Luke 12:13-21 – The Foolish Game of Life

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Luke 12:13-21

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Parable of the Rich Fool16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A man dies leaving behind two sons and no will. One of the sons is greedy and tricksy. He takes everything – the accounts, the land, the house, and all the possessions. The other son just wanted a desk he and his father had spent hours sanding and refinishing together. Would you call that second son covetous? Would you tell him to let his greedy brother keep everything while he gets nothing? Jesus does.

We don’t know if this man is asking Jesus to judge and arbitrate so he can have millions of dollars or just an old desk, but it doesn’t meter either way. This man is asking Jesus to be his brother’s judge according to the Law, and you cannot point the Law at others. He is angry about his brother’s greed, but he himself is greedy and obsessed with stuff.

Jesus says, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Remember, Jesus is speaking to people who had just barely enough to live. People who might have had one spare set of clothes but no more. Jesus is speaking to people who were one sickness, one injury, one bad growing season away from disaster and death. “Be on your guard against all covetousness.”

Today, we don’t give coveting a second thought. In fact, the majority all industry and commerce is built around the fact that we covet. You see the commercials. “Get this truck that will haul more than your truck and get better fuel economy.” “Do you have toenail fungus? Talk to your doctor about this pill and see how great your life will be. You will finally be able to wear sandals again. The skies will be bluer. Your spouse and kids will smile more. Oh, by the way, common side effects are headache; diarrhea; kidney failure; and, in some rare instances, death.

And then there’s HGTV: the network that has made millions because we all break the 9th Commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.” I watch it, and then I walk around the house God has given our family thinking, “I wish our kitchen was a little bigger and our cupboards went up to the ceiling. A walk-in closet would make life a whole lot easier. If only we had a master bathroom. Nothing big or fancy, just a double vanity so my wife doesn’t have to deal with my whiskers in the sink.” And on and on it goes.

The things you own end up owning you“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Coveting is the beginning of all sin. Sin, all sin, starts from the bottom, “You shall not covet.” And it works its way up through the rest of the Commandments until, finally, it breaks the First, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” In our Epistle lesson (Col. 3:1-11), Paul says that covetousness is idolatry (v. 5). Think about it. When you covet, you make yourself to be God. That thing over there should be over here. You know better than God what you should or shouldn’t have. Right?

Now, every one of God’s commands can be broken by veering to the right or to the left. We sin against God by the things we do (sins of commission) and by the things we do not do (sins of omission). Take the 5th Commandment: Thou shalt not kill. We break this commandment, of course, when we commit murder, harm someone else, or even when we hate our neighbor in our heart. These are all sins of commission. But we also break the 5th Commandment when we do not help when our neighbor has a need. Same goes for the 8th Commandment: Thou shalt not bear false witness. We break this commandment when we lie and gossip. But we also break this commandment when we do not stand up and defend our neighbor and put the most charitable construction on our neighbor’s actions.

The same goes for the 9th and 10th Commandments about coveting. The desire to bring something into our possession when it is not ours is the sin of coveting. But what is the opposite? Contentment – having joy and delighting in the things that God has given to us.

Imagine going to your cupboard for a granola bar. But you find that the granola bars are all gone, but there is a jar of peanuts. So you take them out and chew away grumping that you don’t have a granola bar. But how many other times would you go to your cupboard looking for peanuts and be perfectly content?

God created all things, and when He was done, God looked around at everything He had made and saw that it was all very good (Gen. 1:31). Everything that we have, God has given to us, and when we do not delight in God’s gifts, we are breaking the 9th and 10th Commandments. As our Old Testament lesson said, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God” (Ecc. 2:24-25).

Our Epistle Lesson said, “Put to death what is earthly in you…” but Paul doesn’t start talking about material things like house, clothes, cars, etc. Instead, the earthly is, “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col 3:5). You aren’t less likely to covet by getting more or by having less.

The way to fight against your sin of coveting is to recognize that the God who gives heavenly, spiritual blessings is also the God who gives you all of your earthly, material blessings as well. “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6). Repent. Repent for coveting what is not yours, and repent for not enjoying what God has given.

In the parable that Jesus tells, the rich fool thought he had won at the game of life and figured it was time for a victory lap of food, drink, and enjoyment. But he had miscalculated. He failed to recognize that nothing he had – his riches, his lands, his crops, his barns, and even his own precious soul that he talked to – none of it was his own. Everything he had was on loan from God. Now, God calls for all those loans to be paid in full. Despite all his riches, he had no equity. Everything he had was borrowed. We are just as foolish in our covetousness. Jesus says, “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Glory of the CrossAnd so our Gospel lesson has, really, no Gospel in it. Just Jesus saying that there is an alternative – being rich toward God. But He doesn’t say how you can be rich toward God. The Epistle Lesson does. “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Know that Jesus has come to give you life and life abundantly. But that life is hidden. “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

So today, repent. Repent for trying to win at this foolish game of life. You have Christ. You have Him in the Word, in your Baptism, and in the Lord’s Supper. He has given you His life. He has given you His holy and precious blood. He has given you His righteousness. Jesus doesn’t hold back anything good from you. Because you are His and He is yours, you are rich, rich beyond measure, toward God. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.


Luke 11:1-13 – Our Shameless Father

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Luke 11:1-13

1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:


hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come.

3   Give us each day our daily bread,

4   and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

       And lead us not into temptation.”

5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his shamelessness he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Skeleton Praying DeadThe student should learn from the teacher. So when this disciple sees Jesus praying, it is good, right, and proper to ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. What Jesus teaches them is likely what He had just finished praying. To you who believe but still struggle with doubt, fear, and anxiety, Jesus teaches you to pray to His Father saying these very words:

“Hallowed be Your name.” God’s name is, of course, holy by itself, but Jesus teaches us to pray this so that God’s name would be holy among us as His believers. This is done when God’s Word is taught in its truth and purity, and when we as God’s children lead holy lives in accordance with His Word. Nothing is more dishonoring to God’s name than false teaching. You know the phrase, “A man is only as good as his word.” There is truth to that. The same goes for God. And as we heard in our Psalm today (138:2), “You have exalted above all things Your name and Your word.”

“Your kingdom come.” God’s kingdom, His rule, His reign, comes even without our prayer, but we pray that it would come to us. God’s kingdom, His active rule over us, comes as He gives us His Holy Spirit so that we believe His Word of love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy. God answers this prayer as you come to church each week, as you read His Word, and as you eat and drink His body and blood in Communion. God answers this prayer now, but you will not fully realize it until Jesus returns on the last day. So, as you wait for Him to return, Jesus continues to teach you to pray just as He did.

“Give us each day our daily bread.” In other words, “Give us everything we need to sustain our life.” But God already gives us the bread we need for each day. God causes the rain to fall upon the evil and the good alike. So why do we need to pray this? To make us thankful. Child PrayingHow often, parents, has your child told you, “I’m hungry”? You know what they want, but you make them ask, “Can I have some food?” Jesus teaches us to pray this petition so that we acknowledge God’s gifts to us and receive them with thanksgiving. Food, clothing, house, home, money, goods, parents, children, godly and faithful rulers, good government, seasonable weather, peace and health, order and honor, true friends, good neighbors, and anything else – all of it is God’s gift to us.

So as we wait for Christ to return and as we give thanks for all that God gives to us, Jesus also teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our sins,” or, “Divorce – send away, separate from us so that they have nothing more to do with us – divorce from us the sins of us.” God doesn’t like divorce in marriage, but He loves divorcing our sins from us. If our sins still clung to us, we should expect God to deny our prayers. But God does forgive because of Jesus’ death and resurrection and gives us all things, especially forgiveness, through His grace.

Now, Jesus never sinned, but we do know He prayed the second part of this petition, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). As our sins are forgiven, we forgive those who are indebted to us because we recognize that we are all in the same boat. We all need forgiveness.

Finally, “And lead us not into temptation.” Now, God tempts no one to sin. But Jesus teaches us to pray that God would guard and preserve us so that the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh would not deceive us or lead us into error and unbelief, despair, and other shameful sins. But instead, when we are tempted, we may prevail over it and gain the victory.

If Jesus didn’t teach us to pray this way, who of us would be so bold as to ask God for any of these things? We wouldn’t dare. We would sound even worse than Abraham in our Old Testament lesson (Gen. 18:20-33). “Oh don’t be angry with me. I shouldn’t even speak to you because I am only dust and ashes. I keep asking for things, God, but let me ask just one more thing then I’ll be quiet.” Abraham was very bold to speak to God; he had faith that God was gracious and merciful. But Abraham hadn’t been told to address God the way that Jesus tells you address Him – “Father.”

That one word is all you need to know about how to pray – Father. You are not praying to some sleepy deity in the sky who is lethargic and uninterested in you. You aren’t talking to an angry god who is waiting to hit you with a lightning bolt. You aren’t petitioning a numbskull spirit who doesn’t know what you need. You are praying to your Father.

The Friend at Midnight ParableJesus tells this parable about the man who goes knocking on his friend’s door at midnight because he was totally unprepared for his guest. There is no chance that the man who is in bed will send his neighbor away empty-handed. The guy in bed is ‘shameless’ in a good sense, he has a perfect reputation. And to keep his shameless reputation, he will give the neighbor not just the three loaves, but whatever else his neighbor needs.

In the same way, when you need something from God, ask Him – even if you think you are inconveniencing God. God will give you whatever you need because He will not allow you, His child, to go away empty handed. God will answer to protect His shameless reputation. God is always your shameless Father.

When you ask God for anything – whether it would be good for you or not – God will give you what is good. God knows the difference between a fish and a snake and between an egg and a scorpion – even when you and I don’t.

So pray. Pray not because there is power in prayer – there isn’t. Pray because there is power in God. Trust in that power. Trust in His good and tender fatherliness to you. Pray whether you feel like it or not. Pray even when you doubt that God will answer. God will provide. He will keep His word to you forever. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Luke 10:25-37 – Blood, Mud, & Mercy

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Luke 10:25-37

25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Good Samaritan Jesus IconGrace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

When the Pharisees saw Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners, the they figured Jesus was just as defiled as His table companions. But Jesus responded, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, [and He quotes from Hos. 6:6] ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt. 9:12-13). Jesus reveals His most earnest desire as the Son of God. God desires to show you mercy – mercy which is new every morning (Lam. 3:22-23) and endures forever (Ps. 118).

But you naturally don’t want a handout. You would rather work your way to God with sacrifice. And so, like the lawyer, you ask, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer lies in the Law. What does the Law demand? Love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with and all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. And if you think that sounds like a nice warm fuzzy, repent because you have a pathetic understanding of what love is.

Love is a constant self-giving, self-emptying of yourself for the sake of another. Love is complete only in death. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13).

If you are a “To-Do-List” person, you go through your day checking things off. “Make the bed,” check. “Wash the dishes,” check. “Fold the laundry,” check. “Love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind.” If you still are alive, you cannot never mark that as done. “Love my neighbor as myself,” same thing.

The Law is right and good, but it doesn’t stop making demands for you to love – ever. If there had been a law which could have given life, righteousness would have been by the Law. But Scripture has imprisoned everything under sin (Gal. 3:21-22). The Law robs you of all your works, strips away the thin veneer of what you call ‘love,’ beats you up with its demands, throws you in the ditch, and leaves you there to die.

Watch this play out in our text – and not in the parable!

The lawyer already knew what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus just drives it home by asking him what the Law says. The lawyer answers correctly. Love God perfectly.
Love your neighbor perfectly. This is nothing new. It is simply what the Scriptures say in Dt. 6:5 and our Old Testament text Lev. 19:5. Jesus tells the lawyer, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.” But Jesus might just as well have said, “Yup. Go to hell.”

And the lawyer gets it. He is trapped, caught in his own question. He understands the gravity of the situation. According to the right and just judgment of the Law, he is damned. So, desiring to justify himself, he asks, “Well, who is my neighbor?” Now, this desire to justify himself is not evil. He wants off the hook. The Law has done its work of exposing him for the wretched sinner that he is. The Law has left him scared and confused because he doesn’t know the Gospel yet. So, looking for a loophole, he asks, “Who is my neighbor? Whom should I love”Skeleton Praying Dead

But every Sunday school student knows the answer. “Who is my neighbor?” Everyone. “Whom should I love?” Everyone. Without fail.

Now, as we turn to the parable, we need to be careful. The parable doesn’t answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” If the parable of the Good Samaritan is mainly meant to tell the lawyer that he should love everyone, then Jesus is kicking a man who has already been beaten up by the Law. “You’re tired of being dead? Well, try harder.”

But that is not why Jesus tells this parable. You see that Jesus is not answering the question, “Who is my neighbor?” by the way Jesus ends the parable. Notice that Jesus changes the question, “Who was neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” And the answer is not, “Everyone.” Jesus changes the question to get the answer He wanted – the one who showed mercy. The one who showed mercy.

Remember God says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” Jesus desires to show the lawyer and you hope. Jesus wants to show you what God mercifully does for you. He wants to show you the Gospel.

Now look at the parable: The man is going the wrong way – he is leaving Jerusalem, going away from the place where God is, and heading toward Jericho. He falls among thieves and is left half dead. The priest and the Levite represent the moral and ceremonial law. They do not help him because they cannot help him. The Law cannot go down into the ditch. The Law simply shows you that you are down in the ditch.

The Samaritan comes – the despised one, the rejected one, the one who had no form or majesty that we should look at him (Is. 53:3) – and He has compassion.

In the Gospels, that word, ‘compassion,’ is only used of Jesus and characters in parables that represent Jesus. He goes down into the ditch. In mercy, He goes down into the blood and the mud. He binds up the man’s wounds, pours on oil and wine (think Baptism and Lord’s Supper), puts him on His animal, takes him to the inn. Before he takes off, the Merciful Samaritan leaves two denarii (enough to house and feed this guy for two days) promising to return. A nice little hint, there, that He will be back on the third day.

But He also promises, “Whatever more you spend, I will repay when I come back.” In other words, the Merciful Samaritan vows to make good on a no-limit account to this complete stranger who could ruin Him. But He makes the promise nonetheless.

Jesus does all this for you. He rescues you who were going the wrong way – away from God. He rescues you who have been robbed, beaten, stripped, and left half dead. He binds you up with His Word, Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper. He puts you in the inn of His Holy Christian Church promising to return and pay for your no-limit account. Jesus desires mercy and not sacrifice. Jesus desires to be merciful to you. Nice little parable, huh?

The parable is over. And Jesus asks, “Who was a neighbor to the man who fell among thieves.” Duh. The one who showed mercy. Jesus says, “You go, and do likewise.” What does that mean? Exactly what you think it means. Be like Christ. Go and have compassion, be loving be compassionate toward your neighbor, not because you have to, but because good works follow faith. Always.

What God pours into you – His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy – spills out to your neighbor around you. Thanks be to God for this mercy. Amen.[1]

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

[1] I am thankful to a sermon by Pr. David H. Petersen as inspiration for portions of this sermon.

Galatians 6:1-19 – A Crucified Worldview

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Galatians 6:1-18

1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Far be it from me to boast except in the guillotine. Far be it from me to boast except in the lynching rope. Far be it from me to boast except in the electric chair. Sounds odd, right? But what Paul says here is even more shocking, “Far be it from me, may it never be, [even] God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Passion of Christ on the CrossIn Paul’s day, you didn’t utter the word ‘cross’ in polite circles, but now it is the cause of boasting. The cross is, arguably, the most brutal form of execution, the most horrific instrument of death, that has ever been devised. Designed to make death as slow as possible, the cross is symbolic of defeat and humiliation. But for Paul and for you, the cross reveals God’s power.

God forbid that we should boast except in the cross because, by the cross, the world has been crucified to you and you to the world. On the cross, Jesus ended the Law’s accusations against you by taking your sin and guilt into Himself. Jesus knew what He was doing. And, now, it is finished. On the cross, Jesus has purchased and won the world for Himself. He has opened eternal life to all believers.

While the world around you beats its chest in accomplishments, possessions, and power, you boast in the cross. You boast in the cross and the world laughs. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…. Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom. But we, we preach Christ crucified – a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.… I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 1:18, 22-23, 2:2).

Know nothing except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Keep the cross as the lens through which you see everything else because, on the cross, God was reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). When you sin, remember Jesus died on the cross. When you are sinned against, Jesus died on the cross. When you do a good work, Jesus died on the cross. When your family is torn apart, Jesus died on the cross. When your relationships are fantastic, Jesus died on the cross. When you are thankful for the country and freedoms God has given you, Jesus died on the cross. When the world falls into chaos and your liberty is taken away, Jesus died on the cross.

God forbid that we should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, but why? Because by the cross, the world has been crucified to you and you to the world. Because of Christ’s crucifixion, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, nothing you do or do not do, neither your obedience nor your disobedience, counts for anything. The only thing that matters, the only thing that counts, is a new creation.

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17). You, believer, are in Christ.

Cross and CommunionOn the cross the old way of the world died. With the resurrection, the life of the new creation has begun. On the cross, Christ gave Himself to deliver you from the present evil age (Gal. 1:4). This evil age is crucified, but it is not yet buried. The crucifixion of the world is not yet complete. You feel the evil of this age, and your own sinful flesh still clings to you. But those things no longer dictate your thoughts or way of life. You are in Christ and live by faith. You are a new creation. Through faith you perceive the new world which is dawning.

And you don’t have to wait. Your Lord is here with you now. He is coming to you – Body and Blood in Bread and Wine. Here is a foretaste of the eternal feast to come in the new creation. He comes again to make you new. Peace and mercy be upon you all. Amen.

The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.