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The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

Money and friends do you no good when you demand entrance into “the eternal dwellings.” Two weeks previous, Jesus announced the necessary requirement for following him was to be the “renunciation of all things” (Lk. 14:33). This week, Jesus emphasizes that “what you have” and “who you know” will not be of any use to you when you stand before those “Pearly Gates”: God knows what is in your heart. Justification before your neighbors and in the eyes of the world may mean that you are a well-behaved sinner, but you are a sinner none-the-less. Even though the apple may be well-polished, there’s a worm lurking at the core—and that worm is sin. Your neighbors and the world may exalt you for your virtue, but that sort of self-justification is “an abomination in the sight of God” (Lk. 16:15). Neither the righteousness of the good you’ve purchased nor the love of the friends you’ve bought along the way satisfy the demand for justification before God which is had only in Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone.

Prayers from one who prefers the shine on the apple over the humility of repentance…

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, take from me the coveting of virtue’s polish and the hungering after a righteousness of my own so that I would have only the righteousness of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, turn me from the love of money and all it can buy to the love of Christ and all he bestows freely. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, trouble and disturb my conscience whenever Jesus Christ is dethroned as its Lord and put your Word once again in my ears for faith’s sake. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, turn my attention to the plight of my neighbors, not that I may hone my virtue among them, but that I would be of use to them in their need. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, take from me the love of how I look in the eyes of my neighbors to a love of my savior Jesus Christ when he has no form, no majesty, and no beauty that I should desire him. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, grant such a life to the Institute of Lutheran Theology as well. Amen

Father in heaven, you have willed my life to be one of constant repentance, as I await the coming of my Lord Jesus Christ in his glory, keep me in this repentance so that neither pride nor despair overcome me in these days of my baptism. Amen