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The Second Sunday after the Epiphany

January 17, 2021 • Pastor William K. Stottlemyer

Today's Reading: John 2:1-11 Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29; Romans 7:21-8:17 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. (John 2:11) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. A wedding is supposed to be a joyous celebration of God's creation. Here a man and woman are united before God and are to be fruitful and multiply. However, because of sin, this wedding at Cana is about to be a time of great sadness. The wine has run out and the party is about to be over until Mary takes action and brings a request to her son. The wedding of Cana shows to us the great lengths that Christ will go in order to help those in need. Here at the request of His mother, Jesus changes water into wine in order that the newly married groom might not be dishonored in the sight of his guests. John tells us that this was the first sign that revealed Jesus' glory. Upon seeing this first miracle the Lord's disciples believed that this was the Christ. Our Savior gives to His people. Jesus reveals His glory during this season of Epiphany so that our faith might grow in the knowledge that our Savior has come into this world to set right that which has been corrupted by sin. Christ came to restore creation, He came to set right that which has been broken by the fall into sin. To bring peace between God and men. Jesus does this through death on the Cross. Daily we receive from the Lord more than we deserve and more than we can ever ask. He reveals Himself to us in the transformation of everyday things. Bread and wine when combined with the Word of God deliver Christ's Body and Blood. Water when combined with the Word becomes a life-giving washing and rebirth by the Spirit of God. By the proclamation of His Word in church, Christ is revealed to His people. As your pastor speaks to you the Law, as he points out your sins, God's will is revealed to you. As the Gospel is proclaimed and your sins are forgiven, Christ's glory is manifested for you. These things are needed so that we might see and hear the great things of God. Then we, like the disciples, by faith believe that Jesus is the Christ. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord who live and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Second Sunday after the Epiphany) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

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Saturday of the Second Week of Lent

March 6, 2021 • Pastor Aaron Fenker

Today's Reading: Introit for the Third Sunday in Lent (Psalm 25:1-2, 17-18, 20; antiphon: v.15-16) Daily Lectionary: Genesis 27:1-29; Mark 8:22-38 "My eyes are continually toward Yahweh, for He will cause my feet to come out from the net." (Psalm 25:15) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do you trust the Lord? Why look to Him in time of need? Because He's saved you, obviously! Yes, yes, we all know that. But so often we flip that around. He doesn't rescue you because you trust in Him. He saves you, and because of His acting to save you, you trust Him. He will cause your feet to come out of the net, whatever net you're trapped in. Is it sins? Which sins? How can they be a net for you? They were tied to Jesus on the Cross! Is it persecution for believing in Jesus as your God and only Savior? "A student is not above His teacher." As Jesus was delivered on Easter, so also you will be, too, on your Easter--the Last Day. And that gets you to the next net--death. Yeah, Jesus rose, and He will raise you. That's His promise. The Lord will cause your feet to be brought out of the net of your grave, and the sins that put you there. Your feet, and your entire body, soul, and spirit, were placed into something even stronger than the flimsy net of sin, death, and the devil. Your heart, soul, mind, strength, your body, soul, and spirit were all placed into Jesus Your Savior. You're baptized. Nothing can ever keep you down. Jesus saves you. He didn't save you because you trusted Him. He saves you and therefore you trust Him. He went through Cross, death, and grave to do it. He'll save you. He really will. He already has! When you get out of your coffin you'll see it. You'll see Him, forever and ever! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. In all the strife Of mortal life Our feet shall stand securely; Temptation's hour Will lose its pow'r, For You will guard us surely. O God, renew With heav'nly dew Our body, soul, and spirit Until we stand At Your Right hand Through Jesus' saving merit. ("Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode" LSB 714, st.3) Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch

Lent 2 - Supplement to the Reflections

Dean's List • March 5, 2021 • Pastor Harrison Goodman

Hi, I’m Pastor Goodman, and this is the Assistant to the Dean’s List. We are examining our daily Reflections at Higher Things, finding the gift of Jesus given for you throughout this Lenten season. This, the second Sunday in Lent would be Reminiscere. Again, Latin for the first bit of the Introit: “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love.” God doesn’t need help doing that. We do. So we focus on His promises in the psalm from our Reflection, from our readings. And by the Holy Spirit, we say “Amen.” It’s actually all faith can say. Pastor Fenker shows us that faith always says, “Amen.” “Yes, yes, this is most certainly true.” “Verily, verily, I’m on board with that stuff. Amen.” See, it’s not just agreeing with God about what’s wrong in the world. It’s actually also knowing who Jesus is as He’s in the middle of the world. We have a woman whose daughter is demon-possessed and she says, “Amen.” Not because she agrees that it’s wrong, but because she knows who our Lord is. That means, when Jesus speaks -- even when He speaks in ways that are hard to understand -- we find them as good gifts because we know who our God is. So if Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel...well, He must be the Shepherd. Amen. If it is not right to take the little children’s bread and throw it to the dogs...well, the children must be fed, and the dogs are still cared for -- if even by the crumbs. Yes, Lord, Amen. We are little dogs. Very sinful. But we still look only to Jesus for good. See, the word “Amen” means that when Jesus is there, it’s there for good. The word “Amen” means that if this woman -- even in the midst of her frustration, even in the face of a Jesus who doesn’t just seem to give like a vending machine when she asks for it -- if He is there, it must be for her good. So she insists that God gives good gifts. And by faith, even His rebukes are good news. For even while He sits there, He sits there as somebody who has been given to save sinners. Who’s there to save her and her daughter. This is the kind of Jesus that we have. On Wednesday’s Reflection, Pastor Fenker points out that we have the “here, there, and everywhere Jesus. We have the Jesus who doesn’t just run straight into Jerusalem, but He wanders all around the weirdest parts of the area, because He is there to save everyone. He is there to save Syrophonecians and Gentiles. He is there to save the deaf and mute. He is there to save the sinners. He is there to save the dead. He is even there to save you. See, God doesn’t wait for us to come to Him at the right place, He presents Himself to us. And it looks like something. On the Tuesday Reflection Pastor Fenker points out that holiness doesn’t look like...you. Holiness looks like Jesus. It’s always sin that wants to make holiness look like us. That we can somehow be the example of that which is holy. And we’ll always grab hold of the Law to try and do this thing. We use the Law to try and find a way to make it so that we, by our doing of works, look holy. But the thing is, when we grab hold of the Law, it makes us look worse. Pastor Fenker wrote “YOLO.” That’s a sign of his sin. But Jesus, Jesus makes sinners look like Him. Not by the Law, but by the Gospel. In Baptism, you wear Christ. You put on Christ. You are in Christ. So He is your holiness. He is your righteousness. He is your hope. So we can stop trying to make holiness look like us by the Law, and we can rejoice that, by the Gospel, He makes us to look like Him. Over, and over, and over again. Daily, in the waters of your Baptism He does this. And that shapes our Lenten practice. See, Lenten practice doesn't become how to climb a ladder up to God and earn credit or earn salvation before Him by your praying enough or going to church on Wednesdays because there’s soup and (I guess) also service. Or anything else that you would do. It’s a recognition that Jesus saves sinners. Jesus saves you. Not because you trusted Him. Rather He saved you first. And because He has done this, you trust Him. See, God worked first. Our trust is in His actions, not our ability to do anything. He went through the cross unto death and out of the grave to save you. And because He was willing to do that for you, you trust Him. Lenten practices focus on the gifts that God gives, the place that God would go to save you. So that in the face of all that is wrong that Lent would reflect upon the weakness of the flesh, the power of the world, the evilness of the devil...we would find hope in Jesus...who wanders all over to save sinners. To make you look like holiness. To give you His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation in Word and Sacrament, in the waters of your baptism that you wear right now. ---------- Catch Pastor Goodman on Fridays in Lent for a special devotional supplement to the Higher Things daily Reflections. Subscribe to the free Reflections email listor download the printable PDF booklet at http://higherthings.org/reflections Listen to audio Reflections on the Higher Things app,or on your favorite podcast app (ASL Reflections are also available using the above link).

Lent 2 - Supplement to the Reflections

Dean's List • March 5, 2021 • Pastor Harrison Goodman

---------- Catch Pastor Goodman on Fridays in Lent for a special devotional supplement to the Higher Things daily Reflections. Subscribe to the free Reflections email listor download the printable PDF booklet at http://higherthings.org/reflections Listen to audio Reflections on the Higher Things app,or on your favorite podcast app (ASL Reflections are also available using the above link).