Saturday, January 23, 2010

Praying for Pastor

I received a phone call this afternoon from a brother in the Office of the Holy Ministry who I know from online. We've always found an amusing camaraderie in the simple fact that we share a name, and he has always been a source of encouragement in the midst of strife. He reminds me not to give up hope that the Lord will find a place for me to return to parish ministry. Today his message was simple: I'm praying for you.

We pastors pray for our congregations constantly. That's one of the primary duties of a congregation's pastor. Indeed, we pray for "the whole people of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs". But we also take some time to pray specifically for our brothers in the Office. Some might see this as selfish or self-serving. This is not the case. Well, we are sinners whose every act is tainted with sin, so I can't say these prayer are completely selfless, though we do strive for that. But we pray for our brothers because we understand the struggles our brothers face. As I write this, one brother is struggling with the possibility of resigning from the Ministry altogether. Another has received a Call from a congregation who wants him to serve as their pastor. A number of them are wrestling with depression. Some, like me, anxiously await Calls to return to parish ministry. The list goes on and on.

You do not need to be a pastor to pray for a pastor. If you are a layperson, I encourage you to pray for your pastor constantly, whether or not you see eye to eye with him. I promise you, he prays for you, even (and especially) when there is difficulty between you. Show him the love which Christ bears for you. He needs it, and it is a blessing for you to share it with him, even as it is a blessing for him to share it with you. As the member of a congregation which I do not serve as a parish pastor, I pray for my own pastor as well. He may be a Chicago Cubs fan, but I still pray for him.

For my brothers in the Office of the Holy Ministry: I'm praying for you.

And for my brother with whom I share a great and well-spelled name: Thank you for your prayers. I'm praying for you, too.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sermon for 1/24/10-Third Sunday After Epiphany (LSB-C)

I will be preaching this sermon on Sunday at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Mandeville, Louisiana. Pastor Aaron Stinnett asked me to bring the Word to his congregation while he is on vacation. I've preached at Redeemer a number of times before, when they were in the midst of their vacancy before extending the Call to Pastor Stinnett. I received warm welcome from the people of Redeemer, and I look forward to joining them again, the two-hour drive notwithstanding. Bible Class is at 9:00 AM, and worship is at 10:30 AM. Feel free to join us!

Luke 4:16-30

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

If God doesn’t give you exactly what you want, is He still blessing you? The people of Haiti may be having some trouble seeing the blessing in the aftermath of the earthquake and its aftershocks, just as many in Louisiana and our neighboring states struggled with the goodness of God after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike in the past few years. But it doesn’t take a disaster to make us doubt the goodness and power of God. On Christmas morning a child receives gifts of all sizes and shapes. But if the one particularly desired present does not appear, none of the rest of the gifts are good enough, either.

In our text, the people of Nazareth received a great blessing. As always, the faithful were gathered in the synagogue on the Sabbath. That particular Sabbath day, Jesus, the local carpenter boy turned rabbi, joined them in the synagogue. Jesus had become well-known for His teaching and for the mighty wonders He had performed. Any rabbi was welcome to take up and read from the prophets and give commentary on what they read. That day, Jesus took up the scroll and read from the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
After reading this, He sat down and began to teach them, saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

What a wonderful blessing! The people would have known that this text from Isaiah spoke of the promised Messiah. Hearing these words and then hearing Jesus speak of their fulfillment, they would know that Jesus was telling them that He was the Messiah of which they spoke. This should have been a cause for celebration in the synagogue.

Instead, the people were bewildered. While they knew the Scriptures, they also knew this Jesus. They had seen Him grow from boyhood, had watched Him work wood with Joseph and on His own. They found it hard to believe that this Man could be the Messiah, the Deliverer who had been promised to them from the very day when Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, plunging the world into the darkness of sin and death. They had heard the stories; now they wanted the proof. They wanted Jesus to stand and deliver, just as He had in Capernaum. They wanted to see the show. They wanted all the blessings of the Messiah to be delivered on cue. And when He would not be their circus clown, they drove Him out of the city and attempted to kill Him.

We’re no different. We know who God is. In the Large Catechism, Father Luther tells us, “That upon which you set your heart and put your trust is your god.” We know that God provides “all that we need to support this body and life”. So we call upon Him. And we’re supposed to call upon Him in every need. But we expect Him to give in to our every whim, and we expect Him to give us what we want at the exact moment in which we want it.

We have a problem. We were a people created for the sake of receiving blessings from God. Adam and Eve lived in Eden, where every desire was fulfilled without even having to ask. But the difference is, before they sinned, every desire they had was a holy desire. Then they sinned. God continued to bless them, but now the blessings were delivered in the midst of toil and hardship. We know that God wants to bless us; and though we in our sinfulness have earned the wages of sin, still we expect to receive blessings without toil or hardship. We believe we deserve them, that we’re entitled to them. How easy it is to trust the Word of God when the blessings flow like water! That’s why preachers like Joel Osteen are so popular: they deliver to their hearers the promise of earthly prosperity, and that is so much more desirable than the reality of eternal salvation.

When God fails to deliver as we desire, He ceases to be our gracious Lord; instead He becomes a cruel villain upon whom we cannot rely when the chips are down. He’s not the kind of Messiah we want, any more than Jesus was the kind of Messiah the people of Nazareth desired that day. We may not be able to drive Jesus from the city, but we can certainly drive Him out of our lives.

But Jesus did not come to be the kind of Messiah we desire. He came to be the kind of Messiah we so desperately need. The Word which Jesus read from Isaiah tells us what Jesus is, and what He came to do. God tells us through Isaiah that Jesus came to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He came to heal the brokenhearted. He came to proclaim liberty to those in bondage. He came to restore sight to the blind.

And that is precisely what He does. Jesus came to restore sight to the blind—and He does so. Not only did He heal those who were physically blind, but He opened the eyes of the spiritually blind—Nicodemus, His own disciples, even the soldier who stood at the foot of the cross and confessed, “Truly, this was the Son of God.” He does the same for us, giving us the holy medicine of His body and blood, which brings healing to our souls and restores to us the ability to see Him as the Messiah He is. He has come to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive and the oppressed. In the waters of Baptism He creates in us new hearts, where He now dwells within us. In the words of Holy Absolution, we are freed from our bondage to sin and death.

God’s goodness and the eternal salvation He won for us do not depend on whether or not God fulfills our every whim. Jesus has already delivered to us “all that we need to support this body and life”. He has also already delivered to us all that we need for the life of the world to come. Faith comes by hearing. And today, this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Writing By Hand

I've always been an office supply addict. When I was a kid, it was three-ring binders, lined paper, spiral-bound notebooks and Papermate® brand pens. Today it's computers, Zebra® brand pens, fountain pens and "modern Coptic"- or thread-bound notebooks--notebooks such as the ones made famous by Moleskine®. I used to keep a fairly serious personal blog online. When I found myself facing some heat because of that blog, I closed it down, started another one that would be used mainly for theological purposes (which you are reading now!), and took pen and pocket-sized thread-bound notebooks in hand to record personal observations and to make notes for writing.

I just finished filling my fourth such notebook, one I started in January of 2008. When I fill a notebook, I flip through the pages and see what I've recorded on its pages. When I started this one, I was compiling questions which I was hoping my father would answer, an attempt to record my family's story. I eventually used those questions and others to record my own story. I jotted notes for two ideas for novels, ones I may or may not get around to writing. (Look out for NaNoWriMo 2010!)

I took the notebook with me when we evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, and contained in its pages are measurements for cutting wood for the windows of the house. I ended up leaving it at the house of the pastor who hosted me. He was able to return it to me about six months later.

Also contained in this notebook are a bunch of parodies I've written. Some were based on secular songs and themes. For example, Crosby Stills & Nash's "Immigration Man" became "Teleprompter Man", while Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl" became "I Knit and Purl". Others were based on hymns and songs. "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus" became "Sit Down, Sit Down for Jesus", while "Ride On! Ride On In Majesty" became "Right On! Right On, Depravity" after the ELCA's anti-Scriptural decisions regarding homosexuality.

But what pleases me most about what is contained in this notebook is that it records my attempts to write hymns to the glory of God and the edification of the Church. These are humble efforts--some much humbler than others, to be sure--but they reflect a growth in my prayer life, a prayer life that had been (and still continues to be) a struggle, especially since the events of four years ago.

Some of what I write on those pages appears on this blog. After all, I use it for recording ideas and as a springboard for my writing. My review of Pastor Todd Peperkorn's book I Trust When Dark My Road appears nearly word-for-word. But much of what appears on those pages is for my eyes only. I will never be as trusting or as naive as I was, and there are some things y'all don't need to know about me. I don't write about my job or the specifics of my pastoral duties much at all anymore. I learned my Eighth Commandment lesson the hard way.

Even so, writing by hand has always been somewhat therapeutic for me, since I've always felt that I think better with a pen in hand and converse better using a pen rather than my mouth. The notebook has borne the brunt of my therapy. The pages have become compressed; the cover, once pristine, has wrinkled with age and abuse. Putting this notebook on the shelf will be like ending a conversation with an old friend. But I've got another notebook, and a new conversation, a new friendship, begins.

And if I miss the old one too much, I can always pull it off the shelf and relive the conversation once again.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

REVIEW: "Christ Have Mercy" by Matthew C. Harrison

I have finally finished reading the book Christ Have Mercy: How to Put Your Faith in Action by Matthew C. Harrison. Pastor Harrison is the Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care. This is not exactly a new book, having been published in 2008, but if you haven't come across it in your personal reading, I would encourage you to get yourself a copy and give it serious attention. I started reading it about a month ago. I assure you, the length of time it took me to read the book should not be considered an indication of the quality of the content of the book. Indeed, in the periods when I was able to devote my attention to the book, I found it difficult to put down.

Pastor Harrison addresses a topic with which I have always struggled: showing compassion to people in need, especially in terms of the community of faith. How does the Christian congregation--indeed, even a denomination--show mercy to the world around it? He follows the examples of the Tables of the Law: first he speaks of God's great work of mercy for us and, in turn, our response toward Him; then he speaks of how we reflect Christ's mercy for us to our neighbor. He states, "A relationship with God the Father without a relationship with others in fellowship is impossible. A denial of love to a brother or sister is a denial of fellowship in the Lord" (143).

He also takes up the important lesson of the place of the confession of faith in the work of mercy. It is a sad truth that many who do works of mercy in the world claim to do so in the name of Christ; yet they have abandoned a true and faithful confession of who Christ is. "Deeds, not creeds," is their rallying cry. We must not fall prey to this temptation. Pastor Harrison writes, "What is necessary for the Church's work of mercy is a clear and solid conviction of who Christ is and what the Gospel is. Absent such conviction (faith), the work of mercy ceases to be the work of the Body of Christ (however valuable and laudable such social work may be in the realm of civil righteousness)" (159). These examples are just a mere slice of what he delivers to his readers.

If all he had done was show examples from his experiences as a parish pastor in the inner city or his time as Executive Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care, perhaps I would have been impressed, but I doubt I would have been challenged. But Pastor Harrison sprinkles examples from his experience into the midst of a flood of attestation from Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. Would that all the leaders of the Church showed themselves to be so versed in Scripture and the Book of Concord!

This book challenged me from start to finish. It challenged my prayer life--so much so that I was inspired to write a hymn based on the Litany, as Pastor Harrison draws upon the Litany frequently in his book. It challenged my personal stewardship. It challenged my view of vocation. Finally, it challenged my view of the place of the Christian Church in the world.

Buy this book. It will not disappoint you.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Polish Feast

I make no bones about the fact of my Polish heritage. Though living in Louisiana has been a welcome break from Polack jokes--they prefer Boudreaux and Thibodaux jokes down here, much as the Scandinavians up in the Dakotas and Minnesota prefer the Sven and Ole jokes--I delight in the jokes, because they remind me that we tend to look at the world from a different perspective than the rest of the world. Some of the greatest thinkers in history have been Polish. Ever heard of Copernicus? That is the Latinized form of his name, Mikolaj Kopernik. Madame Curie? Her maiden name was Maria Skłodowska. (And people think Kornacki is a difficult name!) You may also have heard of the composer and pianist Fryderyk Franciszek Szopen, who is more commonly known by the French version of his name, Chopin. Have you read Heart of Darkness? Thank Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, also known as Joseph Conrad.

But enough name-dropping. This entry is actually about food. When the Kornacki family took our September vacation in my hometown of North Tonawanda--a suburb of Buffalo for the uninitiated--my father spent a day showing me how to make pierogi. Pierogi are comparable to dumplings or ravioli. They can be filled with pretty much anything, including cheese, bacon, sausage, and fruit. The favorite version in the Kornacki house, however, is the potato and sauerkraut pieróg. My wife doesn't do sauerkraut, so Dad also taught me the potato and onion variety. Cheese is also a popular choice.

Some American families save these delights for holidays, but they're good at any time. And since we're in the middle of a cold snap even here in the deep south, this would be a great time to fatten up the family! Make no mistake: this is not a diet food. But even if it kills you, I guarantee that you will die happy!

Though he'd never really written down a recipe, we put one together as we made the pierogi so I could have a reference to go by when I made mine. We never recorded how big a batch this would make, but we know for a fact that you can comfortably feed a family of six with plenty left over. Since this blog is all about the sharing of God's wonderful gifts with His people, I wanted to share this mundane (and yet so sublime!) blessing with you. Smacznego! (Good appetite!)

(potato and sauerkraut, potato and onion, cheese)

Part Ia: Filling: Potato and Sauerkraut (and Potato and Onion)

2 large cans of sauerkraut
5 lbs. potatoes
2 large Spanish onions
3 sticks of butter
½ cup milk

1. Squeeze juice out of sauerkraut by hand (skip 1-5 if no sauerkraut is desired)
2. Boil sauerkraut in water
3. Drain
4. Rinse with cold water
5. Squeeze water out thoroughly
6. Skin the taters
7. Cut taters into similar size pieces
8. Boil in salty water until fork tender
9. Drain
10. Mash (but don’t whip) with ½ cup milk and 1 stick of butter
11. Skin the onions
12. Cut onions into onion sticks approx. 1-1.5 inches long (chop fine if not using kraut)
13. Sautee onions with 2 sticks of butter (1 stick if not using kraut)
14. Mix onions with drained kraut (skip if not using kraut)
15. Heat to reduce water (skip if not using kraut)
16. Mix onions and kraut into potatoes
17. Add salt and pepper to taste

Part Ib: Filling: Cheese

1.5 lb farmer's cheese (sort of a dry cottage/ricotta style cheese)
4 large onions
2 sticks butter
2 eggs

1. Skin onions
2. Chop onions (not too fine)
3. Sautee onions in butter
4. Whisk egg
5. Combine ingredients, stir until mixed

Part II: Dough

8 cups flour (plus flour for table)
2 tablespoons salt
4 eggs
½ cup oil
2 cups cold water

2. Beat 4 eggs
3. 8 cups flour in large bowl
4. Add 2 tablespoons salt, 4 beaten eggs, ½ cup oil, 2 cups cold water
5. Mix with roasting fork until doughy
6. Lightly to moderately flour the table
7. Shake loose flour lightly onto dough
8. Mix with hands
9. Let rest for ½ hour

Part III: Assembly

Cooled filling
Butter (you’ll need a lot!)

2. Put water on to boil, but not a hard boil (continue on as you wait for boil)
3. Flour the table
4. Cut large handful of dough from dough mass
5. Roll dough handful into tube snake about the diameter of large marshmallow
6. Cut pieces into size of two large marshmallows end to end
7. Flour one side of each piece
8. Using thumbs, fold over pieces so the floured outsides cover the exposed dough
9. Using rolling pin (marble preferred to avoid sticking), roll pieces flat (but not paper-flat) to the size of a baseball or softball
10. Use spoon to scoop out spoonful of filling (smaller than a golf ball, but not much smaller)
11. Put filling in middle of flattened dough piece
12. Pinch shut firmly, folding over edges—use a fork if necessary, but leave no openings
13. Put finished pierogi into gently boiling water (you can put about a dozen in a large pot)
14. Stir every few minutes with the back of a large wooden spoon, making sure water continues to gently boil
15. Melt 2 or more sticks of butter in saucepan
16. Remove pierogi from water when they float, place on plate
17. Pour melted butter over pierogi
18. Salt to taste
19. Eat until you’re about to explode

Part IV: Leftovers

1. Allow boiled leftovers to cool
2. Place leftovers in large plastic bag so they can lay mostly flat when bag is on its side
3. Pour in some melted butter
4. Let cool
5. Place bag(s) in freezer (or fridge for next-day consumption)
6. Remove bag from freezer
7. Put a little butter in frying pan
8. Put leftovers in frying pan
9. Heat until golden brown on both sides
10. Serve with more melted butter

Incidentally, if you would like to assemble them for later boiling and consumption, they can be frozen. After the assembly portion, instead of boiling them, place them in a air-tight container lined with waxed paper, preferably not touching each other. To stack them on top of each other, just place a sheet of waxed paper between each layer. Dad has been known to use cling wrap to keep the individual pierogi from touching, which makes it less likely that they will freeze together and break open while cooking.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hymn: Christ Said, "Bring the Little Children"

After preaching six of the last seven Sundays, I have the next two Sundays off. I love that I get to do so much preaching, but, strangely enough, I didn't do this much preaching my previous two years as a parish pastor! I have to admit that I will welcome the short break. Anyhow, since I don't have a sermon to prepare for this Sunday, I turned my attention to a hymn idea that's been percolating in my head for a few months now. (Please don't remind me that I still haven't sent out the annual Kornacki family Advent letter!)

One of my favorite texts in the Bible is Mark 10:13-16, where Jesus rebukes His disciples for attempting to turn away children whose parents brought them to Jesus. I've preached that text a number of times, including a funeral for a baby who died the day she was born, about a week before Christmas. (I haven't been able to sing "Away in a Manger" since.) This was the perfect text for that beautiful child's funeral. It's a beautiful example of the love of Jesus for all His sheep, but especially for the little ones.

This is my attempt to put this text into meter. None of the hymnal's tunes for the 87 87 meter really seems to work with the account, but I chose the one I felt worked best. I connected the text to Holy Baptism, though not explicitly to infant baptism. Maybe I should have? Anyway, here it is. Your feedback is desired and appreciated.

Christ Said, "Bring the Little Children"

1. Christ said, "Bring the little children."
Let them come; bar not their way,
For to them belongs the kindgom.
Bring them here and let them stay.

2. All who seek the Father's kingdom
Must like children first believe.
Otherwise they never enter;
They the kingdom ne'er receive.

3. By Your grace and tender mercy,
Through Your great baptismal flood,
You have raised Your little children.
You have made them sons of God.

4. Lord, we bring to You our children.
Lay on them Your loving hand.
Hold them in Your arms and bless them.
Bring them to Your heav'nly band.

(c) Alan Kornacki, Jr.
87 87
Suggested Tune: Cross of Jesus (LSB 428)

Friday, January 01, 2010

Sermon for 1/3/10—The Second Sunday After Christmas (LSB-C)

A Blessed and Happy New Year to all of you! I spent New Year's Eve celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary with my wife on a date which included dinner and a movie—no children allowed! I hope your celebration of the new year was as happy as mine.

Anyway, I will be preaching once again this Sunday at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Harvey, Louisiana. Pastor Simoneaux has asked me to fill in for him again, and it will be my privilege and pleasure to do so. If you're in the area, I encourage you to join us. This is a wonderful congregation.

Doing the Father's Business
Luke 2:40-52

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

It was the time of the Feast of the Passover. You know the story of the Passover: how Pharaoh would not set free the children of Israel from their bondage in Egypt; how the Lord instructed His people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and paint the blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. Seeing that sign, the Lord would pass over the houses of the children of Israel as the firstborn of all Egypt were struck down. According to the instructions the Lord gave to Moses and Aaron, the children of Israel were to keep this Feast forever.

Jesus was twelve years old, and according to the custom of the Feast, it was time for Him to join His family in their observance of this holiest of times for the people of God. Just as they had in having Jesus circumcised on His eighth day and presented at the Temple on His fortieth day, Mary and Joseph obediently brought Jesus with them as they traveled to Jerusalem for the Feast.

The Feast ended, and Mary and Joseph began the trip back home, not knowing that Jesus wasn’t with them. After the first day of travel, they discovered that Jesus wasn’t among their relatives. They returned to Jerusalem, and after three days they found Him in the Temple, seated among the rabbis. He listened attentively to these teachers of the Law, asking them penetrating questions; and in doing so He amazed them with His understanding.

Mary was a mother. She couldn’t help herself. She said to Him, “Look, Son, Your father and I have been looking all over the place for You. Why did You do this to us?” His answer is the most profound thing any twelve year-old has ever said. “Why were you looking for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” After He said this, Jesus went with them back to Nazareth, obedient to His earthly parents.

Have you ever wondered how Jesus could be perfectly obedient? Reading this text, we see just how difficult true, perfect obedience is. The young Boy Jesus has three different authorities with whom He must interact in this text. He has Mary and Joseph, His earthly parents, to whom He must be obedient. He has the teachers of the Law, the rabbis, to whom He must show proper respect as He sits among them. According to the Fourth Commandment, Jesus must obey His parents and others whom the Father has placed in authority over him. And of course, according to the First Commandment, over all other authorities, He must be obedient to the will of His heavenly Father.

And He did it! In this minefield of Law, in the midst of all the requirements from all those different authorities, Jesus perfectly submits to everyone to whom He owes honor and duty. Jesus obeys His parents, coming when they call Him. He shows proper respect to the rabbis, answering their questions, learning from them as He is meant to do. And even as He does these things, He knows that His first and foremost duty is to His heavenly Father. Obedience to his parents and to the rabbis is obedience the Father; and when the Father’s will requires Him to stay in Jerusalem while His earthly parents begin their trip back to Nazareth, He stays in the Temple, seeing to the business to which His Father has called Him.

We do, indeed, wonder how Jesus could be perfectly obedient—mostly because we see how terribly we fail at obedience. We know that “we should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them”. Moreover, we know that “we should fear, love and trust in God above all things”. We are subject to the same Law as Jesus. But unlike Jesus, we are, as we confess in the liturgy, “sinful and unclean”, and we sin against God and our neighbor “in thought, word, and deed—by what we have done, and by what we have left undone”. What does this mean? It means that we ignore our parents. It means we give our teachers a hard time in school. It means we resent our employers. It means we think angry thoughts about the police officer who gives us a speeding ticket. It means we say hateful things about our government officials. It means that we even remove the word “obedience” from our wedding vows, lest we promise to do something we have no intention of doing. We do these things because we do not fear or love God as we should. We want God on our terms. We want God when we want Him, and we want Him to keep His nose out of our business when we don’t want Him there.

You know, it’s funny: in this reading, Mary and Joseph think it’s Jesus who is lost. By the end of the text, we realize that the only person who isn’t lost is Jesus. Mary and Joseph were lost: they should have known all along that Jesus would be where He should be, doing what He was born to do. And with the teachers of the Law, we are lost, condemned by a twelve year-old Boy who is diligent in listening to God’s Word and diligent in His obedience to the whole of God’s will.

In order to satisfy the demands of God’s holiness, it was necessary that God’s Law be fulfilled. Knowing that we could be obedient to the will of God in our sinfulness, Jesus took that burden upon Himself. As true Man, Jesus perfectly obeyed the whole of God’s Law and will. But the obedience of Jesus does not only show you how disobedient you have been. The Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 4: “We, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” As true God, Jesus makes His perfect obedience yours in the water of Holy Baptism, where your sinfulness has been washed away, where your disobedience has been covered over with the perfect obedience of Christ. Jesus is doing His Father’s business for you.

Jesus is also about His Father’s business here this morning, where He announces to you through the mouth of one of His Called and Ordained servants that He forgives you all your sins. He is about His Father’s business when He feeds you with His own body and blood, giving you forgiveness, life and salvation. Here He gives you a Passover Feast in His own body and blood, and now death also passes over you. Keep this Feast forever. “Do this,” says our Lord, “in remembrance of Me.” In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.