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Devotion

Friday after Trinity

Opening Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven, lead us not into temptation. O dear Lord, Father and God, keep us prepared and alert, eager and diligent in Your Word and service, so that we do not become complacent and careless as though we had already achieved everything. We implore You by Your mercy not to let the devil sneak in and take away from us Your precious Word or stir up strife and factions among us, or otherwise lead us into spiritual and physical sin and disgrace. Grant us wisdom and strength through Your Spirit that we may bravely resist the devil and gain the victory. Amen.

Luther’s Notes on the Psalm:

The 37th psalm is a psalm of comfort that teaches and exhorts us to have patience in the world and warns us, especially, against envy. For it is vexing and painful to the ‘Weak in faith when things go so well for the godless and the opposite happens to those who fear God. It is a great spiritual
virtue when-seeing the great misdeeds of the peasants, the townspeople, the nobility, the princes, and every one who has any power-one yet exerts himself not to blaspheme or inwardly wish this and that curse on them. Moreover, he still suffers and sees that all things go well for them and they remain unpunished. Indeed, they are praised and honored, while the God-fearing are miserable, despised, hated, begrudged, obstructed, vexed, and persecuted. The message is: Learn to have endurance. Take your heart to God and do not let yourself be vexed. Do not become envious, or curse, or with evil to fall, or murmur, or look at them with hatred. Let these people go and commend them to God, who will surely find all things out. The psalm teaches this and comforts us in a variety of ways with abundant promises, with examples, with warnings. For it is a great and difficult art to manifest such patient longsuffering, when reason and all the heathen count envy as virtue. For it appears as though it were just and fair to envy and begrudge the ungodly for their wantonness, their good fortune, and their riches.

Psalmody: Psalm 37:1-7

Do Not Be Frustrated by the Wicked

1 Do not fret because of evildoers. 
Do not be envious of those who do wrong, 
2 for like grass they will wither quickly. 
Like green plants they will wilt. 

Trust in God’s Goodness

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good. 
Dwell in the land and feed on faithfulness. 
4 Take pleasure in the LORD, 
and he will grant your heart’s desires. 
5 Commit your way to the LORD. 
Trust in him, and he will act. 
6 He will make your righteousness shine like light, 
your justice like noon. 
7 Be silent before the LORD. Wait patiently for him. 
Do not fret when an evil man succeeds in his ways, 
when he carries out his wicked schemes. 
Luther’s Prayer for the Psalm:

Come, Spirit of the Father, make us Your temples, and so govern our hearts that envy and discontent may be banished from us. Teach us godliness with contentment, that we may account food and raiment sufficient for this life, and may devote our souls to seeking those treasures that thieves can not steal and rust will not corrode. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Proverbs 10:1-23

The Collected Proverbs of Solomon

1 The proverbs of Solomon. 

Introduction to Wisdom and Righteousness

A wise son brings joy to his father, 
but a foolish son brings grief to his mother. 
2 Treasures gained by wickedness produce no profit, 
but righteousness saves from death. 
3 The LORD will not allow the righteous to starve, 
but he frustrates the greed of the wicked. 
4 Lazy hands produce poverty, 
but hardworking hands bring riches. 
5 Whoever gathers crops in summer is a sensible son. 
Whoever sleeps at harvest time is a disgraceful son. 

Wise Words and Wise Ways

6 Blessings crown the head of a righteous person, 
but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. 
7 To remember a righteous person is a blessing, 
but the name of the wicked will rot. 
8 A wise heart accepts commands, 
but a babbling fool will be ruined. 
9 Whoever walks with integrity walks safely, 
but whoever follows crooked ways will be found out. 
10 Whoever winks at evil causes trouble, 
and a babbling fool will be ruined. 
11 The mouth of a righteous person is a fountain of life, 
but violence covers the mouth of the wicked. 
12 Hatred stirs up a quarrel, 
but love covers all sins. 
13 Wisdom is found on the lips of a discerning person, 
but a rod is appropriate for the back of one who lacks sense. 
14 Wise people store up knowledge, 
but the mouth of a stubborn fool brings ruin. 
15 A rich person’s wealth is his strong city. 
Poverty is the ruin of poor people. 
16 The work of a righteous person leads to life. 
The income of a wicked person leads to sin. 
17 Whoever practices discipline is on the path to life, 
but whoever rejects a warning goes astray. 
18 Whoever conceals hatred has lying lips, 
and whoever spreads gossip is a fool. 
19 When there are many words, sin never stops, 
but a person who restrains his lips acts wisely. 
20 The tongue of a righteous person is fine silver. 
The heart of a wicked person has little value. 
21 The lips of a righteous person shepherd many, 
but stubborn fools die for lack of sense. 
22 The blessing of the LORD makes a person wealthy, 
and he adds no sorrow to it. 
23 Carrying out a wicked scheme is a game for the fool, 
but wisdom gives pleasure to a person with understanding. 
New Testament Reading: John 14:1-17

No Greater Love—in Peace

14  “Do not let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that you may also be where I am. 4 You know where I am going, and you know the way.”
5 “Lord, we don’t know where you are going,” Thomas replied, “so how can we know the way?”
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7 If you know me, you would also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that is enough for us.”
9 “Have I been with you so long,” Jesus answered, “and you still do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I am telling you I am not speaking on my own, but the Father who remains in me is doing his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me. Or else believe because of the works themselves.
12 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: The one who believes in me will do the works that I am doing. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.
15“If you love me, hold on to my commands. 16I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. 17He is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him or know him. You know him because he stays with you and will be in you.

Writing from a Church Father: Athanasius

We believe in one Unbegotten God, Father Almighty, maker of all things both visible and invisible, who has His being from Himself. And in one Only-begotten Word, Wisdom, Son, begotten of the Father without beginning and eternally; word not pronounced nor mental, nor an effluence of the Perfect, nor a dividing of the impassible Essence, nor an issue; but an absolutely perfect Son, living and powerful, the true Image of the Father, equal in honor and glory. For this, He says, “is the will of the Father, that as they honor the Father, so they may honor the Son also”: very God of very God, as John says in his general Epistles, ”And we are in Him that is true, even in His Son, Jesus Christ: this is the true God and everlasting life”: Almighty of Almighty. For all things that the Father rules and sways, I the Son rules and sways likewise: wholly from the Whole, being like the Father as the Lord says, “he that has seen Me has seen the Father.” But He was begotten ineffably and incomprehensibly, for “who shall declare His generation?” in other words, no one can. Who, when at the consummation of the ages, He had descended from the bosom of
the Father, took from the undefiled Virgin Mary our humanity, Christ Jesus, whom He delivered of His own will to suffer for us, as the Lord says: “No man takes My life from Me. I have power to lay it down and have power to take it again.” In which humanity He was crucified and died for us,
and rose from the dead, and was taken up into the heavens, having been created as the beginning of ways for us when on earth He showed us light from·out of darkness, salvation from error, life from the dead, an entrance to paradise, from which Adam was cast out and into which he again entered by means of the thief, as the Lord said, “This day shall you be with Me in paradise,” into which Paul also once entered. [He showed us] also a way up to the heavens, where the humanity
of the Lord, in which He will judge the quick and the dead, entered as precursor for us. We believe, likewise, also in the Holy Spirit who searches all things, even the deep things of God, and we anathematise doctrines contrary to this.

About Athanasius of Alexandria
Background information on Athanasius of Alexandria

Athanasius was born at Alexandria in 297, and in his boyhood must have witnessed some of the cruelties of the Great Persecution under Maximinus Daza—perhaps the martyrdom of Archbishop Peter himself, on November 25, 311. He soon came under the notice of Alexander, who succeeded Achillas in the see of Alexandria in 313, and was brought up by him as a son in the faith.

Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: On the Incarnation of the Word of God, trans. T. Herbert Bindley, Second Edition Revised. (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1903), 7.

Hymnody: LSB 953 Stanza 2, “We All Believe in One True God”

We all believe in Jesus Christ,
    Son of God and Mary’s son,
Who descended from His throne
    And for us salvation won;
By whose cross and death are we
Rescued from all misery.

Full Hymn
About Hymn and Author:
Background info on hymn and author
TEXT BACKGROUND
This hymn by Tobias Clausnitzer (1619-84) is one of two creedal versifications in LSB, the other being Luther’s catechetical versification of the Nicene Creed with the same title (LSB 954). While loosely a versification of the Apostles’ Creed, Clausnitzer’s hymn was influenced by the language of the Nicene Creed and Luther’s Small Catechism. Three hymns are known to have been composed by Clausnitzer, this being one of two that are in LSB (along with “Blessed Jesus, at Your Word,” LSB 904). The hymn first appeared in the Brandenburgisches Gesang-Buch (1668) and became a popular alternative to Luther’s creedal hymn among German-speaking congregations in
the Missouri Synod.

An 1863 English translation by Catherine Winkworth (1827-78) was altered in later books, and the LSB text is an amalgamation of the versions in TLH (1941) and LW (1982), with stanza 1 as in LW, stanza 2 as in both TLH and LW and stanza 3 following LW in its first two lines, with the third line from TLH.

TEXT COMMENTARY
Succinctly and memorably, in the midst of trial and suffering, Clausnitzer’s creedal hymn confesses in first-person corporate language faith in the creating, merciful, — triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the first stanza, as in the Sanctus, the Trinity is praised by the myriad hosts of angelic beings (Hebrews 1 :6). The praise is offered to God on account of His providential work as the Creator: “All He made His love enfolds, all creation He upholds,” which reflects Hebrews 1 :3: “He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” More directly, the original German, “der durch seine grosse Krafft alles wiircket, thut und schaffi” (“who through His great power works, does, and creates all things”), confesses God as the Creator of all things. It references Hebrews 1:2 and evokes the Nicene Creed: “Maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.” It also parallels the creedal statement of faith in God that Luther’s Small Catechism teaches, the belief that the Father Almighty is the maker of all creation: “I believe that God has made me and all creatures.”2 Standing behind Clausnitzer’s confession of the Creed’s First Article are Luther’s words in the Large ·catechism: “So we learn from this article that none of us owns for himself, nor can preserve, his life nor anything that is here listed or can be listed. This is true no matter how small and unimportant a thing it might be. For all is included in the word Creator.”3 Thus the Church’s praise of the Creator joins that of the heavenly hosts.

Stanza 2 is a brief confession of the salvation story in Jesus Christ, the Creator God’s own Son. Reflecting the Nicene Creed’s affirmation that the Lord Jesus Christ “came down from heaven,” the hymn confesses that He descended from His throne (in heaven) in order to win salvation for us. The German here reads, “der vom Himmel kommen ist, und uns fiihrt ins Himme,ls Thron; der uns durch sein Blut und Tod, hat erlost aus aller Noth” (“who from heaven has come to lead us to heaven’s throne, who through His blood and death has rescued us from all need”). It echoes Luther’s language in the Large Catechism that “the little word Lord means simply the same as redeemer. It means the One who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same.”4 Luther confesses that Jesus became a human creature, suffered and died, did all that He did “in order to become my Lord. “

All this Clausnitzer summarizes in the hymn’s words “rescued from all misery.” The God who creates and redeems through His Son also sends forth His Spirit, “who sustains and comforts us in all trials, fears, and needs,” as Jesus promised in John 14:15-17, 25-27; 15:26; 16:7-15. Reflecting the Nicene Creed, this Spirit of comfort proceeds in truth from both the Father and the Son. Following Luther, who in his hymn “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” (LSB 497) calls upon the Holy Spirit (“Come, holy Fire, comfort true”), Clausnitzer confesses that the Holy Spirit is our comfort because He calls us to true faith through the Gospel. Summarizing Paul’s words in Romans 8:26 that “The Spirit helps us in our weakness,” Clausnitzer confesses that the only comfort in the face of all earthly trials, fears, and necessities is faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the triune God who provides salvation and all good things for His creatures.
Prayer of the Day:

Lord God, heavenly Father, at the first ecumenical Council of Nicaea, Your Church boldly confessed that it believed in one Lord Jesus Christ as being of one substance with the Father. Grant us courage to confess this saving faith with Your Church through all the ages; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Confessional reading: Small Catechism Morning and Evening Blessing & Blessing and Thanksgiving at Meals

HOW THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY

Should Teach His Household to Bless Themselves in the Morning and in the Evening

MORNING PRAYER

In the morning, when you rise, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say,

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have kept me this night from all harm and danger. And I pray that You would keep me this day also from sin and all evil, so that all my doings and life may please You. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to your work with joy, singing a hymn, like one on the Ten Commandments, or what your devotion may suggest.

EVENING PRAYER

In the evening, when you go to bed, you shall bless yourself with the holy cross and say:

In the name of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then, kneeling or standing, repeat the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. If you choose, you may, in addition, say this little prayer:

I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day. And I pray, forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.

Then go to sleep immediately and cheerfully.

HOW THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY

Should Teach His Household to Ask a Blessing and Return Thanks

‹ASKING A BLESSING›

The children and servants shall go to the table with folded hands, reverently, and say:

The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing. [Psalm 145:15–16]

(Note: “To satisfy the desire” means that all animals receive so much to eat that they are made joyful and of good cheer. For worry and greed hinder such satisfaction.)

Then say the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer:

Lord God, Heavenly Father, bless us and these Your gifts, which we receive from Your bountiful goodness, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

RETURNING THANKS

Likewise after the meal they shall reverently and with folded hands say:

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor His pleasure in the legs of a man, but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love. [Psalm 136:1; 147:9–11]

Then say the Lord’s Prayer and the following prayer:

We thank You, Lord God, Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, for all Your benefits, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.