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Sunday, June 16th 2024

I remember little slogans posted in the locker room while I was involved in High School Athletics. One read, “You can’t make the club in the tub.” Another read, “No pain, no gain.” Still another stated, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” And a final one I remember went, “Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better, and your better best.” I would like to use that slogan for our Epistle Reading this morning, with one important qualification. It is God who makes us good. It is our Lord who makes us better. And it is He who brings us to the best…

Grace Notes

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Grace Notes 2024-06-12
Wednesday, June 12th 2024

This week we will take a look at the responsibilities of husbands and wives according to Scripture as categorized in Martin Luther’s Table of Duties in the “Small Catechism.” First, we will begin the duties of husbands.

Grace Notes 2024-06-05
Wednesday, June 5th 2024

In our tour of Luther’s “Table of Duties” in the Small Catechism, this week we will consider our Baptismal Vocations as Citizens. Here, five passages of Scripture are considered…

Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. (Matt. 22:21)

It is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (Rom. 13:5–7)

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. (1 Tim. 2:1–3)

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good. (Titus 3:1)

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. (1 Peter 2:13–14)

It is our Christian duty to be good citizens! No matter how much we hate paying taxes, we are to pay taxes. Among other things, tax raised revenues allow there to be full time governing authorities, who are God’s servants and will be held accountable for the exercise of their offices. Respect and honor are also to be given to the civic authorities. We are instructed, indeed urged, to pray for those who govern over us, whether or not we voted for them or like the job they are doing. We are to be obedient to the authorities, so long as what they command is good and right. This is our Christian duty.

 

Since You Asked…

Why is incense used in some churches? 

The use of incense is not unique to Christianity or Judaism and is used in many of the world’s religions to enhance special times and places by sight and smell. In Christian worship incense is effectively used at the beginning of the Service of the Word and in preparing for receiving Holy Communion. The burning of incense is associated with the prayers of worship rising before God (cf. Psa 141:2; Rev 8:4). Good worship should engage all the human senses. In this connection it should be pointed out that the olfactory sense is perhaps the most sensitive of the five senses; it continues to function even during sleep. (Indebted to Aidan Kavanah in his “Elements of Rite”.)

 

Grace Notes 2024-05-29
Wednesday, May 29th 2024

Two weeks ago, we were moving our way through Luther’s “Table of Duties” in the Small Catechism as we have been considering our Christian Vocation. Last time we looked at the duties of “What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors.” This week our focus will be on civil authorities in a section entitled “Of Civil Government.” Luther cites one passage in this regard…

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