What Are You Excited About
Wednesday in Pentecost 26
16 November 2016
Some years ago, I enjoyed the hospitality of the pastoral conference of the Minnesota North District of the LCMS. The pastors meet at a camp on an island in the middle of a Minnesota lake. When the sun was going down I sat looking east from the island and was treated to a blazing display of fall color along the shore of the lake. My gaze was trained on the beauty of the creation arrayed before me. I couldn't take my eyes off it. The locals seemed to be a bit more prosaic about the whole thing. When I remarked about the joy I had in this sight, they took this as a matter of course. They were treated to this every fall; "Yeah, yeah, sure. We see this every fall. What are you all excited about?"
We can become prosaic about Christ too. "Oh, yes, Christ, we know all about Him. Can't we get on to better and more important things? What's the big deal? Can't we focus on making people better or making our church grow?"  But if we lose sight of Christ, we will lose Christianity, church, and people. Only Christ creates the church. Only Christ creates the people of God. Our gaze must always be on Christ.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"'For you all are one in Christ Jesus' (Gal 3:28). These are magnificent and very glorious words. In the world and according to the flesh there is a very great difference and inequality among persons, and this must be observed very carefully. For if a woman wanted to be a man, if a son wanted to be a father, if a pupil wanted to be a teacher, if a servant wanted to be a master, if a subject wanted to be a magistrate-there would be a disturbance and confusion of all social stations and of everything. In Christ, on the other hand, where there is no law, there is no distinction among persons at all. There is neither Jew nor Greek, but all are one; for there is one body, one Spirit, one hope of the calling of all, one and the same gospel, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, one Christ, the Lord of all (Eph 4:4-6). The same Christ whom Peter, Paul, and all the saints have, we have too-you and I and all believers; and all baptized infants have the same one also. Here the conscience knows nothing about the law but looks only at Christ. This is why Paul always makes it a practice to add the words 'in Christ Jesus'; if Christ is lost sight of, everything is over.
"The fanatical spirits today speak about faith in Christ in the manner of the [legalists]. They imagine that faith is a quality that clings to the heart apart from Christ. This is a dangerous error. Christ should be set forth in such a way that apart from Him you see nothing at all and that you believe that nothing is nearer and closer to you than He. For He is not sitting idle in heaven but is completely present with us, active and living in us as chapter two says (Gal 2:20): 'It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me,' and here: 'You have put on Christ.' Therefore, faith is a constant gaze that looks at nothing except Christ, the Victor over sin and death and the Dispenser of righteousness, salvation, and eternal life. In his epistles, therefore, Paul sets forth and urges Jesus Christ in almost every verse. He sets Him forth through the Word, since Christ cannot be set forth any other way than through the Word and cannot be grasped any other way than through faith."

Martin Luther, Lectures on Galatians, 3.28
Romans 1:18-25

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (ESV)
Lord Christ, You give Yourself to us in Word and Sacraments, let us gaze upon You through these means, that we might be wholly Yours. Amen.
For all the pastors of Texas District, that God our heavenly Father would keep their gaze fixed on Christ
For police officers, firefighters and medics, that God would keep them safe in their calling to protect our community
For all vocations, that God would bless the daily work of his people as they serve their neighbor
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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