Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost (A—Proper 28)
November 19, 2017
Text: Matt. 25:14-30

            The parable of the talents is not first and foremost about stewardship or how you use your money, but about faith.  It is about faith in our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It is about faith in Jesus Christ, our Savior.  The first two servants, the one who receives the five talents, and the one who receives the two, these have faith that their Master is graciously disposed toward them and has given them the talents to be used wisely and faithfully as an investment in the Master’s kingdom.  And if, in their investing, something goes awry, they trust in the Master’s mercy.  There is always a risk when it comes to investment, and the Master knows that, and the servants take the risk, knowing that the Master will forgive any loss and that He is pleased with the faithful use of that which He gives.  He will always give more.  The servants will never lack.  Because that it who the Master is. 
            The third servant, though, has no faith in the Master.  He believes the Master to be a hard man, a taskmaster, a tyrant who is out to get His servants.  And so the third servant buries the talent in the ground where it does no good.  He will not take a risk, because he does not trust the Master.  He does not believe the Master will forgive.  He does not believe the Master will provide.  If he loses what the Master has given, he believes there will be nothing left.  So he hoards it.  He will not put it to work for the Master.  He believes he must put it away for himself, where it is safe, to keep himself safe.  He is a miser. 
            In the parable, the Master, of course, is God.  The servants are the Christians.  You are one, or some combination of, these servants.  The talents are the gifts that God has given you: money, to be sure, but also your family and friends, your time and abilities, your many and various vocations, your home, your stuff, your very life and breath, your flesh and blood, you.  Yes, you, in your very essence, are a gift of God to you and to others.  Now, faithful use of God’s gifts to you necessarily depends upon faith in the God who gave them.  If you believe that God is graciously disposed toward you, you will invest what He has given you in His Kingdom, knowing that He will forgive every loss, every failure, and that He will not fail to continue to provide for you.  But if you believe that God is a hard God, a taskmaster, a tyrant, or if you don’t believe in Him at all, you will hoard up all that He gives you, for yourself.  You will bury it in the ground, where it does no good.  You will save it for that rainy day, because, when something goes awry (and it inevitably will), God won’t be there for you, and there will be nothing left.  You have to look out for number one, because no one else will, certainly not God. 
            Now, I should say here that among the many gifts God has given you, He has given you a brain and reason, and we are not against wisely saving some portion of your income against misfortune and for old age.  That’s not the point.  You should be wise with your money.  That is part of being a good steward.  The point, though, is whether you recognize that the talents, all that you are and have, are gifts from your Father in heaven, given by grace, and that therefore He will not hold out on you, He will never forsake you; or whether you think you’ve earned what you have and what you’ve become, that it all belongs to you, and that you have to hold onto it, lest there not be enough at the end of the day. 
            Beloved, the Master gives you all that you have by grace.  “But Pastor, I work hard for a living.  I can’t just sit on my hands all day and expect money and necessities to fall from heaven.”  Very true.  In fact, St. Paul says, “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat” (2 Thess. 3:10; ESV).  If you can provide for your own needs and contribute to the needs of others, you should do so.  But God has given you your job and the ability to perform it and the product that comes from it and the money you get for it, etc., etc., and it is all gift.  President Obama got into all sorts of trouble a few years back for saying to a group of entrepreneurs, “You didn’t build that!”  Well, he probably wasn’t speaking theologically, but if he was, he has a point.  God did it.  Through the hands and abilities He has given you.  And yes, through the help of others, your fellow citizens, in their vocations (and even, my dear Republicans, the government).  Now, don’t get too upset.  We can argue the political merits of President Obama’s assertions, and I think we can all agree he wasn’t outlining the finer points of Lutheran teaching on vocation, but here’s the point: Nothing you have or have created comes apart from the giving of our God.  The talents God gives, the vocations and gifts, are the masks of God by which He provides for His people and for the world.
            What is a vocation?  In theology, we’re using the word differently than we use it in common parlance.  We aren’t just talking about your job, in spite of the images on our very politically correct bulletin cover.  A vocation is a calling from God.  You can hear the word “vocal” in vocation.  God calls.  He calls you to faith in Christ by His Word and Holy Baptism.  That is your primary vocation, that of baptized Christian.  And He calls you into relationships with people.  Or maybe better, God places you into a context.  He places you into a family, into a congregation, into a community, in a specific location in the world, at a specific time in history.  He surrounds you with specific people.  Your neighbor, as in “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” is not just a theoretical concept, but a concrete person.  Look around you.  Who lives with you?  Who lives next to you?  Who do you work with or go to school with or go to Church with?  Who are your friends and even casual acquaintances?  And who is the person just now placed in your path?  These are your neighbors.  Your vocation is to love them, which doesn’t mean have warm fuzzy feelings toward them.  It means to help them.  To serve them.  If they have a need, to provide for it.  Provide for your family.  Provide for your Church.  Go to work.  Pay your taxes.  Vote.  Be a friend.  Rejoice with those who rejoice.  Weep with those who weep.  In so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with one another.  Pray.  Give to missions.  Give to the soup kitchen.  Be fully in the context where God has placed you.  Go all in on the relationships God has given you.  None of them are by accident.  Take the risk.  Tell your neighbor about Jesus.  Invite your neighbor to Church.  Be generous… sacrificially so.  What a tremendous joy it is to give, if you just do it.  It’s so freeing.  And even give your life as a martyr for the faith or in sacrifice for your neighbor, if that is what God calls you to do.  If you’re ever wondering what your vocation is, look around and see what needs to be done.  Ask yourself what God’s commandments are and how your neighbor needs to be loved according to God’s Word.  And there you have it.  That’s putting the talents to work faithfully, out of faith in the Master’s mercy and lovingkindness.
            God pours out His blessings on you, not to be hoarded, but to be a blessing to others.  And notice that Jesus says the Master gives “to each according to his ability” (Matt. 25:15).  Not only does He give the talents by grace, but He gives them tailor made for each individual servant.  He gives you just the right talents for you.  And for this very reason, Christ redeemed you by His blood and death on the cross: To be His own, and live under Him in His Kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness.  That begins here and now in this earthly life.  The Kingdom is here.  It is at hand in the flesh and blood of Jesus, the flesh and blood given for you on the cross, the flesh and blood you eat and drink in the Supper.  Your sins are forgiven by the death of the flesh and blood God, and He is risen, and so you live.  You have been purchased out of your former slavery to death and the devil.  You serve a new Master, Jesus Christ, who loves you and has given His all for you.  And now you are His hands and feet in the world.  He gives you to love and serve your neighbor.  This is what it means to be the royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).  You are a priest of God.  And where is your priestly altar?  Out there in the world in your vocations.  You come here to this altar to be fed by your High Priest, Jesus Christ, fed with His body and blood.  Then you go out to give yourself to your neighbor in Jesus’ Name. 
            This is how all of God’s gifts work.  He pours out His gifts upon you so that you put them to work. They flow through you to your neighbor.  We receive the gifts by faith.  We give them in love.  “Faith toward Thee, fervent love toward one another,” as we pray in the collect.  Now, if we hoard them up, we get full and there isn’t room for any more blessing.  But if we use God’s gifts to be a gift to others, there is always room for more.  For God is an unfailing fountain of grace.  He never stops giving.  He will never forsake you.  He will not hold out on you.  Test Him in this.  This is what He says in the Prophet Malachi: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Mal. 3:10).  There is God’s promise.  There you have  His Word on it.
            Now, there will be a calling to account on the Last Day.  That is what it means that the Master calls His servants to settle accounts.  Here some interesting things are done and said.  The Master gives the one with 5 talents 5 more, and the one with 2 talents 2 more, and both are told to enter into the joy of their Master, the Kingdom, heaven, the resurrection and eternal life.  And the one who buried his talent is thrown into the outer darkness, hell, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  It all sounds like salvation by works, doesn’t it?  Except what, really, is the difference between the first two servants and the third?  Faith.  The first two believe.  They trust the Master, and so they are faithful to Him as a result.  And yes, they are rewarded for their works, but only because of faith, or we might say, only because the Master is just that good… only because of Christ.  The third servant does not trust the Master, and he is unfaithful as a result.  He is condemned for his works, because he has no faith.  In other words, He has no Jesus. 

            Beloved in the Lord, Judgment Day is coming.  That is the focus of these last Sundays in the Church Year.  Jesus is coming soon to judge the living and the dead.  Repent of your doubting Him.  Repent of your doubting His love and forgiveness and providence.  “Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief.”  Trust Him, beloved.  Know that He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.  He will not fail you.  Not ever.  By faith in Jesus Christ, this is what you will hear from Him on that Day: “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:21).  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.     

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Guest Preacher: The Rev. Douglas Taylor

All Saints' Day (Observed)

All Saints’ Day (Observed)
November 5, 2017
Text: Rev. 7:9-17

            “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” (Rev. 7:13; ESV).  The angel asks St. John, but he is also asking us.  It is important for us to make this identification, to connect these dots.  And we could speculate.  We are good at doing that when it comes to spiritual things.  We are good at coming up with things we’d like to think are true.  But it’s much better to hear the truth as it is revealed through the authorized messengers of God, and the angel is just such a messenger.  And so we confess with St. John, “Sir, you know” (v. 14).  “We’d much rather hear it from you.  We think we know, but we know you know.  And here, in the face of suffering and tribulation and death, we need to know.”  And this is just the answer the angel is looking for.  And so he tells us, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (v. 14). 
            They are coming out.  It is an ongoing process.  The great tribulation is not some future intensification of suffering that Christians will experience near the end of time, though it is certainly probable that things will get worse for Christians as time marches on.  Nonetheless, the great tribulation is now.  It is the time of the New Testament, ever since the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as the Church lives in this fallen world under the seeming rule of the devil and in the midst of unbelievers who seem to be winning the struggle against Christ and His Christians, who seem to be the ones who prosper, who hold the power and influence in this world.  That is the great tribulation.  But these clothed in white robes, they are coming out.  Which is to say, they are dying and going to heaven.  And they are not sad, those coming out, those dying and going to heaven.  They are marching in the victory parade over death.  They are carrying palm branches, the symbol of victory in battle.  Here, for the first time, they see things as they really are, and not as they appear to be in this fallen world.  They see with their own eyes our God who sits upon the throne, and the Lamb.  The Lamb who is slain, but who stands victorious, Jesus Christ, who died, and who is risen from the dead, and lives, and reigns, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  So they sing.  With angels and archangels and all the company of heaven, the elders and the four living creatures and all who stand around the throne.  And we sing with them: “Amen!  Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever!  Amen” (v. 12).
            Who are these?  They are certainly the great heroes of the faith.  There is our father Adam and our mother Eve.  There is Abraham.  There is Isaac.  There is Jacob and King David.  In that tremendous number are Peter and Paul and all the Apostles, St. Mary and St. Joseph and the little child Jesus had put in the midst of His disciples when He taught them about greatness.  There are the Church Fathers, St. Augustine, Martin Luther, of course, and C. F. W. Walther.  These are just a few of the saints gathered from every nation, tribe, people, and language.  No mortal could number them all.  That is why we have a day like this to commemorate them all, All Saints’ Day. 
            But don’t misunderstand.  What is a saint?  We’re not just talking about the big heroes who get all the publicity.  Nor do we mean someone who has lived a particularly spotless and holy life and who does miracles after they’re dead, as so many of our Christian brothers and sisters define it.  The word “saint” simply means “holy one.”  And how does one become holy?  By the forgiveness of sins and Baptism into Christ.  They wear white robes.  These are the robes given them in their Baptism.  These robes are Christ’s righteousness.  Their sins have been washed away in the blood of the Lamb, Christ, and now they bear His righteousness.  They are holy in Him.  And that means a saint is anyone who is baptized, anyone who is in Christ by faith.  That means you.  And that means when we look at that number coming out of the great tribulation, clothed in white robes and singing with palm branches in their hands, we see our own loved ones who have died in Christ.  Today is about them, as much as it’s about Abraham and St. Peter.  Today is about you… it’s about you in Christ.  Which is just another way of saying, today, like every Feast of the Church, is all about Christ for you, Christ for all.
            And your loved one who died in the holy faith of Jesus Christ is one of those coming out of the great tribulation.  Yes, there, clothed in a white robe, is your grandfather, your mother, my dad, my brother-in-law, your son, your friend who died too early in a car accident, your aunt who succumbed to cancer.  There they are with Luther and King David and all the saints gathered around the throne of our Father who art in heaven, and the Lamb, our Savior, Jesus.  When we said goodbye to them on this side of the veil, it looked as though the cancer had won, the heart disease, the violence, the old age.  It looked that way, but it was not that way.  Look at them as they are described in our text.  Read this Scripture every time the devil tries to trick you into thinking death has won.  This is the reality.  They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple.  He shelters them, protects them from all harm.  They shall not hunger or thirst anymore.  That means they lack no good thing.  The sun shall not strike them by day, nor any scorching heat.  That means that nothing oppresses them.  The Lamb in the midst of the throne, Jesus, crucified and risen for them and for you, is their Shepherd forever.  He leads them.  He guides them.  He keeps them safe.  And He brings them to springs of living water, the unfailing source of their life eternal.  And perhaps what is most comforting: “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (v. 17).  To be with Jesus and see Him face to face is the end of all sadness.  It is the great making right of all that has been wrong.  It is the end of sin and sorrow and grief and pain.  It is the end of death.  And as good as all of this is, it gets even better.  Because in the End, Jesus will do for all the saints, and for you, the culmination of all of His promises.  He will raise you from the dead.  Your body, reunited with your soul, to live forever, nevermore to die.  As He is risen, so you will rise.
            And isn’t this comfort, testified by the holy angel and written in the Scriptures for our learning, much better than the silly things we say from our own wisdom when confronted with death?  You’ve all been there at the funeral visitation when we’re all gathered around the casket and start lying to each other.  “Oh, he just looks so peaceful.  The funeral home did such a great job making him look alive, like he’s just sleeping.”  No, he looks dead.  But we’re not supposed to say things like that, apparently even at a Christian funeral, because that would be to admit that the whole nightmare is true and we really do all eventually die.  So we say, “That isn’t really Grandma.  That’s just her shell.  She’ll never need that body again.”  And there we’ve denied the resurrection of the body we confess every time we say the Creed.  Yes, Grandma’s soul is in heaven, but beloved, this body will rise.  And that’s what you say next time someone tells you that lie.  Because that’s true comfort.  Christians need to get in the habit of telling the truth about death so that we can also tell the truth about the resurrection.  No more of this business about that star up there being Grandpa, or Grandma always looking down on us (which is kind of creepy when you get right down to it), or feeling the presence of Uncle Jim being always with me.  You have something so much better.  Read Revelation 7!  That’s what’s going on with Grandpa and Grandma and Uncle Jim and all the saints.  And then Jesus will raise them.  You’ll see them again.  Your arms will hold them again.  And of course you’ll recognize them.  Don’t let any pastor tell you otherwise.  That’s just silly.  You’ll know them.  You’ll love them with a greater and truer love than you’ve ever loved them with here.  The life in which you held them here is fallen and infected by sin and death.  The life in which you will hold them there is life real and true, life as it was always meant to be.  You are separated from them now, for a little while, by the thin veil of death.  But not for long.  You will see them soon when you come out of the great tribulation.  And you will see them with your own eyes on that Day, when Jesus raises you from the dead. 

            In the meantime, for the little while that we have in this fallen world, don’t lose sight of this profoundly comforting truth.  They are gathered around the throne of God and of the Lamb, and so are you in the Holy Communion.  They are here, beloved.  Because Christ is here.  This is where you are with them, with the Church of all times and all places, with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.  Heaven comes down to earth in the Divine Service.  When you’re missing your loved ones who are with Christ, go to Church.  Christ has already clothed you with your white robe and given you your palm branch in Baptism.  Here you join the heavenly chorus and receive a foretaste of the Feast to come.  You live your earthly life in the midst of the great tribulation.  But things are not as they appear.  You are coming out.  Your Shepherd is calling you by name.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away your sin and the sin of the whole world.  And He lives.  Here is His throne.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.    

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Reformation Day (Observed)

Reformation Day (Observed)
500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation
October 29, 2017
Text: John 8:31-36

            What is it we are celebrating on this 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation?  It’s an important question.  A certain focus is called for here, especially on such a big anniversary when all the world is watching.  What, specifically, are we rejoicing about?  What is our goal in the celebration?   What do we want others to take away from this?  What is this all about? 
            First, as a matter of clarification, we should say precisely what this is not about.  Believe it or not, this is really not about Martin Luther.  Oh, we will say a lot about him and give thanks to God for him.  He is, after all, the main character in Reformation history, and we take our name from him and call him the chief teacher of our Church because of his faith, his teaching of the Holy Scriptures, and preaching of Christ as our salvation.  He clarified once again for the Church that our salvation is accomplished by Christ alone in His death and resurrection, given to us by grace alone, which is to say, freely, on account of Christ, and received by faith alone, the Holy Spirit’s gift to us, our coming to believe in Jesus as the Spirit preaches to us in His Word, Holy Scripture, Scripture alone… The great Reformation solas: Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura.  We celebrate all of that, but we do not worship Luther on this day, or any day, nor do we even believe everything he says.  But we rejoice as he points us to Christ.  Luther is, above all, a preacher of Christ. 
            This is also not about Lutheranism or our denomination, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, as much as we rejoice in these gifts.  We dare not take solace in our membership in the club, any more than the Jews in our Holy Gospel could take refuge in being offspring of Abraham (John 8:33).  I rejoice, maybe more than you do, that you’re Missouri Synod Lutherans, and I want more people to be Missouri Synod Lutherans.  But the Reformation is not about joining a denomination, and it is especially not about creating a new denomination.  It is about God’s using a poor, sinful beggar of a monk named Martin Luther to call the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church to repentance and reform, to return to the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ. 
            And very much related to this, this is not the day we stick it to the Roman Catholics.  We have grave concerns about Roman doctrine and tremendous disagreements with them, but they are brothers and sisters in Christ, and we pray for their salvation in Christ alone, that they would believe in Christ alone and not their own works.  Our confessions still call upon them to reform, to join us in our confession of Christ and our salvation by His grace alone, through faith alone, apart from works, as St. Paul teaches us this morning in our Epistle (Rom. 3:19-28).  It should be noted that Luther and his colleagues never wanted to start a new church.  They wanted to reform the one Christ had given, and they wanted to do it by preaching.  And when Rome finally rejected the Lutherans by excommunicating Luther and rejecting the Augsburg Confession, and finally declaring us all anathema (damned) in the Council of Trent, we contend that they left us.  We are still catholics.  Not Roman Catholics, but true catholics, which is to say, those who believe, teach, and confess, according to the whole doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Church has believed it everywhere and always.  And though we can’t go to Communion with our brothers and sisters in Rome, we pray for their Reformation, reconciliation with them, and eventual reunification, which will happen (though I have my doubts that it will happen here and now in this life.  You never know.  God will do what He will do.  But it will happen on that Day when our one Lord Jesus Christ returns in glory). 
            There is much more we could say about what the Reformation is not.  It is not about us.  It is not about us vs. them.  It is not about what a great gift we are to the world.  Beloved in the Lord, it is about Jesus.  It is all about Jesus and His Gospel.  It is all about Jesus and what He has done for His people through all of history, and not just in the last 500 years.  It is about what Jesus did 500 years ago through His servant, Martin Luther and his colleagues in Wittenberg.  It is not about what Luther did, it is about what Jesus did and does for us and for our salvation.  As our Synod’s official Reformation 500 motto has it, “It’s still all about Jesus.”
            500 years ago, October 31st, 1517, on the Eve of All Saints’ Day, Dr. Luther posted his 95 Theses against Indulgences on the Castle Church door in Wittenberg.  Indulgences were papers for sale from Rome that declared, “If you buy this, all your sins are forgiven.”  In other words, the Pope was selling forgiveness of sins for money, as if he had the authority to sell what Christ freely gives.  This made Luther mad.  Luther is a pastor at heart.  And what a tremendous misleading of the people this caused in their Christian faith and life.  It directed the people away from Christ and to the Pope for salvation, as well as to their work of paying money.  Many of the people used indulgences as a license to sin however they pleased, a “get out of hell (or at least Purgatory) free” card, if you will.  Luther rightly thought we needed to talk about this.  His posting on the Church door isn’t all that remarkable.  The door was the bulletin board for the parish.  Luther wrote his 95 Theses in Latin, which means they were really meant for academics and students at the University.  They were a call to debate indulgences in an academic setting.  You should know about these theses that they weren’t very Lutheran.  Luther hadn’t yet had his “aha” moment, his Tower Experience, where he came to understand the Gospel by his reading of Romans.  But there are some beautiful things he says in them.  Beautiful because they are true.  Beautiful because they are the beginning of something, the beginning of being set free by the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Free from sin.  Free from condemnation.  Free to be God’s children, loved and forgiven.  The first of the Theses is worth its weight in gold: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ [Matt. 4:17], he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”[1]
            Which is to say, our whole life in Christ is one of reformation.  And not just for reformation’s sake, but for the sake of repentance and faith in Christ.  It is reformation from all the things that would direct us away from Christ and to ourselves and our own works and our own resources or anything or anyone other than Christ for forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation.  It is, we might say, re-conform-ation to the faith handed down to the saints from Christ Himself, His pure doctrine, His pure Gospel, a re-shaping of ourselves according to the form of Christ. 
            This is re-conform-ation is not burdensome.  It is, in fact, true freedom.  Apart from the reformation Jesus performs upon us and within us by His Spirit in His Word, we are slaves to sin.  We are slaves to our tyrannical selves.  We are slaves to death.  We are slaves to the devil.  We are slaves to hell.  But if you abide in the Word of Christ, which is what the Reformation is all about, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).  Which is to say, Jesus, the Son of God, who is Truth incarnate, will set you free.  And “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (v. 36; ESV).  Free from all that enslaves you.  Free from bondage to sin, death, and hell.  Free to be sons of God, God’s own child, I gladly say it.  Free to live under the providence and security of your Mighty Fortress, our God, our Savior, Jesus Christ, whose arms outstretched on the cross shelter you, by whose wounds you are healed. 
            Beloved in the Lord, the Reformation after 500 years is still all about Jesus.  It is about Jesus for you.  Jesus on the cross for you.  Jesus risen from the dead for you.  Jesus living and reigning for you.  And it is about Jesus right here and now for you in the Scriptures, in preaching and Absolution, in Baptism and Supper, in suffering and the cross, in the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren, the Communion of Saints, the Holy Christian (which is to say, Catholic!) and Apostolic Church.  Here He is, bringing you to repentance for your sins and faith in Himself for your forgiveness.  It’s Reformation Day, and He is reforming you.  He is giving you Himself for your form.  He is giving you Himself for your forgiveness and life.  He is giving you Himself for your eternal salvation.  How do we best celebrate Reformation Day?  By receiving Jesus here in His gifts in His Church.  Because after 500 years and all the years the Lord has sustained His Church catholic, after all the years since our father Adam first came to faith in the Promise of the Gospel, it’s still all about Jesus.  It’s all about Jesus for you.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.     

[1] LW 31:25.