21 April 2010

Hymns for the Octave of Pentecost Series C

Pentecost Eve
Exodus 19:1–9
Romans 8:12–17 (22–27)
John 14:8–21

Hymn of Invocation
Hear us, Father, when we pray (LSB 773)

Sequence
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 499)

Hymn of the Day
Creator Spirit, by whose aid (LSB 500)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord (LSB 497)
I will sing my Maker’s praises (LSB 977e; TLH 25; LW 439)
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me (LSB 683)

Hymn of Departure
Now rest beneath night’s shadow (LSB 880)

Alternative Hymns
A multitude comes from the east and the west (LSB 510)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (LSB 821)
Children of the heav’nly Father (LSB 725)
Church of God, elect and glorious (LSB 646)
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Eternal Spirit of the living Christ (LSB 769)
Glorious things of You are spoken (LSB 648)
Holy Spirit, light divine (LSB 496)
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide (LSB 585)
Lord, support us all day long (LSB 884)
O blessed Light, O Trinity (LSB 890)
O Christ, who art the Light and Day (LSB 882)
O light whose splendor thrills and gladdens (LSB 891)
O splendor of God’s glory bright (LSB 874)
Our Father, by whose name (LSB 863)
The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended (LSB 886)
The Lord, my God, be praised (LSB 794)
To God the Holy Spirit let us pray (LSB 768)


The Feast of Pentecost Day
Genesis 11:1–9
Acts 2:1–21
John 14:23–31

Divine Service, Setting Five (LSB 213–218)

Entrance Hymn
To God the Holy Spirit let us pray (LSB 768)

Kyrie Hymn
Kyrie! God, Father in heav’n above (LSB 942)

Gloria Hymn
All glory be to God alone (LSB 948)

Gradual Hymn
Triune God, be Thou our stay (LSB 505)

Sequence / Hymn of the Day / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord (LSB 497)

Creedal Hymn
We all believe in one true God (LSB 954)

Offertory Hymn
O splendor of God’s glory bright (LSB 874)

Sanctus Hymn
Isaiah, mighty seer in days of old (LSB 960)

Agnus Dei
O Christ, Thou Lamb of God (LSB 198)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
O Holy Spirit, enter in (LSB 913)
O day full of grace that now we see (LSB 503)
Sing praise to God, the highest good (LSB 819)
Lord, Thee I love with all my heart (LSB 708)

Post-Communion Hymn
O Lord, we praise Thee (LSB 617)

Processional Out
O God, O Lord of heaven and earth (LSB 834)

Alternative Hymns
As rebels, Lord, who foolishly have wandered (LSB 612)
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498/499)
Creator Spirit, by whose aid (LSB 500)
Eternal Spirit of the living Christ (LSB 769)
Father most holy, merciful and tender (LSB 504)
Hail thee, festival day (LSB 489)
Holy Spirit, ever dwelling (LSB 650)
In Adam we have all been one (LSB 569)
Lord of our life and God of our salvation (LSB 659)
Now thank we all our God (LSB 895)
Now that the daylight fills the sky (LSB 870)
O day of rest and gladness (LSB 906)
Oh, that I had a thousand voices (LSB 811)
Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him (LSB 797)
Rise, shine, you people (LSB 825)
Savior, again to Thy dear name we raise (LSB 917)
Up through endless ranks of angels (LSB 491)
Voices raised to You we offer (LSB 795)
Water, blood, and Spirit crying (LSB 597)


Pentecost Monday
Isaiah 57:15–21
Acts 10:34a, 42–48
John 3:16–21

Processional Hymn
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord (LSB 497)

Sequence
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 499)

Hymn of the Day
The Gospel shows the Father’s grace (LSB 580)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Holy Spirit, ever dwelling (LSB 650)
God loved the world so that He gave (LSB 571)
Baptized into Your name most holy (LSB 590)

Processional Out
May God bestow on us His grace (LSB 823)

Alternative Hymns
Built on the Rock the Church shall stand (LSB 645)
Christ the eternal Lord (LSB 829)
Creator Spirit, by whose aid (LSB 500)
From God can nothing move me (LSB 713)
God loves me dearly (LSB 392)
Holy God, we praise Thy name (LSB 940)
Holy Spirit, light divine (LSB 496)
I will sing my Maker’s praises (LSB 977e; TLH 25; LW 439)
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide (LSB 585)
My soul, now praise your maker (LSB 820)
Now rest beneath night’s shadow (LSB 880)
O Holy Spirit, enter in (LSB 913)
O splendor of God’s glory bright (LSB 874)
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (LSB 790)
Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing (LSB 737)
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord (LSB 935)
Thine the amen, Thine the praise (LSB 680)
We are called to stand together (LSB 828)


Pentecost Tuesday
Isaiah 32:14–20
Acts 8:14–17
John 10:1–10

Processional Hymn
O Holy Spirit, enter in (LSB 913)

Sequence
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 499)

Hymn of the Day
To God the Holy Spirit let us pray (LSB 768)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Have no fear, little flock (LSB 735)
Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord (LSB 497)
Lord, Thee I love with all my heart (LSB 708)

Processional Out
O day full of grace that now we see (LSB 503)

Alternative Hymns
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Creator Spirit, by whose aid (LSB 500)
Grant peace, we pray, in mercy, Lord (LSB 777)
Holy Spirit, light divine (LSB 496)
I am Jesus’ little lamb (LSB 740)
I am trusting Thee, Lord Jesus (LSB 729)
I trust, O Lord, Your holy name (LSB 734)
I will sing my Maker’s praises (LSB 977e; TLH 25; LW 439)
In Adam we have all been one (LSB 569)
My soul, now praise your maker (LSB 820)
Now rest beneath night’s shadow (LSB 880)
O God, forsake me not (LSB 731)
O little flock, fear not the foe (LSB 666)
O splendor of God’s glory bright (LSB 874)
Savior, like a shepherd lead us (LSB 711)
The King of love my shepherd is (LSB 709)
Thine the amen, Thine the praise (LSB 680)
Voices raised to You we offer (LSB 795)


The Holy Trinity
Proverbs 8:1–4, 22–31
Acts 2:14a, 22–36
John 8:48–59

Processional Hymn
I bind unto myself today (LSB 604)

Hymn of the Day
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498)

Offertory Hymn
Holy God, we praise Thy name (LSB 940)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
All Christians who have been baptized (LSB 596)
Father most holy, merciful and tender (LSB 504)
We all believe in one true God (LSB 954)
At the name of Jesus (LSB 512)

Processional Out / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
O blessed, holy Trinity (LSB 876)

Alternative Hymns
Christ sits at God’s right hand (LSB 564)
Come, Thou almighty King (LSB 905)
Creator Spirit, by whose aid (LSB 500)
Crown Him with many crowns (LSB 525)
From God can nothing move me (LSB 713)
Hail, Thou once despised Jesus (LSB 531)
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty (LSB 507)
Let all mortal flesh keep silence (LSB 621)
Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious (LSB 495)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendor (LSB 534)
O God, O Lord of heaven and earth (LSB 834)
O God of God, O Light of Light (LSB 810)
O Holy Spirit, enter in (LSB 913)
Of the Father’s love begotten (LSB 384)
Now thank we all our God (LSB 895)
Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus (LSB 529)
Thy strong word did cleave the darkness (LSB 578)
Triune God, be Thou our stay (LSB 505)
Why should cross and trial grieve me (LSB 756)
Wide open stand the gates (LSB 639)

18 April 2010

Worship the Lamb Upon His Throne

There is one Divine Liturgy in heaven and on earth, at the center of which is the one object of the Church’s worship, the Lamb who has been slain, upon His throne.

He has all authority in heaven and on earth, because He is both Lord and Christ, and He alone is worthy to receive all worship, honor, glory, blessing, thanks and praise.

But how shall you worship Him? With what works and worthiness?

Where and how shall you find Him and come to Him, and recognize and know Him?

Do you know this Man? Do you love Him more than all else? More than others do? Are you brave enough and strong enough to follow Him to the Cross? Will you then confess Him before the whole world, and call upon His Name at all times, pray, praise and give thanks?

And do you tend and care for His lambs and shepherd His sheep, as these are given you to love?

Or do you breathe violence, threats and murder against His disciples, in your zeal to please and impress God with your own boldness, confidence, works and wisdom?

Do you persecute the Man, without even knowing who He is? Are you kicking the goads and flailing at the wind, instead of worshiping the Lamb who has been slain?

Do you love the praises of men, and fear their threats and violence, more than you fear, love and trust in God? Do you therefore cower before the world, and disavow and deny the Name of Jesus in your words and actions, hiding behind your silence, or hiding your cowardice behind a false bravado and colorful curses?

You’ve been where Simon Peter was — embarrassed and ashamed of yourself. So eager to make amends, but frustrated and afraid of failure. Trying so hard to undo your past mistakes, but not really knowing how or even where to start. Hoping to make a good impression, but falling flat on your face. Working day and night to get things right, but coming up empty.

And you’ve been where Saul of Tarsus was, too. Striving to please God and serve Him like a champion, without even knowing how wrong you are and how much hurt and harm you are causing — and to whom! Trampling your neighbor in your zeal to get to God, but all the while pursuing the path of perdition.

You are in the dark, a blind man stumbling around, as good as dead, with nothing to eat or drink, but only restless anxiety.

You are not worthy of Christ, but the chief of sinners.

You have denied the Lord Jesus before men, instead of bearing His Cross.

You have hurt those who are His own dear members. You have wounded the Lamb, if not with your own hands and fists, then with your sins and death.

But now, stop your weeping, and do not be afraid.

You have not known the Man; you could not recognize Him, standing there in front of you, and you have not loved Him with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength.

But this same Jesus, who was crucified, has known you, and He loves you.

You have not called upon His Name, but He has called you by name; indeed, He has called you by His own Name.

You have not confessed Him before men, and yet He has confessed you before His Father in heaven; He even brings you, in and with Himself, to the Father.

You could not find your way to Him or go to Him, but He has come to you. He seeks you out in love, finds you in peace, and calls you gently to Himself; not that you should serve Him, but that He would serve you.

You have worked so hard, and worried so much, but you have accomplished nothing. You have nothing to show for your efforts, do you?

But here is Christ, the Lamb of God, with the Food He has provided and prepared for you, the Meat and Drink indeed by which you live.

Come, child, eat and drink. The crucified and risen Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to you in this Breaking of the Bread. In this way, He manifests Himself to you.

Here He shows to you a more excellent way than the road you have been so intent upon. Here is the way of faith and love, the way of divine life and divine worship.

It begins with this: Your love and worship of Jesus are not located in what you do for Him or give to Him, but in what He says and does and gives to you.

His glory and honor and blessing and power and might, are grace, mercy and peace: The forgiveness and salvation of sinners. The redemption and sanctification of creation and the purchase of all men for God, by and with His own precious blood.

His glory and honor and blessing and power and might, are not in what He receives from man, nor in His being served, but in what He gives by grace, and in His serving, His Service.

Your love and worship, therefore, are not in what you give to Him, but in what you receive from His hand: The washing of water with His Word, by which you are cleansed and clothed with His righteousness. The generous outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The forgiveness of all your sins. And the breaking of your fast with His Feast.

Now, then, do you love Him who so loves you and serves you and feeds you and provides for you?

Then stop weeping, have no fear, and do not worry.

You need not work so hard for Jesus, nor try so hard to please Him and impress Him. He is already pleased with you!

But receiving all good things from Him, love Him and serve Him by loving and serving your neighbor. Let your effort be found there, and work at that way of life.

Instead of ignoring, neglecting, trampling or persecuting your neighbor in your rush to get to God, rather stride forward in the strength and confidence and freedom of faith in Christ. Live by grace, and love your neighbor; feed, clothe and care for him.

Such love is the other side of divine worship; for you love and serve your brother and sister, as Christ Jesus loves and serves you. Such love is surely a sacrifice and a way of suffering for others. It is indeed a bearing of the Cross in many and various ways: In what you bear and carry for others; in what you suffer and give up for love’s sake; and in what you cover and forgive in mercy.

In all of this, you glorify God in Christ, even unto death.

And all the while that you are poured out in love for your neighbor, you are presented by Christ to God the Father; for He Himself is the Incense of your prayer, in whom you also ascend into heaven, into the Holy of Holies made without hands.

Not only there and then, but already now by faith in Christ, by His Gospel, by His grace; here in the Temple of His Church on earth, on the shoreline, not far away at all.

If you have jumped or fallen off the boat, return to this gracious shore by the waters of your Baptism; and if you are still in the boat, even if you are scared or confused, the Lord is not far away from you, but very near, granting you His hospitality here.

Because Jesus is here for you, so are you truly gathered here with all the saints and angels and all the company of heaven — with the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, with the holy Evangelists, the blessed Apostles and Prophets, and the noble army of myriad martyrs — gathered in the presence of the Lamb upon His throne.

Worship Him with your body and soul, with all your heart, mind, spirit and strength. Bend the knee and bow your head, as you bow your heart before Him; in humility, yes, but all the more so in the confidence of His mercy and His great salvation.

Worship Him, not because He needs your worship, but because He is your Lord and your God, your Life and Light and Salvation, your New Song and constant Prayer.

He is worthy of such worship, because He is your Savior, and He has all authority in heaven and on earth: authority to forgive you all your sins, as He surely does.

My son, my daughter, take heart: Your sins are forgiven.

Beloved disciple of Christ Jesus, it is the Lord who stands here on the shore for you. See, here, He has made a Meal for you with His own hands: His own flesh and blood, that of the very Lamb of God, who was slain — and, behold, He lives forevermore.

Come, child, eat and drink, without money and without price. The night is far spent, and the Eighth Day here breaks and dawns upon you in Christ Jesus, who is your Sabbath Rest.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

10 April 2010

Seriously, No Teasing

Whether one calls it "matchmaking" or not — and irrespective of that much-abused term and whatever connotations it may carry, whether serious or silly, stressful or scary — parents ought to be actively involved in all of their children's relationships, and all the more so in preparing their children either for holy marriage or for a sacred vocation of celibacy.

Fathers, in particular, must be pro-active in guiding their sons and daughters in a positive direction in all of their relationships. Fathers should be training their sons, by consistent example and deliberate conversation, to become men who will be faithful husbands and fathers, whether in earthly marriage or within the household and family of God. Fathers should be caring for their daughters, also, not only by exemplifying what a godly husband should be like in his own relationship to their mother, but by serving as their God-given head until he gives them in marriage to the man who will become their husband, whether in holy marriage or unto Christ, the heavenly bridegroom, within the life of His Church.

Such pro-active paternal oversight requires more than acquiesence, a nod of the head, and the formal blessing of a relationship that has already developed and become a fait accompli. It means that a father will be training and helping his son to become the sort of man he ought to be, and helping his daughter to discover the sort of man — and the particular man — who may become her husband; or otherwise helping his sons and daughters to discern the possibility of celibacy as a calling of service to the Church and to their neighbors in the world.

No father should attempt to force his daughter to marry anyone against her will, but neither should any daughter marry against her father's will. These things can work themselves out in a wide variety of ways, from "arranged marriages" to modern "dating," but they will not be worked out rightly apart from parental involvement and paternal authority. If a girl's natural father is negligent, wicked, or missing in action, God will yet provide other "fathers" who will care for her, protect her, guide her and direct her. Not as though a girl is helpless, incompetent or weak; far from it; but as the means by which she lives in faith according to the Word of the Lord. Fatherhood is rightly exercised in love, with both discipline and compassion, and with solicitous concern for the well-being of sons and daughters alike. It is not to be taken lightly, nor abdicated by design or default. Fathers are given, by and with and under the Word of God, to guard and protect their children against the wickedness of this sinful world, against the weakness and perversion of the sinful heart, and against the assaults and accusations of the devil.

God has not given any one-size-fits-all pattern for how children are to grow up and become adults, except the pattern of the Fourth Commandment: "Honor your father and mother." That is my pastoral answer, my personal advice, and my paternal admonishment to parents and children alike. Parents must take this seriously, as having both their authority and responsibility from God, to be exercised in harmony with His Word and according to His good and gracious will. Children, likewise, must take the Fourth Commandment seriously as the primary way in which the Lord their God guides and governs their temporal life on earth, especially unto marriage or an adult vocation of celibacy. Marriage will not be for everyone, but chastity is, whether within or outside of marriage. For those who do not have the gift and vocation of celibacy, marriage is the divine gift and vocation within which they glorify God and serve their neighbors in faith and love.

There is no one right age at which marriage should or must happen, nor any one particular set of circumstances that must obtain before marriage. Determining whom to marry, and when, is governed chiefly by the fourth and sixth commandments. Adultery and fornication are always sinful, at any age, whereas getting married with the guidance, approval and blessing of fathers and mothers is truly meet, right and salutary, irrespective of age (within reason and under the law, of course). Getting married at 18 may be exactly right in some cases, whereas getting married at 24 may be exactly right in others; or at 20, or at 30, or whenever. But it grieves me as a pastor to encounter parents who would much rather tolerate, condone, or even encourage fornication on the part of their children, than approve or support their children getting married "too early." The popular humor that glorifies fornication and denigrates marriage doesn't help, of course, but makes it all the more necessary that fathers and mothers teach their children rightly: that marriage is a good gift of God, and that sexual intimacy outside of marriage is sinful and destructive to both body and soul. To live chastely outside of marriage, in service to the Church and to one's neighbors in the world, is also a godly and God-pleasing vocation; and for this, too, parents are key to determining the path that one should pursue.

All of this is undertaken in the confidence of God's Holy Word, which directs children to honor their parents, and calls the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of fathers to their children. Even at that, there is the more sure and certain confidence of our dear Father in heaven and the everlasting Bridegroom of the Church, in whom we parents and children alike are forgiven and enlivened by grace, unto the life everlasting.

08 April 2010

The 2009 Grampies (Revised and Revisited)

My top two favorite new releases of 2009, hands-down, were my daughter Katharina (20 February) and my granddaughter Sarena (1 March). But now, in honor of my second granddaughter, Emma Alethea Wirgau, who is already my favorite new release of this Year of Our Lord 2010, I'm revisiting my favorite music albums of the past year. I did this once before, but I wasn't satisfied, because there were still a couple months left in the year, and that didn't seem quite right or fair.

The 2009 Grampies include only regular albums of new material released in the course of this past year. No special editions or greatest hits collections. Obviously, these are matters of my personal opinions, which is of course the point when it comes to the music I listen to for fun.

I've listed my thirteen favorite albums, across all genres, as well as my top ten favorite albums in each of the five broad categories of music I tend to enjoy. So, here you go, for what it's worth. Comments from the peanut gallery are welcome, as always, preferably polite.


THE BAKER'S DOZEN BEST OF 2009

Five for Fighting - Slice

Daughtry - Leave This Town

Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk

Breaking Benjamin - Dear Agony

Orianthi - Believe

This Providence - Who Are You Now?

Brooke White - High Hopes and Heartbreaks

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Lonely Road

Mandy Moore - Amanda Leigh

Rodney Atkins - It’s America

Rob Thomas - Cradlesong

Bon Jovi - The Circle

Mozella - Belle Isle


POP

Five for Fighting - Slice

Mandy Moore - Amanda Leigh

MoZella - Belle Isle

Ingrid Michaelson - Everybody

Colbie Caillat - Breakthrough

Mat Kearney - City of Black & White

Regina Spektor - Far

Howie Day - Sound the Alarm

Meg & Dia - Here, Here and Here

A Fine Frenzy - Bomb in the Birdcage


POP ROCK

Boys Like Girls - Love Drunk

Orianthi - Believe

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - Lonely Road

Rob Thomas - Cradlesong

Mayday Parade - Anywhere But Here

Parachute - Losing Sleep

Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane

Dashboard Confessional - After the Ending

The Audition - Self-Titled Album

The Fray - The Fray


ROCK

Daughtry - Leave This Town

Breaking Benjamin - Dear Agony

Bon Jovi - The Circle

Burn Halo - Burn Halo

Delain - April Rain

Jet - Shaka Rock

Creed - Full Circle

Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Heaven & Hell - The Devil You Know

Three Days Grace - Life Starts Now


COUNTRY

Brooke White - High Hopes and Heartbreaks

Rodney Atkins - It’s America

Eric Church - Carolina

Tim McGraw - Southern Voice

Jack Ingram - Big Dreams & High Hopes

Toby Keith - American Ride

Chris Young - The Man I Want to Be

Steve Azar - Slide on Over Here

Jason Aldean - Wide Open

Carrie Underwood - Play On


ALTERNATIVE

This Providence - Who Are You Now?

The Script - The Script

Sherwood - QU

Owl City - Ocean Eyes

Bowling for Soup - Sorry for Partyin’ {with caveats}

Relient K - Forget and Not Slow Down

U2 - No Line on the Horizon

The Almost - Monster Monster

New Found Glory - Not Without a Fight

Mutemath - Armistice

03 April 2010

Hymns for Easter 3-7 Series C

Third Sunday of Easter
Acts 9:1–22
Revelation 5:(1–7) 8–14
John 21:1–14 (15–19)

Hymn of Invocation / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
Send, O Lord, Your Holy Spirit (LSB 681)

Hymn of the Day
With high delight let us unite (LSB 483)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
The infant priest was holy born (LSB 624)
Now, my tongue, the myst’ry telling (LSB 630)
Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands (LSB 458)
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (LSB 633)

Hymn of Departure
All who believe and are baptized (LSB 601)

Alternative Hymns
Chief of sinners though I be (LSB 611)
Come, let us join our cheerful songs (LSB 812)
Crown Him with many crowns (LSB 525)
Holy God, we praise Thy name (LSB 940)
Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty (LSB 507)
Jesus, priceless treasure (LSB 743)
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me (LSB 683)
Long before the world is waking (LSB 485)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendor (LSB 534)
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide (LSB 585)
Now all the vault of heav’n resounds (LSB 465)
O Christ, our true and only light (LSB 839)
O God of God, O Light of Light (LSB 810)
O God of light, Your Word, a lamp unfailing (LSB 836)
Our Paschal Lamb, that sets us free (LSB 473)
Shepherd of tender youth (LSB 864)
Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus (LSB 529)
Thine the amen, Thine the praise (LSB 680)
Why should cross and trial grieve me (LSB 756)
Wide open stand the gates (LSB 639)


Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts 20:17–35
Revelation 7:9–17
John 10:22–30

Hymn of Invocation
O little flock, fear not the foe (LSB 666)

Hymn of the Day / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
The King of love my shepherd is (LSB 709)

Offertory Hymn
Jesus, Thy boundless love to me (LSB 683)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Rejoice, my heart, be glad and sing (LSB 737)
Shepherd of tender youth (LSB 864)
God’s own child, I gladly say it (LSB 594)
Behold a host, arrayed in white (LSB 676)

Hymn of Departure
I am Jesus’ little lamb (LSB 740)

Alternative Hymns
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (LSB 633)
Children of the heav’nly Father (LSB 725)
Father, we praise Thee (LSB 875)
From God can nothing move me (LSB 713)
Hail, Thou once despised Jesus (LSB 531)
Have no fear, little flock (LSB 735)
Jerusalem, O city fair and high (LSB 674)
Jerusalem the golden (LSB 672)
Jesus, priceless treasure (LSB 743)
Let us ever walk with Jesus (LSB 685)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendor (LSB 534)
Lord Jesus Christ, life-giving bread (LSB 625)
O living Bread from heaven (LSB 642)
Savior, like a shepherd lead us (LSB 711)
Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus (LSB 529)
Sing with all the saints in glory (LSB 671)
The Lord’s my shepherd, I’ll not want (LSB 710)
Why should cross and trial grieve me (LSB 756)
Wide open stand the gates (LSB 639)
Ye watchers and ye holy ones (LSB 670)


Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 11:1–18
Revelation 21:1–7
John 16:12–22

Hymn of Invocation
To God the Holy Spirit let us pray (LSB 768)

Hymn of the Day
At the Lamb’s high feast we sing (LSB 633)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Chief of sinners though I be (LSB 611)
Oh, how blest are they whose toils are ended (LSB 679) (Catechetical)
Why should cross and trial grieve me (LSB 756)
O Jesus, blessed Lord, to Thee (LSB 632)

Hymn of Departure
Lord, Thee I love with all my heart (LSB 708)

Alternative Hymns
A multitude comes from the east and the west (LSB 510)
Alleluia! Let praises ring (LSB 822)
Awake, my heart, with gladness (LSB 467)
By grace I’m saved, grace free and boundless (LSB 566)
Christ sits at God’s right hand (LSB 564)
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498/499)
I will sing my Maker’s praises (LSB 977e; TLH 25; LW 439)
In Thee is gladness (LSB 818)
Jerusalem, O city fair and high (LSB 674)
Jerusalem the golden (LSB 672)
New songs of celebration render (LSB 792)
Now all the vault of heav’n resounds (LSB 465)
Oh, that I had a thousand voices (LSB 811)
Oh, what their joy and their glory must be (LSB 675)
Sing praise to God, the highest good (LSB 819)
The Church’s one foundation (LSB 644)
Voices raised to You we offer (LSB 795)
Water, blood, and Spirit crying (LSB 597)
Wide open stand the gates (LSB 639)
With high delight let us unite (LSB 483)


Sixth Sunday of Easter
Acts 16:9–15
Revelation 21:9–14, 21–27
John 16:23–33

Hymn of Invocation
Our Father, who from heav’n above (LSB 766)

Hymn of the Day / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
Dear Christians, one and all, rejoice (LSB 556)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Rise, my soul, to watch and pray (LSB 663)
I walk in danger all the way (LSB 716)
Lord, keep us steadfast in Your Word (LSB 655)
Sing with all the saints in glory (LSB 671)

Hymn of Departure
Thanks to Thee, O Christ, victorious (LSB 548)

Alternative Hymns
Awake, my heart, with gladness (LSB 467)
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498/499)
Eternal Spirit of the living Christ (LSB 769)
Father most holy, merciful and tender (LSB 504)
Hear us, Father, when we pray (LSB 773)
If God Himself be for me (LSB 724)
Jerusalem, my happy home (LSB 673)
Jerusalem, O city fair and high (LSB 674)
Jerusalem the golden (LSB 672)
Jesus lives! The vict’ry’s won (LSB 490)
Kyrie! God, Father in heav’n above (LSB 942)
My faith looks up to Thee (LSB 702)
Now thank we all our God (LSB 895)
O day of rest and gladness (LSB 906)
O God of light, Your Word, a lamp unfailing (LSB 836)
Oh, what their joy and their glory must be (LSB 675)
Rise! To arms! With prayer employ you (LSB 668)
Thine the amen, Thine the praise (LSB 680)
Wide open stand the gates (LSB 639)


The Ascension of Our Lord
Acts 1:1–11
Ephesians 1:15–23
Luke 24:44–53

Processional Hymn
Hail thee, festival day (LSB 489)

Hymn of the Day
Up through endless ranks of angels (LSB 491)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
A hymn of glory let us sing (LSB 493)
Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious (LSB 495)
Christ sits at God’s right hand (LSB 564)
The gifts Christ freely gives (LSB 602)

Processional Out / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
See, the Lord ascends in triumph (LSB 494)

Alternative Hymns
All praise to Thee, for Thou, O King divine (LSB 815)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (LSB 821)
At the name of Jesus (LSB 512)
Beautiful Savior, King of creation (LSB 537)
Behold a host, arrayed in white (LSB 676)
Christ is the world’s Redeemer (LSB 539)
Crown Him with many crowns (LSB 525)
Draw us to Thee (LSB 701)
For all the saints who from their labors rest (LSB 677)
God of the prophets, bless the prophets’ sons (LSB 682)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendor (LSB 534)
O Christ, our hope, our hearts’ desire (LSB 553)
On Christ’s ascension I now build (LSB 492)
Praise be to Christ in whom we see (LSB 538)
Sing with all the saints in glory (LSB 671)
Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus (LSB 529)
Thanks to Thee, O Christ, victorious (LSB 548)
The Head that once was crowned with thorns (LSB 532)
Thine the amen, Thine the praise (LSB 680)
We are called to stand together (LSB 828)


Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:12–26
Revelation 22:1–6 (7–11) 12–20
John 17:20–26

Hymn of Invocation
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest (LSB 498)

Hymn of the Day
Christ is the world’s Redeemer (LSB 539)

Hymns for the Distribution of the Holy Communion
Christ sits at God’s right hand (LSB 564)
O love, how deep, how broad, how high (LSB 544)
O Morning Star, how fair and bright (LSB 395)
O Lord, we praise Thee (LSB 617)

Hymn of Departure / Catechetical Hymn of the Week
Since our great High Priest, Christ Jesus (LSB 529)

Alternative Hymns
A hymn of glory let us sing (LSB 493)
Alleluia! Sing to Jesus (LSB 821)
Awake, my heart, with gladness (LSB 467)
Blest be the tie that binds (LSB 649)
Come down, O Love divine (LSB 501)
Come, Thou bright and Morning Star (LSB 872)
Crown Him with many crowns (LSB 525)
Draw us to Thee (LSB 701)
Hail, Thou once despised Jesus (LSB 531)
Hear us, Father, when we pray (LSB 773)
Lo! He comes with clouds descending (LSB 336)
Lord, enthroned in heav’nly splendor (LSB 534)
O Christ, our hope, our hearts’ desire (LSB 553)
O God, my faithful God (LSB 696)
O Holy Spirit, enter in (LSB 913)
Rise, my soul, to watch and pray (LSB 663)
Sing with all the saints in glory (LSB 671)
The tree of life with ev’ry good (LSB 561)
To God the Holy Spirit let us pray (LSB 768)
Up through endless ranks of angels (LSB 491)

Easter Sunday

In this life, in the world, there is suffering and finally death; and so there is the pain and sorrow leading up to death, surrounding it and following it. There is disappointment and loss. The best laid plans go awry, and sometimes backfire.

You labor in vain. You bear children for calamity. You plant, but do not reap or eat of it. You build houses, but you do not dwell or live in them.

As a Christian, you hope in God, and you look to Him for good and better things. You rightly pray to Him, and cry out to Him for mercy.

But you wonder if you are heard, and whether your prayers will be answered. For even Christians die, and their children die. They also suffer loss and disappointment. Whereas, often as not, those who are not Christians seem to prosper.

Now, then, hear the proclamation of Easter, and remember the Word and promise of the Lord Jesus. For your God and Father in heaven has already answered your prayer, before you ever thought to pray, and He has already acted to help you, to rescue and deliver you from death and the grave, and to give you life forever.

Both the prayer and the answer, along with everything else, depend on Jesus. Everything in heaven and on earth, all of creation, hinges on Him, on His crucified and risen Body. For in His Body, in His Flesh, God has created new heavens and a new earth, and He has recreated Man in His own Image and Likeness. In the crucified and risen Christ, all things are made brand new. In Him, also, God has established New Jerusalem, His holy Church, in heaven and on earth.

Where, then, do you find and receive the Body of the Lord Jesus, and these good things that are in Him? How and where do you enter into and abide within the glorious New Creation of His Resurrection?

It is by the way of His Cross, within His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

Not in the empty tombs of this old earth, but in the Church, which is the Body of Christ because it is where His Body is given and received.

Certainly, the empty tomb of Jesus, of which we hear this morning, is a testimony of His Resurrection. In this sign we greatly rejoice, and for it we give thanks and sing. But for all of that, it is still a tomb. And it is still empty. And you shall not find the Living One, nor life, there in the place of the dead.

Do not be deceived, perplexed or dumbfounded. What the world calls life is really death. And what the world perceives to be death — in the Cross and Passion of Christ — is really life indeed.

This Word may appear to you as nonsense, but if you would find Jesus and His Body and His Life, then hear and heed the testimony of His two men, His messengers, clothed in dazzling garments. They are dressed in the Glory of Jesus’ Resurrection; as you also have been dressed in Holy Baptism, whereby you enter the tomb and return from it into life.

This is the appearance of the heavenly life, which the Church on earth confesses before the world, even though it is yet hidden under the Cross.

Hear this Word of Christ in His Church, in the midst of His New Jerusalem, and receive His crucified and risen Body here from the hand of His servants.

Why should this appearance of heaven on earth terrify or frighten you?
Or why should it cause you to flee and go away?

It is because of your sin that you are so afraid in the face of the Resurrection and the life everlasting. For your sinful heart would deceive you and beguile you, and it turns you away from life with God — to sin, death, the devil and hell. And you settle for that judgment and demise, because you know that you deserve it; because your heart and your conscience and the devil accuse you and condemn you with the Law. As you are then blinded by the dazzling light of Christ, you know that you are not worthy. It is too beautiful and wonderful and high for you.

But now rejoice, Christian, and do not be afraid.
All of your sins are forgiven.

God has raised Jesus from the dead. He is the first fruits of all those who sleep. In Him, therefore, all the sons and daughters of Adam are raised.

This Son of Man, the dear Lord Jesus, was delivered into the hands of sinful men, and He was crucified under Pontius Pilate, for this very purpose: that sinful men be redeemed from death, and the third day rise again in Him. For His Cross is the Atonement of the world, and His Resurrection is the Absolution of the same.

As surely as Christ Jesus is risen from the dead — who died bearing your sins and the sins of the world — so sure and certain is the forgiveness of all your sins.

Rejoice, therefore, in what the Lord your God creates. For He recreates you in Christ Jesus by the proclamation of this Gospel, by the free and full forgiveness of your sins, and by the gift of the Body and Blood of the same Lord Jesus Christ.

He freely gives you such good gifts and manifold blessings, because He rejoices over you! God celebrates Easter, also, because He rejoices in your Salvation! As the Father rejoices in the Son He loves.

Here is His Body, given for you, the first fruits of the Resurrection and of the New Creation. It is given to you, not for this life only, but for the resurrection of your body and the life everlasting.

As Jesus your Savior gives Himself to you here and now, His Body into yours, so are you also crowned with His Glory and Honor, and presented to His God and Father in Peace.

The last enemy to be abolished is death, which remains for a time in the world, but it is already defeated, and there is no doubt that it is put under the feet of Christ. Just as He is risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of God, so are you raised from death to life, and so shall you live forever with Him in His Kingdom.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

02 April 2010

Good Friday

Your sin is killing you, because it moves you away from God, who is your life, and it cuts you off from Him.

The further away you fall, the more you are accused — by the Law, by the devil, by your conscience, and by your experience in this fallen world — and the more and more frightened you become: Frightened, not only of death, but of your Father!

You know what it is like to be out of favor with Dad; your whole life is miserable.

But now we pray, with Christ and His whole Church, that God our Father in heaven would look upon us graciously and behold us as His family, His own dear children, in peace.

Beloved of the Lord, He does so behold you graciously, in Christ Jesus, for His sake.

Therefore, hold fast the confession of your Holy Baptism, of Christ and His Gospel, His Father and His Spirit, and His great salvation. And in that confession, draw near with confidence to this throne of grace, by availing yourself of the Gospel in the means of grace; by approaching His Altar in faith, here to receive His Body and His Blood with thanksgiving; that you may receive mercy and grace to help in every need and at the hour of death.

For Christ has atoned for all your sins, and for all the world’s sin, by bearing and suffering your sin and its punishment, and by giving His life — in His Blood — for you.

Your sin cannot harm you, because Christ has removed it from you, taken it upon Himself, into His own Body, and He has willingly allowed it to harm Him, to hurt Him, to kill Him. And He has prevailed in this fight against sin and death, so that all its power has been destroyed.

The same Lord Jesus has also taken you to Himself and made you His own; not by demanding His right as your Creator, but by redeeming you with His Blood. He has purchased you, won you, rescued you, and delivered you from all captivity of body and soul, of fear and anger, of sin and death.

In Him, you also are made brand new, recreated in the Image and Likeness of God — for that divine Image is Christ in His own flesh, the Incarnate Son. So that you now live by grace through faith in His forgiveness, by His Word and Holy Spirit.

He lovingly gathers you up into Himself, and as your merciful and great High Priest, He reconciles you to the Father; He returns you and restores you to His household and family. So you find by the very fact that you are gathered together in and with His Church to hear His Word and receive His gifts!

He has reconciled you and all the world, all of creation, to His God and Father, by coming in the flesh as true Man; and not only that, but by living as true Man in faith and love, even humbling Himself to bear the burden and curse of sin, and submitting Himself wholeheartedly, in body and soul, entirely to the will of His Father for your salvation, and becoming obedient even to the point of His Crucifixion.

In this, He has been tempted in all ways as you are, yet without sinning in thought, word or deed. His perfect obedience and sinless life are your bulwark against all temptation, and your irrefutable plea against all accusations of sin and death, because He has lived this life of His for you.

Though He is the beloved and well-pleasing Son of God from all eternity, He has also learned obedience, faith and love, and sonship in His own human flesh like yours — by faithfully enduring the things which He suffered in your place and on your behalf. So that now you receive His Sonship as your own, by that faith which He obtains in you by His forgiveness of all your sins and by the gracious gift of life in Himself through the Gospel. For that is what the Gospel is and what it does.

This, too, is what it means for Christ Jesus to be your great High Priest, who has passed through death into life for you, into the heavens, to the Holy of Holies made without hands; to the very presence of God, indeed, to the bosom of the Father.

That is where He is, and that is where you are now, in Him, by grace through faith in His Gospel. Your life is hidden with Christ in God, and you also are a beloved and well-pleasing son.

In the days of His flesh and suffering, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears — so do not suppose that He does not know your tears and sorrows, since He has taken them to be His own. He has so prayed to His Father, whom He knew and trusted as the One who would save Him out of death. And He was heard because of His piety. He was vindicated in His Resurrection from the dead. He has prospered in His suffering and death; He is high and lifted up and greatly exalted in this Glory of His Cross, which is manifested in His Resurrection.

So that you, also, dear one, are heard and answered, vindicated and raised from death to life, because of His piety!

For having been made perfect in His flesh, through His voluntary suffering and sacrificial death for the sins of the world, He has become eternal salvation to all who believe and are baptized into Him.

Therefore, you shall not perish but have eternal life.

Your Father is not angry or upset; He is not unhappy or displeased with you; He does not punish you or cast you out; He does not turn His face away, nor turn His back on you. But here He gladly welcomes you and receives you to Himself in Christ Jesus.

Hold fast to this confession of your Baptism into Christ. And draw near with confidence to this throne of grace: by faith in His life-giving Cross; but so also with your body, in piety and with thanksgiving, by receiving His Body into yours, which He gives you to eat, and by drinking His holy and precious blood with your mouth, as He gives you to drink, for the forgiveness of all your sins. And so, beloved, be at Peace.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.