My body safe in peaceful sleep Until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my Fount of grace, Lord Jesus Christ, My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.
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
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
Moses and the Prophets - The Gospel
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 #50 Lord Dismiss Us
First Sunday After Trinity
- Justification by Faith (Genesis 15) and
- The God-Man Messiah (Isaiah 7 and 9) and
- The meaning of the Atonement of the Lamb (Isaiah 53).
Moses and the Prophets - The Gospel
What man sees is entirely different from what God sees, and the values are exactly opposite. God does not judge the appearance but the heart. There is no condemnation for wealth, but wealth plus unbelief is meaningless.
While Lazarus had nothing on earth, he possessed heaven, which is a much greater treasure than what the rich man had. This is the great challenge we face, to see that everything God has given us, including great sorrows and challenges, are part of this spiritual wealth. Man's foolishness is such that he would gladly give up the eternal for the temporary, because the temporary is so appealing at the moment.
The rich man's sentence is to know that Lazarus is in heaven while he is tormented, so much that having his tongue cooled would be a great blessing, given by Abraham.
Is it a co-inky-dink that Abraham is the key figure in this parable? So many others could have been mentioned, such as Moses or David. But Abraham is the Old Testament star of the New Testament. Abraham believed the Promise of the Messiah coming from his line - "and it was counted as forgiveness, salvation." (Genesis 15, Jackson Revised Living Bible) Righteousness is forgiveness, and forgiveness is salvation. Abraham is that star in Luke 16, Romans 4, Galatians, Hebrews 11, and James.
There are only conditions addressed in the Bible - belief in the Savior or unbelief, not wealth or poverty, not male or female, not Jew or Gentile, not noble/royal versus common. When we see examples of Roman soldiers with faith in Jesus, we should also consider how that meant the Gospel invading the Roman Empire, pagan and degenerate, from the bottom up.
6. But where unbelief reigns man is absorbed by these vanities, he cleaves to them, seeks them and has no rest until he has acquired them, and after he possesses them, he feeds and fattens himself with them as the swine wallow in the mire, and finds at the same time his happiness and felicity there. He never inquires how his heart stands with his God and what he possesses in God and may expect from him; but his belly is his God; and if he cannot get what he wants, he imagines things are going wrong. And lo, these dreadful and wicked fruits of unbelief the rich man does not see, he covers them over, and blinds his own eyes by the good works of his pharisaical life, and hardens himself until no teaching, exhortation, threatening nor promise can help him. Behold, this is the secret sin which to-day’s Gospel punishes and condemns.
7. From this now follows the other sin, that he forgets to exercise love toward his neighbor; for there he lets poor Lazarus lie at his door, and offers him not the least assistance. And if he had not wished to help him personally, he should have commanded his servants to take him in and care for him. It may have been, he knew nothing of God and had never experienced his goodness. For whoever feels the goodness of God, feels also for the misfortune of his neighbor; but whoever is not conscious of the goodness of God, sympathizes not in the misfortune of his neighbor.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.
This is the old canard, repeated in many ways, that the Word is not enough. The Word needs something added so people take it seriously or finally pay attention.
In this case, someone from the afterlife needs to visit the rich man's brothers, who are living in the same condition he was - unbelief. If they saw a beggar coming back from heaven, they would listen to him.
The boy featured in the best-selling book about going to heaven and coming back - he has filed a lawsuit. He never saw or claimed those things. His father made it up and made a fortune with it.
Also - the Roman Catholic Church teaches people that the souls in Purgatory will come back and help, warn, or protect the faithful. That is an added benefit of joining Holy Mother Rome. Clearly this parable teaches against that.
Certainly people do see apparitions, but they are not from God. This sort of nonsense - that markets holy sites like Fatima - also serves to make people take lightly the angelic protection God gives us. No business card is dropped. No bells ring, but His angels certainly protect us, our children, even our country in miraculous ways. If super-salesmen make a mockery of God's protection with Purgatory ghost stories, that ultimately destroys all faith. (I have heard those stores on free tapes sent to those who ask for them. The stories were read by a professional, very impressively narrated, but still like garbage in a silken bag.)
Two more variations need to be mentioned. One is that we Christians, especially ministers, have to make the Gospel relevant or reasonable or appealing to people. Naturally, that is a form of rationalism that will always dilute the Gospel into emotional and manipulative stories.
Even worse, which is to be expected, is the demand to combine entainment with the Word, even snacks and soft drinks. Does the Gospel need this? Is the Gospel so weak that it must be made strong by our clever marketing?
29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
This is one of the great thunderclaps of the New Testament, a warning so strong that everyone should heed it. The power of this message is proven this way - this Age of Apostasy ignores it, because the message is too painful to bear.
"The Word of God does not need anything else except clear teaching of its truth!"
It would be better to say - "The Word of God does not need anything else," but some clever jackals would say, "Oh I agree with you. That is so true. Only we have to provide something to attract them to the Word of God."
One of my favorite (and ignored) American Lutherans put it this way - the more pure the Word of God is, the more powerful and effective it is. And the more it is diluted with man's wisdom, the weaker it is. (Jacobs, I think)
That is a very good, concise statement. We should also see, as we can now observe all over America, that this dilution not only weakens the message but turns people against the Word of God, even while outwardly yakking about it. One example - a church got more children there by giving away kites, etc. One minister put cash under one seat, so the reveal would be like having a winning numbers card. Clever, so clever.
On the positive side, this lesson tells us that - all appearances aside - what God declares with His Word is unstoppable and beyond our judgment.
"Your sins are forgiven." Man's tendency is to focus on regret, remorse, sorrow, but that is akin to thinking that we can pay for sins by suffering long enough, being sorry enough.
"Faith means possessing heaven and earth and all blessings." Lazarus has nothing but he has everything. We get dragged so far into merit that we can hardly escape those concepts. So we fail to see the afflictions as part of the blessings and even a path to blessings. Stage One of being disturbed by a truly horrible church experience is one of anger and confusion. But that is what launches us into discovering the spiritual wisdom of the Bible and the great spiritual insights of faithful writers like Luther and Chemnitz, Schmauk and Jacobs, Krauth and Chytraeus. That leads us into friendships with people who have experienced the same.
Each day is very special and we should look at it as a chance to add something to another person's life. Germans say "divided joy is doubled joy." It is a great pun because we do not want to cut the piece of pie in half, but in doing so we have the joy in sharing and provide joy in showing we care. We cannot do enough enough of that in our family. We should also do that among colleagues and neighbors.
Our favorite rose is the Queen Elizabeth, which we grow in memory of our daughters. I had some beautiful blooms on Friday, and I hesitated to cut them. Finally I did. This morning I have all those blooms and more from Queen Elizabeth.
|Lammerts, PhD, Creationist.|