Psalm 46:10 for Now

Introducing Our Online Liturgies

 

by Pastor Marshall

 

In lieu of our time together due to the stay-at-home orders issued by our government, because of the coronavirus troubles – which have put our worshiping, studying and serving in abeyance – I offer these abbreviated online liturgies. They in no way are equivalents to our normal fare, when we gather in our beautiful church to sing praise to Almighty God around Word and Sacrament. But they still have value. In them I’m taking advantage of our time apart to accentuate Psalm 46:10 about being silent before God. These liturgies have no audio tracks (except for a hymn link here and there) or video streams – which in Mendocino County, California, have been banned (Doug Mainwaring, “California County Bans Singing in Online Worship Services,” LifeSites, online, April 17, 2020). So what we have here are just words. If I were to provide instead a full mock worship service online, that would be inconsistent with our mission statement and the honor it pays to historical liturgies (which require a congregation present). So the liturgies I provide are short, meditative in tone, and solitary. Use them to stand silently before God and his Word – and its elaborations in prayers, hymn texts, art works, and sermons. Luther thought God has his way with us in this silence (Luther’s Works 6:35). Kierkegaard agreed, seeing in this silence God’s Word gaining power over us (For Self-Examination, ed. Hongs, p. 47). He even thought, somewhat humorously, that by blunting our “loquacity” through this silence, God’s ways were protected from any “undietetic uncircumspection” coming from us (The Book on Adler, ed. Hongs, p. 166). Be that as it may, we must never forget, as Kierkegaard elsewhere warned, that Christianity is not primarily for quiet times, but for fighting the good fight of faith “right in the middle of actual life and weekdays” (Journals, ed. Hongs, §2:2132).


 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 27, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

f anyone has fallen away from Christ, the true sacrifice for sins, and seeks another way or method to be saved and enter into heaven, he will never get there. He will

accomplish nothing. For when we are brought to Christ, we should never again let Him out of our sight. For if someone loses Him and starts climbing up to heaven by another way, it is impossible for him to receive forgiveness of sins, because he runs away from the only doctrine that offers us forgiveness of sins…. Without Christ, not even the least sin is forgiven…. So, then, we should remain with the Lord Christ if we have sinned and not turn our back on Him, or else we lose the forgiveness of sins. When I was stuck in my cowl in the monastery, I was so inimical toward Christ that, whenever I saw a picture or likeness of Him as He hung on the cross,… it frightened me, and I looked to the floor and would rather have seen the devil. For my heart had been poisoned through and through…. But picture Christ for yourself as gracious and merciful and as the one who forgives your sins, if you only ask. Likewise, if your brother, too, has fallen and stands up again and seeks grace, then he should have the Lord Christ depicted for him as the one who carries the lost sheep…. For Christ has instituted forgiveness of sins in His Church and established the sort of kingdom that is called “forgiveness of sins.” The Church is the sort of company in which, if a sinner listens and accepts rebuke, then he has the forgiveness of sins, and that forgiveness is good as often as he desires and seeks it.

 

(Martin Luther, Sermon on Matthew 18:21–22 (1537)

Luther’s Works 67:421–22.)




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 27, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity. Grant us the fullness of your grace, that, pursuing what you have promised, we may share your heavenly glory. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

 



First Lesson: Genesis 50:15–21

Psalm 103:1–13

Second Lesson: Romans 14:5–9

Gospel: Matthew 18:21–35 

 

Opening Hymn: “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” (LBW 549)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 27, 2020

Be Merciful

(Matthew 18:33)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Over thirty years ago Bob Dylan sang in one of his songs that we live in a political world “where mercy walks the plank” (Oh, Mercy, 1989). Was he right about that? If he was, then he’s been right ever since the time of Jesus. And that’s because Jesus said in his parable of The Unforgiving Servant in Matthew 18, the same thing. He said that we should be merciful because we aren’t. We’re like the unforgiving servant in his parable. To get us off the dime, Jesus ends his parable by throwing the bad servant into jail until he somehow figures out how to pay back everything he has ever owed anyone – even those who have forgiven his debts. That terrifying outcome is to scare us straight. That’s because as Martin Luther knew, “life is a help only to those who are dead, grace only to sin, the Spirit only to the letter” (Luther’s Works 39:185). We have to be beaten down by God if we’re ever to live anew. And so the Gospel only comes when “consciences have become hot and thirsty because of the Law” (LW 20:299).

     But we’re so calloused. Not even such assaults sway us – “whether He sang sweet or sour, it did not do any good” (LW 20:316). “For human nature is so blind that it does not know its own... diseases, and so proud as to imagine that it knows and can do nothing” (LW 33:121). That’s because, as Luther also knew and preached, “our condition must always be that of the sick man” (LW 77:329). But why? We get off to a bad start and that sets our course on earth. “As soon as a person is born he belongs to the devil and is condemned, no matter what he does” (LW 78:93). Indeed, the longer we live, “the worse it gets” (LW 68:333). So Luther laments – “Oh, the hard and unyielding minds of men!” (LW 60:273). In Luther’s original Latin it’s – “O duras et ferreas mentes hominum!” Do you not hear the word iron in ferreas and in duras there are the words enduring and durable? So we’re stuck, that’s for sure. Duras et ferreas! That’s our plight – we’re unyielding. Since this is the case, “nothing that is in us or can be done by us makes us Christian” (LW 77:189). Shocking, isn’t it? “In matters pertaining to salvation or damnation, a man has no free choice, but is a captive, subject and slave either of the will of God or of the will of Satan” (LW 33:70)!

     Are we then done for? Not if this is true about the God of the Bible: “You do not seek Him; He seeks you. You do not find Him; He finds you” (LW 75:35). And that’s because “Christ died and lived… to be our Lord” (Romans 14:9). He didn’t wait for us to get our act together. Off he trudged to Jerusalem – to die a horrible death on the cross (Luke 9:51, 13:32). On the cross Jesus “is the very true Price which is paid for us.” Jesus is “the Price by which satisfaction is made for divine justice and wrath on our behalf.” Jesus is “the Price of redemption.” That’s because Jesus has taken “the wrath of God upon Himself and has carried it on our behalf” (LW 28:264). So rejoice and be glad in this sacrifice and the redemption it brings, for by this sacrifice “the Lord has compassion on those who fear him” (Psalms 103:13). Indeed, “no one (except this Christ) has ever suffered for… other people’s sins, whether the least or the greatest” (LW 77:159). Our Lord and Savior is unique. Grace and truth are found only in him (John 1:17). And so it is true that “without Christ, not even the least sin is forgiven” (LW 67:421). “Therefore, Christ must be painted before the eyes of the heart so that we look not to ourselves but only to Him who stands in our midst, so that you may be among the disciples who forget their fear and look to Christ alone and hear Him alone speaking” (LW 69:342). And when we do, Christ couldn’t “come any closer” (LW 58:183). Let us then rejoice and be glad. Christ brings his “sweet, living, comforting Word” to us, namely, that he “pleads for us and intercedes for us with His Father through His blood – for us, who with our sins and death had been lying in the real prison of Babylon, that is, under the devil, the ruler of this world (John 16:11)” (LW 20:183). And all of this about Jesus Christ is indeed true, and can be counted on, because it has been “tested in the presence of the Church at the bar of Scripture” (LW 33:91). And this is so even if the world rejects it because it isn’t “what it seeks and likes” (LW 77:357).

     But in our joy over this truth of Christ, we must not forget that the kingdom of Christ “does not consist in talk but in power” to do good works (1 Corinthians 4:20). Otherwise we are deceived (James 1:22, 1 John 3:20). Let us then be very careful here. Rattling off that “we are justified by faith alone without works” is mind numbing. “You have learned the words you have heard, the same way mockingbirds learn to repeat things.” Don’t be like that! Be on your guard and watch out – “Where are the fruits showing that you truly believe?” (LW 58:237). “Works cannot be left out” (LW 67:76)! For “God wants no lazy idlers” (LW 14:115). That’s because “faith without works is nothing and a false faith” (LW 76:390, James 2:26). Therefore we must “spend our lives in good works” (LW 57:37, Matthew 22:37–40). Think about that. And then be warned – “God… does not tolerate the hypocritical Christians who consider it sufficient for them to believe” (LW 30:268). May we then today, take up the good work in Genesis 50:19. There Joseph tells his guilty brothers that God’s mercy is greater than his – “Am I in the place of God?” he firmly admonishes. May we do the same – being “vigilant, penetrating, intent, astute, and determined” (LW 33:114). May we ever remind those who listen to us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us (2 Corinthians 4:7). We are believers not because we are so smart, but because God has made us his own (Philippians 3:12). What we have to say is not our own theory of life, but the words of eternal life from the Bible (John 6:68). Let us therefore walk in humility with Joseph of old. And when we do, may we also be grateful to God for his blessings, by which he is showing us, and helping us all our days on earth, to be merciful. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “Forgive Our Sins as We Forgive” (LBW 307)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIsonhmhMNU  

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Angel Lynn

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Give to Our God immortal Praise” (LBW 520)



 



 

Heather Hudson, September 2020

He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life.

 

(1 John 5:12)

 

It is… a mere dialectical fiction that there is in man a neutral… willing, nor can those who assert it prove it…. The truth of the matter is… as Christ says: “He who is not with me is against me” (Luke 11:23). He does not say: “He who is not with me is not against me either, but neutral.”

 

(Martin Luther, Bondage of the Will (1525)

Luther’s Works 33:115)

 

The sinner comes in two kinds. The sinner who is afflicted and troubled and desires to be free of sin is a son; the sinner who is secure and does not acknowledge his sin but is righteous in his own eyes is an enemy and a devil. The former is lifted up; the latter is accused.

 

(Martin Luther, Annotations on Matthew 9:1–2 (1535)

Luther’s Works 67:61–62)

 





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 20, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

 

 

 

President James K. Polk (1795–1849) statue by Sherri Treeby (2005), Grand Rapids, South Dakota. “Probably no other president presents such a chasm between actual accomplishment and popular recognition…. A geographical amoeba when Polk became president, the United States had assumed its present continental shape by the end of his term…. Historians acknowledge his remarkable achievements, but many also accept the verdict that Polk waged an unjust, imperialistic war against a dysfunctional, defenseless Mexico.” Steve Raymond, “The Sweeping     Influence of an Obscure President,” The Seattle Times,    December 27, 2009.

 

 

There are all kinds of abuse in this    authority…. [The] government [then, is like] spider webs [which] catch little flies all right, but the millstone rolls on through. So the laws… and government of one and the same authority keep a hold on the little men while the big fellows go scot-free.

 

(Luther’s Works 44:93)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 20, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Father in heaven, you know our problems and our weaknesses better than we do. In your love and by your power help us in our confusion and, in spite of ourselves, make us firm in faith. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 



First Lesson: Ezekiel 33:7–9

Psalm 119:33–40

Second Lesson: Romans 13:1–10

Gospel: Matthew 18:15–20

 

 

Opening Hymn: “All Creatures of Our God and King” (LBW 527)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 20, 2020

“Follow the Government”

(Romans 13:1)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     Almost everybody chokes on Romans 13:1 – “Be subject to the governing authorities…. for those that exist have been instituted by God.” That’s because we immediately think of Adolf Hitler (1889–1945) – that butcher of Nazi Germany who killed millions of his own people after torturing them. Doesn’t that prove – against Romans 13:1 – that God doesn’t set up every ruler in power? Surely he didn’t put Hitler in office! Well, if we weren’t schooled in Biblical thought that would be the natural way to think. But in the Bible we find that God puts both good and bad people into power to bless and curse us. God, after all, creates weal and woe, both good and bad come from him (Isaiah 45:7, Job 2:10, Romans 9:18). Think of King Saul in ancient Israel. God fetched that very tall man, hiding in a pile of baggage, to be their first king (1 Samuel 10:22–23). But before you know it, God has sabotaged him – sending an evil spirit to torment him (1 Samuel 16:14). That spirit also drives him to try to kill his successor, David (1 Samuel 19:9). So Martin Luther wasn’t surprised to find that “those least capable of conducting the affairs of state administer them” (Luther’s Works 3:53). They don’t do the four basics: “First, toward God there must be true confidence and earnest prayer; second, toward his subjects there must be love and Christian service; third, with respect to his counselors and officials he must maintain an untrammeled reason and unfettered judgment; fourth, with respect to evildoers he must manifest a restrained severity and firmness” (LW 45:126). This disparity drove Luther to the conclusion that because “there is no greater jewel in the world than a God-fearing lord, so there is no more hurtful plague in the world than a godless lord.” But much to our chagrin, Luther also knew that the vast “majority” of rulers are deeply mired in “tyranny and wickedness.” For they are empty and idle and do nothing to stop their citizenry from seeking only “honor, power, luxury, selfish profit, and self-will.” This rots our common life together. And so “the miserable admixture of the filth of our arrogance... changes... the finest reason into the greatest folly” (LW 13:60, 71, 54, 150). Nevertheless, God wants us to obey these bad leaders – “even when the government commits an injustice” – because it “improves the soul” to suffer in this way (LW 44:92). We can never forget that suffering builds character (Romans 5:4). Suffering in this life in fact leads us to eagerly anticipate a better life to come in heaven (Philippians 3:8, Hebrews 9.28, 11:16).

     But in our democracies we are led to believe that electing a good leader can make all the difference – turning a bad situation into a good one, and maybe even helping us gain everlasting blessedness. But precisely at this point a deep Biblical truth is missed. And once we hear it we know why – “The world is much too evil to be worthy of good and godly lords [Romans 3:23, James 2:10]. It must have [rulers] who suck it dry and burden it with... laws. These and other punishments are its deserved award. To oppose them means to oppose God’s punishment. As humbly as I conduct myself when God imposes a sickness upon me [Psalm 107:17], so humbly should I also conduct myself toward the evil authority that the same God now imposes upon me” (LW 39:19). That doesn’t mean to say that those bad leaders are good and what they do is right. No, Luther thought we should “rebuke” them, we who know better. But along with that protest, we must also “endure” the punishment, all the same, and not try to oust them or flee from them (LW 69:236–37). So we can’t look to secular rulers to keep us safe – they are too unreliable for that, even though the pain they cause can help us in the long run. Besides, they can only change things without improving on them (LW 13:217, 21:95). Besides, they don’t have the words of eternal life (John 6:68). But the church does. Therefore the “office of preaching – where it exists as God ordained it – brings and bestows… eternal peace and life…. Worldly government, on the other hand, preserves peace, justice, and life, which is temporal and transient” (LW 46:237). That preaching gives us “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). So we are to believe in him – Christ Jesus himself, the redeemer, the sacrificial lamb – and trust in him more than in any secular ruler (John 14:1, Acts 5:29). We are to believe in Jesus and be delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred into his kingdom (Colossians 1:13). We are to believe that when Jesus died on the cross for us he bore our sins in his body that we might be healed and kept safe for all eternity (1 Peter 2:24, John 3:36).

    Once we do, we then are to pray for our leaders in government, that they may keep the peace here on earth (1 Timothy 2:2). For Gods people, praying and obeying always matter more than voting and willing and imagining and figuring out a better world. But when we pray for peace, we should never hope for our own welfare. Instead we should care about being able to “discuss the Word, extend the faith [dilatare fidem], and bring up our children… in Christian discipline” (LW 28:259). Here Gods will matters more than ours. Thats what the Lords Prayer teaches us “thy will be done, and not ours (Matthew 6:10). “Our will must be submerged because it is “at war with Gods will (LW 42:45). “Thy will be done” should rule in our hearts even though we hate hearing it. What will turn us around, and makes us give up this hatred, is getting “caught in wretchedness” and feeling the pain of it (LW 57:54). For that helps us fulfill the requirement for praying the Lords Prayer knowing that we are “half-dead men, wounded and not completely sound” (LW 73:414). Otherwise we will remain offended that “Gods will alone be done.” Otherwise “we poor little worms [will continue to] make such a fuss about our will, which is never free of evil and always deserves to be thwarted” (LW 42:45). Once we start praying in this way, we will then have progressed mightily toward our goal of following Romans 13:1 and supporting our secular rulers. Amen.


Hymn of the Day:   “O God of Earth and Altar” (LBW 428)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFG-CqYXyOo

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Marlis Ormiston

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder 

 

Pray for those who have suffered the death of a loved one:  Pray that God will bear their grief and lift their hearts:  Pray for the family and friends of the Bob, Scott, Eric, Tyler Schorn family on the death of Barbara on Sunday, September 13th.

 

                                                                       

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the east coast from the hurricanes and west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 

Birth

Give thanks to God on the birth of Daniel William Liang to Steve and Gina Liang on September 13th at 9:48 am in Seattle. May Daniel grow up to be a healthy and strong young man who believes in and follows the Lord Jesus Christ.



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Lord, Dismiss Us with Your Blessing” (LBW 259)



 



 

 

Everyone has something good about them....

You have to find [that] and love the person for that....

Oh, yeah?  How about Hitler?... Hitler loved dogs. 

[Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle: A Memoir

(New York: Scribner, 2005) p. 144.]

 

Both spirits are God’s, the good and the evil. The evil one God gives to the proud in heart, as it is written of Saul (1 Samuel 16:14) that the evil spirit from the Lord ruled him, namely, the angry, raging spirit, with which they fight for their right and truth, and pursue those who are good, as we read in Romans 11:8 – “God has given them a prickly spirit.” The good Spirit is the Holy Spirit. He creates gentle, kind, and good hearts, which walk the right path, on which they seek God in all things and not themselves.

 

(Martin Luther, Commentary on Psalm 143:10 (1525)

Luther’s Works 14:203)





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 13, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

R. S Thomas (1913–2000), Welsh poet, Anglican priest.

 

The world… remains the world [and the Christian] must deprive himself and live contrary to it, rebuking its worldly desires.

 

(Luther’s Works 75:198.)

 

Do not be conformed to this world.

 

(Romans 12:2)

 

I chose you out of the world.

 

(John 15:19)

 

You [are] aliens and exiles.

 

(1 Peter 2:11)

 

Our commonwealth is in heaven.

 

(Philippians 3:20)

 

Friendship with the world

is enmity with God.

 

(James 4:4)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 13, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

O Lord our God, we thank you for your Son who chose the path of suffering for the sake of the world. Humble us by his example, point us to the path of obedience, and give us strength to follow his commands. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.  

 



First Lesson: Jeremiah 15:15–21

Psalm 26

Second Lesson: Romans 12:1–8

Gospel: Matthew 16:21–26

 

Opening Hymn: “Lord Jesus Christ, Be Present Now” (LBW 253)

 




 



 

Sermon:  September 13, 2020

“Don't Be Worldly”

(Romans 12:2)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     God can love the world (John 3:16) but we can’t (1 John 2:15). Why is that? It’s because by so doing, God manifests his works in the world (John 9:3, Psalm 79:9, Ezekiel 36:22). He doesn’t exalt the world by loving it (John 3:30). Nor does he benefit from the world by loving it (Psalm 50:12). And he doesn’t get mixed up with the world by loving it (Romans 1:25). That’s because, unlike us, God’s life is within himself (John 5:26). He doesn’t need anything from us or from the world (Acts 17:25). Martin Luther believed in this and so he concluded that “God does not owe anyone anything” (Luther’s Works 56:210). He loves the world not because he owes it to us, but in order to manifest his works in it.

     We, on the other hand, come before God with “sheer need” (LW 68:96, Revelation 3:17). We can do nothing without him (John 15:5). Without him we are a “body of death” (Romans 7:24). Therefore “divine grace… cannot help if someone says, “I do not need grace’” (LW 68:216). That’s because we don’t have life within us – we need what’s outside of us to live now (air, water, food, shelter, friends) and for all of eternity (grace). So loving the world would be useless. It’s passing away, after all (1 John 2:17, 1 Peter 1:24, 1 Corinthians 7:31). Entropy is ineluctably unraveling everything (Carl Wieland, World Winding Down, 2012). The world of entropy can’t sustain us. So being worldly is unpromising. Don’t therefore conform to the world (Romans 12:2). Don’t worry about it either. Its ways are not needed to love your neighbor. What you need to love your neighbor is the light of Christ (1 John 2:9–11). Fix your minds on the things that are above – not on the earth and its worldly ways (Colossians 3:2). Christians aren’t supposed to be like everyone else. Because of our faith in Jesus we are “aliens and exiles” here (1 Peter 2:11). Our savior has called us “out of the world” (John 15:19). And we are to rejoice in that because “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4). So Luther says that the Bible calls us to live “contrary to [the world], rebuking its worldly desires.” What this means for us is that we’ll have to live “soberly in a tavern, chastely in a brothel, godly in a theater, righteously in a den of murderers” (LW 78:198). There is a better life in heaven (Hebrews 11:16). Hope for it (LW 8:115). And when you do you will walk “straight through everything on earth” so you’ll have it and not have it, you’ll use it but “not depend on it.” You’ll learn to deal with the temporal in such a way that you “do not lose the eternal” but leave the temporal behind “and always stretch for the eternal as the goal set” before you (LW 77:200). So “renounce this world and await the kingdom of heaven” (LW 59:269).

     But that’ll take a lot of faith to pull off – tantamount to “raising the dead” (LW 73:377). And such a powerful faith comes through the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:5). But they are so volatile. Getting our minds to go in one constant direction is impossible – trapped as we are in the “fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). We “flit from one idea to another” (LW 23:90). At our best we are fickle (LW 15:99). We’re constantly being pulled away by the new (Acts 17:21, LW 15:144). And we’re all troubled by this in one way or another (Nir Eyal, Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life, 2019). Try as we may, however, to order our thoughts, we fail. And so we cry out with Luther – “I’m done for! I’m lost! I’m finished! God doesn’t want me!... He hates me!” (LW 73:142). But the Bible teaches that self-control doesn’t come through personal exertion and extra effort to correct ourselves, but from God’s grace (Galatians 5:23) – continentia as the old Latin Bible translates self-control. But how does God deliver that continentia to us? It’s all tied up with the Savior who suffered for us on the cross. His obedience inspires us (Philippians 2:8). We are to have the control that he had. He was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. In that suffering and dying he bore our sins in his own body and thereby paid for them what we owed to God (1 Peter 2:24, 1:18–19). Gott mit Christum bezahlen – Luther preached! “Pay God with Christ,” is its translation (LW 30:12). Because of this payment, Christ shouts out to us – “I’m death’s death, hell’s hell, and the devil’s devil…. Do not be afraid, My son, I have conquered” for you (LW 73:122).

     But for us to share in this victory – in the “steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5), we’ll have to die with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). We’ll have to join in with his sufferings (1 Peter 4:13). “We die to sin through Christ, who was made a sacrifice for sin and thereby killed sin so that it is no longer able to rule in us (LW 73:94). This is how we finally acquire self-control (2 Corinthians 5:14). It is “produced” through suffering (Romans 5:3–5) – or operatur in the Latin Bible again. You can hear the English word operation in that Latin word for production. Suffering starts the operation going that brings about self-control. Nothing else can awaken us from our waywardness – being “always sleeping” as we are (LW 73:223). Faith “requires trouble and toil in order that we may come through and be saved,” that we may pass through the blazing fire (LW 30:130). And so our self-control cannot be of our own making. It is a gift – that comes only through suffering. No one, after all, gets into the kingdom of God except through many tribulations (Acts 14:22). Luther believed in this verse so much that he ended his famous Ninety-Five Theses (1517) with it (LW 31:33). And may we do the same by the grace of God. For it is the suffering of the gospel that changes us for the better – that “makes a robber a pedagogue,” a “wolf... a sheep,” a sinner a believer (LW 73:135, 37:101, 12:388). Then we simply “depend on the Word” and give up disputing whether God is telling us the truth in it (LW 67:353). For there is no help from God for us until “all things seem hopeless” (LW 7:100). We have to despair in ourselves before we can trust in God (LW 25:386, 26:315, 33:62, 40:241, 51:58).

     With that transformation once begun in us, we then have the power to go the narrow, difficult, hard way [arta via] (Matthew 7:14, LW 20:272). We then have the strength to finally join the true church – the one that “in this life is called militant, not triumphant” (LW 73:168). Then we discover why this is so tough, and that’s because “the Christian is free by faith, but as far as the flesh is concerned, he is a slave of sin. Yet these things, though contraries, are nevertheless reconciled in the Christian because the same Christian is saint and sinner, dead and alive, all sin and no sin; hell and heaven are correlatives” (LW 73:185). Then, and only then, have we started giving up on being worldly. Amen.  


Hymn of the Day:   “Come Follow Me, the Savior Spake” (LBW 455)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gF3kZG-VajY

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Pete Morrison

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

  

 

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Hillary Thoren

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering on the west coast from the terrible fires.

 

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn: “Praise and Thanks and Adoration” (LBW 470)



 



 

 

[The ungodly] do not recognize the plainest testimonies of Scriptures. This is the fault not of the [Biblical] prophecy but of their blindness and ungodliness. As it is not the fault of the book and the letters that a peasant cannot read, but the peasant’s, so it is not the fault of the Bible, which is very clear so that even boys understand it, but it is the fault of the ideas and darkness of the [ungodly].

 

(Martin Luther, Lectures on Isaiah 29 (1532)

Luther’s Works 16:243.)





 




Online Sunday Liturgy

September 6, 2020



 


Bulletin Cover

 

 

Saint Peter's Confession of Faith

The words are clear: “I will build My Church” [Matthew 16:18]. Christ does not say that He is going to build a kingdom of the world or a temporal empire involving the present life, but “My Church,” that is, the kingdom of heaven and of the life to come.... Christ is speaking of something far different from... temporal power, wealth [and] pride.... Next, He says “upon this rock,” that is, not upon a human being or a power that will perish…. Moreover, the Church is in no way a temporal kingdom, and so it does not contend with flesh and blood but with the gates of hell. And the gates of hell are not powers of the world [stones and timbers, earth, water, gold and silver] but the power of Satan, the kingdom of sin and death. These are the Church’s enemies; with them she fights; against them she is victorious…. To the Church He gives a good that is far better and more excellent than these pieces of dung…. [Therefore the Church] is the front line of an army, a warrior heroine, arrayed against the very gates of hell, that is, against the trials of sin, death, and hell. Therefore, we Christians are responsible, if we bear that name in earnest, for an endeavor far greater and more difficult than bringing the kingdoms of the world under our rule by deception and lies.

 (Luther’s Works 67:282–83.)

 




Online Abbreviated Sunday Liturgy

Pastor Marshall

September 6, 2020

 

In the Name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Let us pray:

Almighty God, you reach out to call people of all nations to your kingdom. As you gather disciples from near and far, count us among those who boldly confess Christ. In his name we pray.  Amen.

 



 

First Lesson: Exodus 6:2–8

Psalm 138

Second Lesson: Romans 11:33–36

Gospel: Matthew 16:13–20

 

Opening Hymn:  “Guide Me Ever, Great Redeemer” (LBW 343)




 



 

Sermon:  September 6, 2020

“Build on a Rock”

(Matthew 16:18)

Grace and peace to you in the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.     

     The church looks like a regular place. It has buildings. It has people running it. It has schedules. There are bills to pay. It recruits people to sign up for activities and join the membership rolls. It invests money and provides services. But the church isn’t really what it looks like – it isn’t another human organization. No, it’s the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:23). And that’s because it is built on a confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:15–20). In the face of that confession, all of those schedules, services and people fall by the wayside. Oh, they’re still there, but theyre no longer the focus. We care about other things. Martin Luther deeply believed this about the church. He was convinced that the gospel of Jesus wasn’t “preached to us for the sake of this worldly existence and life, but so… we might be helped to eternal life” (Luther’s Works 57:25). “We have not been baptized for this life, but that we should wait for another life” (LW 57:29). And Luther also knew that the church was rarely what it should be. Therefore he lamented that there is almost nothing more unlike the church than the church itself (LW 27:297). Indeed, the church is not the Church, and what is not the church is the Church” (LW 67:211). Would that more Christians today regularly used these two lines to guide them back to the truth about the church. We, after all, are living in a time when we want to curate our own funeral [because we want to do the same for] our own Facebook page (Tara Isabella Burton, Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World, 2020, p. 24).

     But, alas, Luther goes begging. We instead keep longing for that misguided church – made by people, run by people, and for people in the here and now (Philip Terzian, “The Church of What’s Happening Now, The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 1997). We like our false church (Gibson Winter, The Suburban Captivity of the Churches: An Analysis of Protestant Responsibility in the Expanding Metropolis, 1961). This places us firmly in “the prison and power of the devil.” And we’re stuck there. We cannot “work our way out…. We [are] lost with all of our power and strength, merit and works, unable with all of our doings to escape sin and death.” And we can never sufficiently grasp this because “the prison and chains of darkness in which the devil holds us prisoner on account of sin are too thick” (LW 57:284). Therefore we need some divine bolt cutters to sever those chains. We need deliverance (Romans 7:24).

     In one of his recently translated sermons from 1537, Martin Luther spells out this rescue in some detail. Jesus is the one who delivers us – pouring out his blood “at the cross for our redemption.” Why is such a ghastly sort of rescue needed? Well, “there was an unchangeable, eternal, irrevocable judgment on sin.” Because of that, “God cannot and will not look kindly on sin, but His wrath remains over sin eternally and irrevocably.” This sets up the need for the deliverance Christ provides for us sinners on the cross with his sacrifice. This is the reason that “a payment must take place which would make restitution, and pay, and thus take away and cancel sin.” One might wish that this payment could be picked up anywhere, and by anyone, and so have God “reconciled with us” in various ways, in different cultures. But this is not so. Our redemption isn’t that readily available. For you see that “no creature could do such a thing, and to this day there has been no other remedy nor help than this, that God’s eternal Son thus stepped into our need and misery,... took such dread, eternal wrath on Himself, and for it He offered His own body, life, and blood as an offering and payment for sin.” But how does this sacrifice rescue us? Christ’s death takes God’s wrath away from us by bearing “the judgment of eternal wrath and death,” and so making satisfaction and payment for us. What should have hit us sinners, hits the innocent Jesus instead, and so God’s wrath lands on him and not on us. It passes us by. That’s how we are delivered from God’s wrath. The reason this death works, like no other can, is because Jesus, with God the Father, is “one divinity and majesty.” That’s what gives the suffering and death of Jesus so much value. But there’s one last hitch. None of what Christ has done for us on the cross helps unless we believe that it works and that it is true. And so we must also hold to this message of deliverance “with firm faith” if we are to be saved by it (LW 57:283). That’s because faith is what makes redemption beneficial for us (Romans 3:25). Indeed, salvation lies “in a heap,” unused and ineffective, if it isn’t believed in, if it isn’t “distributed or applied” by way of faith (LW 77:327, 30:159).

     So let us build the church on God’s word and on his Son – knowing that we are to go to church “to hear God’s Word, to learn to believe aright, to pray and to call upon God” (LW 58:271). Let us not worry that when judged “by external appearances,” we’ll see “nothing splendid about [this] church.” Let us not worry that our church isn’t one that flourishes in the here and now, relevant and hip with the times. And let us not forget that “even the poorest village in which there is a pastor and some believers,” there can still be a stunning church – a veritable “palace of ivory.” What makes the church so glorious is the fact that “the Word is there, Baptism, the Eucharist, divine governance, the consolation of consciences, the fear of God, trust in God, waiting upon God, [and] the imitation of Christ….. Though this kingdom is nothing in appearance, it is nevertheless most delightful in God’s eyes” (LW 12:255). And that’s all that matters. In all of this the focus will be on “the words of eternal life” – because Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (John 6:68, 18:36). His church, then, should take believers “into a different, new existence and life, in which there is no longer any need for food and drink, clothing and shoes, money and goods, sleep, work, marriage, and things like that, which belong to this life” (LW 58:136). And Luther thought that the focus of those eternal words drives us to “neither fear death nor love this life” (LW 44:85). May we then build up the church with this double focus in mind – knowing that just as Christ rescues sinners from divine wrath, so he “must always rescue and help the Church when it is in... danger and distress” (LW 58:418). And when we do this, may we ever rejoice that the foundation of the church – upon which we build it – is Jesus Christ, the Rock. Amen.

 


Hymn of the Day:   “Built on a Rock” (LBW 365)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hWzAlOkzfs

 

Prayers 


 


Litany on the

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

 

 

Let us pray for all those worldwide who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us give thanks for the government agencies and other medical research teams who are diligently working to curb the spread of this virus. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are sick and suffering from this disease. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

And let us also pray for all those grieving the loss of loved ones who have died from COVID-19. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for the many who are caring for the infected and the sick, that full health and strength and peace may be granted. Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Let us pray for our world where we’re but sojourners (Psalm 119:19; Philippians 3:20), that we may not be punished by disease and pestilence (Ezekiel 14:21, Luke 13:5, John 5:14), and that health and peace may abound for all – for it is Christ who takes upon himself “our infirmities and diseases” (Matthew 8:17). Lord in your mercy,

 

HEAR OUR PRAYER.

 

Finally, in our fear of disease and sickness – may we ever remember God’s power to heal (Jeremiah 17:14, James 5:14), those many kept safe from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, and our Savior Jesus who, by his mercy and in his time, rekindles our faith by restoring health in this vulnerable and perilous life (2 Kings 5:14, Acts 3:6).

 

GLORY BE TO CHRIST OUR LORD & GREAT HEALER! AMEN.



 


LUTHER on epidemics

 

“Some people are of the firm opinion that one… should not run away from a deadly plague. Rather, since death is God’s punishment, which he sends upon us for our sins, we must submit to God…. I cannot censure [this] excellent decision…. It takes more than a milk faith [1 Corinthians 3:2] to await a death before which most of the saints… are in dread…. [But since] it is generally true of Christians that few are strong and many are weak, one simply cannot place the same burden upon everyone…. Peter could walk upon the water because he was strong in faith. When he began to doubt,… he sank and almost drowned [Matthew 14:30]…. Let him who has a strong faith wait for his death, but he should not condemn those who take flight…. [Even so, know that] all illnesses are punishments from God…. [These punishments] come upon us, not only to chastise us for our sins but also to test our faith and love…. [So] my dear friends,… use medicines… which can help you; fumigate house, yard, and street; shun persons and places wherever your neighbor… has recovered, and act like a man who wants to help put out the burning city. What else is the epidemic but a fire?... You ought to think this way: ‘Very well, by God’s decree the enemy has sent us poison…. Therefore I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall… administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance infect and pollute others, and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me, however, I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely…. This is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.’”

 

[Martin Luther, Whether One May Flee from a Deadly

Plague (1527), Luther’s Works 43:120, 124, 127, 131–32.]



 


 

Intercessions:

 

We remember in prayer church members.

Eileen & Dave Nestoss

Connor Bisticas

Pete Morrison

Kyra Stromberg

Bob & Barb Schorn

Sam & Nancy Lawson

Joan Olson

Melissa Baker

Melanie Johnson

Dorothy Ryder

  

 

We also pray for friends of the parish

who stand in need of God’s care.

Tabitha Anderson

Marie Magenta

The Rev. Howard Fosser

The Rev. Dan Peterson

The Rev. Kari Reiten

The Rev. Rick Reynolds

The Rev. Alan Gardner

The Rev. Dave Monson

The Rev. Albin Fogelquist

Terry Fretheim

Heather Tutuska

Sheila Feichtner

Yuriko Nishimura

Leslie Hicks

Eric Baxter

Mary Lou & Paul Jensen

Hillary Thoren

Maggie & Glenn Willis

Evelyn, Emily & Gordon Wilhelm

Karen Berg

Bjørg Hestevold

Garrett Metzler

Lesa Christensen

Noel Curtis

Antonio Ortez

Garrison Radcliffe

Marv Morris 

Randy Vater

Doreen Phillips

Deanne Heflin

Will Forrester

Richard Patishnock

Jeff Hancock

Randy Lonborg

Yao Chu Chang

Holly Finan

Wayne & Chris Korsmo

 

Pray for the United States during this presidential election year, and for unbelievers, the addicted, the sexually abused and harassed, the homeless, the hungry and the unemployed. Prayers for those suffering in the southeast from the hurricane.

 

Deaths

John Paulson

                                                                       

 

Professional Health Care Providers

Gina Allen

Jane Collins

Janine Douglass

David Juhl

Dana Kahn

Dean Riskedahl

 



 


 

Holy Communion in Spirit and Truth

Without the Consecrated Bread and Wine

 

[The ancient church doctrine of concomitantia teaches that the faithful can receive Christ’s Presence in Holy Communion by drinking the wine without eating any bread, or by eating the bread without drinking any wine (The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F. L. Cross, 1958, 1966, pp. 320–21). By extension, in extreme cases, the faithful can also, then, receive Christ’s Presence without eating the bread or drinking the wine. Those would be cases of illness when nothing can be ingested through the mouth, or when lost in the wilderness – living off nothing but wild animals and berries. In those cases we keep the memory of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:24) – honoring our Savior “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). So pray the words below, all you baptized, who love the Lord Jesus, and “hunger and thirst for righteous,” that you may be satisfied (Matthew 5:6). This is not a substitute for Holy Communion, but rather a devout practice when receiving Holy Communion in times of pestilence and plague would recklessly endanger the church (Luther’s Works 43:132–33).]

 

Let us pray: O Lord, our God, we remember this day our savior Jesus, who “was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Romans 4:24). May his Spirit “bring to remembrance” all that he did for us, and continues to do, to bless us (John 14:26). Fill us with the assurance that our sins are truly forgiven for his sake, and that the promise of eternal life will not be taken away. Amen.

 

Let us pray: On this day, heavenly Father, we also pray in the name of Jesus, that one day soon we will be able to gather together at the Altar of our church, and so eat of the flesh of our Lord and drink of his blood, that his very life may well up in us so that we may abide in him forever (John 6:53–56). Amen.



 


The Lord’s Prayer

 

Benediction: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace. In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Closing Hymn:    “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” (LBW 294)



 



 

 

Library of Congress flag collection. Two confederate soldiers

holding a Rebel battle flag at a Confederate reunion in 1917.

 

First, I have to make a confession. I own a Confederate flag, more accurately known as the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia.

    In my defense, I was ten years old when I received it. My older brother saw it in a store and said I needed it because it was part of my Southern heritage.

     I didn’t know much about my Confederate [forbears], although I was fascinated by the Civil War. Ironically, my sympathies were always more with the Yankees than the Rebels. I even asked for and received a blue Union uniform for Christmas when I was six years old. Still, I have kept the Rebel battle flag all these years. It’s currently propped against a tall stack of Civil War books in my library.

    But now that the Rebel flag has become a hot-button issue and Southern states are being hammered about getting rid of this symbol of the Confederacy, I’m far more ambivalent about it.

     Are the stars and bars nothing more than an alternate symbol of the swastika? Are they symbols of slavery and racism? To some, yes. To the white supremacist who shot and killed the members of a Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the flag is a rallying standard for hate. For the African-American, it may well be what the swastika is to the Jew – a symbol of oppression and genocide and brutality.

     But there is another view. A view that makes me reluctant to burn my childhood battle flag or throw it in the trash. It symbolizes the schizophrenic inner conflict and the inner demons of our nation, and also the noblest, if misguided, aspiration for autonomy and sovereignty.

     This is a conflict still not resolved.

     The Black Lives Matter movement reminds us that there is still the feeling in the Black community that Black lives are regarded in our culture as subhuman, dispensable, and marginal.

      And on the other hand, there are still those who argue that the Federal government overreaches its constitutional limits, and exceeds the rights that are reserved to the sovereign states.

      And then there are those who have a stake in the south – who have ancestors who fought, bled, and died for the Confederacy, who have lived with the echoes of musket fire and the smell of cannon smoke. For them, there is a sense that this Rebel flag is more than a symbol of racism – although it is that. For them, it is a symbol of valor and idealism – albeit misplaced and in the end defeated.

      So for some of us, the Rebel flag creates a sense of ambivalence. Perhaps not unlike the brazen serpent that God told Moses to make in the wilderness of Sinai [Numbers 21:4–9]. The serpents had come among the Israelites and bitten them; and Moses told the Israelites to look at the brazen serpent and live.

      But some 500 years later, the brazen serpent had become an object of worship, an idol. As part of his reforms, King Hezekiah took the dramatic step of destroying this relic from the past [2 Kings 18:1–4].

      This might be an argument on behalf of destroying the flags and removing them from public places in county seats and capitals.

      Still, I haven’t destroyed my flag. I haven’t thrown it away. Not yet, anyway. It sits in the corner with my collection of facsimile minié balls and shelves of Civil War books.

      The Rebel flag reminds me that even good, valorous, well-intentioned people can be absolutely wrong in their priorities and choices. And this might be an argument for allowing the flag to be displayed in museums, Confederate monuments, and Confederate cemeteries.

      All of this debate provides a helpful dose of humility when I become too certain of my options and my ideologies.

      Let us pray: Our Lord, give me a sense of clear discernment so that cultural symbols and historical artifacts don’t become idols to me. Help me to focus my ultimate loyalties and allegiances only on you and your Kingdom. Amen.

 

(The Rev. Tom Letchworth, War Ain’t No Picnic:

30 Civil War Stories & Devotions, 2017, pp. 66–69.)

 


 

 

I am aware that some churches do not accept Martin Luther’s concept of the simul iustus et peccator [Luther’s Works 26:232, 73:185] – the belief that a Christian after baptism is still a sinner. Try as I might, I am not able to grasp the objection that some Romans Catholic theologians have raised against the treatment of the simul in the “Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification,” signed [in 1999] by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. If a Christian is not still a sinner after baptism, what is the point of confession, in which he or she asks God for forgiveness and absolution? It seems that the objection is a mere quibbling with words.

 

(Carl E. Braaten, My Ecumenical Journey, 2018, p. 76n29.)