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The Fourth Sunday After Pentecost C, July 3, 2022

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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