Translating God's Word for a new generation
As we stand at the beginning of this Thanksgiving week, Pastor Seidler continues our I’ll Fly Away worship series by looking at the capacity for gratitude. Each of us has the capacity to say, “Thank you.” The logical question is, “How great is that capacity within you?” Join us this weekend and expand your capacity to be grateful at Concordia, Kirkwood.
In our final weeks of the Church calendar, we call on that common spiritual I’ll Fly Away. In the face of the many constraints, restraints, and burdens of this life, our Heavenward faith gives us hope that, in the end, we will fly away and be with God; Jesus Christ in His death and Resurrection ushered in that kingdom hope. As we make our way through these final three services, we’ll focus on three characteristics that will take us home. This week, Pastor Seidler will spend some teaching time on the grace of giving as we behold an impoverished widow chucking her last coin into the offering coffer of the Temple. In these last days, Jesus calls on us to be generous.
“Remember me.” These words are the aspiration of God’s heart. They are also the aspiration of most people as they pass from this life into the next. This weekend in our church-year wind-down of weeks, the Concordia family celebrates the Feast of All Saints. In doing this, we remember. We remember them who have gone before us. We remember God who watched over every second of their lives. And we remember ourselves and others who live today--saints in the making. Come this weekend and remember many things, but especially that, in Jesus Christ, God remembered you.
Oh, the places you will go ... oh, the places you have been. Bragging rights for number of places visited? Or wisdom and knowledge gained from new and, sometimes, challenging experiences? Is there JOY in the journey or is it the destination’s termination point you seek? The psalmist calls us to a right numbering of our days, an accounting that appreciates this truth: “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” No fallen faces here. Numbered rightly, living as those who have been declared “good” in Christ, we receive a heart of wisdom.
Marriage is a big deal—both for those who are married and those who are not; those who will be and those who were. In a culture where every weekend hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on weddings, one’s marital status matters much. This weekend, Pastor Seidler uses the words of Jesus on marriage and divorce to forge ahead in this Fall’s “I am ...” worship series. Together, we will remember that our identity is more than our marriage (or lack thereof). Before and above any relationship stands the one we enjoy with our Creator and Savior.
In church we are taught to prize our identity as Christians. Saying “I am a Christian” and being a Christian can be miles apart. Many in our world today claim Christianity as a solemn part of their identity; their actions often speak a different story. In today’s message, we’ll see the disciples get caught claiming, “I am a Christian,” while their actions say something starkly different!
With every statement of “I am...”, we accrue something to ourselves. We get something from that verbal transaction. We pay a price for our identity. What price are you paying? In this weekend’s message, we learn about some disciples vying for the affection of Jesus, to be able to say, “I am the greatest.” If they only knew before Jesus pointed out the error of their arrogance ... our identity and value are found in the God who created us, redeemed us and called us to be His Own!
This weekend at Concordia, we embark on a seven-week exploration of the most powerful words a human being might say: “I am ________.” What fills the blank is important! That this self-description originates us, even more so. In his message, The Power and Potential of “I am... ,” Pastor Seidler begins a journey that culminates at the end of October when our kids stand before us and are confirmed as they say, “I am a child of God.” Over the coming weeks, our pastors will consider the many ways we fill in the blank of that statement with Jesus at the very center.
How do we thank someone for a gift? With two words? With a smile and a hug? With a handwritten note? Perhaps it depends upon the magnitude of the gift and who is being thanked. Some gifts may be properly thanked with simple words, while other gifts may evoke a more action-oriented response. Of course, the greatest gift we have received is salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ. How, then, do we respond? In today’s Old Testament lesson, the psalmist writes, “I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:2) May we join him, thankfully praising God in both word and deed!
It has been said, “The Church is never more than one generation away from extinction.” This bold statement, perhaps, finds support in the admonition found in today’s Old Testament lesson. There Moses writes this concerning the works of the Lord, “Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” (Deuteronomy 4:9) Each generation has the responsibility, and privilege, of passing on the works of God to the next generation. While much of this teaching happens in the setting of a local congregation, the Christian instruction that happens in the home—in our own families—is key! This teaching is always centered on Jesus Christ, the One through whom our Lord has worked the mightiest work of all—our salvation. That same Savior promises that even the gates of Hell will not prevail against His Church!