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The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost C

The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost C

Luke 11:1-13

“…how much more will the heavenly Father
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13)

Luther knew, as did the other reformers, that there was no understanding of the scriptures unless the Holy Spirit had first brought one to stand under the scriptures. Without that work of the Holy Spirit, the scriptures stand as a blank slate awaiting whatever meaning we poor sinners desire to pour into its words. If the Holy Spirit does not bring us under the scriptures’ authority, then it has a huge wax nose ready for us to twist in any direction our sinful thoughts imagine. Without the work of the Holy Spirit—that is, faith—secular scholars only have scripture as a blank slate or a wax nose ready to be written upon or twisted as those scholars wish. But… But, when one has been brought to stand under the scriptures’ authority and now lives in faith, this believer now has life in two different kingdoms. The one is the kingdom of this world, broken by sin, passing away, mortal, and marked by its scarcity. The other kingdom is the kingdom of the new creation still coming but already here in the person of Jesus Christ. This new kingdom knows no sin, exists eternally, is immortal, and is marked by abundance. It is ours by faith in Jesus. As the Heavenly Father grants the Holy Spirit to us and the Holy Spirit works faith in us through the hearing of the Word of God, Jesus Christ, we are transported by that faith from this world of mortal scarcity into that kingdom of eternal abundance. All our asking, receives response… All our seeking, finds… All our knocking, is answered… So it is in the kingdom of God when we enter by faith.

Prayers from one who covets the kingdom of God on his own terms rather than those of the Holy Spirit…

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, give unto me your Holy Spirit that through these, your words, I would receive your one true Word, Jesus Christ. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, use your Holy Spirit to call, gather, enlighten, sanctify, and keep me in the one true faith, that of Jesus Christ my Lord. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, grant that your Holy Spirit so keep me in this faith that all my asking… all my seeking… all my knocking… receive their satisfaction from the new creation present to me in Jesus Christ. In his name I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, by your Holy Spirit’s work, turn me to my neighbors, give me knowledge of their needs, and grant me a Christ-filled usefulness in the satisfaction of those needs. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, give the gifts of your Holy Spirit to me that I may bear its fruit for the preaching of Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone into my neighbors’ ears. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, grant that my neighbor, the Institute of Lutheran Theology, be filled with faculty, staff, and students upon whom the Holy Spirit is working to draw deeper into the faith of Jesus Christ and the love of those who bear the name Christian. In his name, I pray. Amen

Father, as I sit with the scriptures open before me, feed me with this Bread come down from heaven that I may feast well and be satisfied in these the days of my baptism. In his name, I pray. Amen