Devotional Reflection

Friday, July 3, 2020

The sign of the cross + may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.

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

Amen!

Holy God, holy and most gracious Father,

Have mercy and hear us.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.                 (Mt. 6:9-13)

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The Apostles’ Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Psalm 84:5-8 (responsive reading) 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Luther’s Morning Prayer from the Small Catechism

I thank you my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray that you would keep me this day also from sin and every evil, that all my doings and life may please you. For into your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Acts 11:1-18 Peter Reports to the Church

11 Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, 3 “You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.” 4 But Peter began and explained it to them in order: 5 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. 6 Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. 7 And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8 But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9 But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ 10 This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven.11 And behold, at that very moment three men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea.12 And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man's house. 13 And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; 14 he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’ 15 As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. 16 And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God's way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

This is the Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Meditation for today: Excerpt from our Lutheran Confessions: The Smalcald Articles III III 37-40

Historical Context of The Smalcald Articles: Luther's patron, Elector John Frederick of Saxony, him to prepare these articles for the Schmalkaldic League's meeting in 1537, held again in Schmalkalden. The League had been organized in 1531 as a union of various Lutheran territories and cities, to provide a united military and political front against Roman Catholic politicians and armies, led by Emperor Charles V. 

When the Schmalkaldic League met, Luther was taken very ill with a severe case of kidney stones and so was unable to attend the meeting. The league ultimately determined not to adopt the articles Luther had written. They were influenced not to adopt the Smalcald Articles by Philipp Melanchthon, who was concerned that Luther's writing would be regarded as divisive by some. Melanchthon was asked to write a clear statement on the papacy and this he did, a document that was adopted at the meeting as the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope

In the Smalcald Articles, Luther summarized what he regarded to be the most important teaching in Christianity. The Articles were highly prized by John Frederick who ordered that they be made a part of his last will and testament. And though they were not adopted at the meeting of the Schmalkaldic League in 1537, most of the theologians present at that meeting subscribed to it. Parts of Hesse accepted them as confessional writing in 1544 and in the 1550s, the Smalcald Articles were used authoritatively by many Gnesio-Lutherans as well as being incorporated into “corpora doctrinae” during the following 20 years. In 1580, it was accepted as a confessional document in the Book of Concord. 

Prayers

Lord God, the gift of your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, was given to the Gentile Cornelius so that Christ dwelled in him and he dwelled in Christ. May the same Spirit of Jesus, which rested on us in Holy Baptism, give us courage to confess his holy name even in the face of the fiercest persecution, so that we might receive the crown of everlasting life; through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, We Praise Thee LSB 617:3

May God bestow on us his grace and favor that we follow Christ our Savior and live together here in love and union nor despise this blest Communion! O Lord, have mercy! Let not Thy good Spirit forsake us; grant that heav’nly-minded he make us; give Thy Church, Lord, to see Days of peace and unity: O Lord, have mercy!

Let us bless the Lord.                                                                          (Psalm 103:1)

Thanks be to God.