The Twelfth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 14:1-14 

Jesus instructs the host of the dinner banquet, ‘But when you give a feast,
invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed,
because they cannot repay you”
(vs. 13-14)

 Two thoughts here, the first is that Jesus tells the host of the banquet that he should give no thought to being repaid when he considers his guest list for the next banquet. Jesus tells him to throw consideration of repayment out the window and invite “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” etc. But then Jesus offers him repayment from the heavenly Father on the day of the just (vs. 14). Repayment isn’t exactly out the window; Jesus merely changes who’s picking up the tab. Will it be your neighbors, or will it be your heavenly Father? The second point ties into the first; the host, as he invites those who cannot repay, behaves in a manner modeled by the heavenly Father, the manner exhibited in Isaiah 55—“Come… come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” The profligate Father from the prodigal son parable belongs to this same model as well. The inexhaustible riches delivered by the kingdom of God fuel the generosity delivered unto the neighbor.

Prayers from one who tends toward the miserly and self-indulgent and is only begrudgingly generous toward the neighbor…

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant that these riches be poured out upon me so that I may be confident of my place at the banquet of the Lamb. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant that these riches be also poured out upon my neighbors so that I may be confident of their place, too, at the banquet of the Lamb. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant the world to receive these riches so that Christ would become its all-in-all. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant my generosity toward my neighbors increase as I receive those riches won at Christ’s expense. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant my neighbors be as generous with me as they have received your generosity. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant that the Institute of Lutheran theology as my neighbor also enjoy the inexhaustible riches given in Christ.  Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Heavenly Father, you have poured out your inexhaustible riches at the expense of Jesus Christ, grant that during these days of my baptism I would enjoy these riches in faith and hope until that day when their glory is manifest at the banquet feast of the Lamb. Grant this Father, in your mercy.

Into your hands, heavenly Father, we commend our body and soul and all that is ours trusting in your inexhaustible riches that are ours in Jesus Christ. Amen

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The Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 13:22-30 

“Strive to enter through the narrow door”
(Lk. 13:24)

How narrow is the narrow door? So narrow that it’s but one person wide, Jesus Christ wide. As he says of himself, “I am the door” (Jn. 10:9). He continues, “If anyone enters through me, he will be saved…” And then, in an echo of Psalm 23, Jesus announces that the saved “will come in and go out and find pasture.” The narrow door is but one person wide; it is exactly as wide as you… you and your grave. To follow after Jesus… to enter through the narrow door… is to take up your cross—that is, your death… your death, not in martyrdom, but a dying “in sin” and “to sin.” To go through the narrow door that is Jesus Christ by the means of your death “in sin” is simply taking Jesus at his word when he declares, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to myself” (Jn. 12:32). Jesus is the narrow door, the port of entry, through which all things are made new, even you. Our death “in sin” and “to sin” is our means of entry. The law kills but the gospel, Jesus Christ, makes alive.

Prayers from one who would prefer to choose the wide and easy door…

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Grant that I am drawn through that narrow door by the authority and power of your revelation to me by your Son. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. As I am drawn through the door which is your Son, Jesus Christ, reveal to me my brothers and sisters who are drawn through as well. Grant that together we are one with the communion of saints. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Make me a little child… a meager sheep of your own fold shepherded by your Son. In being that child… that sheep… give me rest from my burdensome labor and the confidence that I know these things while the wise and understanding do not. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Teach me to seek you for salvation’s sake and to speak you to my neighbors for their salvation’s sake. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. In my knowing of you through your Son, direct my attention away from your glory to the needs of my neighbors and how I can be of use to them. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. Protect the Institute of Lutheran Theology from the false, wide, and easy doors so that it would have but one door—that is, Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, only your Son knows you and those to whom he has revealed you. As Jesus has chosen to reveal you to me, give me confidence that the hour of his coming, which only you know, will not find me unprepared or asleep. Father, you have promised, hear my prayer. Amen

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The Tenth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 12:49-53 (54-56) 

“…why do you not know how to
interpret the present time?”
(vs. 56)

Jesus stood there among them. Jesus moved across their landscape from city to city, from province to province. Jesus announced the reality of the present time. The present time was the time for the kingdom of God to draw near. The present time was the time for repentance. Jesus was the sign of the present time. To interpret him properly meant being repented from a life outside the kingdom, dwelling there without faith, and dead in sin, and into a life within the kingdom living from faith and alive in Christ. When you are confronted by the person of Jesus Christ, the question of proper interpretation of the present time is thrust upon you. The person of Jesus Christ confronts you at the pulpit, the font, and the altar. At those places… in this present time… to properly interpret him is to be repented from your life outside the kingdom… from your dwelling without faith, and from your being dead in your sin. From that life outside the kingdom, you are repented to a life within the kingdom… dwelling in it with and by faith… dwelling there alive in Christ. Jesus means the coming of the kingdom and the work of repentance. Surely, you know those signs.

Prayers from one who would rather avoid the pain of being repented…

Our Father who art in heaven grant to me ears to hear the kingdom proclaimed in the presence of Jesus Christ. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven grant to me the eyes of faith to see the kingdom surround me as I am in the company of the body of Christ. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven grant to me such trust in your Word that it defines my reality more surely and completely than do my reason and senses. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven turn me toward my brothers and sisters in Christ as together we comprise his body so that, in tending to them, I tend the body of my Lord. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven open my eyes to see the plight of the world in its need for daily bread; set the labor of my hands to feeding it the bread of yeast and dough, and open my lips to speak to it of Jesus Christ, the Bread come down from heaven. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven provide for the Institute of Lutheran Theology, its students, staff, faculty, and board. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

Our Father who art in heaven, you alone know the day and hour of your Son’s coming in glory. Do not let me flag in ardent and eager anticipation of that day and hour. Father, in your mercy, hear my prayer.

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The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 12:22-34 (35-40)

“…if the master of the house had known at
what hour the thief was coming…”
(Lk. 12:39)

These words are a strange ending to the parable of the properly awake men with properly burning lamps. These are the ones who stay awake throughout the night until their master arrives (vs. 37). And then, wonder of wonders, the master reverses roles, sets the men down to the table, and the master becomes the servant of those men (cf. Mt. 20:28). It is a simple and straightforward parable on the sort of reversals to be expected in the kingdom of God. But… but then there’s verse 39, “If the master…” seems to imply that even in their staying awake in expectation of the master’s arrival, those men did not detect the thief who came and broke into the house. Furthermore, verse 40 seems to imply that the Son of Man himself is like the thief “coming at an hour you do not expect.” Jesus (God), as the hymn goes, works in wondrous and mysterious ways to accomplish his purposes (God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper). Surely, he can fill two roles in the completion of this parable’s teaching. He is the one who came to serve rather than be served; and he is the thief coming at an unexpected hour… coming to steal away your most precious possession: the “I” at the center of you. To steal it away so that only he reigns.

Prayers from those who cling to their “I” … their sense of self-importance…

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. Grant us these things during the days of our baptism so that we would witness to Jesus Christ and his coming. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. As you hold us in readiness for your Son’s return, let us not lapse into thinking we could hasten his arrival by our own thoughts, words, and deeds. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. Provide us with an abundance of patience and hope that we would persevere through these days of waiting. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. So that this time of preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation would not prove exhaustive, give us neighbors to tend and care for that they would fill our days of waiting. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. As we tend and care for these neighbors that you give us, keep our attention focused on them and their needs so that we are not concerned about our works of righteousness and our self-important “I”. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. You have given us one neighbor in particular, the Institute of Lutheran Theology. See to it that we tend this school and care for it as we do our other neighbors. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, your Son bids us wait in preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation. When your Son comes in glory and relieves our waiting, grant us such joy at his return that all our preparation, wakefulness, and anticipation fade into oblivion in the face of thunderous rejoicing. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

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The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 12:13-21

“…for one’s life does not consist in
the abundance of his possessions”
(Lk. 12:15)

7 consists of all those things which can be said to be “ours”—things like money, property, social position, family, friends, even the possession of virtues and character, works and deeds. All these have value to the world and to us as we live in it and by its markers. Their abundance measures our success as we strive to win by “dying with the most toys.” But that is not life, according to Jesus. Life is not possessing much. After all, there is also this old saw, “The more things you own, the more things own you.” Yes, life is not had by possessing much rather, it is had by being much possessed. Possessed, not by a demonic spirit, but by God’s Holy Spirit as it calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and keeps you in the one true faith which is Jesus Christ, Son of the Father from eternity. Once, you were confused, thinking that you had possessions but then the Holy Spirit came and stripped away your confusion to show you that your possessions possessed you. That same Holy Spirit, in the mercy of the Father through the Son, Jesus Christ, reveals that you are possessed—not by the things you own—but by the love of God, Jesus Christ, who has been poured into your heart through the Holy Spirit.

Prayers from one who likes his toys…

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly, so place your Word in my ears and drive it to my heart that I would have the life of Christ even as my life is hidden away with him in you. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. As you make Jesus Christ my life, relieve me of my fears of mortality. Relieved of such fears, death no longer controls my life, but I live in the abundance of days given me by your Son. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. In this abundance of days, you see to it that I am neither anxious nor harried but have plentiful time to enjoy those things which you provide me. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. Not only do you give me life, but you also provide neighbors innumerable. So turn me toward them, both near and far, that my abundance and plenty would be useful to them as I fill my hands with labors on their behalf. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. To those neighbors close to me—my family and friends—grant them the enjoyment of my humility in the light of your providence. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. Share the abundance you’ve bestowed upon me with the Institute of Lutheran Theology so that its need for daily bread—students, money, faculty, and staff—is satisfied day by day. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are so ready to give me life and give it abundantly. As abundant as is the life you give in this world, the abundance of life in the world to come is immeasurably greater. Grant me satisfaction and contentment with what you have provided now so that the abundance of the life to come exceeds all my expectations. Faithful Father, hear my prayer.

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The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 11:1-13

“…how much more will the heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13)

Luther knew, as did the other reformers, that there was no understanding of the scriptures unless the Holy Spirit had first brought one to stand under the scriptures. Without that work of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures stand as a blank slate awaiting whatever meaning we poor sinners desire to pour into its words. If the Holy Spirit does not bring us under the scriptures’ authority, then it has a huge wax nose ready for us to twist in any direction our sinful thoughts imagine. Without the work of the Holy Spirit—that is, faith—secular scholars only have scripture as a blank slate or a wax nose ready to be written upon or twisted as those scholars wish. But… But, when one has been brought to stand under the scriptures’ authority and now lives in faith, this believer now has life in two different kingdoms. The one is the kingdom of this world, broken by sin, passing away, mortal, and marked by its scarcity. The other kingdom is the kingdom of the new creation still coming but already here in the person of Jesus Christ. This new kingdom knows no sin, exists eternally, is immortal, and is marked by abundance. It is ours by faith in Jesus. As the Heavenly Father grants the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit works faith in us through the hearing of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, we are transported by that faith from this world of mortal scarcity into that kingdom of eternal abundance. All our asking, receives response… All our seeking, finds… All our knocking, is answered… So it is in the kingdom of God when we enter by faith.

Prayers from one who covets the kingdom of God on his own terms rather than those of the Holy Spirit…

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, give unto me your Holy Spirit that through these, your words, I would receive your one true Word, Jesus Christ. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, use your Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten, sanctify, and keep me in the one true faith, that of Jesus Christ my Lord. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, grant that your Holy Spirit so keep me in this faith that all my asking… all my seeking… all my knocking… receive their satisfaction from the new creation present to me in Jesus Christ. In his name I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, by your Holy Spirit’s work, turn me to my neighbors, give me knowledge of their needs, and grant me a Christ-filled usefulness in the satisfaction of those needs. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, give the gifts of your Holy Spirit to me that I may bear its fruit for the preaching of Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone into my neighbors’ ears. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, grant that my neighbor, the Institute of Lutheran Theology, be filled with faculty, staff, and students upon whom the Holy Spirit is working to draw deeper into the faith of Jesus Christ and the love of those who bear the name Christian. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, feed me with this Bread come down from heaven that I may feast well and be satisfied in these the days of my baptism. In his name, I pray. Amen

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The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 10:38-42

“And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary,
who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching”
(Lk. 10:39)

Mary, contrary to the social customs of her day, assumed the position of a disciple. Mary was a student of her rabbi, Jesus. She sat at Jesus’ feet as Paul would be educated at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Mary is one of the blessed (Lk. 10:24). She has been given the freedom to hear Jesus, the Word of God, as he teaches, a freedom longed for by many. As the Word of God pours out upon her, the kingdom of God which has come near to her in the person of Jesus Christ, now envelopes her as the “good portion” which will not be taken away from her (Lk. 10:42). Martha’s intrusion into that enveloping presence of the kingdom of God established by the Word of God is the world advancing its cares… its concerns… its demands and rules… its agendas… as distractions from the kingdom.

Prayers from one continually distracted from the presence of the kingdom by the agendas of the world…

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. So grant me the hearing of your Word, Jesus Christ, that I am drawn into faith and enveloped by your kingdom for the benefit of this world, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. As I hear your Word and am drawn into faith, turn me toward the world in usefulness, not advancing my own agenda but caring for the world in its needs, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. As I care for the world in its needs, grant me such faith that I may confess my failures at caring and the harm I have wrought through those failures, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. As I receive forgiveness for my failures at caring, grant that I, too, may forgive my neighbors for their failures at caring for me, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. Grant that my neighbors hear my word of forgiveness in Jesus’ name and come to know the wondrous humility secured in his name, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. Grant to the Institute of Lutheran Theology just such a humility that its best teaching is the proclamation of Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

Heavenly Father, in the person of your Son Jesus Christ your kingdom has come near. During these days of my baptism hold me so securely in your kingdom that the days of waiting for your Son to come in glory pass quickly, through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord. Amen

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The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost C, July 10, 2022

Luke 10:25-37 

“He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law?
How do you read it?”
(Lk. 10:26)

That lawyer didn’t know what he was getting into. Here he comes, seemingly full of himself, thinking that Jesus can be “put to the test.” Well… Jesus shows him that, if anybody is going to be put to the test, it isn’t going to be Jesus. Jesus tests that lawyer, “What’s written in the Law?” The very one who has come to be the fulfillment of the Law (Mt. 5:17) questions whether this lawyer actually knows the content of the Law. But Jesus doesn’t stop there, he wants to know if the lawyer has grasped the meaning of the law, “How do you read it?” It is one thing to know the content of law. It is quite another to know that content’s meaning for you. The lawyer recites the content of the law and Jesus acknowledges that he has recited it correctly. But then Jesus gives him the challenge which the lawyer fails, “Do this and you will live.” The lawyer’s failure comes in two ways. First, he doesn’t catch the irony in Jesus’ voice and assumes he (and all sinners) must contribute his doing to Jesus’ fulfillment of the Law. Second, the lawyer seeks to redefine the Law’s accusation by limiting its scope to a particular definition, “Who is my neighbor?” Through the parable, Jesus confronts the lawyer with his failure and brings him to stand under the scripture, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (vs. 37 & Mt. 12:7).

Prayers from one still being taught to stand under your mercy rather than trust the sacrifice of my obedience…

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Teach me to stand under your mercy and not look to the obedience of my own doing. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. As I stand under your mercy, teach me to enjoy the steadfastness of your love which prevails despite my failing assumptions. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Your love bestowed upon me in Jesus Christ carries me by his faithfulness even as I am unfaithful. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. As I stand under your love, so turn me to my neighbors that, as I am useful to their needs, I may love them as you have loved me. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. As I have been turned in love to my neighbors, grant that I may forgive them in Jesus’ name for their failure to love me in return. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. You have established places like the Institute of Lutheran Theology for the teaching of scripture so that others may come to stand under scripture as well. Grant that the Institute’s labors be fruitful. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, you are merciful and abounding in steadfast love. Grant that during these days of my baptism, your mercy and your love will keep me patient and hopeful until that day when my Lord Jesus comes in all his glory. Lord, in your mercy; hear my prayer.

I commend all these things to you, Heavenly Father, confident of your mercy and love. Amen

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The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost C, July 3, 2022

These preachers returned from their mission, their faces radiant with joy… perhaps flush with pride… certainly glowing with accomplishment. Jesus even joins in, “I saw Satan fall like lightning….” He confirms the authority he has given them… authority over serpents and scorpions… authority over all the enemy’s power… the authority of divine protection: nothing shall hurt them. But then… But then, Jesus deflates their self-congratulatory bubble. “Nevertheless…” he says. “Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this…” Jesus has recognized the tension present in their rejoicing… the tension between “subject to us!” and “in your name.” The tension cannot help but be there. They are sinners, after all. That selfish core of the sinner’s blackened heart, curved in upon itself in sin, cannot help but claim the glory for its own. “The demons are subject to us! And, by the way, we used your name.” “Nevertheless…” Jesus reminds them. What they have accomplished, even in Jesus’ name… no matter how many demons were subject to them, even in Jesus’ name… all that is but a trifle compared to the richness of their salvation, “their names are written in heaven…” written with the blood of the Lamb for ink, and a thorn from his earthly crown for a pen.

Prayers from one who misuses even the glory belonging to the name of God…

Father, you have made the name of Jesus exalted above every other name, so work humility in me that I would not claim even a bit of that glory for my own. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, remove from me the temptation to take pride in what the Holy Spirit has accomplished through me so that I do not claim a glory of my own. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, your son, Jesus Christ, has bid me to rejoice not in the spiritual accomplishments here in this old and passing away creation, but that I should instead rejoice for my name being written in heaven. Grant me such rejoicing. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, you have made the name of Jesus known to me, grant that the use of it as spoken from my lips may be beneficial and useful to my neighbors. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, grant me neighbors such that they can recognize the emptiness of my ears and fill them with the precious name of your dear Son, Jesus Christ. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, you wear the things of this creation like masks. Grant that your mask, the Institute of Lutheran Theology, be faithful in proclaiming the name of your Son, Jesus. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

Father, until that day when Jesus comes in all his glory, I must content myself with the hearing of your Word and the reception of your Sacraments. Hold me in that contentment so I do not seek a glory outside of your Word. Hear me, O Lord. Amen

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The Third Sunday After Pentecost C, June 26, 2022

Luke 9:51-62

“And Jesus said to him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead.
But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God”
(Luke 9:60).

Jesus has his face set upon his exodus in Jerusalem. His determination is flinty-hard, to speak like Isaiah (Isa. 50:17). As he makes his persistent way toward the city, his responses to those who would be, or those he calls to be, his followers, reflect his rejection of all distraction. He is rather obscure in his answer to the first one confessing loyalty as a disciple. He is rather dismissive to the third. The second, though, the one to whom Jesus says, “Follow me,” does not receive obscurity nor dismissiveness. This one receives a commission. The “dead” who will bury their own dead are the “dead in sin” responsible to see to those others “dead in sin” who have gone down to the grave. By this pronouncement, Jesus clarifies the mind of the man and then gives him a commission. He makes him an apostle. You… yes, you… “Go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (vs. 60). The man, first called by Jesus to be a disciple (“Follow me” vs. 59), becomes a preacher of the kingdom of God and its presence in the person of Jesus.

Prayers from one who needs a preacher… a preacher delivering the presence of the kingdom in the person of Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, mysteries abound for you are a God who hides himself, make me ever grateful for the mystery of your making me part of your kingdom before the foundation of the world. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, send me a preacher who will deliver your ancient election of me by handing over Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, as my preacher hands over Jesus Christ to be the life of this dead sinner, make use of this occasion as the when and where your Holy Spirit works faith in me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, as I receive faith in Christ turn me loose upon the world to expend that faith in usefulness to my neighbors. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, as that faith is used up by my neighbors’ needs draw me to hear your Word again and, as my ears are filled with it, may my faith be kindled once again for even more usefulness. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, the Institute of Lutheran Theology has labored these last several years… a labor supported by faculty, students, and donors… a labor sustained by a confidence in your Word. Grant that such confidence be not in vain, or such support be futile. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

Father in heaven, as I live out these days of my baptism until either Christ comes again or I go down to the dust, preserve me in a faith that is new every morning as I hear your mercies proclaimed to me. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen

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