May 1st, 2022 – 3rd Sunday of Easter
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: May 2nd – May 8th
Monday……………….. . Athanasius, Confessor
6:00 PM LAF
Tuesday………………. 7:00 PM Elder’s Meeting
Wednesday……………. Friedrich Wyneken, Missionary
Thursday………………. Frederick the Wise
10:00 AM Bible Study
Friday: …………………. 5:00 PM Confirmation
Saturday………………. C.F.W. Walther
Sunday: …………………. 10:00AM Worship
11:15AM Bible Study
The commemorations this week fall into two groups: Those important to Lutheranism and Those to the entire church. C.F.W. Walther is often called the founder of the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod. If you don’t know that story, it really is a fascinating one, and his life is wrapped around it. If you’ve ever seen his picture you know immediately that the 19th century is a different place. It has always struck me that Walther’s life is almost biblical in its ups and downs. This space isn’t big enough to capture it. Ask me and I’ll tell some of it. If Walther was the organizing force, Wyneken was the outward directed energy. Arriving in Baltimore from Germany, the already existing Ministerium sent him “West”. He was a missionary to both scattered Germans and to the Native American tribes in Michigan, and he convinced key support in Germany to send more “emergency pastors”. Again, the full story is beyond this space. These two were the fist and second Presidents of the LCMS, which this year celebrates its 175 anniversary. Frederick the Wise is the Prince who protected and probably saved Luther. When Charles V with the Pope had decided to kidnap Luther after Worms, Frederick learned of it and spirited Luther away to Wartburg Castle. His time there was miserable, but the German Translation of the Bible came from that time.
If Walther, Wyneken and Frederick are Lutheran figures, Athanasius is owned by all. The Athanasian Creed, recited on Trinity Sunday, isn’t by him but captures his confession. When most of the Christian world had turned Arian, the first great heresy of the church contra the Nicene Creed, Athanasius refused to budge. It was Athanasius Contra Mundam – Against the World. And the world would eventually crumble in the face of Athanasius’ implacable resistance.
What unites all four is a willingness to confess Jesus Christ in the face of worldly pressure and to do the hard things for the sake of the gospel. Other than Elector Frederick we’d probably think of all of them as prickly. But it was their perseverance that produced character, and character hope.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
Reading through the letters to the churches, the book of Revelation moves the scene to heaven and specifically the Heavenly throne. John gets a vision of the throne that looks like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and Isaiah’s (Isaiah 6) visions. And we are introduced to the “Holy, Holy, Holy” again. The angels and the living creatures and everything around the throne is singing in glory to the Father, the one who sits on the throne. “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created (Rev 4:11).” But Revelation introduces a new movement. There is a problem in heaven. There is a scroll that is sealed and nobody is worthy to open it. This is probably picking up on the scroll from Daniel 12:4 which is the knowledge of the end that Daniel is told to seal up. The same book appears in Isaiah (29:11) and Ezekiel. You’ll notice the repetition of prophets. The picture presented here is usually taken to be the end of Ascension Day. If the first part of Ascension Day we hear in Matthew 28 and Acts 1, this is the picture of what happens in Heaven. There is now one worthy to open the Scroll, the “Lamb who had been slain with seven horns and seven eyes.” What are those sevens? That is the Holy Spirit. This is the anointed with the Spirit Lamb. And this Lamb in all boldness walks up to the throne of God the Father and takes the scroll from the right hand. “He was seated at the right hand of the Father.”
And this is the new movement. When the lamb takes the scroll at the right hand, all those in heaven who had been praising the Father now add a new verse praising the Lamb. “Worthy in the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might…”. And it is not just the Heavenly realms, but “every creature in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth and in the sea.” Why is this such a big deal? Because only God is worshipped, especially in Heaven. And Heaven is worshipping the Lamb. Our Epistle reading captures this new song of praise.
But the new movement, the new theme, isn’t just that Jesus is God. That’s important, but it’s the praise of every creature. In Christ God has acted to reclaim and judge his entire creation. And even those under the earth, those whose praise would be grudging, must join in the praise. Christ has triumphed. The Lamb sits at the Right Hand of the Father from whence He will come to judge. And what does that judgement look like? That’s what’s on the scroll with seven seals that the Lamb is about to open. The whole purpose of Revelation is so that you know who has won. It is your brother Jesus. There is no question in this. All the Kingdoms of this World have become the Kingdom of Our Lord. All the Kingdoms of men and of the powers and principalities that be. You have a champion in a very high place whose “blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe, language people and nation.”
All theology ends in doxology. Everyone joins the praise. “Amen! And they all fell down and worshipped.”
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – Finishing Joseph – End of Genesis
- Confirmation: Lord’s Prayer
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): May 2nd, 6PM, Zoom
- Sunday Morning: Going to continue with the Psalms for a Season. Come Join Us in the prayer book of the Bible.
- Catechism Moment: Continuing with the Lord’s Prayer