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Sept 20th – Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost:
Disciples Live in Their Vocations by Grace through Faith in Christ
Those who are sent as “laborers for his vineyard” (Matt. 20:1) depict the wide diversity of vocations to which the disciples of Christ Jesus are called. Whatever our particular stations in life may be, we are called to live and serve by faith in His promises. Our labors do not merit anything before Him, for He is already generous to one and all without partiality. In mercy, He has chosen to bear “the burden of the day and the scorching heat” on our behalf, to make us equal to Himself and to give us what belongs to Him, that is, the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 20:12-15). This way of the Lord is foolishness to the world and foreign to our thoughts, but He draws near, so that “he may be found” (Is. 55:6), “have compassion” and “abundantly pardon” (Is. 55:7). So it is that we are found in Christ Jesus, and He is honored in our bodies, “whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20), by “fruitful labor” (Phil. 1:22) or by suffering. It is by faith in His forgiveness that our works are “worthy of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27).
Sept 13th – The Fifthteenth Sunday After Pentecost:
Forgiving as the Lord Forgives Us
In settling His accounts with us, our Lord acts not with anger, but with compassion. He does not imprison us as we deserve, but He forgives all our debts and releases us (Matt. 18:23-27). Therefore, our Lord bids each of us to have “mercy on your fellow servant” and “forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:33, 35). By the Lord’s forgiveness of our sins, we are free to forgive those who sin against us, because He has been handed over to the jailers in our stead and He has paid our entire debt with His lifeblood. Whether we live or die, we “are the Lord’s” (Rom. 14:8). Since we all will “stand before the judgment seat of God,” we are not to despise our brother (Rom. 14:10), but gladly forgive him. By the grace of God, our brother also “will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Rom. 14:4). Though we daily sin against each other, the Lord intends “to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Gen. 50:20). Jesus speaks kindly by His Gospel and promises: “I will provide for you and your little ones” (Gen. 50:21).
Sept 6th – The Fourteenth Sunday After Pentecost:
Living as Humble Little Children of the Father
True greatness is not self-sufficient strength, but humility like that of a little child. The greatness of childlike faith receives all good things as gracious gifts from our Father in heaven. Apart from such faith, “you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” but whoever is humbled like a little child will be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3-4). Though in our sin we deserve to be “drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6), we have instead been drowned (“buried”) with Christ in Baptism and then raised to the new, humble life of a child of God. The Lord sends His watchman to warn us with a word from His mouth, in order that we may not die in our iniquity, but be turned from our pride and selfishness to live (Ezek. 33:7-9). Thus, we live in humility and faith before God as well as in love for our neighbor, which “is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). In the reverent fear of God, we do no harm to our neighbor, but we “pay to all what is owed to them” (Rom. 13:7) and we “owe no one anything, except to love each other” (Rom. 13:8).
Aug 30th – The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist:
The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist
“Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means!” (Rom. 6:1-2). John preached the Law boldly against Herod’s adultery with Herodias. Choosing human honor over honesty, Herod served up John’s head on a platter to pacify Herodias’s conscience without the contrition and repentance of Baptism (Mark 6:17-28). So John was slain for the Word of God and for the witness he had borne (Rev. 6:9). John is Christ’s forerunner also in death; so other fellow-servants and brothers continue to be martyrs (witnesses) of Christ to this day (Rev. 6:11). Their deaths are precious to the Lord (Ps. 116:15) and so also to us, who celebrate even a beheading. Such is the confidence of the baptized! Buried into Christ’s death through Baptism, we believe we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His also (Rom. 6:4-5). United to Christ, the Church’s Head, John can be confident that He will be reunited to his own at the last day. Even John isn’t really the forerunner; Jesus has gone before us all: out of the tomb alive, the firstborn of those who sleep!
Aug 23rd – The Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost:
The Lord Jesus Christ Is the Son of the Living God
Jesus asked His disciples: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). The question is also put to us: Who do you say that He is? Flesh and blood do not reveal this to us, but by the ministry of the Gospel, the Father in heaven reveals His Son to us on earth, who has become flesh and suffered death for our salvation. Thus, we believe and confess that He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). As He died for our transgressions and was raised for our justification, He looses us from all our sins and preserves our life within His Church, against which even “the gates of hell shall not prevail” (Matt. 16:18-19). His salvation is forever, and His righteousness “will never be dismayed” (Is. 51:6). He comforts us with the Gospel in His Church, so that “joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song” (Is. 51:3). Therefore, “according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Rom. 12:3), we also offer ourselves “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Rom. 12:1) through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Aug 16th – St. Mary, Mother of our Lord
St. Mary, Mother of God
The Lord clothes His people with the garments of salvation and covers them with the robe of righteousness (Isa. 61:10). So the Blessed Virgin Mary rejoices in God her Savior (Luke 1:47). The Lord was gracious to her. She believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord (v. 45). That is why all generations shall call her “blessed” (v. 42 & 48); likewise, “Blessed are all who hear the Word of God and keep it” (Luke 11:28). She has the unique honor of being the one from whom the Righteous One sprouts up on earth before all nations (Isa. 61:11). But she sings as a recipient of His great mercy. God sent forth His Son, born of this woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law, that we might be sons and heirs (Gal. 4:4-7). Mary is rightly called “Mother of God” because of the nature of the Son she bore; but He alone is called “Savior,” “Redeemer,” and “Advocate.” Jesus Christ is the one thing needful, come to rescue and heal and save us (Luke 10:28-42). He is the seed of the woman at last come to crush the serpent’s head for us (Gen. 3:15).
Aug 9th – Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:
Christ the Crucified Comes to Save Us by the Word of Faith
The Lord who “laid the foundation of the earth” (Job 38:4) is the Author and Giver of life who governs all things by His Word. His wisdom and power are beyond our understanding, except as He reveals Himself in the incarnate Word, Christ Jesus. He has “entered into the springs of the sea” and “walked in the recesses of the deep” (Job 38:16), and He draws near to us in mercy. We have been “a long way from the land, beaten by the waves” and tossed about by hostile winds (Matt. 14:24). In our mortality and sinful unbelief, we do not always recognize the Lord Jesus. But as we cry out in fear, He speaks tenderly to us, “Do not be afraid,” and He reaches out His hand to save us (Matt. 14:27, 31). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13), and now we call upon Him in faith, because we have heard “through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom. 10:8).
Aug 2nd – The 9th Sunday After Pentecost:
Christ Jesus, the Living Bread from Heaven, Feeds the Children of God
By the Gospel of “the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever” (Rom. 9:5), we are “the children of God” (Rom. 9:8), “not because of works but because of him who calls” (Rom. 9:11). Therefore, “listen diligently” and “hear, that your soul may live.” By His sacrificial death in His flesh and blood, He has made “an everlasting covenant” for us. Since He now calls us to Himself, we come to Him “and eat what is good, and delight in rich food” (Is. 55:2-3). He has come with divine compassion to save us from sin and death and to feed us with Himself. As our Lord Jesus once took bread, “said a blessing,” broke the loaves “and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds” (Matt. 14:18-19), He also now takes bread, blesses it by His Word to be His very body, and distributes it to His Church by the hand of His called and ordained servants. Just as “they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces,” there is more than enough for His whole Church to eat and to be satisfied (Matt. 14:20).
July 26th – St. James the Elder, Apostle:
St. James the Elder, Apostle
The sons of Zebedee ask for seats at Jesus’ right and left in glory (Mark 10:37). But they do not know what they are asking (Matt. 20:22), for God’s kingdom is not of glory and power but the cross. We will bear ours after Him. For His sake we are killed and regarded as sheep to be slaughtered. But in all this we are more than conquerors through Him (Rom. 8:36-37), for Jesus’ death is unique. He alone is baptized with our sin and drinks the cup of God’s wrath against it (Mark 10:38). We live in service to our neighbors after His example; but He alone is the Son of Man, come to give His life as a ransom for many (v. 45). Today the Church commemorates the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy about James, killed with Herod’s sword (Acts 12:2). He is honored as the first apostle to be conformed to the image of God’s Son (Rom. 8:29). But what is that when Christ Jesus has died-more than that, is raised-and is at the right hand of God, interceding for us? Nothing (not even a sword) can separate James and us from the love of Christ (v. 34-35).
July 19th – The 7th Sunday After Pentecost:
The Word of the Gospel Bestows the Righteousness of Christ and Brings Forth Faith
The good Seed, which is “the Son of Man,” Jesus Himself (Matt. 13:37), brings forth a harvest of faith and bears good fruits in “the sons of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:38). Whatever is sown apart from His Word is of the devil, who plants the weeds of unbelief and sin, even among the people of God. Thankfully, the Lord is patient and He does not uproot the weeds, lest the plants also be destroyed. He lets “both grow together until the harvest” (Matt. 13:30), while He continues to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins. Thus, He preserves His Church in righteousness, because He alone is “the King of Israel and his Redeemer” (Is. 44:6). Since all things are in His gracious care and keeping, “fear not, nor be afraid” (Is. 44:8). For “the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19), and in this hope we also wait with patience. Though we do not yet see it, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Rom. 8:26) and, in truth, “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
July 12th – The 6th Sunday After Pentecost:
The Preaching of the Word of Christ Bears the Good Fruits of Faith and Love
As “the rain and the snow come down from heaven” and “water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout” (Is. 55:10), so the Word of God accomplishes the purpose for which He speaks it, granting joy and peace through the forgiveness of sins and producing the fruits of faith and love in those who are called by His name. Christ Jesus, the incarnate Word, has established the name of the Lord as “an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off” (Is. 55:13). He opens our ears to hear, our minds to understand and our hearts to believe His Word, lest the evil one come and snatch it away. He thus transforms our rocky hearts into good soil, which clings to the Gospel and “indeed bears fruit” (Matt. 13:23). He is Himself the firstfruits of all who “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons” (Rom. 8:15). Thus being “led by the Spirit of God,” we are not afraid, but we cry out in faith to our Father in heaven (Rom. 8:14-15). For as we suffer with Christ, the beloved Son, so shall we “also be glorified with him” (Rom. 8:17).
July 5th – The 5th Sunday After Pentecost:
Jesus Christ, Our Savior, Is Our True Peace and Sabbath Rest
Though we have died with Christ in Holy Baptism, and we are raised to new life in Him, we find “another law waging war” in our body and life, that is, between our old Adam and the new man (Rom. 7:23). By the Spirit of Christ, we “desire to do what is right,” but we are not able to do so because “nothing good” dwells in our sinful flesh (Rom. 7:18). “Thanks be to God,” therefore, “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” who delivers us from “this body of death” (Rom. 7:24-25). We rejoice in Him, our gentle King, who comes “righteous and having salvation” (Zech. 9:9). He speaks peace to our embattled hearts, and by His blood of the New Testament He sets us “free from the waterless pit,” and He returns us to the stronghold of our Baptism (Zech. 9:10-12). Though we “labor and are heavy laden,” He calls us to Himself and gives rest to our souls through His free and full forgiveness (Matt. 11:28), not because we are “wise and understanding,” but by the “gracious will” of God the Father, whom “the Son chooses to reveal” in love (Matt. 11:25-27).
June 28 – The 4th Sunday After Pentecost: The Lord Jesus Brings Division on Earth for the Sake of Peace with God in Heaven
False prophets preach what their hearers want to hear, promising peace even when the Lord has spoken “war, famine, and pestilence” (Jer. 28:8). Belonging to Him puts us at odds with the world and divides us from all earthly ties, not only from our human family, but each person from his own life. For Christ does not come “to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Yet, whoever takes up his cross to follow Christ, and “loses his life” for Christ’s sake, finds new life in Him (Matt. 10:38-39).
June 21 – The 3rd Sunday After Pentecost: The Gospel is radical. Because of Christ, we are not under law; we are slaves of God; and eternal life is ours as a completely free gift without any strings attached.
June 14 – The 2nd Sunday After Pentecost: Jesus has compassion for us when we feel “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). Just as he used the twelve apostles, so he also uses us to extend the compassionate reign of God.
June 7 – The Holy Trinity: Join us as we celebrate the mystery that our God is three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – in one being. The creation account from Genesis 1 helps us understand how our three-in-one God has created us in his image, redeemed us when we sinned and lost his image, and is renewing us in his image by making us holy.
May 31 – The Day of Pentecost: Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he promised to send a great gift for all people. That gift is the Holy Spirit, God himself. It is the Spirit who adopts us as God’s children in baptism and creates faith in our hearts. On Pentecost we celebrate God’s continued outpouring of His Spirit. Join in from our Facebook page for live participation SUNDAY at 9am. There will be no online service option on Saturday, as we will be recording the Saturday service at church to publish on Sunday.
May 23/24 – The Ascension of Our Lord: Forty days after his resurrection from the dead, Christ ascended in glory to his Father’s right hand. He is not absent from us. Risen and ascended, he is present through Word and Sacrament and reigns over us in power! Join in our celebration of this festival from our Facebook page for live participation Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 9am. The video will continue to be available after that. Bulletins can be downloaded below.
May 16/17 – Easter 6 Worship: As disciples of Jesus, we will face questions about our faith. God’s Word urges us to be prepared to offer a defense for the hope we have. That hope is built on Jesus’ resurrection, which we continue to celebrate! Worship services will stream from our Facebook page for live participation Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 9am. The video will continue to be available after that. Bulletins can be downloaded below.
May 9/10 – Easter 5 Worship: In this week’s Gospel text, Jesus proclaims, “I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life.” Tune in to hear more about the Way Jesus went for us and what it means to walk the Way of Jesus. Worship services will stream from our Facebook page for live participation Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 9am. The video will continue to be available after that. Bulletins can be downloaded below.
It will be great to see you whenever you choose to return to worship. If you are considered high-risk or you are not yet comfortable being in a public setting, it is perfectly God-pleasing and acceptable to continue to worship from home until you are ready.
May 2/3 – Easter 4 Worship: The fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday. In this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples he came that we may have life and have it abundantly…even when life seems anything but abundant. Worship services will stream from our Facebook page for live participation Saturday at 5pm and Sunday at 9am. The video will continue to be available after that. Bulletins can be downloaded below.
All previous recorded services can be viewed on our YouTube channel.