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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The First Sunday After Christmas

The First Sunday After Christmas

Even the parents of Jesus—who is the end of the Law for all who believe (Ro. 10:4)—obeyed the Law.  The Law kept order in their community.  Their keeping of the Law satisfied the expectations of the neighbors.  Mary and Joseph’s fulfilling of the Law put in their ears the words of two prophets, Simeon and Anna… words meant to sustain them through the years and meant for them to remember during the days of Jesus’ passion.  While the Law is not meant for righteousness in those who believe, it nonetheless retains a salutary use:  It orders our lives, and it orders the death of sinners.  As the Law orders our lives, we can have reasonable expectations of safety and security in our homes and communities.  This order produced in obedience to the Law provides us with opportunities unavailable to us if only chaos prevailed.  Those opportunities include the hearing of the Gospel.  When the Gospel is heard, then the Law’s ordering miserable sinners to a merciful death takes place.  Out of that death, the good news—the viva vox evangelii, the living Word of God– raises up saints to walk in newness of life.   When the ordering function of the Law is respected, the Gospel, then, is God’s ultimate word to us.  We’re able to confess with Paul, “The Law until Christ!” (Gal.3:23-24).

Prayers from those always adding their own words to the Gospel’s ultimate word…

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  Reveal to me the sure and certain end that my sin is the death of me.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  Put the gospel of your Son, Jesus Christ, in my dead ears so that its life-giving power would raise me from the dead.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  Being raised from the dead, grant that I walk in newness of life because Christ is my life.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  While I walk in newness of life, turn me toward my neighbors in love.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  As my neighbors, too, walk in newness of life, turn them toward me in love as well.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  So order the life of the Institute of Lutheran Theology that it, too, knows and rests in the Gospel as God’s ultimate word.  Amen

My Heavenly Father, you order both my death and my life.  Should Christ’s coming in glory not arrive until I am deep in my grave, so keep those dead ears of mine attuned to hear his voice.  Amen

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