The Glory Has Departed

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Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016. Ephesians 4:1-6.
Paul's Defense of the Cross

The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn #  44                    Ye Lands              
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 #203            Morning Breaks                  

The Christian Life

The Communion Hymn # 315            I Come O Savior             
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 # 361                     O Jesus, King

Two Years Ago

Gary went to be with his Lord and Savior on September 17th, 2014 at his home with his family by his side.

Gary was born June 1st, 1933 in Burbank, California. He attended Harvard Military Academy in Sherman Oaks, California. After graduating, he attended Arizona State University before joining the Air Force Cadet training program and graduated as a Lieutenant. He flew refueling aircraft for six years. He achieved the rank of Captain and then joined the California and Washington Air National Guard. He began his career with United Airlines in 1964. He retired after thirty years as a Captain on Boeing 747's.

Gary enjoyed hunting, fishing and camping with his wife and three sons. He was a member of the Retired United Pilots Association.
Gary was preceded in death by his father, James B. Meyer and his mother Alice Viola Howland
KJV Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

KJV Luke 14:1 And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. 2 And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. 3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; 5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? 6 And they could not answer him again to these things. 7 And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Seventeenth Sunday After Trinity

Lord God, heavenly Father: We beseech Thee so to guide and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not exalt ourselves, but humbly fear Thee, with our whole hearts hear and keep Thy word, and hallow the Lord's day, that we also may be hallowed by Thy word; help us, first, to place our hope and confidence in Thy Son, Jesus Christ, who alone is our righteousness and Redeemer, and, then, so to amend and better our lives in accordance with Thy word, that we may avoid all offenses and finally obtain eternal salvation, through Thy grace in Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God. world without end. Amen.

KJV Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

One strange part of early Christian history is the imprisonment of Paul. He was arrested and yet a scandal involving Nero kept him in prison for a long time. No one knows his history for certain, whether he had another missionary journey or not, but we know he wrote letters from prison.

We can see a great unity in this history, which connects Paul to the cross of Christ, and us to bearing the same cross. The crucifixion was a scandal to the followers of Jesus - and not the traditional "scandal" but one far worse. We think of gossip magazines and shocking stories, but the original meaning of the term was far more serious. The "scandal" at that time meant the trigger of a deadly trap.

So the logic went like this, "If the great Messiah was arrested and killed, what does mean about His message? The Son of David was to be a great warrior and king, not a convicted criminal who died shamefully."

Soon enough, the core of Jesus' followers saw the risen Christ and heard Him teach them about the meaning of everything they had experienced. Unbelieving rationalists cannot get this and get all twisted up trying to explain how the entire Bible has this unified and unifying message of bearing the cross, let alone the confidence of believers in this message. 

The trigger of the death-trap is to suffer from the false conclusions of ordinary experience. We want our heroes to ride on white chargers and appear in glittering armor. Jesus did not fail to fulfill the Old Testament prophesies - quite the opposite. He fulfilled ones that people never saw until they were explained to them. Read Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 and see if this is not true.

The trigger is basing conclusions on the popular notions of the Messiah, which were superficially plucked from the Old Testament and from the extra-canonical works of the time. I once owned a gigantic volume on these writings and sold them to seminary so I could stay in graduate school. When the seminary left with a lot of my books, and I had a lot of cash, LI waved goodbye at them, about 3 years old, and said, "Come back a-ga-in."

So even today, I can take anyone to an academic library and show them shelves of books "about" the Bible that deny what the Bible teaches, one way or another. Some make it a money machine for themselves. Others simply rationalize everything down to nothing, since they also have no faith at all. It simply manifests itself in different ways.

Paul was then the second trigger of the death-trap. He preached on the divinity of the risen Christ and performed miracles. He energy and clarity were remarkable, yet he was thrown into prison and facing a death sentence. How could Christianity, as it was beginning to be known, be the one true religion if its primary apostle was a convict and soon to be dead?

walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 

The true meaning of vocation is not "job" but a calling by the Holy Spirit. The invitation to believe in Christ comes from the Gospel itself, always energized by the Spirit at work in the Word.

God invites and kindles faith in Christ through the Gospel Promises, so faith in Christ is a vocation and whatever we do as believers is a Christian vocation. Whether someone is a household servant or a great lord of an estate, he has a calling to be Christian and to conduct his work and to treat his family accordingly.

2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

We can see the unity of the message of Paul, because the characteristics of a Christian life are modeled after Christ. I have noticed that many synodical leaders are like Luther's description of the same types - "so angry they act as if they would tear up trees by their roots." They manipulate and oppress people by their ferocious glares and their angry outbursts. No one dare oppose them or even question them.

If Christ had treated His disciples the same way, we would all be pagans, or slaves of a pagan religion. Jesus was entirely different. He was lowly and meek -

Matthew 11:29King James Version (KJV)

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To be a Christian means to be Christ-like, remembering always His responses to the weaknesses of His disciples.
The answer in training the disciples was not in verbally and emotionally abusing them, so they acted out of fear. But patiently (long-suffering, in forebearance) Jesus taught them by Word and by His example.
The ultimate test was the crucifixion and resurrection, in which they learned that no matter how far they were down and crushed by despair, Good News awaited them. That experience gave them the unshakable faith, divinely taught and wrought, to endure everything, so most of them died during the persecutions that followed. According to tradition, only John died of old age, and there is a story of him being poisoned. 
We know little because the Apostolic Age was about Jesus the Risen Lord rather than the disciples.
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. [GJ - Trinitarian ending]
These four verses teach the unity of God's message in a special way, with the word "one" being used seven times, the Trinity named once and then reflected again in the three-fold formula at the end.
All exhortations in the Bible are accompanied by Gospel Promises and declarations. Why should the Apostolic Church stay together when the most active apostle was in prison and considered a dangerous criminal? Because God's Word is a unified truth, the believing Church will necessarily remain unified in that truth.
At the reunion of Moline High, 1966, we sat at a table where we were the only two Lutherans. But there was no question that the group had a spirit united by faith in Christ. Everyone was either clergy or laity active in their congregations, so a strong feeling of friendship based on faith in Christ was evident.
Some say, "Why can't everyone belong to the same confession of faith?" But human experience shows that friendly struggles are good for the truth rather than harmful. Nowdays the Lutheran leaders are oppressive, dictatorial, and dishonest. If they could abide doctrinal discussions without going into their Stalin imitations, they would benefit their respective groups. Monopolies in business and in churches create ennui, apathy, and corruption.
If one business owns an area, prices are high and service is bad. The staff may even dip their hands in the revenue and drive prices higher to feather their nests. In denominations, the same things happen. Once it is known how to advance dishonestly, the leaders learn how to pose and quote the right people. The rest become quite cynical about the results.
The mixing of denominations tends to underline what the differences and similarities are. That does not mean covering up error to create a false unity, just to get along. Paul wrote there must be divisions to show what is good.

1 Corinthians 11:19King James Version (KJV)

19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
Biblical Pietism came out of the rationalistic battling over philosophical terms. Speaking about the Bible itself was so new again, that classes were packed on the topic of what the books of the Bible taught, instead of "how to answer the Calvinists' special terms."
But out of that came a new age of Rationalism, especially at Halle University. A counter-struggle began to reclaim the concept of faith in the Word. And so the struggle continues.
On a much smaller scale, we have the chance daily to practice what Paul urges through the Holy Spirit. An attitude of meekness and lowliness means we are quick to apologize and quick to forgive, eager to listen and cautious about our emotions.
Our grandson said yesterday as he grabbed my hand, "Saturdays make me feel joyous." He told me how much he looked forward to our grilling events.