ASH WEDNESDAY

26 February 2020

 

Joel 2:12–19

2 Corinthians 5:20b—6:10

Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21

 

Return to the Lord Your God with All Your Heart, for He Has Reconciled You to Himself

 

     On Ash Wednesday, we come down from the mountain with Jesus and set our face toward His cross and Passion in Jerusalem. We make our pilgrimage with Him by way of repentance, and thus we return to our dying and rising in Holy Baptism. Christ Jesus, “who knew no sin,” became our sin, so that by His death we are released from sin and in His resurrection we “become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21). As God has thereby reconciled the world to Himself in Christ, “now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). He has provided the sacrificial Lamb, and He has left “a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering” (Joel 2:14) in the Eucharist. He summons us to return to Him with all our heart because He is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love” (Joel 2:13). We do so with faith and confidence in Him, and so we pray to Him as our Father, give to the needy from a heart of love, and fast for the sake of repentance (Matt. 6:3–4, 6, 17–18).

THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD

23 February 2020

 

Exodus 24:8–18

2 Peter 1:16–21

Matthew 17:1–9

 

God Manifests His Glory in the Body of Christ Jesus, Transfigured for Us by His Cross

 

     The Transfiguration confirms “the prophetic word … to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). The divine glory of Jesus is manifested in the word of His apostles, who were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). “He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun” (Matt. 17:2). Moses and Elijah witnessed the fulfillment of the Old Testament in this Lord Jesus, and the Father testified concerning Him: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5). By His own blood, shed on the cross, Jesus makes and seals the new covenant with us. Hence, “the appearance of the glory of the Lord” is no longer “like a devouring fire” (Ex. 24:17), but it is graciously revealed in His own body. As “Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel” went up the mountain with Moses and “beheld God, and ate and drank” (Ex. 24:9, 11), we also behold the Lord our God in Christ Jesus, and we abide with Him as we eat and drink His body and blood at the altar.
 
 

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Sixth Sunday After Epiphany

16 February 2020

 

Deuteronomy 30:15–20

1 Corinthians 3:1–9

Matthew 5:21–37

 

Christ Sets Life Before Us so that We Can Walk in His Ways

     The God who reveals Himself in His incarnate Son promises life and blessing to all who obey His commandments “by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules” (Deut. 30:16). However, we are “people of the flesh” and “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1), among whom “there is jealousy and strife” (1 Cor. 3:3). Jesus must instruct us against the human ways of anger, adultery, divorce and false witness (Matt. 5:21–37), because all who live in these ways “shall surely perish” (Deut. 30:18). On the cross, He died to forgive our sins and free us from the ways of curse and death. Since Jesus Christ is our “life and length of days” (Deut. 30:20), we can be reconciled to our brother, live in chastity and marital faithfulness, and speak with honesty. He who serves from His cross also offers His gift of reconciliation at His altar, and we can be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are “God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9).
 

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Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

9 February 2020

Time of the Church:                Epiphany / Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

Color:                                    Green

Divine Service:                       Setting III

Introit:                                   Psalm 119: 9 – 16  antiphon: verse 12

Old Testament:                      Isaiah 58: 3 – 9a

Psalm                                   Psalm 112: 1 – 9  antiphon: verse 4

Epistle:                                 1 Corinthians 2: 1 – 12 (13 – 16)

Gradual:                               Psalm 117: 1 -2a, 96: 8

Verse:                                  Matthew 5: 16b

Gospel:                                Matthew 5: 13 – 20

Proper Preface:                    Epiphany

 

The Righteousness of Christ

     Jesus warns that “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20), but He also calls His imperfect people “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). That’s because the Lord Jesus came not to abolish the Law or the prophets, “but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17) in perfect faith and love. Since He does and teaches all of God’s commandments, He is “called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19). God manifests His “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” in “Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2–4), and through the preaching of the Gospel He gives His “secret and hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7). Christ gives this perfect righteousness to His people, and it leads them to true fasting, which is “to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free” (Is. 58:6) and “to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house” (Is. 58:7).
 
 

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Opening Hymn:           649 / Blest Be The Tie That Binds

Sermon Hymn:            578 / Thy Strong Word Did Cleave The Darkness

Distribution Hymns:     560 / Drawn To The Cross Which Thou Has Blest

                                  563 / Jesus, Thy Blood And Righteousness

   728 / How Firm A Foundation, O Saints Of The Lord

           691 / Fruitful Trees, The Spirit’s Sowing

           699 / I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say

Closing Hymn:             651 / I Love Your Kingdom Lord

The Presentation of our Lord

2 February 20202

 
Time of the Church:     Epiphany – Feasts, Festivals, and Occassions
Color:                           White
Divine Service:            Setting III
Introit:                           Psalm 48L 1 – 3, 8 (antiphon: verse 9)
Old Testament:            1 Samuel 1: 21 – 28
Psalm:                          Psalm 84 (antiphon: verse 4)
Epistle:                          Hebrews 2: 14 – 18
Gradual:                        Psalm 48: 1, 8a, 9
Verse:                            Luke 2: 34b
Gospel:                         Luke 2: 22 – 32 (33 – 40)
Proper Preface:            The Presentation of Our Lord
 
 

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God Gives the Gift of a Child to Destroy Death

     The Lord opened the barren womb of Hannah and gave her the gift of the son for whom she prayed, and in grateful response she presented and gave the child, Samuel, to the Lord’s service. “As long as he live, he is lent to the Lord” (1 Samuel 2: 28).  So, too, did Mary and Joseph present the Child promised from the fall, born of a virgin’s womb.  The True offering wasn’t the turtledoves or young pigeons.  It was the Child they carried.  This Child has come to “destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2: 14b – 15).  Set free by His advent in our flesh and the promise of what He would do “in the service of God, to to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2: 17b), Simeon and Anna rejoiced, and we with them, for we know that we, too, can face death unafraid and ” ” (Luke 2: 29) when our time comes.
 
 
 
Opening Hymn:            915 / Today Your Mercy Calls Us
Sermon Hymn:              595 / O Blessed Spring
Distribution Hymns:       686 / Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing
729 / I Am Trusting Thee. Lord Jesus
722 / Lord, Take My Hand And Lead Me
702 / My Faith Looks Up To Thee
712 / Seek Ye First
Closing Hymn:               744 / Amazing Grace