WELCOME TO CALVARY LUTHERAN CHURCH – “This is the day the Lord has made”. We join the Psalmist in acknowledging the goodness of our Lord our God, as we not only see His goodness in the beauty of His creation, but even more than that, we know of His goodness in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus. Thank you for joining us as we receive His forgiveness and peace during this hour of worship.

AS WE GATHER: God takes us as we are; He forgives us, makes us His own, and uses us to care, to witness, and to bless. Our Lord called Paul from persecution to mission, and He called Peter from denial to proclamation, and He calls each of us to be His disciples and follow him.

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Caring for Our Neighbor

March 2024

“Honor your father and your mother so that it may go well with you, and you may live long in the land.” Ephesians 6:2

        If any of the Ten Commandments might tempt us to think that keeping the Law is easy, it would be the Fifth Commandment.  After all, how hard is it to get through life without murdering somebody?  The vast majority of people can handle that.  The problem is: “if you get yourself on the wrong track, walking down a road away from Christ, and ignore and put away His Word - well - it becomes much easier to break the 5th.”  (This was told to me by a prisoner in a Federal Penitentiary years ago.  He was sentenced to life for the murder of two members of his family.)

	Jesus quickly steers us away from this notion by pointing out that the command, “you shall not murder,” goes much deeper than what most think.  This commandment goes down deep into the heart.

	You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.” But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, “You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire. (Matthew 5:21–22)

	Hatred, deep anger, and disdain, come from the same sort of crookedness of heart as murder.  With both murder, anger, and hatred, you look down on another person, thinking that they have little worth in this life.   Once you place yourself above another - well - you are not living as God’s child.  We must seek to build up - not break down.

	In the Small Catechism, Luther also points out that every “do not” in the commandments also includes a “do this;” “we should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body but help and support him in every physical need”.

	We are simply called to avoid evil; we must also do the good we are sent to do.

	And so, when Jesus drew near to us and became our neighbor by taking up our humanity, He came not only to avoid harming us, but He came to positively help us, bless us and serve us.

	There is no doubt that the Gospel of Jesus calls us to show the love to our neighbors that Christ showed to us.  Your neighbor is yet another gift that God has given you that requires your stewardship.  We are called to show mercy, to be kind, to love and serve our neighbor. One aspect of this stewardship is financial: our neighbors need us to support the Church’s work so that they can hear the Gospel, and come to faith. Our neighbors need the Church’s help, and works of mercy. Our neighbors need our faithful service in all we do in the name of Christ.