Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Festival of St. Boniface of Mainz, Bishop and Martyr

Posted on June 5, 2021 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Acts 16:9-15 (NKJV)
16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them.
11 Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is the foremost city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.
Sometimes the work of the Church seems successful, other times it seems like tragedy or failure. St. Paul and St. Boniface are examples of all those experiences. Today we remember St. Boniface for his service to the Church in preaching and administering the Sacraments in the “mission field” and standing against false religion.
People are often given the impression that mission work is some worldly type of servant event. They are told that building houses, digging wells, teaching people to read, or bringing medical aid are the things that make for the “missionary work” of the Church. These are excellent works of love and service to others, but the mission of the Church is to preach Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins, to teach people to observe all that He commands, to rightly administer the Sacraments, and to establish the faithful Apostolic Ministry in their midst.
Sometimes the work of the Word and Sacrament Ministry has visible success. St. Paul found Lydia and her household to be faithful, receiving the Gospel and Baptism, but later he was also beaten and imprisoned for his work in the name of Jesus. St. Boniface cut down the tree that was a symbol for a false god and built a church that would teach the people to worship the true God, Jesus Christ, in remembrance of His death on the cross. But after successfully serving the Church in Germany, the bishop’s life would end in violence and martyrdom. In life or in death, we are called to serve His will for the Church!
Prayer: O God, who dost guide Thy Church through the faithful ministrations of Thy servants, grant that Thy ministers, like St. Boniface, stand steadfast against those who would work iniquity; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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