The Holy Trinity A

Jesus had a compelling word with which he made disciples, that word was “Follow me!”  We are told in Vs. 18, that all authority in heaven and on earth is possessed by Jesus.  He now distributes this authority to those he is sending out.  He sends them out to accomplish the same task he accomplished, “Make disciples!”  That command is the controlling imperative verb for the entire sentence.  The others are circumstantial participles announcing the conditions under which the authority to “make disciples” will be exercised.  The first condition for the exercise of that disciple-making authority is that of “going.”  The gathered disciples are sent out as apostles to the world… to the ends of the earth.  The second condition for the use of disciple-making authority is “baptizing.”  Only one name—that of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”—suffices for the wielding of this authority.  The third condition under which this disciple-making authority is wielded is “teaching.”  They are to teach the ones who would be disciples everything taught by Jesus.  Verse 19-20a could be translated like this: “Therefore, under the circumstances of going [to all nations]… under the circumstances of baptizing them in the [Triune] name… under the circumstances of teaching them all I have commanded you… make disciples.”  As they are sent out to exercise this authority, the source of the authority will never be far from them, “Lo, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).

Prayers from one coveting the use of Jesus’ authority for something other than making disciples…

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you, in the Holy Spirit and through your Son, Jesus Christ, so grant me the exercise of Jesus’ authority that as I go… as I baptize… and as I teach… disciples of Jesus Christ are made by the Holy Spirit to the glory of your name.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you, in the Holy Spirit, and through your Son, Jesus Christ, take me out of coveting the use of Jesus’ authority for my own purposes and glory.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray in the Holy Spirit and through your Son, Jesus Christ, grant that I be thankful for the comfort of Jesus’ presence and the presence of his authority; his presence and his authority bear the responsibility for making disciples.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you in the Holy Spirit, and through your Son, Jesus Christ, grant me to be faithful in going… diligent in baptizing… and proper in my teaching… so that the authority given to Jesus would have full reign in the making of disciples.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you, in the Holy Spirit and through your Son, Jesus Christ, take from me the coveting of quantity… the making of more and more disciples… and keep me content in my going, with my baptizing, and as I am teaching.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you, in the Holy Spirit, and through your Son, Jesus Christ, be so merciful to the Institute of Lutheran Theology that it, too, may pray thusly.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

Holy Father, you teach us to pray to you, in the Holy Spirit and through your Son, Jesus Christ, so keep me in the company of Jesus Christ through the hearing of your Word that I, too, pray to you in the Spirit and through Jesus.  I pray through Jesus Christ, my Lord.  Amen

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The Day of Pentecost A

Jesus promises to quench your thirst.  Jesus promises to satisfy your hunger (cf. John 6:35).  Aside from thirst and hunger in this passing-away, sin-broken world, there is the hunger and thirst for righteousness (cf. Mt. 5:6).  Jesus promises those that covet righteousness as if it were a thirst for water or a hunger for bread that they will be satisfied… they will be blessed.  Jesus himself will provide that satisfaction and blessing.  Aside from Jesus Christ, no way exists for you to satisfy your thirst for righteousness.  Aside from Jesus Christ, no way exists between you and eternal life.  Your thirst for righteousness can only be quenched… your way to eternal life can only be established… in Jesus Christ… the Bread of Life… the Water of Life.  This living water flows unstoppable out of the font… out from the pulpit… and off from the altar.  Show up, get fed, have a drink, and be satisfied!

Prayers from one who is hardly satisfied with a mere sip of wine, a morsel of bread, or a cupful of bath water…

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant that I may be so caught up in this thirst-quenching flow that I am washed right through death and into eternal life.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant that this life-giving flood be so irresistible that I cannot turn back against its current and am taken by it into the New Creation.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant me to be so soaked by this flood of baptismal waters that no part of me remains dry to seek its own righteousness.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant this flood of living water to sweep across my community, my nation, my entire world such that all people are drawn to Jesus Christ.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living water, grant this living water deliver life unto all those who are dead in their sin.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant this flood of living water to sweep over the Institute of Lutheran Theology and keep it in the very heart of Christ its Lord.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, out of your Son’s heart flow rivers of living waters, grant this flood to carry me through the days of my baptism, washing me ever anew and again, until it deposits me in that river which flows straight from the throne of God.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.  Amen

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The Seventh Sunday of Easter A

This may come as a shock to you, but you are not in charge of your eternal life.  No, you are not.  The Father has given Jesus Christ authority over all flesh.  With that authority, Jesus Christ, the Son, gives eternal life to all those whom the Father has given him.  How great is this authority given Jesus Christ over all flesh?  It is absolutely all authority… the authority of heaven… the authority of earth… all of it.  Who are those whom the Father has given Jesus Christ?  Everyone; the Father has given all over to Jesus Christ.  Christ himself asserts, “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself” (John 12:32).  You are not in charge of your eternal life.  Jesus Christ is.  Lest you doubt that you are numbered among those given over to Jesus’ authority, you gather in the sanctuary of your church building, seated before the pulpit, with ears attuned to the voice of your Shepherd as your preacher hands him over to be your life.  Lest you doubt, you gather before the altar, kneeling to receive bread and wine—the flesh of your lord Jesus torn, the blood of your lord Jesus spilled—for whom?  For you!  Lest you doubt, you gather before the baptismal font where the water and the Word are poured out over you, and, in that flood of forgiveness, the Holy Spirit washes you through death and into new life.

Prayers from one who covets taking charge of his own eternal life…

Holy Father, keep me in your name, that I may be one with all the others you keep in your name.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, that I would enjoy the free gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus my Lord.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, that I would know you as the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ and not the God who hides himself.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit, I would cry out, “Abba!  Father!” as I would were I a child of your very own keeping.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, so that I would tend to the needs of others in the household, providing them with daily bread for life in this world and with the Bread come down from heaven for their life in the world to come.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, that I would witness to the free gift before the Institute of Lutheran Theology and, just so, help it to bear witness to that same gift before its students.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.

Holy Father, keep me in your name, that I would not grow weary of doing good during these days of my baptism as I and the entire world wait for our Lord’s manifestation in glory.  Father of mercies have mercy on me.  Amen

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The Sixth Sunday of Easter A

With these words, Jesus reveals that no sinner can love him.  I am quite confident that you know sinners, just as I know sinners, who are very capable of an outward, external obedience to the commands of Jesus… indeed, even obedient to the Law of Moses.  But you know as well as I do that external obedience is simply not enough.  There must also be an obedience from the heart.  That obedience trips us up and makes liars of us when we say, “I love you, Jesus.”  The evil and defiling contents of our sinner’s heart (Mt. 7:21-23) put the lie to whatever claims we might make to loving Jesus and demonstrating that love by our external obedience to his command.  Thanks be to God that our eternal life does not depend upon our fickle, failing, and false love for Jesus.  No, that eternal life of ours depends upon Jesus’ love for us and his love is true, constant, and enduring.  Jesus is faithful in his love for us while we are unfaithful in our love for him.  The promise is always this: “Because I live, you also will live” (vs. 19).

Prayers from one who is always trying to pass his love of Jesus off as an authentic love…

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  So give to me the love of Jesus that I have the certainty of his promise:  “I live, therefore you will live also.”  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  Keep me honest in my confession and humble in my claims so that I do not assert myself as more than a condemned sinner for whom Jesus has died.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  I may be a condemned sinner in this old and passing-away creation, yet Jesus Christ has loved me into a certain faith. I trust that in the New Creation, I will be a beloved child of God and have the run of his household.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  Grant that I prove trustworthy in my vocations and callings given me in this creation broken as it is by sin.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  Grant that my neighbors benefit from the trustworthy exercise of my vocation while they receive what they need for life in this world and the next.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  Keep the Institute of Lutheran Theology in the love of Jesus, too.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your Son’s love of me even as I am the most untrustworthy of lovers in return.  Hold me in the love of Jesus all the days of my baptism until what I now hold in faith is mine by sight in the New Creation.  Father of mercies, be merciful to me.  Amen

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The Fifth Sunday of Easter A

Philip provides another testimony to the disciples’ incomprehension.  An additional testimony is provided by Acts 1:6 where the disciples do not comprehend the coming of the kingdom.  Here, Philip witnesses to an incomprehension of Jesus and his identification with the Father.  “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (vs. 9).  Jesus works to clear up Philip’s confusion.  Jesus tells Philip that it is a matter of faith:  Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus (vs. 11).  Because of this identity with the Father, neither Jesus’ words nor Jesus’ works are done on his own authority.  It is the Father’s authority and the Father’s works.  This same paradigm is true of you… of you and your life during these days of your baptism.  Jesus has come to be your life (Gal. 2:20).  He is in you, and you are in him—the very same description Jesus uses to describe the Father’s presence.  Whenever you preach Christ, you do not do so by your own authority, but the authority of Christ.  Whenever you do works, they are not your works but the works of Christ who dwells in you.

Prayers from one who is often confused about whose life is whose…

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, deliver me out of my confusion; so make Jesus Christ my life that I am in no doubt about who lives in me.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, as you deliver me into the certainty that your Son is my life, so open my eyes to his presence that I come to know you as well.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, as I come to know you through the presence of your Son, grant me confidence that among the many rooms in your house, your Son has prepared one just for me.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, since my future dwelling in your house is secure, give to me such generosity that I may see to it that my neighbors have a dwelling in this world now.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, as you put my generosity to work for the benefit of my neighbors now, so also let me attend to their future dwelling place by preaching the good news of Jesus Christ to them.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, as you have delivered me out of my confusion, so deliver the Institute of Lutheran Theology out of any confusion it may have in the preaching of your Son, Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father of my Lord, Jesus Christ, hear my prayers during these days of my baptism and do not let me be without your Word preached in my ears so that the Holy Spirit would work faith in my heart as often as I hear your Word.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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The Fourth Sunday of Easter A

Jesus is categorically different than the thief.  Jesus delivers abundant life.  The thief only steals life, kills, and destroys it.  We must put all things to the test as Luther did of free will.  Luther takes the passage, John 14:6, that has Jesus announce, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  Luther then says that Jesus means this categorically—that is whatever is not Jesus is not the way but error… whatever is not Jesus is not the truth but lies… whatever is not Jesus is not life but death.  Therefore, since free will is not Jesus, it is only error, lies, and death.  So, we put all things to the same test.  We ask, as Luther did, is this Jesus Christ?  Is this Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone handed over to be the life of dead sinners?  When the answer is, “No, this is not Jesus Christ,” then we can be assured that whatever we have compared belongs to the things of this sin-broken and passing-away world.  To pass off that object of failed scrutiny as more than it is commits error, tells lies, and spreads death.  The thief—that is, Satan, the Father of Lies—has come to steal the way, the truth, and the life away from you.  Put all things to the test…

Prayers from one whose itching ears truly love the blandishments which the thief lavishes upon them…

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  Grant that my ears are filled with his voice over and above that of the thief so I may be kept in the fold of the one true Shepherd.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  Grant that when I hear my one true Shepherd calling me that I may follow him so that I am led unto green and verdant pastures.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  Grant that I am filled by the verdant and green pastures of my Lord such that my cup runs over, and my contentment abounds.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  As I hear that voice, grant me to look around and see the others called by the same voice and be heartened by them no matter the numbers.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  As I see that I am in a great and grand flock gathered into a great cloud of witnesses and a communion of saints, give to me their witness to our one true Shepherd.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  Grant that his voice sound in the ears of the students, faculty, and staff at the Institute of Lutheran Theology that they, too, will enjoy the abundant life delivered by our Shepherd.  Father be merciful and open my ears.

Father, your Son, Jesus Christ comes to give life… abundant life to those who hear his voice.  Grant me the unceasing companionship of my Shepherd and his voice sounding in my ears throughout these days of my baptism so that the thief will not afflict me nor torment me.  Father be merciful and open my ears.  Amen

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The Third Sunday of Easter A

It’s a good thing Jesus has already been to hell and back.  Otherwise, he would be liable to such condemnation by his very own words, “…whoever says, You fool! will be liable to the hell of fire” (Mt. 5:22).  Truth is, we probably agree with him:  Cleopas and his companion did have the witness of scripture before them but were so slow of heart that, until this moment, they had not believed scripture’s witness to the Messiah.  How foolish!  Yet, we must ask, “What about us?  Are not we, too, slow of heart?”  Yes, of course, we are.  That is the truth of sinful humanity.  Scripture witnesses to the things concerning Jesus Christ but we, in our sin, want to make scripture about us… about our obedience… about our faithfulness… about examples for our living… Jesus appeared, in person, to those two on the road to Emmaus; he had to appear and shock them out of their self-referential pity pit.  Jesus comes to you in person as well.  He comes in the person of your preacher who, in the proclamation of Christ crucified, opens all the scriptures to you concerning the things of Christ.  Such preaching quickens that slow heart of yours, and that slow heart burns.

Prayers from one slow of heart and in need of quickening…

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit such that, as I hear my preacher’s proclamation, I too would have a burning heart.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that I, too, would have eyes to see you present by body and blood in the bread broken and wine poured.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that I would brave the darkness of this world, like Cleopas and his companion braved the darkness of night, and witness to my Lord’s resurrection to all and sundry.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit and make it tender toward my neighbors and soft in my dealings with them.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that I do not flag in zeal for doing good, especially the good of the duty and obligations of the callings into which you have placed me.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that I might support the Institute of Lutheran Theology in my prayers, with my wallet, and by my speech.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

Father in heaven, quicken my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that, during these days of my baptism, I might readily confess my sins before you and receive your absolution that I would be returned to the promises of my baptism.  For Jesus’ sake.  Amen

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The Second Sunday of Easter A

The number of signs isn’t important.  In fact, the signs themselves are of little importance.  Only their witness to Jesus the Christ as the Son of God has any importance.  That witness of theirs is only important to you because it delivers faith… faith that the name of Jesus Christ delivers you into life.  The evangelist John, in writing down these signs, transfers the witness from the signs themselves to the written word testifying to the signs just as the signs testify to Jesus the Christ.  For us, all these many generations distant from the signs themselves, we have the Word… the Word of God.  As the scriptures have assured us, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…” (He. 1:1-2).  Those many and various ways included signs and wonders… they included visions and theophanies… they included miracles and visitations… But, in these last days, the Son, God’s very own Word, is sufficient for us.  Its testimony is sure and certain.  We are given that Word of God in the words of God, the Holy Scripture.  Worship service after worship service, your preacher takes that Word of God delivered through the words of God and applies it to you… you who are a particular people, in a particular place, and of a particular time.  Such is the art of preaching, to take that Word given in words for the ages and hand it over to you in all your particularity.  That Word, Jesus Christ, is your life!

Prayers from one who can’t quite trust Jesus’ beatitude: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed…”

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant me to trust in the testimony that witnesses to the sign of Jonah, Jesus own resurrection, the only sign he promised to give us.  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant me to trust in the testimony of Thomas as he confesses, “My Lord and my God!”  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant me to trust in the testimony of blessing promised by Jesus for those who believe without seeing.  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant me to trust in the testimony of that great cloud of witnesses which has borne your Word through the generations until it has now come to me.  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant to me a preacher who takes that trustworthy Word of yours given to the ages and hands it over for me… for me and my life.  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant that this Word of yours so fill and enliven those at the Institute of Lutheran Theology that they, too, bear the witness of Thomas in exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!”  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you have given me a trustworthy Word in Jesus Christ your Son, grant that I endure the days of my baptism with both patience and anticipation, waiting in humility while anticipating the glory of my Lord Jesus in his final manifestation.  Father of mercy, hear my prayer.  Amen

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The Resurrection of our Lord A

All four gospels bear witness that women went to Jesus’ tomb early on the day of the resurrection.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak of several women.  John speaks of one woman.  Matthew, Luke, and John all speak of the women going and telling.  Mark, in contrast, claims the women said nothing because they were afraid.  These women visited the tomb expecting to perform their customary task of attending to the dead.  Instead of fulfilling that duty, the women were transformed into the first witnesses of the resurrection.  Here, in Matthew, the angel transforms them from disciples of Jesus—that is followers of Jesus—into apostles of the resurrection.  The “angel sends them out” to tell the other disciples that Jesus is risen from the dead.  Here we are, you and I, engaging in our customary task of attending worship, yet the Word of God comes to us, interrupting our duty and transforming us into the sent-out ones… the apostles… bearing witness to the world of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.    

Prayers from a reluctant apostle who prefers the safe confines of discipleship’s duties rather than confront the same world which executed Jesus…

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  So fill my ears with this good news that I am struck dead in my sin only to be raised to new life in Jesus Christ.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  Since I now have new life in Jesus Christ my Lord, give me ears to hear his command, “Go!” so that I would be sent out as a witness to him unto the ends of the earth.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  While I am going into the world bearing witness to Jesus Christ, grant me such humility in my witness that I become small and Jesus becomes all.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  My going into the world includes attending to those tasks and duties pertaining to my callings and vocations, grant that I not neglect them as I bear witness to Christ my Lord.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  So fill my days with the presence of neighbors so numerous that I have opportunity to bear witness to my Lord in the hearing of many ears.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  You have called the Institute of Lutheran Theology to fulfill its duty of training a new generation of preachers and teachers who will bear witness to Jesus Christ in their own callings and vocations.  Bless the Institute in these duties handed over to it.  Lord, make it so!

Heavenly Father, you raised your Son Jesus Christ from the dead.  As I live out the days of my baptism being gathered in as follower of Christ and then being sent out as an apostle to his name, grant me ears to both his command, “Follow me!” and his command, “Go!” Lord, make it so!

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Palm-Passion Sunday A

Very savvy political operatives, these religious leaders, for they knew all about working the crowd.  Grabbing Jesus up without properly preparing the crowd risked a spontaneous uproar from the crowd, an undesirable consequence in the eyes of Caiaphas, the elders, and the chief priests.   Later, these religious leaders, having had the opportunity to work the crowd, led the crowd in shouting, “Crucify him!” (Mt. 27:22-23).   The cross of Jesus Christ exposes the raw reality of combining religious authority with political authority.  The Passion Story (Mt. 26:1-27:66) depicts three venues of judgment against Jesus:  before the Sanhedrin, before Herod, and before Pilate.  The court of judgment convened by the religious authority could not issue a death sentence (Jn. 19:31).  Those elders and chief priests then sought out a venue of judgment that could levy a death sentence.  And so, with the endorsement of the crowd, Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mt. 27:26).  Those religious leaders, savvy political operatives that they were, had their way with Jesus, silencing him by hanging him on the cross.

Prayers from one whose old sinner always looks to combine religious authority with political power…

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Grant that in this newness of life, I do not resort to the use of political power rather than trust your Word’s authority.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Grant that in this newness of life, I live in the freedom of freedom itself and not again succumb to the misuse of power.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I live out of the new freedom given in Jesus Christ, grant that the assurance of my salvation is a comfort to me.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I am comforted by the assurance of my salvation, turn me toward fulfilling my callings and my vocations without their duties being burdensome to me.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  As I fulfill the various duties of my vocations, hold me in the faith of Jesus Christ so that I receive my righteousness from him and not the work of my hands.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  Hold the Institute of Lutheran Theology constant in the teaching and preaching of this word.  Amen

Father in heaven, the authority of your creative Word brings new life to sinners dead in their sin.  During these days of my baptism, as I await the revelation of your Son in glory, continue to use your creative Word upon me that I would receive new life out of my sinner’s death.  Amen

Heavenly Father, as I raise my voice in complaint against your hiddenness give my complaint its answer in your Word handed over at the pulpit, the font, and the altar.  Amen

Heavenly Father, when I question your presence amidst my afflictions, give me such faith to apprehend the truth of Jesus’ declaration, “Lo, I am with you always.”  Amen

Heavenly Father, when my faith falters in the face of my God’s hiddenness, keep me in the company of saints so that the faith we share will bear me up and bring me back before the pulpit, font, and alter.  Amen

Heavenly Father, open my ears that I would hear your Word and trust that your Holy Spirit works faith in me… faith in Jesus Christ as the divine yet invisible and incomprehensible reality present to me beyond my senses and reason.  Amen

Heavenly Father, hold the Institute of Lutheran Theology to the preaching and teaching of Jesus Christ as the presence of this divine, invisible, and incomprehensible reality.  Amen

Heavenly Father, in these the days of my baptism, grant me the daily renewal of your mercies as day by day I take up your Word and it brings me to stand beneath its authority.  Amen

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