Grace, Mercy and Peace
June 2020
Grace, mercy and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .

With the illness, social isolation and devastating effects resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and now the terrible events this past week with the death of George Floyd, more loss of life resulting from riots across the nation, destruction and loss of property and livelihoods, we call upon the name of the Lord Jesus to have mercy upon us. Lord, come among us by your grace and bring us your peace.

How do we deal with racism in America? The pain within the Black community from racism, prejudice and economic disparity is deep and carried through many generations. How do we serve the core city and support the congregations serving these communities. What ministries can our congregation and the Church offer that will serve those in poverty?
Lord, send us the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, to proclaim peace. Turn our hearts to you in repentance and faith. Bring an end to the violence and devastating destruction and bring peace, eternal peace through Christ.

This month’s TLO Disciple theme is Grace, mercy and peace . We are a broken people on account of our sin. We need God to bring His word to teach us and transform us that we might love our and serve our neighbor and the neighbors in our cities.
  • In his opening greetings in his letters to the Christians in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus and Thessalonica (2nd letter), Paul writes, “Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • In his letters to the churches in Philippi, Colossae and Thessalonica (1st letter), Paul writes, “Grace to you and peace.”
  • Twice, the Apostle Paul at the beginnings of his letters to Timothy writes Grace, mercy and peace to you. Again, Paul in his letter to Titus, he also greets him with these words, Grace, mercy and peace.
  • In both of his general letters, the Apostle Peter opens with the blessing, “May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
  • The Apostle John also introduces his second letter with these words.
  • And finally Jude begins his letter May mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you.”
Peace is a gift from God and comes to us solely by the grace and mercy that comes through Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless us with grace, mercy and peace, and enable us by His Holy Spirit to share these gifts with our neighbors near and far.

Lord, have mercy.
Pastor James L Kroonblawd
The Christian Response
The Christian Response to racism is centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and is shaped by clear Biblical Principals.
From God's Word
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.
Psalm 29:11 NIV
Flee This Stuff
By Ken Klauss
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22

It appears that Dr. Jordan Grafman, senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, Md. has finished a study which says violent films, TV, or video games not only desensitize, but they can actually promote aggressive behavior.

Our computer friends would say, "Garbage in, garbage out."

In this study, teenage boys were asked to rate 60 videos for violence. They were to say if the violence was low, mild, or moderate. The boys rated the films, but it was the electrodes attached to their fingers and an imaging scanner that produced the actual information, which brought about the study's conclusions. Read more
From God's Word
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7 NIV
Click on the image for a beautiful rendition of "Peace Life a River" from organist Jeff Windoloski or click here to begin.
The First Rosa
A Film Documentary

The name of civil-rights champion Dr. Rosa Parks is well known to history. But there was another Rosa, “a black teacher with liberating dreams,” with an inspiring story of her own. “The First Rosa”, produced by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, is a film that will enlighten the Church to Dr. Rosa J. Young’s remarkable history as a pioneer Lutheran educator and missionary who, alongside the Rev. Nils J. Bakke, planted dozens of historically black Lutheran schools and chapels in the American South. See the long odds they faced—struggles with strident critics, the Ku Klux Klan, even an invasion of boll weevils—before emerging with a glorious victory. Read all about it.
The History of LCMS Mercy Work with African Americans

The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod has an enduring legacy of using mercy work as a means by which to share the Gospel. This is true for the Synod’s work with and among African Americans as well. Read all about it!
From God's Word
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission webinar: ‘Insights on Black Ministry’

This webinar from Marcch 21, 2019, gives background to some of the long struggles faced within the Black community in the U.S. Hosted by LCMS Urban & Inner-City Mission, the Rev. Dr. Roosevelt Gray presented a webinar on “Insights on Black Ministry.” Gray shared ways to establish and grow ministry to African-Americans in your community, and he addressed unique challenges such as racism, poverty, discrimination, and family structure.
Resources from Lutheran Hour Ministries

From God's Word
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:33

A Letter from Matthew Harrison
Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. As we all face this new and challenging reality, I’m reminded of this past summer. We met in convention under the theme “Joy:fully Lutheran.” We read and studied 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18. And though our situation is very different, these words from St. Paul are still very true. “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Read more  
Martin Luther (portrait by Lucas Cranach)
Each night I read an excerpt from Martin Luther’s 1535 Commentary on Galatians. If you want to find a good place to start reading a little Luther, his Commentary on Galatians is a great place to begin. His words open up the Scriptures and give grace, mercy and peace to the soul. The following is just one small sample of Luther’s writing at his best. — Pastor Kroonblawd

But such is human weakness and misery that in the terrors of conscience and in the danger of death we look at nothing except our own works, our worthiness, and the Law. When the Law shows us our sin, our past life immediately comes to our mind. Then the sinner, in his great anguish of mind, groans and says to himself: “Oh, how damnably I have lived! If only I could live longer! Then I would amend my life.” Thus human reason cannot refrain from looking at active righteousness, that is, its own righteousness; nor can it shift its gaze to passive, that is, Christian righteousness, but it simply rests in the active righteousness. So deeply is this evil rooted in us, and so completely have we acquired this unhappy habit!

Join Pastor Kroonblawd on Sunday mornings at 9:15 on Zoom as we study Harrison’s book, A Little Book on Joy.

The Joy of Everyday Life
by Rev. Matthew C. Harrison

The word for “church” in the New Testament is  ecclesia . It means, literally, “called out.” Christians are “called out” by Christ—out of and away from sin, death, and the devil. But this does not mean that we are called away from living real lives, or as Luther put it, should “live in a corner.”

To be sure, Jesus from time to time retreated to “rest for a while” (Mark 6:31) with his apostles, but quickly returned to the fray, to his sacred vocation of accomplishing our salvation. Our souls find their “rest” in Christ (Matthew 11:29), but this very spiritual peace and joy in Christ drives us back into life with both feet. If peace is joy at rest, then happily meddling in the affairs of folks around us who need us is joy in action.

The secret to living a good news life in a bad news world is coming to the deep conviction that the high callings of God, the vocations that he regards as great and marvelous, are those in which we serve folks right under our nose.

Media and Culture
By Pastor David J. Rufner

Thugs, primaries, and refugees – oh my! These, along with snow storms, tornadoes and drought are just some of what we face early on in 2016.
Speaking to this at the beginning of the new year, David Brooks wrote in a New York Times op-ed, “Fear is an emotion directed at a specific threat, but anxiety is an unfocused corrosive uneasiness. … [Anxiety] induces a sense that the basic systems of authority are not working, that those in charge are not keeping people safe. People are more likely to have a background sense that life is nastier and more precarious — red in tooth and claw. They pull in the tribal walls and distrust the outsider. This anxiety makes everybody a little less humane.”

… This leads me to a simple question: How much of my daily peace and well-being is slavishly tied to daily news and cultured voices? The answer is also quite simple: Far too much.

Lord have mercy. In the midst our our fears and anxieties, oh Lord, abide with us!

Time and again, the Lutheran Confessions convey such comfort and hope. As the confessions also approach their 500th Anniversary, it’s easy for me think of them as cold, ahistoric dogmas written in an age now and forever covered in shadows.

Yet when I open them, I am always wonderfully shocked to find how amazingly they publish good news of great joy in Christ to us in our times, even as I trust they have been through all these years.

We are for life!
In a world bent down and suffering under the darkness of abortion, euthanasia and death in all its forms, individual members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) are standing tall to tell their stories.

A seasoned woman who had an abortion rejoices in Christ’s forgiveness. A young Chinese man with special needs is loved by his adopted family. A single mom chooses life for her son when urged to get an abortion.

These and other members of the LCMS are speaking up. By sharing their stories through the #eyesoflife campaign, they are boldly giving voice to what millions of others believe as well: that all life, from conception to natural death, is sacred, valued and a gift from God.

It is easy to get bogged down in what we are against, but with eyes of life, we rejoice in what we are for: God’s grace and mercy, Christ’s forgiveness and love, the Holy Spirit’s direction and nurturing … and life.

COVID-19 and the church: A different phase and a different response

The debate in Minnesota about opening churches is chronicled in a recent edition of the LCMS reporter. Click here for full details.
A prayer from Pres. Matthew Harrison
O Lord Christ, Hope of the World, Savior of the Nations:

In Your blessed incarnation, You took upon Yourself human flesh (John 1:14), flesh like that of every child born in the history of the world (Gal. 4:4–5), that You might bear the sins of all humanity on a cross (John 1:29).

In Your earthly ministry, You served humankind without regard to race, even contrary to prevailing racial views of the day (Matt. 15:21–28; John 4);

From the first days of Your Church, it pleased You to gather together people without regard to race or origin (Acts 2);

Through the centuries, Your Holy Word, the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, have borne and continue to bear witness to the truths of both reason and divine revelation—that all people are created by God, that all are equally accountable to God, and that all are equally beloved by God and redeemed by Christ (Romans 5).

You, O Lord, teach us to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31), and that my neighbor includes everyone I meet in my daily vocations, and specifically without regard to race (Luke 10:25–37);

Forgive me, O Lord, for my many sins of commission and omission where I have failed my neighbor in thought, word or deed, especially where I have begrudged another Your compassion and love based upon race or anything else (Romans 7:19f.);

Strengthen Your Church, O Lord, that she may be a beacon of joyous unity in the Gospel and a light of blessed forgiveness and grace, calling all to repentance and to trust in Jesus as the only Savior from sin (Acts 2:38–41);

Let Your Gospel flow forth into every crooked, corrupt and hardened heart, to bring repentance, faith in Your Gospel and joy in the manifold uniqueness of Your created peoples—a very foretaste of heaven itself (Rev. 7:9);

O Lord, grant justice in Your left-hand kingdom, especially in the governments of this nation and of all the earth. Correct wrong. Punish and thwart evil, and especially racist evil. Grant peace that Your Gospel may flow all the more freely, especially to those most blinded by evil. Remind us, O Lord, of Your own prayer for those who crucified You, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:24). Let us not be overcome with anger, but overcome hatred with love.

Finally, O Lord, grant faith, peace and hope to the bereaved.

Lord, have mercy;
Christ, have mercy;
Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Matthew Harrison
LCMS President
If you would like to know more about worshiping our Lord, have questions about anything you've read in the Bible or want to talk about any aspect of your faith, contact us ! We'd be glad to visit with you about it!
TLO Disciple, with a topical study in each issue, is distributed primarily via email on the first of every month. Print copies are available by contacting the TLO Church office at 651-454-7235 or via email.
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Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950   Highway  55
Eagan,  MN   55 121