In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Think of that very first sabbath. Think of it: the very first seventh day ever in the history of this creation. God had created the heavens and the earth; light and darkness; sky and land and water. He had created the sun, moon, and stars; the plants, and animals, and—the crown of His creation—a man and a woman made in His own image. And His creation was finished, and it was very good. And on the seventh day, God rested from all His work that He had done in creation. He rested, and He brought Adam and Eve into that rest, put them in the Garden, gave them everything as a gift, and spoke His Word to them. Luther imagines that, perhaps, it was about noon on that first sabbath when God was done speaking to Adam and Eve. About noon, when the Divine Service was finished, and Adam and Eve went back to their Garden. About noon, when God finished His conversation with them, and Satan began to speak to Eve. As it is wont to be on this day, Luther says. It is still the same, even on our sabbath day, when we rest from our work so that God can do His. We rest today in the Word of Christ because this is the day that He rose from the dead. Wherever God’s Word is, there the devil also goes about his business of spreading falsehood and false teaching. Because it grieves him that through the Word, we, like Adam in Paradise, should be made citizens of heaven (LW 1:82). Perhaps this is where the quotation, often attributed to Luther, comes from: where God builds a church, the devil builds a chapel. Wherever God’s Word is, the devil also makes it his business to spread falsehood and false teaching, contradicting God’s Word, asking whether God really could have said such things.
In 1897, the pastor H.C. Schwan (who would become the third president of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod) wrote about his experiences as preacher at an old preaching station, which would eventually be incorporated as a congregation. When the other pastors asked him to show them that congregation’s constitution, he said that he didn’t have a copy with him, but that he could recite it to them. He said: “Here is its heading: ‘Constitution and organization of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church at X.’ No. 1: In our congregation, God’s Word and Luther’s teaching shall rule as regards all spiritual matters. No. 2: In all other matters, we shall be ruled by love. Period” (At Home in the House of My Fathers. Edited by Matthew C. Harrison. [Lutheran Legacy, 2009], 565).
Two weeks ago, we talked about the Sacraments, particularly the Lord’s Supper, and our communion practice. So this week, we read through the description of our communion practice on Faith’s website. You can read it here.
We are going to pick up p. 9 of the study guide this coming Sunday. Join us!