May 22nd, 2022 – 6th Sunday of Easter
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: May 23rd – May 29th
Monday……………….. . 6:00PM LAF
Wednesday……………. Bede the Venerable
Thursday………………. 10:00 AM Bible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00 AM Worship
11:15 AM Bible Study
I’m not sure what they were looking at, but on the pastor’s wives retreat Ellen texted me and asked “What would you write or teach about if Esther was the subject?” I replied two things: 1) the virtue of courage and 2) God working through means. Esther is on the commemorations calendar this week. It’s a short fun book in the Old Testament. You might sit and read it in 20 mins on Tuesday. If you do, tell me what you take away. I’d love to hear.
The other commemoration this week is one of those long middle-ages “names.” Bede is early enough (672-735 AD) he is often the “End of the Church Fathers” but late enough he’s not part of the Mediterranean world. Bede was born in Northumberland England and never went further than 100 miles from his place of birth. He was sent to a monastery by his parents at age 7. At age 14 plague swept through killing the entire monastery except the Abbot and Bede. His commentaries on scripture are still consulted today. He was also a prolific poet and Hymnwriter. LSB 493, the Ascension Hymn “A Hymn of Glory Let us Sing” is Bede’s. But what might be his most enduring work is an early History of the English Church which gives us much of early English history. He died on Ascension Day working on a translation of John’s Gospel into Saxon, apocryphally completing it, singing a Glory Patri, and expiring.
PRAYER THOUGHT AND MEDITATION
The world always seems to be on fire. What is causing the flames seems to always be new, as one internet personality calls it “the current thing”, but the flames persist. And like the old Billy Joel song recounting a list of past current things insists, “We didn’t start the fire.” Billy says he tried to fight it. The Joker just likes to watch the world burn. But all of these things keep the focus on the fire. The purpose of Apocalyptic, like the book of Revelation, or you could say the Bible itself, is to learn to walk through the fire without being burned. To learn to ignore the fire because that is the death pangs of a world already judged, a world that you have been rescued from.
Hear Jesus’ from our gospel lesson this week (John 16:22-33). “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” Is the world on fire? Yep. It is a place of tribulation. Is it our job to put out the fire? No. Christ overcame the world. Is it our job to feed the fire? Even less so. “God judges those outside (1 Corinthians 5:13).” So what is the Bible about if it isn’t about how we can save the world or defeat it? It is about peace. “I say these things that you might have peace.”
And how might we have peace in the midst of flames, maybe even flames that we have caused? First, know that you have caused the flames. Denying it like Billy does no good. Instead, confession is good for the soul. “We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).” And that is the fire on this old earth, sin. It has been burning from the day Eve took the apple, probably prior, for where did that old snake come from? But if we broke it, doesn’t that mean we have to pay for it? Normally, but God loves his creation, enough to rescue it. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son (John 3:16).” But what if God changes his mind? All those old pagan gods and even our new gods do that constantly. Capricious is the world applied to them most often. Have peace in your hearts, “the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children (Ps. 103:17).” The word that most describes The LORD is steadfast love. It is the Hebrew “Chesed” which can also mean faithfulness or covenant obligation or even grace. When God makes a promise, he’s good for it. Always has been. Far from being capricious, The LORD is steadfast, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Read the entire story and tell me that isn’t true.
But why doesn’t he stop the fire? Well, he has for those who will look up to the cross. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the son of man must be lifted up (John 3:14).” That story is in Numbers 21. “Fiery serpents” plagued Israel who were healed by looking up. And we are likewise saved by looking to the cross. This is the peace that Jesus desires us to have. He’s defeated the world and saved you. Not that he’s taken you out of it. You are his ambassadors of peace. But you no longer need to fear the fire. This world might destroy this body or this home, but you have the resurrection body and a better home.
Revelation shows us the fire in all its fury. The dragons and the beasts, the powers that be. The four horsemen and the bowls and the trumpets. These things continue. They are the great tribulation. But in the midst of all this, it shows us the sealed. It shows us those who have come out of the great tribulation. And especially it says, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the lamb (21:9).” And we are shown this great cube city (1380 miles wide, long and high) having the glory of God and made of only the best stuff. This is our home, the Holy City Jerusalem that comes down from heaven to earth. This is the place that has been prepared for you. Have peace, take heart, the bridegroom comes.
- Thurs 10am: “The Necessary Bible Stories to Know Our Own Story” – The Exodus – the Plagues
- Confirmation: Completed Year 1, return in the Fall
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): May 23rd, 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