Peace Lutheran Church Sussex, Wisconsin

Congregation at Prayer

Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Creed—The Second Article

July 26, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 86—A Prayer for Mercy that Meditates upon the Lord’s Goodness—In psalm 86 David prays for help yet confesses himself to be holy. He says that he is poor and needy yet claims to be the Lord’s servant. How can these things contrasting pairings be true? The prophet says, “the just shall live by faith” in the Lord’s promise of salvation (Habakkuk 2:4). To be a Christian is to trust in the Lord and not in myself. To be a Christian is to confess my sin and to receive the Lord’s forgiveness. To be a Christian is to believe that I am poor and needy in myself yet holy and righteous in Christ. The Christian faith believes in what God’s Word declares about myself and trusts in what God gives me in Christ. The just shall live by faith in the Lord Jesus and His suffering, death, and resurrection for our salvation. For this reason, David’s prayer of faith not only cries out to the Lord for forgiveness for his sin and deliverance from his enemies, but also rejoices in the myriad gifts of the Lord’s salvation. “Preserve my life…be merciful to me…You are good…Give ear to my prayer…You are great, and do wondrous things…Teach me Your way, O LORD…You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth…You Lord, have helped and comforted me.” Psalm 86 teaches us how to pray with boldness and confidence. Even though we are undeserving sinners, yet we are the objects and recipients of the Lord’s mercy and love.

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

July 19, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 85—A Prayer for Mercy for God’s People—Even when the Lord punished Israel and Judah with captivities that scattered them during times of captivity, He did so out of love to bring about their repentance. Psalm 85 speaks of the grace of God. He has been “favorable to His land” which means that His grace is upon the people whom He has chosen. He brings us back from the captivity of sin. He forgives our sin. He takes away His wrath. He turns from the fierceness of His anger. He causes us to hear again the sweet words of His forgiveness, mercy, and truth. “Righteousness and peace have kissed each other” speaks of how Christ’s righteousness has brought about our peace with God. When we are troubled in our conscience about whether or not God can forgive, restore, and bring us back from the folly of our wayward ways, Psalm 85 stands as a testimony to His abiding mercy and love for us.

The Office of the Keys

July 12, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 84—A Prayer of Delight in the Lord’s Divine Service—The Patriarch Jacob rightly confessed “the LORD is in this place” when he heard and received the Lord’s Word in the wilderness. Wherever the Word of Christ is preached in its truth and purity and the Sacraments are administered according to Christ’s institution, it is a “Bethel”— House of God. This is what makes the Tabernacle of the Lord so lovely and why we long to go to the house of God. Faith yearns to receive the Lord’s Word and Supper, and so the psalmist prays, “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” This yearning is expressed in the basic prayer of faith at the beginning of the Divine Service: “Lord, have mercy upon us!” It is a prayer which believes that everything that we need both spiritually and temporally flow from the Lord’s grace which is offered to us in the Word. The Word of God is like a spring of living water, or rain that covers the earth with pools that refresh the soul. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in You!” Throughout our earthly pilgrimage it is the Lord’s Word that sustains, comforts, and refreshes us. Interestingly, the psalmist draws attention to how even the sparrows could nest in the Old Testament Tabernacle. It is a sign of how the Church of Christ benefits the whole world, even those who do not realize the importance of the Church’s presence for the welfare of the whole earth. May the words of psalm 84 ever be our prayer: “A day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than dwell in the tents of wickedness…O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You!”

The Lord’s Prayer—The Fifth Petition

July 5, 2020

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Catechesis Notes for the Week — Psalm 83—Prayer for the Church Against Oppression from Her Enemies—The Old Testament church often found herself surrounded by enemies, foreign powers, who sought to destroy both the nation of Israel and her faith. The persecuted and suffering Church of the New Testament needs to read the psalms as applying to our situation today, as the false teachings of the world don’t merely stand alongside the teachings from God’s Word, but actually fight against it. The world is full of many false teachings, but they often have one thing in common: a malevolent hatred of the Gospel of Christ and the confession of Christianity. Tolerance in our world abounds for every other teaching and point of view except Christianity. Christians often experience the condition of being in the minority and the object of societal discrimination and the bigotry of political correctness. Against this backdrop, the psalmist prays, “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace, and do not be still, O God! For behold, Your enemies make a tumult; and those who hate You have lifted up their head…  They have consulted together with one consent; they form a confederacy against You.” We learn from this psalm prayer that the Lord will deal with the enemies who attack the Church. We are simply called to be faithful and to entrust ourselves to the care and protection of Him who suffered all for our redemption. “O my God, make them like the whirling dust, like chaff before the wind! Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; yes, let them be put to shame and perish, that men may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth.”CP200705