Image: The Lutheran Men in Mission preparing the Christmas Boxes for the Port of Houston Seafarers. This is an annual act of mercy and kindness for these working visitors to our state.
Bible Readings and Devotion for June 29-30, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for June 29-30, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
It is so easy to talk about others. It is also easy to talk about ideas and concepts that may or may not have any bearing on one’s life. These things really don’t cause any change or improvement on our lives. These are just thoughts and words about other things.
Jesus knows this, and that is part of what is happening in today’s reading from Matthew chapter 16. Jesus is working to get the disciples thinking about faith and the role of Jesus in the world. So, he asks them a general question. Their answer, on its own, would not matter in the life of the disciples. He asks, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” He doesn’t even speak about himself directly. He uses a title for the Messiah which comes, at least in part, from a statement in Daniel 7:13, which reads, ““I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.” (English Standard Version). This is important to understanding the Messiah, but it is putting the reference away from Jesus himself in the conversation.
He lets them answer, as we see in the text. They tell what the public is saying. Then he quickly makes it very personal. He asks them to make a direct statement about what they believe about him. His questions is, “Who do you say that I am?” He is calling on them to take put themselves fully into following him.
There are various points in our lives of faith, both formal and informal which put this question to us in some way. Although these don’t necessarily use the same exact words, these contexts call up on each of us to affirm our faith commitment to Jesus.
Some formal expressions include the following:
*At our own baptism or the baptism of one of our children or special relations.
*At our own Confirmation day. Another term for this is, “Affirmation of Baptism.” It is a time to give a strong yes to the faith which the Lord has brought into our lives by the Holy Spirit.
*Each time when we receive the Lord’s Supper. As St. Paul teaches us, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:26.
*When we take on a position of leadership in our congregation.
*Whenever we gather for worship with our fellow Christians.
Some informal expressions include the following:
*When we have opportunity to talk in a casual manner about our faith.
*When it comes up on conversation about whether or not we are Christians.
*When we find opportunity to show kindness and charity to another person.
*When we come upon a situation to stand up for someone or a group of people who are beaten down, harmed, ridiculed or oppressed by others.
The situations can be many, but the same core idea is there: we get to respond to the Son of Man, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, by stating openly by word and deed that we know who he is and that we are standing up with him and for him.
Almighty God, grant that your holy word which has been proclaimed this day may enter into our hearts through your grace, that it may produce in us the fruit of the Spirit for witness and service in the world and to the praise and honor of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.