Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Pentecost, the Season of Growth - Summary Part One
As we reach the midpoint of our Pentecost Season, perhaps it is necessary to review the purpose of the season of Pentecost and what we have been hearing and learning over the past three plus months.
The liturgical color for the season of Pentecost is Green, which is the color of growth. Thus, we are reminded by the color green that Pentecost and the Sundays after Pentecost are Sundays in which we have the opportunity, through the Scripture readings (the Old Testament Reading, the Epistle Reading and the Gospel Reading) to grow in our Christian faith and life, that is to grow in our knowledge and understanding of God and His work in our lives. The ultimate goal is that as we are able, as we are asked, we will always be ready to give and apology, which is a defense or an answer to others who ask about our faith in Jesus. So we see the importance of our Divine Service and Bible Class attendance.
Now, if you were on vacation, hopefully you were visiting one of our sister congregations and so you did not miss any of the continuity of the readings, but if for some reason you did miss, the following is presented as a summary the weeks of growth through the Gospel lessons during the first part of the Pentecost Season.
We began the continuing series of lessons the Second Sunday after Pentecost hearing the historical account of Jesus healing the Centurion’s Servant. Through this account we were reminded that Jesus is truly God and man with authority and power over all creating. We were reminded of our humility in being given the gifts God has to give especially including faith, forgiveness, life and salvation.
We moved on to the historical account of Jesus raising the widow’s son and were given a wonderful show of Jesus’ compassion for all people, us included. Certainly our Lord cares for us and the ultimate care He showed in the giving of His life on the cross for ours. We followed that picture of Jesus’ care with the account of Jesus forgiving the sinful woman and reminding us that it is only as we recognize our complete depravity and great sin before God when we can truly understanding His great love for us. The more sinful we realize we are, the more His suffering, death and resurrection mean to us.
The next week we were taken to the country of the Gerasenes where Jesus is confronted with the man who was possessed by many demons whose name was Legion. There we saw, tongue in cheek, the first example of deviled ham as Jesus cast the demons into the pigs that committed suicide. Again we were affirmed in our faith that Jesus is both truly human and truly God with authority and power over all creation and all evil spirits as well. We were also reminded that through our vocations, through our living lives in service to others we are serving God and as we have opportunity we are to always be ready to give an answer for our faith to all those who ask, as the healed man was told to stay in his town and tell others all Jesus did for him.
The next week we saw Jesus rejected by the Samaritans and Jesus explained the cost of following Him. We were reminded of how often we reject and refuse to follow Jesus with the many excuses we have in our own lives, how our priorities put other things before Him and yet we reminded of God’s great love for us, so much that even despite our rejection of Jesus, He still loves us, forgives us and calls us to follow Him.
We saw Jesus send out the seventy two for practice missionary work. We heard how excited they were at the abilities that is that through the use of God’s authority they were able to do great things and yet Jesus tells them and us that more important than such authority is the fact that our names are written in the book of heaven. Through the parable of the Good Samaritan we were reminded of our vocations and how we serve God by serving others. We learned that our response of faith includes showing mercy to others. And in the historical account of Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha we were encouraged by Jesus to do what we are encouraged in Divine Service almost every Sunday that is that the most important thing in life, the one thing needful is to be in the Word, to be in Divine Service and Bible Class.
We were taught the Lord’s Prayer and were reminded that, to those who suggest the only true prayers are extemporaneous prayers, that is those prayers that arise from the heart, who can make up a better prayer than Jesus, and He loves to hear us pray the very words He has given us to pray. We were reminded and encouraged to keep on praying to God and that unlike our earthly fathers who are good to us, God is even greater in His answering our prayers. We were reminded in the parable of the rich fool, first to be good stewards with all the blessings our Lord has given to us in returning the first of our blessings as tithes to the Lord, because otherwise we may end up having more trust in our “riches” than in our Lord. We were reminded that our worries and anxiety are a result of a lack of faith include our failure to respond with our first fruits, that is that our lack of giving is also a sign of a week faith because we do not believe the Lord will continue to bless us as He has already blessed us. We fail to realize that we cannot out give God and the fact that He is the one who gives us all things in the first place. Indeed we were reminded that “where our treasure is there is our heart” (Luke 12:34) so that if we want to know our priorities, no matter what we say, they are what we live. And so we were reminded to use the gifts God gives for extending His Kingdom, to get ourselves and others ready for the day of the Lord’s return, or our going to Him.
We were reminded that Jesus came to bring division, not peace, and we see this in the fact that there is a religious war going on in this world. Satan and his armies are working constantly in persecuting Christians around the world as false doctrines, heresies and false religions are constantly leading even Christians astray in our world today. Jesus, His Word, the Word made flesh even brings divisions in the Christian Church and in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. And we were reminded that simply to have one’s name on the roll of a congregation does not mean one is a Christian. Indeed there are many who profess to be a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church who do not have faith in Jesus, rather they simply know about Him.
And that about catches us up for the first half of the Pentecost Season. It is amazing the gifts the Lord delivers to us through His Word each and every Sunday in Divine Service and in Bible Class. Thanks be to God.