Virtual Bulletin – 9/26

September 26th, 2021 – 18th Sunday after Pentecost

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  Sept 27th – Oct 3rd

Wednesday…………..               St. Michael and All Angels

                                                 5:30pm             Confirmation

Thursday: ………………           Jerome, Translator

                                                 10:00am           Bible Study

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

                                                 11:00am           Bible Study

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES NOTE

Our Service Book in the front under “The Church Year” has a three-fold division: Sunday’s and Seasons, Feast and Festivals and Commemorations.  The Sundays and Seasons are big things like Lent or Epiphany, things we change the altar colors for.  The Feast and Festivals are the major events of the life of Christ and the “saint days” of the apostles or other major early figures plus Reformation Day.  The commemorations are people and events of later years that the Synod at large thought deserve notice.  The Augsburg Confession (AC 22) states “Our Churches teach that the history of saints may be set before us so that we may follow the example of their faith and good works.”  Individual parishes might add their own commemorations of a local “saint” who is set before us.  You might have noticed a week or two ago I added “Holy Cross Day” in the list.  Above you see St. Michael and All Angels and Jerome.  St. Michael is a Feast Day, although not one we observe on the nearest Sunday.  Jerome was the translator of Scripture into Latin – the bible of Western Church from his work until the Reformation.  As these days roll through, I’m going to start noting them in Upcoming Activities and occasionally comment on them.

PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION

What is the most common religious practice or instinct? Come up with an answer before reading on….Ok, you probably came up with prayer.  At least that would be my answer.  I can’t think of a religious tradition that doesn’t have some form of prayer.  Now there are wildly different types of prayer, from simple petitions (I need this God) to what we call mediation, a vacating of our mind in search of the divine will.  Paul’s four-fold request in 1 Timothy 2 still covers the general Christian use: supplications (requests for ourselves), prayers (talking things out with God), intercessions (requests for others), and thanksgiving (returning praise to God for his providence).  But all of this prayer can often run into a mental or even doctrinal roadblock. Doesn’t God know all this stuff already?  Can my prayers really influence the Almighty God?  Are the prayers of someone “more worthy” more likely to be heard?  That seems to be what James implies this week. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working (James 5:16).”  All of those questions can silence our prayers. Let me offer a quick answer to those in case your prayers have been blocked.

“Doesn’t God know all this already?” Yes.  But get out your bibles and turn to Matthew 6:8-13.  Jesus tells us The Father knows, and then immediately says “pray this way” giving us the Lord’s Prayer.  The Father knows and he wants us to know.  He wants us to know both that He does provide and that He listens.  Jesus’ “pray this way” is about how we talk.  Prayer is not a magical incantation that seeks to move God.  It is not about exactly the right sequence of words.  The Kingdom of God certain comes without our prayer.  But in our prayers we pray that the Kingdom will come to us also.  Our prayers are about moving our hearts within the kingdom.

What about the effectiveness of prayer?  Does God actually change?  Whole books have been written on this arguing both sides.  But this is the difference between the God of the Philosophers and The Revealed God.  The Revealed God does respond.  James says to the sick, “call the elders and let them pray over him…and the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick (James 5:15).”  The God revealed in Jesus desires prayer to be effective.  And whatever logical problems that causes with the philosophers, you can take those up with God in prayer also. God listens to his own.

But what about the tough question?  Are some prayers heard more than others?  Who is the righteous person of James 5:16? Read the full verse.  “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power.” The righteous person is the forgiven person.  The righteous person in the one who believes that Jesus has taken away our sin and the sin of our brothers and sisters.  The righteous person is the one who forgives.  The Lutheran teaching on saints is not that they are closer to God and so can get us the good stuff.  The Lutheran teaching on saints is that they are our examples.  They believed and it was credited to them as righteousness. Their prayers were heard in Christ.  Likewise in faith our prayers are heard in Christ.  We are all the communion of saints, those made righteous by the blood of Jesus.  So ask boldly, ask in faith, knowing that the Lord provides everything his people need.

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: 1 John, Darkness and Light, The Antichrist, Children of God, Love one another, good time to join!
  • Confirmation:  Back to Work!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  October 7th, Fruits of the Spirit
  • Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, Walking through the Gospel of Mark
  • Catechism Moment: I apologize for this.  When I run out of time this is the last thing added and the first skipped. I will get back to it this week.

UPCOMING CONGREGATIONAL MEETINGS

October 24th will be the budget presentation and officer nominations.  November 7th will be voting.

BEEF ON WECK

We are going to attempt a Beef on Weck on November 6.  You might be asked to help, please do help.  Ellen and Lisa and Abel Acuña are the contact points.