Virtual Bulletin – 6/20

June 20th, 2021 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost – Happy Father’s Day

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Bible Study after service or 11:15ish

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

You have probably noticed that we have been concluding special pandemic worship accommodations.  The last of these, our “Zooming” of worship services, will be discontinued as of July 11th.  In the Spirit of Hebrews 10:25 we wish to encourage all to “not neglect to meet together but gather to encourage one another.”

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Corinthian Church was Paul’s “tough” one.  If you the two letters we have closely, you realize there was at last one, maybe two, which we don’t have.  One is described as “a letter of tears (2 Cor 2:4).”  As a congregation I think Paul would say they were always being blown this way and that by every wind of doctrine (Eps 4:14), and every visiting “apostle” could get their ear (2 Cor 11:5). Yet it was the gospel, the ministry of reconciliation, that Paul emphasized.  His apostolic appeal was not to lose what had been given chasing what does not save.  “We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain…now is the day of salvation.”  It is an echo of Moses, “Today I have put before you life an death, choose life (Deut 30:15).”

Paul’s apostleship was always the ministry of Christ, and it bore the marks of Jesus words to Ananias when he is told to go to Paul after the Damascus Road – “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name (Acts 9:16).”  As Paul often does he says, “look at my life as proof of what I preach.”  He has endured hardships with endurance, from beatings and jail to hunger and sleepless nights, never afraid of the hard work.  Such endurance is possible because Paul’s ministry has been blessed by the Spirit through: “purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, genuine love, truthful speech, the power of God.” His Apostleship is one that has used “weapons of righteousness for both left and right hand.”  Paul would preach Christ through “honor and dishonor”, “through slander and praise”.  Whatever the circumstances of its reception and his, Paul’s message was consistent.  Because even if the world thought Him and imposter, “he was true.”  If the world punished, “it could not kill.” If the world made him poor, “He made many rich.”  Paul worked through these, often at the hands of the Corinthians themselves, because that was the Apostleship.  Paul sums up his entire work as “We have spoken freely, our heart is wide open.”

So the question back to the Corinthians is why does that gospel not seem like enough?  The problem is not the apostleship of Paul. “You are not restricted by us.” The problem is “your own affections…widen your hearts.”  We so often settle for status or niceness or ease when the Spirit wants to give us the power of God or truth and kindness or purity and love.  We choose acceptance of the way things are, instead of hope.  Our loves are misdirected or lacking in appropriate ardor. God wants to give us himself, and we are not willing to make room.  Our affections are elsewhere, and the way is too hard.  The problem is not the gospel.  Christ died for you.  The problem is our hearts.  Will we receive that grace…and live it?  Do we live free people in the gospel, or prefer the faint affections which bind us? Renew a right spirit within me.  Amen.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 21st – June 27th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…           9:00amPreschool

Monday…………………           6:00pm             Women’s Group

Wednesday……………..           11:00am           Preschool Picnic

Thursday: ………………           10:00amBible Study

Sunday: ………………….          10:00am           Worship

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 2 Thessalonians, Paul has to expand what he wrote the first time on The End.
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.  Compiling it would also be a job that could be picked up!

The Seed of His Teaching

Biblical Text: Mark 4:26-34

All of Jesus’ parable to some extent are elaborations of the parable of the sower, at least his Kingdom parables. But I feel that is even more the case with the Gospel according to Mark. The Sower and the Soils is Jesus’ picture of the Kingdom in this world. The parables that are part of the text today are refinements or close ups of parts of that parable that answer some natural questions. The early part of this sermon sets that connection because the lectionary jumps right back into the gospel skipping the larger narrative parable.

The questions natural questions that might come up immediately are: 1) to what extent are we responsible for the growth of the seeds? and 2) when the seeds do grow what does it look like? This sermon looks at both those questions through the parables.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/13

June 13th, 2021 – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

“For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened – Not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

How many events of your life do you wish you could just erase?  I think that is our natural desire.  We want the mulligan, the do-over, the re-run, the skip back, the rewind, the clean slate. We have a lot of words for this desire. It is a measure of the poverty of our desires that we want to wish things out of existence.  But now ask yourselves, would the you without those events be you?  How many could you erase and still be you?  Are you the ship of Theseus that can be 100% replaced and still be the Ship of Theseus?  Yes, they hurt.  We groan every time we think of them.  They weigh us down.  But they weigh us down because of how small we think God is.  If they are sins, God has already forgiven them in Christ.  If they are not sins, they often are subjects worthy of contemplation given to know ourselves better and to know our creator more fully.  Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and provides it.

The Apostle Paul wants us to grow beyond that poverty of desire, and to have faith in the work that God is doing in us.  The Father’s plan is not to erase this life.  This world will pass away.  There will be a new heaven and earth, but as the hymn puts it about the scars of Christ – “rich wounds yet visible above, in beauty glorified. (LSB 525)”  We will not be unclothed, naked, erased, wiped clean like a bleach bit hard drive, but we will be further clothed.  The wounds, the scars, the groanings – internal and external – are further clothed.  The things we hide because they hurt too much will be given the beauty that we don’t see today.  The mortal will be swallowed up by life.  The things that kill us, the things that we can’t seem to break free of, that our mind keeps returning to and dragging us down.  It is these things that will radiate and reflect the glory of the creator.

God doesn’t want to erase you; he wants you to have his seamless cloak – the resurrection body.  God doesn’t want you annihilated by guilt and shame but swallowed up by life.  So be of good courage because you are the work of God.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 14th – June 20th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  9:00am    Pastors’ Circuit Meeting

Wednesday……………..  7:30pm    Church Council

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 2 Thessalonians, Paul has to expand what he wrote the first time on The End.
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.

The Spiritual Crisis of the Christ

Biblical Text: Mark 3:20-35

I put the title as “the Spiritual Crisis of the Christ” because just the existence of Jesus and his claims puts everyone in the position of having to make a choice. The technical term for what I try to describe in the sermon is a Chiasm. It would normally be outlined or diagrammed as A B C B’ A’. The “C” part is the deepest and most important part. The truth of that “C” part ripples out in the B/B’ and A/A’ parts like a stone dropped in the water. The truth at the center is that we live in Satan’s house, but Christ has bound Satan and is stealing as many as he can from Satan’s Kingdom for the eternal Kingdom. That is the gospel proclamation. You have been freed from the bondage to Satan.

That proclamation is met by two levels of crisis. At the easiest level the claims of the Christ are just crazy talk. The claims demand that we re-order our most natural selves – like our family – around the His missional family. Of course it might not be family, it is really whatever we take as the core of our personal identity. This must be subsumed under the mission of Christ to be part of God’s family. The more dangerous level is when that crisis demands a resolution. When all our status and power are defined by the idols of our age and we are called to say what we believe about Jesus, and crazy won’t be enough. You will be called to call Jesus demonic, the adversary. And this is the unforgiveable sin, calling the Spirit a liar.

Because the Spirit testifies to the truth of Jesus’ claims. Are you going to call God a liar, or allow him to free you from the bondage that Satan has you in?

Virtual Bulletin – 6/6

June 6th, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

There was an interesting novel published in 2019: The Damascus Road by Jay Parini. Unfortunately, I can’t give it a whole-hearted recommendation. About page 209 (where my bookmark index card stopped) out of 343 it lost my interest.  As the author’s note starts, “My Father was a Baptist minister…” which you can probably imagine where that sentence goes.  The novel in part is a ret-coning of Paul by a highly skilled son who was settling scores with dad.  But Mr. Parini is highly skilled, and before the project collapses under the weight of projection and anachronism, he fleshes out the historical Paul and Luke in an interesting way.  Everybody who has read Paul comes across the ideal of Paul as a “tent maker”. And the way that we gloss that is Paul working a job literally sowing tents.  But that bit doesn’t sit well with the rest of what we know of Paul: a Roman citizen from the colony city of Tarsus, from the upper crust of Jewish society studying under the then best Rabbi, mixing freely with doctors and city leaders like Luke, able to take to task the Corinthians and have them take it, able to dedicate years to both missionary travel and staying in foreign cities.  Parini’s tent maker is the inheritor of his Father’s business supplying the Roman legions with their tents wherever they need them. Paul runs an Empire wide supply chain.  Which gives him the access and status we see displayed in Acts and the Epistles.  Which also allows for his travel as his calling – Apostle of Jesus Christ – is supported by the family business.  Parini’s answer fits the history and sociology better if it is not our romantic glow of work-a-day poverty.

It came to mind while reading the epistle lesson for today which is the core of the Gospel – the good news – for Paul.  Paul the tent maker knows that he never runs out of business because the legions are always on the march and tents always wear out.  Even if the Proconsul-General procuring gear is willing to splurge on the best oil-cloth before heading to Germany or Parthia or Britannia, after a few years in the weather it wears out.  Such is life in this body in this world.  Everything about this world is wasting away.  The spirit of the legion may burn within, but every legionnaire if he survives the battle grows old.  His tent is stretched thin.  The rains come in more and more.  But Christ is our tent maker.  He knows that this earthly tent – which is our home – will be destroyed.  Even his was on the cross.  But the Father raised Jesus, who will also raise us.  Today, we know this earthly tent which is our home will one day cease.  But God has prepared for us a house.  A body that will bear the eternal weight of glory, an eternal dwelling that will not stretch thin or wear out.  You might even call it a mansion.

Paul the tent maker can’t procure for you that material, but he proclaims the one who has procured it for you – the LORD Jesus Christ.  May we bear with our current tents, in the hope of our eternal home.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 7th – June 13th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  9:00am    Pastors’ Circuit Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, How the Bible Talks about The End of the World Timeline
  • Confirmation:  Returns in September
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Returns in September
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: In your email, send me yours if you are not getting it.  On Lord’s Prayer

RUMMAGE SALE … July 10th / SAVERS DELIVERY … July 14th

We will be accepting:  kids clothing and toys, adult clothing and accessories (scarves, hats, purses, shoes etc.), housewares (dishes etc.) bedding, curtains, towels, tablecloths, books, CDs and DVDs, games, puzzles, small appliances and furniture. We can NOT take TVs, or computers. You may drop off items in the Multi-purpose Room anytime between June 27th and the afternoon of Thursday, July 8th

If you are interested in volunteering, we will need help sorting and pricing throughout that week. We also need volunteers to work the sale on July 10th.  Please contact Ellen (585-201-0756) or Mindy (585-489-4972) if you want to help. Feel free to email with any questions or suggestions as well.

Anything remaining at 3pm will be boxed up, so extra hands at this time would be greatly appreciated.  The boxes will be taken to Savers in Webster on Wed., July 14th at 11am.  People willing to drive to Webster are also needed.  Savers will then send us a check based on the weight of what we deliver (fabric items gets the best rate).

WEEKLY NEWS BULLETIN/CALENDAR

The deadline for inclusion in this weekly bulletin is Thursday evening.  It gets compiled and goes to print on Friday morning. If you have items for the bulletin, or if you have calendar items that should be in the church calendar, for right now please send them to pastor.  I will need three things: dates both of the activity and how long you want the notice to run, a short paragraph, and a subject headline.  This is another available role if someone would like to compile.  The information here also then gets published on the church website and emailed to our current list.

The Year Uzziah Died…

Biblical Text:  Isaiah 6:1-8, John 3:1-17

The Sunday is Trinity Sunday, which is the final “Festival” in the Festival half of the church year. It is set aside to meditate on the Truth that captured the imagination of the first six centuries of the church – The Trinity. Part of that in the Lutheran church is the confession of the Athanasian Creed. (In the recording responsively.) But the texts for the day are rich is so many ways. This sermon does something I don’t do that often, it layers the Old Testament lesson in with the Gospel. And I did this because the story of Uzziah, mentioned in Isaiah’s call, and the story of Nicodemus layer so beautifully. They are stories of incense and pride. They are stories of desiring to see God in His essence, and missing God in what He has done. The year Uzziah dies, is the year we can see God. This sermon helps us see that.

Virtual Bulletin – 5/30

May 30th, 2021 – Trinity Sunday

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

Devotion & Prayer Thought

The Book of Concord is the collection of what is called the Lutheran Confessions.  It includes the Small and Large Catechisms, which are what confirmation makes sure the confirmed Lutheran has studied once.  The Augsburg Confession holds pride of place in the collection as the Symbol of what does it mean to be a Lutheran.  But the first things inserted in the Book of Concord are the three great creeds of the western church.  It does this because the Lutheran church’s assertion is that it is simply the continuation of what has always been taught by the church universal. The Nicene Creed is ecumenical meaning it is confessed by the entire church.  The Apostle’s creed is the baptismal creed of the Western church dating back to when it was simply the Creed of the Roman church meaning the church that was at Rome.  And then the Athanasian creed is the final one recognized by the Western Church.  All the creeds sprung out of the same concern, just who is this God that we have come to know and worship?  If the Apostle’s is a first attempt before competing assertions, and the Nicene is the united church’s great statement of these are the proper words, the Athanasian is at the end of the era bringing in some later concerns.

The first half with its mantra like repetition – the Father is infinite, the son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite…eternal…almighty… – is a repetition of the earlier Creeds.  “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.” If the earlier creeds did not make all this explicit, we repeat it here.  It is the second half that contains what I think is the post-Nicene conclusions.  The Nicene creed confessed that Jesus was True God and True man, but how to talk about those natures wasn’t made concrete until 451 AD at the Council of Chalcedon.  This longer creed instructs how to think about it.  And it is important for example in thinking about the return of Jesus.  In Mark 13 Jesus says “not even the son knows the time.” How can true God be ignorant?  The Athanasian creed, reflecting Chalcedon, says “equal to the Father with respect to his divinity, less than the Father with respect to his humanity.” According to his divinity which is shared fully with the Father, of course Jesus knows the time of his return.  According to his humanity, especially during the time of his humiliation on earth, the Son did not know the time.  He put it aside.  How is this reconciled?  Not by our understanding but only in the person of Christ.  “one altogether, not by confusion of the substance but by unity of the person.”  God and man meet and are held together by Jesus Christ.  The Holy and the Common abide in one Christ.

The last thing about the Athanasian Creed that stands out is its confidence.  “This is the catholic (i.e universal) faith.”  With its closing and opening assertions that to be saved one must hold and believe this.  It is a statement of a happy and confident faith.  God has revealed himself to us in Christ and His Word.  Through prayer and study and yes trial the Holy Spirit has led us into all truth (John 16:13).  These creeds that you confess are True.  When we confess the creed, may the Spirit grant us the grace to confess them with that zeal and confidence.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 31st – June 6th

Tues. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Tuesday: ……………….  7:00pm    Board of Elders Meeting

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: The Biblical Timeline – Eschatology.  (Mark 13, Thessalonians and parts of Revelation.)
  • Confirmation:  New group in the Fall
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Pick up in the Fall
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: Moving to the Lord’s Prayer.  If you are not receiving these let me know and give me your email address.

The Holy and the Common

Biblical Text: Ezekiel 37:1-14, Psalm 25:10, Acts 20:32

The day is Pentecost, which for us is also confirmation day. So the message today has three movements. The first is a mediation on what Pentecost means for us with the focus on the distinction between the Holy and the Common. The second and third movements are a pastoral final blessing to the confirmands in the form of a meditation on their assigned confirmation verses.

I’m sorry about the recording quality. I think my microphone cut out somewhere after the readings. The microphone that was capturing the sounds was the altar mic. I’ve tried to compensate. It is not terrible, but this is why I also post the draft.

Virtual Bulletin – 5/23

May 23th, 2021 – Pentecost/Confirmation

WORSHIP & Bible Study

Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/6458485288?pwd=R2xGZkRNVi9TdzFPQzlaVnluNWo4QT09

Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles

Bible Study after service or 11:15ish.  I’ll keep the zoom line on. 

SPECIAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING: TODAY! (May 23rd) @ 3 PM. Go home, get lunch, take a nap, and come back.  This is an important meeting and we would like everyone present.

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Pentecost – literally meaning 50 days after – was the Greek word for the Hebrew festival of Shavuot, at different places called the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of First Fruits.  There were to be three great feasts for Israel – Passover, Pentecost and Booths. Exodus 23:14-17 is the initial command.  Leviticus 23 expands, and Deuteronomy 16 repeats.  The seed of the Pentecost festival was that this was the day that Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai. God’s commands tie this reception of the law to the agricultural year. Being a Mediterranean climate, they got more than one crop in a year.  Pentecost was the gathering of the first crop or the first fruits.  And every day during the 7 weeks leading up to it, Israel was to bring a “wave offering” of grain, until the first fruits came in.

All of these find some fulfillment Christian Pentecost.  The Giving of the Law is fulfilled in the pouring out of the Holy Spirit who enables what the law could not, the sanctification of all Israel.  The first fruits are seen in the “about 3000 that were added that day.”  And the weeks of preparation are how Christ showed himself risen from the dead until His Spirit was poured out on all flesh as Joel prophesied and Peter recalled.

I think it is fruitful to ponder how these find their fulfillment among us.  Confirmation is something of a first fruits celebration.  Those who were planted in baptism have now come to a state of maturity where they can confirm that baptism.  The faith becomes not just something inherited, but something theirs.  It is also a reflection of the reception of the law in that the basics of the faith have been delivered to them in a course of study.  And they have been waved before the elders as a show that some of it stuck.  This is not Booths, this is not the final harvest.  Lots of stuff can happened between now and that final ingathering, but it is a late Spring Celebration.

And as we as a Congregation contemplate together where we are, I think this conjunction of meaning can be fruitful as well.  We have been promised the Spirit.  The Spirit which testifies to the truth.  The Spirit which puts flesh on dry bones.  Some see the effects of the Spirit as “new wine”, but other are cut to the heart.  What is the Spirit declaring to us today?  What are we as a congregation waving before the throne as our first fruits?  What first fruits or Spring Harvest are hoping to celebrate?  Those are not purely Pollyanna questions.  Because this is the Spirit that gifts what he desires, that provides the growth.  The year processes, from Passover to Pentecost to Booths, and then God renews it, until the final day. If we have been part of the Lord’s Passover from death in Easter, what is this Pentecost for us today?  May the Spirit be both our Helper and the witness of truth.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  May 24th – May 30th

Mon. – Fri. ……….….…  9:00amPreschool

Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study

Sunday: …………………. 10:00am    Worship

                                           11:00am    Bible Study

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: Finish Ezekiel’s Heavenly Land. Next up: How to think about The Timeline
  • Confirmation:  In the Fall, congrats to this years confirmands!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  May 27th? See you on the Zoom line.
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the gospel of Mark – the one read in this year’s lectionary.
  • Catechism Moment: Moving to the Lord’s Prayer.  If you are not receiving these let me know and give me your email address.

RUMMAGE SALE … July 10th / SAVERS DELIVERY … July 14th

We will be accepting:  kids clothing and toys, adult clothing and accessories (scarves, hats, purses, shoes etc.), housewares (dishes etc.) bedding, curtains, towels, tablecloths, books, CDs and DVDs, games, puzzles, small appliances and furniture. We can NOT take TVs, or computers. You may drop off items in the Multi-purpose Room anytime between June 27th and the afternoon of Thursday, July 8th

If you are interested in volunteering, we will need help sorting and pricing throughout that week. We also need volunteers to work the sale on July 10th.  Please contact Ellen or Mindy if you want to help. Feel free to email with any questions or suggestions as well.

Anything remaining at 3pm will be boxed up, so extra hands at this time would be greatly appreciated.  The boxes will be taken to Savers in Webster on Wed., July 14th at 11am.  People willing to drive to Webster are also needed.  Savers will then send us a check based on the weight of what we deliver (fabric items gets the best rate).

Grace Upon Grace

Biblical Text: John 17: 9-19

The text is from Jesus prayer on Thursday of Holy Week in John. It is picked because this past Thursday was ascension day, the day 40 days after Easter when Christians mark Jesus’ return to the Father. 10 Days later, next Sunday, is Pentecost when the Spirit is poured out. This is promised is Jesus’ prayer. What this sermon does is first reflect on the foundation for the prayer. Jesus prefaces his petitions with some statements. 1) The World and the those he is praying for are at odds, 2) those he is praying for have been chosen by the Father (election) and 3) It is through the disciples he is praying for that he receives glory. Such is the foundation and purpose of the Christian life. In order to live it, because Jesus is leaving this world, he asks his Father to grant his disciples certain things. All these things Jesus considers that while he was in the World He gave them, and he knows that we need them. So he asks the Father.

I have heard many preachers talk about these things, in particular the first one, as stuff the church should be working on. But that would turn them into laws, not graces. Jesus is asking his father for grace for his people. Grace to be one in the name. Which is true not the least in our baptisms. Grace to be kept from the Evil One. Which is true in that the Satan has been bound and has no way to destroy the church in this world. And Grace to consecrated in truth. Which is granted in the abiding word. Jesus’ prayer has been answered.