lord made plain on the road to Emmaus with His disciples who did not recognize Him.   The Lord taught them and then in the fullness of time, the disciples  saw it was the  Lord in the breaking of the bread as He gives us His bread for our journey as His Body, His Church.  In His Word, the Lord Jesus gave them a heart to be taught and to burn with the fire of His life and love.  In the disciples’ despair the Lord Jesus lifted them up. His Word, Incarnate, Written, Taught and Preached  is always central, foremost in our life together for His formation of His resurrectional life in us as His baptized children. The risen Lord was indeed both encouraging and exhortative on the road to Emmaus, then and today in His Word and Sacrament.  He still is! As it is written, Hebrews 3:  13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 

 “A child listens to his parents, from whom he was conceived and born, speaking to him with heart-felt desire and love. If you are born of God, then you will gladly listen to God the Lord speaking to you in His Word-especially regarding the resurrection of Christ, by which He has brought such precious gifts along for for us…O Holy Trinity, You Self-sufficient Love, ignite also in our heart this fire of Your Love!” ( Rev. Pastor and Professor Johann Gerhard, +1637)

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