A spoken Matins Service with a devotion from the Smalcald Articles on Repentance.
A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil. A theologian of the cross calls the thing what it actually is.
I Did NOT Do It!
What need is there of a long discussion? All Scripture, all the Church cries out that the Law cannot be satisfied. Therefore, starting to fulfill the Law does not please on its own account, but on account of faith in Christ. 46  Otherwise, the Law always accuses us. For who loves or fears God enough? Who has enough patience to bear the troubles brought by God? Who does not frequently doubt whether human affairs are ruled by God’s counsel or by chance? Who does not frequently doubt whether he is heard by God? Who is not frequently enraged because the wicked enjoy a better life than the righteous, because the righteous are oppressed by the wicked? Who fulfills his own calling? Who loves his neighbor as himself? 47  Who is not tempted by lust? Paul says, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19). Likewise, “I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (7:25). Here he openly declares that he serves the law of sin. David says in Psalm 143:2, “Enter not into judgment with Your servant, for no one living is righteous before You.” Here even God’s servant prays for the removal of judgment. Likewise, “Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity” (Psalm 32:2). Therefore, in our weakness sin is always present, which could be charged against us. A little while after he says, “Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to You” (32:6). Here he shows that even saints ought to seek forgiveness of sins. 48  They are more than blind who do not realize that wicked desires in the flesh are sins, of which Paul says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17). 49  The flesh distrusts God, trusts in present things, seeks human aid in trouble, even contrary to God’s will. It flees from suffering, which it ought to bear because of God’s commands. It doubts God’s mercy and so on. The Holy Spirit in our hearts fights against such tendencies in order to suppress and kill them and to produce new spiritual motives.
How do you prepare for death?? Ok. This question is not common. However, it was a common question in the 16th century when war and/or disease could strike more quickly than it does for us today. And yet it is good for us to hear this today as well. Listen to the whole service (not that long) or read the devotion below. Pastor Pautz
The Order of Matins
Lutheran Service Book (LSB) hymnal
or ask Pastor Pautz if you may borrow a hymnal from church
The Order of Matins p. 219
The Psalmody p.220
The Responsory p. 221
The Catechetical Instruction
I regard it useful to add some brief instructions on how one should care and provide for the soul in time of death. We have done this orally from the pulpit, and still do so every day in fulfilment of the ministry to which we have been called as pastors.
First, one must admonish the people to attend church and listen to the sermon so that they learn through God’s word how to live and how to die. It must be noted that those who are so uncouth and wicked as to despise God’s word while they are in good health should be left unattended when they are sick unless they demonstrate their remorse and repentance with great earnestness, tears, and lamentation. A person who wants to live like a heathen or a dog and does not publicly repent should not expect us to administer the sacrament to him or have us count him a Christian. Let him die as he has lived because we shall not throw pearls before swine nor give to dogs what is holy [Matt. 7:6]. Sad to say, there are many churlish, hardened ruffians who do not care for their souls when they live or when they die. They simply lie down and die like unthinking hulks.
Second, everyone should prepare in time and get ready for death by going to confession and taking the sacrament once every week or fortnight. He should become reconciled with his neighbor and make his will so that if the Lord knocks and he departs before a pastor or chaplain can arrive, he has provided for his soul, has left nothing undone, and has committed himself to God. When there are many fatalities and only two or three pastors on duty, it is impossible to visit everyone, to give instruction, and to teach each one what a Christian ought to know in the anguish of death. Those who have been careless and negligent in these matters must account for themselves. That is their own fault. After all, we cannot set up a private pulpit and altar daily at their bedside simply because they have despised the public pulpit and altar to which God has summoned and called them.
Third, if someone wants the chaplain or pastor to come, let the sick person send word in time to call him and let him do so early enough while he is still in his right mind before the illness overwhelms the patient. The reason I say this is that some are so negligent that they make no request and send no message until the soul is perched for flight on the tip of their tongues and they are no longer rational or able to speak. Then we are told, “Dear Sir, say the very best you can to him,” etc. But earlier, when the illness first began, they wanted no visit from the pastor, but would say, “Oh, there’s no need. I hope he’ll get better.” What should a diligent pastor do with such people who neglect both body and soul? They live and die like beasts in the field. They want us to teach them the gospel at the last minute and administer the sacrament to them as they were accustomed to it under the papacy when nobody asked whether they believed or understood the gospel but just stuffed the sacrament down their throats as if into a bread bag.
This won’t do. If someone cannot talk or indicate by a sign that he believes, understands, and desires the sacrament—particularly if he has wilfully neglected it—we will not give it to him just anytime he asks for it. We have been commanded not to offer the holy sacrament to unbelievers but rather to believers who can state and confess their faith. Let the others alone in their unbelief; we are guiltless because we have not been slothful in preaching, teaching, exhortation, consolation, visitation, or in anything else that pertains to our ministry and office. This, in brief, is our instruction and what we practice here. We do not write this for you in Breslau, because Christ is with you and without our aid he will amply instruct you and supply your needs with his own ointment. To him be praise and honor together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 43: Devotional Writings II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 43 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 134–135.
The Canticle - Te Deum p.223
The Prayer p. 227
Benedicamus p. 228