Morning Song

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Now that the daylight fills the sky, we lift our hearts to God on high, that He, in all we do or say, would keep us free from harm today.

Would guard our hearts and tongues from strife; from anger’s din would shield our life; from evil sights would turn our eyes, and close our ears to vanities.

So we, when this new day is gone and night in turn is drawing on, with conscience by the world unstained shall praise His name for vict’ry gained.

“All praise to You, creator Lord!  All praise to You, eternal Word!  All praise to You, O Spirit wise!”  We sing as daylight fills the skies.

Hymn text–Latin c. 5th-6th Century.  Translated by John Mason Neale, 1818-66

Lord God Heavenly Father, we begin this day with our eyes on Your Word and Your promise to “never leave us nor forsake us.”  Enable us to be faithful in our vocations this day and to help our neighbors in need.  Open our eyes to see who may need a kind word or deed.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

 

May 23 Foot Washing Graduates

Concordia Seminary Graduates  Staff Photo

Concordia Seminary Graduates Staff Photo

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39;  John 13:1-30;  Psalm 119:1-16;  Proverbs 15:29-30

“When he [Jesus] had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”  John 13:12-15

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Last night graduates of Concordia Seminary received their diplomas, but before doing so they were exhorted by the Commencement Speaker, Joseph Gorder, CEO of Valero Energy Corporation, to be humble servants of God; to be willing to be held accountable by wise members of the churches they will serve; and to actively engage team members in doing the Lord’s work wherever they go.  He himself had been “served” by exemplar pastors throughout his business career.  For them he was truly thankful.

Jesus gave the most eye-opening example of servant-hood as he knelt at the feet of his disciples, wiping off the road grime– a job meant for the lowliest servant in a household.  He, the Son of God, whose Word created the universe, humbly did the work of a servant which the disciples would understand only after Christ’s death and resurrection.

They would remember that night in the upper room when their Teacher’s head bowed low before them–and later when this same head bowed its last on the Cross–the Servant Lamb who took their place, paying for the price for their sins before God Almighty.

Jesus knelt before us as well and bids us to follow His example of serving others, that they may know Whom we serve.

Lord Jesus, thanks and praise be to You whose serving brought us life and forgiveness; whose example bids us to do the same out of love and gratitude.  May we always remember who attitude and posture of servanthood that we may follow in your ways to the glory of your Holy Name!  Bless the newly graduated foot-washers and lead them on to their new duties joyfully and in your Name.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

“Blessed are you, O Lord;

teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies

I delight as much as in all riches.

I will delight in your statutes.

I will not forget your words.”

Psalm 119:12-16

September 10 Bucket List

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Photo by Dan Weiss

Isaiah 6:1-7:25;  2 Corinthians 11:16-33;  Psalm 54:1-7;  Proverbs 23:1-2

What’s on your bucket list?

My list includes horseback riding under the big sky in Montana, touring Salzburg-Mozart’s stomping grounds, and having a book of photography published.

Our bucket lists are of our own choosing.  A bit different from the one the Apostle Paul enumerates.  When Paul said “yes” to Christ’s call to preach the Gospel, he acquired a bucket list.  He tells us about it–

“I also dare to boast about…I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again.  Five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus 1.  3 times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, 3 times I was shipwrecked…I have been constantly on the move, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles;  in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers…I have been cold and naked.  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.”  2 Corinthians 11:20, 23-28

Lots of pain and suffering in that bucket list, but the Apostle Paul gladly bore it because Jesus had called him out of darkness and gave him new life. 

And Paul wanted everyone to have what he had–forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Jesus Christ his Lord.

…also on my bucket list–to serve the Lord wherever He leads and to be found faithful at the end of my days.

Lord God, grant that I may serve you with all my heart, soul, strength and mind and to be found faithful in Your sight. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you;  I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.

For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”  Psalm 54:6-7