It is that time of year in Indiana when the air is not only warm but also annoyingly full of flies and mosquitos. There are measures one can take. Diligently close doors and windows, hang fly paper, spray insecticide, remove standing water, wear insect repellent—the list goes on. There is no perfect solution except for winter. One way or the other, we can’t escape summer without a few mosquito bites and flies in the food.
As part of Confession and Absolution in the Sunday morning liturgy, we acknowledge before God and one another that we have offended the Lord not only in what we have done but also in what we have failed to do. We can, and often do, sin by neglect. The inclusion of this type of confession is so insightful and powerful. It is insightful in the sense that we more often notice and remember our sins of commission—the things we do—rather than things we don’t do.
Phil Rigdon shares his teaching observations on our God-given talents, skills, and abilities while reminding us that Christ remains all sufficient for us.
The Law accuses and shows us our sin, warns us of God’s wrath, and shows we are powerless to save ourselves. Here, Pastor Rigdon shares examples of how God calls His people to repentance and offers the gift of forgiveness.
When COVID fell hard in March of 2020, our congregation ceased in-person worship for several weeks and our school went to online education. I remember how hollow and lonely the building became.
In this sinful world, we face strife each day, but we can find comfort in the fact that Christ came to save us. Learn more with Phil Rigdon’s reflections on God as the bringer of peace.
Pastor Phil Rigdon reflects on the blessing of hearing the truth about ourselves, both from others and from God’s Word.
God will never abandon me, and that’s no casting of lots.
When I was a child, I recall an instance when our family went to shop at the mall on the south side of the city where we lived. As was custom, we had dinner together and then separated to shop our favorite stores. When 9 p.m. came, the mall was closing and neither my brothers nor my parents were at the pre-arranged gathering point. I was overcome with the fear that I had been abandoned. Much to my relief, my family had not abandoned me, but were merely late. That has stuck with me over the years. Jesus had an experience with abandonment. Except His was real.
There is peace to be found in the fear of God.
One of the practices our nation has had to adopt in the face of COVID-19 is contact tracing, identifying those with whom the infected person has had contact, and taking measures to isolate and treat such persons to control the spread of the virus. Sally contracted the virus from Dave, who contracted it from Arnold, and so forth.
The people of Israel had a virus of sorts, one from which they never seemed to be able to extricate themselves: that of adopting the idolatrous practices of those with whom they had contact. Throughout the history of the Israelites, they struggled to maintain purity in their worship to the Lord, instead taking on the beliefs and practices of the Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and so forth. This went on for generations. Like COVID-19 and contact tracing, the path and growth of this faithlessness to the Lord can be tracked. The people decided to fear the gods of those around them more than the one true God.
The text of Isaiah 53 is one of what are called the Servant Songs—portions of Isaiah’s prophecy that refer directly to Jesus Christ and His work of redemption. It can’t be overstated how good these words must have sounded to the people of Israel. Isaiah writes at the end of the Assyrian occupation of the Northern Kingdom, before the destruction of Assyria and subsequent occupation of Babylon.