It's been how long since I posted!?
Okay, so here's the deal: I'm letting you into what I've been doing for a year now and this will be the new focus of my bolg.
What have I been doing?
Using the Book of Concord as I prepare sermons. No, seriously. Using the "Index of Biblical References," I look up each text and figure out if this helps me encounter and present the text.
If you like this, check back every Tuesday for the coming Sunday's texts. Texts not listed are not refered to in the Book of Concord.
A general refernce to Psalm 25 is made in the Formula of Concord's Solid Declaration, Article 2: Free Will (SD 2.81) . It's actually quite interesting, but I'll let you decide how preachable.
We encouter this reference in the list of ideas denied by Lutherans when it comes to free will. In this case, the issue is conversion in this life--does God make the new Christian "a new creature"? The Lutheran answer: No! The old person in us is not destroyed. Indeed, as the psalm reminds us, the life of faith comes from God's forgiving and empowering us.
Free will does not necessitate the destruction of the old creature, but the salvation thereof.
v. 21:33 is cited in the Formula of Concord's Solid Declaration, Article 7: Holy Supper (SD 7.43) as a refernce to the eternal nature of Jesus' promises, particularly around the Lord's Supper.
v. 21:34 is cited in the Augsburg Confession, Article 26: Concerning the Distinction of Foods (AC 26.35), and in the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article 15: Human Traditions in the Church (AP 15.46). Both of these references are about controling the body through self-discipline. Significant emphasis is, not surprizingly, made to the distinction between disciplines for the sake of discipleship and God's salvation. The Augsburg Confession refernce makes a helpful point, the point of such discipline "should not serve the purpose of earning grace but of keeping the body in a condition that does not prevent performing the duties required by one's calling" (AC 26.38). The point of self-discipline is for the sake of effectively serving the neighbors God gives you.
v. 21:36 is cited in a footnote of the Large Catecism, The Lord's Prayer, Intoduction (LC 3.3.) as an encouragement to prayer.
Two questions come to my mind with these texts and the above references:
- What practices do we have that keep us ready to serve our neighbor?
- How are we training ourselves to watch for and announce the coming reign of Jesus?
This leads me, then, to a final question: How do these two questions relate to each other?