FROM THE PASTOR

Published on May 16, 2016 by

Our Father, who from heav’n above Bids all of us to live in love
As members of one family And pray to You in unity,
Teach us no thoughtless words to say But from our inmost hearts to pray.
LSB 766, stz. 1

Greetings and a Blessed Eastertide to you!

Prayer and the Christian Life

Rogate, “Ask Sunday,” is the last Sunday before the Ascension. Our Lord rose on Easter and was with the disciples for forty days until he ascended to the Father and took up always and fully all of his divine glory. Your Lord Jesus fills all things, by virtue of his Godhead, and constantly brings your prayers to the Father. Thus he tells you to ask in his name and you will receive it. For the past month or so, we have studied prayer in Sunday Bible Class. We have looked at who prays, to whom we pray, what we pray, when we pray; and we will continue to study it yet a little while longer.  I hope this study of prayer has been beneficial. So often we assume the prayer is only “asking,” and how burdensome would that be if we were to unceasingly only have to ask of the Father? Yet Christian prayer is not a burden. The question above assumes prayer to be solely a function of the Law. Instead Christian prayer relies solely upon the Gospel, the forgiveness of sins in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit equips us with the faith that trusts in Christ and relies on Christ and thus directs our prayers.

This Sunday we have revamped and overhauled the prayer list. Now we will not only pray for the sick, but also for our shut-ins, women with child in the congregation, our government, our church and pastors, our school and faculty and staff. Please let us know if you would like to add any family or friends to the list. We want to pray for all neighbors that we might trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness for them in whatever needs they may have. We pray not only to intercede for them, but also to praise God for them and to thank Him for what He gives our neighbors and us.

The topic of prayer suffers much false teaching. I hope that our studies have been and continue to be fruitful so that we might think on this gift that God has given us and how we might always love him and the neighbor when we “call upon him in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.”

Confirmation: Never an End of Catechesis

This month we celebrate the confirmation of four catechumens on Pentecost, 15 May. Confirmation, a churchly rite, has suffered much abuse in the Church. Often it has been viewed an treated as a graduation, an end of Sunday School and Christian learning. But in fact, Confirmation only confirms that the Baptized are indeed Christians. It confirms that they desire to live as Christians and that they also desire to continue to be Christians and receive the Lord’s gifts in the Divine Service weekly.

Our recent traditions have paired the First Communion with Confirmation. Whether it ought always to be like this is a topic for later discussion, but it is important to note that the two occasions are different. First Communion trains Christians to understand Christian doctrine in order to discern that they are sinners in need of the Sacrament of the Altar to receive the forgiveness of sins, comfort the conscience, and strengthen their faith and love towards God and one another. Confirmation is a confession that this Christian faith is theirs that they will hold until death, by the grace of God. This year our eighth graders will receive both for their benefit and yours. It is good to see and care for our fellow Christians as they confess their faith. Pray for our confirmands and our catechumens (confirmation students). Pray for strength of faith, courage of conscience, resolution to receive the Lord’s gifts often, and also a bold confession that they would always confess Christ as Lord and trust firmly in His Means of Grace.

Blessed Eastertide!

In Christ,

Pastor Paul

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