The 2015 synod convention launched a special synod-wide offering to eliminate $4.7 million in synod debt two years ahead of schedule. If successful by God’s grace, the “One in Christ” campaign will put our synod in a better financial position to continue the ministry of training and sending gospel proclaimers to the world. Thus, together we will do more than simply pay our debt to previous ministry endeavors; we will actually move ministry forward. To that end, we worship and praise our God today for all that he has done for us—most of all, what he does for us in the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. In this endeavor, as a Synod we pray: God help us!
Is faithfulness to Christ worth the trouble it brings? The life of faith is lived in a godless world, and it is therefore certain to be met with persecution. Like our Suffering Savior, we too bear his cross in our daily interactions with the unholy trio. The Lord, however, uses these persecutions suffered for the sake of the Gospel to refine us into the pure, precious metal of his children. Strengthened through the means of grace, we boldly confess Jesus as the Christ in the face of any persecution or trouble. The Church prays that God in his mercy would direct the affairs of this world so that the Church might have peace, but at the same time we prepare ourselves for persecution.
The journey from spiritual death to spiritual life begins with a recognition of guilt. We have sinned and fall short of fulfilling the Law of the Lord. Through contrition and repentance God prepares the heart to receive the gift of the Gospel.
Last Sunday we heard that faith trusts God’s power completely. This Sunday’s lessons sound the depth of that faith. Can our faith trust completely, even when faced with death itself? Facing our own mortality, or that of our loved ones, brings out the weakest parts of our character. And so, today the Church prays: Be gracious to us in our weakness and give us strength...