HOLY TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
A Daily Dose of Good News
April 3, 2020
Weekend Worship Notices
4:00pm Saturday, April 4 – Live Backstage Webinar Worship (Zoom software required)
8:30am, 10:30am and thereafter, Sunday, April 5 – Live Recorded Worship
All worship services are available at www.engagedbygrace.org/livestream. Worship bulletin is available at www.engagedbygrace.org/bulletin.
Offerings may be mailed, sent from your bank or online at www.engagedbygrace.org/offering.
To share in the Blessing of the Palms, please gather some branches or foliage from your yard or planters.
For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God’s doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well—since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. (Philippians 1:21-30)
So let me get this straight.
The Apostle Paul was so confident in the eternal love of Christ
That he openly longed for death that would bring him the blessing
of everlasting place of Jesus embrace.
But for one greater blessing at least in the heart, mind and soul of Paul
Wrapped in the love of Christ on this side of the grave.
Namely, to chance to accompany those who are suffering even for their faith.
The early church was under great persecution
And Paul understood the way of Christ
Is not looking for a way to avoid suffering
But rather to accompany the suffering of others
As a witness to love of of Christ that exceeds all suffering.
Paul is witness to a God
who could no more stand back
And watch people suffer
And chose to join us in our suffering
In the person of Jesus of Nazareth
Demonstrating the persistence of God’s love
Beyond any suffering… whether by sin or misfortune.
Martin Luther gives such a witness as well in the Smalcald Articles
As a summary of the faith for early protestant churches:
“We now want to return to the gospel,
which gives guidance and helps against sin
in more than one way,
because God is extravagantly rich in his grace:
first, through the spoken word
second, through baptism;
third, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar;
fourth, through the power of the keys
and also through the mutual conversation
and consolation of brothers and sisters.”
In these days of isolation from the community we know
and appreciate as the body of Christ,
My soul is filled with the grace of you all
Reaching out to check on each other
And share the burden of isolation:
The emails and cards and phone calls
And zoom meetings and virtual happy hours.
While we miss the opportunity to gather for holy communion these days,
And boy, do I miss receiving communion and sharing communion with you,
God’s grace comes to us in our suffering still.
In the reading of the gospel and the preaching of the good news.
In baptism we remember every day and
In the consolation you offer to each other.
In the manner of Paul, you suffer together by grace.
In the manner of Luther, you suffer together by grace.
In the manner of Jesus, you suffer together by grace.
Now you got it straight. Amen.