Greetings in Christ,

This weekend is the second weekend after the Epiphany of our Lord. We continue to celebrate the revelation that Christ is Lord of all!

Last week we started a sermon series on the topic of “Time with God.” The idea behind the series is to explore our stewardship of the time God gives us and how God promises to be with us.

Last week Pastor Troup preached from the book of Mark where Jesus goes off to pray. Pastor talked about our time of private prayer and devotion. We talk to God in prayer and we hear His voice as we read His Word.

This week we talk about our time with God in the body of Christ. We live in a culture that often seems to value individualism when it comes to spiritual matters and yet Christ promises to be with us as we gather together.

We need one another. We encourage one another and call one another to repentance. We share words of peace and the promises of Christ with one another. We gather to hear the absolution and to be molded by God’s Word. In response, we pray, praise, and give thanks.

We attend the Divine Service in order to be served…not to serve. In response to God’s gifts, we celebrate together and encourage one another on to holy living.

And yet, gathering as the Church is one of the most quickly and easily neglected gifts that Christ has given to us. There’s always that one thing to do…that one place to be…that one thing….

Every week the Devil and our sinful nature taunt us to doubt God’s Word and promises in the 3rd Commandment. “Is that REALLY where He promises to be? Is He REALLY talking to YOU when God tells us to Remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy? What does that mean anyway?”

I’ll be preaching on Hebrews 10:19-25 to dig into this topic and the beauty of the services in which we participate.

As you prepare for the Divine Service this weekend, you can take a look at the Service Folder to find the readings, prayers, and other parts of the service that will help to guide your reflection and prayer.

While the hymnody and sermon will be revolving around our Sermon Series theme, you can see how the Introit and readings all fit together with this Lectionary Summary:

The Divine Glory Is Manifested in the Signs of Christ

When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, it was the first of his signs, by which He manifested his glory (John 2:11). It pointed to His coming hour, when He was lifted up on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and the life of the world (John 2:4; 12:23–32). The glory of the cross is incomprehensible apart from the Word and Spirit of God, but disciples of Jesus recognize that glory in the signs of His Gospel, and so they believe in Him. Jesus does not wait for His disciples to discover Him on their own, but He seeks out the forsaken and the desolate and unites them to Himself. He adorns them with His own beautiful righteousness and delights in them as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride (Is. 62:4–5). Purified by the washing of water with His Word in Holy Baptism, His disciples confess that Jesus is Lord, and they return thanks to Him in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3) as they drink the good wine that He pours out for them, which is the new testament in His blood.

If you weren’t able to join us for service last week, you can catch up now.

I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Blessings on your day!

In Christ,
Pastor Demski