Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Relief

Thousands of families are being affected right now on the east coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. With generous support from its donors, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod is able to reach out to those in need, providing physical and spiritual care in the name of Christ to those who are suffering loss.

Your gifts for Hurricane Relief provide a constant resource of funds that can instantly be made available to help those in need.

You may give by mail:

Make checks payable to "The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod" with a memo line or note designating ‘Hurricane Relief.’

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
P.O. Box 66861
St. Louis MO 63166-6861

Or by phone:    888-930-4438

Any funds not needed for this relief effort will be used for other disaster purposes as determined by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

god's time

"It is certainly not an accident that in the modern world the church year and the secular year have moved further away from each other. When we today celebrate the beginning of a new church year there is a hint of the fact that the church has a different division of time than the world has. The church lives in the world and there the law of the creator is in force expressed in the Old Testament in the great words: "There is a time for everything." The church lives in the world in which the stars orbit, the years and seasons change, generations are born and die.

But the church has a special understanding of time. She can wait. For nineteen centuries she has sung in her liturgy the "Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" For nineteen centuries she has lifted hearts high to him who will come to judge the living and the dead. For nineteen centuries she has prayed"Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" and heard the Answer, “Yes, I am coming soon." For nineteen centuries she has heard the sneering question "Where is the promise of his coming? For everything remains as it always has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:4). Through all these centuries right up to the present time she has received no other answer than the comforting and warning words of the New Testament to the Christendom of that time, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to persist but everyone to come to repentance."

God has been patient with us. So the church waits with patience. This patience is foreign to the world. It can't wait. It must always have everything right away. That has been true for the entire modern world of humankind in the last century. For a hope that still hasn't been fulfilled after nineteen centuries simply makes no sense. We all need to be quite clear about what fools we make ourselves in the eyes of the world when we gather here in this house of God today in 1936 in order to have our hope strengthened in the coming of the Lord, and to pray with the Christendom of every century "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!"

- Hermann Sasse

(ht Matt Harrison)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the nones

The PEW Research group study has determined that 1 in 5 adults have no religious affiliation.
Let's take a look at the nones ...

56 percent of Nones are male

33 percent of people under 30 say they have no religious affiliation

9 Percent of those 65 or older have no religion

71 percent of Nones are white

11 percent are Hispanic

9 pecent are Black

4 percent are Asian

27 percent of Nones say there is no God

68 percent say there is a God or 'universal spirit'

55 percent identify themselves as religious or spiritual

(and 37 percent of those consider themselves spiritual but not religious)

75 percent voted for Obama and are democratic politically

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

At a Pre-Lenten Workshop for Pastors at the Seminary earlier this year, one of the presenters was describing to us the different groups in Judaism during the time of Christ. He half-jokingly told us that the pharisees were like the LLL, the sadducees were like the east coast liberals, and the scribes were like the seminary professors.

I don't know how accurate that assessment is, but what I do know based upon the Gospel reading from Matthew 8 this morning is that Jesus didn't need any of those guys. Jesus was his own authority. The word authority literally means out of the original stuff. And being the Author and Creator of all the stuff in the whole universe, Jesus speaks and acts with authority.

Jesus had the full authority of the Lord God Yahweh Himself. He talked like God because that’s who He was - that's who He is. He is the One who spoke and the universe leapt into existence.
He is the One whom Moses spoke of in Deuteronomy, the One who would have the words of God Himself in His mouth. To hear Jesus was to hear it straight from the horse's mouth - straight from the mouth of God Almighty. His words were God’s words; His teaching God’s teaching, His actions God's actions - He didn’t need a bunch of degrees hanging on the wall to give him credentials.
And He doesn't need us to give Him our permission to be in charge today, either.

He has the authority - His word has the power.

In the first of three episodes in our reading from Matthew, a leper comes and kneels before Jesus and says - Lord, if you're willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand, touched the man and said - I am willing - be clean! With just one word Jesus healed the man.

In the second episode, a centurion whose servant is suffering from paralysis comes to Jesus.
The centurion understands Jesus authority and knows that He has the power to help him.
He says to Jesus - Just say the word and my servant will be healed. Jesus is astonished at this Roman's faith - and He says to him - Go! It will be done just as you believe.

With just a word Jesus heals the centurion's servant.

In the third episode, Peter's mother in law is lying in bed with a fever. Jesus comes in and simply touches her hand and the fever leaves her. Later that evening many came to him to be healed - and it says with a word He drove out the evil spirits and healed the sick.

One Word is all Jesus needs.

With the one word - Tetelestai - He finished the job and accomplished our salvation as He died on the cross for the sins of all the world. With a word "shalom" he greeted his disciples on Easter Sunday, bringing them peace and joy as their Risen and Living Lord.

Just a word from Jesus is enough. When Jesus speaks, stuff happens.
When His words are spoken it brings forgiveness, life, salvation, healing, wholeness, shalom.

Jesus has authority. He's the Author, so He has the authority to cut through the darkness,
to casts out demons, to change water into wine, to calm the wind and still the seas, to cleanse the leper, to lift the paralyzed man from his bed. He has the authority to raise you from death to life in your baptism, to forgive you all of your sins, to give you His own body and blood in the bread and wine of the Supper, given and shed for you for your forgiveness and salvation.

He has the power and authority to send you out into the world as his servant. Healed and cleansed, fed and nourished, you are equipped and empowered by the Spirit to speak a word of life to those around you who need it. A word of comfort, a word of healing, a word of love, a word of forgiveness. He gives you His Word so that you can say a word to others.

Just say the word - in Jesus name.