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.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Pentecost, the Season of Growth (Last in the Series)
As it does every year, our Pentecost Season ends at the end of November and a new Church Year will begin. This year our new Church Year actually began on the last Sunday in November. But, let us move on to complete our look at what we have been learning and how we have been growing in our faith as we conclude this year’s Pentecost Season.
On the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost, the Sunday we celebrated All Saints Day, we continued our reading through the Gospel of Luke as we heard the account of the tax collector, Zacchaeus. The Holy Spirit, working through the very Word of Jesus (the Word in flesh) brought Zacchaeus to faith and stirred in him the desire to run to be where Jesus was, to hear more of His Word, to be given more of His gifts and even to respond in returning what he had defrauded and even himself to the Lord. Would that the Word of God would have the same effect on us and our lives so our desire might be to always be where the gifts of God are given and most sure, in Divine Service!
On the Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost, we were reminded of the fact that God’s Word comes to us through historical accounts. Our confessional documents, that is our Book of Concord, is intended not as a book to replace the Bible as some people would accuse, rather our confessional documents are a systematic approach, sorting through the historical records so that we have a concise understanding about who God is, who Jesus is, what is original sin, and most important what is justification. We were reminded how many in our world and even many of us today are like the Pharisees, the Scribes and the Sadducees in our misunderstanding of the Word of God and how often, rather than attending Bible Class in order to learn a correct understanding of the Word, we stay away attempting to use our ignorance as an excuse. We learned the difference between life in this world and life in heaven and the difference between the gifts God has given for us to use in this world which will be unnecessary in heaven. And we were reminded once again that we get it right when our focus is on Jesus and the gifts He has to give.
On the Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost, the second last Sunday of the Church Year, we were encouraged to be alert, to be awake, and to be watchful because the end of the world is coming soon, sooner than we know and sooner than we might imagine. We were reminded of the fact that the world has been cursed since the fall into sin, yet God’s promise was to send a Messiah, a Savior and He did. He sent Jesus who reconciled our broken relationship with Himself. Jesus lived perfectly for us in our place, obeying all God’s laws and commands perfectly, even fulfilling all His promises concerning the Savior showing Himself to be the Savior. Jesus suffered, died, and rose for us. God’s now sends His Holy Spirit to give, strengthen and keep us in faith which He does through the means of Grace, when and where He pleases. And we were reminded that as the end approaches we may be arrested and imprisoned for our faith, yet we are to rejoice in the opportunity to bear witness as we give a defense of our faith, a defense using the very words our Lord will give us at the time, words He speaks through us that He has given us during our lives through His means of grace.
Finally, on the Last Sunday after Pentecost, on the last Sunday of the church year we were focused on and reminded that all of history has as its center, Jesus, God in human flesh, and His life, suffering, death and resurrection. Those living before Jesus were saved by God’s grace through faith in Him as the coming Messiah or Savior and those of us living now in the end times, which is what Jesus ushered in, are also saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, that He was and is the Messiah and Savior. We were also encouraged to make our New Church Year’s Resolution to desire to be where the gifts of God are given out, His Divine Service. God loves you so much and He has so much He wants to give to you! And so we are encouraged, again to be where He gives His gifts.
And that about catches us up for the third quarter 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!