Epaphras Prayer Letter

Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Week of August 30, 2021 | Sunday, September 5, 2021

“And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak’” (Mk. 7:37). There is violence in this verse. To be “astonished” is to be the recipient of brute force—whether it’s physical, emotional, or intellectual. Astonishment results from receiving a blow that knocks you out of self-possession—that is, it destroys your being curved in upon yourself. Being curved in upon oneself was a common definition of sin taken up by Luther and his fellow reformers. They, like the people of the Decapolis witnessing Jesus’ work, heard the Word of God (Jesus) which does all things well. You, too, hear this Word. It forgives your sins, establishes you in the New Creation, and in that very salvation provides for your entire healing. You, whose ears had been shut up in sin, are now astonished because you have heard a word that knocks you out of your self-possession and places you in the possession of another: Jesus Christ now possesses you. You, whose throats had been closed on account of sin, give full-throated praise of the Lord who now claims you.


Prayers from a deaf mute who is occasionally astonished out of such silence…


Heavenly Father drive your Word Jesus Christ into my ears and astonish me. Break my bondage to sin by binding me to another, Jesus Christ my Lord. As my Lord sets me free, grant me the life of a new creature in Christ. Amen


Heavenly Father drive your Word Jesus Christ into my ears and astonish me. Knock me loose from the anchor with which sin imprisons me. Anchor me, instead, in the truth of your Word, Jesus Christ, so that I, too, may be one whom Christ has done well. Amen


Heavenly Father drive your Word Jesus Christ into my ears and astonish me. Strike me down with the full-throated condemnation of your Law so that in being joined to a death like Jesus’, I might also be confident of a resurrection like his. Amen


Heavenly Father open my throat silenced and shut up by my sin so that I would give complete praise and thanksgiving to one who opens it and sets it free: the Bread of Life Jesus Christ. Amen


Heavenly Father open my throat silenced and shut up by my sin so that I would acknowledge and praise your providence before others in the generosity of sharing my daily bread. Amen


Heavenly Father drive your Word Jesus Christ into my ears and astonish me. Establish the Institute of Lutheran Theology as a place whose teachers astonish their students by delivering Jesus Christ, him crucified, and him alone. Amen


Heavenly Father, in these the days of my Baptism, hold me in sure and certain hope of my resurrection to glory despite the humility thrust upon me day after day.Amen

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