Holy Week – Tuesday

holy+weekThe Gospels Account of Holy Week – Tuesday


holyweek-tuesday

(There are a couple of very brief gaps in the recording. No more than 3-5 seconds)

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Holy Week – Monday

holy+week
The Gospels Account of Holy Week – Monday

holyweek-monday

(There are a couple of very brief gaps in the recording. No more than 3-5 seconds)

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Worship At Home – Palm Sunday – 4/5/2020

Worship at Home – 4/5/20
Palm Sunday


worship-4-5-20

DIVINE SERVICE III – LSB p.184

Prelude: Saraband in Modo Elegiaco Herbert Howells
Invocation:
Confession / Absolution (Right side column)
Collect:
Old Testament: Zechariah 9:9-12
Psalm: 118:19-26
Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11
Gospel: John 12:12-19
Apostles Creed
Sermon
Offertory: A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth – Bernard W. Sanders

Prayers: (Our prayers today follow a format in which each petition is first introduced, then offered. Our response to each petition is “Amen”)
Lord's Prayer
Benediction
Postlude: O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded Johannes Brahms

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Mid Week Lent 2020-5 – "I Believe" – 3rd Article

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

There is a very real sense in which the Holy Spirit is much harder for us to get our brain wrapped around than the Father or the Son. Just the way that we identify the 1st and 2nd persons of the Trinity is different that the 3rd. “Father” and “Son” are very personal names which we can relate to. We all have fathers. We’re all either sons or daughters. We know what it means to trust, to serve, to speak to, to even worship a Father and a Son.

But the Holy Spirit is… different. What we said last week about ‘who’ the Holy Spirit is, is about as good as we are able to do. The Holy Spirit is Spirit, He is holy. The Holy Spirit is God.

But the Scriptures make it clear that the Holy Spirit is no less ‘personal’ than the Father or the Son just because we can’t identify with Him very well. The Holy Spirit is the personal Person of the Trinity who acts as the match-maker who brings us to the Son and the Son to us. Apart from the Holy Spirit, our relationship with the Son, and with the Father through the Son, would never happen.
Continue reading

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Mid-Week Lent 5 – Worship at Home – 4/1/2020

SERVICE OF PRAYER AND PREACHING
LSB #260


worship-4-1-20

OPENING VERSICLES: (P.260)

READINGS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE:

1ST READING: 1 PETER 1:3-12 (pew bible p)
This is the Word of the Lord
Thanks be to God

PSALM 103

2ND READING: 2 PETER 1:16-21 (pew bible p)

RESPONSORY: LENT p.263

CATECHISM: p.264
SMALL CATECHISM REVIEW: 3RD ARTICLE – p.323

SERMON: THE APOSTLES CREED – 3RD ARTICLE – II

PRAYER: p.265

SERMON
Mid-Week Lent – 2020
“I Believe” – 3rd Article – II

“I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting.”

There is a very real sense in which the Holy Spirit is much harder for us to get our brain wrapped around than the Father or the Son. Just the way that we identify the 1st and 2nd persons of the Trinity is different that the 3rd. “Father” and “Son” are very personal names which we can relate to. We all have fathers. We’re all either sons or daughters. We know what it means to trust, to serve, to speak to, to even worship a Father and a Son.

But the Holy Spirit is… different. What we said last week about ‘who’ the Holy Spirit is, is about as good as we are able to do. The Holy Spirit is Spirit, He is holy. The Holy Spirit is God.

But the Scriptures make it clear that the Holy Spirit is no less ‘personal’ than the Father or the Son just because we can’t identify with Him very well. The Holy Spirit is the personal Person of the Trinity who acts as the match-maker who brings us to the Son and the Son to us. Apart from the Holy Spirit, our relationship with the Son, and with the Father through the Son, would never happen.

But it’s just that role of ‘matchmaker’ that moves the Holy Spirit away from being the center of attention. The Spirit doesn’t have face or a body because He wants us to focus on the face of Jesus and the body of Christ.

I can remember as a child how my parents would sometimes like to visit ‘model homes’ and dream about owning one someday. There were spotlights focused on the model homes in order to illuminate the homes. Just think about how weird it would be for someone to pull up and marvel at the spotlights and focus all their attention on the light they put out – and never pay much attention to the model home. The Holy Spirit is like that. “Fix your eyes on Jesus…” He says.

But at the same time, we dare not lose sight of the fact that the Holy Spirit is fully God who works all things together with the Father and the Son, and apart from Whom, the Father and the Son cannot accomplish their work.

The Holy Spirit was in the beginning, hovering over the deep before the world was formed and the void was filled. The Holy Spirit overshadowed the virgin Mary and the Son of God was conceived. The Holy Spirit rested upon Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan and then, immediately led Him into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The Holy Spirit blew His breath onto the apostles of Jesus and appeared as tongues of fire over them on the Day of Pentecost. The creation, the incarnation, the victory over the devil, the spread of the Gospel – none of it would have been accomplished apart from the work of the Holy Spirit.

The same is true regarding our salvation. It would never happen apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. Continue reading

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Lent 5 – “The Raising of Lazarus” – John 11 – 3/29/20

“Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died…”

There was a time when there was no such thing as death. “In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) We wonder if Adam understood what God meant since he had no experience with death. But it’s clear that he at least understood that ‘death’ was something that WAS NOT included in God’s declaration – ‘it was very good’ which He himself had heard His Creator declare over all God had made. Why else would God warn him AGAINST it? Why else would Adam tell his wife to not even touch that tree?

These days, who DOESN’T know what death is – these days in particular when the media is broadcasting a daily ‘death count’ which keeps rising.

And one day, a man named Lazarus was added to the count. It started out as just a sickness – cough, fever, tiredness, difficulty breathing. And long before testing kits were available, “the sisters sent to Jesus, saying ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’”

Before we go any further with this, we need to stop right here and make sure we hear exactly the message that these sisters send to their dear friend Jesus – which is a blatant attempt to persuade Him to come quickly. “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

I get stuck on that every time I read it because that’s not the way we typically appeal to our Lord for His help is it? “Lord, he who LOVES YOU is ill” sounds much more like it. “Lord, I love you,” as though that’s the trigger that fires the spark in Jesus’ heart to come and help.

How many funeral services have we been to where the main focus has been on how much the deceased ‘loved the Lord,’ as though that was supposed to assure us that everything is okay. But these sisters appeal to Jesus on the basis of HIS LOVE for Lazarus and not their brother’s love for Jesus.

I don’t think St. John ever got past this either. In his gospel, we do not hear that ‘the world so loved God that He sent His Son…” but just the opposite. “For God so loved the world, that He sent His Son…” (John 3:16). In his first epistle to the church, John writes, ‘This is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son…” (1 John 4:10).

This is the essence of the Christian faith. Our hope and confidence that God will come to help us, even save us, is NOT based on OUR LOVE FOR HIM, but on His unfailing, unwavering, undying love for us. St. Paul declares, “Nothing will be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:26).

This is the Christian doctrine that Anna Warner wants to inscribe on the hearts and minds of the little children. “JESUS LOVES ME! This I know, for the Bible tells me so… JESUS LOVE ME! He who died, heaven’s gates to open wide… YES, JESUS LOVE ME. The bible tells me so.” (LSB 588)

“They sent to him saying, ‘Lord, he whom YOU LOVE is ill.’

“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. If is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Just as we saw last week with the man born blind, Jesus is going to use Lazarus’ sickness and death to “display the works of God.”

Once again, John reminds us of what is most true and important. “Now JESUS LOVED Martha and her sister and Lazarus…”

Now the real drama in this account begins. “When he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. Then after this he said to the disciples, let us go to Judea again…”

The disciples warn Him against doing this. “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” They question the wisdom of God, if you can believe it.

“After saying these things, He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” The disciples do their best to put a positive spin on this and want to believe that Lazarus is just sleeping and will wake up on his own. “But Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

Jesus is actually GLAD that Lazarus died BEFORE he got there – “so that you may believe.” The delay and lateness of His arrival on the scene is purposeful. It is meant to work faith in the disciples. It’s the same for us.

How often have we questioned the Lord’s timing? “Lord, why is it taking you so long to come and rescue us from the peril of this disease and this fallen world.” “Come Lord Jesus!” But how often have we stopped to consider that God’s ‘SLOWNESS’ or ‘LATENESS’ is actually purposeful, meant for THE STRENGTHENING OF OUR FAITH. Peter writes to the church, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

After waiting two days from when He received word about Lazarus, it would take another two days to travel to Bethany which is on the outskirts of Jerusalem. “Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.”

Once in Bethany, the sisters struggle to hide their disappointment with Jesus. “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then, “Mary said to Him, ‘Lord if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Then, “some of the Jews who were there said, ‘Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?”

EVERYONE BELIEVED that Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death if only He had gotten there in time. But NO ONE BELIEVED that He could do much for Lazarus now that death had beat him to it.

They had ‘faith’ in Jesus. But their faith was limited to what Jesus is capable of doing BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT. Their faith was immature – a ‘child’s faith.’ But Jesus has delayed for the sake of their faith – and ours – that it may grow up to maturity. Just wait until you see what He can do AFTER TIME HAS RUN OUT.

Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise again.” By her response, Martha proves to be quite the theologian. “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Martha expresses the Christian hope as clearly and succinctly as it can be said. We know what WILL happen when times runs out. Death will not have the final say. God will.

I suspect Luther had Martha’s confession of faith in mind when he has us say, “On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.” (Small Catechism – 3rd Article.)

But now on this particular occasion, our Lord is going to demonstrate before THEIR very eyes and before OUR ears THE EXTENT TO WHICH WE MAY HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THIS CHRISTIAN FAITH.

“Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha thinks that Jesus wants to see the body and pay His respects. He must feel bad that He had delayed and arrived too late. But by four days, decomposition has already begun. And if you can believe it, she wants to protect Jesus from the stench of death. “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” Martha questions the wisdom of God, if you can believe it.

Earlier, He had told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who believes in me shall never die. DO YOU BELIEVE ME?” And Martha had replied, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

Now here, outside her brother’s tomb, “Jesus said to her, ‘did I not tell you that IF YOU BELIEVED you would see the glory of God?’” This is all so that Martha may BELIEVE – and that His disciples may believe – and that we may believe.

“So they took away the stone.” And after praying to His Father that He would work faith in the hearts of all who were present, “THAT THEY MIGHT BELIEVE that You sent me…” “He cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’”

One early church father said that Jesus had to call Lazarus by name or every dead body in Bethany would have come leaping out of their tombs.

“The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him and let him go.’”

Let’s conclude simply by thinking about the amazing thing that has happened here. Yes, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. And yes, this is amazing. And yes, great for Lazarus. But frankly, Lazarus will die again. This is not the resurrection from the dead that we are all hopeful for.

Here’s what I think is amazing and that does pertain to our death and resurrection. Think about it. Lazarus is dead! In fact, he has been dead long enough that his body has begun to decay. And yet, and yet, HE HEARS THE VOICE OF HIS LORD CALLING HIM – by name.

You’ve got to hear that a couple of times before the amazing absurdity of it sinks in. He who is dead, whose body is in the state of decay, hears the word of His Lord calling Him – by name. “Lazarus, come out.”

What kind of Word is this that is heard EVEN BY THE DEAD, such that they not only hear the word, but are also enlivened by that same word to respond in perfect obedience? “The man who had died came out…”

And what kind of Man is this from whom a Word like this comes? Who says, “O dry bones, hear the Word of the Lord.” And their fully decomposed bodies ‘HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD!’ “And behold, the bones came together, bone to its bone… sinew and flesh and skin…” And then ‘breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army”?

And now consider that we are all born ‘DEAD’ in our sin. But our Lord would have us ‘believe.’ And St. Paul writes, ‘faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom.10:17)

What the word of Christ did for Lazarus has already been done for you who were once dead but who are now alive. Even in death, His word got through to you and you heard your Savior call you – by name in your baptism. And you rose from the dead to live the life of faith in God.

So go ahead and substitute your name for the name of Lazarus, and your bones for those in Ezekiel’s valley. One day when YOUR body is nothing but dust and ashes, the Word of YOUR Lord will reach you in your grave. He will call you by name. “Come out!”

And you will ‘HEAR HIS VOICE.’ And in that day you will say, “O Lord, we have waited for you. More than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning, have we waited for you.” (Psalm 130:6)

Amen.

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Worship At Home – Lent 5 – 3/29/20

Divine Service III
(abbreviated/spoken) Page 184 – hymnal


worship-3-29-20

Order of Worship

Organ Prelude:
When In The Hour Of Utmost Need J. S. Bach

Hymn: (Optionial)
"Christ, The Life of All the Living" #420 st.1-4

Confession / Absolution
Kyrie
Collect of the Day
Old Testament Reading:
Ezekiel 37:1-14
Gradual: Psalm 130
Epistle Reading: Romans 8:1-11
Holy Gospel: John 11:1-45
Apostles' Creed
Sermon

Organ Offertory:
If Thou But Suffer God To Guide Thee Helmut Walcha

Prayer of the Church
Lord's Prayer
Benediction

Hymn: (Optionial)
"Christ, The Life of All the Living" #420 st.5-7

Organ Postlude:
Fugue in G Minor Johann Pachelbel

Sermon
John 11 – “The Raising of Lazarus”

“Then Jesus told them plainly, ‘Lazarus has died…”

There was a time when there was no such thing as death. “In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) We wonder if Adam understood what God meant since he had no experience with death. But it’s clear that he at least understood that ‘death’ was something that WAS NOT included in God’s declaration – ‘it was very good’ which He himself had heard His Creator declare over all God had made. Why else would God warn him AGAINST it? Why else would Adam tell his wife to not even touch that tree?

These days, who DOESN’T know what death is – these days in particular when the media is broadcasting a daily ‘death count’ which keeps rising.

And one day, a man named Lazarus was added to the count. It started out as just a sickness – cough, fever, tiredness, difficulty breathing. And long before testing kits were available, “the sisters sent to Jesus, saying ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’”

Before we go any further with this, we need to stop right here and make sure we hear exactly the message that these sisters send to their dear friend Jesus – which is a blatant attempt to persuade Him to come quickly. “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”

I get stuck on that every time I read it because that’s not the way we typically appeal to our Lord for His help is it? “Lord, he who LOVES YOU is ill” sounds much more like it. “Lord, I love you,” as though that’s the trigger that fires the spark in Jesus’ heart to come and help. Continue reading

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Mid-Week Lent 4 – Worship At Home – 3/25/20

midweek-3-25-20

SERVICE OF PRAYER AND PREACHING – LSB #260

OPENING VERSICLES: (P.260)
READINGS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE:

1st Reading: John 14:15-31 (pew bible p)
Psalm 51:1-12 (pew bible p)
2nd Reading: John 16:1-14 (pew bible p)

RESPONSORY: Lent p.263
CATECHISM: p.264
Small Catechism Review: 3rd Article p.323

SERMON: The Apostles Creed – 3rd Article – III

PRAYER: p.265

Sermon

    We come now to the 3rd Article in our Lenten series on the Apostles Creed. “I believe in the Holy Spirit…”

    A good way to get started might be to simply restate a point we made at the very beginning of this series, which is that although we ‘confess’ the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in that order, we actually ‘experience’ the Trinity in exactly the reverse order. It is the Holy Spirit who first directs us to The Son and The Son who brings us to The Father, “for no one comes to the Father except through Me” says our Lord. (John 14:6).

    So in a sense, as we come to the 3rd Article of the Creed we are actually returning to the place where we actually began and were led to both confess with the mouth and believe with the heart in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:9)

    Who is the Holy Spirit? This is a difficult place to begin simply because we’re not all that used to thinking and speaking about the Holy Spirit in terms of ‘who He is.’ Typically, what we think and say about the Holy Spirit centers on ‘what He does.’ Which is just the way we began this sermon – by speaking about how the Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus who brings us to the Father. That’s what He does.

    But before we get there, it really is important that we have a solid understanding of ‘who He is.’ Continue reading

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Mid Week Lent 2020-4 – 3rd Article – "I Believe in the Holy Spirit"

We come now to the 3rd Article in our Lenten series on the Apostles Creed. “I believe in the Holy Spirit…”

A good way to get started might be to simply restate a point we made at the very beginning of this series, which is that although we ‘confess’ the Trinity as Father, Son and Holy Spirit in that order, we actually ‘experience’ the Trinity in exactly the reverse order. It is the Holy Spirit who first directs us to The Son and The Son who brings us to The Father, “for no one comes to the Father except through Me” says our Lord. (John 14:6).

So in a sense, as we come to the 3rd Article of the Creed we are actually returning to the place where we actually began and were led to both confess with the mouth and believe with the heart in the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Romans 10:9)

Who is the Holy Spirit? This is a difficult place to begin simply because we’re not all that used to thinking and speaking about the Holy Spirit in terms of ‘who He is.’ Typically, what we think and say about the Holy Spirit centers on ‘what He does.’ Which is just the way we began this sermon – by speaking about how the Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus who brings us to the Father. That’s what He does.

But before we get there, it really is important that we have a solid understanding of ‘who He is.’
Continue reading

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Lent 4 – "The Cure for Blindness" – John 9 – 3/22/20

“As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?”

Effect and Cause
There are those who make their living by making logical connections between EFFECT and CAUSE. Doctors do it all the time. They see the EFFECT and they deduce a probable CAUSE and prescribe the treatment. Electricians, plumbers and auto mechanics all do the same thing. They see the PROBLEM and then determine the CAUSE and set out to fix it.

We all do the same thing. It’s just that what they do as an OCCUPATION, we do as a PREOCCUPATION.
 His car ran off the road at 3:00am. He must have been drinking again.
 He didn’t come home until 6:00am. He must be having an affair.
 She got called down to the principal’s office. She must be in trouble.

Knowing the EFFECT and guessing at the CAUSE can make for some interesting conversation and more than a little gossip to boot. In a court of law, juries hear the evidence, weigh it and make a judgment. How often do we make the judgment without ever hearing the evidence at all.
Continue reading

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