Weekly Devotion and Lectionary

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Signs of Faith: 

Playground Area 


Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. Psalm 33:3

Play comes in different forms. The verse for our consideration today refers to the playing of music, particularly songs of praise. In this sense the church is truly a “Playground Area.” 


Lutherans are sometimes described as the “frozen chosen”— a group of Christians who are very careful not to show emotion or react emotionally in any way. Compared to others, who judge how good or bad a worship service was by how clearly they ‘felt’ God’s presence, we certainly are reserved and unfeeling. I pray that our worship is never without feeling. Really, when we consider exactly what God does and gives to us in and through our worship, how can we not react in awe, wonder, praise, and thanksgiving? 


What happens in our worship services might not seem as awe-inspiring as some of the things that God has done in the past. The reality is actually much different. Let me prove it to you. 


How incredible it must have been to see God part the waters of the Red Sea, to walk through on dry land, and then to look back as God destroyed the enemies who were pursuing you. How incredible to wake every morning and, literally, eat bread from heaven, miraculously provided by God. If only we could see God performing signs like that! 


Yet, as St. Paul once wrote: “Our forefathers ate manna in the desert— and they still died.” They had passed through the waters of the Red Sea— but they went on to face many other enemies along the way. 


Compare that to what God does for us. They were brought through the waters of the Red Sea and saw Pharaoh’s army destroyed behind them. But they perished in the wilderness. You were brought through the waters of baptism and, in the process, were delivered from the devil, the world, and your sinful nature. They ate manna from heaven, but they died. You and I receive bread from heaven— the Lord’s Supper— which we eat and live forever. 


If passing through the Red Sea was awe-inspiring, what about passing through the waters of baptism? If waking to manna from heaven every morning was incredible, what about receiving the bread of life in Holy Communion? 


What they experienced pointed ahead to Jesus. You and I receive Jesus. You were joined to Him in baptism— you were buried with Him in His death and raised with Him to new life. You eat and drink the very body and blood that were given and shed for you on the cross. 


O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth with declare your praise! I will sing to you a new song, I will praise you instruments and voice! Your acts of deliverance in the past are awesome; greater still the ones we have seen. “ 20 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. 22 Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you” (Psalm 33:20-22). 


We will never be as emotional and demonstrative as some might want us to be. In part, that’s because we know that God is not found in our feelings. He is found in His Word, in water, and in bread and wine— for us, giving us wonderful gifts— and the more we learn to see Him in those places, the more the church will be a “playground” of praise and thanksgiving for all His gifts to us.

 — Pastor Stolarczyk

Online sources for personal or family devotions: 

 http://www.whatdoesthismean.org/devotions.html 

Go to the website above and click on the devotions tab to find an entire liturgy to use at home. These devotions are meant to be used daily for a week and then new devotions are posted. 

I would also like to share a different Bible series that you may want to use at home to start dinner time devotions. I have discovered a new avenue to use for YOUNG children’s ministry. It is called d365.org. You are asked to subscribe to the site which will then send a small family devotion for you to use with your children every single day of the year.

A brand new way to access the Bible as you spend time with your family. Mr. Charles McGathy has posted a way for parents to access a new yearly Bible reading app on Facebook. The app is called Youversion. It will look like a small icon of a Bible. One way is to ask each pastor and myself to write a weekly devotion that you may read together as a family. That is enclosed on the end of the newsletter. Another way is to provide a weekly Bible reading program and a family prayer that you may use at dinner devotions or whenever you hold Jesus Time at home. Please feel free to use this.


Lectionary Readings for This Week:

Mon. – Psa. 135; Matt. 10:5-15
Tues. – Psa. 123; Matt. 10:16-23
Weds. – Psa. 15:1-18; Matt. 10:24-33
Thurs. – Psa. 36; Matt. 10:34-42
Fri. – Psa. 130; Matt 11:1-6
Sat. – Psa. 56; Matt. 11:7-15
Sun. – Psa. 67; Luke 10:1-12, 17-20
Mon. – Psa. 57; Matt. 11:16-24 
 

Family Prayer for the Week:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. 

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love; for it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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