The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
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Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Sunday, November 9, 2014

All Saints Sunday, 2014. Matthew 5:1-10.
The Beatitudes

Many times we lose our loved ones
before old age.


All Saints Sunday, 2014
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn # 371     Jesus Thy Blood                   4:6
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed             p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 463            For All the Saints                   4:31 

Blessed Are They...


The Communion Hymn #305            Soul, Adorn Thyself             4:23 
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn # 657            Beautiful Savior            4:24  

KJV Revelation 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred andforty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV Matthew 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


ALL SAINTS' DAY

O almighty and everlasting God, who through Thine only-begotten and beloved Son, Jesus Christ, wilt sanctify all Thine elected and beloved: Give us grace to follow their faith, hope, and charity, that we together with them may obtain eternal life: through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



Blessed Are They...



Lenski:
The Beatitudes read like a Psalm; μακάριοι at once recalls the blessed of Ps. 1:1. “Blessed!” intoned again and again, sounds like bells of heaven, ringing down into this unblessed world from the cathedral spires of the kingdom inviting all men to enter. The word, like its opposite “woe,” is neither a wish regarding a coming condition, nor a description of a present condition, but a judgment pronounced upon the persons indicated, stating that they must be considered fortunate. The form is almost exclamatory: “O the blessedness of those who,” etc.! And it is Jesus who renders this judgment, which is, therefore, absolutely true although all the world may disagree. Each of the eight judgments is at once established by revealing in what the blessedness actually consists; and the eighth judgment is even doubled, and its blessedness is unveiled in two strong statements. All this blessedness is spiritual, each part of it coming from the great Messianic kingdom, true soul-blessedness, a rich possession now but with a glorious promise of still greater riches—the very opposite of the word’s happiness which is poisoned already in the bud and soon blasted forever. “Blessed” means joy for those concerned. But this is the heavenly way: the great gifts of the kingdom are ours, insuring a constant flow of joy, so that, even if for a moment we be sad and sorrowful, the joy will again well up in our hearts. John 15:11.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 183.




We departed from the official Thrivent liturgical calendar to bring Reformation Sunday closer to Reformation Day. All Saints follows.

When the Reformation took place, only one holy day was celebrated - All Saints. There are various days for remembering those who died in the Lord. Germans mark the last Sunday in the Trinity season literally as Dead Sunday - Totensonntag. That was a very big service in Kitchener, Ontario. The church was full and we had another service at the church cemetery.

We just lost Gary Meyer, Senior.

Raymond Klatt, a regular worshiper with us, lost his wife Marie.

Earlier in the life of this congregation, we lost:

  • Walter Boeckler, Norma's husband
  • Gladys Meyer, my mother.
  • Brenda Kiehler, our dear friend and church member.
We all have others we remember and mourn, because they were dear to us, important in our lives, and members of the Christian Church.



The Beatitudes


As Lenski noted, the Beatitudes are revealed to us in a Psalm-like form. They are certainly poetic.  We often say there are eight Beatitudes, but there are nine "Blesseds." That reminds us of these blessings being nine-fold fruit of the Holy Trinity at work in our lives.


Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law [GJ - Torah, teaching] of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
This verse. like the other Beatitudes, sounds wrong at first, but it is the essence of the Gospel.  That is the reason we teach such verses to children. I remember constructing some geometric shape in paper with a Beatitude on each side. We were to memorize them that way, and we did to some extent.
The classic passages of the Bible become part of our basic memory, and we return to them later.
This verse is central to our understand of the Christian faith, because we have losses throughout life. One of my friends lost his father when he was young. He mentions that often, about 50 years later.
My friends often mention their mothers and how much they miss them. Only one mother is left among my high school friends. She is 93. My friends mention my mother too, because of her influence on their lives. One said, "Your mother saved my life." Another one said, "My biggest disappointment is that I did not get to have your mother as my teacher in grade school."
Comfort comes from forgiveness and salvation. 
The purpose of the Christian Church is to teach the Gospel, to support it with complete and thorough teaching, and to sustain the faith created by nurturing souls with even more Gospel.
Literature and History
In world literature and history, the key issue is forgiveness and salvation. We just watched Les Miserbles (musical) which is remarkably good, not so much as a film, but in its concert form (with lyrics appearing on the screen).
The novel is about a man born into poverty, who served on galley ships for 16 years because he stole bread for his sister's child. Finally released, he stole from the bishop who took him in and fed him.
The turning point of the novel is the section which was featured in many reading books - The Bishop's Candlesticks. The bishop told the policemen that Jean Valjean was supposed to have even more. He was no thief at all, he said. So a man who lived a life without experiencing any mercy finds it in the bishop, who could have demanded justice.
The rest of the novel concerns the inspector who wants to find and jail Valjean forever, pure justice. Valjean has broken his parole and Javert has a right and a duty to find him. One is easily reminded of Saul persecuting the Christians.
Finally Javert finds his entire meaning of life thrown into turmoil when Valjean shows him mercy instead of justice (sparing Javert's life, without asking anything in return). 
Valjean confesses his sins and is ushered into eternal life.
Likewise, Paul showed no mercy, but the risen Christ appeared to him, taught him, and appointed him an apostle. Paul was all justice in the Law until he found mercy with Christ.
Luther also lived according to monastic law, trying to be more observant than anyone else. He learned from his spiritual advisor that he needed the Gospel and forgiveness, not more Law and guilt.
Both with Paul, Augustine, and Luther is this great emphasis upon God's grace, which came from their total reliance on Law earlier. All three knew their faith did not come from their intellect or will but from the power of God's grace.
Grace and Faith Differ
Some clergy think that emphasizing grace is somehow an antidote to justification by faith. But that is wrong. 
God's nature is to be gracious, but it is not our nature. God's grace plants faith in us through the Gospel, and we receive grace, making us more gracious. That graciousness is not ours but God's. This graciousness is energized by the Gospel Promises.
Gracious means being more patient, more forgiving, more compassionate, not expected thanks but feeling blessed by the chance to serve, to help, to comfort, to guide and teach.
Payback comes along later, such as when I heard, "Dad, you were right about..." 
Long ago I pointed out to a member that we would not engage in money-making projects because we should not compete with local business. Another reason is that people think by paying for overpriced objects they have fulfilled an obligation. Such gimmicks are the enemy of real stewardship, which is based on thankfulness for God's grace. The needs of God's work have always been met but gimmicks have not worked consistently, only short-term. 
Many of us have watched flashy ministries go into receivership because the gimmicks got tiresome. The flash masked an inner corruption that was bound to surface.
How Can Mourning Be Blessed?
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
God created us to mourn. It is natural, and all people mourn. However, they mourn without a good effect if they have no faith in Christ.
Those who die in Christ - in faith - have their sins forgiven, so they enter eternal life with the righteousness of Christ.
That gives us a different perspective, which is easier as time grows shorter. We see more in the light of eternity. I see the changes in my friends as they try to get rid of things instead of accumulating them. They look back and appreciate the blessings of past, which is a good feeling.
The initial stages of grief are painful, but there is healing with each step. We never stop missing someone. Often the feelings are intense or rush upon us like a train wreck. But each step brings less pain and more appreciation.
In time, the loss itself energizes us. We wrote up the loss of our daughters and continue to give away that book. It unites us with those who have lost a member of the family or friend. Sometimes it is passed on to someone suffering from acute and unresolved grief.
Naturally it changed our attitude about everything. Threats did not mean much when the greatest treasures (on earth) were gone. Temporary gains meant nothing compared to eternal truths.