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

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

Pastor’s Post 6/5/2020

Dear brothers and sisters of Immanuel Lutheran Church:

We rejoice that Immanuel is now permitted to resume offering its Divine Service at 10:00 AM each Sunday, beginning on June 7, 2020.  We will strive to conduct our services in the safest manner possible consistent with the “Safer at Home: Places of Worship” guidance issued on June 4, 2020 by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (“CDPHE”).  I have summarized below certain CDPHE recommendations and the actions that Immanuel plans to take with respect to this guidance.  The actions are generally listed in the same order as they are found in the CDPHE guidance, and therefore the order does not necessarily reflect Immanuel’s opinion of the relative importance of any one action over another.

The CDPHE strongly recommends that those who are at higher-risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g. 65 years and older, chronic lung disease, serious heart conditions, immunocompromised, severe obesity, diabetes, liver disease, chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, etc.) continue using online options.

The CDPHE strongly encourages that masks be worn at all times while on the premises by staff, volunteers, and congregants attending worship services.  Children 2 and under, those with trouble breathing, or those unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask.

Immanuel will limit attendance to 50 people per service.

While entering and exiting the church, or when walking to or from or utilizing restrooms, please maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing by party.  A “party” consists of individuals or members of a household who live together.

Seating in the sanctuary will be restricted in such a way as to maintain at least 6 feet of distance in every direction between individuals or parties.

Doors entering / exiting the church will remain open before and after services.  Doors inside the church will remain propped open throughout the entire service.

Hand-sanitizing units will be located near the front and rear of the sanctuary, as well as in the narthex.

During the Lord’s Supper, direct interaction between the Pastor and the congregants will be touch-free.  Distribution of the elements will be on the rail with the recommendation that no one kneels.  The use of the common cup will be temporarily suspended.  For those requiring additional assistance with communion, the Pastor will mask and sanitize his hands before and after each party.

Offering plates will be set near the library at the left front, and near the center rear, of the sanctuary so that attendees should not need to touch the plates when they give.  The plates will not be passed among attendees.

Hymnals and Bibles (with the exception of the Braille editions) have been removed from the sanctuary.  Photocopied worship folders will include all liturgy, hymns, and Scripture readings needed during the Divine Service.  These may be taken home or they will be discarded after one individual use.  Should you require or desire to use a hymnal, best practice is for worshippers to bring their own books, or utilize digital copies that can be accessed on a cell phone.

No food or beverages will be offered or provided by the Immanuel.  Additionally, no food or beverage may be brought in by individual attendees to share with others.

We ask for your cooperation and understanding as we work through these new procedures, but we give thanks and rejoice in our Lord that we may again gather as a community of believers to hear the Word of God and receive His grace, mercy, and forgiveness in the Sacrament of the Altar.

In His Service,

Pastor Jim Tuell

Pentecost Tuesday 6/2/2020

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Greetings in the Name of our Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, June 2, 2020 is Pentecost Tuesday.  This is the fourth day of four where the church observes the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this day.

Our focus for this day is that the crucified and risen Lord Jesus shepherds His flock with His Word and Holy Spirit.  The Verse for Pentecost Eve, Pentecost, Pentecost Monday, and Pentecost Tuesday is – “Alleluia.  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Alleluia.”  It is a “liturgical” verse that is not based upon any one verse in scripture.

Old Testament:         Isaiah 32:14-20

Psalm:                        Psalm 27 (antiphon v. 1)

Second reading:        Acts 8:14-17

Gospel:                       John 10:1-10

Collect of the Day:

Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; 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

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Fourth Sunday of Easter Sermon

Pentecost Monday 6/1/2020

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Greetings in the Name of our Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, June 1, 2020 is Pentecost Monday.  This is the third day of four where the church observes the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this day.

Our focus for this day is that the light of Christ shines upon the world through His Word and Holy Spirit.  The Verse for Pentecost Eve, Pentecost, Pentecost Monday, and Pentecost Tuesday is – “Alleluia.  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Alleluia.”  It is a “liturgical” verse that is not based upon any one verse in scripture.

Old Testament:         Isaiah 57:15-21

Psalm:                        Psalm 43 (antiphon v. 3)

Second reading:        Acts 10:134a, 42-48

Gospel:                       John 3:16-21

Collect of the Day:

O God, who gave Your Holy Spirit to the apostles, grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace; 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

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Pentecost Eve 5/30/2020

Alleluia! Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Greetings in the Name of our Crucified, Risen, and Ascended Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

Today, Saturday, May 30, 2020 is Pentecost Eve.  This is the first day of four where the church observes the sending of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  Pentecost is the final Sunday of the Easter season.  The paraments color is red, representing fire and blood.  Red recalls both the tongues of fire received on the first Pentecost and the martyrs who shed their blood for the faith.  I pray that you find this message beneficial in your devotions this day.

Our focus for this day is that our Lord makes us His people and seals us with His Spirit.  The Verse for Pentecost Eve, Pentecost, Pentecost Monday, and Pentecost Tuesday is – “Alleluia.  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Alleluia.”  It is a “liturgical” verse that is not based upon any one verse in scripture.

Old Testament:         Exodus 19:1-9

Psalm:                        Psalm 113 (antiphon v. 3)

Epistle:                       Romans 8:12-17 [22-27]

Gospel:                       John 14:8-21

Collect of the Day:

Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; 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

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Fifth Sunday of Easter Sermon

Sixth Sunday of Easter Sermon 

Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles

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

Today, May 1, 2020 is the Feast Day when the Christian Church recognizes Saint Philip and Saint James, Apostles.

This post is the second 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.

Saint Philip is remembered as the Apostle who in John’s Gospel brings Jews and Greeks to Jesus.  He is said to have journeyed to Phrygia where he was martyred.

Saint James the Younger or the Lesser (son of Alphaeus, whose mother Mary was at the crucifixion) is the Apostle who is said to have martyred by being sawn in half.

The verse or theme for this feast is “Alleluia.  I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  Alleluia.”  It is from John 14:6.  The focus for your devotion this day is “Lord, show us the Father (14:8).”

Old Testament:         Isaiah 30:18-21

Psalm:                        Psalm 36:5-12 (antiphon v. 8)

Epistle:                       Ephesians 2:19-22

Gospel:                       John 14:1-14

The hymn appointed for this day is “Christ Be My Leader” as found on page 861 in the Lutheran Service Book. You may hear the hymn at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJk-yJJUQrc

Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, Your Son revealed Himself to Philip and James and gave them the knowledge of everlasting life.   Grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the way, the truth, and the life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal 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