Readings for Feb. 17, 2019

The First Reading is recorded in Jeremiah 17:5-8. This is a passage of contrasts of curses and blessings. The passage opens with curses on those who trust in humans, including themselves, instead of the LORD. Trusting in humans will lead to disaster because humans simply are not trustworthy. In contrast to that, Jeremiah proclaims that those who trust in the LORD are blessed because the LORD is faithful to keep His promises. Notice the description of one who trusts in the LORD; it is an image we can relate to in our agricultural area.

Faithful Lord, by Your Holy Spirit working in our lives, turn us from trusting in humanity, including ourselves, because humans cannot save nor bless. Turn us to trust in You in all things, including forgiveness and life in Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Today’s psalm is Psalm 1. This psalm is a mirror of the First Reading, beginning with blessings on those who trust in the LORD, even using Jeremiah’s imagery of a tree planted by the stream, and contrasting the person of faith with those who are wicked; the person of faith will survive and thrive in hard times, the evil person will perish. Let us trust the LORD to accomplish His good will for all who have faith.

Holy Spirit, keep us in faith; faith which enlivens and refreshes us even in difficult times. Surround us with the blessings of Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The Second Reading is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:1-20. The Corinthian congregation was a troubled congregation with all kinds of turmoil and false teachings. The apostle Paul had to answer and correct many of the problems in Corinth. One of the issues was that some had claimed that there is no resurrection of the dead (unfortunately, there as some today who claim the name of Christ, but who also deny the resurrection). Paul had to set them straight. Yes, there is a resurrection to eternal life in Christ, and Jesus was the first of the resurrection. This is a passage that fills us with great hope and comfort, especially as we face death. It is a passage that is often read at funerals.

Lord Jesus, You Who are first-born from the dead, keep us in faith in You and the resurrection life You give. Let this Gospel always give us comfort and hope, especially as we are confronted by death. Keep us always looking to You, the author and giver of life. Amen.

The Gospel, recorded in Luke 6:17-26, is Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, this time Jesus is on a level place, a plain. This passage includes many blessings, and they give comfort to those who need the blessings of the Lord. But this passage also includes Woes, warnings to those who are filled with themselves and complacent in life. God turns the world’s standards and values upside down, blessing the ones the world would say are cursed, and warning the ones who the world would say are blessed, but who are complacent and full of themselves and who turn a blind eye and hard heart to the needy, that they will be empty and desperate.

Rescuing Savior, surround those who so desperately need redemption with Your steadfast love and mercy, whether they be the poor, hungry, mourning, or persecuted; or those enslaved to riches, consumption, pleasure, or flattering tongues. Save us all by Your grace. Amen.

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