On Tuesday morning the pastors of Lutheran Saints in Ministry gather in Fairborn Ohio to discuss the texts for Sunday.

These are the contributions that are brought to the table.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Texts for Sunday May 1st, 2016: The 6th Sunday in Easter

First Reading: Acts 16:9-15

9During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them.

11We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, 12and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. 13On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there. 14A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. 15When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.

Psalm: Psalm 67

1 May God be merciful to us and bless us, 
    show us the light of his countenance and come to us.

2 Let your ways be known upon earth, 
    your saving health among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
    let all the peoples praise you.

4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
    for you judge the peoples with equity
    and guide all the nations upon earth.

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; 
    let all the peoples praise you.

6 The earth has brought forth her increase; 
    may God, our own God, give us his blessing.

7 May God give us his blessing, 
    and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.

Second Reading: Revelation 21:10, 22--22:5

10And in the spirit [one of the angels] carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God.
22I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22:1Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

Gospel: John 14:23-29
23Jesus answered [Judas (not Iscariot),] “Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; and the word that you hear is not mine, but is from the Father who sent me.

25“I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.”

The Greek Text of John 14:23-29

Greek Study John 14:22-29

v23 εαν + subj. "if [anyone loves me he will obey my teaching]" - if in English expresses doubt. 
τον λογον (ος) "[will obey my] teaching" - it is likely that "the word" is interchangeable with the τασ εντολας, "the commandments" such that loving Christ, keeping his word and keeping his commandments amount to the same thing. 
ελευσομεθα (ερχομαι) fut. "we will come" - Jesus answers Judas' question. The Western church, following Augustine, holds the view that there is a Trinitarian coming; the Father and the Son come in the Spirit. John doesn't quite say this. There is evidence of a distinction, at least in function, and possibly timing, between the coming of the Father and the Son, and the coming of the Spirit.

v24 ο μη αγαπων (αγαπαω) pres. part. "he who does not love [me will not obey my teaching]" - the participle serves to introduce a negative conditional clause. "Words" is plural so, has John changed the sense of "word" to "words" i.e. Christ's teachings? The trouble is he reverts to "word" again in the second half of the verse. Do we take the second use to mean "doctrine"? Best to press on with the idea that those who do not believe in Christ do not love Christ - those who do not love Christ do not believe in Him.
ο λογος (ος) sing. "the word
εμος adj. "[is not] my own" αλλα but του ... πατρος (ηρ ρος) gen. "they belong to the Father" genitive is ablative, expressing source/origin.
πεμψαντος (πεμπω) gen. "who sent [me]"

v25 ταυτα "all this" - is a resumptive phrase referring to the words of the preceding 
μενων (μενω) pres. part. "while still abiding” παρ (παρα) + dat. "with [you]".

v26 ο δε παρακλητος (ος) masc. sing. "but the counselor" - Paraclete. "spirit" in Greek is neuter, it is important to note that John renders paraclete as masculine - he is a person, not a thing or a power. The word is a verbal adjective functioning as a noun, derived from "to call alongside" therefore counsel, encourage, exhort - there are a number of possible meanings: advocate (probably best), counselor and helping presence.
εκεινος masc. pro. "-" - he [will teach]. John has this pronoun as masculine, so reinforcing the accepted view that "Spirit" is a person and not a thing. 
υπομνησει (υπομιμνησκω) fut. "will remember" most commentators take the view that the two functions "teach" and" remind" are synonymous. 

v27 ειρηνην (η) "peace" - The greeting of peace, often used in Christian worship, is a formal way of recalling the security and bounty of the coming kingdom. In a piece of realized eschatology, Jesus bequeaths this reality to his disciples.
αφιημι pres. "I leave"  
μη ταρασσεσθω (ταρασσω) pas. imp. "do not let [your hearts] be troubled" – a thought is repeated in "do not be afraid", an idiom, don't be a coward!

v28 ηκουσατε (ακουω) aor. "you heard" - that Jesus is going away, has filled them with fear.
προς + acc. "[I am coming back] to [you]" - this return is not the parousia, possibly a reference to the resurrection although more likely of the coming of the Paraclete.
οτι "that [I am going to the Father]" - causal, "because",.
οτι "for" - that. obviously expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why Jesus' surrendering of himself to the cross is not something to prompt fear, namely, "because" all is under the control of the Father.
ο πατηρ μειζων (μεγας) adj. comp. "the Father is greater [than I]" - his obedience, here expressed in the terms of the Father being greater does not make Christ less than deity. Christ functions as the obedient servant of God on our behalf.

v29 ινα + subj. "so that" - a final clause expressing purpose.
οταν + subj. "when [it does happen]" - an indefinite temporal clause. 

πιστευσητε (πιστευω) aor. subj. "you will believe" - It unclear what belief is intended. Whatever it is, this revelation will soon be confirmed and thus their faith will be strengthened. Or is Jesus telling the disciples about the future so that when it occurs they will stand firm and not lose faith? 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Will the Spirit live? On John 14 for the 6th Sunday of Easter

“My Father and I will come to him”—that is to say, to the holy of heart—says the Son of God, “and we will make our home with him.” It seems to me that when the psalmist said to God: “You make your dwelling in the holy place, you who are Israel’s praise,” he had no other heaven in mind than the hearts of the saints. The apostle expresses it quite clearly: “Christ lives in our hearts through faith,” he tells us. — Bernard of Clairvaux

It was, says John Pilch, in biblical times advantageous to keep as many secrets about oneself as possible. One simply did not disclose ones heart. One also kept the secrets of the family to oneself. No one had the right to know and there was no freedom of information act to make anyone talk.
But Jesus has by this time in the farewell dialogue made it clear that all that the Father has and all that the Father knows Jesus knows as well. He is therefore rightly the Son for only the Son really knows what the father knows. The hired hand does not know the master’s business. Well, he knows as much as needs be to function but beyond that, the master’s business was his alone and one did not pry. 
It is therefore natural that the disciples thought that they were and would remain in the dark. Jesus will reassure them that they are no longer his servants but his friends, (Jn 15:15) and that all that the Father has told him, he has made known to them. In our verses, Jesus makes clear that they will not be in want for knowledge. They will know the mind of God the Father and the Spirit will be who brings it to them from here on. Luther would write in the Large Catechism:
38] For neither you nor I could ever know anything of Christ, or believe on Him, and obtain Him for our Lord, unless it were offered to us and granted to our hearts by the Holy Ghost through the preaching of the Gospel. The work is done and accomplished; for Christ has acquired and gained the treasure for us by His suffering, death, resurrection, etc. But if the work remained concealed so that no one knew of it, then it would be in vain and lost. That this treasure, therefore, might not lie buried, but be appropriated and enjoyed, God has caused the Word to go forth and be proclaimed, in which He gives the Holy Ghost to bring this treasure home and appropriate it to us. 39] Therefore sanctifying is nothing else than bringing us to Christ to receive this good, to which we could not attain of ourselves.
The Holy Spirit is the deliverer of Christ to us who live untimely born 2,000 years away from the Resurrection, or a generation away like Johns community. The Resurrection, the cross, the Pentecost, are not and will not be strangers to us or to the second generation of disciples. The Sprit will deliver these
Unlike the rest of life around the early disciples where secrets were carefully kept, the Father would have no secrets with the church from that time on. Disciples of Jesus count as God’s own own, the children of God and Friends of Jesus the Son. 
Last week’s second reading from Revelation, continued today, gave us the image of Heaven coming to earth. Though many of us think of us going to heaven when we die, John of Patmos had a different vision. Heaven comes with us to dwell. That has good foundations in the living of Jesus, the Son, who came to his own in flesh and blood. If then the Son comes to visit to save (Jn 3:17) how much more will the rest of the Trinity do the same, though for now it is the Spirit’s time for visitation.
To follow St Bernard of Clairvaux, heaven has again come to earth and always will be on its way to earth. John of Patmos sees a future when all of it will descend to be here. Bernard — with Paul (Ep 3:17) — and Luther speak of the “now” when heaven descends into human hearts. 
There is therefore no real division between heaven and earth, if you think about it. From a simple sacramental theology heaven is easily found on many altars in simple things that are privileged to carry the very food of heaven, the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world, to the Lamb’s disciples that gather around those altars.

What shall become of these who gather thus? They are those in whom heaven dwells by the Holy Spirit. It is therefore never a goal of Christian life to go to heaven. There is no distance between disciple and heaven after baptism even now and heaven never dies. But, will it actually get to live in you?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Texts for Sunday April 24, 2016

First Reading: Acts 11:1-18

1Now the apostles and the believers who were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also accepted the word of God. 2So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him, 3saying, “Why did you go to uncircumcised men and eat with them?” 4Then Peter began to explain it to them, step by step, saying, 5“I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. There was something like a large sheet coming down from heaven, being lowered by its four corners; and it came close to me. 6As I looked at it closely I saw four-footed animals, beasts of prey, reptiles, and birds of the air. 7I also heard a voice saying to me, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat.’ 8But I replied, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing profane or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ 9But a second time the voice answered from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, you must not call profane.’ 10This happened three times; then everything was pulled up again to heaven. 11At that very moment three men, sent to me from Caesarea, arrived at the house where we were. 12The Spirit told me to go with them and not to make a distinction between them and us. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. 13He told us how he had seen the angel standing in his house and saying, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon, who is called Peter; 14he will give you a message by which you and your entire household will be saved.’ 15And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them just as it had upon us at the beginning. 16And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?” 18When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, “Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life.”

Psalm: Psalm 148

1 Hallelujah!
Praise the LORD from the heavens; 
    praise him in the heights.

2 Praise him, all you angels of his; 
    praise him, all his host.

3 Praise him, sun and moon; 
    praise him, all you shining stars.

4 Praise him, heaven of heavens, 
    and you waters above the heavens.

5 Let them praise the Name of the LORD; 
    for he commanded, and they were created.

6 He made them stand fast for ever and ever; 
    he gave them a law which shall not pass away.

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, 
    you sea-monsters and all deeps;

8 Fire and hail, snow and fog, 
    tempestuous wind, doing his will;

9 Mountains and all hills, 
    fruit trees and all cedars;

10 Wild beasts and all cattle, 
    creeping things and wingèd birds;

11 Kings of the earth and all peoples, 
    princes and all rulers of the world;

12 Young men and maidens, 
    old and young together.

13 Let them praise the Name of the LORD, 
    for his Name only is exalted,
    his splendor is over earth and heaven.

14 He has raised up strength for his people
and praise for all his loyal servants, 
    the children of Israel, a people who are near him.

Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6

1I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 
 “See, the home of God is among mortals.
 He will dwell with them;
 they will be his peoples,
 and God himself will be with them;
4he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
 Death will be no more;
 mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
 for the first things have passed away.”
5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.”

Gospel: John 13:31-35

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

A Greek Study on John 13

John 13:31-35

31When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once.33Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 34I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

v31 οτε "when" – a temporal conjunction introducing a temporal clause; "after Judas had gone".
νυν adv. "now" - adverb expressing a point of simultaneous time.
εδοξασθη (δοξαζω) aor. pas. "is [the Son of Man] glorified" - unusual aorist passive is often translated as an English perfect passive, but Christ's glorification, for John, is the cross, so the aorist is probably proleptic, i.e. future referring.

v32 ει ο θεος εδοξοσθη εν αυτω "if God is glorified in him" - a conditional clause 1st class, not found in some manuscripts so may be an addition. None-the-less, it carries John's argument forward. It is easier to explain why it may have been lost than why it would have been added.
δοξασει (δοξαζω) fut. act. "will glorify" - aorist refers to the revelation of Christ's character, along with that of the Father's, realized in Christ's act of obedience on the cross. 
εν αυτω "in himself" The variant αυτω, when accentuated, forms the reflective pronoun “himself" expressing a local relational sense where Christ is restored to "the glory he had before the world was made", 17:5. There are other possible translations: The "in" could be instrumental, "God will glorify the Son by his own hand", although in the New Testament a spacial sense is more likely. If the more common reading is accepted, it is possible that "in him" means "in Christ"; "God will glorify him in his own person.
ευθυς adv. "at once" - immediately. 

v33 τεκνια (ον) "my little children" A hapax in John but used seven times in First John. While it is not unusual for a teacher to address his disciples as children; the description is found mostly in the synoptics as an expression of endearment.
ετι μικρον "only a little longer" – Jesus used this term earlier in his ministry not to refer to the shortness of time as such, but is more apocalyptic; "the end is near."
καθως adv. "just as [I told]" – a comparative.
τοις Ιουδαιοις dat. adj. "the Jews
οπου "where" - Locative; υπαγω "[I] am going" – a verb used of Jesus departure, in the sense of his death, resurrection and ascension.
ελθειν (ερχομαι) aor. inf. "[you cannot] come" – a complementary infinitive- one might rightly add "yet".

v34 καινην adj. "new" - what is new about it? It is "new" in the sense of being restated new. 
εντολην (η) "commandment" – a word used 6 times in this discourse and 18 times in John's letters. The word "Maundy" for Maundy Thursday, comes from the Latin for commandment, "mandatum", as of "a new commandment I give you."
υμιν dat. pro. "[I give] you" - indirect object.
αγαπατε (αγαπαω) pres. subj. "love" have a godly compassion - the present tense expresses the durative; so keep on loving. The word defines the relationship that should exist between believers. "Compassion" comes closest to its meaning. In a church situation it may distill down to "acceptance", particularly acceptance of a "sinner".
αλληλους pro. "one another" - A reciprocal reference to members of the fellowship.
καθως adv. "as [I have loved you]" - in accord with. Jesus this refers to his self-giving in death, the act which best exegetes the meaning of agape love.

v35 en + dat. "by [this]" - instrumental/means; "by means of this." 
παντες adj. "all" -  everyone γνωσονται (γινωσκω) fut. "will know" οτι "that

εχητε (εχω) pres. subj. "you love" - subjunctive mood is driven by the grammar and is not deliberative. "Here it is best understood in the sense of possessing a mutual love.

A Greek study of Revelation 21

Revelation 21:1-6
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
v1 ουρανον καινον και γην "a new heaven and a new earth" In Biblical terms this concerns the redemption of creation - the reestablishment of Eden; a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy in Isaiah.65:17. But to what extent is this image literal or figurative? The idea of a new heaven is more difficult to comprehend. A literal restoration of the heavenly dwelling of God seems far-fetched. Perhaps it is best to understand "new heavens and new earth" in a figurative sense. Chaos reigns in both, but in Christ there is a new creation, the replacement of the old and limited with the new and eternal.
η θαλασσα ουκ εστιν ετι "There was no longer any sea". In the Old Testament, the sea is a place of surging evil, the abode of Leviathan; a place seething, erratic, destructive, unable to be tamed. But following the judgment, (Ch.17-20) this wilderness is no more; Satan's stronghold is broken and his power destroyed. 
Ιερουσαλημ καινην "[the Holy City], the new Jerusalem" - the new Jerusalem = the redeemed, new creation, the people of God, the heavenly assembly.
καταβαινουσαν (καταβαινω) part. "coming down" - the redeemed assemble in (descend to) God's new domain. Western imagination doesn't quite grasp descending imagery. 
ητοιμασμενην (ετοιμαζω) pas. part. "prepared"
κεκοσμημενην (κοσμεω) pas. part. "beautifully dressed".
τω "for [her husband]" - a dative of advantage, she is adorned for the advantage of her husband. 
λεγουσης (λεγω) "saying" του θεου (ος) gen. "God's" η σκηνη (η) "dwelling place" - place of tabernacle/shelter. The final words of Ezekiel's vision is "The name of the city shall be 'the Lord is there'". Israel's great hope is that the Lord will tabernacle with his
  λαοι (ος) pl. "people" (Lev.26:11, Isa.7:14) 
μετ ..... εσται "will be with" - underlining God's presence with his people.
αυτων θεος "and be their God" the language of the covenant.

v4 ουκ ... ετι "[there will be] no more" ο θανατος "death" ουτε ... ουτε .... ουτε "or ... or ... or .." - neither ... nor πενθος (ος) "mourning" associated with grief (cf Isa.25:8, 35:10, 51:11) κραυγη (η) "crying" - "weeping" seems to be the sense, the word normally means a noisy outcry, or shout - πονος (ος) "pain
οτι because a causal clause; i.e. "The old order of things" may have passed away, but this is not the reason why there is "no more death ....."
ο καθημενος (καθημαι) pres. part. "he who was seated [on the throne]" - 
ποιω (ποιεω) pres. "I am making [everything new]" - The present tense is interesting. There is a futuristic element in the words, but the "realized" nature of Christ's work makes the future a durative present. This is the first time God speaks in this prophecy.
οτι "for" – another causal clause, expressing the content of what John is to write, namely, that these specific words, "I am making everything new" are both trustworthy and true. γραψον, "write", is usually taken to mean "write the book", not just v5.
πιστοι adj. "trustworthy"/faithful and αληθινοι adj. "true"Cassirer.
γεγοναν (γινομαι) 3rd pers. pl. perf. "it is done" i.e. the prophecy is ended; "all the words are completed."
το αλφα και το ω∴ "the Alpha and the Omega" - God is the beginning and end of history and he rules all events in between. 
τω/ διψωντι dat. part. "to him who thirsts " serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object. This promise is for believers going through the trials of life.
εγω pro. "I [will give]" – an emphatic.
δωρεαν adv. "without cost" - emphatic by position (i.e. it is at the end of the sentence).
εκ + gen. "from [the spring]" - preposition expresses origin.
της ζωης (η) gen. "of the water of life" - "living water".
ο νικων (νικαω) part. "he who overcomes" - participle functions as a substantive. The believer conquers when they remain true to their faith through the trials.
κληρονομησει (κληρονομεω) fut. "will inherit" - the context implies a gift freely given at the end of a troubled journey, not an inheritance after a death. 
ταυτα "all this" that is promised
αυτω dat. pro. "their [God]" - a dative of possession, encapsulates the Abrahamic covenant of Gen.17:7.

v8 τοις ... δειλοις dat. adj. "the cowardly" - an interesting descriptive to head the list, given that none of us are wholly courageous. I am OK on the magic arts thingy but to varying degrees, I am completely lost on all the others. 
απιστοις adj. "unbelieving" Those who have given up their faith and no longer trust in Jesus.
εβδελυγμενοις (βδελυσσομαι) pas. perf. part. "vile" - participle is adjectival, the word means polluted by pagan worship. 
φαρμακοις (ος) "those who practice magic arts".
το μερος αυτων "their place" εν "will be in Expressing space τη καιομενη
(καιω) dat. pres. pas. part. "[the] fiery[ lake]" πυρι (πυρ πυρος) "of burning sulphur". 
ο θανατος ο δευτερος "the second death" - spiritual death as opposed to physical.