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The Ninth Sunday After Pentecost C

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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