Scriptures for Sunday, September 27:
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32; Philippians 2:1-13; Matthew 21: 23-32
Having read these readings, think of this:
Though the Ten Commandments say that punishment for the iniquity of parents will go on to the third and fourth generation, the prophet Ezekiel says otherwise. We shall be punished for only our own sins. Then the prophet counsels us to get a new heart. This prophetic word is still very hard: our own sins are way enough for serious punishment. Like the sons in the parable, we are often the ones who boldly say yes to the will of God and then do nothing. And how shall we get a new heart? But the Gospel according to Matthew has begun to turn toward the story of the cross, and in this Sunday’s narrative Jesus stands in the temple, mysterious in his authority, warning the world’s authorities, and showing mercy to serious outsiders and sinners. Paul shows us where that mystery goes: through Christ’s death and resurrection, God is at work in us. For a new heart, we are together given the mind of Christ. There is indeed much consolation, compassion and sharing of the Spirit in this word. Starting again, in humility, we may look to the needs of others in a profoundly needy world.
As always, if Pastor Brian or I can do anything to help you please contact us directly by phone or email.
In Our Prayers
Two very special people in the lives of members of our congregation received their gift of eternal life earlier this week. We note with sadness the passing of The Rev. Robert Graetz Jr. the brother of First Lutheran member Suzanne Deutschmann, on Sunday September 20 at the age of 92. A fierce advocate for civil rights serving as a pastor in Alabama in the 1950’s he was a friend of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Mrs. Rosa Parks. There is a inspirational article about his life in the New York Times which can be accessed through the synod website newsletter archive here. We also note the sudden passing of Mr. Steven Stefanik of Roaring Spring, NC, cousin of Pastor George on Tuesday, September 22 and the age of 72. Mr. Stefanik’s wife Karen has been on our prayer list and in hospice care for a number of weeks.
Please keep the Graetz and Stefanik families in your prayers.
Back to School Prayer
Please pray for students, teachers, families, administrators and support staff.
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Has any Bible reader not heard of Dorcas (Tabitha)? The Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write of this disciple in the following way: “[She] was always doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36). Do you ever wonder what Dorcas’ attitude was toward her good works? Helping the poor was probably just a way of life for her. Let us have the same humility of heart as we go about serving others, offering that “. . . cup of water in [Christ’s] name” (Mark 9:41). Paul wrote, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
Prayer: Lord, just as you came to serve and not to be served, help me, in your name, serve others. Open my eyes and heart to the needs of others. Grant me a giving and generous heart. I pray my serving will give you honor and praise. In Jesus’ precious name I pray. Amen.
Blessings on your stewardship journey!
Next Week’s Readings
Isaiah 5: 1-7
Psalms 80: 7-15
Phillippians 3: 4b-14
Please contact the office or come by if you would like a copy of “CHRIST IN OUR HOME’ devotional for October, November, December 2020. Small and large booklets available.