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For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9

 

READINGS:  Numbers 11:4–6, 10–16, 24–29 Psalm 104: 27-35  James 5: 13–20 Mark 9:38–50

The Lord’s concern in response to the disciples’ question about the man casting out demons in Christ’s Name is like Moses’ response about Eldad and Medad receiving the Holy Spirit outside the Tent of Meeting:  Would that all people be prophets and the Lord’s Spirit be upon them! The Lord’s will is all people to be saved in the sheer gift of Himself to know Him and love Him and love our neighbors aright. 

“As a true servant of God, who was not jealous for his own honor, but desired only the extension of God’s influence and power, Moses wished only for a further extension of the Lord’s gift of grace. A little more of this same Spirit in our days would help to solve many of the problems of the Church.” (From The Popular Commentary (1924), by Dr. Paul Kretzmann, Lutheran Pastor and Scholar)

The Lord’s solution of political problems is not pastors, ministers and priests offering political solutions to people who suffer from the spiritual problem of sin.  The Lord’s solution is salvation in teaching and preaching Christ, His Cross, His resurrection and ascension, His Word of Law and Promise. Not a pope nor a president telling us pollution is bad, or abortion for that matter, but God’s Word and teaching thus sayeth the Lord from the  Bible.  The greatest apostolic ministry is not first casting out demons, that is, rare, but receiving a cup of water because, beloved in the Lord, “you belong to Christ”.  You belong to Christ. This means the person giving the cup of water to one of Jesus’ own, is beginning to believe through the grace of God in, through and with His Son Jesus Christ and that is quite a reward.

The one who has given the apostle a cup of cold water because He belongs to Christ, one of the little ones, like the child Jesus enfolded into His arms, and so Jesus is clear:  the greatest sin is to cause him or her believing in Christ to sin. So solemnly in a three-fold repetition

If your hand causes you to sin …

If your foot causes you to sin …

If you your eye causes you to sin

“Causes you to sin” in Greek is root of our word scandal, which was something that  causes you to stumble, into sin.  Now it is clear my hand does not think nor does the eye nor does the foot.  Oh, my hand hit you, now hand apologize and cut it out. That’s an absurdity as is sin.  Jesus knows what needs to be cut out.  He already taught earlier in chapter 7 the defilement comes out of the heart:  “evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, etc.”.   Cut it out. Arduously keeping the Law of God will cut out some outward behaviors, which is good, but the heart condition remains. The Lord by His Law shows us the true source of the offense:  the heart, that is, the will.  He has cut out the blockages of sin and death and hell.  He cut it out in His Body upon the Cross. Salt stings in order to preserve.

“Christ here mentions some other members that are very apt to offend, to commit sin, to lead others into sin. The law of sin is always active in our members. Here it is necessary that a person keep these members in subjection. For the Lord speaks figuratively and does not want to be understood, as Luther says, that He here advocates physical mutilation or dismemberment, since that would obviously not take the sin and the desire to sin out of the heart. It is the heart which must be controlled by the spirit of love toward Christ and our neighbor, in order that the hand, the foot, the eye do not perform that which sin desires them to do.”  (From The Popular Commentary (1924), by Dr. Paul Kretzmann, Lutheran Pastor and Scholar)

Cutting it off is called confession, cutting it out to be healed in His forgiveness. His Word like a surgeon’s scalpel cuts to heal. “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole;  There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul.” The costly balm is Christ’ blood.

Churches have greatly watered down the Word of God to make it palatable for ourselves and the results have been disastrous, tolerating all sorts of sin, as in marriage, thus causing one of the little ones who believe in Christ to sin. Look at what the rampant sexual immorality of our time has cost children in divorce, abuse, pornography…and so let’s water down the saltiness of the Law of God  which mean  no repentance, no return to the Lord your God for He is merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Still:  “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; There is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin sick soul”.

Jesus is clear:  the result is hell, where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. We have watered down hell.   Hell has been watered down for people who don’t believe it, but note that it is still in full force for someone I don’t like! Then the belief is quite strong!  Hell is not merely fictional frightening children’s tale to scare, “…rather, they are true reason publicly proclaimed with a straightforward voice.” (St. Basil).    Hell is where the stink of putrefying sin always feeds the worms, the maggots.  Such is a world which harvests aborted infants’ body parts, commits genocide, beheads Christians and others, says nothing to “hooking-up”, or getting ahead at all costs using people is okay, its called being a “winner”.  Hell is a Biblical doctrine.  The Lord wants no one in hell, but all to be saved and come to the knowledge of Christ.

The list of ingredients on a food package always begin in descending order with  ingredient that is the most and salt is not usually the main ingredient.  In the Church, and proclaimed throughout the world, the main ingredient is the Name of Jesus Christ for us and our salvation.  When salt becomes more important than the main ingredient then there are problems.  When our theological solutions become more important than Christ our Lord, not interpreting truly the Scriptures, the Word of God, then men follow manmade doctrines such as the office of the pope, as the head of the church. He’s not, Christ is, as the Bible makes clear.  During the Pope’s visit, they had a canonization Mass in D.C.  As one reporter said, The pope made a new saint today.  No, he did not, most emphatically, none of the 266 popes ever made a saint.  The church does not make saints, Christ Jesus does.  The saints in Christ are His baptized, His little ones, not the great ones.  Salt does not make salt. The Lord does.  You are the salt of the earth. Not you should be, you must be, you can be, or we’ll make you salt.  You ARE.  Not by your doing, nor your works, but by the gracious work and word of Jesus Christ, whose we are, is who we are.    

The lesson ends with Jesus speaking of salt.  He did this early, Matthew 5:  Y’all are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost it’s saltiness what is it good, except to be thrown out and trampled on by men.  Funny thing though:  salt, sodium chloride, is quite the stable compound and does not lose it’s saltiness.  You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. You shall not let the salt of the covenant  with your God be missing from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. Leviticus 2: 13.  The Lord’s covenant, His testaments, old and new endure as salt, stable.  His promises fulfilled in Christ are there, His Word for us and for our salvation.  The very Word wounded for our sin.

Salt is a cheap grocery item in our day, but not back in the time of Christ.  Salty ocean water had to dry out and the salt gathered which could be filled with impurities. The impurities would dissipate the saltiness of salt and so salt loses is saltiness and becomes worthless.   So does the  impurities of  false doctrine, and unrepentant sin.

“Where the salt loses its saltiness, and the Gospel is spoiled with doctrines of men, there the old Adam no longer can be spiced, there the worms will grow. But salt is sharp; therefore it is necessary to have patience and peace in the salt.” (Martin Luther)

And sayeth the Lord, “ You will be salted with fire:   the fire of His Law and judgment, the fire of His mercy for sinners the fire of the Holy Spirit purging and renewing His Church;  the fire of His love for you and our neighbors to know the peace of God surpassing  human understanding.  His Word is our salt, preserving and flavoring our lives, making us thirsty for the draught of His Baptism and His Word. The word “salary” comes from the Latin for “salt”.  Roman soldiers received a stipend for salt.  My Dad told me that in the army, part of the rations was a salt tablet because it was indispensable to stay alive and keep on going.  His Word is the salt of the testament in Jesus. Have this salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another, the salt of the new and everlasting covenant in His Body and Blood. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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I recently received an e-mail from our TV provider with this subject line: “Don’t let your Sundays go to waste!  Every game, every Sunday.  GET NFL SUNDAY TICKET”

If we don’t receive every game, every Sunday then the Lord’s day goes to waste? I don’t think so.  I like football but football is not the main attraction on a Sunday.  When Bill Clinton was president, The New York Times had an ad for their rag showing  Bill Clinton holding up a copy of the Times’ Sunday edition with the caption:  “Sunday was made for The New York Times”.  I don’t think so.  We go to waste without His forgiveness, His Body and Blood, His every Word in preaching and praise:  go to waste as in starving to death.  No wonder our nation is going to waste.  There are no tickets to buy in the Church, Christ’s own Body but His Cross the sign of our admission, His price, in repentance and His peace.  Indeed, don’t let the Lord’s Sunday go waste!

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Just before today’s lesson, Jesus took Peter, James and John up the mountain and Jesus was transfigured, He shone with unborrowed light and no less than Moses and Elijah converse with Jesus upon the mountain.  The Father spoke from the numinous cloud of glory and said, This is my beloved Son.  Listen to Him.  This was a vision bar none. This was a powerful sign of heaven upon earth.  They come down from the Mountain of Transfiguration and the other nine disciples, in Jesus’ absence, are arguing with the crowds, and the scribes are arguing with the disciples.  We are not told what they are arguing about. Argument and dispute by themselves do not make faith, even righteous anger does not, “…for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).    And so much of talk radio and television is someone yelling at us in anger about what is wrong.

The disciples could not cast out the “deaf and mute spirit” within the boy.  Peter, James and John were not with their brother apostles, but with them they would flee Jesus after His arrest.  You think Peter, James and John, after the Transfiguration, should have known better after the spiritual high bar none of the Mountain of Transfiguration, but miraculous signs do not create faith.  Neither does hardship, as in, “there are no atheists in foxholes (or as I heard it said, in ratlines)”.  Once the felt spiritual high is gone, and the hardship, as the feeling goes, so goes the supposed faith.

 So what creates and makes faith? Answer: the Word of God, and Jesus is the Word made flesh.   Faith is  not from us and we know what comes from the human heart. The Law of God comes not from us, but from God and shows us ourselves and what we can do in Christ in love of God and neighbor. Faith comes from Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Father, the one God and Lord.  The Father says:  Listen to Him.   

 When Peter, James and John, kneeling on the Mountain of Transfiguration look up, they see Jesus alone, that is, the Word made flesh. Today’s lesson is a lesson as Bible is always about:   the Word of God.  Listen to Him. The Word of God is not about spiritual self-satisfaction but for the Holy Spirit to ever make us holy, to enlarge heart, soul and mind in service to our neighbors, to teach the Gospel, the increase of virtue, not to be saved but because we are saved. The Word of God preached and taught among the towers of Babel today as the Church is to listen to Christ to live His Word in the current faithless generation. And a second time the crowds come running to Jesus when it seems they see Jesus is about to do another miracle and Jesus quickly heals the boy.  They came for the sign, but not for the Word of Christ.  And as Jesus said An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah” that is. the sign of the Cross, the sign of His blood and our redemption.

St. Augustine:  “Look now, blessed Jesus, from your holy hill.[1] See your true believers with a throng about them who delight in nothing but to question and contradict and perpetually dispute. Open their eyes, O Lord, that they may see you, and being amazed at the beauty of your truth, come running to adore you.”

In a similar vein, when the Apostle Paul went to Athens and goes to the Areopagus, Mars Hill, Luke reports, “Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.”  We do not know what the scribes and the disciples were arguing about.  We live in an age in which the delight “to question and contradict and perpetually dispute” now can happen in cyber-speed of the internet on countless blogs, discussion groups, chat rooms, articles upon articles.  There can be no cyber-Church, a virtual reality Church, there is only the Body of Christ, here and now and around countless altars and pulpits in the face to face learning in faith. Christ in His Word, His Body and Blood is our only hope in this faithless generation.  Jesus said to the people about the boy: Bring him to Me.   When in the midst of the arguing, they see Jesus down from the Mountain of Transfiguration:  the crowd comes running to Jesus.  May we ever run to Christ! May we ever run to Christ, not for a sign but for His grace, mercy and peace. May we ever run and walk and speak His Word!  May we not be ashamed of Him and His Word in this crooked generation!  May we ever speak His truth in His love!   May we ever learn Jesus Christ so that our ears are open to the Word and our mouths to teach and sing His Word.

They were faithless generation and today education is to teach us to have faith in ourselves but not faith in God: who is more trustworthy?  Men lie, God does not.  But men, even those not of faith, know there is truth.  The lessons are about education, listening, learning and living.  

 The Lord God has given me
    the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with a word
    him who is weary.
Morning by morning he awakens;
    he awakens my ear
    to hear as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear (Isaiah 50: 4-5a, Pentecost 16 O.T. Reading) 

The Lord God opened Isaiah’s ear and purpose of listening and learning is living as a servant to someone else, “…how to sustain with a word him who is weary.” Jesus spent time with the Father of his sick son.  He asked about him.  Jesus was sustaining him with a word and he was weary. In a youth group I served, there was young man with epilepsy.  It was his father that cared for him and was weary and worried about him.  It was a  long struggle. Jesus hung in with the Father and his son and us. Maybe the Father’s question to Jesus to “have compassion on us” was off.  Education is not only about “getting a job” but living a vocation in service to others. Itis also about compassion.

Jesus diagnosed the boy’s problem, “…you mute and deaf spirit”.  “O Lord open my lips and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise”, is the opening Psalm verse for Matins or Morning Prayer.  Jesus opened the ears of a deaf man and loosed his tongue.  Education, especially Christian education is about the Lord through His Word, as the Word is the Lord, to teach us to hear His Word, learning His Word and live His Word.  In the banalities of the internet Babel, the endless cacophony of sound bites from pundits, politicians and personalities, our culture has a mute and deaf spirit, as it made the boy, to fall into fire and water, out of control. We can not bring the culture and society  to the Lord, but He brings us to Himself in the good news of our salvation and is Lord of all. It is like Mom or Dad bringing their child to school.  Bring him to Me, said Jesus.  We were brought to the Lord’s house by either family or friend in the very work of the Holy Spirit because of Jesus upon the Cross, risen from the dead.  In Baptism, we first learned Christ, died in Him, rose in Him.  We can bring others to Him.  

The Lord does not call us to preach and teach ourselves but Christ and His Word of Law and Promise.  And James’ Epistle is about teaching and the way the pastors and the all of Christ’s Church are to be careful in what and who they teach and preach.

In the 13th century,  when St Bonaventure was in great repute, teaching theology in Paris, and attracting a general esteem and admiration by his works, St Thomas Aquinas went one day to see him, and requested him to show him what books he used for his studies.

Then Bonaventure, conducting him to his little chamber, showed him some very common books that were on his table. But Thomas gave him to understand that he desired to see the other books from which he derived so many marvelous things.

Bonaventure  then showed him a small prayer chapel, with nothing in it but a crucifix: “There, Father,” said he, “is all my other books; this is the principal one from which I draw all I teach, and all I write.”  If my tongue does not teach and preach according to Christ and His Cross, and the Law of God, then the tongue is like rudder steering the ship in the wrong direction, like a bit that does not guide the horse, like a spark that simply inflames with fire, all heat and no light.  No human being can control the tongue, James wrote.  He knew Who controls the tongue to teach whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things, (Philippians 4: 8) and finally and fully the center of all human history:  the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He teaches us to pray ever in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 


 

[1] Cf. Psalm 2:6; 3:4

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Collect of the Day

O God, enkindled with the fire of Your love, Your servant Bernard of Clairvaux became a burning and a shining light in Your Church. By Your mercy, grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline and may ever walk in Your presence as children of light; through Jesus Christ. our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

About Bernard: A leader in Christian Europe in the first half of the twelfth century AD, Bernard is honored in his native France and around the world. Born into a noble family in Burgundy in 1090, Bernard left the affluence of his heritage and entered the monastery of Citeaux at the age of twenty-two. After two years, he was sent to start a new monastic house at Clairvaux. His work there was blessed in many ways. The monastery at Clairvaux grew in mission and service, eventually establishing some sixty-eight daughter houses. Bernard is remembered not only for his charity and political abilities but especially for his preaching and hymn composition. The hymn texts “O Jesus, King Most Wonderful” and “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” are part of the heritage of the faith left by St. Bernard. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Addendum:   His zeal for the truth of the Gospel and the faith quelled many heresies.  But, “…in 1146-1147 Bernard led the preaching of the second Crusade and was sharply disappointed by its failure.” In historical retrospection, his eloquent preaching of the Crusade was misplaced.  Yet, “In his zeal he attacked the luxury of the clergy, the persecution of the Jews, and the abuses of Roman Curia.  Renowned as a great preacher, he brought to an end the pre-scholastic era, and he is sometimes called ‘the Last of the Fathers.’” (quotes from Festivals and Commemorations by Rev. Philip Pfatteicher)

Man can do many impressive things, after all we are created in the image of God.  Man’s reason and capabilities still have the broken fragments of the image of God in them and do great things, that people marvel at human ingenuity and invention, but they save only in time and for a time. Applauding our creations is finally clapping at a mirror. There is an intimate urgency in man that cries:  there must be more. That cry results either in pride or despair, better despair to hear the Gospel for our repair.  Pride in the abilities we have is wrong as we think our talents come from our selves.    We have called our selves “Homo Sapiens”, “Wise Man” and “Homo Faber”, “Creator Man”.  We are not self-created. As a species, we humans think more highly of ourselves than we ought (cf. Romans 12:3). The Lord holds before our eyes and hearts the perfect icon or image of Himself: His Son upon the Cross (cf. Colossians 1:15). 

Bernard of Clairvaux wrote of this:  

We must hate and shun that presumption which would lead us to glory in goods not our own, knowing that they are not of ourselves but of God, and yet not fearing to rob God of the honor due unto Him…. Ignorance is brutal, arrogance is devilish. Pride only, the chief of all iniquities, can make us treat gifts as if they were rightful attributes of our nature, and, while receiving benefits, rob our Benefactor of His due glory…

We do need to fear “…to rob God the honor due unto Him”, because in faith in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, everything we see, hear, touch and smell we know by true faith are His gifts toward us and in the fullness of time our redemption in Christ.  Bernard continued:

The Father of Christ, who makes all things new, is well pleased with the freshness of those flowers and fruits and the beauty of the field that breathes forth such heavenly fragrance. And He says in benediction, “See, the smell of My Son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed” (Gen. 27:27). Blessed to overflowing, indeed, since of His fullness have we all received (John 1:16).

Be Thou my consolation,

My shield, when I must die;

Remind me of Thy passion

When my last hour draws nigh.

Mine eyes shall then behold Thee,

Upon Thy cross shall dwell,

My heart by faith enfold Thee.

Who dieth thus dies well.

—O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

(LSB 450:7)

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Crucifix and ChaliceWhen terribly sick, a person needs strong medicine, even a simple infection and a patient is told by the doctor to finish the antibiotic medication, even though the infection is gone. Seems like overkill, as in cancer treatments:  long course of  chemotherapy and/or radiation. Strong medicine.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ! (Ephesians 4: 17-20)

One of the unholy trinities is the world, the flesh and the devil.  A world given over to “sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” and sensuality and impurity is paraded every day from internet porn to television shows to news reports on the results of sensuality and impurity:  std’s, murder, greed. The world’s cancer has metastasized.   We no longer legally sell human beings, human flesh, thank the Lord, but it is still sold and bought legally in the market places of wickedness as we have heard that human body parts of aborted babies are ‘harvested’ and  sold in the marketplaces of death. Christ came in the flesh to save us from our flesh. The Lord sent the strongest medicine that a sick world and men and women needs and could ever want on its own: the flesh and blood of the Father’s only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, God’s flesh:.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 14).  With no sin His flesh, the eternal Word cures us flesh and blood. In His flesh and body shines forth, “full of grace and truth”, His salvation for us all.  Now we cannot get more specific as to place and time, and now in Person, as the Incarnation, Christ’s flesh and blood.  His flesh alone has cured the fever and cancer in our flesh and in our spirits.  He has given His flesh upon the Cross, the Lamb of God bearing the sin of the world to make us His.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. No longer to be giving into the flesh day in and day out, but walk in the Holy Spirit, no longer tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and make no provision for the flesh.

 The Cross kills us in Christ’s flesh, as the flesh is death, the risen Lord makes alive and will, He made us alive spiritually, and will physically.  “…and I will raise him up on the last day”.   

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34: 18)

Not only is the world so darkened by the flesh turned in upon itself, but the world is always calling it new, selling it as new, but it is actually worn out, worse for wear.  It is false advertising. The Lord is clear:  deceitful lusts. Put on the new self, baptized cleansed. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  No longer wrapped up in our selves, but wrapped up in Jesus Christ, walking in the Holy Spirit, with God the Father, one God as He has made you His own. 

Beloved in the Lord!   The Lord cannot get any closer than flesh and blood, the Bread of life, Christ’s flesh and blood.  “God is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted, the oppressed, the desperate and those who have been brought to nothing” (Luther) “For I will admit that Christ is wiser than my reason or I am. Give honor to Him who is speaking here, and let Him be wiser than you.”  Christ is the Bread of Life, feeding us Himself, every Word from the mouth of God.  The Lord knows how to reveal Himself.  Without the Bread of Life, we’re toast. He is the living bread.  Bread eventually grows stale, but God’s love in Christ never grows old and gets worn out.   One of the selling points on bread these days, “no artificial ingredients”, that is, nothing man-made, but what God has made. There is nothing artificial in the Christ, the Bread of life, nothing man-made, pure flesh, made by God, pure God, very God from very God.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! (Psalm 34: 8)

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Intro:  One of the current crazes among us Lutherans is Playmobil’s “Little Luther” figurines, from Germany.  In two years we will be observing the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.  In an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”, Sheldon has conversations with a figurine of Mr. Spock whom Sheldon calls “Tiny Spock”. I wonder what Little Luther would say to a Lutheran Pastor…


“Little Luther,  you said yesterday that the Bible is basically all we need to grow the Church. Yes, the doctrines are good for growth, such as Law and Promise, justification and sanctification, but we know so many strategies, polling, surveys and the such to grow the Church.  You certainly can’t be against that?

little luther

“Pastor, you have a “the Word, but” problem!  You seem to truly know little Luther! As if  preaching and teaching the Word is non satis est, not enough, not satisfactory! Read again in the Book you are holding. I will be the apostle for you:  “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.”(2 Timothy 4: 1-2) 

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JOHN2HEROD-1

“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” St. Mark 6: 18

King Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great.  Herod the Great had his wife killed because he thought she was having an affair with one of his soldiers, then Herod had her body embalmed in honey and kept in the palace.  Herod the Great ordered the murders of all the male children under the age of two in Bethlehem because he heard from the magi that the true King of Israel was born.  Like father, like son…Herod Antipas has a luxurious banquet, a must party to be seen at, the invitations were probably coveted and did they have a story to tell after wards:  they brought in the head of the Baptizer on a dish, right into the banquet hall after Herodias’ step daughter danced for Antipas. Even though they did not go away hungry, they nevertheless went away empty and starving as that was a banquet of death. Wherever the world, even the apparently decent, cultured, fashionable world, celebrates her festivals, there the delights of feasting, of reveling and drunkenness, are indulged in, there one finds swearing, blaspheming, cursing, there gambling and dancing and rioting are the order of the day, and wine and passion inflame heart and mind. (As quoted by Pr. Kretzmann in his 1924 Commentary on the Bible).

 “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2: 16, KJV) 

The goal is to do the will of God which is life, the very life the Lord has given us by His cross and resurrection. When John preached to King Herod Antipas that his marriage was not lawful, the important word in that sermon was, “lawful”. “Lawful” means in John’s sermon, not civil law but according to the Law of God. Remember: everything legal is not necessarily lawful according to God’s Holy Law.   Herod and Herodias both knew their marriage was wrong but Herod decreed it was right and he probably liked hearing John the Baptist preach and prick his conscience, but not Herodias.  She wanted everyone to agree with her on the marriage, no one opposing. Herodias wanted no dissent, everyone in lock step with their insistence on their immorality, no free speech and especially speech which frees us to repent, the speech, the Word of God, Law and Promise.  Last week’s Gospel Jesus sent out the disciples to preach and to heal, to preach repentance of sin, turning away from death and turning toward the Lord slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  This Word means people change. Herodias would have no part of it.   Herod and Herodias denied God’s Law but God in His accusing finger of the Law, as preached by John, kept pointing out their sin.  Herod thought he had John figured out but even a larger puzzle to him was this Jesus, so Herod Antipas’ theological conclusion:  Jesus is John raised from the dead.  His theological conclusion was convenient for two reasons:  it assuage his guilty conscience as he had given the orders to decapitate John that John had risen and then secondly he thought he had Jesus put into a box. The King was wrong on both counts.  Yet this did not prevent John from preaching, as John kept on saying and preaching the truth.

As the old saying goes, There is no rest for the wicked, is true here again.  The world’s banquet provides no rest for the wicked, just forgetfulness of who we are and Who’s we are.  It is a 24/7 world of plotting and planning.  Psalm 36: 

Transgression speaks to the wicked     deep in his heart; there is no fear of God     before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes     that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit;     he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed;     he sets himself in a way that is not good;     he does not reject evil

Always trying to hide makes for no rest.  Trying to hide from God and say one’s sin is good, as in Herod and Herodias’ marital relations, or in any relationship outside of marriage between man and woman, or any relation to false gods such as money,  is to deny the reality of God’s law and so the rage.  Herod Antipas was the king of death, and Jesus Christ, the King of life.  Kings of this world associate with the famous and the powerful, Jesus with sinners and outcasts.  Tyrants, for all their terror, are weak and unable to deal with people except by brute force.  Jesus, the king, instead bore our weakness and woes and is strong, as John, to stand-up for the truth of the Father’s Word for others, not by brute force, but steadfast love in the Word.  Herod Antipas was cowed by others and his polling numbers, but Jesus is in control, over wind and wave and storm, and the storms of wickedness.  Rulers of this world, while making all sorts of noise about serving others, want to be served, our King, our Lord serves by His life given to us. Herod Antipas, and most rulers, only have finally the threat of death and gave John over to death, Jesus offered Himself to death for others, as recorded in Mark’s Gospel:  “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  He has the promise of eternal life, for we are already are dead in our trespasses and have been made alive in Christ through faith in Holy Baptism.  We are dressed in Christ for His Table.  Yet there is rest from wickedness, from sin and sorrow. There is actually rest from the wicked.   The banquet of death fills but never satisfies but the Lord’s banquet of life fills the soul with His good things: grace, mercy and peace.  The world at its table, with it’s sweet meats and enticements is folly and all who eat are only fooling themselves, but the Lord, our wisdom has invited us to His House of Bread, Bethlehem and the banquet of life. Yes, John the Baptist preached to a tyrant overthrowing the commands of marriage and his life was forfeit for his preaching. We have the duty from the Lord so to teach.  We reject evil and the devil and his empty promises.  We openly confess Christ. We confess the Word, Law and Promise.  The Lord calls us  to rebuke a brother when he is wrong. But one may say,  Oh, I have nothing in common with him, yes we do:  we are all sinners and for us all Christ has died and rose again, that we have life.  We are all created by the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  We are all fed on this earth by His almighty hand.  We all share this earth. We all have received the same laws. We are all invited by the Lord to His table and His Body and blood, and let us not say we have nothing in common with them.  As kind of bridge verse, the next verses after today’s Gospel the disciples return from their first missionary journey and Christ sees they need rest and they go apart to a desolate place.  Then next week’s Gospel the feeding of the 5,000 and the contrast between the Lord’s banquet and Herod’s.  The thousands come only with their hunger.  After Psalm 36 verse cited earlier,

He plots trouble while on his bed;     he sets himself in a way that is not good;     he does not reject evil.

then,

Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,     your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;     your judgments are like the great deep;     man and beast you save, O Lord.

Such a contrast between the plots of men and the steadfast love of the Lord!  The plots of men and tyrants are stifling and temporal, but the will of the Lord is freedom and eternal and He has freed you.  It is only by the promises of God fulfilled in Christ that we can live in these dark days. The Lord has a better plan than all the plots of men and tyrants:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will,according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1)

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I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 

St. John 15: 5

A church had this sermon theme on its outside sign:  “A Fruitful Life Requires Jesus”. Love, the fruit and so proceed to the vine, the root, the source. No, it is the opposite in the Bible “Jesus requires the fruitful life.” From the vine comes the branches and the fruit.  From Christ comes the Christian. This is plain from the Gospel lesson for today. He uses the word abide some 8 times so that we have the fruitful life in Him.  It’s not, so you want to be a branch, find the vine. The inherent nature and purpose of  the Lord’s creation is to make fruit.  The gardener plants seed for one purpose:  produce, fruits and vegetable, as the Lord requires fruitfulness.  It is His doing and our tending, abiding in Him to plant, water and wait.   Notice the main difference in the two statements:  “A fruitful life requires Jesus”, the subject of “a fruitful life” is you and I, not the Lord.  We’re in charge.  “Do you really want the fruitful life?” “Here are the 5 steps to the fruitful life”, or others might preach that the fruitful life is a certain attainment of material prosperity, the “prosperity Gospel”, your best life now, etc. And so you need to accept Jesus to have the fruitful life,  then Jesus is our branch. Jesus does not grow out of us.  We grow out of Him! If we don’t, we will be unfruitful and cut off. 

Like I said, it’s just the opposite. We are the branches.   “The Lord Jesus requires the fruitful life”,   who is the subject?  Yes, the Lord.  “I am the Vine”, not you or I:  we are the branches, the Lord is Vine, and so the life of the grapevine.  His will, His word is that we are clean in His forgiveness.  His will, His word is that we know His peace.   His will, His word in a world bent in upon itself, fills  us with His love to so love others as He first loved us. His will, His word is  we are found in Him and to so find others as a Shepherd searching today for  His lost sheep.  His will, His Word is fruitfulness unto eternal life as we abide in Him, if we do not then we are cast aside.   His will is His Word in His words which are  His life for you, not your best life, but His life for you, knowing His love, His grace, mercy and peace. 

How do we know this? Answer: I heard it through the grapevine!  Jesus is faithful in all the words of the Bible.  Every word from the mouth of God is bread.  I heard it through the grape Vine:  This is my body, This is my blood.  

The saying,  “I heard it through the grapevine.” actually refers to gossip.  When someone passes on gossip it’s usually to help, I just thought you should know what they’re saying about you.  Or you should know about Sally so we can help Sally.  The false prophets and spirits are gossips about God in all their fine theories about the Lord who loves us.  They will say Jesus is not from God and He came in our flesh.  Test the spirits.  Hear them but do not listen to them that is obey them. The false spirits lead us from our Lord who so loves us. All those who deny Jesus came in the flesh are spreading gossip and rumors under the pretense to help  you.  The false spirits primarily say Jesus is not the incarnate God, come in the flesh. Gossips distort the truth.  They do not state it correctly.  Heretics are gossips. They speak as if they know but they do not, they trim the message to their own flesh and to acceptance in the world.  Jesus was a good teacher, a social revolutionary, a way to God and the like.  When the grapevine is the Lord Jesus we can hear and know that the Lord is good, His mercy endures forever.   His Word of forgiveness and grace cleanses us.  Abide in His Words He taught, His Words are true as is the entirety of the Word of God.

How does the Lord nourish our life as we abide in Him?  Answer: I hear it through the grapevine.   If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  Abide in Him and His words abiding in us and so it is logical to hear Him is to pray to Him and for Him and it is done.  This is child-like faith. We are heard as we hear Him,  the grapevine.  

“…everything has been heard, even though one does not know what has been heard. Even when Christ asked for His life, He was heard.  But the flesh does not recognize how the hearing takes place. Therefore every prayer is heard, and whatever we ask for happens, even though we do not recognize in what ways it happens… God sometimes hurls us into greater evils in order that He may put an end to the evils. And thus He has heard our prayer.” (Luther)

The Father will prune us.  He will cut off the suckers that take away from fructification.  The wild shoots.  Sin is a  sucker.  Sin sucks. It takes life away and deters the true Vine.  His pruning is confession and absolution. 

How are we made clean by His Word?  Answer:  Baptism and Faith. We heard today another witness in the Bible of a man made clean by Jesus:  the Baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.  He heard the Word and the Word was poured over him in the waters of rebirth in Jesus Christ the true vine.  He heard it through the grapevine and Philip was no gossip, but he taught the Good News of Jesus who suffered and died and rose, as Isaiah prophesied 5 centuries before the Incarnation. And according to a reliable tradition, the Ethiopian eunuch did bear much fruit, even though there could never be fruit from his body.  He went home and may have told of the Gospel of Jesus as Philip told him. From early on,  Ethiopia became a Christian nation and today Ethiopia has one of the largest Lutheran church bodies on earth, a  whole lot bigger than all the Lutherans in the United States. I dare say, if we could ask the Ethiopian eunuch so how did you bear much fruit, tell us your secrets for the fruitful life?  His answer:  it was not me.  It was the Lord Jesus.  “This fruit is not mine; it is the Vine’s” (Luther, page 226 LW vol. 24).  He spread the truth, not gossip He was in charge of all the treasure of the Queen of Ethiopia and on that day, in the arranged meeting with Philip, the eunuch heard of the treasure beyond measure:  the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

How do we know this? Answer: I heard it through the grapevine!  Jesus is faithful in all the words of the Bible.   How does the Lord nourish our life as we abide in Him?  Answer: I hear it through the grapevine. He came in the flesh.

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 

The Lord uses the word abide as an imperative, a command.  We are to keep His commandments, wrote the evangelist John.  And he wrote, “And His commandments are not burdensome”.  His commandments relieve our burdens. As His command,Come to all who are burden and heavy lade and I will give you rest…”  As His command, Take eat, take drink, this is My Body, this is My blood.  Forgive one another as I have forgiven you. Forgive your brother even 70 times 7 as I have forgiven you a humanly speaking unforgivable debt.  Love one another as I have first loved you.  Go ye therefore and teach all a nations baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I hear it through the Vine we are to love as He first loved us.  The devil hates the Holy Spirit’s fruit, especially the first one: love. We do not love to be saved but we have been so loved so we are saved to love. “We derive the greatest joy from the fact that we have people to love, either a wife or children, and we thank God, who gives us people to love.”-Martin Luther, commentary on 1 John 4: 11 And in all His freeing commands, it is the true Vine, Our Lord Jesus, we can do nothing without Him. 

I hear it through the grapevine. Look again at the picture of  the icon for this sermon. The icon with the depiction of the branch coming from the Lord’s side reminded me of the creation of Eve. It also shows Jesus squeezing grapes into a Chalice to be for His blood. Remember the Lord took a rib from Adam’s side to make a helpmate suitable for him, his wife to whom he would be married.  The Church is the bride of Christ.  We come from the Lord’s side by His grace and favor, His love just as when the Roman soldier pierced the Savior’s side, blood and water flowed out, so we are nourished in the Word of God, Baptism and Holy Communion.

 

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Note that the text from Numbers 21:4–9, about the bronze serpent, cited by Jesus, is in the right hand panel of Lucas Cranach’s painting, Law and Promise. Jesus has fulfilled this type of the Christ.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

 The dog is sick and the boss is a pain. Just had car problems and late for work.  Your husband or wife seems to be on another planet.  Life has not turned out according to expectations.  The children are leaving home in more ways than physically.  The professor is loading on more work and didn’t like your last paper.  The last trip to the doctor was frightening.  Internet is down and so are you. It is one of those days.  One of those days and you need a lift.  Ever have one of those days, when you just need a lift?  We all have those days and there will be others.  There are many promises for a lift from bourbon to religion to food to the latest spirituality fad.  All of those “days” makes one  focus hard…hard on ourselves.  The Old Adam’s egocentricity hunkers down inside the dark cave of heart and soul and seeks there some sort of lift.  But there is no light in a cave especially in the ‘man cave’ of the Old Adam.  At best it will seem like light but it will be illusory light of idolatry, a phantasm.  As much as many are afraid of the dark, yet spiritually love the dark. “…and people loved the darkness” As Jesus said people do not want their deeds be exposed. In government and politics this need for light in the darkness of the political processes comes under the rubric of “transparency”.  As much as politicians of all persuasions extol “transparency”, unless it is enforced by the rigid rules, it won’t happen.  Dealings under the table, in the secrecy of e-mails, in hushed corners of the capitol…in families, work places, on the street, in college hall ways. Luther on this text:

“When I study God’s Word, I find that Christ not only has the form of a serpent without venom;  but I also feel a power in Him which will cure me of venom…Even a cow could stare at the serpent—but how could that help her?…It was not an angel, a principality, or any of the world’s mighty who became incarnate and died for us—no, both the angelic and the human nature would have been too weak—but it was the divine nature that assumed humanity. It was Christ who adopted our flesh and blood that we might be saved through Him.”

Do not look into yourselves, your spiritualities, your religious feelings, your felt belief, for salvation. Sinners ruined by the fall should not look to the fall and their fallenness, but to Jesus Christ and He draws you forth to Himself in a love that endures and is stronger than even death. As He was lifted up so He lifts us up in the Word preached, taught and administered in His Sacramental life of His church, His very Body.  There is no death now in Jesus Christ, so we may believe into Him, our lives hid Him, not hiding evil, His charity drawing forth the man and woman in Christ to so love.   It, evil has been confessed, as did the people of Israel confess, “We have sinned against Moses and the Lord…” Yes, the saying is true and worthy of full acceptance:  confession is good for the soul for the Lord draws forth the venom in His charity healing the heart of man.  Jesus is the antidote.  And they prayed for the intercession of Moses for their lives, so if the prayer of the Lawgiver prevailed, now much more the Lord of the lawgiver prevails for you and for me! Jesus lifted up upon the Cross is the lift… the lifting off of our shoulders, our hearts, souls and minds, the darkness of the world which so easily envelopes the man caves of the Old Adam. The world is God’s good creation now minus faith and love.   Man seeks to be like god, powerful, but not powerful to love rightly, but always the tendency to love wrongly.  Into this world, the dark planet, the light has shined.  It is the light of God’s pure love in His Son Jesus.  Not that God loved the world, but so loved the world, He gave His only begotten-Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish have eternal life. It wasn’t a cosmic Teddy Bear that the Lord loved, but this world bent in upon itself.  I think John 3: 16, as Luther said is the Gospel in a nutshell, but it has to cited with John 3:15:  The Cross, His Crucifixion, otherwise we do not know where and when His love of the world, so loved,was  poured forth. He draws forth the prisoner from the darkness to faith and love.  Faith in the Lord is so that we love aright.  Faith, then love and always is in that order.  If it is love, then faith, there isn’t a chance for salvation.  Only by grace you have been saved through faith…alone. “This is not your own doing;  it is the gift of God”. Christmas was not one of the those days, but our re-birthday as Christ was born.  Good Friday was not one of those days, but all our days wrapped up together in that one day.  Easter was not one of those days, it is the day of resurrection and our hope in Christ Jesus for the day that will also not be one of those days:  the day of resurrection of the dead.

The preposition in the phrase from today’s Gospel, “whoever believes IN Him”, has the force of “into”.  The one believing into Him have eternal life.  He draws forth this total enjoyment and commitment of faith.  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself, as the Lord said later. Faith based not upon my FELT belief, but upon the Cross and his sacrifice upon the Cross:  lifted up, for all to see. Jesus upon the Cross is the sign of the unmistakable love of the Father for the world.  As unmistakable as when Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.  It is not the cross which heals but the One upon. Israel saved that bronze serpent and it became a place of sacrifice to a false god that King Hezekiah rightly destroyed.  No, “the rugged cross”, but the preaching of Christ Jesus and Him crucified for us. Those who have been shown their spiritual death in their darkness, as the Israelites, had to make no decision for Jesus.  It was look or die. It was trust and live. It was a “no-brainer”. If you have a snake bite, you need someone to suck out the poison, the venom.  Jesus has.

But people do have a deadly choice:  keep their works in the dark because those works are evil, not wrought in Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Bitten by the lusts and hatreds of this world in the flesh in the power of the devil: not into Jesus Christ, but into themselves.  Why is it so important to believe into the Name of the only begotten Son of God?  Because in Him there is the absolute of our absolution, our forgiveness, His grace, mercy and peace for us all:  eternal life unto the resurrection unto eternal life. His life is as hard and enduring and more so than even the nails driven into His hands.  So the sinner may gaze upon Him and His Cross, as did the people of Israel at the serpent, and live: You are forgiven. 

Crosses are ugly and none uglier than the one upon which the beloved and only begotten Son was nailed.  Today’s Gospel is part of our Lord’s conversation with Nicodemus about being born from above, born from above in water the Spirit, that is, baptism.  The Holy Spirit blows not of His own accord apart from the Word, and the Word made flesh. It is at the Cross and through the tomb the Holy Spirit witnesses, teaches and extols Jesus the Christ. Looking upon Christ Jesus in His Word and Sacraments is not a one shot deal, His crucified and risen life is our daily baptism.  And if a metal snake on a pole, with God’s promise attached to it could so draw forth their sin so that they may live, how much more the Son of God upon the Cross, His blood from the thorns blinding His eyes, thirsting and thirsting for you,  can draw forth the sinner to His arms of everlasting mercy!

Come to Calvary’s holy mountain, Sinners, ruined by the fall; Here a pure and healing fountain Flows for you, for me, for all, In a full perpetual tide, Opened when our Savior died.

So many times in the Psalms is the imperative, “Lift up”.  Like beginning of Psalm 131 I lift up my eyes to the hills.     From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord,     who made heaven and earth. Lift up is part of the Divine Service.  Sursum corda.  Habemus ad Dominum.  Translated, Lift up your hearts, We lift them up to the Lord.  Literally translated:  Hearts lifted!  We have to the Lord.  In David’s Psalm, after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband,Uriah, killed, prayed:  a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.   Sursum corda!  These hearts, our lives.  It is not finally about “Its been one of those days” but its this one heart and the one Lord who sees our distress and knows it.  Dead in trespasses and wrathful, Christ died for the life of the world by His life in the world.  The Lord is our lifting up.   Even our good deeds are not wrought in us, but in Christ, wrought in God, that He has prepare beforehand to be our way of life, so that we are pious and God-fearing, loving the Lord and serving our neighbor in His love.  Baptism is our daily walk, as the Scriptures are our prayer. Looking upon Christ Jesus in His Word and Sacraments is not a one shot deal:  His crucified and risen life is our daily baptism. Sursum corda.  In the Name of the Father, and of the +Son and of the Holy Ghost. The peace of God which surpasses all human understanding, guards your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.    

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I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three,
Of whom all nature has creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
Salvation is of Christ the Lord!

Hymn # 172 from Lutheran Worship

Let us pray… God of grace and might, we praise You for your servant Patrick, to whom You gave gifts to make the good news known to the people of Ireland. Raise up, we pray, in every country, heralds and evangelists of Your kingdom, so that the world may know the immeasurable riches of our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lessons: Isaiah 62: 1-7; Psalm 48; Romans 10: 11-17; St. Luke 24: 44-53

Bio:  Patrick is one of the best-known of the missionary saints. Born to a Christian family in Britain around the year 389, he was captured as a teenager by raiders, taken to Ireland, and forced to serve as a herdsman. After six years he escaped and found his way to a monastery community in France. Ordained a bishop in 432, he made his way back to Ireland, where he spent the rest of his long life spreading the Gospel and organizing Christian communities. He strongly defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in a time when it was not popular to do so. His literary legacy includes his autobiography, Confessio, and several prayers and hymns still used in the church today. Patrick died around the year 466.  Read more about St. Patrick’s biography here, citing quotes from his Confessio.

Reflection: The Church’s mission is Baptism.  St. Patrick, missionary Bishop, knew that. He wrote a majestic poem that became a hymn on Holy Baptism (see above). Ireland had been evangelized prior to Patrick but it was through this servant of the Lord that the Faith was rooted.  Bishop Patrick’s preaching of Jesus Christ was to the baptized who had wandered down false paths and dead ends to return to the waters. Patrick’s preaching of Christ was for the baptized to walk in the newness of life in Christ as a baptized son or daughter. Bishop Patrick’s preaching of Jesus Christ was for the pagan to come to the waters, to bind unto themselves the strong Name of the Holy Trinity. Jesus Christ commanded His Church to baptize in the Name of the Holy Trinity, not in the Church’s name,nor Patrick’s nor Luther’s, for that matter.  The baptism mission of the Church is obviously not fads and fashions, techniques and clever tactics to “get people into Church”.  The Baptism is always Jesus Christ.  Patrick did not water down Holy Baptism!  He did not water down the doctrine and practice of the Church to “reach people”.  His goal was not ‘outreach’ to people but preach the Word so that people call upon the Name of the Lord and be saved, and that means:  Holy Baptism.   Patrick knew that he was a jar of clay” (see 2 Corinthians 4:7), as he knew that the surpassing power was the Lord’s, the One who baptized him:

Whence I, once rustic, exiled, unlearned, who does not know how to provide for the future, this at least I know most certainly that before I was humiliated I was like a stone Lying in the deep mire; and He that is mighty came and in His mercy lifted me up, and raised me aloft, and placed me on the top of the wall. And therefore I ought to cry out aloud and so also render something to the Lord for His great benefits here and in eternity—benefits which the mind of men is unable to appraise.

The Church wears the “green” day in and day out, in the bloom of summer, in the dead of winter:  greening in the watering of His forgiveness by His grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8). When we forget our baptismal sojourn in the Holy Spirit and His Word the Scriptures, then we are lost. Yes, wear the green today but do not forget to pray and make the sign of the Cross giving thanks to Lord our God, for the missionary bishop who baptized many. The Lord’s Cross points us home to the Holy Trinity.  From Patrick’s  Confession:

 In the light, therefore, of our faith in the Trinity I must make this choice, regardless of danger I must make known the gift of God and everlasting consolation, without fear and frankly I must spread everywhere the name of God so that after my decease I may leave a bequest to my brethren and sons whom I have baptised in the Lord—so many thousands of people.

Rev. Mark Schroeder
Concordia Lutheran Mission (Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod)

2271 Sycamore Avenue (entrance on Beech Avenue, Suite F, second floor, chair lift avaible)
Buena Vista, VA 
24416
Sundays: 9:30 Bible Class
Divine Service:  10:30AM

Blog: 
Concordia and Koinonia
 
The Mission’s mailing address:
Concordia Lutheran Mission
2017 Forest Avenue P.O.# 1012
Buena Vista, VA 24416

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