Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 113—A Prayer of Continual Praise of the Lord—The Lord alone is God, and He is the eternal Savior of all who trust in Him. For this reason, the Church, together with all her ministers and members, gives endless praise to Him “from this time forth and forevermore!” Singing songs of praise to the Lord is healthy spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. The Lord’s song of praise lifts our spirits to eternal truths, restores our relationship of confidence in the Lord, and gives us the optimism of Christ’s free gift of salvation. The assertions of Psalm 113 are comforting and uplifting to the soul of every Christian: “The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who dwells on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor out of the dust and lifts the needy out of the ash heap… He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the Lord!”
Congregation at Prayer
April 4, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 112—A Prayer Confessing the Blessed State of the Righteous—Being a disciple of Jesus does not necessarily mean that the Christian will not experience economic hardship or physical sickness. A Christian may suffer all forms of distress. But Psalm 112 promises us that the faithful Christian is blessed by God no matter what he or she might be called upon to endure, and that through such suffering God promises to bless and prosper the Christian. These great truths are contained in the key verse of the psalm: “Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness.” The Christian stands righteous before God through faith in Christ. This faith is the victory that overcomes the world and by which we are afraid of no evil, “His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” “Blessed is the man who f ears the Lord.”CP210404
March 28, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 111—A Prayer of Praise of the Lord and Meditation upon His Works—Psalm 111 is a psalm of praise to the Lord for His saving works, His compassion and mercy, and for His enduring righteousness and justice in Christ which is the source of our salvation from sin. The psalmist extolls meditation upon the Lord’s works and Word: “the works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.” Preaching according to the covenant or promise of salvation in Christ is held forth for His people to rejoice in: “He has declared to His people the power of His works…He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.” The catechism explanation to the First Commandment also reflects the teaching on faith in the last verse of the psalm: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.”
March 21, 2021
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 110—Psalm Announcing the Reign of Christ—Psalm 110 begins with David recounting a “conversation” between the God the Father and God the Son. Both are referred to by David as “Lord”— “the Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’” The passage refers to what will be the consummation of Jesus’ work of trampling the enemies of Satan, sin, and death underfoot. He will sit at the Father’s right hand. On account of the faithful sacrifice of the Son of God (“David’s Lord”), the Lord (God the Father) would place all these enemies under Jesus’ feet. The verse recalls the first promise of the Gospel concerning the “Seed of the Woman” (the Virgin-born Son of Mary) who would “crush the Serpent’s head” with His “heel”. By the redeeming work of His cross, Satan is conquered and the Father places all His enemies under Jesus’ feet. The rest of the psalm depicts the wonderful establishment of Christ’s kingdom as a kingdom of salvation, beauty, and new life for Christians of every tribe and nation. God the Father declared Jesus to be “a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Melchizedek appeared to Abraham in the Old Testament as a man who seemed to have no earthly lineage and yet Abraham paid tithes to him, indicating the superiority of his priesthood. Melchizedek is a type of Christ. His name means, “King of righteousness” and his office is fulfilled in Christ Jesus, the true King of Righteousness whose kingdom and priesthood would never end.
March 14, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 109:21-31—If the world hates us, the Lord will take care of us—Psalm 109 concludes with the psalmist placing his confidence in the Lord and His mercy when all the world and false accusers are set against him. The psalmist confesses that he is totally needy and as fleeting as a shadow. There is no soundness in him of his own making. He is dependent upon the Lord His God for help. When the world attacks him, the Lord upholds him. When the world curses him, the Lord blesses Him. No one else may believe that he is the Lord’s man, but the Lord’s mercy saves him and will vindicate him before his enemies. “I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude. For He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn him.”
March 7, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 109:1-21—A Prayer for God to Judge False Witnesses—False witness includes any form of gossip, slander, or malicious statement that destroys another person and refuses to show mercy. The psalmist is attacked by false witnesses. Instead of lashing out against them, he commends them to God to judge them for what they have done and continue to do. It may seem off putting that the psalm would actually pray for God’s judgment upon his accusers. Would not the psalmist and God Himself desire their repentance? Yes! But such repentance often comes through the offender experiencing the same judgement his false witness gives to others. As we pray Psalm 109 we think of our Lord who was falsely accused, but appealed His cause to God. We remember Judas who vacated his apostolic office by his betrayal and impenitence. Finally, we remember His mercy which never fails to preserve and rescue our faith and life, even from the lying lips of those who speak against us.
February 28, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 108—A Song of Praise for God’s Kingdom Spread throughout the World—Psalm 108 begins with the familiar lyrics of the believer who gives thanks to God and praises Him for His salvation and for extending His kingdom into all the earth. From the Lord’s strong city (for us it is the Church), He extends His kingdom beyond the tribes of Israel and Judah into all the nations of the earth. The citizens of the Kingdom of God are often oppressed, but it is the Lord God who ultimately defends them, gives them help from trouble, and treads their enemies underfoot. Psalm 108 is a joyful song of praise to the Lord for His mission to the world.
February 21, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
|Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 107:33-43—A Meditation on How the Lord Governs Creation—The secular atheistic humanism of our day teaches us that man is powerful enough to control “mother nature” and to manipulate the planet in such a way as to control the weather and to stop hurricanes, drought, heatwaves, and floods. This is not only a lie, but a confession of the idolatry of a new kind of paganism, wherein modern man has almost a “religious belief” that he can control the planet and prevent the world from its inevitable destruction. Against this backdrop, the conclusion of Psalm 107 invites us to confess that the Lord is both God and the Creator and Sustainer of this world. When “natural disasters” happen, according to the psalmist, it is the Lord who is in charge but for His own purposes that often confound and contradict human reason. Psalm 107 invites us to trust in the Lord as Creator and Savior of His people and to rely upon Him when we struggle under the curse of the fall and the distress this brings upon the earth: “He turns rivers into a wilderness, and watersprings into dry ground; a fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of those who dwell in it. He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings. There He makes the hungry dwell…” Let us humbly exercise the dominion God has entrusted to mankind at creation but let us never think that we can play God. Many things are beyond our control. As Christians, we are called to trust in the Lord above all things. The curse of the fall exists for a reason. The sweat, toil, and suffering are sent by God as an instrument through which, by the Word of truth, we are called to repentance and faith in Christ alone for life and salvation.|
February 14, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 107:17-32—Psalm of Thanksgiving for God’s Help—“The 107th psalm is a psalm of thanks for the help that God shows to all people in their distress, whether they are Gentile or Jew. This help the heathen have sought by various idols and we Christians and heathen have sought by various saints [in the past] (and to a great extent still do)…We have thus divided all of God’s help among the saints, as the heathen among their idols, and have stolen and robbed from God—to whom alone this psalm is dedicated and to whom alone the psalm calls on us to thank.” Martin Luther, Reading the Psalms with Luther.
February 7, 2021Download (Adobe PDF)
Catechesis Notes for the Week —Psalm 107:1-16—Thanksgiving for Eternal Mercy—One of the most repeated phrases in the Psalter are the opening words of Psalm 107: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” The Lord’s mercy is His undeserved loving-kindness toward us sinners in His Son. It is the mercy of God that is the heart and core of our redemption. Psalm 107 calls the redeemed of the Lord to confess His mercy to everyone. He has delivered us by His mercy. He saves us by His mercy. Apart from His mercy we have no claim to any of the blessings of the Lord. Therefore, we confess His mercy to us as sinners before the world that others, too, may know, believe, and trust in His mercy. He has saved us from Satan. He rescues us from every distress. When we cry out to Him He answers us. He satisfies the longing soul with His good gifts. Even when He brought down the Children of Israel because of their rebellion and misbelief, He did so that they might return to His mercy as the fountain and source of their life. “Oh that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!”