Prayer of the DayAlmighty God, gracious Lord, we thank you that your Holy Spirit renews the church in every age. Pour out your Holy Spirit on your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in your word, protect and comfort them in times of trial, defend them against all enemies of the gospel, and bestow on the church your saving peace, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives in and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Today is an important day within the Protestant denominations. Actually it’s with the high church congregations rather than the low church ones. Most people think of today as Halloween where people and children dress up in costumes and travel from house to house asking for candy. It’s also a significant event within the Pagan community. But for the high church it is also the day back in 1514 when Martin Luther nailed 95 Thesis to the door to the Wittenburg castle church. All he wanted to do was to debate the merits on what the Roman Catholic church was doing. Little did he know what he ended up starting at that moment.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (NRSV)
Jeremiah states that the covenant was a marriage of Israel to God where God was the husband and Israel the bride. If that’s the case, and with the rules of that time, God had every right to divorce Israel and cast her aside. But did he? No. God knows that we as humans with free will will always have problems staying obedient to His law. Looking back we can see how every day and with every word each prophet said God was showing us the way to his perfect love and grace, but we were too stubborn and willful to get it. It makes me wonder if we will ever get it until we’re standing before his throne.
Psalm 46 (NRSV)
God’s Defense of His City and People
To the leader. Of the Korahites. According to Alamoth. A Song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord;
see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
I am exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge.Selah
Romans 3:19-28 (NRSV)
In Romans we continue the discussion about the law. Paul states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Not just the ones we don’t like, but even the good people. The law awakens in us the realization that we can never be perfect. Once we realize that God and his grace steps in to cover everything. It reminds me a bit of the story about The Fall in Genesis 3. God in his abundant mercy still covered the man and woman when they really didn’t deserve it. That animal that was sacrificed had to die to cover up their nakedness. Jesus did the same thing for us with his death, his execution. Instead of seeing our filthy sinful nature, God sees Jesus written all over us and accepts us like he accepts Jesus.
John 8:31-36 (NRSV)
The gospel reading follows along the lines of freedom. Slaves have no freedom, as John wrote. Servants technically have no freedom either. When you are at work there are certain things you can and cannot do. You are free to do what’s required of you, but that’s it. Anything else is only allowed during certain times of the day. But if you know the owner’s son, and that person said you could do certain things that normal employees cannot do, then you’re most likely free to do those. Although I’d feel very awkward about doing said tasks or things. It’s the same with God. Because we are covered because of Jesus we are no longer slaves, but are free to do God’s will.