Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist 9/21/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, September 21, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

“Saint Matthew, also known as Levi, identifies himself as a former tax collector, one who was therefore considered unclean, a public sinner, outcast from the Jews.  Yet it was such a one as this whom the Lord Jesus called away from his occupation and wealth to become a disciple (Matthew 9:9-13).  Not only did Matthew become a disciple of Jesus, he was also called and sent as one of the Lord’s twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4).  In time, he became the evangelist whose inspired record of the Gospel was granted first place in the ordering of the New Testament.  Among the four Gospels, Matthew’s portrays Christ especially as the new and greater Moses, who graciously fulfills the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17) and establishes a new covenant of salvation in and with His own blood (Matthew 26:27-28).  Matthew’s Gospel is also well-known and beloved for its record of the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12); for the Sermon on the Mount, including the Beatitudes and the Our Father (Matthew 5–7); and for the institution of Holy Baptism and the most explicit revelation of the Holy Trinity (Matthew 28:16-20). Tradition is uncertain where his final field of labor was and whether Matthew died naturally or a martyr’s death.  In celebrating this festival, we therefore give thanks to God that He has mightily governed and protected His Holy Church through this man who was called and sent by Christ to serve the sheep of His pastures with the Holy Gospel.” 1

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.  Alleluia.”  It is from Matthew 28:19-20.

Old Testament    Ezekiel 2:8–3:11

Psalm                   Psalm 119:33–40 (antiphon v. 35)

Epistle                  Ephesians 4:7–16

Gospel                  Matthew 9:9–13

The hymn appointed for this day is “What Is the World to Me” as found on page 730 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may listen to the hymn at the link direct below.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ggXnsiQ5Bs

Collect of the Day:

O son of God, our blessed Savior Jesus Christ, You called Matthew, the tax collector to be an apostle and evangelist.  Through his faithful and inspired witness, grant that we also may follow You, leaving behind all covetous desires and love of riches; for You live and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, 743-744.

Feast of The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist 8/29/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, August 29, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of The Martyrdom of Saint John the Baptist.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

“In contrast to the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (observed on June 24), this festival commemorates his beheading by the tetrarch Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-29).  From the perspective of the world, it was an ignominious end to John the Baptist’s life.  Yet it was in fact a noble participation in the cross of Christ, which was John’s greatest glory of all.  Christ Himself said that there had arisen none greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11).  He was the last of the Old Testament prophets and also the herald of the New Testament.  As the forerunner of Christ, John fulfilled the prophecy that the great prophet Elijah would return before the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 17:10-13).  By his preaching and Baptism of repentance, John turned “the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6).  And.in the footsteps of the prophets who had gone before him – in anticipation of the Christ whose way he prepared – this servant of the Lord manifested the cross by the witness of his death.” 1

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.  Alleluia.”  It is from Psalm 116:15.

First Reading       Revelation 6:9-11

Psalm                   Psalm 71:1-8 (antiphon v. 23)

Epistle                  Romans 6:1-5

Gospel                  Mark 6:14-29

The hymn appointed for this day is “If Thou But Trust in God to Guide Thee” as found on page 750 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may listen to the hymn at the link direct below.  I apologize if there is a political advertisement before the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7AhiRmu_Zo

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death.  Grant that we, who have died and risen with Christ in Holy Baptism, may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of the truth, and fearlessly bear witness to His victory over death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, 654.

Feast of Saint Bartholomew, Apostle 8/24/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, August 24, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Bartholomew Apostle.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

Saint Bartholomew (or Nathanael, as he is called in Saint John’s Gospel) was one of the first of Jesus’ twelve disciples.  His home was in the town of Cana, in Galilee (John 21:2) where Jesus performed His first miracle.  He was invited to “come and see” by Philip, who told him that they had found the Messiah in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:45-46).  Bartholomew’s initial hesitation to believe, because of Jesus’ Nazareth background, was quickly replaced by a clear, unequivocal declaration of faith, “You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:49).  He was present with the other disciples (John 21:1-13) when they were privileged to see and converse and eat with their risen Lord and Savior.  According to some Early Church Fathers, Bartholomew brought the Gospel to Armenia, where he was martyred by being flayed alive. 1

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.  But I am among you as the one who serves.  Alleluia.”  It is from Luke 22:26b, 27d.

Old Testament          Proverbs 3:1-8

Psalm                         Psalm 121 (antiphon v. 8)

Epistle                        2 Corinthians 4:7-10

Gospel                        John 1:43-51 or Luke 22:24-30

The hymn appointed for this day is “God Has Spoken by His Prophets” as found on page 583 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may listen to the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FfeNbS9UjI

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel.  Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Adapted from Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, 654.

Feast of Saint Mary, Mother of our Lord 8/15/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, August 15, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Mary, Mother of Our Lord.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

“Saint Mary, the mother of Jesus, is mentioned repeatedly in the Gospels and the Book of Acts, with nearly a dozen specific incidents in her life being recorded: her betrothal to Joseph; the annunciation by the angel Gabriel that she was to be the mother of the Messiah; her visitation to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptizer; the nativity of our Lord; the visits of the shepherds and the Wise Men; the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple; the flight into Egypt; the Passover visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve; the wedding at Cana in Galilee; her presence at the crucifixion, when her Son commended her to the care of His disciple John; and her gathering with the apostles in the Upper Room after the ascension, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit.  Thus she is present at most of the important events in her Son’s life.  She is especially remembered and honored for her unconditional obedience to the will of God (‘Let it be to me according to Your Word’ – Luke 1:38); for her loyalty to her Son even when she did not understand Him (‘Do whatever He tells you’ – John 2:1-11); and above all for the highest honor that heaven bestowed on her of being the mother of our Lord (‘Blessed are you among women’ – Luke 1:42).  According to tradition, Mary went with the apostle John to Ephesus, where she died.” 1

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.  Alleluia.”  It is from Luke 1:46b-47.

Old Testament          Isaiah 61:7-11

Psalm                         Psalm 45:10-17 (antiphon v. 6)

Epistle                        Galatians 4:4-7

Gospel                        Luke 1:39-55

The hymn appointed for this day is “Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones” as found on page 670 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may listen and sing along to the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhNwl9sYn1w

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your only Son.  Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Treasury of Daily Prayer, Scot A Kinnaman, General Editor, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, MO., 2008, 625-626.

Feast of Saint James the Elder, Apostle 7/25/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, July 25, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint James the Elder, Apostle.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

Saint James and his brother John, sons of Zebedee and Salome (Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40), were fishermen in the Sea of Galilee prior to their call to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:18-22).  In the Gospel lists of Jesus’ disciples, James is listed prior to John and is therefore reasoned to be the “elder” of the two brothers. Today the Church commemorates the fulfillment of Christ’s prophecy about James, killed with Herod Agrippa’s sword (Acts 12:2).  He is honored as the first apostle to be martyred and conformed to the image of God’s Son (Romans 8:29).

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Alleluia.”  It is from Mark 10:45.

First Reading:           Acts 11:27–12:5

Psalm:                        Psalm 56 (antiphon: v. 4)

Epistle:                       Romans 8:28–39

Holy Gospel:             Mark 10:35–45

The hymn appointed for this day is “Christ, the Life of All the Living” as found on page 420 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZFMy296ULU

Collect of the Day:

O gracious God, Your servant and apostle James was the first among the Twelve to suffer martyrdom for the name of Jesus Christ.  Pour out upon the leaders of Your Church that spirit of self-denying service that they may forsake all false and passing allurements and follow Christ alone; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene, 7/22/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, July 22, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene.  This post is devoted to one of the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

Saint Mary Magdalene is the one the Lord rescued from the power of seven demons and she provided for Him out of her means (Luke 8:2-3).  Christians have traditionally connected her with the unnamed penitent woman who was forgiven much by faith and thus loved much by anointing Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:36-50).  She was there at Christ’s death, present at His burial, and honored as the first witness of His resurrection.  She would have clung to Him there in the garden, but the Lord had not yet ascended to His Father and our Father (John 20:16-18) to fill all things (Ephesians 4:10).

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’  Alleluia.”  It is from John 20:18.  The focus for your devotion this day is that the resurrection of Jesus our Lord was first witnessed by Saint Mary Magdalene and then by more than five hundred brothers and sisters and that they proceeded to proclaim that Good News to others.

Old Testament:         Proverbs 31:10-31

Psalm:                        Psalm 73:23-28 (antiphon: v. 1)

Second Reading:       Acts 13:26-31

Holy Gospel:             John 20:1-2, 10-18

The hymn appointed for this day is “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds” as found on page 465 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpArZ_eAMqM

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, restored Mary Magdalene to health and called her to be the first witness of His resurrection.  Heal us from all our infirmities, and call us to know You in the power of Your Son’s unending life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles 6/29/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, June 29, 2020 is when the Christian Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Apostles.  While the Christian church today recognizes that they may not have died on the same day, tradition says that this is the day that they were both martyred in Rome by Emperor Nero.

This post is one of what I hope is many devoted to the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  Alleluia.”  It is from Matthew 16:18b.  The focus for your devotion this day is that “Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  So confessed Saint Peter.  And Christ promised to build His Church on it by the forgiveness of sins (Matthew 16:16-19).  Christ does this so we do not try to build the Church ourselves, on this or that person, or by any human means.  Let no one boast in men, whether Paul or Cephas, for all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s (1 Corinthians 3:21-23).  The same Lord who worked through Peter’s ministry worked also through Paul’s and is still at work in His Gospel and Sacraments (Galatians 2:7-8).  The Church of every age must be recalled to hear the Word of this Gospel – the free forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake apart from the Law – and believe.  The Holy Spirit makes no distinction among men, but cleanses hearts by faith alone.  So too will we be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:7-11).  Both Peter and Paul were imprisoned (Acts 12:1-11), both wrote Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), both opposed the world – and sometimes each other (Galatians 2:11-16) – but all that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for us (Galatians 2:5).

First Reading:           Acts 15:1-21

Psalm:                        Psalm 46 (antiphon v. 11)

Epistle:                      Galatians 2:1-10

Holy Gospel:             Matthew 16:13-19

The hymn appointed for this day is “Lord Jesus Christ, the Church’s Head” as found on page 647 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6OU-4swg44

Collect of the Day: Merciful and eternal God, Your holy apostles Peter and Paul received grace and strength to lay down their lives for the sake of Your Son.  Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that we may confess Your truth and at all times be ready to lay down our lives for Him who laid down His life for us; even Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

 

The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist 6/24/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, June 24, 2020 is when the Christian Church recognizes The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, which the Church dates as six months prior to the birth of Jesus based largely on the events recorded in Luke 1.

This post is one of what I hope is many devoted to the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed that are generally neglected today.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this or another day.

St. John the Baptist was miraculously conceived by Zechariah the priest of barren Elizabeth as announced by the angel of the Lord in Luke 1:5-23.  John was marked to be the greatest born of women (Matthew 11:11).  The Church rejoices over the Lord’s mercy just as Elizabeth’s neighbors and relatives did at John’s birth.  But when Zechariah’s tongue was loosed, John was not the subject of his song (the “Benedictus”).  Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has visited and redeemed His people.  John is the voice preparing the way of the Lord (Isaiah 40:3); Jesus, the virgin-born Son of God, is that Lord.  John is the prophet of the Most High.  He is born to give knowledge of salvation to God’s people by the forgiveness of their sins, because Christ the Dayspring is visiting (Luke 1:76-79).  Thus, what John preaches is the comfort of iniquity pardoned by Jesus, the promised Savior of Israel (Acts 13:23) and the nations, that His salvation may reach to the end of the earth (Isaiah 49:6).

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.  Alleluia.”  It is from Matthew 1:17.  The focus for your devotion this day is that Saint John the Baptist is not the Christ, only His Forerunner (Acts 13:25).  He was called from the womb to bring Jacob back to God through his baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Isaiah 49:5), just as Christ was the true Servant of the Lord.

Old Testament:         Isaiah 40:1-5

Psalm:                        Psalm 85:1-13 (antiphon v. 9)

Second reading:        Acts 13:13-26

Holy Gospel:             Luke 1:57-80

The hymn appointed for this day is “When All the World Was Cursed” as found on page 346 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np_Lb4MR10g

Collect of the Day: Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation.  Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell

Daily Lectionary: 6/17/2020

Click on the scripture references to start reading!

Proverbs 17:1-28

Optional: Proverbs 18:1–20:4

John 16:17-33

The selections from Holy Scripture from one day to the next follow a semi-continuous course through entire books of the Bible.  This is consistent with the ancient Christian precedent and practice of lectio continua (“continuous reading”).  This approach allows Scripture to interpret itself in its own literary context.  Thereby it also informs and shapes Christian prayer and devotion over the course of time.  The semicontinuous reading of Holy Scripture does not mean that one must begin with Genesis and read straight through the Old Testament in order, nor with the Gospel of Matthew and read straight through the New Testament, though Christians in the history of the Church have done precisely that.  The semicontinuous reading pattern developed by the Daily Lectionary assigns the various books of the Bible according to the liturgical seasons of the Church Year.  By way of example, the prophet Isaiah and his many prophecies of the coming Christ is read during the Season of Advent, while the Acts of the Apostles is read during the post-Pentecost Time of the Church.  Thus the readings relate to the Church Year in a broad, general fashion, not in the more focused and specific way that one expects for the lessons and Holy Gospel appointed for particular Sundays and festivals of the Church Year.

—Kinnaman, Scot A., and Henry V. Gerike. Treasury of Daily Prayer. Concordia Pub. House, 2008.

 

Feast of Saint Barnabas, Apostle 6/11/2020

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, June 11, 2020 is the Feast Day when the Christian Church recognizes Saint Barnabas, Apostle.

This post is the third of what I hope is many devoted to the Feast Days that the historic Christian Church observed.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this day.

Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, received the name Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’) from the apostles (Acts 4:36-37).  He was sent to Antioch to see the grace of God among the Hellenists, exhorting them all to remain faithful to the Lord (Acts 11:22-24).  There, through His Church, the Holy Spirit “set apart Barnabas and Paul for the work to which He had called them (Acts 13:2).”

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  They went out and proclaimed that people should repent.  Alleluia.”  It is from Mark 6:12.  The focus for your devotion this day is that just as Christ sent out the twelve to proclaim repentance and cast out demons and heal the sick (Mark 6:7-13), so He sent Paul and Barnabas to proclaim repentance and healing among the Gentiles.

Old Testament:         Isaiah 42:5-12

Psalm:                        Psalm 112 (antiphon v. 1)

Second reading:        Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3

Holy Gospel:             Mark 6:7-13

The hymn appointed for this day is “Lift High the Cross” as found on page 837 in the Lutheran Service Book.  You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWcoAa1xR_k

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, Your faithful servant Barnabas sought not his own renown but gave generously of his life and substance for the encouragement of the apostles and their ministry.  Grant that we may follow his example in lives given to charity and the proclamation of the Gospel; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Pastor Jim Tuell