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Lindemann on Trinity 20

by revalkorn ~ October 11th, 2010


The message of the day is stated in the words of the Epistle: “Look carefully, then, how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” It is an exhortation to wisdom, not the cleverness of the Unjust Steward but the keenness and wakefulness of the child of God who, though still in the world, is only passing through it; to buy up every opportunity of grace, of service, of life in communion with God and His children, knowing that every failure to do so turns to the advantage of his foe. To avoid repetition, we may emphasize the admonition to address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, to sing, to give thanks, and so make the subject of the day “Cheerful Service.” The holy Gospel speaks of the feast of joy God has prepared. The Introit seems to have in mind the casting out of the man without a wedding garment into the outer darkness when it declares that the Lord is righteous in all the works that He has done, and has us pray to be dealt with according to His steadfast love. The Collect asks for the blessing of the merciful God’s pardon and peace, though the attribute of mercy is not named in the holy Gospel.

The Introit. “The Lord, our God, is righteous in all His works which He doeth, for we obeyed not His voice. Give glory to Thy name, O Lord, and deal with us according to the multitude of Thy mercies. Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.”

The first verse of the Antiphon is from Daniel’s prayer for his people (Dan. 9:14), in which he confesses that Israel brought God’s visitation upon itself by its sins, “therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us.” So we today enter God’s house as exiles who bear the bitterness of life in the spirit of repentance. But our souls long for the heavenly home, which we see prefigured in the holy place. We pray that God may glorify His reputation by dealing with us according to His steadfast love. We glorify Him by singing His praises in the city of God, in the mountain of His holiness, in His house, before the altar that symbolizes His presence, in the congregation of His faithful people.

The Collect. “Grant, we beseech Thee, merciful Lord, to Thy faithful people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve Thee with a quiet mind.”

We are not rebels as were the men in the holy Gospel who made light of the king’s invitation and treated his servants shamefully and killed them. We are God’s faithful people, and we ask that in mercy He would forgive us our sins, that we may serve Him with a quiet mind, which is the peace of God, and that He would grant us earthly peace that we may serve Him with a quiet mind.

The Epistle, Ephesians 5:15-21. As pilgrims walking through this world on their way to the heavenly home, the Christians are to make the most of their time by being cleansed of their sins, by walking in the law of the Lord, undefiled in the way. St. Paul speaks of a twofold intoxication. We are not to be drunk with wine and with earthly things in general, but we are to be filled with the Spirit. He describes the latter condition: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody” of praise in our assemblies.

The Gradual. “The eyes of all wait upon Thee, O Lord, and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing. Alleluia! Alleluia! Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord! Lord, hear my voice. Alleluia!”

In the place of Ps. 130:1 the Common Service Book has Ps. 105:1 as the Alleluia Verse. The Gradual expresses our longing for the heavenly home and the confidence that the Lord will supply His pilgrims with the viaticum, His Holy Supper, all the way.

The Proper Sentence. “Alleluia! O Lord, deal with Thy servant according unto Thy mercy, and teach me Thy statutes. I am Thy servant, give me understanding, that I may know Thy testimonies. Alleluia!”

Or: “Alleluia! Blessed be the Lord God of our fathers; praise Him and highly exalt Him forever. Alleluia!”

The Gospel, St. Matthew 22:1-14. The parable of the Marriage Feast must not be confused with the parable of the Great Supper. On the Second Sunday after Trinity we had a picture of grace and an illustration of men’s response to God’s loving invitation. The holy Gospel for this day presents a parable of judgment, and we see the sin of rebellion and the penalty of the outer darkness. The marriage is the work of salvation, Christ is the bridegroom, the Church is the bride, we are the wedding guests. The coming of the king into the hall is Christ’s Second Coming, the wedding garment is the sanctifying grace. It is not enough to partake of the feast and sit in the hall, outwardly to be a member of some church. We must also live a life according to the will of God, possess the wedding garment of grace. A secondary interpretation of the parable may be permissible — that the holy Gospel is a picture of the Communion Service, the wedding hall is the house of God where the congregation of wedding guests has assembled, Word and Sacrament is the marriage feast, the Holy Communion at the same time the earnest and the prophetic picture of the heavenly marriage feast. The King appears and communes with the guests as a foretaste of the future coming. Our concern is that we be not the guest without the wedding garment.

The Proper Preface. “Who with Thine only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God, one Lord. And in the confession of the only true God we worship the Trinity in Person and the Unity in Substance, of Majesty coequal.”


Last Sunday was the Sunday of renewal, when we heard the Savior say: “Take heart, My son, your sins are forgiven.” The Authorized Version has: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” It is quite fitting that this is followed by the Sunday of cheerful service, a service possible only for “a quiet mind,” for which we pray in this day’s Collect. The Epistle contrasts two apparently opposite views of religion in presenting:

The Joy of Service

A. The Seriousness of Religion. The Christian life demands (1) Intense caution. In a world of so many inward and outward enemies the Christian must “look carefully how you walk” and must employ caution and wisdom in all ‘the relations of life. Many eyes are upon him, especially the eyes of God. (2) Active diligence. We have fallen on evil days, and it is our duty to make them better. We are therefore to make the most of the time, or more accurately, to buy up the opportunity, at any expense of effort and self-denial. Everything is so against us that we must make the most of every passing help, influence, and means of grace. Our sails must be set so as to catch every transient breath of favorable wind. We must be alive also to every opportunity for doing good. We must endeavor to discover the will of God and act upon it, avoiding the folly of ignorance and the greater folly of disobedience. We shall then be able both to gain and to impart good.

B. The Happiness of Religion. This happiness is a thing commanded, for it is as much our duty to “be filled with the Spirit” as not to “get drunk with wine.” Certain features of this happiness are to be noted. (1) Its source. It is the Spirit of God. We are to seek for satisfaction not in the wine of earth but in the wine of heaven. We are not to be content with any mere taste of it but to be filled. (2) Its expression. This joy will find a vent in holy intimacies and friendships, for we are to address one another. It will show itself in the melody of the heart no less than of the voice. Its inspiration will be gratitude to the Lord, who has redeemed us, and so will be like that of the songs of heaven. The revelers in the wine of earth sing, and shall we not sing? We are to sing in the Church on high, shall we not begin here? (3) Its thankfulness. This is an essential element in Christian joy. We are to be thankful always and for all things, for everything the Father sends is good and for our good. (4) Its self-restraint. This joy must not lead us to forget plain duty, as do the joys of revelry, for we are to “be subject to one another.” It is not inconsistent with the utmost reverence, for amid all the joys of service we are to remember that our Lord is One to be feared as well as to rejoice in. These two views of religion here described are not inconsistent. To take religion seriously is the only way to find a happy service, without misgiving and without remorse. A little religion will make us sad, but much will bring the joy of heaven. Heaven is only this Epistle carried out to the letter.


The parable of the holy Gospel reminds us of the parable of the Great Supper. The two have much in common, but there is a difference. The holy Gospel for the Second Sunday after Trinity illustrates our response to God’s loving invitation. This day’s holy Gospel is a call to rejoice. The man who gave a great banquet is here the King, seeking the happy service of His people. The parable of the Great Supper points to the sin of ingratitude. Today we see the deeper sin of rebellion and the penalty of the outer darkness. The invitation is a call to happiness and to enter into the joys of the Lord, but it is the invitation of the King. We may single out for special notice two points in connection with

The Feast of Joy

A. The Reason of Refusal. We cannot understand the refusal of happiness, still less the angry treatment of the servants. What was the cause of this bitter refusal? The answer is plain. These men would have none of the feast because they would have none of the King. Each man would go to his own farm or to his merchandise to show his independence of the King. But more than this, they were roused to active opposition of insult and violence. This was true of the Jews, and it is true of many today. Men reject the offer of happiness because it means service, a will and heart given to God. They resist and try to kill the messenger, conscience, and to discredit all the messengers of God. Let such opposition teach us that religion must be a very real thing, or men would not be so indisposed to accept it.

B. The Rejection of the Guest. Why was this one guest rejected? Evidently his lack of education was no impediment, for this is not to be sought among highways and hedges. His character was no objection, for bad and good were alike invited. What was, then, the wedding garment which he had not on? Evidently he came without the desire to be glad in that which was the joy of the King. The same disobedience which made others refuse made him, though present, to be unfit. The garment of renewal offered in Christ, and explained in the holy Gospel for last Sunday, was rejected. If any are cast into outer darkness, it will be because they will not put on the new man. If we miss the joy of service, it is because we will not serve.

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