Stir up your power, O Lord, and come, that by your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by your mighty deliverance; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Gregorian Sacramentary, 6th Century)
Gracious God, you are the Alpha and Omega, our beginning and end. May your Spirit kindle in us a spirit of readiness, that we might at all times and in all places be prepared for the coming of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.
Thoughts on the Readings
The Common Thread
We are restored and saved in a most important way. God has come down in his Christ and saved us. This is that awesome deed that we could never have expected of him. But he does not stop there; he enriches us with good gifts to be used to bear fruit for his kingdom until he returns. He sustains us until that Day when he comes in the clouds with great power and glory to gather us with all the elect. This is his word to us, so we must be on guard, watching for his return.
First Reading - Isaiah 64:1-9
We have been in our sins for a long time. Then, when least expected—nor could we have expected it—God did something awesome and immense in scope. He acted for those who wait for him in hope of forgiveness. No one has ever imagined a God who meets with his people, though they are sinners (Matt 9:10; Rom 5:8).
Psalm - Psalm 80:1-7
God does not remain angry with his people forever. He will yet smile upon us and restore us. On that day, he will save us from ourselves—from our sin—and the laughter of our enemies will cease.
Second Reading - 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
As we await the coming of the Lord, he has equipped us with every gift needed to sustain us in our faithful expectancy. God is so faithful in this regard, that he will keep us guiltless on the great day of his appearing. We are made holy through Christ’s holiness. Therefore, we are kept guiltless by this free gift of grace that God provides.
Gospel - Mark 13:24-37
No one knows the day of Christ’s returning. Jesus said that even he did not know when he would return. So, we should not be concerned with times and dates. Instead, our interest should be the same as Jesus’ business (Luke 2:49). Until he does return, we should be alert and wakeful, doing the work of the gospel.
Set to the tune of "Now Thank We All Our God." (Nun Danket)
Read the entire Sola Devotion that includes an additional Scripture graphic and a reading from "The Defense of the Augsburg Confession."
By definition, confirmation and extreme unction, or last rites, are not sacraments. They do not contain the clear command of God in Scripture, nor do they have a promise of his grace. This is not to say that confirmation and last rites do not have value. Yet, if they are considered sacraments, then it is the Church’s grace that is offered, with whatever value that human or, worse, institutional grace has to offer. For these things are institutionally commanded.
Again, this is not to say that the Church should not have rites like Confirmation, but we should not consider it a sacrament that offers God’s grace. Rather, it is God who confirms us outside of any commandment of a rite. True confirmation comes from God’s Spirit, not from the Church. He freely gives us faith and his gifts, sustaining (or confirming, 1 Cor 1:8, KJV, ASV, NASB) believers until the end. He keeps us holy and blameless until his coming just as he made us holy and righteous to begin with, because of faith in Christ.