MALAGASY LUTHERAN CHURCH Music & Gospel 4th Sunday after Easter May, 3rd-8th 2021 « God, who is Love, comforts His people »

Introduction: The phrase “God, who is love, comforts his people » particularly expresses the greatness of God’s compassion and mercy as He never forsakes His people and does not let them be orphaned or alone. For here is how He reassured His discouraged people, Israel, during their exile in Assyria: « I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you » Jer 31:3. Therefore, He comforted them: « You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate; but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married“ Isa 62:4 For God does not rejoice in the suffering of His people, but, instead, rejoices in their salvation. So, even though His people have fallen into the throes of sin, He shows them that He does not forsake them, but calls them to repentance [that is, to return to him] , saying: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” Isa 55:6-7.
The prodigal son, deceived by his bad behavior, pondered in his heart and mind the deep damage that had befallen him, the prodigal son decided to return to his father, saying: “I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me like one of your hired hands” Lk 15:18-19. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and hugged him, and kissed him. That was a comfort to the child who felt he had lost his rights, but especially to the heart of the father, who was happy to see his almost lost child again. Thus, « God, who is Love, comforts His people” expresses God’s deep communion with us, His children. For, with His people who truly believe and trust in Him, He makes a covenant: « I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters […] (Isa 52:11-12) » 2 Cor 6:18.

Monday, 3rd: God, who is love, comforts His people and forgives their iniquities.
« For though You were angry with me, Your anger turned away, and You comforted me » Isa 12:1b.
Reading 1: Ps 103:1-5. Reading 2: Isa 12:1-6. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: Isa 12:1.
Introduction: God does not withhold His anger forever. Yes, in spite of the unfaithfulness of His people Israel, His chosen nation, to Him,
and His punishment as a result, He says: « Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that
she has served her term, that her penalty is paid » Isa 40:1-2a. It is with this compassionate heart of God that Jesus Christ said to the
paralyzed man: « Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven » Mt 9:2b.

Tuesday, 4th: God, who is love, comforts His people and protects them from condemnation.
« And by this we will […] reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us » 1 Jn 3:19-20a.
Reading 1: Zech 3:1-5. Reading 2: 1 Jn 3:19-24. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: 1 Jn 3:19-21.
Introduction: Jesus Christ came to lose the bonds of death that bound the sinful mankind who is separated from God. In this way, He does
not condemn but rather forgives all who believe in Him and trust in His word. Jesus exactly said: « Indeed, God did not send the Son into
the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned »
Jn 3:17-18a.

Wednesday, 5th: God, who is love, comforts His people and sustains them.
« Let anyone who is thirsty come to me » Jn 7:37.
Reading 1: Ezek 37:1-10. Reading 2: Jn 7:37-39. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: Jn 7:37-38.
Introduction: All who accept and receive the reconciliation that God has made with them through His Son, Jesus Christ, are quickened to
eternal life. See how Jesus reassured Martha to comfort her: « I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though
they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die[…] » Jn 11:25-26.

Thursday, 6th: God, who is love, comforts His people and strengthens them in their weakness.
« My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness » 2 Cor 12:9a.
Reading 1: Jer.1:1-9. Reading 2: 2 Cor 12:6-10. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: 2 Cor 12:9.
Introduction: God is well aware of the weaknesses of His servants: « the spirit indeed is willing”, Jesus said, “but the flesh is weak » Mt
26:41b/Mar 14:38b. It is, indeed, to strengthen His people that Jesus offers them His words, which are « spirit and life » Jn 6: 63d, and His
Holy Spirit: « The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life » Jn 6:63c, « But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come
upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth » Act 1:8.

Friday, 7th: God, who is love, comforts his people and gives them happiness.
« Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord » Jn 20:20b.
Reading 1: Ps 94:12-19. Reading 2: Jn 20:11-20. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: Jn 20:19-20.
Introduction: God’s people face relentless suffering and strife in this ephemeral world. His Son, Jesus Christ, had already gone through
these all; so, he can comfort and encourage God’s people, saying: « But take courage; I have conquered the world » Jn 16:33b. Jesus, “who
lives forever and ever » (Rev 4:9), did win. It was with this great source of joy that compelled Paul to write this command:  » Rejoice in
the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice » Phil 4:4a.

Saturday, 8th: God, who is love, comforts His people and makes them dwell in Him.
« All who obey his commandments abide in Him, and He abides in them » 1 Jn 3:24a.
Reading 1: Ps 91:1-8. Reading 2: 1 Jn 3:19-24. Preaching 1 (optional). Preaching 2: 1 Jn 3:24.
Introduction: God is a loving Father; and, with this heart that overflows with love for His children, He cares for all who believe and trust
in His salvation, and He has prepared a « house » for all His children to dwell with Him forever. Jesus reassured His disciples of this and
said to them: « would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and
will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also » Jn 14:2d-3. Indeed, blessed are those who would dwell with Him, as
the Apostle John declared: »He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them » Rev 21:3b.

This pericope is available in Malagasy, French, English and German, and can be viewed at www.hifi-madanet.org and Facebook “Songs
and Gospel”. Listen to hifiradio.org 24/7: lessons, songs… © Madanet

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