Thursday August 18


2 Samuel 7:26, “And Your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The LORD of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before You.”

The Lord breathed into David the promise of a house, a house that would endure forever; and David exhaled a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. Thus David teaches us that true prayer and adoration of God are given their life by the living Word of God. Without the Word spoken to David, David would have nothing to speak to God. But with the Word of the Lord filling the lungs of faith, David’s mouth must be opened to declare His praise. For if fruit is absent, is the tree living? If inhaling and exhaling are absent, is the body alive? If prayer and thanksgiving were absent, would faith be living?

God formed adam from the clay and breathed into him … a living being! And He forms us, once dead, into lively people, born of the Holy Spirit. He breathes into us the Word, the forgiveness of sin and the reconciliation of God to man, the Scriptures breathed out by God to make us wise unto salvation in Christ Jesus. And thus “divinely inspired”, we breathe out not threats and hatred generated by the wrong spirits. No, we are filled with the Spirit, that is, having life empowered by the Holy Spirit in the way of life, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:19-21). The Lord breathes into our lungs of faith the word of life, and faith exhales prayer and praise and thanksgiving. The divine respiratory “system” of the Holy Spirit.

So take care of your breathing, what you inhale. What pollutants, particulates, air-borne diseases, etc. could easily be inhaled if we were not attentive to filter out what is dangerous. For if we were to breathe in all manner of dust and dirt, we would gasp and wheeze … hoping to catch our breath after the slightest exertion. And in the end, inhaling sufficient quantity of toxins and not caring about the sensitivity of our lungs of faith, would we not choke and finally asphyxiate ourselves?

Make sure then you are breathing the crisp, refreshing air of the Gospel, breathing deeply the promises of God as David did. Exercise your lungs faith by breathing in the Word, drawing every breath from the pure air of God’s love and faithfulness and forgiveness. Breathe in and be rejuvenated by the freshness of Romans 6 and 8 and Titus 3; select hymns from the Baptism and Justification and Praise and Adoration section of Lutheran Service Book in order to train your lungs in exhaling songs of praise and thanksgiving.

For we are recreated in the image of our Lord. He who was conceived by the Holy Spirit always sought to inhale the Father’s word: “Did you not know that I must be in My Father's house?” (Luke 2:49). When tempted to breathe in lies and deceit, He had His lungs filled already with the inspired Word of the Father: “It is written …” (Matthew 4:1-10). And in His  deepest woe, when crucifixion was rendering any breath nearly impossible, He continued to exhale words of trust: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) and “Father into Your hands I commit My spirit” (Luke 23:46). Read and meditate on Psalms 22-24, 69, and 88; inhale His Passion for you, and exhale in praise of the Father’s mercy and forgiveness, a song of joyful salvation. Even now we join the host of Heaven: ““To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13) And we with confidence, even as David came and sat before the LORD, approach His throne of grace with every petition and supplication and intercession with thanksgiving (Hebrews 4:16; Philippians 4:6).

If we were to inhale the gossip and fear and cheating and rumors and false beliefs circulating today, how could we exhale in prayer and praise and thanksgiving? But when we inhale the words of God, then we will breathe out the mercies and faithfulness of God in praise and adoration.

Father, on the Day of Pentecost You poured Your Holy Spirit on the Church; we praise you for the gracious assurance that He shall remain with Your people always. Your kingdom is without end! Without His mighty working we can do nothing that is pleasing to You; and we know not what to pray for as we ought, unless He help us in our infirmities and intercedes for us; indeed not one of us can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the power of Your Spirit. And so we implore You: Grant to us His inspiration so that we may think those things that are good and pleasing to Your and beneficial to our neighbors, and so that we open our mouths in praise and adoration of Your holy Name. In the name of Jesus.

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Wednesday August 17


2 Samuel 7:12-13, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My Name, and I will establish the throne of His kingdom forever.”

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). Thus David learned and so David teaches us.


The desire of David’s heart, initially confirmed by the prophet Nathan, seemed good, very good. David a king resides in a house of cedar, but the King of Heaven and earth has His earthly throne in a tent. Yet what could a servant do for his Master … except obey? What could a recipient of grace and mercy provide to the Giver of every good gift … could he offer something that the Giver does not already possess? With what can a king on earth enrich the King of all the earth? And above all, what word of command had the King given to His servant to build an earthly structure?


What then should David do? Continue receiving from the Lord. As the Lord formed a prince from a shepherd, so He will build an abiding house from the youngest son (1 Samuel 16:6-13). Let God’s glory be known in that He raised up the lowly and the weak … and not that His residence on earth must compete with how the kings of earth invest gold and silver in temples for mute and deaf and impotent gods. For any king can plunder the earth and work metals and wood and stone into forms appealing to the eye. This God, who had chosen David, hears from His eternal abode; He does not need a temple built by human hands to be near. What nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him? We have not built Him; He has built us (Genesis 2:7; Psalm 139:13-15).


So the Lord built a house for David; the first story being the next king from David’s body, Solomon. And as the Lord stated, Solomon was chastised for his waywardness; but the Lord’s commitment and loyalty would not waver, and the throne of David, as established by the Lord, would endure forever.


Matthew, therefore, is keen to trace the genealogy of great David to his greater Son, Jesus (Matthew 1:2-17). For in Christ Jesus the throne has been established forever. A house with a foundation tested in every way and with every temptation and with death and the condemnation of man’s desire to build his own houses—for since Jesus died … who ever thought that He would see descendants (have a house) and has been raised, death cannot end His reign; and as the faithful Son, being chastised not for His own sin but for ours, He has received the Name above every name accompanied by all authority in heaven and earth (Philippians 2:9-11; Matthew 28:18-20). The Father built the house for His Son, whom did not labor in vain. And now the Son builds the Father’s house, by adding to the household, expanding the reign. For with His authority He sends His ambassadors to baptize and teach, to make citizens of Heaven of every nation and people and language. Thus the Church prays: Thy kingdom come.


The House is being built … not with paraments and new construction and renovation and maintenance and meetings (as necessary as they are for order among the people of God and for our mutual service by which we praise the One who builds us) … but with the promise of God. His word, applied to flesh and blood of people washed and sanctified and justified in Christ Jesus, gathers us into the House, over which His Son sits (Hebrews 3:6) and to whom the Son distributes the forgiveness and the fellowship and the hope, the riches of His eternal dwellings (Isaiah 53:12). When the Lord builds His House, those who oppose it … death and demons and our sinful desires … labor in vain.


If the Christian does not grasp that he is not the one building the house or that the house building is about temporary things, then how can he comprehend how God builds using people as living stones and calls him to stewardship for and in the greater eternal House?


What then shall we do? Continue receiving life and wisdom, forgiveness and strength from the Lord. Then our labor is not in vain, because we are in Christ Jesus. We are His house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Hebrews 3:6).

O Lord, by the preaching and teaching of the Gospel extend Your kingdom, turning all who hear to genuine faith in You. Send into Your harvest fervent and zealous workers, and may our hearts and hands joyfully support Your kingdom. Build up this congregation, directing her work, and leading her officers, instructing her teachers, and blessing her families. By Your Word shape us as living stones, so that for the honor of Your Name, the temple in which You dwell, the Church, is built into the fullness of Your Son. In the name of Jesus.

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Tuesday August 16


2 Samuel 6:21, “David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the LORD—and I will celebrate before the LORD.”

Uzzah, with no word from God to assume a physical custodial management of His throne - for who may assume to touch the throne of God?! - gained no blessing by his sincerity but by his presumption he had his life taken away.Obed-Edom revealed himself a faithful priest. His Levitical household … in a city set aside for the right teaching of the LORD’s word … by faith faith his household prospered.


The contrast of faith take note of. God disciplines the irreverent, and He blesses the humble according to His faithfulness. Do not begin to reach out in order to grab but extend the open hands of a beggar, ready to receive from Our Father‘s throne of grace.


This contrast the faith is again demonstrated with David and Michal. David, the king according to the LORD’s will, brings up the Ark for he was the LORD’s anointed; he proclaims the Presence and power of God for salvation. He foreshows the greater glory of Jesus, who though King of all, humbled Himself in the procession from manger through temptation and mockery to death on a cross. David in faith honored God by adorning himself in priestly / prophetic garments … not in order to usurp any office (unlike Saul had willfully done) but in order to lead the people in praise and thanksgiving. David laid aside his royal garments that the glory of the LORD might be seen. Thus we offer our prayers and song as the kingdom of priests, holy to the Lord and joining in the hymns of heaven.


Michal did not perceive by faith David's praise and thus could not grasp how the LORD was praised. She saw the vulgarity; what she named common: a king no longer appearing so royal and embarrassing himself before the people. Michal could only grasp how this might have had an impact upon her ... her husband displaying himself in a crude manner. Could it be that this would affect her? She thought that this was shameful in the eyes of man. Yet … what is abased in the eyes of man is glorified before the LORD. And by faith David was in the presence of the LORD. What man deems worthy does not bring shame or dishonor, for our Lord has stated: “Blessed are those mocked for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10,11). Though Michal wished to embarrass David, he was exalted before the LORD and the LORD was extolled. Those who are proud in their own eyes will fall and those who humble themselves before the Lord will be exalted (Matthew 5:12).


Jesus, as king David had foreshowed, would humble Himself before His Father, making of Himself no account before people. And the Father exalted Him. Jesus made Himself contemptible that the Father would be honored. Do not begin to fear man says; his words pass away. And if we appear foolish, it is only in the eyes of man. What can man’s word to do?


You belong to our God. That is what God’s word of Holy Baptism declares. You have the inheritance, the good portion that cannot be taken away. Praise Him in the gathering of the saints.


Disbelief received nothing. Michal for her sarcasm estranged herself from the king. The house of Saul … like father, like daughter … would not produce anything. She deprived herself of her calling: a wife to be a mother.


Do not despise the praise and song of others … to call down fire on those following the Lord. Recognize the fruit of faith and be glad that they have prayed: “O Lord, open my lips” and He has. Their mouths show forth His praise. God inhabits the praises of His people. He does not need them, as a needy deity longing for hymns to feed His ego. We “enthrone” Him by confessing Him as the King as we sing by faith. Our praise and gathering summon each other: “Let us go to hear the word of the Lord and to receive His gifts.” Our praise summons the nations: “Come with us. This God has saved us and He desires that you also know Him and His gifts.”


“Make a joyful noise to the Lord all the earth; break forth in joyous song and sing praises” Psalm 98:4

O Father, let the brightness of the Holy Spirit shine in our hearts, and increase in us the knowledge of Your glory, that we may never depart from the true and saving faith, but rejoice always in the redemption purchased by the blood of Christ. Uphold us in temptation, and fill our hearts with holy thoughts and desires, that we may worship You with fervent prayer and walk before You in all holy obedience and devotion; in the name of Jesus. Amen

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Monday August 15, St. Mary, Mother of our Lord


The Old Testament Reading for this day is Isaiah 61:7-11.
Isaiah 61:11, “For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations.”

Where God sows His word, there comes forth His will. In the barren ground of an unproductive earth He sowed His word … let there be … and there came forth all manner of life. And it was good. Thanks be to God for His kindness.


And into the pristine ground of the virgin Mary He sowed His word and the Holy Spirit brought forth the Righteous One and His Praise, that all nations might eat the fruit of His garden. And it was very good. Honor and glory and majesty are His along, for salvation is from Him alone.


Mary would have remained barren unless the Lord had chosen her and spoken to her; the word and the word alone filled Mary’s ear and her womb. And the first fruit evident … along with the conception of the Holy One, the Son of God … was the praise from her lips: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Mary teaches us how Christians hear the Word; for she hears the word and gladly submits to it; and then she treasures the words in her heart, meditating upon it day and night (Luke 2:19,51; Psalm 1:2). For the word is her joy—and how much more is her joy when she believes that the Word, Jesus, is God’s righteousness and praise.


By the power of the Lord’s word we eat the produce from the earth; and in the power of the Christ’s death, the seed that that was buried in the ground (John 12:24), and resurrection, the first fruits of God’s glorious harvest (1 Corinthians 15:20,23), we partake of the life of our Father, given to us by the Lord and Giver of Life, the Holy Spirit, with every absolution watering us and every communion nurturing us. “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).


We—for we speak not only as an individual but also as the body of believers; we are sheep but sheep in a congregation—are the Lord’s vineyard. He planted in us His word; and the once desolate land sprouts forth with His fruit (Galatians 5:22,23). Without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5); and in Him our labor is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58). Thus we ask the Father to tend to us, that every weed be uprooted and every root be well-watered and every bird chased away; the Owner of the garden visits His vineyard day by day to nurture and to prune, seeking a harvest of righteousness and praise.

Almighty God, You chose the Virgin Mary to be mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom, through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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I stated in today’s sermon that “the week prior to the congregation planning session is essential … not chiefly for copying papers or finalizing the agenda … all which will contribute to a well-organized gathering but for this reason: that you devote yourselves to the daily readings and prayer … asking God to grant to us His Holy Spirit and the wisdom of the Scriptures and the joy of service and the hope of the future.” To that end I will send a prayer and daily devotion based on the Daily Readings (in the bulletin, from Lutheran Service Book), though for today, the devotion is based on the Sunday Gospel, Luke 16:1-13.


Sunday August 14
 

The Sunday Bible has been reading Jonah, but today (August 14) we examined and discussed the difficult parable, Luke 16:1-13; because the parable and its context (Luke 15-16) speak to a congregation planning session, I will refer to it next Sunday at the session. In the meantime, here is a revised portion of a sermon from several years ago, demonstrating how the parable and the following teaching were proclaimed then.

You cannot serve both God and mammon. They are diametrically opposed … earthly fading possessions and the eternal God.


One commands you to walk by sight … and God calls you to walk by faith. One can feed pride … but God upholds the humble.. One summons forth a lust for the things that are seen and temporal … while God lifts up our eyes to look ahead for the things that are unseen and eternal. One is bound to return to the dust … yet God desires to receive us in Heaven. One enlarges your desires … but God knowing the daily bread we need brings contentment with such things as we have. One urges us to withhold … on the other hand God moves us to be ready to distribute. One can hypnotize us to gaze at only one’s own things … God teaches us to protect the goods of others. One believes that happiness is in the created … God is our joy. You cannot serve two masters … the riches to whom we would be enslaved and the Creator and Owner who enriches us. For there was a rich man who had a manager; and the report was brought to him that this man used all of his possessions faithfully. The manager had wisely fed all of the people on time … cared for their needs … and taught them of the rich man’s generosity, mercy, and kindness. Summoning the debtors, He also forgave all of their debt, releasing the people with His own riches … even to the point of giving all He had … even His own life. The rich man said, “I want all people to hear about His stewardship”. So He called Him from the grave, and gave Him all authority in heaven and earth to distribute all the riches of His household. The Father commended His Son for His faithfulness and says: “Distribute My riches to people so that we may welcome them into Our eternal dwellings.” Your future is in Jesus Christ the faithful manager of God’s riches. For He forgives your debt in the absolution. And He with His body and blood gives to you a foretaste of the eternal banquet. This is the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich yet for your sake He assumed your debts so that you … by His payment … will be welcomed home.

O Father in Heaven, help us so that by our lives and good works others may be prompted not to exalt us but to praise You and to honor Your name and to recognize Your goodness. Protect Your people so that no one may be injured by our evil works or offended by our shortcomings, calling You an agent of hurt and distress. Discipline us so that we may not act foolishly toward fellow members of the Body, and instruct us in the way of wisdom that strengthens the bond of love and peace. Keep us from desiring anything temporal or eternal that does not praise and honor Your name; if we should ask You for any such things, we pray that You would not hear our imprudence. Help us so to live that we may be found true children of God, and that Your fatherly name may not be used falsely or in vain because of us. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

The book that I identified in the Bible study is two books in a single volume: Poet & Peasant and Through Peasant Eyes by Kenneth Bailey.


 

For Trinity 9 | August 14, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 9, 2 Samuel 22:26-34


Read carefully … even aloud … what I have written.

There is no self-righteousness in a sergeant sent on an expedition, and upon completion of the tour reporting to the general: “I obeyed your instructions in every particular; I never deviated from the course you prescribed.” He has described himself as a servant, performing his duty.
For this is the other side of 1 Corinthians 10:1-13. God is faithful; thus, call upon the name of the Lord and you will see that He is merciful and abounding in steadfast love. He keeps His word. He reveals Himself as loyal and true. His Son is named Immanuel “God with us” for He never forsakes His people. God is always who He is; we do not and cannot change Him by being different ourselves.

“ … if we deny Him, He also will deny us; if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:12,13)

That is important to know.

Some people bring out the worst in us; they push our buttons. Their anger ignites our flammable old man personalities; their griping and gossiping creates a whirlpool, drawing us in when we are foolish sailors. People treating us badly tempts us to respond in kind … twisting us to follow the pattern of the world, a shape that we would prefer not to be.

Our Father is not like that. You cannot lure God away from His own nature. He does not return just “whatever” we may give to Him. He ideals appropriately with us in every case. His law always judges our every sin precisely and thoroughly … tearing down what is built perversely. This teaching calls us to repent, lest we act foolishly, building on sand and collapse in the judgment.

And His steadfast love for us is constant … for He would raise us anew each day by His Spirit. He is wise and circumspect and just / righteous in all ways and in all of His dealings with us. Consider these passages:

“We are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by Jesus’s blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:24-26)

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

The proud will be cast down … out of His presence … for they judge God as twisted and wrong for His judgement against their sin and belief. Yet He will save the humble people … those that trust Him as faithful and just. His faithful word is the way of escape.

For Trinity 8 | August 7, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 8, Jeremiah 23:16-29


The Church does not offer her opinions to the world. The Church does not offer her musings to the nations. The Church has been given the Word of the Lord, and thus she speaks “Thus saith the Lord” as she has heard. To add to His word usurps His authority in heaven and earth; to subtract from His word diminishes His glory. What the Church has received by hearing, she faithfully sows by speaking among the peoples and languages. If she in fanatical boldness were to add any word or if she in editorial zeal were to delete any word, she must not say: “Thus saith the Lord”; she would have forsaken her calling and abandon the One whose word creates and redeems.

(This differs from adiaphora, which means those things which are neither commanded by Scripture nor forbidden by Scripture; adiaphora begins by stating that those actions are neutral. They are not sinful because they do not transgress God’s word, but — having no command from God to do them — there is no sin in abstaining from them.)

The so-called prophets of Jeremiah’s day were “editors”, deleting the condemnation that stood against Israel for its sins. They should have been proclaiming “Repent!” but instead were attempting to alleviate fears by mouthing “It shall be well!” It would certainly not be well for Judah and Jerusalem for the juggernaut Babylon was being prepared by the Lord as His blunt instrument of judgment. And for preaching lies in the name of the Lord, those dreamers would be as chaff, driven away by the strong winds of judgment and not ever gathered into His granary. His word is the mighty hammer shattering the fragile rock of lies and the intense flames consuming husks of fake news.

God forbid and prevent lies and fake news from even entering a pulpit, much less being spouted from a deceiver.

The Father has spoken, and He has assured you of the word that He has spoken. The Word is Jesus, the fullness of the Father’s revelation. And this Word has been confirmed by His death—no one may alter or revise an iota or a serif—and resurrection demonstrates that this Word, forgiveness of sin in the name of Christ, is living and life-giving. Thus when we, as the liturgy teaches us to ask “Lord, to whom shall we go” we may with all boldness reply “You have the words of eternal life!” (citing Peter in John 6:68)

Listen to every syllable. Accept no substitutes; look for no supplements. Test what you hear, and take to heart and mind the standard of teaching to which you are committed.

Behold, the calm day of the Lord!
   Peace has gone forth,
the sun of righteousness has risen;
   it will shine upon those who believe.

Blessed Father, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


 

For Trinity 7 | July 31, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 7, Genesis 2:7-17

 

Hear the word and by the strength of the Word serve each other. Work is neither volunteering, for the man did not offer his power for work, nor is it altruism, thinking about the other.

This tilling and keeping in the Church is distinctly Christ-centered. For you, baptized into Christ, are a new kind of gardener. You follow the Father’s will because He is working in you for His good pleasure; you have been recreated in genuine righteousness; and thus you have the mind of Christ. And with Him, the work of your call is part of your worship in the Spirit.

So the table of duties (Small Catechism) describe the work of gardening for each of us in our callings, what is the tilling and keeping in each situation in accord with the faith.

A father and mother till a garden called children; a husband and wife keep a garden called marriage; son and daughter work in a garden called home. In those places we till and keep what has been set aside for us. Father and mother raise children in the faith: “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” For husband and wife, a chief portrait is Ephesians 5: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord; … husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

The children are instructed in Ephesians 6: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”. Honor your father and mother.

The family receives instruction in 1 Timothy 5: “If anyone does not provide for his relatives and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

We also do the same with life in society tending to the holy work God has given to you. We strive for faithfulness at the office, diligence in the classroom, and kindness to the neighbor. We must keep your conduct among unbelievers honorable so that if ever they accuse you of evil, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

The gardening that God has given to us is within the holy plot of the Church, and it extends farther and farther outward, so that your neighbor may be helped and served, so that others may be invited to godliness by our example, and that we give no one a cause to dishonor our Father, the Savior, and the Gospel.

You are not your own, and neither is your work or service or life. They are the gifts of God.

Your righteousness is not your own. It is the righteousness of Christ; it is the gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. With Jesus the true tree planted in our midst there is more life in this garden than in the garden of Eden.

For Trinity 6 | July 24, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 6, Exodus 20:1-21


We have heard, or possibly spoken many times, “My house, my rules”, often as the parents’ high fence in order to restrain and to guide the adolescent desire to live by personal impulses. For the youth the words may crush the spirit, be perceived as unfair or unneeded: “Don’t you trust me?” Will the child grasp the words as spoken not by a tyrannical parent but by the parents that brought forth life and sustain life and desire to protect life?

The Ten Commandments were spoken after the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt and then had escorted the Israelites to Mt. Sinai. He brought them, the children in His image, into His house for life in His house; these words defined and expressed the Redeemer-redeemed household in which the Israelites were to live. They were given freedom in His House, except in the matters that were not theirs. (Compare the instruction given to the man in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:15-17). They were forbidden to usurp God’s position as Father and they were forbidden to interrupt “family life”. However, they were free to worship Him, and they had the liberty to work and to serve the rest of the household and the non-family member.


You, having been baptized into Christ Jesus the Father’s Son, are adopted by the Father and you live in His household. Therefore, you must not assume His chair; and you must not lord your life over fellow heirs in the Father’s house, in any way depriving them of what the Father has freely bestowed on them. As children of our Father, live freely; led by His Spirit you are free to do all that you desire as His children, for the Father wills and works in you according to His pleasure (Philippians 2:13).


What is the role of the Ten Commandments in the life of the Christian? We are not under law, that is, our meaning, identity, and security are not secured by our adherence and obedience to those words; law reveals sin and condemns the effort to create and maintain life with the Father (Romans 3:19,20). By Christ’s obedience and death you have been set free from law’s accusation in order to receive through your baptism His life from the Father; the Father freely and generously provides (Read the Apostles Creed and the meanings in the Small Catechism, LSB 322-323.) The Commandments unfold the two great statements: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22: 37,38). The New Testament has expanded those words in many places (for example, Romans 12; 13:8-10; Ephesians 4:17ff.). Our Lord’s exhortation “love one another” (John 13:34 and repeated by John throughout his first epistle) teaches us that we are “fences” protecting life within the household and “pipes” distributing life to other members of the house (refer to the Commandments’ two-part explanations in the Catechism); the commandments guide in specific ways how we respond to the Father’s love, to Him and to the family and to all people. Consider the post-communion collect: “ … we implore You of Your mercy You would strengthen us through the same (the Lord’s Supper) in faith toward You and in fervent love toward one another …” LSB 201. In the Father’s house we live by grace and rely on His mercy, and our new lives shine forth with the beauty of His salvation.

For Trinity 5 | July 17, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 5, 1 Kings 19:9-21


The Lord had said to Elijah: “I gave to you your calling among the Israelites. I gave to you My Spirit for faithfulness among the Israelites. What are you doing here? I called you to preach among the Israelites there in Israel; I did not call you to shelter here in this cave by yourself.” So the Lord told Elijah to return to where He had placed him, to continue the work that He had apportioned to him, both to anoint the kings and to ensure the prophetic ministry would continue in the next generation, passing his mantle to Elisha.

Did the Lord send Elijah to work alone? No … the Lord sent him into his calling with His promise; the Lord Himself would take care of the future results of Elijah’s work; the Lord told him whom to anoint; the Lord told him his successor; the Lord had given to him His Word.

God assigns you your vocation: you are members of God’s family, adopted in baptism and known by God within the faithful Sonship, known within the perfect vocation of Christ, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross of His vocation.

Thus God’s other present callings for—you are a member of your family; you are neighbors and citizens—are grounded in Christ. Your callings are given and shaped and used by God; your callings are holy for your sins are forgiven. Though you may not perceive the growth or the fruitfulness or the benefit of your callings, because your life is entirely in Christ crucified and risen and ascended, you may remain steadfast and immovable, knowing that your calling is not exercised in vain.

What ever happened to Elijah and his vocation? His calling was completed when he was charioted away into God’s glory; his calling was fulfilled when he beheld Jesus at the transfiguration; his calling will be completed when he will be raised in glory at the Last Day.

And what will happen to us and our vocations? Our callings will be completed when God calls us from this life. Our calling will be fulfilled when we see the Lord Jesus in His glory. But for today, you are called to return to work here—doing what God has called us to do, both relying on His promises and trusting that the work is His.

For Trinity 3 | July 3, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 3, Micah 7:18-20

Gods of power are a shekel an omer. Every nation and every people has at least one: Baal, Marduk, Jupiter / Zeus, Odin, Scientism, Radical Individualism. Everyone expects his god to rule with exceptional might. For who would worship a puny god that would not fight but would instead die?


But who has a god that is merciful? Is there such a god? Not a deity who grudgingly repays you because you sacrificed a bull, a remodeled bathroom, a car, and fifteen weekends. But a god that does not pay you what you deserve. And what do you deserve? Who among us has honored our God with a perfect trust, bowing with reverence  and confessing “I am but a humble servant”? Have we not wasted His goods? Have we not failed to listen to His living Word? Have we not ignored the needs of fellow citizens of His reign? Condemnation and banishment from our God’s royal presence are deserved, that we should be forcibly trampled as so much dust and purposely hurled into the depths of the sea.


So how is our God different? How is He unlike the gods of power that overwhelm disobedient subjects? This God, our God, has shown faithfulness as He promised to Abraham. For from Abraham’s line our God has raised a Lord that has healed us. For the blood of the Lord Jesus has marked our lives - painted mercy on you with the brush of absolution and marked your house (body) with His body and blood - and thus His anger and death have passed by. No vengeful god is He; He remembers us according to His steadfast love, a love displayed in His Son’s death. In that way, the Son’s obedience unto death on a cross, He has trampled sin, crushing it under His feet that walked to the cross and that walked the road to Emmaus. Sin may seem capable of many things, but it cannot swim, especially when bound by the unbreakable fetters of Christ’s indestructible life. No longer may sin trespass into the land of our lives in Christ, depriving us of life; sin is headed for the darkest abyss of the chaotic waters.


Who is a God like our Father that remained faithful when His people were not? Who is a God like our Father that has sent His Son? And who is a God like our Father, showing compassion to us, crushing the enemy and lifting us from the dust of death and diving into the murky waters that He might rescue us?


No one! And He shares His glory and honor with no one.


To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!

Deliver Life to Us

 

The Coffee Hour — Upholding Life: Overturning Roe v Wade
Deaconess Tiffany Manor, director of LCMS Life Ministry, reflects on the overturning of Roe v Wade from a Life Ministry perspective.

The Coffee Hour — Women's Health and the Overturning of Roe v Wade
Dr. Donna Harrison, CEO, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, talks about the implications of the overturning of Roe v Wade on maternal and child health care.

For Trinity 2 | June 26, 2022

The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 2, Proverbs 9:1-10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
   and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Without the worship of the Lord—receiving from Him all things with thanksgiving and praise and rendering to Him service and obedience—one lacks awareness of how to live fully and freely in God’s creation. If one fails to confess God is the Father, one begins to disconnect other people from the Creator—that stance dehumanizes the self as well as the others—and starts acting only as a consumer and thinking as a materialist and has begun to abandon godly stewardship. That is called practical atheism and idolatry. (Review Genesis 1-3.)

When we confess that God is our Father and that from Him comes every good gift and perfect donation (James 1:17), we honor and revere Him as the source of life and depend on Him; we thus know how to act wisely. For example, He upholds creation by His might, thus we pray for daily bread; a fool considers that seedtime and harvest and sunshine and rain either are controlled or manipulated by him or are purely naturalistic events. As you read the proverbs, you will discern that the fool swims against the current in God’s river and lives against the pattern — the orderliness — of His creation; that person may appear to succeed for the length of his days, but a path of unrighteousness (living contrary to God’s will) will at the end bring condemnation from the Creator.

Those who live in the presence of the Lord, who approach Him in the spirit of humility and dependence, who worship Him and seek from Him mercy and forgiveness, apprehend that He is the Creator; they seek to live in accord with His holy expressed will; they demonstrate that they are in His image and walk on the path of His righteousness, that is, depending on His just reign (trust in Him) and building their households (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15-25; Psalms 127 & 128) as He Himself has built His creation.

Our Lord Jesus fully and freely displayed wisdom, being in the Father’s House (Luke 2:49), depending on the Father’s word (Luke 4:1-12), doing the Father’s work (Luke 4:40-41), and even in His accursed death on the cross, entrusting Himself to the Father (Luke 23:46). His wisdom is vindicated, and His understanding and insight of life before God are revealed as genuine and trustworthy by His resurrection, ascension, and by the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out on those baptized in His name. If the path of wisdom does not lead to Jesus’s death and resurrection, then it is not truly fearing the LORD. Genuine wisdom can only be found in the Son, for anyone who has grasped Jesus by faith has comprehended God the Father (John 14:9). So, believing the Son perceives Wisdom in action. For Jesus prayed: “Now this is eternal life, that they may know the one You have sent” (John 17:3). Jesus is the fullness of Wisdom, for He is the fullness of the Deity (Colossians 2:9), and Paul’s purpose of proclaiming Christ was that the Colossians “… may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).

Where does one find and receive this Wisdom? We hear His living voice in the Gospel, that is, in the living and active Word of God that forgives sin and brings into the household of God (Hebrews 4:12, Romans 10:17, Luke 10:16). Through the Gospel we are made “wise for salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). Jesus is your wisdom; for trust in Him is the foundation on which life is built and confession of “Jesus is Lord” is how you perceive and grasp and attain and live life abundantly.

An earthly analogy might be:
The child’s life in the household begins with the trust in the parents;
and the strong bond with the father and mother sets in motion an orderly life in the family.


 

For Trinity 1 | June 19, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Trinity 1, Genesis 15:1-6


Read aloud verses 2-3. Do you hear Abram’s words as a complaint, expressing distress and uncertainty? Note that the Lord first came to him, stirring in Abram his recollection of previous encounters with God, and thus these sorts of questions and statements: “You spoke about land and descendants, and I waited. Where are they? Again You mention a descendant. Am I to continue to wait?”


Did the Lord immediately fulfill the promise? He presented evidence to believe the promise: “I who promise to you have placed the stars in the sky.” Abram was to consider this: “If God oversees the host above, can He also oversee the beginning of a great host, a single birth, below?”


Abram believed that the might of God would bring forth a child; God would keep His word. And Abram’s belief was counted as righteousness. As Hebrews 11:1 states: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. In this instance, faith is the assurance of the son hoped for; and God revealed that He is just and the justifier of the one who has faith in His promise (Romans 3:26).


But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for Abram’s sake alone, but for yours also. For it is preached that Jesus was delivered up for your trespasses and raised for your justification. Your faith in that declaration will be counted to you, who believe that God raised from the dead Jesus, as your righteousness. It is your righteousness because it is credited to you by the means of faith, yet this righteousness is of God and from God. What is this righteousness that God credits to you? First, this righteousness is the gift of a new relationship (fellowship, communion) to God for believers in Christ; rather than anger and wrath remaining on you, He has reconciled Himself to you and counts you as a member of His household; baptism both delivers this righteousness to you and is the sign of inclusion in the household of God (Romans 6:1ff; Galatians 3:26ff). Second, this righteousness is the victory over the devil’s accusations, Master Sin’s grip on your will and heart through Christ’s life (perfected obedience), atoning death (He is your substitute), and resurrection (God’s glorious “yes” to His Son’s faithfulness), all of which makes the new relationship a possibility; again, baptism has clothed you with Christ—His death and resurrection and new life by the Holy Spirit. And third, this righteousness is the fact that when God creates this new relationship (from Him to you on the basis of Christ’s death and resurrection), God is being true to His Word and faithful to His promises—He has proved that He is faithful and just to forgive your sins (1 John 4:9; compare Romans 3:26).


Your faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (the resurrection from the dead, the ingathering of all who believe, the new creation). God has declared that your inheritance is very great, and your faith in His promise is credited to you as righteousness.

For Holy Trinity | June 12, 2022
The Old Testament Reading for Holy Trinity, Isaiah 6:1-7


On the inside Judah was suffering. For a good king had died and the people were wholly sick, dying because they refused the life of God offered in His forgiving word. From the outside the nation was threatened—death by spears and arrows slung and shot by armies larger than Judah’s host. Was the Lord powerless in that circumstance? Would He remember His people? What would be the word and sign of His deliverance? Whatever circumstances the eye observed and at which the heart trembled and spirit fainted, God remained Lord, ever seated on His throne and ruling over the entire earth—the triple “holy” a magnificent emphatic heavenly choral assertion that He is incomparable and far above the earthly threats. He would manifest His glory as He reigns over all. More than a revelation of glory, the revelation would signal His saving intent. For He is the Lord of hosts—those with His people from His army (the hosts of Heaven) are always more than the foes that oppose His people (2 Kings 6:16). And He would provide a living sign of His saving presence for His people, a leader named Immanuel (Isaiah 7; Matthew 1) and therefore He would put a new song in their mouths, so that they would sing not dirges for their own funeral but praises to the Lord who has delivered them from every evil (Isaiah 12).


But who would tell His people this good news? In this scene of the inner court, where the King of kings sits enthroned over all creation, the Lord would prepare Isaiah for His preaching - his lips are cleansed by the reverent attendants. With lips cleansed, Isaiah was then readied to be summoned and sent to preach the fullness of God’s message (Isaiah 6:8ff.)


This declaration remains true and powerful for this congregation. As a banner that cannot be effaced, over the altar “Holy! Holy! Holy!” declares the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified and risen and ascended, reigning over all. He is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and He has the name that is above every title of office and status that could be named and could be imagined not only in this present age but also in the one to come. He reigns; and since He lives, raised from the grave, His reign cannot end. He is Immanuel, God with His people in every situation. Whatever kind of threat from satan and the world and our flesh would try to endanger the faith or the fellowship of believers, He leads the host of Heaven, God’s own army to battle for you in the day’s unseen events, sometimes visible in earthly events and some probably hidden from our wondering and tear-filled eyes. The Father has put all things under our Lord’s feet - all things includes death and sin - and gave our Lord as head over all things to the Church.


Against whatever internal struggles we wrestle and whatever external threats the Church faces - this word of God (Isaiah 6) is not a statement for the political or economic or social well-being or success of Christians in the U.S. A. or in any other country - this word assures the Church that the Lord remains with His people and He fights for us; and that He continues to cleanse the lips of His preachers so that the people may not fear the days to come but sing confidently “Hosanna” as the messengers of God also cleanse the peoples’ lips with the true body and blood of Christ Jesus.

 

Stanford Art Walk for College Students

Saturday, June 25

Please arrive at Trinity at 10:45 a.m.

We will walk through the Cantor Arts Center first.

Then we will make our way through the rest of the campus.

We will provide snacks during the walk.

A 5:30 p.m. supper will be provided

For The 5th Sunday after The Epiphany | February 6

 

Isaiah 55:13
“It shall make a name for the Lord, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

The glory of a garden belongs not to the plants but to the gardener. The beauty of the clay pot belongs not to the clay but to the potter. The victory on the field is secured not by the leather ball but by the players. The residents trapped in the house aflame are not praised for their bravery but the firefighters that saved them.

Thus when the people of God were delivered from exile in Babylonia, neither Cyrus received honor as God’s chosen instrument nor the Israelites that returned gathered the praise for being delivered but the Lord and Him alone. For He will not share His glory and honor with any other; no other god created and no other is the beginning and the end; He speaks and brings into being. Even as the standing stones that commemorated Israel’s passage through the Jordan as the work of the Lord, that Israel would remember Him (Joshua 4), Israel’s life and salvation stand as a memorial for the Lord and His grace.

Our Father the Creator receives our thanksgiving and obedience for the rain and snow, which water the earth and then generate the seed and harvest. How much more, then, does He receive majesty and praise and blessing from us, that His Name — His Person and reputation — are declared, for He has delivered us. The fact of our salvation, our rescue from death and our inheritance of life is not to our praise; we stand as the living testimony to the lavish grace washing over us. “In love our Father predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:4-6).

His Word has accomplished His purpose in us, for He has brought us to faith, which is not our doing but the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), and He preserves us, for He is faithful (Hebrews 6:17,18). Neither famine nor flood, neither persecution nor poverty, neither riches nor rage, neither powers above and unseen nor powers below and seen shall cut us off from the Lord; He shall not abandon us. And for our assurance, He has supplied us with the Guarantor of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit, until we acquire possession of the eternal inheritance of the new creation, to the praise of His glory.

SAVE THE DATE

March 5, 2022

2022 LWML CNH Zone 8 Prayer Service

 

Prayer may be simple or complex — silent or corporate — memorized or free-flowing from our heart. It is a conversation with God and shows our love for our heavenly Father. The 2022 Prayer Service, based on Luke 11:1, “Lord, Teach us to Pray,” looks at various forms of prayer used frequently by believers as we seek to honor Christ, the Lord of the Church, with our prayers. LWML thanks Rev. Grimm for authoring the 2022 LWML Prayer Service.

 

Saturday, March 05, 2022

10:00 AM Prayer Service

In-person & Zooming Live

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Palo Alto, CA

The Rev. Stewart Crown, Prayer Leader

 

If joining virtually, email your RSVP for the Zoom Link & Service bulletin to:

Mary Deger Seevers seeversmd@aol.com

& Lori Fisher dudettefisher@sbcglobal.net

It will be posted to YouTube for Later Viewing

The 3rd Sunday after The Epiphany | January 23

 

2 Kings 5:1-16
An unlikely recipient of God’s kindness is this great man, given much success and heroic in his calling though beset by a chronic debilitating disease. Could that be Naaman … or you? Who of us should have the Lord Almighty wave His hand over us or bathe us in the water or come to our homes or take us by the hand, raising us from a bed of affliction? Yes, each and every one of us … unlikely recipients of God’s kindness.

Give thanks that the Word has been spoken to you, and with water empowered by that lively Word you are born from above, renewed in the Spirit before God and whose flesh shall be born from the grave in vigorous and imperishable manner.

And what shall we render to the Lord for all His benefits to us? Let us lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord; and we will offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord in the presence of all His people.

+ + +

Beginning January 23 the Sunday Service Schedule will change:

  • 9:30 a.m. (no longer 9:00 a.m.) Communion (also on Zoom)

  • 10:45 / 11:00 a.m. Bible Study (later start time)

  • 12:30 p.m. Communion (this service is not affected by the 9:30 a.m. service start).

Walk For Life West Coast

 

Pre-Walk Gathering

Saturday, January 22nd

10:30 a.m.

West Portal Lutheran Church & School Parish Hall

11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

travel to Civic Center Plaza

 

Main Event

12:30 p.m. Speakers

1:30 p.m. Walk for Life

For Epiphany 2 | 2022 January 16
Exodus 33:18-23
18 Moses said, “Please show me Your glory.” 19 And He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you My name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But,” He said, “you cannot see My face, for man shall not see Me and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand on the rock, 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”


St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, wrote: “I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.” (3 John 13,14). Those were his options: ink on parchment or face to face. Which would you prefer? Texting and emails constantly fall short; “facetime” is far better—but not through a screen, for a face-to-face presence allows you to know the person, without a mask and without photoshopping and without layers manipulating appearances. We seek words and appearances that are in harmony and in perfect union.

Moses wanted to see, to know, to have communion with God face to face, a personal conversation unshielded by burning bush or stormy clouds. He sought the unhindered revelation of God. Yet who could stand in the Presence of the Lord, in His Glory, since the day that the man and woman were no longer ashamed but hid themselves?

Only One has made God known: “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known” (John 1:18) In Christ Jesus we see the Father’s face; we have the true image of the unseen God, the fullness of grace and mercy that Moses longed for (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:6). For God has not turned away His face; He lifts up His face to look upon you—to shine upon you with His face and to assure you of His peace (Numbers 6:24-26). Our Father is not angry with you; His Word, Jesus spoken loudly and clearly in His ministry unto death and vindicated in the resurrection and ascension, reveals His face, His favor, His love for you. He is gracious to you, and He shows mercy to you. In the name of Jesus “let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Moses had a glimpse of the backside of God, and with Elijah he saw more fully at the Transfiguration. Now we “see” through the Word; we see in a mirror dimly; but then when He appears we shall be like Him—then you also will appear with Him in glory—because we shall see Him as He is, for then face to face, to know fully, even as we have been fully known (1 John 3:1; Colossians 3:4; 1 Corinthians 13:12).

For The Epiphany of Our Lord (observed) | January 9

Isaiah 60:1-6
Israel had turned off its light, the light by which the nation would have demonstrated that it had been chosen by the God of grace to the peoples of the world. Rather “Be light as He is Light”, it had become darkness and gloom—lies in the court, blood in the streets, the blind were leading the blind, and good condemned (read Isaiah 59). No one—there was no righteous advocate—could have interceded for Israel before the Lord; so the Lord, according to His own faithfulness, would deliver Israel from its sin destined for destruction and raise a Redeemer. That is the Light that Isaiah promised.

As a moth to the flame, so the magi to the Light; they were not the first Gentiles to hope in the Lord (recall Rahab and Ruth), but they were the first Gentiles to offer their worship—praises, along with gold and frankincense (the wealth of the nations)—to the Redeemer in His flesh and blood. The Christ Jesus is the righteous work of God revealed, how God rescues according to His covenant. Jesus is the Light, for He the truth of God shines and He the Glory of the Lord reveals the salvation of God. God delivers from darkness—our unrighteousness—in no other way except through the brightness of His righteousness, Jesus. His genuine obedience and perfected faithfulness, the true Light shining, radiantly shine on us through the Word and Communion, that we walk not in the old man’s night but in faith.

The Light’s brilliance had just begun to enlighten the world when the magi arrived; we see more fully after His death and resurrection; but at His return, neither sun nor moon will light the days, for we shall behold His fullness of Presence.

For The Second Sunday after Christmas | January 2

Genesis 46:2-4
And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes.”

The Word of God had created faith in Abraham; and Abraham had delivered the word of the Lord to his son Isaac and then Isaac Jacob. In each man the word created faith, a basket in which to catch the Lord’s gifts. So when the Lord calls to Jacob, he responds with words that are ready to receive and to serve: “Here I am”. He does not hide among the bushes; he offers no excuse; the Lord is the master and he the servant, and the servant has but one will: to hear and to do what the master desires.

Yet wasn’t the promise to possess the land of Canaan? Wasn’t the promise for the family to be fruitful and multiply in that place? How could they be a blessing when God seems to be disassembling what He promised to create? The Lord assures Jacob that though the promise seems to head in the wrong direction—he will die outside of the land of promise—He will keep His word.

To our experience and brief sojourn in this life, it can appear that we are backtracking, the Lord is reversing course, the work of God is being undone. “Here am I” could be a risky response … maybe even committing oneself to a dead end. Yet … years later … many years later … the Lord returned Jacob and His people to Canaan. Foremost, keep your eyes fastened on Jesus. For He always from the heart responded “Here am I; I am here to do Your will” even to the cross. An apparent public disaster … until God kept His promise, raising Him from the grave.

Your “Here am I”, having been created by God’s Word, will not be disappointed. You have the Scriptures that testify to God’s faithfulness. He occupies His entire universe; so He will be with us wherever He sends us. And He will bring us up. Not to the land of Canaan but into the new creation.

Teaching Children about God's Design for Marriage

If you are not familiar with the CPH blog, you will find robust biblical and faithful support for your calling as Christian parents. I urge you to read this and follow the links; you cannot be disappointed.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Walk For Life West Coast

Pre-Walk Gathering

  • WHEN: Saturday, January 22nd 2022, 10:30am

  • SPEAKER: Erin Maggard. She is the wife of a Lutheran pastor & an IT professional. Having decades ago gone through the pain of an abortion, she’s now able to help others as a pro-life speaker.

  • TOPIC: “Life After Abortion!”

West Portal Lutheran Church & School Parish Hall

200 Sloat Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94132

Tel. (415)661-0242 URL WestPortalLutheran.org

(Parking on small parking lot & on streets around the church & school.)

11:30 am to 12:15 - travel to Civic Center Plaza

 

Main Event

12:30 pm Speakers:

  • Lila Rose. Speaker, writer, activist for the unborn. President of Live Action, a human rights nonprofit with the largest footprint for global pro-life

  • Christi Hockel Davenport. A witness to the full life those with Down’s Syndrome can experience. A Fellow of Concordia University, Irvine

  • The Rev. Clenard Childress. One of most respected leaders in the pro-life movement. Winner of many awards. Founder of BlackGenocide.org

1:30 pm Walk for Life

Advent Devotions

Each day in Advent will have a Bible reading, a short devotional, and a prayer. This year the readings and devotions will take their course through the structure of the book of Malachi as the Lord’s prophet preaches on the love of God, faithless worship, faithless marriages, and faithless offerings. Malachi is a prophet calling God’s people to repent. He is also preparing the way for John the Baptist and of course our Lord Jesus Christ.

https://steadfastlutherans.org/2021/11/advent-2021-devotional-now-available-for-whom-the-lord-loves-he-chastens-an-advent-through-malachi/

left: Godspeed and Farewell to Joshua Eggold [August 8]. After six years and achieving a well-deserved doctorate, Trinity bid farewell to Joshua, who has moved to Philadelphia.

right: Our God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—adopted, through the Holy Baptism, Madeline Hallie Dorn, the daughter of Tim Dorn and Katherine Stalder (on bench) [September 12]. Madeline was born December 14, 2020. Her sponsors for Holy Baptism are her great aunt, Barbara Allen, and aunt, Julia Stalder.

Key Announcements

  • For the near future, Trinity will retain its two service schedule on Sunday, for we recognize that not all members and guests may be comfortable coming to church on Sunday because of the number of people.


9:00 a.m. Communion (and on Zoom)
10:15 a.m. Bible study (and on Zoom)
12:30 p.m. Communion


Registration

  • No longer is registration a requisite for services.


Masks

a direct quotation from https://covid19.sccgov.org/order-health-officer-08-02-2021-requiring-all-to-use-face-covering-indoors

 

  • Requirement to Wear Face Coverings Indoors. Regardless of vaccination status, all persons must wear face coverings at all times when indoors except:

  1. in their own residence or working in a closed room or office alone or with members of their household;

  2. when they are actively performing an activity that cannot be done while wearing a face covering (e.g., actively eating or drinking, swimming or showering in a fitness facility, or obtaining a medical or cosmetic service requiring removal of a face covering); or,

  3. as specifically exempted from use of face coverings under the guidance of CDPH at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx (e.g., to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or where a face covering poses a safety risk).

Vaccination Cards

  • We will not ask you if you are vaccinated and will not screen you or visitors upon entry. You do not need your vaccination card and we will not ask for it.


Seating

  • The rope barriers have been removed.

  • You may sit farther away from people as space allows.


Communion

  • Communion distribution will return to normal.

  • I encourage you to return to the practice of using the chalice rather than the individual cups.

  • The evidence to this date suggests that the risk difference between individual cups and the common cup is very small, and the risk level is about the same.

  • You may stand at the communion rail rather than kneel. I do not believe kneeling poses any risk at this point, but there are lots of reasons a person may prefer to stand rather than kneel.

  • I encourage you to consider what your long-term practice has been and will be, and why.


Service Books and Bulletins

  • The congregation will use the hymnbook.

  • The large format online bulletin will be sent to all.


Offerings

  • The offering pouches will remain at the nave doors.


Departure

  • You will not be ushered out at the end of the service. Visit as long as you like (or until the Bible study begins).


Greetings

  • I am comfortable with greetings being back to normal.

  • Greet as you are comfortable.


Bible Classes and Sunday School

  • Bible classes are also free to meet and use the facilities as needed.


Please recognize that the experiences of each member have differed and therefore their comfort level and willingness to resume what might be called pre-pandemic practices will not be the same as yours. Be compassionate and kind toward each other; just because you are comfortable with hugging, shaking hands, etc., does not mean that everyone else is comfortable. Give members and guests space, and try to communicate with each other about your own comfort level.

Has all of this become tiresome? Yes. I thank our God that you have exercised patience and learned how to adapt. He is merciful, and we pray this will be near the end of Covid-19 for us.
Trinity will continue to care for her members as best as we can.

In His peace,

Pastor Crown

In the name of the Lord Jesus, we welcome Anna, Geri, and Stephen Gustafson as members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Stephen was baptized shortly after birth and has maintained membership at LC-MS congregations his entire life. At a young age, he desired to serve as a pastor or in the military, ultimately deciding to serve in the military. Geri came to the faith later in life and began attending Resurrection Lutheran Church in Santa Clara. Instructed in the evangelical Lutheran confession, Geri was confirmed the year before her marriage to Stephen in 2003. Born in late 2010, Anna was baptized in the Spring of 2011 and currently attends Apostles Lutheran School in San Jose, where Geri also serves as the Transitional Kindergarten After-care Administrator. Stephen works at Applied Materials and continues to serve in the US Navy, where he has 23 years of active and reserve service. The Gustafsons reside in southwest San Jose with their three cats.

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