Epaphras Prayer Letter

The Baptism of Jesus, Epiphany C

Week of January 3, 2022 | Sunday, January 9, 2022

Luke 3:15-22 “But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done…” vs. 19


John the Baptist just wouldn’t shut up. He was on Herod’s case about marrying his sister-in-law. He was on Herod’s case over his performance as a ruler. He was on Herod’s case regarding his qualities as a person. John just wouldn’t shut up. The threat of prison didn’t deter him from speaking up. The actuality of being imprisoned didn’t deter him from speaking up. The threat of death didn’t deter him from speaking up. Finally, Herod handed John’s head over on a silver platter and John’s voice of accusation and judgment fell silent. That’s the way it is with the voice of the law sounding in sinners’ ears. Sinners want it to stop; they’ll do anything to shut it up; they’ll even kill the messenger to silence that voice standing against them. The very last thing sinners want to do is repent because that means the death of them and not the death of the law’s messenger. So here the gospel must come into play. The good news of Jesus Christ must raise them out of the death that is repentance and into the newness of life that is theirs in Jesus Christ.

Prayers from one who needs repentance as much as he tries to avoid it…

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers to me the Word of God, use your Holy Spirit to convict me of my sin, drive me to repentance, and give me that rest from the unrelenting accusation of the Law found in your Son, Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers to me that rest from the Law’s accusation, grant that in the silence I would hear my neighbor’s voice calling me to be of service, in the name of Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers to me the various voices of my neighbors all in need of my help, grant that I go to them freely and spontaneously for the sake of Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers to me my election in Christ which you accomplished before the foundation of the world, grant that my comfort be complete for the sake of Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers the forgiveness of sins to me, grant those blessed words so ring in my ears that I turn to my neighbor and place that same forgiveness into his or her ears, for the sake of Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers your Word to me and those of my congregation, grant it to us that we support and encourage the Institute of Lutheran Theology as it prepares pastors for my, and other, congregations to call, for the sake of Jesus Christ who is the end of the Law. Amen

Heavenly Father, as my preacher delivers my hope in the coming of Jesus Christ in all his glory, grant that I live out of that hope as I await the arrival of him who is the end of the Law. Amen