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Luke 10:1-16

 

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road.   Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.

 

"The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me." (ESV)

 

From Our Fathers

St. Michael and All Angels

29 September 2014

It is important for us to thank God for fathers; not only for our fathers in the flesh, but also for our spiritual fathers. I am grateful for those people who taught me the faith and modeled it for me. My own father in the flesh, Sunday School teachers like Mrs. Ada Sinyard, the pastor who catechized me, Pr. Gerald Scholz, beloved professors, like Dr. Robert D. Preus, dear colleagues, like Pr. Ian Pacey, and beloved fathers, like some of the great elders of my parish, have all begotten me by delivering the gospel to me. I had many fathers in the faith, more than I could ever list. I owe a debt of gratitude to the church's sons, who all fathered me in the faith of Christ. They all taught and even now teach me that the divine promise comes only through the gospel. They are part of that great company of the saints created by their mother, the church, who then have a part in begetting many more children until the day when there will be no more begetting nor being begotten.

 

That begetting also occurs through the conversation that still goes on between the living and the dead. No, I don't mean by séances and mediums, but by listening to the teachings of our ancient forebears whose books, sermons, and letters deliver the holy gospel to those of us privileged enough to stand on their shoulders and listen in on what they are saying. We are given birth by some ancient fathers: Cyprian, Hilary, Augustine, and Luther, just to name a few of the more eminent fathers of the church. How prolific the holy church is through work of so many fathers, both living and dead.

 

Through such a birth of the living and active Word of God, which is the divine promise of blessing, we become heirs of the church, which is God's kingdom. We are heirs of a free salvation so that through it we become free people. We are sons; heirs of the kingdom through a birth by Sarah, who is our mother, the church. We have been begotten by the gospel from the watery womb of baptism which is in the body of our mother, the church. In her divinely-given word, we are declared justified in God's sight. Our sin no longer plagues us. We are free. What a great thing to gain from our fathers.

 

Martin Luther

 

"This allegory (Gal 4:22-31) teaches in a beautiful way that the church should not do anything but preach the gospel correctly and purely and thus give birth to free people. In this way we are all fathers and sons of one another, for we are born of one another. I was born of others through the gospel, and now I am a father to still others, who will be fathers to still others; and so this giving birth will endure until the end of the world. But I am speaking, not about Hagar's giving birth, who gives birth to slaves through the law, but about free Sarah's, who gives birth to heirs without the law, without works or their own efforts. That Isaac is the heir and Ishmael is not, even though both are natural sons of Abraham, happens through the Word of promise, specifically: 'Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac' (Gn 17:19). Sarah understood this very well, and therefore she said: 'Cast out this slave woman with her son' (Gn 21:10); words that Paul quotes below (Gal 4:30). Therefore just as Isaac has the inheritance from his father solely on the basis of the promise and of his birth, without the law or works, so we through the gospel are born as heirs of Sarah, the free woman, that is, by the church. She teaches, cherishes, and carries us in her womb, her bosom, and her arms; she shapes and perfects us to the form of Christ, until we grow into complete manhood (Eph 4:13). Thus everything happens through the ministry of the Word. It is the office of a free woman by marriage to God to go on giving birth to free persons endlessly, that is, to such sons who know that they are justified by faith, not by the law." 

 

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 4.26
 
Collect for St. Michael and All Angels

Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For all those who are suffering economic hardship, that they would be rescued from economic calamity

 

For Luke George, that he would be strengthened in his body as he recovers from Leukemia therapy

 

For Rhett Wilkens, that the holy angels would watch over him

Art: Crucifixes  Uppsala Cathedral (medieval)

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