We are the Lords of the Sabbath

Pentecost 15 Monday

Luke 14:1-4

“And it happened that he came to a house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees on a Sabbath to eat bread; and they were watching him. And look, there was a man before him who had dropsy. And Jesus responded and said to the scribes and Pharisees: Is it right to heal on the Sabbath? Yet they were silent. And he touched him and healed him and let him go.”

Since we now have commonly adopted the Sunday as our Sabbath or holy day, we leave it at that, except that we are lords over it, not it over us. For it would also not be right if everybody wanted to make something new according to his fancy regarding the day, the hour, and the place. Rather, all should simultaneously come to an agreement, be ready, and come together to hear God’s Word and to call upon him jointly in return and to pray for all kinds of needs and to give thanks for benefits received. If this cannot take place under a roof or at the church, let it take place on a square under the open sky and where there is room to do it…Yet it should be an orderly, common, honest assembly, because we cannot and should not prepare a special place for each and every one and we should not seek out secret corners where to hide, like the Anabaptists do. This freedom we Christians have also based on the teaching of today’s gospel and we should also maintain that we are the lords of the Sabbath and other days and places and not to attribute to them a special holiness or worship, like the Jews or our papists…The congregation must have a room and its days or hours which are convenient for the hearers. This is why God ordered and established it well that he instituted the holy sacraments to be administered in
the congregations and at a place where we come together, pray, and thank God…And the advantage here is that, when the Christians come together in this way, their prayer is stronger here than at other times. To be sure, we can and should pray everywhere, at all places and at all times; yet the prayer is nowhere as strong as when the entire congregation prays together in concord…And if no other benefit resulted from coming together, this one would be sufficient for two or three or an entire group, that Christ himself wants to be present, Matthew 18:20. Certainly, God the Father and the Holy Spirit will also not remain outside and the holy angels will not be far away. However, the devil with his hellish bunch will not enjoy being close to this assembly.

St. Louis ed., 12:1965-1967.

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