Monday after Advent 1 (St. Andrew)

Psalmody: Psalm 123

A song of the ascents.

The Eyes of a Servant

To you I lift up my eyes,
to you who are seated in heaven.
Indeed, as the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he shows us his grace.
Show grace to us, O Lord.
Show grace to us,
for we have had our fill of contempt.
Our souls have had their fill of the scorn of the smug
and of the contempt of the arrogant.

Luther’s notes on the Psalm:

The 123rd psalm is a psalm of prayer against the arrogant and the proud who despise and scorn God’s Word and His little ones. Not only the nations considered the God and worship of the children of Israel to be a work of foolishness, yes, even error and sedition. Even among the Israelites themselves, the worshipers of idols and false gods, the false teachers with their multitudes, also arrogantly and securely despised and scorned the little land and the true teaching, as Psalm 12 and Psalm 14 above also lament.

So also today, our princes and rebellious spirits (who are “as holy as the Gospel itself”) in an entirely princely and pious manner despise the poor preacher and the faithful worshiper of Christ and tread them underfoot—to say nothing of what our heathen, the spiritual lords, do, as well as their multitudes. We therefore are covered everywhere with contempt. But God is and will be gracious. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 6:1–7:9

Isaiah’s Call and Mission

6 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2Above him stood the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two they covered their faces. With two they covered their feet. With two they flew. 3One called to another and said,

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies! 
The whole earth is full of his glory! 

4The foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of the one who called, and the temple was filled with smoke.
5Then I said, “I am doomed! I am ruined, because I am a man with unclean lips, and I dwell among a people with unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of Armies!”
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, carrying a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7He touched my mouth with the coal and said, “Look, this has touched your lips, so your guilt is taken away, and your sin is forgiven.”
8Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
Then I said, “Here I am. Send me!”
9He said:

  Go! You are to tell this people, 
  “Keep listening, but you will never understand. 
  Keep looking, but you will never get it.” 
  10Make the heart of this people calloused. 
  Make their ears deaf and blind their eyes, 
  so that they do not see with their eyes, 
  or hear with their ears, 
  or understand with their hearts, 
  and turn again and be healed. 
11Then I said, “Lord, how long?” 

He answered:

  Until the cities are a wasteland without a single inhabitant, 
  until the houses are totally deserted, 
  and the farmland is completely devastated, 
  12until the LORD has removed the people far away, 
  and the abandoned places within the land are many. 
  13If there is only a tenth left in it, that too will be burned in its turn. 
  Like a terebinth or an oak, 
  whose stump remains when it is cut down, 
  so the holy seed is its stump. 

Immanuel Is the Answer to Judah’s Hardness

7 This took place in the days when Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah. Rezin king of Aram, and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, marched up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but they could not capture it.
2The house of David was told, “Aram has allied itself with Ephraim.” The heart of Ahaz trembled, and the heart of his people trembled as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.
3Then the LORD said to Isaiah:

Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear Jashub. Meet him at the end of the water channel from the upper pool, on the road that goes to the launderers field.
4Tell Ahaz, “Get control of yourself, and remain calm. Do not be afraid. Do not lose your courage because of these two stubs of smoldering torches. Do not be afraid because of the fierce anger of Rezin, Aram, and the son of Remaliah, 5even though Aram, Ephraim, and the son of Remaliah have plotted evil against you and said, 6‘Let’s go up against Judah and tear it apart. Let’s divide it among ourselves and set up a king over it, namely, this son of Tabe’el.’ ”

7This is what the LORD God says. 
Their plan shall not succeed. 
It shall not take place. 
8Yes, the head of Aram is Damascus, 
and the head of Damascus is Rezin, 
but within sixty-five years Ephraim will be broken into pieces, 
so that it will no longer be a people. 
9The head of Ephraim is only Samaria, 
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son. 
If you do not stand firm in faith, 
you will not stand at all. 

New Testament Reading: 1 Peter 2:13–25

Submit to Every Authority

13Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the king as the supreme authority 14or to governors as those who have been sent by him to punish those who do what is wrong and to praise those who do what is right. 15For this is God’s will: that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16Do this as free people, and do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but use it as servants of God. 17Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

Slaves and Masters

18Slaves, submit to your masters with total respect, not only to those who are good and kind but also to those who are harsh. 19For this is favorable: if a person endures sorrows while suffering unjustly because he is conscious of God. 20For what credit is it to you if you receive a beating for sinning and patiently endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and endure it, this is favorable with God.
21Indeed, you were called to do this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example so that you would follow in his steps. 22He did not commit a sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 23When he was insulted, he did not insult in return. When he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24He himself carried our sins in his body on the tree so that we would be dead to sins and alive to righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. 25For you were like sheep going astray, but you are now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Writing from a Church Father:

Reverent hearts, we hold the feast of the apostle Andrew in Christendom as the first in the [Church] Year not only because it falls near the season of Advent but also because Andrew was called first, before the other apostles, by the Lord Jesus. Even Durandus, the bishop of Mende, says, “The saints are to be honored by imitation, not adored, as if to honor them as gods. They are to be honored with love, not adored with servitude.”

Now history tells us how St. Andrew together with his fellows conducted their new office. Right away they left their nets and followed the Lord Jesus. And again, right away they left the ship and their father and followed Him. To them, Jesus is now the most precious one on earth—according to His mind they learn, according to His words they teach, according to His will they live, according to His decree they suffer and die. When St. Andrew was threatened with the cross, he said joyfully, “If I feared the punishment of the cross, I would never have preached the mystery of the cross.” Then when he saw the cross, he spoke, “Hail, precious cross, you who were dedicated by the body of Christ; may He receive me through you, who redeemed me through you.” And when he was living after three days on the cross, his hearers wanted to take him down by force, but he said, “Ah, let God take care of it! Do not make the peace of the Gospel suspect by your unnecessary revolt against the government.” That was apostolic constancy and long-suffering! This is what it means to “leave everything and follow Christ,” all the way to the last catch of fish!

    —Valerius Herberger

St. Andrew, Apostle

St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was born in the Galilean village of Bethsaida. Originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist, Andrew then became the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:35–40). His name regularly appears in the Gospels near the top of the lists of the Twelve. It was he who first introduced his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1:41–42). He was, in a real sense, the first home missionary, as well as the first foreign missionary (John 12:20–22). Tradition says Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on a cross in the form of an X. In AD 357, his body is said to have been taken to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople and later removed to the cathedral of Amalfi in Italy. Centuries later, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of the Western Church Year, since the First Sunday in Advent is always the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day.

Prayer of the Day:

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

By Rev. Michael Mayer

Lutheran Pastor of two small Lutheran Churches in rural SW Ontario.