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Thursday of the 16th Week after Trinity

September 23, 2021 • Pastor Kyle Mietzner

Today's Reading: Ephesians 3:13-21 Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 9:1-21; 1 Timothy 5:17-6:2 [Give] thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:20) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Well, that's a pretty big request, isn't it? We're really supposed to give thanks always and for everything? There's nothing that we shouldn't be giving thanks for? This is hard to believe, and perhaps even harder to practice. Think about all the awful things in the world! Are we really supposed to give thanks for suffering and hardship? It is easy to give thanks for money and nice stuff. But what about the difficult things? St. Polycarp, as he was being burned at the stake in the year 155, blessed the Lord and thanked Him that he was found worthy to share in the cup of Christ. He did not pray for immediate deliverance from his afflictions, but gave thanks that the Lord had already provided the escape. Quite simply, nothing can harm you if you are in Christ, not even persecution. You can give thanks for everything all the time in the Name of Jesus Christ. The key here is to give thanks in the Name of Jesus. Apart from Jesus, life is meaningless and full of suffering. Without Jesus, your life ends in death and that is that. But your life is lived in the Name of Jesus Christ. This Name was placed upon you in Holy Baptism, and Jesus goes where His Name is placed. Think about the life of Christ. His family rejected Him. He was stricken, smitten, and afflicted. He was betrayed by His friend and abandoned by His disciples. He was put to death in His early 30s in the worst way possible. If that were all, it would have been a meaningless waste. But Jesus did not stay on a Cross or in a grave. He was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father! So yes, you can give thanks for everything all the time, no matter what. Try it. You cannot die and you cannot be harmed. The Cross of Jesus has been given to you, and with His Cross comes resurrection. This is a difficult teaching, but so is the Cross. Yet, this is all we've been given. Give thanks. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

More from Reflections

Tuesday of the 20th Week after Trinity

October 19, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Isaiah 55:1-9 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 18:1-22; Matthew 14:22-36 "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food." (Isaiah 55:1-2) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.The ways of the Lord are not our ways. His thoughts are not like ours. They are far above us: As the heavens are high from the earth, so, too, are God's thoughts and ways far above ours. And this is a good thing. Often we think about this lofty fact in the light of God's being so much bigger, so much smarter than us. We think of it in regard to His omniscience, the fact that He knows all things and can see the game play out, whereas we are stuck in the game and can't see more than two moves in front of us. While this is all true, of course, I don't think this is what Isaiah means. Isaiah tells us to come and buy wine and milk, come and purchase them both so that we can be content. And so we come, with money in hand; money that looks like our works, money that looks like our self-assured pride, money that looks like our lineage or our ancestry or anything else that pertains to the Law. We come prepared to purchase that which we need, for this is the way of our lowly thoughts. But what we buy looks nothing like wine, nor does it taste anything like milk. We don't seem to mind, for we are quite assured that what we have purchased for ourselves is--we think--far, far better than what God has in store for us. But our Lord's ways are so much different, so much higher. He tells us to buy, but without money, which means, of course, that we aren't buying anything. Instead, it is all a gift given. For when I don't bring anything to the table, but get the most exquisite meal anyway, that means the Lord is going about His higher work once again. Gifts for everyone! Free and clear! Bellies all full, sins all forgiven, death all dead. Come, buy the things of your Lord! You won't believe how great the deal is. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus, Thy boundless love to me No thought can reach, no tongue declare; Unite my thankful heart to Thee, And reign without a rival there! Thine wholly, Thine alone I am; Be Thou alone my constant flame. ("Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me" LSB 683, st.1) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

St. Luke, Evangelist

October 18, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Luke 10:1-9 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 17:1-20; Matthew 14:1-21 And [Jesus] said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves." (Luke 10:2-3) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus sends out the 72. It's kind of like a dry-run for Pentecost. The disciples are to go out and preach the message of peace to all they come upon. Peace for the sinner. Peace for the unrighteous. Peace for the enemy, the filthy, the unclean, the unworthy. Jesus sends His disciples out to do a job of peace-proclamation, for God's enemy needs to hear this peace, which means I do, too. Jesus sends out the 72 to every village and city that He is about to go into. Kind of like John the Baptist preparing the road, making the path straight. But this, too, should show us something: Jesus always follows the proclamation of the Gospel. If the peace of the Lord is proclaimed to the people, that means that Jesus is there. For it is Jesus who is the Author of our peace. And here, too, we should make sure we understand the severity of this peace. For the peace from our Lord is not some hippy-dippy peace found in flowers and puppy dogs. It isn't some fake peace of unity, which is not a real unity because the two sides are still in opposition to each other. No, the peace of our Lord is a true and lasting peace that quells the war between God and sinners. Today, right here and right now, you have that peace. It is a peace proclaimed into your ears by simple little men who look so similar to the 72 in our text for today. These men are your pastors and they have been sent to proclaim peace to you. And peace sounds like forgiveness. Peace sounds like the Cross. Peace sounds like an empty tomb. Peace sounds like sin atoned for and death vanquished and the serpent's head crushed. Peace sounds like Jesus. And so, wouldn't you know it? Wherever God sends His pastors to proclaim His peace, Jesus is soon to follow. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Then raise to Christ a mighty song, And shout His name, His mercies tell! Sing, heav'nly host, your praise prolong, And all on earth, your anthems swell! All hail, O Lamb for sinners slain! Forever let the song ascend! Worthy the Lamb, enthroned to reign, All glory, pow'r! Amen, amen. ("O God of God, O Light of Light" LSB 810, st.4) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

The 20th Sunday after Trinity

October 17, 2021 • Pastor Eli Lietzau

Today's Reading: Matthew 22:1-14 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 15:19-16:22; Matthew 13:44-58 "Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find." And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, "Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. (Matthew 22:9-12) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What makes you worthy to attend the wedding feast? You'd better not think it has something to do with you. If you think that you've earned a place at the wedding feast then you will also think that the wedding feast is optional. Then it is no longer a gift; it is no longer a feast to enjoy, but a tedious chore that you can do without. But that is not what the feast is, and that is certainly not who the feast is for. Take a look at the guests who are in attendance. They were found among the main roads and out in the streets. They weren't looking for a feast to attend, but were probably expecting to go home and open up a can of Spaghettios. But there they are, both good and bad. Not a single one worthy, but all of them there. And a garment is given to the guests. Probably a soaking wet one, a white one, a Jesusy one, a baptismal one. This is what is given to the guests and this is what is given to you. What makes them worthy, what makes you worthy, is Christ. The wedding feast is free. It is a party open for all. The invitation is to come and eat to your heart's delight the good and rich food of the King which has been prepared for you. There is no good reason for unbelief, no good reason to not be at the wedding feast clothed in Christ. If you think there is, when confronted by the King, you will realize that all of your excuses are pointless and you will have nothing to say. But know for certain that this feast is for you. Know for certain that Jesus is for you. Know for certain that He is the One who makes you worthy. Know all of this for certain, and come and enjoy the wedding feast! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, grant to Your faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 20th Sunday after Trinity) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch