|By Norma Boeckler|
The Hymn # 375 If Thy Beloved Son
The Confession of Sins
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
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 132 O God of God
Faith - For Daily Needs, For Eternity
The Communion Hymn #350 Jesus the Very Thought (St. Agnes)
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 #52 Almighty Father, Bless the Word
KJV 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: 9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
Fifth Sunday After Trinity
O Jesus Christ, Thou Son of the living God, who hast given us Thy holy word, and hast bountifully provided for all our temporal wants, we confess that we are unworthy of all these mercies, and that we have rather deserved punishment: But we beseech Thee, forgive us our sins, and prosper and bless us in our several callings, that by Thy strength we may be sustained and defended, now and forever, and so praise and glorify Thee eternally, Thou who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.
|By Norma Boeckler|
Faith - For Daily Needs, For Eternity
KJV Luke 5:1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
Jesus attracted crowds for two reasons. One reason was His teaching of righteousness, which meant faith in Him, showing the people that the current religious teachings were not helping them at all. They were not satisfied by righteousness based on works, and even the Jewish leaders - like Nicodemus - came to believe in Him because of His Gospel.
The other reason He drew crowds was because of His miracles. They were proofs of His divinity, a power so great that no one could hope to duplicate them. Therefore, in drawing crowds this way, Jesus gave them a opportunity to hear the Gospel and also supported His teaching by His authority (exousia in Greek) over all Creation: giving the blind sight, healing lepers, changing water into wine, and even raising the dead.
When these two approaches are split apart, we get a strange distortion. The vast majority of mainline apostates believe in teaching something, usually social justice according to the fad of the moment. But they do not believe in miracles at all. Therefore, if they pay any attention to the text, they feel obliged to dismiss the miracle.
On the other hand, quite a few sects still emphasize the miracles of Jesus and have no trouble attributing this to God. But they separate the Holy Spirit from the Word and make miracles foundational rather than the Word itself. In both cases, all kinds of bizarre teaching erupts because their words are based on something entirely alien from the Scriptures.
Luther's Brilliant Introduction:
1. This Gospel brings before us two parts, in which it exhorts to faith and strengthens faith. In the first part it shows that Christ cares for those who believe in him, so that they are abundantly supplied against temporal and bodily needs. In the second part it shows that he will help them still more against spiritual needs, thus in reality proving the truth of what St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:8: “Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come.” The Scriptures are everywhere full of these two kinds of promises.
2. To faith he assures temporal and bodily help by giving to Peter and his partners so great a draught of fishes after they had vainly toiled all night and caught nothing, and now could have no expectation or hope of taking anything. But herein he adheres to the rule and order which he himself has given and taught in Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He here acts according to this saying and shows its truth by example and experience, inasmuch as the people press upon him in crowds, first to hear his words, and to such an extent that, in order to preach to them, he sets out from land in one of the boats. But when he has taught them he proceeds further to provide for their bodily needs, inasmuch as they are in distress and want.
3. Although it is not indeed the purpose of Christ’s coming or preaching to foster and provide for the body, yet he is not unmindful of it when the first thing sought is his kingdom. He therefore takes upon himself the distress of these poor fishermen who, through all this night, and with all their efforts and toil, have caught nothing. However, as they have lent him their boat to preach, and have listened to him, he, without any thought on their part, and before they have uttered any prayer, provides for them a draught of fishes so great that they are thereby enabled fully to learn and clearly to understand that in him they have a Master who cares for them and will not forsake them, provided they abide in his Word and remain his disciples.
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
Jesus saw two ships on the shore, empty because the fisherman were washing their nets. This provided a practical solution for speaking to the crowd. Pressed against the shore, Jesus' voice would not carry as far - too much like speaking into a coat closet. Also, we like to see the person speaking, which is shown from the earliest days of our culture, when the Greeks designed perfect amphitheaters to give everyone a view and adequate hearing as well. With the shore rising from the lake, Jesus had an amphitheater on hand. The stage would be the lake.
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
So Jesus stepped into the boat that belonged to Simon and requested him to put out a little from the land; επαναγαγε is also used nautically. Using the boat as a pulpit, sitting as was the custom for preachers and teachers, Jesus proceeded with his teaching as the descriptive imperfect states.
Sitting is the traditional way for a rabbi to teach, which we can see in Matthew 5, at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. Nothing about this miracle is an accident, but everything fits together, far into the future. When the disciples went back to fishing, at the end of John's Gospel, they saw Jesus on the shore. Peter was so excited that he jumped into the water to get to the Savior, because he was burdened with guilt. Just as Peter denied Jesus three times before a charcoal fire, so he was given a three-fold admonition and absolution before another charcoal fire. And then he became a true fisher of men.
Foundation of Faith
Before the miracle, Jesus taught them the Word of God. As He teaches us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be yours."
The spiritual is first, not the material. The miracle-workers of today, who live in mansions, tell us - "Follow me and you will see miracles." In the Writer's Market, I saw that Oral Roberts would pay 1 penny a word for seed-faith articles, which he printed and gave to people who donated. I thought that was a great irony, to pay almost nothing for promoting his make-yourself-rich schemes, which benefited him immensely, richly, luxuriously.
There were disciples (John 6) who had no faith in Jesus. When the Savior taught them, they walked away because of His "hard sayings." Faith does not mean a generalized faith or a pick-and-choose faith, but a complete trust in all that Jesus taught and continues to teach.
This is a miracle that shows us the importance of the Word in salvation and also that the Savior does not leave us as orphans, but cares for our daily needs. From faith comes an abundance, enough for us and to share with others. We help one family by giving to their yard sales. They do us a favor in clearing out the things we no longer need. They have fun raising some extra income. The same is true of books, which remind us of the days of raising bunnies. Because we had bunnies, people kept giving us bunnies. I do not need to ask and I get boxes of books, which are fun to distribute among the eager readers of classical Lutheran books. Likewise, gifts allow me to give away a lot of my publications, so they are distributed far and wide. I would never sell books in a doctor's office, but 10 people in our doctor's office wanted Creation Gardening and they each enjoyed having a copy.
The soil reminds me of how God works. People keep pressing me to admit how difficult gardening is, but they are looking at the planting side of it, as if the soil is neutral, dead, and not contributing. Instead, the soil is everything in gardening. Providing the right care for the soil, just as we would a pet or a child, means that God's Creation responds accordingly.
Soil is nurtured by feeding it organic matter. Covering the grass with cardboard and mulch so the lawn (or a weed patch) will turn it into rich compost with billions of creatures working it to the max. Mixing the soil is not good, even though people love to rip it apart with tillers. Using various toxins, including chemical fertilizer, is harmful.
Our soil has only been given autumn leaves, mulch, mushroom compost, and various plants that contribute to healthy gardens. Local gardeners are astonished at God's results - huge blooms, almost no blackspot, very little insect damage.
Luther summarized this approach:
And thus we may learn that God will not grant prosperity and success through human wisdom, plans and intrigues, if these are the things we depend upon.
26. Hence, if the world be willing to receive counsel from a plain and straightforward man, namely, from the Lord our God, who certainly has had some experience and understands the art of ruling, the best counsel would be, that each one, in his administration of government, should simply direct his thoughts and plans to a faithful prosecution and believing performance of the duties enjoined upon him, not placing any dependence upon his own thoughts and plans, but casting all his cares upon God. The man who does this will at last be sure to discover that he who trusts in God accomplishes more than he who seeks to transact his affairs according to his own wisdom and thought, or in his own power and might.
Thus, as we govern our lives, if we do what is God-pleasing and carry out our duties accordingly, God will reward us with results that surpass our expectations, not in our time but in His time, as the miracle shows us.
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
Jesus could have ordered the fish to jump; into the boats, without asking Peter's crew to work for them. But this has not been shown to be a good plan, because it is not God's will. We enjoy working for rewards and that motivates to continue to work. Someone who left the welfare system said it was difficult, because they had all their needs supplied, so they could steal to raise extra cash for luxuries. She said, "Working for a living is demanding, not like the old days, but I would not go back to it."
This miracle also symbolizes working according to man's plans, which is hilariously the genius behind the Church Growth/Missional philosophy. If we find out what works and who wants what we have, all we need to do is match the statistics with the methods of the moment - wearing scruffy clothes, trashing the pipe organ, singing secular songs, entertaining people, feeding the congregations snacks and cola as they go into "worship" (to stretch the term). As I told one reader, I have lost track of the giant congregations that simply collapsed, often overnight, like soap bubbles popping in the sunlight.
Every Protestant denomination is failing - especially the Lutherans, from ELCA down to the CLC (sic) - from following the Fuller Seminary philosophy, which was established once the seminary utterly repudiated the inerrancy of the Scriptures. A co-inky-dink? I do not think so.
When troubles come our way, the first step is to follow the advice of St. Peter, using wonderful word-play in English. Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7.
In His time, He provides the answer, often in such a way and in such abundance that the answer clearly came from God's power, not man's plan. I stopped by a school to check about teaching, completely negative about the chances, as my wife remarked. She had an appointment next door, so it was easy to drop in at the campus beside the medical office. My idea was to eliminate that as an option before trying something else. I got a tour by the hiring person and an interview. That led to the job, which will provide stability in the face of the unstable online market.
I pray for people because I am sure God will answer and provide the help, comfort, and aid needed. Sometimes the thorn in the flesh is not removed, but the individual receives the spiritual insights needed to relieve the pain and discomfort. Some work to make it recede, so I say to myself, "Oh oh. That is a bad day for pain and annoyance."
Letting down the nets meant that the disciples will trust in the Word of the Master rather than their own skills. Lenski considers this a singular miracle after the calling of the disciples, with a special emphasis upon Peter.
This is the purpose of the miracle: an ocular demonstration of the unseen power and success of the Word.
Jesus is saying, "Where you have utterly failed, try again in obedience to the Word."
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
The prior explanation is somewhat humorous - a warning. We are professional fishermen. We know all the tricks, all the good spots for fishing. We tried our best all night and caught nothing - just so you know. And yet, in the midst of his gloom and pessimism, he trusts in the Word of Jesus. As we have seen in the Greek class - His utterance. επι δε τω ρηματι σου.
I tell people looking for work, or better jobs, "You will be turned down many times. Count on that. I have done the right things, gotten personal referrals to decision makers, and heard the door locked and barred, the tinkling of the key being thrown away." But that did not keep God from doing His work at the right time, and it kept me from work that people describe as "soul-killing" for good reason.
When "conservative" Lutheran pastors began cussing at me on Facebook, I realized, "They are paying attention! They really get the message now." That has happened several times recently when I expressed Luther's (and Paul's) Justification by Faith.
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
The two ships described in the beginning are significant here, because each one was designed for rough seas and the weight of the catch. They were very stable, as one PhD dissertation said - from a doctoral class at Yale. The second one was called in and that one was also close to sinking from the haul. This description is vivid and exciting for anyone who has experienced a sinking boat. From despair to overwhelming results - only God could make that happen.
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
Peter realized the vast difference between Jesus as he first believed and what he has just witnessed. Initially he was called as a disciple. Then he heard a sermon from Jesus. Next he experienced what that sermon meant. He saw it for himself, and a greater miracle would take place. He would become a fisher of men, and vast shoals of people would be enclosed in that net, captured by the Word of the Gospel.
Luther quoted St. Bernard as writing, “Alas, I thought I was safe! I knew nothing of the judgment and wrath that had come upon me, till I saw that the only begotten Son of God had to take my place."
Peter is emphasized in the Gospels for being the one with the most obvious flaws, and many could be noted. He silenced Jesus about suffering and dying. He rejected the idea he would deny Jesus, but he denied Him three times. He missed the concept of having his feet washed, then asked for his head to be washed too.
What seems to be worst of all is also forgiven, since the ember of faith was still alive, as it was with Thomas, who also spoke out in gloom, doom, and denial. Jesus restored both of them in His mercy and love. That healing Word of the Gospel motivated them to carry out their missions with divinely inspired energy.
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.
58. And as the net suffers through being let down into the water and becomes wet, so must the office of preaching suffer through all sorts of trials and persecutions in the world, even to the extent of being rent and torn. It cannot produce profitable or fruitful results in all men; yet great power and much fruit are found in those who remain steadfast and are kept to the end. It is our comfort, however, that Christ, through our preaching, will lead his own into the boat, and will keep them there, although we know that we cannot make devout men of all to whom we preach, and that we cannot escape persecution on account of our office; yea, though we know that many will fall away even among those of whom we felt sure that we had them in the net.
|By Norma Boeckler|