Holy Work
Friday of Pentecost 17
21 September 2018
"The older I get the smarter my parents are." At some point, every young adult has the insight that their parents were a lot smarter than they thought during their teen years. We humans are slow to learn. When we are young and foolish we think that we are wise and that our parents are old and foolish. Once we reach our mid-twenties we begin to reassess our pride. Our cocksure smarts tend to dissipate, blown away by the hard lessons of reality. Thank God we are teachable, even if often too late.
One of my daughters came to me when she was in her early twenties and said simply, "Dad, I'm sorry." I replied, "Oh, why?" She described her sorrow at her rebellion against parental authority during her senior year in high school. She regretted not having listened to her parents. However, she also described how glad she was that she knew about mercy and forgiveness and knew where to turn after her foray into teen rebellion was shown to be hurtful to her and her parents.
We would be far better off if we had not developed our own self-driven dreams about what life is about. Instead of making it up as we went along, we ought to have listened to our parents just as God intended. Parents are not always wise, learned, temperate, or right, but they are God's representatives and we ought to obey them. Why? Quite simply because God has commanded us to do so in the fourth commandment. This is truly holy work to obey parents. There is none more holy in this world.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"Notice how great, good, and holy a work is assigned to children in the fourth commandment. Unfortunately, this is utterly neglected and disregarded (Mk 7:10-13). No one notices that God has commanded it or that it is a holy, divine Word and doctrine. For if it had been regarded as holy, everyone could have concluded that those who live according to these words must be holy people. There would have been no need to invent monasticism and our spiritual orders. Every child would have abided by this commandment could have directed his conscience to God and said, 'If I am to do good and holy works, I know of none better than to give all honor and obedience to my parents, because God has Himself commanded it. For what God commands must be much better and far nobler than everything that we may come up with ourselves. Since there is no higher or better teacher to be found than God, there can certainly be no better teaching than what he provides. Now, He teaches fully what we should do if we wish to perform truly good works. By commanding such works, He shows that they please Him. If, then, it is God who commands this and does not know how to appoint anything better, I will never improve upon it.'"

Martin Luther, Large Catechism,
Romans 13:1-7

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (ESV)
Lord God, You have said that we are to obey our parents, masters every day, serve them every way that comes to hand, and then we'll live long in the land. Grant us to flourish under the care of our parents and other authorities according to Your good and gracious will. Amen.
For Joel Lehenbauer, that the Shepherd of the flock would watch over him and bring him the healing that he needs
For Kay McGlone, who has suffered a stroke, that she would recover fully
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that he would built up and strengthened in the hope and confidence of his salvation in Christ alone
Art: Albrecht DURER, The Adoration of the Trinity (1511)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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