Pastor David Nehrenz
Dear Fellow Saints in Christ,
This month I am sharing with you what I wrote for the Norman Transcript devotional page on July 17.
Title: “Shine Like the Sun”
In the summer, the sun shines brightly. What a beautiful time of year to sit in the shade and admire the sun beaming in the blue sky. We enjoy the flowers and the gardens which are blooming and thriving. Sun and water are essential to all living things. Even our skin needs to receive sunlight in order to be healthy.
For the Gospel lesson on this Seventh Sunday after Pentecost, from Matthew chapter 13, Jesus says, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” What is the context for these words?
We read in Matthew 13:36-40, “Then Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age.’”
Jesus is warning us about a different type of burning heat, not from the sun, but from a fire. He says that those who are described as weeds, who do evil and persist in rebelling against the Son of Man, end up facing the burning fire.
Then we read in Matthew 13:41-43, “The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Jesus is speaking about a reality that we cannot yet see with our physical eyes. We have not yet seen Jesus. We do not yet see the angels or the demons. We do not yet see heaven or hell. But just because we do not yet see these things with the eyes in our head, does not mean that they are not actually there.
Christ calls us to truly hear these teachings with our spiritual ears. What he means is that we hear with our ears, think with our minds and ponder in our hearts. We ask ourselves, “If these words are actually true, how does this affect our lives now and into eternity?”
The righteous ones are not people who earned their own righteousness while living here on earth. Rather, they are those who are clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus wrapped himself with our sins upon the cross. In Holy Baptism and through faith in his name, he wraps us in his righteousness. It is the great exchange. He takes our un-holiness upon himself and places his holiness upon us. That is how a person is declared truly righteous.
The Bible proclaims that since Jesus is risen from the dead, ascended into heaven and is seated at God’s right hand, he will return in glory on the Last Day. Then, Jesus says, the whole universe will see the righteous shining like the sun in the kingdom of the Father.
As righteous saints in our Lord Jesus Christ, dedicate yourself to be at church for two hours each Sunday – for the Divine Services and for Sunday School and Bible class. We look forward to seeing you!
Be with us each week!
In our Lord Jesus,
Pastor David Nehrenz
Vicar Jordan Peiser
My name is Jordan Peiser, and I am very grateful that you so warmly welcomed me into your congregation. I was born on November 16, 1995, the first child to Larry and Tracy Peiser at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. I was raised in Rolling Meadows– a suburb about 20 miles outside of Chicago– where eight years later, my little sister Jessica was born. I was raised in a Reformed Jewish family and attended Beth Tikvah, a Reformed synagogue, where I went to Hebrew school twice a week until I had my Bar Mitzvah. At Rolling Meadows High School, I participated in the school’s bible club and their track and field team. I was heavily influenced by my Christian friends and their families who would talk to me about Jesus Christ, and I occasionally attended church groups for social activities. I was finally baptized when I was seventeen and began attending a Baptist Church. At that church, I began to see the love of God and received encouragement to consider studying to be a pastor. God’s grace is astounding, because shortly after I became Christian, my mom began going to Church, and my dad was baptized a year ago. After graduating from high school, I went to the local community college, where I received an Associate’s Degree, and then I transferred to Concordia University-St. Paul, where I majored in theology and minored in psychology. I also was blessed to attend University Lutheran Chapel in Minneapolis, a confessional congregation that had deep regard for the word of God and a strong community that included a college ministry. There I joined the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, and through the continued encouragement I received there, and the guidance of Rev. Kind, I decided that following my graduation from CSP in 2018, I would attend seminary, so I applied and was accepted to Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
My fieldwork at Shepherd by the Lakes Syracuse, Indiana, and my summer vicarage at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elmhurst, Illinois, brought me a deeper appreciation of ministry. This was a profound experience, where I learned more about serving God’s people through proclaiming the word of God and visiting with them. I also ministered at Redeemer through bible studies, preaching once a month, and working with their VBS and youth ministry.
I look forward to the opportunity to grow in my knowledge of God’s word and meet the community of Trinity and Norman through the Church, Early Childhood Center and the Campus Ministry.
Vicar Jordan Peiser