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The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

The Nineteenth Sunday After Pentecost C

Jesus’ words tell the truth about that judge.  Later, the judge tells the truth about himself when he confesses, “I neither fear God nor respect man” (Lk. 18:4).  This judge, unrighteous though he may be (Lk. 18:6), is at least honest in his confession:  he has no fear regarding human or divine consequences.  This honesty of his extends over the attitudes and affections of his own heart.  He admits he will only help the persevering woman out of his own self-interest (Lk. 18:5).  We as sinners should be as honest as this unrighteous and self-interested judge.  Every time we come before our God in confession, we come as sinners who are totally “in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.”  Truly, as sinners, we neither fear God nor respect man.  When we are honest about ourselves, the good that we do flows from the core of our self-interest.  An honest confession demands this from us sinners.  As long as our flesh endures, we are totally and completely sinners, dead in our sin.  But God has chosen us; we are his elect.  Our God, in sending Jesus Christ, has emptied himself of all self-interest in his love toward sinners who neither fear God nor respect man.

Prayers from one, who in his own self-interest, struggles to make an honest confession . . .

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to forgive my sin.  Grant that I may be honest with myself and with you regarding the depth of my sin.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to love me though I lack fear of both divine and human consequences.  Grant that you raise me from being dead in my sin to a new life in Jesus Christ my Lord.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to provide me with a preacher who delivers your election of me in Christ made before the foundation of the world.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to turn me toward my neighbors so that, even in my self-interest, I would be useful to them.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are complexly known to you, and yet you continue to provide me with neighbors who will set before me both the goods of this creation and of the next.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to set before me the Institute of Lutheran Theology with all its needs.  Grant that I may be of use—even in my selfishness—in meeting those needs.

Heavenly Father, the attitudes and affections of my heart are completely known to you, and yet you continue to hold me in the promises of my baptism.  Grant that my preacher would speak them to me again and again throughout these days of waiting.

Heavenly Father, hear these prayers of mine and hold me in the confidence of their speedy response.  Amen