Saturday, October 25, 2008

Daily Readings for October 27 - November 1

1 Corinthians 3:1-23
Joel 3:1-13

Tuesday, St. James and St. Jude:
1 Peter 1:3-9
John 15:17-21

Luke 14:12-15
Obadiah 1-21

Mark 13:1-37
Nahum 1:1-14

Friday, Reformation:
Psalm 46
John 8:31-36

Saturday, All Saints Day:

Psalm 149
Matthew 5:1-12

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Trinity XXIII (October 26)

The Ten Commandments

The Ninth Commandment:
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not scheme to get our neighbor’s inheritance or house, or get it in a way which only appears right, but help and be of service to him in keeping it.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Trinity XXIII (October 26)

A man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Daily Readings for October 20 - 25

Matthew 18:1-22
Micah 4:9—5:1

Mark 9:33-50
Isaiah 49:14-21

Luke 17:20-37
Isaiah 2:10-21

Thursday (St. James' Day): 
James 1:1-12
Matthew 13:54-58

Mark 12:1-12
Joel 2:1-11

Matthew 25:14-30
Joel 2:23-27

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Trinity XXII (October 19)

The Ten Commandments

The Eighth Commandment:
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Trinity XXII (October 19)

Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

From the Pastor …

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda!

Dearly Beloved in Christ Jesus our Lord,

October concludes with an exceedingly important day in the history of the Church: Reformation Day. (At Immanuel, we observe the last Sunday of October as Reformation Sunday.) Of course, we commemorate Martin Luther’s posting of his Ninety-Five Theses to discuss reform in the Church, particularly in the matter of indulgences (the purchasing of forgiveness). If this day is merely an historical commemoration, though, then indeed the Lutheran Reformation is dead. The phrase that should mark our view of the Church here on earth is this:

Ecclesia Semper Reformanda
(the Church always needs to be reformed)

In thinking about “reform,” however, it is imperative that we do not merely consider why we are not Roman Catholic. Our own church body (the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod), our congregation, and our own lives – they also need a continual reformation, a refocusing and rededication to the “one thing needful” (Luke 10.42).

The Reformation was not a controversy, ultimately, about which language should or may be used in worship, who may marry, who gets to make decisions in the church, or any other such issues. The Reformation at its heart was a controversy within the Church about the forgiveness of sins. The many controversies and divisions in the broader church today would be solved rapidly if God’s Word were our only rule and guide, not human reason and human tribunals, and all doctrine and practice were examined in the light of this one fundamental article: the forgiveness of sins. Ecclesia Semper Reformanda!

When we examine our own congregational life, and the individual’s place in it, we must ask: “Is the forgiveness of sins the most important reason for my being here? Or is something else motivating me?” The “something else” might be quite good, on its own, e.g., social activities, music, school, etc. – but these must never replace this one fundamental article: the forgiveness of sins, distributed through Holy Baptism, the Pastor’s Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. Everything else that we do as a community/communion of disciples must flow out of that one central theme, or we cease to truly be the Church. Ecclesia Semper Reformanda!

Such a message, such a life, is out-of-step with the interests of mid-Atlantic Americans in 2008. It has been for some time! Claus Harms, at the jubilee anniversary of the Reformation in 1817, wrote, “The forgiveness of sins at least required monetary payment during the sixteenth century. In the nineteenth it costs nothing. Now men serve themselves with it. They at that time stood higher than us, they were nearer to God.” Men now serve themselves with forgiveness, Harms observed in the early 19th century—what would he think now, nearly two centuries later? For people indeed seek forgiveness not from God through His ministers and His means of grace, but they seek it internally; the self-help gurus tell us that “we must learn to forgive ourselves.” In the words of Hermann Sasse, “He who forgives himself his sins is his own God.”

Each of us constantly needs to be reformed, by confession and forgiveness. Immanuel Lutheran Church needs to continually be reformed, by an incessant internal purification, by an incessant internal refocusing on the one thing needful. And therein lies the continuing relevance of the faithful remnant in the Lutheran Church—we must bring that message again to our Synod, the whole Church, and the world, and preserve it for generations yet to come. In an age where doctrinal distinctions are set aside for the sake of sham “unity,” we must dare to be firm in proclaiming the Law in all its terror and the Gospel in all its sweetness. Reformation is needed now more than ever! Ecclesia Semper Reformanda!

Every good wish in Christ,
+Pastor Esget

Note: Originally published in the October issue of Tidings,
the newsletter of Immanuel Lutheran Church and School

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Daily Readings for October 13 - 18

Ephesians 1:1-23
Micah 6:1-9

Ephesians 2:1-22
Isaiah 58:1-14

Ephesians 4:7-21
Isaiah 59:1-21

Ephesians 4:29-32
Jeremiah 31:1-22

Ephesians 5:10-14
Jeremiah 31:23-40

Saturday (St. Luke’s Day): 
2 Timothy 4:5-18
Luke 10:1-9

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Trinity XXI (October 12)

The Ten Commandments

The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Trinity XXI (October 12)

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Daily Readings for October 6 - 11

Mark 4:1-41
Isaiah 43:1-13


Luke 13:18-35
Isaiah 41:1-20

Matthew 13:31-58
Habakkuk 2:1-4

Matthew 16:13-20
Isaiah 63:7-19

2 Corinthians 3:10—4:18
Isaiah 64:1-12

2 Corinthians 5:1-21
Isaiah 5:1-7

Small Catechism for Memorizing - Trinity XX (October 5)

The Ten Commandments

The Sixth Commandment:
You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

Bible Verse for Memorizing - Trinity XX (October 5)

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)