17 July 2017

Today’s Matins

Chapel for 7.17.17

Matins, p. 219
Omit Invitatory and Venite
Pray Psalm 3
Hymn: 540 Christ the Word of God Incarnate
John 8:48–59

"The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. "

O Lord, have mercy on us…

Responsory, p. 221


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You will recall John 8 began with folks dropping their stones and slinking away in shame: "Let him who who is without sin among you throw the first stone at her." John 8 ends with folks picking up stones to throw at the only One who IS without sin. And why? Because He told them the truth and the truth thoroughly ticked them off. 

What is the truth? He had just challenged them: Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.

THIS is what provokes their outrage: "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" He denies having a demon. He doesn't deny being a Samaritan, which means, a Keeper. He IS a keeper of the Word, of Torah, the only one in fact. He keeps the Word of His Father, honors His Father, and does this even in the face of people dishonoring him. He doesn't need to watch out for His own glory. His Father will see to that. He is the judge. His job is to keep the Father's Word.

But just in case they weren't hot enough, he throws some gas onto the fire. "Amen, amen I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." 

And the explosion happens: "Now we know you are possessed, man! Abraham died. The prophets died, and yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death' (I suppose in their anger they couldn't get the quote exactly right). WHO DO YOU MAKE YOURSELF OUT TO BE?"

But that's the point. He's not making Himself out to be anyone. He's not into glorifying himself. What kind of glory would that be? The one they think of as their God, he is the one who glorifies Jesus. "I know Him; and if I said that I did not know Him, why, then I'd be a liar, just like you all. But I do know Him and I keep His Word. Samaritan. Keeper. Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day. He saw it and was glad."

They go apoplectic. "Abraham saw YOUR day? Excuse me, buddy, but you are not yet 50 years old and you have seen Abraham (who lived about 2,000 years before!)." Notice again, they don't get the quote quite right.

And he pushes it further than ever and pushes them right over the edge: "Amen, Amen I say to you, before Abraham was, I am. Ego eimi. Yahweh." After dropping that little bomb you can well imagine the silence before they scrounge around to grab the stones. And yet suddenly he's gone. Hidden, cloaked, invisible. He was there and then he wasn't. He left.

Oh, He had come to be condemned and to die, but the hour still had no come. It would. And He would die for blasphemy, for being a man who made himself equal to God. They didn't miss what He was claiming. Not at all. He was saying that HE was the one who spoke to Abraham, He promised His own birth, He named His ancestor Isaac, He supplied the ram, He is both the One who made the promise and the One who fulfilled the promise to bring blessing to all the families of the earth. Abraham rejoiced to see His day! The day of substitutionary sacrifice by a son from his own body. The day of the Cross. 

Your Jesus is either possessed of demons and a crazy man, or He is God in the flesh. There really is no other option; He gives you no other. And if He is God in the flesh then He is the one whose words CAN and WILL carry you through death. Not that you will not die, but that you will not SEE death. Death is swallowed up entirely in Him. It is Him you will see, not death. 

Join Jesus, the Good Samaritan, the Good Keeper of the Words of God. He carried them to you from the heart of the Father and He gives them to you for you to keep so that they can be your light through the dark valley of the shadow of death, by their light, the darkness disappears and you see the way through, the way that He is. And His great word to you is the same word that He gave at the start of this chapter: "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." Hang tight to it, beloved. He who alone cannot be convicted of sin, He who alone was condemned in place of us all, He whom His Father glorified by lifting up on a tree and lifting up from death, HE will see you through and see you all the way home, where you'll join Abraham in his rejoicing and all the saints and angels who surround the Lamb and sing His praise forever, the faithful One who kept the Father's words and keeps His every promise to us.  

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Kyrie, p. 227
Our Father

The Lord be with you…

Let us pray. O God, You have prepared for those who love You good things that surpass all understanding. Pour into our hearts such love toward You that we, loving You above all things, may obtain Your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Almighty, everlasting God, the eternal Salvation of those who believe, hear our prayers for Your servants Dan, Alex, Amy, Allen and Jan and all who are sick, for whom we implore the aid of Your mercy, that, being restored to health they may render thanks to You in Your Church through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Merciful Lord, for the benefit of Your people you call faithful men and women to serve in a variety of offices in Your Church. Grant that Your Holy Spirit may lead and guide all those who are on the Mercy Medical Team headed to Madagascar to serve according to Your gracious will. Keep them safe, prosper their journey and bring them home with joy; in Your name we pray. 

O God, our Protector, behold, and look upon the face of Your Anointed who gave Himself for the redemption of all, and grant that from the rising of the sun to its setting Your name may be great among the nations and that in every place sacrifice and pure offering may be made to Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

O Lord, our Heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, You have safely brought us to the beginning of this day. Defend us in the same with Your mighty power and grant that this day we fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger, but that all our doings, being ordered by Your governance, may be righteous in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Let us bless the Lord.
The grace of our Lord + Jesus Christ…


Unknown said...

Why omit the Invitatory and Venite? I still don't get why Lutherans feel that they can/should/ought just skip over parts of the liturgies handed down for whatever reason, e.g. brevity, don't like them, substitution, for a longer homily, etc.

William Weedon said...

Actually, here at the International Center, chapel is designated for 20 minutes. So we almost invariably abbreviate whatever order we use to accommodate the limited time. Not ideal, to be sure. I will occasionally lead Matins without a homily and then we do the full order.

Unknown said...

Then what is the International Center's mission? Is it to foster confessional Lutheranism? If so, how does taking an ax to a good 10 minutes of the order of Matins do that?

William Weedon said...

Yeah, if I had my way we’d have 1/2 hour for chapel each day. That is time easily for the full order plus an 8 minute or so homily. But compromises abound where you have to accommodate the needs of “customers” who expect folks to manning the phones when they call in during the business day to ask a question about health plans or investments or upcoming events and such. So HR allows 20 minutes to worship on ordinary days (we have longer chapels when the Principal Feasts of Christ fall during the work week).