Monday after Christmas 2

Psalmody: Psalm 40:6–10

6 Sacrifice and offering you have not desired,
but you have given me an | open ear.*
         Burnt offering and sin offering
         you have | not required.

7 Then I said, “Behold, | I have come;*
         in the scroll of the book
         it is writ- | ten of me:

8 I desire to do your will, | O my God;*
         your law is with- | in my heart.”

9 I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congre- | gation;*
         behold, I have not restrained my lips,
         as you know, | O LORD.

10 I have not hidden your deliverance
within my heart; I have spoken of your
faithfulness and your sal- | vation;*
         I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the
         great congre- | gation.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 63:15–65:7

Prayer for Mercy
15Look down from heaven and see,
         from your holy and beautiful habitation.

Where are your zeal and your might?
         The stirring of your inner parts and your compassion
         are held back from me.

16For you are our Father,
         though Abraham does not know us,
         and Israel does not acknowledge us;

you, O LORD, are our Father,
         our Redeemer from of old is your name.

17O LORD, why do you make us wander from your ways
         and harden our heart, so that we fear you not?

Return for the sake of your servants,
         the tribes of your heritage.

18Your holy people held possession for a little while;
         our adversaries have trampled down your sanctuary.

19We have become like those over whom you have never ruled,
         like those who are not called by your name.

64:1Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down,
         that the mountains might quake at your presence—

2as when fire kindles brushwood
         and the fire causes water to boil—

to make your name known to your adversaries,
         and that the nations might tremble at your presence!

3When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
         you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.

4From of old no one has heard
         or perceived by the ear,

no eye has seen a God besides you,
         who acts for those who wait for him.

5You meet him who joyfully works righteousness,
         those who remember you in your ways.

Behold, you were angry, and we sinned;
         in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?

6We have all become like one who is unclean,
         and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.

We all fade like a leaf,
         and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

7There is no one who calls upon your name,
         who rouses himself to take hold of you;

for you have hidden your face from us,
         and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.

8But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
         we are the clay, and you are our potter;
         we are all the work of your hand.

9Be not so terribly angry, O LORD,
         and remember not iniquity forever.
         Behold, please look, we are all your people.

10Your holy cities have become a wilderness;
         Zion has become a wilderness,
         Jerusalem a desolation.

11Our holy and beautiful house,
         where our fathers praised you,

has been burned by fire,
         and all our pleasant places have become ruins.

12Will you restrain yourself at these things,
         O LORD?
         Will you keep silent, and afflict us so terribly?

Judgment and Salvation
65:1I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me;
         I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.

I said, “Here am I, here am I,”
         to a nation that was not called by my name.

2I spread out my hands all the day
         to a rebellious people,

who walk in a way that is not good,
         following their own devices;

3a people who provoke me
         to my face continually,

sacrificing in gardens
         and making offerings on bricks;

4who sit in tombs,
         and spend the night in secret places;

who eat pig’s flesh,
         and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels;

5who say, “Keep to yourself,
         do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.”

These are a smoke in my nostrils,
         a fire that burns all the day.

6Behold, it is written before me:
         “I will not keep silent, but I will repay;

I will indeed repay into their bosom
         7both your iniquities and your fathers’ iniquities together,
         says the LORD;

because they made offerings on the mountains
         and insulted me on the hills,

I will measure into their bosom
         payment for their former deeds.”

New Testament Reading: Luke 2:41–52

The Boy Jesus in the Temple
41Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” 50And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Writing

When I feel that I have become cool and joyless in prayer because of other tasks or thoughts (for the flesh and the devil always impede and obstruct prayer), I take my little psalter, hurry to my room, or, if it be the day and hour for it, to the church where a congregation is assembled and, as time permits, I say quietly to myself and word-for-word the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and, if I have time, some words of Christ or of Paul, or some psalms, just as a child might do.

It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last at night. Guard yourself carefully against those false, deluding ideas which tell you, “Wait a little while. I will pray in an hour; first I must attend to this or that.” Such thoughts get you away from prayer into other affairs which so hold your attention and involve you that nothing comes of prayer for that day.…

Finally, mark this, that you must always speak the Amen firmly. Never doubt that God in his mercy will surely hear you and say “yes” to your prayers. Never think that you are kneeling or standing alone, rather think that the whole of Christendom, all devout Christians, are standing there beside you and you are standing among them in a common, united petition which God cannot disdain. Do not leave your prayer without having said or thought, “Very well, God has heard my prayer; this I know as a certainty and a truth.” That is what Amen means.

    —Martin Luther

Hymnody

Within the Father’s house
The Son has found His home,
And to His temple suddenly
The Lord of life has come.
    —Within the Father’s House (LSB 410:1)

Prayer of the Day

Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, 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.