Saturday, April 25, 2009

Memory Work and Readings for Misericordias Domini (April 26)

Daily Readings
Exodus 32:15-35
Luke 6:39-49

Exodus 33:1-23
Luke 7:1-17

Exodus 34:1-28
Luke 7:18-35

Exodus 34:29—35:21
Luke 7:36-50

Exodus 38:21—39:8, 22-23, 27-31
Luke 8:1-21

Exodus 39:32—40:16
Luke 8:22-39

Exodus 40:17-38
Luke 8:40-56

Bible Verse for Memorizing
Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Small Catechism for Memorizing: Baptism
What benefits does Baptism give? It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Memory Work and Readings for Quasimodo Geniti (April 19)

Daily Readings
Exodus 20:1-24
Luke 4:1-15

Exodus 22:20—23:13
Luke 4:16-30

Exodus 23:14-33
Luke 4:31-44

Exodus 24:1-18
Luke 5:1-16

Exodus 25:1-22
Luke 5:17-39

Exodus 31:1-18
Luke 6:1-19


Exodus 32:1-14
Luke 6:20-38

Bible Verse for Memorizing
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:27-28)

Small Catechism for Memorizing:  Baptism
What is Baptism? Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.

Which is that word of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Memory Work and Readings for Easter (April 12)

Daily Readings
Exodus 14:10-31
Hebrews 7:23—8:13

Exodus 15:1-18
Hebrews 9:1-28

Exodus 15:19—16:12
Hebrews 10:1-18

Exodus 16:13-35
Hebrews 10:19-39

Exodus 17:1-16
Hebrews 11:1-29

Exodus 18:5-27
Hebrews 12:1-24

Exodus 19:1-25
Hebrews 13:1-21

Bible Verse for Memorizing
Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:28)

Small Catechism for Memorizing
Baptism: What is Baptism? Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s word.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Memory Work and Readings for Palmarum (April 5)

Daily Readings:
Exodus 8:1-32
Hebrews 1:1-14

Exodus 9:1-28
Hebrews 3:1-18

Exodus 9:29—10:20
Hebrews 3:1-19

Exodus 10:21—11:10
Hebrews 4:1-16

Exodus 12:1-28
Hebrews 5:1-14

Exodus 12:29-32; 13:1-16
Hebrews 6:1-20

Exodus 13:17—14:9
Hebrews 7:1-22

Bible Verse for Memorizing
We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

Small Catechism for Memorizing

The Lord’s Prayer - The Conclusion:
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

What does this mean? This means that I should be certain that these petitions are pleasing to our Father in heaven, and are heard by Him; for He Himself has commanded us to pray in this way and has promised to hear us. Amen, amen means “yes, yes, it shall be so.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taking Easter Seriously

Note: This article was originally published in Tidings, Immanuel's parish newsletter.

Last month my newsletter article was entitled "Taking Lent Seriously." Toward the end I wrote, "We need to take Lent seriously because we need to take our sins seriously. But we need to take Lent seriously also because we need to take God seriously, learning anew how good He is." How has that been going for you? If you're anything like me, this Lent has seen successes and failures, victories over sin and stumbling into sins. Even after the good days, the words from the rite for private confession remain true: "I have lived as if God did not matter and as if I mattered most." But Lent is coming to a close, whether it's been a good one (spiritually speaking) for us or not. What then?

It's often puzzled me a bit that people will come to church more frequently during Lent than in Easter. Why is that? Certainly by the time we get to Easter, spring is in the air, the cherry blossoms are out, the sun shines later into the evening, and so thoughts turn to enjoying the nicer weather. But there must be more to it than that. It might be that it's easier for us to feel guilty than it is to know true Christian joy.

Certainly the pews are full on Easter - but maybe that too is out of obligation. Most Christians, or at least Lutherans, know that they ought to go to church on Easter at least. And it's a nice day - the smell of lilies, the white banners, paraments, and vestments, the special music, and hymns we know well and so sing easily. But at an Easter midweek service, it's a shadow of the midweek Holy Week services, and then the Sunday after Easter finds everything back to normal. AS THOUGH NOTHING HAPPENED.

Life moves on. Baseball season starts. Vacations get planned. Summer draws near.

But something did happen. Christ rose. Really. From the dead. It happened two millenia ago, but Easter comes so we might realize that His resurrection is a reality. And not just for Him, but also for us. In the future, when we are raised from the grave. But also now. "We were therefore buried with Him through Baptism into death," the Scripture says, "in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." Something happened - for Christ and for us. If Lent was the call to repentance and to see anew the death of Jesus, then Easter is the call to the new life that is ours in the resurrection life of Jesus.

Life will still move on. Baseball season will still start. Vacations and summer will come and go.

But it won't be the same. Not if we take Easter seriously, just as seriously as Lent. For in Christ's victory, the devil was unmasked, shown to be a toothless lion. His fierce roar is impotent for those in Christ. In Christ victory, the grave was shown to be a gentle sleep; life, and not death, has the final word. And impacting us right now, today, is the truth not only that sins are forgiven, but need not be our master. We have a new Master, Christ, who leads us in the new life of righteousness. In that new life, nothing is the same ever again. SOMETHING DID HAPPEN. Christ rose. In the body. And now, all the days we have left in this body, we will walk with Him in newness of life. Not because we have to. Because we get to. Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory in our Lord JESUS Christ!