Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

Monthly Archives: June 2020

The Catechism—Christian Questions with Their Answers

June 28, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 82—A Prayer for Comfort against Tyrants—Luther writes: “The 82nd psalm is a psalm of comfort against the tyrants who oppress those in misery… After the Gospel or the ministry, there is on earth no better jewel, no greater treasure, nor richer alms, no fairer endowment, no finer possession than a ruler who makes and preserves just laws. Such men are rightly called gods…. But worldly government will make no progress. The people are too wicked, and the lords dishonor God’s name and Word continually by the shameful abuse of their godhead. Therefore, he prays for another government and kingdom in which things will be better, where God’s name will be honored, His Word kept and He Himself be served; that is the kingdom of Christ…. For Christ practices aright the three divine virtues…. He advances God’s Word and the preachers of it; He makes and keeps law for the poor; He protects and rescues the miserable. The service of God in Christendom is justice, peace, righteousness, life, salvation. Of this kingdom of Christ, the Gospels, and the Epistles of the apostles, preach and testify.” From Reading the Psalms with Luther, CPH. CP200628

The Catechism: Christian Questions with Their Answers

June 21, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 81—Luther on Psalm 81: “The 81st psalm is a psalm of prayer. It is a song sung and preached in the harvest season at the Festival of Tabernacles, calling the people back to the First Commandment, that they should have only one God—He who had brought them out of the land of Egypt—and should praise and call on no other. They did not keep this command, but instead their mouth and instruction were full of idolatry, whereas they ought to have been full of the true God and should have always spoken of Him alone. This psalm teaches us to believe in Christ and cling to Him alone and never commend any work as righteous before God. We also should have our mouth full of Christ, yet we do not do this. Each one follows his own self-conceit and idol.” Martin Luther, Reading the Psalms with LutherCP200621

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism—Part III

June 14, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 80—A Prayer for the Church’s Restoration—Psalm 80 depicts the Old Testament Church as “a vine that the Lord brought out of Egypt.” He cast out the nations before them and planted them in the promised land. He established His vine in the land and “the hills were covered with its shadow.” “She sent out her boughs to the Sea, and her branches to the River.”  But Israel rebelled against the Lord, so “He broke down her hedges, so that all who pass by the way pluck her fruit.” Because of her unfaithfulness, He permitted her to be uprooted by the unclean boar and the wild beasts. Psalm 80 is a metaphor for the New Testament Church. Unfaithfulness to the Lord’s Word often causes the Church to suffer oppression at the hands of the enemies of the Church who do not believe the Gospel. If the Church loses her distinctiveness as a people who preach the Word of God in all its fullness and who confesses that there is salvation in no one else but the Lord Jesus, she has nothing to offer the world and has lost her first love. Psalm 80 begins, therefore, as a prayer to the Lord for deliverance from the Church’s own shortsightedness and prays for the restoration of His vine.  It appeals to the Lord who met Israel for her salvation in the blood of atonement that was offered upon the mercy seat between the cherubim in the temple of the Lord. The Church looks to the blood of Christ—the location of God’s mercy and restoration. “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel… Restore us, O God; cause Your face to shine, and we shall be saved! O Lord God of hosts, how long will You be angry against the prayer of Your people?”  Oppression, suffering, persecution, and distress often befall the New Testament Church to purge out unbelief and to establish a faithful vine from the remnant of the repentant faithful. Ultimately, the Church’s salvation is only found in “the Man of Your right hand, the Son of Man whom You made strong for Yourself.” The eyes of faith must look only to Christ for deliverance from our own shortsightedness and rebellion against God’s Word, “then we will not turn back from You; revive us, and we will call upon Your name … and we shall be saved!”CP200614

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism—Part I and II

June 7, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week —The Holy Trinity and the Creation of Mankind—On Holy Trinity Sunday the Church celebrates, confesses, and meditates upon the mystery of the Holy Trinity.  “The catholic (historic, universal, biblical) faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.  For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.  But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal” (Athanasian Creed).  That God is Triune—one God in three persons—has important implications for humanity and how we understand marriage and family.  Mankind is created in the image of the Triune God to be fruitful and to have dominion over the creation.  There is an “ordering” in mankind’s creation.  “Man was created by God in two genders, male and female: the man was created first from the dust of the ground and the woman was created from the rib in man’s side.  This does not show a ‘superior’ and ‘inferior’ quality between the man and the woman, but an ordering in this relationship of love between two different individuals.  It shows both the uniqueness of each person and the corporate and dependent nature of their relationship.   This ordering is a reflection of the ordering between the three persons of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: ‘None is before or after another; none is greater or less than another’ (Athanasian Creed), and yet, the Son is ‘begotten of His Father’ and the Holy Spirit ‘proceeds from the Father and the Son’ (Nicene Creed).  Holy Scripture teaches that ‘the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God’ (1 Corinthians 11:3).”—The order of creation, Lutheran Catechesis, p. 311.