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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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                    For the Sake of Our Neighbor,
                  Faith With Works is What We Seek.
                            February  2023
						
	The season of Epiphany focuses on how God was made manifest in the flesh of Jesus. The church spends time hearing of the miracles, the signs and wonders, of Jesus in the world.  And this is made plain to all that Jesus was who He said He was: the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the only begotten Son of the Father, in the flesh.  For “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

	It is revealed for all the world to see that Jesus is God in the flesh.  It is made manifest by His words and His work, by what He said, and by what He did. And these belong together, for “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

	Jesus is the Word and will of God in the flesh, that is, He is the walking, talking, enactment of God’s Word.   It really is no different for us. We are called not just to believe in God in hearts, but also to trust in God in word and deed - for our neighbor.

	As St. James wrote in his letter: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22), and again, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? … So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. … Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:14, 17–18, 26).

	Our faith is lived out in works for our neighbor. Our trust in the Word, and will of God, is lived out not in word only, but also in deed and in truth.   In other words, the Epiphany of the Lord creates in us an epiphany of our faith in our works of obedience to God who commanded them. By this, our faith is made manifest to the world. It is, as Luther wrote of faith:

	“Faith is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1). It kills the old Adam and makes altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit.  Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. And so it is impossible for it not to do good works regularly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them, and is always doing of them.

	Faith, for us, is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that we would stake our life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God’s grace and knowledge makes us glad, bold, and happy, in dealing with God and all His creatures.

	“And thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire. Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers, who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools.” (Luther’s Preface to the Book of Romans)

	I pray then, that our faith would be active by God’s power in the Word through the Holy Spirit.  And let, then our faith be made manifest to the world by what this faith does: serving our neighbor — in church - in the family -  and society — with the works of faith in time, talents, and treasures.