It would be worth getting to worship this week..., if only to hear the invocation.
"In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." That’s the way our worship starts, and that’s the way your life in Christ began. That’s because: when you first heard the words of the invocation, it was probably at your baptism.
On the day of your baptism: your Father adopted you into His family. On that day: Christ Jesus reached inside your soul and washed your sin away. On the day of your baptism: the Holy Spirit filled your spirit with his presence, his pardon, and his power. Every time you hear the invocation, it’s occasion for you to remember with gratitude that most important day of your life.
If only to hear those important words once more -- "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" -- it’s worth getting to worship this week! And worship always offers so much more than that besides....
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:1-2)
It is worth receiving the Lord’s Supper frequently: to feed our souls.
Jesus needed no physical instruments at all through which to deliver to us his forgiveness. His word was sufficient. Yet he chose to institute sacraments, with visible elements, to emphasize to us the reality of his pardon. And when he chose the elements for Holy Communion, he selected some of the basic foodstuffs of his day: bread and wine.
Among other things, Jesus was teaching us the following…. Just as bread and wine feed your hungry body, his body and blood – in, with, and under these elements – feed your soul, which is hungry for forgiveness.
So, how long can one survive without food and drink? It’s certainly not a full lifetime! How long can a mature Christian survive without Christ’s body and blood in the Lord’s Supper? Well, that’s the wrong question. Instead, we ought to ask ourselves: Why would anyone delay long – even only a matter of months – before receiving the Holy Sacrament? It is, after all, readily available to us as often as every week.
See you soon at the Sacred Table! Jesus promises you there a banquet for your sin-starved soul!
Take and eat…. Drink from it…. (Matthew 26:26,27)
INSIGHTS INTO STEWARDSHIP: Sacrifice to Please God
Share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased…. (Hebrews 13:16)
“Sacrifice” is gigantically a Bible theme. God himself offered the first sacrifice: in the Garden of Eden. It was a death for sin, which provided the leather garments to cover the naked sinfulness of our first parents. The Old Testament’s mountains of animal carcasses and sacrificial rivers of blood culminated in the Lord’s last sacrifice. On Good Friday on the cross, the Father sacrificed his Son – God himself! – permanently to cover and pardon our sinful nakedness.
That put an end to all sacrifices, at least bloody sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. Still, in view of Christ’s sacrifice, the Lord calls on us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices: in moment by moment worship of him. Among other things, that means sacrificing ourselves – our desires, our possessions, even our well-being – for others.
Specifically, Hebrews 13:16 urges us to “share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Yes, it is a sacrifice for us to share ourselves, our possessions, our money with others. However, we gladly do that: considering Christ’s saving sacrifice on our behalf. Especially, we are willing to sacrifice our money in offerings: for others to learn that Jesus sacrificed himself to give them eternal life, as well.
St. Mark's Ev. Lutheran Church + 615 Jones St. + Watertown, WI 53094
Phone 920-262-8500 + Fax (920) 262-8508