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Wednesday of the 16th Week after Trinity

September 22, 2021 • Pastor Kyle Mietzner

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Office of the Keys Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:1-16 Confession has two parts. (Small Catechism: Office of the Keys) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The entirety of the Christian life, and life in general, is summed up in this little phrase: Confession has two parts. That's it! I bring my sins to Jesus and Jesus forgives me. I contribute nothing to my salvation except my sins, which are forgiven in the Name of Jesus. I bring death and Jesus brings life. We often make the mistake of thinking that our life should be lived perfectly, when really it is meant to be lived in forgiveness. I am not perfect, but Jesus Christ is, and His perfection is given to me. The Church practiced confession in a very different way prior to the Reformation. There used to be three parts to confession: contrition, confession, and penance. It was believed that you had to feel really bad about your sins, and then do something in order to earn the Absolution. Most often you would just have to say a bunch of prayers or go to church. It is even taught in some places today that you can earn Absolution simply by walking through a particular door at a particular time. We humans are very good at inventing ways to get rid of our sins, but these methods look past and away from Jesus. If my forgiveness depends on my level of feeling bad about my sins or how many prayers I can say in order to earn Absolution, I'll never feel bad enough or say enough prayers. My sins are much worse than I think they are, and the mercy of Christ is much more than I will ever truly know it to be. Make no mistake, your sins are taken away from you by Jesus. He forgives you all your sins. This is why you have a pastor. Jesus Christ wants you, personally, to know and to receive the gifts that were won on the Cross. And so He has sent you a pastor to speak for Him. When you hear your pastor pronounce forgiveness, it is as if Jesus Christ is speaking to you. Pastors aren't God, they just speak for Him. What Jesus says goes, and He says that you are forgiven. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Though great our sins, yet greater still is God's abundant favor; His hand of mercy never will abandon us, nor waver. Our shepherd good and true is He, Who will at last His Israel free from all their sin and sorrow. ("From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee" LSB 607, st.5) 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