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Lindemann on Trinity 24

by revalkorn ~ November 10th, 2010

THE TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

If this is the last Sunday of the Church Year, the Introit and the Collect for the Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity shall be used. The Roman Missal appoints Propers for only twenty-three Sundays and the Last Sunday after Pentecost. If there are additional Sundays, the Propers are taken from Sundays after the Epiphany. The Introit for the Last Sunday is that of the Twenty-third, the Collect, the Gradual, and the Epistle are for the Twenty-fourth in The Lutheran Hymnal. The holy Gospel is Matt. 24:15-35. In the Book of Common Prayer the holy Gospel is the same as in The Lutheran Hymnal, the Epistle is lengthier, beginning with the third verse. In the Common Service Book the Gradual is Ps. 1:1,2; 91:15,16.

The ancient Church seems to have had no conception of a definite Church Year. There are indications that this Sunday was not the last Sunday of the Trinity Season but rather a transition to Advent, a fifth Sunday in Advent. The Collect begins: “Stir up,” as do the Collects for the First, the Second, and the Fourth Sundays n Advent. The Advent Season was probably longer than it is now, which could account for the choice of the holy Gospel in the Missal for the Last Sunday after Pentecost and the First Sunday in Advent. The first is our Lord’s own account of His Second Coming, and the second is Luke 21:25-33. The latter is the holy Gospel for the Second Sunday in Advent according to Lutheran use, with three verses added.

The Trinity Season is divisible into two halves, the first twelve Sundays dealing with Christian motives, the second twelve with the Christian character. We have seen that character in its internal graces and their manifestation in active service. Last Sunday it culminated in perseverance and heavenly mindedness. Today we gaze on the final scene, to which all that has gone before is the long preparation. We see the final deliverance from guilt and sinfulness in the inheritance of the saints in light. The Church reaches the high level of complete confidence, not in herself but in her Head. She knows and is firmly convinced that nothing will be able to separate her from the love of God in Christ Jesus, her Lord. The Introit declares: “He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.” This confidence is poured out in adoring praise: “Oh, come, let us sing unto the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation! ” The Church does not ignore the serious lessons of these last days before the end. She has risen above fear. She has heard and learned. With the growth of knowledge has come confident trust. On the Nineteenth Sunday she heard: “Put off your old nature”; on the Twentieth: “Make the most of the time”; on the Twenty-first: “Be strong in the Lord, recognize your enemies, take the whole armor of God, stand”; on the Twenty-second: “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ; let your love abound more and more”; on the Twenty-third: “Our commonwealth is in heaven”; and today all is climaxed: “The Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Today’s Epistle is the Church’s prayer for her own who are passing through these last days in a world filled with the things that lure away. In the Collect she prays that any waning of enthusiasm, determination, and inspiration to persevere be prevented. Stir up, excite, stimulate, make enthusiastic, the of Thy faithful people that they may attain to the reward of inheritance. The Gradual breathes out the note of confidence: “He hath delivered us, qualified us to share in the inheritance, transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son.”

The Introit. “Oh, come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Oh, come, let us sing unto the Lord, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation.”

The Collect. “Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful people that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of Thee be plenteously rewarded.”

This prayer has an Advent tone, at the end of the old year, that in the coming year of grace we may make the most of the time. The Reformers changed the original “the fruit of Thy divine service” to “the fruit of good works,” and “the remedies of Thy tender mercy” to “plenteous reward.” Perhaps the in-tention was to have us regard the Advent as the consummation of Christian life. Our growth in good works is to be tested at the final Advent, and for those who have been God’s faithful people, there shall be plenteous reward in the com-mendation “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Our prayer is for quickened wills, for greater fruitf ulness, and for the final reward (Heb. 10:24,25). The re-ward is not salvation, but it will be according to our works. Plenteous fruitfulness will be plenteously rewarded, but the will, the fruit, and the reward are all “through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.”

The Epistle, Colossians 1:9-14. This may be regarded not only as the prayer of St. Paul for the faithful Colossians but also as the Church’s prayer for her children. She knows the glory to be revealed and prays that we may not lose our inheritance through any lack in faithful endeavor, through any weakness, temptation, or trial. St. Paul’s and the Church’s prayer is for the final perfection of the saints.

The Gradual. “Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. I love the Lord because He hath heard my voice and my supplication. Alleluia! Alleluia! With Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. Alleluia!”

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 9:18-26. The original holy Gospel ended with the words “Instantly the woman was made whole.” This would indicate that the lesson of the day is intended to concentrate not so much in the raising of the ruler’s daughter as in the healing of the woman suffering from a hemorrhage. However, we have in the present Gospel a double manifestation of power, a double ministry to seeking, hungering faith that seals the promise of the Epistle’s blessed message. “He is our God! ” He is “the Rock of our salvation.” “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him … and show him My salvation.”

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.”

OUTLINE FOR SERMON ON THE EPISTLE

In the Epistle St. Paul prays for

The Perfection of the Saints

The text opens: “From the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you.” The Apostle has heard good tidings of the Colossians. They were showing the three great marks of the Christian character that correspond to the three necessary relations of life, the relation with God, with man, and with themselves. In relation to God they possessed “faith in Christ Jesus,” in relation to men they showed “the love which you have for all the saints,” while in relation to themselves they were conscious of “the hope laid up for you in heaven.” This progress was due, as everywhere, to the Gospel in its two aspects of truth and grace, giving them both a new standard of life and power to attain it.

This their past progress was to be the foundation for yet greater attainments in the future. What St. Paul has heard only stirs him up to more earnest prayers on their behalf. He prays for such progress as may know no limit whatever. Four times over he repeats the comprehensive “all.” Absolute perfection, though never attained, is always to be before us as the goal and aim of our effort, and that in three directions:

(1) In knowledge. We must seek knowledge with a view to obedience, “the knowledge of His will,” a knowledge so digested as to become wisdom’ in the mind and understanding in its practical applications to conduct.

(2) In holiness. We are to desire such a holiness as shall be worthy of our Lord, of the motives of His love, and the perfection of His example; such holiness as shall be pleasing to God and shall produce every sort of good fruit to-ward men.

(3) In strength. We are to long to receive strength proportioned to the glorious power of its Giver, and especially such strength as is needed for cheerful endurance in the duties and trials of the Christian life.

There is to be no limit to the attainments in knowledge, holiness, and strength, which are open to us, and which it is Our duty to secure.

OUTLINE FOR SERMON ON THE HOLY GOSPEL

The holy Gospel presents

Two Miracles of Deliverance

A. From the Disease of Sin. The poor woman, after twelve years of suffering and conscious uncleanness, came to Christ polluted, exhausted, disappointed, impoverished, and altogether hopeless (Luke 8:43). Such are the ravishes of sin. We learn from her example how to approach Christ in faith and humility and that no touch of faith, however hesitating, will escape His observation. No case, however desperate and long continued, is past His power to heal. But there must be, on our side, the touch of faith, a personal contact with the personal Lord of health, a contact hindered by no sense of inward guilt and im-purity, and by no crowd of worldly impediments. We must touch the Savior if His salvation is to be ours, in our daily prayers and in His holy Word and Sacraments, when our hearts are dead, when sin tempts and evil thoughts arise, in the midst of daily duties and employments, and we shall never touch Him in vain.

B. From the Death of Sin. Sin is disease and, like disease, tends to death, but from this also Christ can deliver us. He delivers (1) by encouraging faith. Jairus had faith, as shown by his humble access and earnest prayer. Christ performed a miracle while He was on the way, to increase and confirm his faith. All Christ’s dealings with us in our life’s history have this as their object. (2) By the touch of power. Men may scoff, but their scorn only helps the truth by showing that if death be real, yet more real must be the power that conquers death. Christ’s power, manifested in the silent chamber, is now manifested in the secret chamber of the heart, and one day it will be manifest in the silence of the tomb. This miracle is the converse of the last, which taught that deliverance must come through our touch of Christ, for here it was Christ’s touch that aroused one who could not touch Him. To touch and be touched by Christ is the secret of deliverance.

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