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ASL Reflection

Tuesday of the Second Week after Trinity

June 23, 2020 • Pastor Alexander Lange

Today's Reading: 1 John 3:13-18 Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 27:1-24; John 20:1-18 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. (1 John 3:14) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We are saved by God's love and not by our love. We don't love God so that He might love us. We don't love our neighbor hoping to merit eternal life. Thank God, for whose love is perfect enough to save himself? God has shown us His love through His Son, who laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16). This is a freely-given love. For the sake of Christ, God forgives our sins. "He is the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 2:2). We will live forever, because we have faith in Him. Faith alone saves. Love follows faith. Faith in Christ produces love. If you know the love of God found in Christ, you will love God in return. You will also love your fellow Christians. Love is not a cause of our salvation, but it is a sign of our salvation. How do you know that your faith isn't fraudulent? How do you know that your faith isn't a sham? Look at how you treat your brothers and sisters. The unbelieving world hates the Church (1 John 3:13), but the Christian knows that he has passed out of death and into life because he loves his neighbor. His acts of love confirm his election and his calling (2 Peter 1:10). Of course, the Christian's love will never be perfect in this life. The flesh will get the better of you: You will lose your temper with your brother, get annoyed by his habits, say harsh words. That's why we must abide in the love of God. We can never move beyond it. We must return to the Father's promise in Baptism, to the Son's life-giving Body and Blood, and to the Spirit's word of Absolution. As we abide in God's love, His love will have its way with us. His love will deal with sin's guilt and sin's power. And on the Last Day, we will be perfected in His love. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Faith clings to Jesus' cross alone And rests in Him unceasing; And by its fruits true faith is known, With love and hope increasing. For faith alone can justify; Works serve our neighbor and supply The proof that faith is living. ("Salvation unto Us Has Come" LSB 555, st. 9)

ASL Reflections

Jerome, Translator of Holy Scripture • September 30, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:37-2:15; Matthew 6:1-15 "For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hand. He knows your trudging through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you; you have lacked nothing." (Deuteronomy 2:7) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Bible is the story of God's promise, made to a fallen world: the promise of a Savior. It tells the story of God's people through whom His only-begotten Son took on flesh in the earthly family of Abraham, Isaac, David, Judah, David, and that whole line of chosen people. The eyewitness testimony of the Gospels and the instruction and teaching of Christ delivered by the apostles means the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is about Jesus. St. Jerome was one of the early Church fathers whose great gift to the Church was the translation of the Old and New Testaments into Latin, from the Hebrew and Greek. This version of the Bible is known as the Vulgate, because it was in the "common tongue" of Latin at the time. Today the Bible is available in just about any language you can think of and if not, translators are working on it! For those who speak and read English, there are many, many translations and versions. While they differ in being more or less literal, every faithful translation will always deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ in the language in which it's written. This is a heritage and gift of Jerome. As Moses recorded the works of God among His people in the desert, looking ahead to Christ, so the prophets and apostles wrote and pointed forward or back to Jesus. So there, in the Holy Scriptures, we have the sure and certain record of God's promises to His people. We have the Good News of the death and resurrection of Jesus for all people of whatever language they know. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, God of truth, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light on our path. You gave Your servant Jerome delight in his study of Holy Scripture. May those who continue to read, mark, and inwardly digest Your Word find in it the food of salvation and the fountain of life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Weedon, William. Celebrating the Saints . Concordia Publishing House.)

ASL Reflections

St. Michael and All Angels • September 29, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 10:17-20 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:19-36; Matthew 5:21-48 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." (Luke 10:18) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. When did Satan fall like lightning from heaven? Was it early on when he first rebelled against God and was cast down? Was it when Jesus died and cried out, "It is finished!"? Was Jesus talking about all the preaching done by the seventy men He sent out? The answer is "yes!" "Satan" means "accuser." He's the guy who tells God you don't belong with God because you're a sinner. But Jesus' death takes away our sins, so now the devil has nothing on you. No accusations. No evidence. But he still tries to slither up to heaven and tell God you can't be there. So whenever the preaching of the Gospel happens, boom! Satan is cast down like lightning. When someone is baptized, Satan gets the boot. When a Christian is absolved of her sins, the devil is sent packing. When a pastor proclaims the death and resurrection of Jesus, the evil one runs away with his tail between his legs. There are angels and then there are angels. We usually think of angels as just heavenly beings we can't see who do battle with the forces of evil and protect us without our thinking about it. But the word "angel" means "messenger," so in a very real sense, your pastor is an angel. He's a messenger. And when your pastor proclaims the goodness of Jesus to you or anyone else, it's like flipping on the light in a room full of cockroaches: They scatter! So does Satan, running back to the cracks and darkness. The devil can't accuse you. Your sins and their guilt have been laid upon Jesus and paid for by Him. When Satan stands before God to tattle on you, the Lord just says, "Get out of here, liar!" And out he goes. He'll keep trying until the Last Day, but he'll never succeed, because Jesus ended those accusations with His great "It is finished!" from Calvary. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ! Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed. Now that to the font I've traveled, All your might has come unraveled, And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me. ("God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" LSB 594, st. 3)

ASL Reflections

Monday of the Sixteenth Week after Trinity • September 28, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24 Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 1:1-18; Matthew 5:1-20 So she said to Elijah, "What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:18) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Yep. A tragedy. The widow's son died. God must be mad at her. That's what she thinks. That's what we think. If something bad happens, we wonder, "What did I do?" That's how we think God works. That's pretty much how the world thinks God works, too, which is why most people say they don't believe in Him. The Lord allows the woman's son to die so that Elijah can raise him from the dead. What seems a tragedy is for this woman an example of God's mercy and love in restoring her son. It's also a reminder that God will give His own Son into death for the purpose of raising you from the dead. Death is guaranteed. Nobody gets out of it. It's going to catch you some day. Could be tomorrow. Could be years from now. One way or another, though, it will come. As we look around and those whom we love die, we wonder if God is angry. Did we do something to make Him mad? That's the thing about death: We know it happens. We can't do anything about it. But Jesus dies so that He can rise. His death is the triumph over death. Without His resurrection, our own death would indeed just be an empty and sad event. But with Jesus' tomb being empty, we have the promise that our graves will be empty, too. In other words, Jesus rose so that you will rise. If He rose, you will rise. Death really isn't the last word. This is the promise of your Baptism, in which you die with Christ the first time. That's right, you've already died, at the font. And you've already been raised from the dead, at the font. That way, when you fall asleep in Jesus someday, you will rise to new life forever. It has to happen that way because that's what Jesus accomplished. Death does remind us of our sin because sin brought death. But Jesus' death and resurrection and our Baptism into Him are a greater truth and promise: that death is not the end, and it's not forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Death you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ! When I die I leave all sadness To inherit paradise! Though I lie in dust and ashes, Faith's assurance brightly flashes: Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine! ("God's Own Child, I Gladly Say It" LSB 594, st. 4)