The text for our consideration is the Gospel reading we just heard. But before we get to that we’ve got to hear what came right before this.
20 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes… 23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day…”
1. The time before this global pandemic struck feels like ancient history—doesn’t it? Life was much different four months ago. It was much better, if we’re being honest. We didn’t have to social distance and wear these masks! We could go where we wanted to go, do what we wanted to do. We had that freedom to pursue entertainment. Money was stable. But then, March 15th happened. Covid-19 came to the US, and very, very quickly life changed dramatically. Many of us and many of our loved ones started experiencing financial stress. Jobs were lost. Paychecks decreased. Bills were coming due. For many of us, the financial stability that we thought we had and we thought we could trust in was revealed to be exactly what it actually is: a fraud. Financial stability can’t provide fulfilment in life. But financial stability wasn’t the only thing lost because of this pandemic. Much of Continue reading
Last Sunday as we joined up with Jesus, Matthew summarizes what He’s been at work doing since He began to work. “Jesus went throughout all of the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.”
But now today, we see that the focus of our Lord’s ministry changes. The 10th chapter of Matthew’s gospel is sometimes called Jesus’ ‘MISSIONARY DISCOURSE’ because it’s all about His sending His 12 Apostles out into that harvest of souls that is so plentiful. In fact, so plentiful that there are not enough laborers to bring all the harvest into the barn.
When the season of Pentecost begins, you never know where you’re going to join up with Jesus. The whole thing depends on the date for Easter. So some years, we join up with Jesus earlier in His ministry than this and some years later than this.
Back in chapter 4 of his gospel, Matthew told us what Jesus set out from His baptism and temptation in the wilderness to do. “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.” (Mat.4:23)
By the time we join up with Jesus this year, He’s already ‘taught’ his disciples and the crowds about the Kingdom of God – most notably – in His ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” (Mat. 7:28-29)
The text that I’d like to hold up this morning is 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:3-9
This is a wonderful text for Confirmation because it is directed to people just like you who –who have been baptized into the Christian faith, instructed in the Word of God, and who want nothing more than to live by faith in God. It’s not too hard at all to picture St. Peter standing in a pulpit just like this one, addressing his ‘catechumens’ whom have been baptized and catechized in the faith just as you have been.
The ‘Church Year Calendar’ is an amazing blessing to the congregation and church body that is diligent in following it. In the midst of a viral pandemic, and economic calamity, and racial riots and demonstrations, and deep concerns and worries about the future, and politics, politics, politics – the Church Year Calendar says, ‘today we are going to talk about the one, true God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’
If we will allow the Church Year Calendar to have our undivided attention today, our attention will be focused, not on the non-stop news that we watch until we’re blinded by it, or on the political commentary that we permit to be poured into our ears until we go deaf, but on the One who Created the world, who sustains the world, and who directs the entire course of history all the way to the last second when He makes all thing new again.
Thirsty! Bone dry thirsty! The kind of thirsty the psalmist was talking about when he said, “my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.” (Psalm 22:15). Dry mouth, dry bones, dry skin. Exhausted, weary, worn out. “My strength is dried up like a piece of broken pottery.” (Psalm 22:15). A mouth full of sand and not enough saliva to spit it out. No one to give you a drink of water. Thirsty!
And we hear that “The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry.”
A couple of years ago we had new gutters installed on our house because the old gutters weren’t doing the job anymore. They leaked and the water dropped from the eaves right to the ground. Our new gutters have been very successful in preventing ‘eavesdropping.’
The word ‘eavesdropping’ comes from the sound that drops of water that fall from the eaves of the roof make when they hit the ground. It’s a bit of a stretch, but ‘eavesdropping’ is listening in on someone else’s conversation. ‘Eavesdropping’ is usually considered to be rude and impolite. It’s said that Henry VIII had wooden figures carved into the eaves of his courtroom as a way of signaling to others that their gossip and ‘private conversations’ were being overheard.
Divine Service I
Page 151 – hymnal
Order of Worship
Organ Prelude: Prelude in C Samuel Ducommun
Confession / Absolution
Hymn: "O Word of God Incarnate" #523
Collect of the Day
Old Testament Reading: Acts 1:12-26
Gradual: Psalm 68-1-10
Epistle Reading: 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11
Holy Gospel: John 17:1-11
Offertory: Fideles Servus Dom Paul Benoit
Prayer of the Church
Organ Postlude: Voluntary in D Denis Bédard
Please join me in a 25 minute bible study on "The Fruit of the Spirit" from Galatians 5.
THE FRUIT OF SELF-CONTROL