Monday, August 21, 2017

The Congregation at Prayer

NOTE: I posted three sermons below today - from this Sunday, a funeral sermon, and a midweek sermon from when I was on vacation.

For the Week of Pentecost 11 (August 21-26, 2017)

Invocation: In the Name of the Father and of the (+) Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Speak the Apostles’ Creed. 

Verse: Matthew 16:19 - “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Hymn of the Week:  Lutheran Service Book #645 “Built on the Rock”
Hymns for Sunday: 909, 645, 628, 517 (v. 10), 524, 819

Readings for the Week: [The readings for Thursday-Saturday are the Scriptures for this coming Sunday.]

Monday:  Psalm 138
What reasons does the psalmist give to thank the Lord? Why are these true for all people of all time?

Tuesday:  Proverbs 3:1-8
What should we turn towards? What should we turn away from? Why? Is this hard or easy? Why?

Wednesday:  John 1:43-51
Why was Nathanael skeptical of Jesus? Is this still true today? What is the answer to those who object?

Thursday:  Isaiah 51:1-6
How has God’s righteousness drawn near to you? How do we pursue it? How can we receive it [Him!]?

How are God and His ways different than what we usually think? Why is this good?

Saturday:  Matthew 16:13-20
Why is Jesus’ question important? What depends on it and is connected to it?

The Catechism - The Creed: The Third Article (part 3): I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. . . . What does this mean? I believe that . . . on the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ. This is most certainly true.

The Prayers:  Please pray for . . .
+ yourself and for all in need (remembering especially those on our prayer list).
+ safety from false teaching and God’s blessing as our children return to school.
+ God’s blessing, wisdom, and guidance for our congregation’s Commission on Mercy.
+ the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Argentina, for God’s blessing, guidance, and provision.
+ God’s blessing, wisdom, and provision for Concordia Luth. Theo. Seminary, St. Catherines, ON. Canada.
Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer and Luther’s Morning or Evening Prayer from the Catechism.

Now joyfully go about your day (or to bed) in good cheer, child of God!

Pentecost 11 Sermon

Jesu Juva

“When a Crumb Is Not Just a Crumb”
Text: Matthew 15:21-28

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Well, it’s been an interesting few weeks, hasn’t it? From the high of George’s ordination and the joy of his wedding, to the depth of losing our friend Tony. From worshipping in our own church (even when decorated like outer space for the Adventist’s VBS) and at Immanuel, to now a temporary space here in a home. We’ve had five different preachers these last five weeks, from a learned professor to a retired pastor to a newly minted pastor, from a missionary to a seminarian. A tree came crashing down and death came crashing down, too. Quite the roller coaster.

But really, that’s nothing new, is it? We, as a church, have been there before. So have you, as a Christian. High one day and low the next. Joyous one day and sorrowing the next. Triumphs and successes are followed by challenges, trials, and struggles. At home, at school, at work, sin and death come crashing down. Life like a roller coaster, or maybe a constant struggle.

But while things in our lives and in our church change, one thing never does - and that is our Saviour and His promises. Whether we are high and joyous or sad and sorrowful, He comes with the goods, His gifts, for us. Whether we are in a beautiful church or a temporary set up, He is present just the same. For wherever His Word is proclaimed and His Sacraments given, there is He. You can count on that. In the midst of a world where there maybe isn’t a lot to count on, you can count on that. On Him.

Though there are times when maybe it seems different. Like maybe Jesus doesn’t really want to help. Like He doesn’t hear. Like the story we heard today of the Canaanite woman who came to Him for help. Her world was crashing down on her. Her daughter was grievously demonized. She probably would have gladly let the demon have her if it meant her daughter being set free. But there was nothing she could do. She was helpless . . . but not hopeless. For she came to the hope of the world, the Lord of heaven and earth, the promised Son of David, and would not let go. She could do nothing, but He could do everything.

But at first He doesn’t respond. Not a word came from His mouth. No word of either healing or rebuke. He had heard her? She keeps crying out. For how long we don’t know, but long enough for the disciples to lose patience with her and beg Him to send her away. He doesn’t, but does state that He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

She is undeterred. Like Jacob who wrestled with God, she would not let Him go until He blessed her. 

Interestingly, it is at this point that she is bold to approach Jesus. His words do not drive her away, but draw her in. Where maybe we hear rebuke, she hears invitation. Sheep know their shepherd’s voice. So she approaches Him. She comes and kneels before Him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Was it a desperate cry? Or just a whisper? 

It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs. His first words spoken to her. Words that perhaps sound insulting to us, but words that this remarkable woman finds hope in. She is not proud. Yes, she is a dog. She’ll gladly be a dog in Jesus’ house! For even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table. A crumb is all she needs. For a crumb from Jesus is more than all the wealth of the world. A crumb from Jesus is greater than the grievous demon that is possessing her daughter. Just a crumb from Jesus . . .

Just two weeks ago we heard about other bread from Jesus, the Feeding of the 5,000. With just five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus feeds the 5,000 men plus the women and children who were there with them, with 12 basketfuls left over. A crumb from Jesus is never just a crumb . . .

When I was in Kenya a number of years ago I was privileged to help with the distribution of the Lord’s Supper at Nyapolo Lutheran Church. The church was overflowing that day and like we sometimes have to do here, we had to break the hosts to have enough for everyone. But then we also had to break the halves, and then break the quarters, and then the eighths, and by the time we were finished, I was placing crumbs into the mouths of those sheep come to feed on their Good Shepherd. Yet as they knew, a crumb from Jesus is never just a crumb . . .

Perhaps the events of the past few weeks have made us realize once again how much WE need crumbs. It’s easy to forget. To get busy and forget. To have things going well and forget. To get lost in our pursuits and forget. To focus on what we want and desire and forget. To look to ourselves and forget. But then when trees and death or sorrow or trouble come crashing down on us, we realize that now as well as then and really at all times, we are the Canaanite woman. Or her daughter. WE are grievously demonized with temptations to sin, doubt, or despair; with temptations to pride, self-sufficiency, or over-confidence; with temptations to send those in need away, like the disciples. To forget that we - all of us! - are beggars in need of crumbs . . .

Beggars. We see them - them, right? - on the side of the road by red lights. We see them in the Metro stations. We see them - that’s not us, right? But it is us. Luther knew it. When he died, that was on the note in his pocket: We are beggars, this is true. Lord, help me! the woman cried out. Us, too. We need crumbs . . .

But a crumb from Jesus is not just a crumb; it’s never just a crumb, but a feast! Perhaps one way to think about that is like the allowance a parent gives a child. A dollar or two from a parent is a crumb, but to the child, it’s a feast. Or for someone who’s lonely, a few crumbs of your time are like a feast to them. Or for someone in need, a few crumbs from you mean more than you can imagine. So, too, do we feast on the crumbs of God that are much more than crumbs.

Jesus gave the Canaanite woman the crumb she sought - her daughter was healed instantly. The crumb that was really a feast.

And we receive such feasts as well. With regard to the things of the world, not everyone gets the same feast, for our Father in heaven gives as He knows best. What is good for each one. So there are different feasts. There is the feast of physical healing and mercy. The feast of blessings and bounty. The feast of joys, and of talents and abilities. These for us to also share with one another, to give as He has given to us. Crumbs from Him, a feast for us, served from His merciful and gracious hand.

But even more, there is the feast we receive from the cross - the feast we need the most - from the crucified and nail-pierced hands of Jesus. You feast on His forgiveness won for us there. You feast on His Word which teaches you of this sacrifice and the love that kept Him there. You feast on His Body and Blood, given and shed for you. You feast in our fellowship, here, that the Lord has given us. These here for all the same, for we all have need of these. These gifts far more than crumbs . . .

Which is why the Son of David was there that day in the district of Tyre and Sidon. He had come to give Himself as the bread of life. He had come to set the severely demonized free. He had come to hear the prayers of desperate mothers, and set free a humanity and creation in bondage to sin and death. And He has. 

For the one who was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, He was there in the district of Tyre and Sidon for a reason, and He is here for the same reason. For the lost sheep of the house of Israel aren’t only in Israel. For while that Canaanite woman may not have been of Israel by birth, she was by faith.

And that’s true for all of us as well. We are not of Israel by birth, but we are by faith. True Israelites, the Church of God, the children of God, with a seat at the table. So we come to this table today, to receive the life and forgiveness and strength that we need, and look forward to the table that awaits us, with all the saints who have gone before us; the feast of heaven, which will have no end.

For that’s why Jesus came, why He comes now, and why He will come again. Whether it’s Israel, Tyre and Sidon, or here. To feed us now. To feed us forever. Crumbs that are never just crumbs when they come from Jesus.

And one day, when you arrive at the feast which has no end, look around. For departed friends and loved ones, fellow strugglers, who died in the faith. And maybe, just maybe, you also might see an old Canaanite woman and her daughter, who received a few crumbs of mercy, but a great feast of life.

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Funeral Sermon for Louis Anthony Steiner

No Audio

Note: This funeral sermon was quite difficult and a bit different than my usual. Let the reader understand . . .

Jesu Juva

Text: John 11:17-39a, 43-44;
1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 51-57; Genesis 37:29-35

James, Gordana, and David, Friends of Tony and Tony’s family . . .

Your minds are filled with questions. Your hearts are filled with grief. But God’s Word is filled with hope.

You wonder what you could have done. God’s Word tells us what Jesus has done for us, to rescue and save us.

Perhaps you are also filled with guilt. Were there signs you missed? Indications that something was wrong that you should have noticed? God’s Word tells us that there is forgiveness.

So that’s what we turn to on a day like this. Questions without answers provide no comfort. God’s Word gives us hope, and shows us the one greater than our sin, our grief, and our helplessness.

That doesn’t make today easy, of course. Grief and healing take time. But it points us in the right direction. To go to our Saviour with our every need. Our Saviour who grieves with us. Our Saviour who before the tomb of His friend Lazarus, wept like we do today. But who also said this: I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Words of hope.

You see, we live in a world gone horribly wrong. This is not the way things are supposed to be. God did not create us to die. Death was never part of the plan. Death is not a part of life, as some like to say today. Death is an instrusion. Death, as we heard, is the enemy. And especially children are not supposed to die before their parents. But in this world gone horribly wrong, this world turned upside down by sin and death, that happens. And not just today, but from the beginning. Adam and Eve lost their son Abel. We heard today of Jacob mourning for his son Joseph who he thought had been killed by a wild beast - more on that in a moment. King David mourned for his son Absalom. And then there was Mary, who lost her son, too - Jesus - on a cross. But that wasn’t just Mary’s son who died there, but God’s Son. God knows what it’s like to lose a son, too.

But that loss is our gain. For God sent His Son into this world gone horribly wrong and give us hope. Into this world turned upside down and set it right again. To take our sin and guilt and provide forgiveness and hope. To die our death and provide life. That’s God’s plan. Sin and death, NO. Forgiveness and life, YES. Separation and grief, NO. Reunion and hope, YES. 

And that’s what Jesus did for us. Jesus died our death on the cross, to provide a way out of death. He entered into death to crack it open and give us hope. So that He could say those words to Mary and Martha: I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Words of hope. Words of life. 

Sometimes, though, we think there is no hope. That my sadness, my trouble, my trial, my sin is too much. That there is no love greater than these, that could overcome these. But Jesus shows us there is. His love. And He showed it to us on the cross. That He would rather die than we die. 

You see, while He was hanging there, many made fun of Him. They mocked Him and told Him to jump down and prove that He was who He said He was. That He really was God and not just a mere criminal getting what He deserved. That He really was strong and not weak. But He did not jump down. But not because He was weak, but because His love for us was strong. Because had He jumped down He would have saved Himself but lost us. So He stayed. To take our sin and give us forgiveness. To take our death and give us life. So while our hands turn against each other and maybe even turn against ourselves, His hands on the cross turned toward us; reached out to us, in love. That we see that He really is the way, the truth, and the life.

Our sorrow and grief may make it hard to see that, as it did for Jesus’ disciples - themselves wracked with sorrow and guilt - those days after Jesus died and lay in His tomb. But the disciples would see it. When Jesus rose from the dead, breaking its grip, gaining the victory over it, and showing Himself to them alive. Death is too strong for us, but not for Him.

And now He promises that victory to us. That just as He called Lazarus out of the grave with just His Word, so He would on the Last Day do that same for us. That sin let us go. That death let us go. That these enemies be defeated, and there be only life. Life with Him. Life forever. With no more sadness, fear, guilt, loneliness, tragedy, suffering, or tears. Right now, death looks victorious, and it stings. But it will not always be so. But, as we heard, thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God. Tony said those words with us in church week after week. He rejoiced in His Lord’s forgiveness and Word and promises and gifts. As he told his mother, it was the way he wanted - he needed - to start every week. I also studied God’s Word with him during the week. He was a good student and asked good questions and looked forward to our time together. Which is all to say: Tony knew and loved His Saviour. So while the last hours of Tony’s life are shouded in mystery to us, that’s the Tony I knew. 

And that gives me hope. That like Jacob, who mourned his son but later saw him again, that so will I see Tony, together with all who depart this life with faith in Jesus - even if that faith is small as a mustard seed. For it is not the size of our faith that makes the difference, but the size and power of the one our faith is in. And who made, fulfilled, and will keep all His promises to us. Promises like the one we heard today: I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.

I cannot answer why things happen as they do in this world. I do not even know why God would love us so much to give His Son for us! For who am I that God should do that for me? For you? And for Tony? But He did. We have a Saviour whose love is far greater than we could ever imagine. A Saviour we can trust.

So I included a little hymn in your bulletin for us to sing today. A children’s hymn. For at times like this, we look to our heavenly Father as His children, with child-like faith. We look to Him for hope, for forgiveness, for comfort and strength. And He will not let us down.

So let us sing . . .  (Hymn LSB #729: I Am Trusting Thee, Lord Jesus)

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Commemoration of St. Laurence Sermon

No Audio
Jesu Juva

“Life in Christ”
Text: Mark 8:34-38; Revelation 6:9-11

St. Laurence knew the Church is not an institution. It is not a building. It is not a thing. St. Laurence knew that the Church is the Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ. A building not of dead stones, but of living, breathing, bleeding stones, built on the living, breathing, and bleeding cornerstone named Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-6).

That’s why, as tradition says, when Laurence was brought before the prefect of Rome and told to turn over all the treasure of the Church to the Roman treasury, Laurence didn’t bring silver or gold or the keys to a building - he brought people. He brought the disabled and sick. He brought the poor - those the Church had helped and touched; those who had become the living stones of the Church. And he said: “Here are the Church’s treasures.” 

The Roman prefect was not amused, but Laurence wasn’t trying to amuse him. Living in the midst of a time of great persecution, Laurence knew that doing this would get him killed. Martyred. But he had to do the truth. And he knew that while the Roman government could kill him, it couldn’t take his life. For his life was safe in Christ (Colossians 3:3). He had already died with Christ and been raised with Christ in Holy Baptism (Romans 6). So he was bold. The Roman prefect counted on fear to get what he wanted. But fear was not the currency Laurence dealt with. Love was. The love of Christ for him, the love of Christ given to him, the love of Christ he now, as a deacon of the Church, gave to others.

And when love is your currency and not silver or gold, you see things differently. You see as Jesus saw. And you see the Church not as an institution, or a building, or a thing, but as the people. For you don’t lay down your life here for an institution, a building, or a thing. You lay down your life here when you know that you’ve already been given a life that cannot be taken away. When the love you’ve received is far greater than the love you could ever give. Receiving a love like that changes you. 

For Laurence, like you and I, was not born this way, ready to give his life for Christ and the Church. By nature we cling to our lives in this world. We cling to the stuff of this world. It’s what we know. But Laurence, like you and I, was re-born; given a new life; a new life in Christ Jesus. And when he was re-born in Holy Baptism, he was changed. He was raised. From one life to another. From an earthly life to a spiritual, heavenly life. He looked the same, but was really a new man. A new man who knew that it didn’t profit him anything to save his life in this world and forfeit his soul. A new man who knew that losing his life in this world meant saving it for eternity. A new man who was not ashamed of a crucified Saviour, and so was not ashamed of those his crucified Saviour came to save - the poor, disabled, and sick; the down and out; the low and unwanted. Jesus wanted them, and that was good enough for Laurence. The things of this world - no matter how great and strong and glorious they look - are passing away. But the One who died and rose again could not pass away again. Not ever. And Laurence, by virtue of his baptism, belonged to him.

That’s how it worked in ancient Rome. If you were a Roman soldier, you were marked as such. You belonged to Rome and to your regiment. Laurence had been marked, as you have been marked - with the sign of the cross - and he would not rebel against the one he belonged to: his Saviour. 

So when he was summoned, he did what was right; he did the truth, even though he knew it would mean losing his life here in this world. He knew God was not against him nor had left him, but that he would be privileged to be one of those we heard about from Revelation tonight - one of those souls under the altar, slain for the Word of God and the witness they bore. God knows exactly the number of that great company, a number being added to even today as Christians are killed for refusing to deny their Saviour. Or maybe better to say, as Christians are given life for refusing to deny their Saviour. 

We admire men and women like Laurence. For doing what they did. For their courage and faith. 

But while we admire men and women like Laurence, we worship the one far greater than he. The one who looked at this world full of the poor, disabled, sick, down and out, low and unwanted; rebellious sinners going their own way; infected by sin and dying, and who loved us anyway. Who saw people unworthy of His time, unworthy of His love, unworthy of His doing anything for us . . . and He came anyway. Not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Because of His love that surpasses anything we can ever imagine. And so He came and gave His life for you. That you be no longer poor, disabled, sick, down and out, low and unwanted, but that you be a child of God. And He gatheres you in Baptism, He feeds you with His Body and Blood, He absolves you of your sin, and He takes you to His Father, and says: “Here are your treasures.” And unlike the Roman prefect, the Father is well pleased. This is exactly what He wants. You.

And knowing that, believing that, you too can be a Laurence and see as Jesus sees. And not only that, but do and speak as Jesus too. And see others, unworthy as they are, as folks to love and help and go out of your way for. Not because of who they are, but because of who you now are - a new man, a new woman, in Christ. It won’t be easy and it may not be popular or pleasant, and as Laurence found out, it may cost you your life. But as Jesus said: whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. Like Laurence, you have a life that cannot be taken from you; a life safe in Christ. So you can live, without fear. You can live in love. You can live because whatever you need, you have. In Christ. In the one who gave His life for you, and gives His life to you. And when you have His life, you truly have everything.

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Another Guest Sermon!

This week we are privileged to have Athanasian and now missionary Chris Yang with us for the Divine Service. Here is the link to the audio of his sermon. Thank you Chris for your preachment of the Word to us today and for all your work for the Lord!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

No Sermon This Week

No sermon manuscript to post this week as we were privileged to have Seminarian Daniel Broaddus proclaim the Word of God to us today, fresh off his vicarage. Here is the link to the audio of his sermon. We got to see the progress he is making in his pastoral formation and pray for God's blessing as he returns for his fourth year of study.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Commemoration of Isaiah Sermon

Jesu Juva

“The Fifth Evangelist”
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8; Hebrews 11:32-12:2; Luke 4:16-22a

Isaiah is often times called “the fifth Evangelist” because he wrote so much of Christ. It is Isaiah who wrote of the virgin birth. It is Isaiah who wrote that the people walking in darkness have seen a great light. It is Isaiah who wrote of Jesus as the branch that would grow from the stump of Jesse. It is Isaiah who writes that on the mountain of the Lord death would be swallowed up, a great feast prepared, and that God would wipe away tears from all faces. It is Isaiah who wrote, “Comfort, comfort my people,” who wrote of all the miracles Jesus would do, and that the Spirit would be put upon Him. It is Isaiah through whom God said, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” It is Isaiah who wrote of Jesus’ crucifixion, saying that Jesus would be stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted; that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, was silent like a sheep before its shearers, and that He bore our iniquities. It is Isaiah who wrote of the visit of the Magi, and it is Isaiah who talks about the new heavens and the new earth. Isaiah knew his Saviour.

So it really is no surprise that the first sermon Jesus preached - after He was baptized and after His 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by satan - when He goes home and goes to church, the first sermon He preaches is from a reading from the prophet Isaiah. And He says this: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Or in other words: that guy Isaiah wrote about? It’s Me. The year of the Lord’s favor is here. The wait is over. 

Isaiah could write so eloquently of that not just because he was a prophet and the Holy Spirit spoke these words through him, but because he experienced the Lord’s favor himself. It literally touched him. For when he has been given a glimpse of heaven, and he saw the Lord sitting on His throne and the angels surrounding Him and singing, he cried out in dismay: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Or in other words, I’m a dead man. A sinner cannot come into the presence of God and live.

But live he did. Not because of his own merit, but because the Lord took away his sin. A burning coal from the altar, the altar of sacrifice, a holy thing, touched his lips and cleansed him. His guilt was taken away and his sin atoned for by this sacrifice. He was forgiven. And suddenly, Isaiah not only lived, but became a new man. And his lips, once unclean, would now prophesy - like no other - of the Lord. From dead sinner to fifth Evangelist.

That is a picture of what happens to us as well. For we are unclean. We are dead in our trespasses and sins. We have no right to come into the presence of God. And yet here we are. Because the Lord has taken away our guilt and atoned for our sin. You are forgiven. The sacrifice from the altar of the cross has touched you and made you new. The blood from that sacrifice poured over you in Holy Baptism. The flesh and blood of the sacrifice touching your lips as you eat and drink the Holy Supper. And like Isaiah, with these you need not fear anymore. For the Lord has done for you what He promised. What He promised Adam and Eve, promised down through the ages, spoke through the prophet Isaiah, and has now fulfilled and given to you. From dead sinner to child of God.

For his efforts, Isaiah was rewarded - tradition says - by being sawn in two, as we heard that some were in the reading from Hebrews. But once you have gone from death to life, as Isaiah did, then death has no power over you. And the people that wield death have no power over you. For you’ve been given a life greater than death; a life that overcomes death. In this world, because of sin, death overcomes life. But in Jesus, life overcomes death. And not lions, fire, sword, flogging, stones, chains, or saws can take that away. How excited Isaiah must have been to proclaim such a Saviour. To proclaim the Saviour who had done that for him.

And so now Isaiah is one of the great cloud of witnesses who surround us, whose lives of faith encourage and astound us (LSB #667 v.1). And they teach us. They teach us that when sin rears its ugly head, when the wild beasts tear at our flesh, when the fires of persecution burn hot, when words are hurled at us like swords and stones, when all the powers of hell try to silence our mouths and kill our faith - look to Jesus. Look to the one Isaiah wrote about. The founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and - what happened to Him? - is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Which is where you too will be. In Jesus. Baptized into Him, absolved by Him, and fed with Him. For on the Last Day, when Jesus comes again, He will again speak words of fulfillment. But this time, the scroll that He will unroll on that day will not be the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, but the Book of Life. And we will see the Lord and we will not be afraid. Because the Lord we will see is the Lord we know, the Lord we hear, the Lord we eat and drink. The Lord who conquered death and gives us life. The Son of Mary, our brother in the flesh. And He will not ask Whom shall I send? but will say to you, come and rest. Come to the feast promised to you. Come for all is now ready. And we will come in joy.

Until that day, and knowing that great and glorious day is coming, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. For at the finish line is Jesus, the one of Isaiah’s pen, the conquerer of sin and death and hell, already victorious, with His victory for you. 

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.