Luke 1:67-79: The Benedictus

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The people of Israel suffered from amnesia.  So do we.  When life goes well, we forget our rescue and become complacent.  The psalms remind us: “Our fathers in Egypt failed to understand [God’s] miraculous deeds or remember [His] many acts of faithful love” (Psalm 106:7). Former slaves found themselves trapped—with the Red Sea in front […]

The Canticles of Christmas

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The midweek Advent and Christmas Eve services will focus on the Canticles of Christmas.  In this series, we will explore the scriptural songs revolving around the coming of Christ for our salvation. Nov 30: Mary’s Song, the Magnificat Dec 7: Zechariah’s Song, the Benedictus Dec 14: Simeon’s Song, the Nunc Dimittis Dec 24: The Song […]

Malachi 3:1-4: Jesus the Refiner

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Advent is a season highlighted by holy living.  By the Spirit’s help, we meditate on the Word, Jesus Christ, understanding the life He calls us to live.  In Advent, we prepare for someone’s arrival, not of this figure we call “Santa Claus,” but for the coming of Jesus.  His first coming and His second. Our […]

Romans, Lesson 14: In Christ

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We finished our last lesson half way through Romans, chapter 7, where Paul began to use the first-person pronoun “I” a lot.  He was using a rhetorical technique called “prosopopoeia,” where he writes to represent, not himself, but the typical experience of every Jew when confronted by the Law.   In Romans 7:5-6, Paul contrasted life […]

Romans, Lesson 13: The Real Culprit is Sin, not the Law

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In the last half of Romans 6, Paul ran with the idea that someone only has one of two possible masters: sin or God.  He finished with a different comparison, that of a military commanding officer (by using “wages” which was a term referring to military pay).   If God is not your commanding officer, Sin […]

Romans, Lesson 12: We All Answer to Someone or Something

Christians don’t choose to live in their sin.  Why?  That is not who we are.  We are Christians because God brings us into Jesus’ death and resurrection through baptism.  Paul organized the first half of Romans 6 with three parts: objection, response, and encouragement.  Paul ended his short treatise on baptism, stating “you [the Christian] […]

Luke 1:46-55: The Magnificat

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How did Mary remember what she never experienced?  She is young, a teenager when the angel appears before her.  He announces: You will become the mother of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, God in human flesh. The angel’s presence and greeting catches her by surprise; his message does not.  Mary wonders how she […]

Deuteronomy 26:1-11: Thanksgiving and Thanks-living

Desiccated lips become the desert land, cracking under the unrelenting sky.  Her skin begins to blister, stinging red from the blazing sun.  The Autumn day scorches the farm field, baking it as the heat of Summer.  Her head swims, woozy, waves of distorted air rising from the ground, altering the shape of the wheat. She […]

Isaiah 26:19: All Saints

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Unless Christ returns first, we will all face death.  Experience teaches us this truth.  Death is even more certain than taxes.  Our experience on earth, however, cannot tell us what follows death.  Here’s where faith comes in, for faith believes to be true what your experience cannot tell you.  Beyond death, God reveals little. God […]

Romans, Lesson 11: God’s Work in Baptism Frees You from the Law

In Romans 5, Paul spoke of what Jesus did objectively for all: save them.  He also spoke that faith receives and trusts in what Jesus did and does.  We know we need salvation because the Law shows how much we’ve trespassed against God.  But God’s grace reigns all the more, leading to eternal life.  So, […]