ASL Reflection


May 31, 2020 • Pastor Alexander Lange

Today’s Reading: John 14:23-31 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 21:10-35; Luke 21:20-38 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The one who loves Jesus is one who “keeps” His words. Kudos to the English Standard Version for not translating this particular Greek word as “obey.” It can mean “obey” in some contexts, but here it means “keep” in the sense of “guard, cling to, treasure.” The one who loves Jesus isn’t defined by obedience to His commandments. The one who loves Jesus is one who treasures the Gospel, clings to Christ’s promises, and guards the true doctrine lest the devil take it from him. The Church cannot exist apart from the words of Jesus. That’s why God sent the Holy Spirit to earth. The Spirit comes to “teach you all things and bring to your remembrance” everything Jesus said (John 14:26). The Spirit teaches the Word to the Church. First, the Spirit helped the apostles remember everything Jesus had taught them, so they could record His teachings, thereby forming the New Testament. Now, the Spirit helps us recall the teachings of Jesus by speaking to us through those apostolic scriptures. Do you love Jesus? If you love Jesus, then you treasure His words and cling to His promises. Where do you hear His words? You will hear the voice of Jesus in the Divine Service. You will hear His voice when inspired Scripture is read aloud and when the Spirit leads your pastor to proclaim the Good News. When you walk away from the Divine Service, you will, to quote the Nunc Dimittis, “depart in peace.” Jesus gives you objective peace by satisfying the wrath of God as He hung on the Cross, and He gives you subjective peace by giving you confidence through the preached Gospel. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; 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 Pentecost)

ASL Reflections

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week after Trinity • September 17, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Galatians 5:16-24 Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 36:1-23; Colossians 4:1-18 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:25-26) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul's lists of the works of the flesh is not exhaustive. I'm sure you could have a lot more sins listed there. But the works of the flesh all have one thing in common: They are selfish. They are all about pleasing ourselves. They are about putting ourselves first and ahead of everyone else. Lust, coveting, anger, and all the rest are all about giving me what I want no matter who gets hurt. Those desires, along with the idol we make of ourselves, need to be crucified with Christ and drowned by the Spirit in Baptism. The gifts of the Spirit, on the other hand, are self-LESS. They put God and others first, ahead of ourselves. That's why there are fruits of the Spirit. The Spirit grows in us those fruits, those gifts and qualities which are from Jesus. By His life and death and resurrection, Jesus never once put Himself first. His first thought was always to glorify the Father and to save us. That selflessness that saves is the very heart of the gifts the Spirit gives to you so that, by the Spirit living in you, your selfishness is crucified and your selflessness cultivated. The Christian life is one of putting others first. That means putting our Old Adam down every day. Our world is pretty much built on the idea of making ourselves number one. Christ came to put others ahead of Himself. To put you first. You're first in Jesus' way of doing things. And His living in you, means that others are first in your way of doing things. This is our baptismal life: Each day we acknowledge the idolatry of self and remember that it is drowned in our Baptism. Each day the Spirit raises up our new creation to glorify God and love others. That's growing fruit in you for the blessing and benefit of those around you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Grant that Your Spirit's help To me be always given Lest I should fall again And lose the way to heaven. Grant that He give me strength In my infirmity; May He renew my heart To serve You willingly. ("How Can I Thank You, Lord" LSB 703, st. 4)

ASL Reflections

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity • September 13, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 17:11-19 Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 32:1-22; Colossians 1:1-23 "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:18-19) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Do we think the other nine lepers weren't grateful or thankful that Jesus healed them? I'm sure they were! I'm sure they were ecstatic that they didn't have leprosy anymore. But Jesus isn't asking why they didn't come back to say "Thank you!" He's asking why only one came back to "give glory to God." To "give glory to God" isn't just being polite and minding our manners, and saying, "Thank you." To give God glory is to recognize that the Son of God in the flesh is God with us and He's the most important thing we need. What this Samaritan realizes that the others don't seem to, is that if Jesus can heal leprosy, He can save sinners. He realizes that he doesn't just need Jesus to make his nasty flesh disease go away. He needs Jesus for everything, to be His Savior from sin and death. We often do this: We cry out to the Lord to save us, fix us, help us, rescue us, deliver us. Then, when things are better or back to the way we want them, we sort of tuck Jesus away until we need Him again. The Samaritan realizes he needs Jesus all the time! His example teaches us to repent of being like those guys who just get what they want and then off they go. The Samaritan teaches us that Jesus is the true High Priest who heals us and pronounces us clean from our sins. That's because the Son of God doesn't just cleanse leprosy, but He also takes away our sins. By His Cross and empty tomb, and His water, Word, and Body and Blood, He pronounces you clean. When He tells the Samaritan, "Your faith has saved you," it's the same as if He says, "Your Jesus has saved you. And I'll always keep saving you. Stick close!" And He always will. Now go: your faith, your Jesus, has saved you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Keep, we implore You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of mankind without You cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; 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 14th Sunday after Trinity)

ASL Reflections

Saturday of the Thirtenth Week after Trinity • September 12, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Introit for the 14th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 84:1-2a, 4, 10b, 11b; antiphon: vs. 9-10a) Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 31:1-21; Philippians 4:1-23 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (From the Introit for the 14th Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Where would you like to be on Sunday morning? In church? Under your covers? At a friend's house? Somewhere else doing something fun? The psalmist thinks there's no better place to be than in God's house. He'd rather be a doorkeeper (like an usher at church?) even though that's a little job in the temple, than be where the wicked are. For Christians now, this psalm isn't just about going to a particular building. The Temple is Jesus. To desire the Temple is to desire Jesus. Better to be where Jesus is than anywhere else. After all, where else can you have your sins washed away? Where else will the Lord's herald proclaim your divine pardon? Where else will you enjoy a feast of salvation that promises eternal life? Nowhere else but where Jesus is! Tomorrow, these words of the psalms, sung in the Introit, will drag us into God's house and lift up our heads and open our ears to the wonderful gifts that Jesus gives when we are there with Him. His Word, water, Body, and Blood, the good news of His death and resurrection to save you and the world, the joyful fellowship of fellow sinners who have been redeemed by Jesus: All these things await you in the Lord's house when you go to worship. That's better than any other place you can go! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This day God's people meeting, His Holy Scripture hear; His living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near. We journey on believing, Renewed with heav'nly might, From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light. ("O Day of Rest and Gladness" LSB 906, st. 3)