Ash Wednesday, 2022, 7 PM Central
Pastor Gregory L. Jackson
Bethany Lutheran Worship, 7 PM Central Time
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm 1 p. 123
The Lections Joel 2:12-19
The Sermon Hymn #578 Lord, While For All Mankind We Pray
The Sermon – Glad Hearts, Mercy and Love
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45
The Hymn #654 Now the Day Is Over
Prayers and Announcements
- More work was done for improving the hymns.
- Last Sunday was bad for all Internet services live.
- Our services can be viewed afterwards on YouTube and Facebook. More RESI work tomorrow and Friday.
- Mary Howell - clear scans, praise God.
- Medical care - Doc Lito, Pastor Jim Shrader, Chris Shrader, Pastor K, Norma Boeckler.
- The new KJV book should be in production this weekend.
KJV Joel 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God? 18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people. 19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. 19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Glad Hearts, Mercy and Love
KJV Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
We cannot doubt that Jesus knew how to poke fun at people who put on a show but do not mean it. I read about the eternal "look" of the Jesuits, painted like long, dreary shadows. They were so intent on putting on their pious faces while doing evil.
This is often the case for those who want to impress others but have no motive except to appear outwardly pious. The Gospel is quite different, because God shows us our sinful natures, our weaknesses, and teaches us about His grace through Jesus Christ.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
This is part of the long sermon we call the Sermon on the Mount. Each section is concise and yet is full of details and images for us to remember. Jesus teaches us in stories and images, which are so easy to remember and call up in our minds.
One seminarian in Canada like to wear a poncho all the time, and he did so with great gravity, no light-heartedness. He led a procession to the chapel altar, wearing that. Later, at lunch, because he still had it on, I said, "So you are still wearing your liturgical garments?" He did not smile. Later, he led the future pope up at their convention and wore the same melancholy (but full of pride) Jesuit look.
If people are going to fast, they should do it privately and otherwise show a happy and bright face. A merry heart doeth good like a medicine. KJV Proverbs 17:22. Looking for rewards on earth and booking them like deposits in a heavenly bank - that is human nature rather than God's will.
There is a fuss at a Missouri college, doubtless because big gifts have allowed them to go their own way and ignore their Biblical traditions. Likewise, WELS is bragging about their Schwan gifts (down to the penny), doubtless proud because they absolved the unrepentant Marvin Schwan for his shenanigans.
Everything looks great with the best scenery, lighting, and makeup, until the outwardly is gone and substance remains - just the opposition of the intention.
19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
This is a vital passage, which is why we hear it every Ash Wednesday. Our nature is is accumulate treasures on earth and to think of them being our security and comfort, or perhaps the joy we anticipated for the future - that deam-whatever.
I put on a long face and Ranger Bob said, "What's wrong?" I said "My Porsche is sinking in the ocean, in that ship full of cars, and they cannot stop the fires." He began laughing. Some wrote, "Those cars are worth diving down for - they are instant treasures."
No, the real treasures are Christian friendships, mutual help, sharing the joy of our neighbors and relationships. There is more security in a reliable friend than in all the man-made security devices and plans on earth.
The Scriptures are the treasures because they come from God, work God's will, and last forever. The word "treasures" is used in the Book of Concord several times (6 or more) as another way of saying "God's Gospel Promises."
Where are we apart from the Gospel Promises and Blessings of God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ? And where are we without the clear, and everlasting Word energized by the Holy Spirit?
The unrepentant sinner can feel like he is carrying a terrible load when he does not know God's Creation, humanity's problems, and the grace of Jesus Christ. When we are relieved of a great physical burden, or financial burden, nothing compares to the relief of knowing and experience the relief of forgiveness, complete and full, paid for by Jesus Christ.
Knowing that grace, because the Word teaches us, we can never be too anxious, weighed down, or afraid. Most of the things we worry about never happen. Some are real but many are invented by manipulators and marketing mavens.
We should be honest about feeling weighed down and look at it frankly. Some are overworked. Some are in poor health from bad habits, not even knowing the cause. But there is nothing more energizing than feeling God's strength and the fact of drowning our sins in the ocean of His grace - gone forever.
We like that Christmas morning joy of anticipating only the best under the shedding pine tree. And that is ours when we look at God's blessings, confess our sins, and rejoice in the Gospel of the Savior.
A joyful life gives joy to others, and that spreads because it is the Fruit of the Spirit.
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