Friday of Easter 4

Psalmody
1Blessèd are those whose way is | blameless,*
         who walk in the law | of the LORD!

2Blessèd are those who keep his testi- | monies,*
         who seek him with their | whole heart,

3who also | do no wrong,*
         but walk | in his ways!

4You have commanded your | precepts*
         to be kept dil- | igently.

5Oh that my ways may be | steadfast*
         in keeping your | statutes!

6Then I shall not be | put to shame,*
         having my eyes fixed on
all your com- | mandments.

7I will praise you with an | upright heart,*
         when I learn your just
and righ- | teous decrees.

8I will keep your | statutes;*
         do not utterly for- | sake me!
         —Psalm 119:1–8

Additional Psalm: Psalm 116

Old Testament Reading:
Leviticus 18:1–7, 20–19:8
Unlawful Sexual Relations

1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the LORD your God. 3You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. 5You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD.

6“None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the LORD. 7You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness.…

20“And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. 22You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

24“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27(for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

The LORD Is Holy

19:1And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. 3Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. 4Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

5“When you offer a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD, you shall offer it so that you may be accepted. 6It shall be eaten the same day you offer it or on the day after, and anything left over until the third day shall be burned up with fire. 7If it is eaten at all on the third day, it is tainted; it will not be accepted, 8and everyone who eats it shall bear his iniquity, because he has profaned what is holy to the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from his people.”

New Testament Reading: Luke 11:1–13
The Lord’s Prayer

1Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2And he said to them, “When you pray, say:

“Father, hallowed be your name.
         Your kingdom come.
         3Give us each day our daily bread,
         4and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
         And lead us not into temptation.”

5And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Writing
Whoever would be saved should not trouble or torment himself with thoughts about God’s secret counsel, about whether he also is elected and ordained to eternal life. Miserable Satan usually attacks with these thoughts and afflicts godly hearts. But they should hear Christ, who is the Book of Life, and hear about God’s eternal election to eternal life for all of His children. Christ testifies to all people without distinction that it is God’s will that all people should come to Him “who labor and are heavy laden” with sin, in order that He may give them rest and save them [Matthew 11:28].

According to Christ’s teaching they should abstain from their sins, repent, believe His promise, and entirely trust in Him. Since we cannot do this by ourselves, by our own powers, the Holy Spirit desires to work these things—repentance and faith—in us through the Word and Sacraments. In order that we may receive this, persevere in it, and remain steadfast, we should beg God for His grace, which He has promised us in Holy Baptism. No doubt He will give it to us according to His promise, as He has said,

What father among you, if his son asks [him for bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks] for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:11–13)
         —Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord XI 70–72

Hymnody
Our Father, who from heav’n above
Bids all of us to live in love
         As members of one family
         And pray to You in unity,
Teach us no thoughtless words to say
But from our inmost hearts to pray.
         —Our Father, Who from Heaven Above (LSB 766:1)

Prayer of the Day
O Lord, let Your merciful ears be attentive to the prayers of Your servants, and by Your Word and Spirit teach us how to pray that our petitions may be pleasing before You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (C70)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord VIII 31–37

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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