Good morning! I am wondering, should we pray for people who have died? Thank you. – Gabi B.
It’s an interesting question! Let’s think it through.
When a person dies, they either go to heaven (if they had faith in Jesus as their Savior) or to hell (if they didn’t have a relationship with Jesus).
If the person goes to heaven, there’s no need to pray for them because they have the very best, they are there with the Lord. Their joy is immense. It is complete. It is full. It can’t get any better than that.
If the person goes to hell they’re in the worst possible place, far from God. They need help. But no help can be given. For once in hell, there is no escape.
That’s why we’re moved to pray (and act) for people who are living that they be brought to faith, or if they already have faith that they not fall away from the faith. Now, while people are still living, is the time to be praying for them and caring for them.
Thank you for asking!
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Why does Jesus refer to Herod as a fox in the gospel lesson for February 21? – Karen F.
Hi Karen, Leon Morris, in his commentary on Luke’s Gospel, says “the fox was used by the Jews as a symbol of a sly man, but more often for an insignificant or worthless person.” It was sometimes a symbol of destructiveness. T. W. Manson says, “To call Herod ‘that fox’ is as much as to say … he has neither majesty nor honour. The expression is thus contemptuous.”
While Lutherans think of each Sunday as a “Little Easter,” we’ve also historically treated Lent a bit differently; we typically don’t say “alleluia” and certain parts of the regular liturgies are replaced with other parts more appropriate to the season.
This last Sunday, we sang an awful lot of “alleluias.” Is there a reason? – Don S.
Hi Don, you’re right that some have the custom of “burying the alleluia” during Lent. The idea is that we can celebrate that much more at Easter when the alleluia is raised. Alleluia means praise Yahweh, praise God. My personal preference is never to stop praising God, or limiting the praise of God. That’s why we don’t hesitate to use songs with alleluia in them even during Lent. Whether or not to bury the alleluia in Lent is in the area of adiaphora: it’s neither commanded nor forbidden in Scripture. So we’ve made the choice here to not inhibit the singing of alleluia during lent. It’s just our preference. Those who prefer to not use alleluia during Lent are not sinning, and I’m sure are also still praising God during Lent. Either way is good and proper, as long as we worship our dear Lord from the heart.
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With Christmas still a not-so-faint reflection in our rear view mirror, we already look to the reason for His coming. We set aside a particular time for repentance and reflection on our Lord’s suffering, and the importance it holds for us as believers. Remembering His 40 days of fasting and prayer in the wilderness, and price that Jesus paid for us on the cross, we set aside the 40 days preceding Easter. Those 40 days, the season of Lent, will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 10th, and we’ll mark it here at Mt. Olive, as is fitting and proper, with coming together as family to worship. Doing so helps to set our hearts in the right direction. And, as always, when we come together to worship as a whole family, we are all built up in the faith (Hebrews 10: 24, 25)! Plan to worship with our Mt. Olive family every Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. during Lent.
As you and your family prepare for the coming Lenten season, we want to offer resources to help you make this season one of deep meaning for your entire family. For a background on Lent, and the reasons we observe it, please refer to the following link: http://bit.ly/23tM8yM. In addition, “Family Faith Builders,” a resource for whole family participation in the home, will be sent home with the Sunday School students, and is also available on the bulletin board in the welcome area. Family Faith Builders offer suggestions to help your family focus on different aspects of Jesus’ life, with application for the Christian life. You’ll find a variety of Scriptural-based activities to encourage and empower you as you lead your family.
I strongly encourage you to pick one up for your family and implement those activities that will enhance your family’s worship during this season. Take one to share with a friend as well! There is no more powerful tool for building your child’s faith life than what happens in the home (Proverbs 22:6). Parents, your time is so limited, I know, but this will be time well invested in nurturing your child’s faith life. God bless you as you grow in grace together!
~ Jeannie Newton