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ASL Reflection

Monday of Trinity

June 8, 2020 • Pastor Alexander Lange

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 5:1-23; John 12:20-36 Today’s Reading: Isaiah 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up. (Isaiah 6:1) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. According to John 1:18, nobody has ever seen God, but how can that be true? Isaiah said that he saw the Lord sitting on a throne. And what about Moses and the Israelites gathered at Sinai? What about Ezekiel and Daniel? Before Jesus and His apostles came on the scene, the Jews studied the Old Testament and recognized a distinction. Yahweh is invisible and transcendent, dwelling in heaven. No human can see him. Nevertheless, there are visible manifestations of Yahweh— personal agents who are distinct from Yahweh, and yet are Yahweh at the same time. These visible manifestations are called the Angel of the LORD (Yahweh), the Glory of Yahweh, the Wisdom of Yahweh, and the Word of Yahweh. Consider Genesis 15, where the Word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision. The Word isn’t treated as a mere voice from heaven, but a Person who comes to Abram and can be seen. Or consider Ezekiel 1, where the prophet sees the Glory of Yahweh appearing as a man on a throne. John the Evangelist picks up on this. He states that the Word existed in the beginning (John 1:1). He is God, and yet He is distinct from God. He was the One who appeared to the patriarchs and prophets. When Isaiah saw the figure of a man sitting on a throne, he was looking at the Word—the very same Word who would actually become a man, in order to reveal the Father’s love by dying in our place (John 12:41)! The doctrine of the Trinity is rooted deeply in the Old Testament and in Jewish theology. It is also the foundation of our doctrine of salvation. We believe that God can be known, because we have a Mediator—One who is known because He is a man, and who can show us the Father, because He is One with Him. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! God in three persons, blessed Trinity! (“Holy, Holy, Holy” LSB 507, st. 4)

Monday of the Third Week after Trinity

June 21, 2021 • Pastor Jeffrey Horn

Today's Reading: Micah 7:18-20 Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 24:1-22; John 19:1-22 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. (Micah 7:18) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God is a just Judge and a forgiving Savior. God created a perfect world, but that world rebelled and turned to sin. He watches over all people and all things. He works to keep order and peace in the world through His Law. He judges those who are wicked, because He is a holy God and will not abide evil. As we walk through this broken world and endure the sins others commit against us, we understand how vital it is that God is just. It would be awful to have a God who didn't care. But God's justice is applied to all people equally. The just Judge applies the Law to all of us and we are found guilty. We have sinned against God and against our neighbor. For that we truly deserve both temporal death and eternal damnation. But God doesn't want to punish people. He rejoices to give grace and forgiveness. You can hear that in our reading from Micah 7. Israel had sinned badly. They lied about God's Word. They stole from the poor. They truly deserved the punishment God gave them. But that would not be the end of the story. God also gives forgiveness. "He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" (Micah 7:19). God rejoices to give forgiveness! "He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love" (Micah 7:18b). But how can God be both a just Judge who holds people accountable for sin, and a gracious Savior who forgives sins? The answer is the Cross of Christ. Jesus willingly took the punishment for our sins. God's justice was fulfilled as Jesus died. But since Jesus had committed no sin, death could not hold Him once the punishment was finished. He rose again! All who believe in Jesus are forgiven by grace. God has punished Christ for your sins so that He can graciously forgive your sins through faith in Christ. Who else is a God like this? In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Since Christ has full atonement made and brought to us salvation, Each Christian therefore may be glad and build on this foundation. Your grace alone, dear Lord, I plead, Your death is now my life indeed, For You have paid my ransom. ("Salvation unto Us Has Come" LSB 555, st.6)

The Third Sunday after Trinity

June 20, 2021 • Pastor Jeffrey Horn

Today's Reading: Luke 15: 1-10 Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 22:22-23:12; John 18:15-20 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15:1,2) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. There are two groups of people drawing near to Jesus. Jesus loves them both. The tax collectors and sinners (TC&S) have been alienated from God because of their sin but Jesus has called them. He has forgiven their sins and they rejoice in His grace. The Pharisees and scribes (P&S) are also there. They love the Old Testament. They know that Jesus is a great teacher, but they don't understand that He is the Son of God, the Messiah promised in the Law and the prophets. The P&S see Jesus eating with the TC&S. They fear that Jesus is condoning their sins. This fear makes them angry at Jesus. But Jesus isn't condoning their actions. He's forgiving their sins. He will pay for them by dying on the Cross. Their sins will be cleansed by His blood--and so will the sins of the P&S. The death of Christ is the only source of forgiveness in the whole world, but thankfully, it's available to all! Jesus wants the TC&S and the P&S to live together as one flock, one family in God. In these parables, He teaches them (and us) how to be one Church. The TC&S are the lost sheep and the lost coin. Jesus is the One who searches for them. If He doesn't find them, they will perish. The driving force of each of these parables is the great desire of the person searching for the lost thing. After the One who searches finds the missing treasure, He calls His friends and neighbors together. They're invited to rejoice with Him. But do they rejoice? The text doesn't give their response. Will the P&S join to celebrate with Jesus that He has found the people who were lost? Or will they stand in stony silence? Dear friend, remember two things. One: Jesus rejoices that He has found you, and you are His through repentance and faith. Two: Jesus also rejoices over the other people whom He rescues. Join Him in His joy, no matter what sins you or they have done. What Christ washes away is cleansed in truth. Christ makes you all one holy Church! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus sinners doth receive; Oh, may all this saying ponder Who in sin's delusions live and from God and heaven wander! Here is hope for all who grieve: Jesus sinners doth receive. ("Jesus Sinners Doth Receive" LSB 609, st.1)

Saturday of the Second Week after Trinity

June 19, 2021 • Pastor Jeffrey Horn

Today's Reading: Introit for the Third Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 25:1-2a, 5b, 15, 20: antiphon: vs. 16, 18) Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 22:1-21; John 18:1-14 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. (From the Introit for the Third Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In our Gospel reading for this coming Sunday (Luke 15:1-10), we hear about how the tax collectors and sinners were drawing near to hear Jesus. These were people who had done things that were truly wrong. They'd harmed people in their families, their community, and their congregations. They could not fix the hurt they had caused. People looked down on them because of the pain they'd caused. But Jesus welcomed them. He forgave their sins and healed their shame. They had sinned, but Jesus had taken those sins away. They could trust Christ to be their strength and their comfort. Our Introit for this coming Sunday is from Psalm 25. It describes faith in God from the perspective of one who depends on God to forgive his sins and heal his shame. It gives words so the heart can understand the kind of love that God alone can give. God gives this welcoming love to you. This psalm is given to you so you can pray it back to God. Your heart cries out to Him, "Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins" (Psalm 25:1,2a). Christ Jesus is the kind of Savior who hears you and turns to you in grace. Jesus finds you lonely and afflicted and comforts you. He comes to you in your isolation when you've let down the people you love and let yourself down. He comes to you in the desolate place where your own thoughts about yourself are even more harsh than the things your worst enemies could say about you. He speaks another Word in that maelstrom of guilt and shame. Jesus speaks peace. He speaks forgiveness. He speaks love. And what He speaks is truly yours. Christ alone has the power to give this to you. He is God Almighty. His love isn't yours on condition of doing better. It's not yours because you will try harder to be good. No. He just plain forgives you. He loves you. He brings peace to you. And no one else can. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Perverse and foolish oft I strayed But yet in love He sought me And on His shoulder gently laid And home rejoicing brought me. ("The King of Love My Shepherd Is" LSB 709, st.3)