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ASL Reflections

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)

ASL Reflections

The Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity • September 27, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 7:11-17 Daily Lectionary: Malachi 3:6-4:6; Matthew 4:12-25 When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." (Luke 7:13) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Wait a minute. How is it "compassionate" to tell a woman who has lost her son not to weep? Really, Jesus? She's a widow, which means she's already lost her husband. Now she's lost her only son. And you tell her not to cry? It's like Jesus thinks He has power over death or something. Maybe that's because He knows He will suffer and die, and on the Third Day rise again. He knows that when He is raised from the dead, death has no more dominion over Him. And if death has no dominion over Jesus, it has no power over you, who are baptized into His death and resurrection. We fear death. We don't like to think about death. We don't like to deal with death. But it's here. All around us. What Jesus teaches us is that rather than accept death as a "natural part of life," we are to treat it like an enemy who has been defeated and is worth nothing more than ridicule! Remember when Jesus raised Jairus' daughter from the dead? He told everyone she wasn't dead but sleeping. When He raised Lazarus, the Lord told His disciples he had been sleeping, too. When the New Testament refers to death, it speaks of "falling asleep." Why? Because sleep is harmless. You fall asleep and then you wake up. Death is falling asleep. You die and then you wake up and rise from the dead. That is because Jesus triumphed over death and made a spectacle of it. When you stand in a funeral line and greet the loved ones of the person who died, what do you tell them? "I'm so sorry. My condolences." I'm sure you don't tell them not to cry! Try this: Next time you're at a funeral, tell them, "Christ is risen!" That's the great Easter greeting that we say to one another in celebration of the fact that Jesus' grave is empty, He is alive, and now death for you is nothing more than falling asleep for a bit and awakening to the glory of paradise and life everlasting. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, we pray that Your grace may always go before and follow after us, that we may be continually given to all good works; 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 16th Sunday after Trinity)

ASL Reflections

Saturday of the Fifteenth Week after Trinity • September 26, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Introit for the 16th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 86:1, 7, 12-13; antiphon: v. 3, 5) Daily Lectionary: Malachi 2:1-3:5; Matthew 4:1-11 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore. For great is Your mercy toward me, And You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol. (From the Introit for the 16th Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We go to birthday parties because we are celebrating a person's life. We go to graduations because we are celebrating someone's academic accomplishments. We go to events most often because we are remembering something that happened and celebrating that event: Think of 4th of July fireworks or a Memorial Day parade. Tomorrow we'll go to church to celebrate something. We'll go to remember and to be gathered together with others who are remembering and celebrating. What exactly? We're celebrating that Jesus died and rose and delivered us from sin and death! The psalmist reminds us in the words we hear tomorrow that we praise God because of what He's done for us. We're excited! We're glad! We're happy! Another week has passed during which He's fed the birds and you. He's made the flowers grow and clothed you. He's borne your burdens and helped you help others. He's taken whatever sins you have and buried them forever with Jesus. He's raised up the new you in your Baptism and has forgiven you each and every day. So we'll be in church tomorrow, praising God with all our hearts and glorifying Him for deliver us from the depths of hell. Left to ourselves, that's where we would be. Jesus has saved us from all that by His own death and His triumphant resurrection on Easter. Tomorrow, that's what we're celebrating. That's what we're remembering. That's what we're giving thanks for. That's what we're getting all excited about and rejoicing over. The Divine Service is a celebration! A party! A foretaste of the Feast to come! It's a joyous event because we have a gracious Savior who loves us and gave Himself for us. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your great mercy! Bring us to your house to celebrate with all your saints! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O bless the Lord, my soul! Let all within me join And aid my tongue to bless His name Whose favors are divine. ("O Bless the Lord, My Soul" LSB 814, st. 1)

ASL Reflections

Friday of the Fifteenth Week after Trinity • September 25, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Daily Lectionary: Malachi 1:1-14; Matthew 3:1-17 "I have loved you," says the Lord. "Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" Says the Lord. "Yet Jacob I have loved; But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness." (Malachi 1:2-3). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Whoa! Why is the Lord talking about hating someone? He is responding to Israel, who said, "God doesn't love us!" Really? Have you ever thought that God doesn't love you? He's got it in for you? What did you ever do to make God mad at you so that He's making your life so hard? That's not how the Lord operates. He tells His people that though Esau and Jacob were twin brothers, He chose Jacob to be the one to carry the promises of the Savior through His line. Later on, when Esau's descendant, the nation of Edom, picked on Israel, the Lord saved them. He rescued Israel so that someday from that chosen people, the Savior would be born. When you think God is against you, stop and remember how He loves you. He loves you by not sparing His own Son but by sending Him to suffering and death. That's to save you! That sounds awful! Why would the Lord do that? It's not a macho display of His love. It's a love that pays the price for our sins. On Calvary, the Father abandons His Son so that His hatred of sins is taken care of. God the Father chose you over His own Son in that moment. On Good Friday, God the Father makes His Son into sin, into the curse, so that you would be set free. Your Baptism into Jesus is the Lord's own promise that He loves you. The pronouncement of Absolution is a promise God loves you. The Body and Blood of Jesus are His pledge and promise that God can never hate you but loves you without measure. If you're ever not sure of God's love, look to those gifts of Jesus which deliver His Cross and resurrection to you. Look to those promises by which He says, "Here is how I have loved and always will love you. I'm never against you. I'm always for you to save you and give you eternal life." In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Lord my life arranges; Who can His work destroy? In His good time He changes All sorrow into joy. So let me then be still: My body, soul, and spirit His tender care inherit According to His will. ("From God Can Nothing Move Me" LSB 713, st. 3)

ASL Reflections

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week after Trinity • September 24, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Galatians 5:25-6:10 Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 9:22-38; 1 Timothy 6:3-21 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Bear one another's burdens. Carry their load. What Paul is getting at with those words is all about the forgiveness of sins. People mess up. They drag their sins around. They all have baggage. We all do. The Lord Jesus came to bear our burdens by bearing our sins. On Calvary, our sins were His sins. Our transgressions were His transgressions. Our iniquities were His iniquities. Our burdens were His to bear and leave behind in the grave when He rose on Easter. When Jesus rose from the dead, He didn't tell His disciples to go lay more burdens on people. He didn't tell them to straighten up and fix themselves. He didn't tell them to let people know they had better get right with God. Jesus sent His preachers to proclaim Good News, that sins are forgiven. Debts are cancelled. Burdens have been lifted and set aside. There is nothing for you to carry that is bad. No need to lift up a heavy load of guilt or shame. No need to struggle under the load of hate and anger toward others. No rack of condemnation is laid upon you. You are free. In that freedom, because you can leap and skip with no hindrance, you now can lighten the load of those around you. Don't let them be weighed down with guilt and shame and the burden of their sins. Help them. Bear with them. Help them drop that heavy heap at the foot of the Cross so it can be Jesus' burden. Don't press down on them to make their lives harder. Help them see that Jesus has set them free as He has set you free. Washed, absolved, and fed, your burdens have been carried by Jesus. So have theirs. So don't pile on more, but lift and help them let go. Everyone has burdens. Jesus came to take our burdens from us, so that we could be set free and rejoice in being saved out from under those troubles once and for all. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Lord, let me win my foes With kindly words and actions, And let me find good friends For counsel and correction. Help me, as You have taught, To love both great and small And by Your Spirit's might To live in peace with all. ("O God, My Faithful God" LSB 696, st. 4)

ASL Reflection

Wednesday of the Fifteenth Week after Trinity • September 23, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 9:1-21; 1 Timothy 5:17-6:2 Who receives this sacrament worthily? Fasting and bodily preparation are certainly fine outward training. But that person is truly worthy and well prepared who has faith in these words: "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, pt. 4) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. What makes you ready to receive Communion? Being a Lutheran? Memorizing the catechism? Many generations of young people have gone through the grueling experience of memorizing every last word of Luther's Small Catechism. Many have had to stand in church and have questions hurled at them to see whether they've learned it all. Is that what makes you finally "worthy" enough to get Jesus' Body and Blood? Learning the catechism is certainly fine training. It's good to know what God's Word says. It's good to memorize the Bible and catechism and hide God's Word in our hearts. It's good to be trained in theology and understand that the Bible is all about Jesus. But that's not why you get to receive Communion. Jesus says, "This is my Body and my Blood. It's given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins." He has a gift for you. You are worthy to receive that gift, but not because you are a good person. You are worthy to receive that gift, but not because you studied hard and got an "A" on your catechism tests. You're worthy, but not because you can say every last word of the catechism. You're worthy because Jesus says you are. He as much says, "You are a sinner. I am your Savior. I gave Myself into death for your sins. I give you My Body and Blood so you know that forgiveness is truly yours. Eat. Drink. Know that you are forgiven and have eternal life." You are truly worthy and well prepared, not because you think you are but because Jesus says you are. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I do not merit favor, Lord, My weight of sin would break me; In all my guilty heart's discord, O Lord, do not forsake me. In my distress this comforts me That You receive me graciously, O Christ, my Lord of mercy! ("Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread" LSB 625, st. 4)

ASL Reflections

Tuesday of the 15th Week after Trinity • September 22, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: 1 Kings 17:8-16 Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 7:1-4; 8:1-18; 1 Timothy 5:1-16 And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son." (1 Kings 17:13) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How rude! Elijah the prophet met a widow and asked for a little something to eat. She had very little left and it was just enough for a last meal with her son. But Elijah insists she make him food first! How rude! Surprisingly, he is not being selfish. He's teaching her that God promises to take care of her. She prepared food for him and her little jars of oil and flour never ran out until the famine was over! Do you give an offering at your church? An offering is a sacrifice on our part so that the pastor who takes care of us can be paid and the needs of the church be met: heat, air, electric, and so on. Our offerings make sure our pastor can take care of his family and the church can take care of those in need. So do you give something for an offering? We don't give offerings because the Lord needs the money! We give offerings because others do: our pastor, the secretary, people in need, and so on. Giving an offering confesses what we believe about the Lord taking care of us. It says, "If I give up this bit of money, I am trusting the Lord will still take care of me and provide for me." We don't give offerings because the Lord needs the money! We give offerings because others do: our pastor, the secretary, people in need, and so on. Giving an offering confesses what we believe about the Lord taking care of us. It says, "If I give up this bit of money, I am trusting the Lord will still take care of me and provide for me." The widow in this story first sought the kingdom of God: She wanted to make sure the prophet was taken care of so he could preach. In doing so, she trusted that the Lord would take care of her. And He did! He always will take care of you, too, because you are His baptized, Body- and Blood-fed people. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Hence, all earthly treasure! Jesus is my pleasure; Jesus is my choice. Hence, all empty glory! Naught to me thy story Told with tempting voice. Pain or loss, Or shame or cross, Shall not from my Savior move me Since He deigns to love me. ("Jesus, Priceless Treasure" LSB 743, st. 4)

ASL Reflection

The Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity • September 20, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Matthew 6:24-34 Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 4:7-23; 1 Timothy 3:1-16 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How do you know that God will take care of you? Look at your car windshield. See? He's feeding the birds! They've got food! So He'll take care of you, too. Birds have food. Lilies look like they're dressed beautifully. They are just birds and flowers! You are worth way more to your heavenly Father than those things! That's because the Son of God didn't become a bird or a lily. He became man. A human being. One of us. Like you. He did that so He could take your sin and death and make them His own to rescue you from those things forever. If God did not spare His own Son but gave Him up to the death of the Cross, don't you think He'll make sure you have enough to eat and something to wear? Of course He will. In fact, Jesus is the in-the-flesh proof of the Father's promise to do what you need Him to: save you from sin and death but also to give you your daily bread and take care of you in this life. Our Old Adam likes to take the things that God gives us and turn them into the most important. You have to get more food! Get more clothes! Get more stuff! As if the Lord is going to let you starve or run around naked! We trust so much in our stuff that we forget it is the Lord who gives us the things that we need. There's our repentance: Repent of worry and of trusting in our stuff more than the Lord. Jesus died for that false and misplaced trust. He died to bring us back from trusting in the stuff to trusting in the One who gives us all that we need. Water. Word. Body. Blood. Food. Clothing. Everlasting life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Lord, we implore You, let Your continual pity cleanse and defend Your Church, and because she cannot continue in safety without Your help, preserve her evermore by Your help and goodness; 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 15th Sunday after Trinity)

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)

ASL Reflections

Thursday of the Thirteenth Week after Trinity • September 10, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 9:1-13; 10:18-29; Philippians 2:12-30 Then he arose and went into the house. And he poured the oil on his head, and said to him, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I have anointed you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel. You shall strike down the house of Ahab your master, that I may avenge the blood of My servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord, at the hand of Jezebel.'" (2 Kings 9:6-7) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The history of Israel (the ten northern tribes that split from Judah and Benjamin) is one of wicked king after wicked king. The Lord continued to send prophets to the evil kings to call them to repentance and urge them to return to following the true God. They didn't, and they persecuted and killed the Lord's preachers, besides. When God got angry enough, He would send along the next king and usually by violence against the current king, the new one would take over. It was God's judgment on His wicked people. God doesn't put up with sin. He punishes it. The record of Israel is a warning, but it's also a foreshadowing. When Jesus came, the Promise that He fulfilled is that He would be the guy to take all of God's anger. Bad king? May as well be Jesus! Evil deeds? Put them on Jesus! The sin of the world? Lay it on the Lamb of God. Your sins? Pile them on the Son of God. That's the deal. He gets them all so we are relieved of their burden and curse. That's how the Lord always dealt with His people. But those who didn't want His mercy got His wrath. It's the same for those who reject Jesus. Don't want your sins on Jesus? Don't want them forgiven? Yikes! Why wouldn't you! God will let those who think like that have their way. You, however, He has called by water and Word out from under His judgment and into His life, to be a part of His family. Jesus, the good King, died like a wicked King to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords who has conquered sin and death and made you a part of His kingdom of everlasting life. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O Jesus, King most wonderful! O Conqueror renowned! O Source of peace ineffable, In whom all joys are found. ("O Jesus, King Most Wonderful" LSB 554, st. 1)

ASL Reflections

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week after Trinity • September 9, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 6:1-23; Philippians 1:21-2:11 What is the benefit of this eating and drinking? These words, "Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins," show us that in the Sacrament forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given us through these words. For where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. (Small Catechism: Sacrament of the Altar, pt. 2) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Bread, but barely. Wine, but probably not the kind that tastes good. Kneeling while the pastor gives you a wafer and a sip from the chalice. Looks like a pious ritual. What's the big deal? It's not what we see, but what the Word of Jesus says is going on. That's bread and wine which are also His Body and Blood. There is a gift there that we don't see with our eyes. It is the gift of the flesh and blood of the Lamb of God who has taken away our sins. Are your sins forgiven? Does God really forget about all the bad stuff you've done? How do you know? How can you be sure? Have you eaten and drunk the Body and Blood of Christ? Then, yep, your sins are forgiven, because Jesus says so! Do you have eternal life? Will you really come back to life on the last day? Is your transformed body really going to come out of the grave? Is there really a paradise in the presence of God that you will enjoy forever and ever and ever? Have you eaten and drunk the Body and Blood of Christ? Then you have life! Eternal life. Everlasting life! Because Jesus says so! Are you saved? Do you really belong to God and not the devil? Are you really immune to everything this world throws at you so none of it can keep you from heaven? Have you eaten and drunk the Body and Blood of Jesus? Then yes, you are saved. You have salvation, because Jesus says so! That's the gist of all this. Jesus' words give us His Body and Blood and His words tell what that Body and Blood give us. Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation. After all, where there is forgiveness of sins, there's always life and salvation, too! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Firmly hold with faith unshaken That this food is to be taken By the sick who are distressed, By hearts that long for peace and rest. ("Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior" LSB 627, st. 5)

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