Fifth Sunday in Lent, March 18, 2018

Old Testament: Jeremiah 31:31–34

Epistle: Hebrews 5:1–10

Gospel: Mark 10:32–45

Fifth Sunday of Lent: Theme for Today’s Liturgy

It’s the penultimate week of Lent, and our annual journey to the cross is nearing its climax. Through the psalmist, Jesus muses on his impending betrayal: “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!” (Introit). Yet the Lord promises to forgive the iniquity of those who so blatantly broke his covenant (Old Testament Reading), and he became the source of eternal salvation by his obedience through suffering (Epistle). That the innocent Jesus should be sacrificed for someone else’s sin seems obscene to our fair-mindedness: “Why, what hath my Lord done? What makes this rage and spite?” (Hymn of the Day, LSB 430:4). But he did it for you and for all sinners, in order “that we may be governed and preserved evermore in body and soul” (Collect). Lent is a time of more intense reflection on our sinful nature, that we may appreciate all the more the sweet victory of life over death in the resurrection to come.

Fourth Sunday in Lent, March 11, 2018

Old Testament: Numbers 21:4–9

Epistle: Ephesians 2:1–10

Gospel: John 3:14–21

Fourth Sunday of Lent: Theme for Today’s Liturgy

We continue our journey to Calvary. The propers for today focus on the totally undeserved love of God in giving salvation to the world by the sacrifice of Christ. The Collect reminds us that God’s “mercies are new every morning . . . though we deserve only punishment.” The Introit gives us the peace of knowing that when we can in no way defend ourselves, when even “an army encamp against me, . . . the Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” The Epistle declares: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). Finally, few lessons make God’s grace to an undeserving world more clear than our type/antitype Old Testament Reading and Gospel: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (Jn 3:14–15).

Third Sunday in Lent, March 4, 2017

Old Testament: Exodus 20:1–17

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:18–31

Gospel: John 2:13–22 (23–25)

Image result for jesus clearing the temple

Third Sunday of Lent: Theme for Today’s Liturgy

In this season of Lent, we are again on our way to Calvary. There Christ suffered, bled, and died, forever breaking the power of Satan to accuse the saints who wash their robes in the blood shed for us all. Thus we fix our eyes on Jesus (Gradual). We rely upon the forgiveness he earned for us. On our own, we could not obey the Law of God and were condemned with all those who disobey it. But God in his wisdom (Epistle) chose to save us and all who boast not in their works but in the Lord’s. The Gospel shows how far from the purity of the Law in the precepts of God the people of Israel had fallen. They rejected God’s plan for them. However, Christ did overcome in three days. The temple of his body would be restored in the resurrection, which guarantees life for us all.

 

Christ Lutheran Church Lenten Midweek Services

The season of Lent offers us an opportunity to receive God’s gifts during our midweek services as we discover the six chief parts of Luther’s Small Catechism.  Services are held at 7:00pm preceded by soup supper at 6:00pm.

Make our midweek services part of your family’s preparation for the celebration of Holy Easter.

February 21st – The Creed

February 28th – The Lord’s Prayer

March 7th – Holy Baptism

March 14th – Holy Communion

March 21st – Confession and Absolution

First Sunday in Lent, February 18, 2018

Old Testament: Genesis 22:1–18

Epistle: James 1:12–18

Gospel: Mark 1:9–15

First Sunday of Lent: Theme for Today’s Liturgy

Mark’s Gospel says that the Spirit “drove” Jesus into the wilderness where He faced the trials and temptations of Satan.  The forty days of Jesus’ temptation bring to mind the years of wilderness wanderings experienced by the Israelites, who were eventually brought to the promised land (Collect).  Jesus is driven into the wilderness because it was necessary for Him to fulfill the all righteousness, to accomplish through His perfect obedience what we cannot do for ourselves (Gospel, Gradual).  Christ is indeed our mighty fortress who withstood all that Satan could throw at Him, in order to bring salvation to sinful people beset with trial and temptation and doubt (Hymn of the Day).  By resisting the devil’s temptation, Jesus passed God’s test – for us (Gospel).

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Midweek Lenten Supper and Service

Join us every Wednesday during Lent for a soup supper at 6:30 followed by Vespers at 7:00.

The forty-day period of Lent developed in the early church as a way of preparing catechumens for their baptism at the Easter vigil.  The forty days of this season were associated with Jesus’ forty days of temptation in the desert prior to His baptism (Matthew 4) and to the forty years the children of Israel spend in the wilderness (Numbers 14:34).  In AD 329 Bishop Athanasius, the father of orthodox Christianity, asked his congregation to keep a fast of forty days as a way of renewing their own baptism and life of penitence.  In the fifth century Leo the Great explained that “Lent was appointed to prepare souls for a fruitful commemoration of of the mystery of Easter, as a time of inner purification and sanctification, of repentance for sins past, of breaking off sinful habits, of the exercise of virtues, especially almsgiving, reconciliation and the saying aside of enmity and hatred.”

Ash Wednesday, which falls on February 14th this year, begins our observance of Lent, with the placing of ashes on the forehead a sign of penitence and human mortality.  During Lent we “put our alleluias away” and omit the Gloria in Excelsis in the Divine Service, and also remove altar flowers and banners to remind us of the season.  It is a time for the discipline of learning and growing in faith, for repentance and for prayer, and yes even for fasting to practice self-control and to heighten one’s awareness of Christ.  The practice of “giving something up” for Lent, like sweets or coffee, is entirely a matter of Christian freedom, but we dare not think we earn God’s favour by subtracting chocolate for forty days.  So this Lenten season also consider adding instead of subtracting – adding the midweek service, adding a bible study, adding a time of family devotion.  The days and weeks of Lent call us to keep our focus on Christ.  So whether you are adding or subtracting (or both!), may your Lenten practices draw you ever closer to Him who has redeemed you with His precious blood.

Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany, February 4, 2018

Old Testament: Isaiah 40:21-31

Epistle: 1 Cor. 9:16-27

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany

 Theme for Today’s Liturgy

What is “that”?  Jesus has healed diseases and cast out demons, but He has come for the proclamation of the forgiveness of sins and eternal life – He says “that is why I came out.” (Gospel)  In doing so Jesus stands opposed to the forces of darkness that would drag us into death and hell, and in casting out demons He demonstrates His power over sin, death, and devil (Gospel, Introit).  The Lord gives power to the faint and strength to him who has no might, reaching out to us just as He reached out to the sick in Capernaum (OT).  Through His mighty power we are restored, by His anointing we receive the Gospel message of salvation, and through the means of grace the Holy Spirit keeps us steadfast in the true faith (Collect).  Where the Lord of Life enters there is no room for death (Gospel).

Third Sunday After the Epiphany, January 21, 2018

Old Testament: Jonah 3:1-5; 10

Epistle: 1 Cor. 7:29-31

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

Third Sunday After the Epiphany

 Theme for Today’s Liturgy

Repent and believe in the Gospel!”  These are the first words of Jesus recorded by St. Mark, and they announce that the reign and rule of God has drawn near and is now at hand (Gospel).  “Repent and believe” is the most basic statement concerning the Christian faith.  The Holy Spirit works through the means of grace, Word and Sacrament, to create and sustain this faith in the lives of His people.  The people of Nineveh heard this Word from the prophet Jonah and believed, and turned from their sins to the mercy of the Father (Old Testament).  Like them, in repentance we ask God to look with mercy upon us (Collect) and to grant “peace and heavenly rest” to all, especially the weak and doubting heart (Hymn of the Day).

Second Sunday After the Epiphany, January 14, 2018

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 3:1-10

Epistle: 1 Cor. 6:12-20

Gospel: John 1:43-51

Second Sunday After the Epiphany

Who found whom?  In the Gospel reading for today Jesus is the one who finds Philip, who then follows Jesus.  Jesus does the finding, and we respond along with Nathaniel, “You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”  The Lord has heard the cry of His people and sent His Son to save (Introit).  He mercifully hears the cry of His people and sends us His peace, He finds us in our sinful condition yet still restores us to fellowship with the Father through the Holy Spirit (Collect, Hymn of the Day).  Jesus is the heavenly escalator by which God reaches down and finds us, and through Jesus we ascend to God by the power of the Holy Spirit, all in the Divine Service! (Gospel)

The Baptism of Our Lord, January 7, 2018

Old Testament: Gen. 1:1-5

Epistle: Rom. 6:1-11

Gospel: Mark 1:4-11

The Baptism of Our Lord

Yesterday, January 6th, was Epiphany, when the church celebrates the manifestation of Christ to all people. The baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ is another kind of epiphany, for hear we hear a visible and audible manifestation of the Trinity, the Father who speaks, the Son who stands in the Jordan River, and the Holy Spirit who descends like a dove (Gospel). In His baptism Jesus truly identifies with all of us, for He now participates with us in our sinful condition as One who has no sin, and as One who then takes on all our sin in exchange for His righteousness (Epistle, Gospel). Jesus receives the Holy Spirit and is anointed as God’s Holy One in order to accomplish this purpose, to save His people (Introit, Collect). At the baptism of Jesus the heavens are opened to all believers, who are inheritors with Him of everlasting life (Gospel, Collect).