Friday, March 30, 2012

Palm Sunday

From Martin Luther’s House Postil, from a sermon on John 12:12-19

“We should get really well acquainted with this Christ-King, and place all our hope boldly in the life which is to come, where we will be forever happy, free of all sin and infirmity. It’s for that reason that Christ came, and was crucified, died, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven to occupy his kingdom. That’s how he overcame sin, death, and the devil for us, and by his blood and Holy Spirit swept us clean of all filth, so that all who believe in him are righteous and blessed, and will someday pass through temporal death into his eternal, heavenly kingdom.

“That’s why all of us should truly welcome this Christ-King, recognizing him as our righteous helper, and by the power of the Word, Sacraments, and faith, enjoy him now and forever! A Christian, you see, has not been baptized, so that he may collect treasure and get rich here on earth – all of which he can do as well without the gospel and baptism; instead he was baptized so that through Christ he may attain eternal life. To reach that life is why we should faithfully use the gospel and our baptism. I am a baptized Christian so that I may inherit and attain Christ’s kingdom. And if I’m also blessed with possessions, I use these for my physical needs – certainly not to lift myself up into heaven!

“We should, therefore, mark all the difference between Christ’s kingdom and worldly powers, as he himself clearly showed by his extraordinary entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, without a saddle, the animal a borrowed one at that! He sat 0n it without pretense, just as he was, barefoot, without boots and spurs. From the human point of view the whole incident looked ridiculous, and yet this beggar-King, riding on a donkey, was Israel’s King, promised by God and foretold by the prophets. That was evident also from the way his followers greeted him, “Hosanna!” Blessings on this King and upon his new kingdom! “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” All of which made it crystal clear that he was in no way like worldly rulers who have amassed a lot of treasure and property for the purpose of displaying worldly pomp and circumstance for their public appearances. Christ was no such earthly king; on the contrary, he is an eternal King, with an everlasting kingdom where one needs neither gold or silver, and yet will never suffer any want or need in all eternity.

“The world has nothing but high disdain for this King and his kingdom with its eternal blessings; it is concerned only with temporal goods: power, honor, and riches on earth. We Christians, however, are to labor here and use the world’s goods for our bodily needs, all the while not forgetting the other life. After all, we must in the end depart and leave behind the goods of this earthly life; that should help us remember where we really want to be, namely with Christ, our eternal King. For if we accept him here, that is, believe in him and heed his gospel, he will also receive us over there, saying to us, “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

“This, then, is what our dear Lord Jesus Christ meant to show by his entrance into Jerusalem, so that we might truly understand him and his kingdom. On the left hand, as it were, we still live here in the kingdom of this world, but always on the right hand we reach forward and upward to his kingdom everlasting in the world to come. It was for that future life that we were baptized. May God grant us his grace so that we may joyously welcome and accept this King and remain with him forever. Amen!”

- House Postil

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Easter Outreach for Kids.

Living Word Lutheran Church will be hosting our Spring Outreach for children ages 3-9 (younger & "older" kids are also welcome!) The event will be held next Saturday, March 31st from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Parents are encouraged to stay and participate with their children.

The theme for the event id "The Resurrection Butterfly". The colors of the butterfly will help us to remember the special time when Jesus died and came alive again, for us on the very first Resurrection Day!

This is a FREE event which includes Bible story, snack, craft, activities, song, springtime "babies", and extra goodies. We are planning for many children to attend.  Please start thinking about inviting the children you know, so that we may share the joy of Jesus' resurrection with them!  We will also be needing may volunteers. so please e-mail  if you wish to participate with this outreach.

Bring your kids, invite your neighbor's kids and any other children whom you know!

Friday, March 2, 2012

LCMS reacts to contraceptive mandate 'accommodation'

In response to President Obama’s announcement Friday concerning an “accommodation” to a previous mandate that health plans must cover all forms of birth control (even those that can kill the unborn), The Lutheran Church—Missouri
Synod (LCMS) remains deeply concerned. We strongly object to the use of drugs and procedures that are used to take the lives of unborn children, who are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception. Drugs such as “Plan B” and “Ella,” which are still included in the mandate, can work post-conception to cause the death of the developing child, so don’t be fooled by statements to the contrary.

We see President Obama’s action Friday as significant, in that it appears to have been prompted by the many voices united in concern over an infringement of our religious liberties. But the “accommodation” did not expand the exemption for religious employers, nor did it restrict the mandate in any way. It simply described a temporary enforcement delay and a possible future change—a change that, unfortunately, would not adequately protect religious freedom or unborn lives.

We remain opposed to this mandate because it runs counter to the biblical truth of the sanctity of human life. We are committed to working to ensure that we remain free to practice the teachings of our faith, that our religious rights are not violated, and that our rights of conscience are retained. Freedom of religion extends beyond the practice of our faith in houses of worship. We must be free to put our faith into action in the public square, and, in response to Christ’s call, demonstrate His mercy through our love and compassion for all people according to the clear mandate of Holy Scripture.

The government has overstepped its bounds. This controversy is not merely about “birth control” and the Catholic Church’s views about it. It’s about mandating that we provide medications which kill life in the womb. And moreover, and perhaps even more ominous, it is about an overzealous government forcing coercive provisions that violate the consciences and rights of its citizens. We can no longer expect a favored position for Christianity in this country. But we can, as citizens of this great nation, fight for constitutional sanity against secularizing forces. As we have vividly experienced in discriminatory state legislation with respect to homosexual adoption, we, and our institutions (and those of other religious citizens of good will), are being robbed of the right to the free exercise of religion absent government intrusion or threat. The next assault will come upon church-related retirement facilities. How much longer will it be legal in this country to believe and act according to the dictates of biblical and creedal Christianity?

Jesus bids us, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Mark 12:17). We will pray for and support our government where we can, but our consciences and lives belong to God.
The Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison
President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod