Monday after Easter 5

Psalmody
1In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be | put to shame;*
         in your righteousness de- | liver me!

2Incline your ear to me; rescue me | speedily!*
         Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to | save me!

3For you are my rock and my | fortress;*
         and for your name’s sake you lead
me and | guide me;

4you take me out of the net they have hidden | for me,*
         for you are my | refuge.

5Into your hand I commit my | spirit;*
         you have redeemed me,
O LORD, | faithful God.
         —Psalm 31:1–5

Additional Psalm: Psalm 25

Old Testament Reading:
Leviticus 21:1–24
Holiness and the Priests

1And the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: No one shall make himself unclean for the dead among his people, 2except for his closest relatives, his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother, 3or his virgin sister (who is near to him because she has had no husband; for her he may make himself unclean). 4He shall not make himself unclean as a husband among his people and so profane himself. 5They shall not make bald patches on their heads, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any cuts on their body. 6They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they offer the LORD’s food offerings, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy. 7They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled, neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband, for the priest is holy to his God. 8You shall sanctify him, for he offers the bread of your God. He shall be holy to you, for I, the LORD, who sanctify you, am holy. 9And the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by whoring, profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.

10“The priest who is chief among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil is poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose nor tear his clothes. 11He shall not go in to any dead bodies nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother. 12He shall not go out of the sanctuary, lest he profane the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him: I am the LORD. 13And he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people, 15that he may not profane his offspring among his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.”

16And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 17“Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. 18For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, 19or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, 20or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. 21No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. 22He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, 23but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them.” 24So Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the people of Israel.

New Testament Reading: Luke 12:1–12
Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees

1In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had gathered together that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

Have No Fear

4“I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! 6Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Acknowledge Christ Before Men

8“And I tell you, everyone who acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God, 9but the one who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. 10And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. 11And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious about how you should defend yourself or what you should say, 12for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

Writing
Let us be calmly confident in this cause which has to do with God’s word. Christ, whose cause it is, will staunchly defend and uphold it against the cunning of the vile devil and the tyranny of the wicked and deceitful world. For those who confess him before this evil and adulterous generation and must suffer much thereby, Christ in turn will confess them before his heavenly Father and requite them for their suffering with the delights of eternity [Matt. 10:32]. God himself says, I Samuel 2 [:30], “He who honors me, I will honor.” Even if the waves of the sea are strong and huge billows rise up and roar furiously as though they would drown us, the Lord is still on high and has begun a kingdom as wide as the world which he now rules and has decreed that it shall endure. He is greater, yes, almighty, and he will accomplish it. Amen.…

Therefore the only thing necessary for us to do is to believe and to pray most confidently in Christ’s name that God will give us strength, since he has erected his kingdom and this is his doing. It is he who without our help, counsel, thought, or effort has brought his kingdom forth and has advanced and preserved it to this day. I have no doubt that he will consummate it without our advice or assistance. Because “I know in whom I believe,” as St. Paul says [IITim. 1:12], I am certain that he will grant me more, do far more abundantly, and help and counsel us beyond all that we ask or think [Eph. 3:20]. He is called the Lord who can and will help in a wonderful, glorious, and mighty way, particularly when the need is the greatest. We are meant to be human beings, not divine. So let us take comfort in his word and, trusting his promise, call upon him confidently for deliverance in time of distress and he will help.
         —Martin Luther

Hymnody
Fulfilled is all that David told
In sure prophetic song of old,
That God the nations’ king should be
And reign in triumph from the tree,

On whose hard arms, so widely flung,
The weight of this world’s ransom hung,
The price of humankind to pay
And spoil the spoiler of his prey.
         —The Royal Banners Forward Go (LSB 455:3–4)

Prayer of the Day
Lord Jesus, by Your Spirit, You give us faith to cast out all fear of confessing the true faith; for we are helpless to save ourselves, and we must trust in You and You alone for our salvation. Keep us faithful to the end, that You will not be ashamed of us when You come in Your glory with Your Father and the holy angels; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (1019)

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Solid Declaration of the Formula
of Concord VIII 53–60

By Rev. Michael Mayer

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