God choosing to act through specific means
Continuity and discontinuity
Monthly Archives: April 2015
The scapegoat, the church, the presence of God and the Lord’s Supper
Choosing to work through the church
Biblical Text: John 10:11-18
Full Sermon Draft
There are certain biblical images that are ingrained in our heads just from cultural osmosis. Even at this late date, the Good Shepherd is one of those images in the larger culture. I feel okay saying that because even Hollywood called a CIA movie staring Matt Damon The Good Shepherd recently. The movie didn’t do so hot and I can’t recommend it, but they expected the Biblical allusion to have enough currency to use the name. But what I am always amazed at when the lectionary throws up one of these common images (one portion of John 10 with shepherd images is always on Easter 4) is that the common gloss on the text is at best half the story. In the case of the Good Shepherd we jump straight to Calvary. In theologically squishy places the Good Shepherd is the perfect image to pitch Jesus the great teacher or a Unitarian all loving spirit. But the text itself is intensely Trinitarian as it is about the relationship between the Father and the Son. The Son is the Good Shepherd and not the hired man because he shares the love of the father for these sinful oblivious sheep.
But the metaphor goes beyond that gospel image. Love is defined as aligning yourself with the Father’s commands. Love is defined as putting yourself between the sheep and the wolves. It is defined contrary to the hired man who does what it natural. When you see the good shepherd, when you comprehend in a meaningful way the gospel, at that point you are no longer a sheep. You have a choice – hired man or good shepherd. It is the first real choice in your life, and it is also one that the sheep are oblivious to. Don’t expect applause. Except from Father and Son. This sermon attempts to proclaim that love of the Good Shepherd and give it some form of what it really looks like in the Christian life.
The veil of the old covenant, removed in Christ
The tithe-less tabernacle
Sin, debt and recognition
Biblical Text: Luke 24:36-49
Full Sermon Draft
The text is concerned with a couple of items. First it is concerned with the literal physical resurrection – “touch and see!” Second it is concerned about how those not part of that first generation of apostles can be sure of that experience. Jesus supplies the answer in the written word and the witness of the apostles. That witness of the apostles becomes word and sacrament, forgiveness of sins and what we know as the new testament. We share those with those first apostles. We also share the Holy Spirit, the “Power from on High”, that testifies to the truth of Word and Sacrament.
The moral question of Easter is that we have heard these things. We know the story. We have experienced the witness that Jesus says is good. Are we changed by that? The reactions of the disciples in the text give us three levels of reaction. Startled and frightened thinking it a ghost. Just a ghost in the machine. Joy and marvel at the announcement but still disbelieving I’m spiritual, but I’m not sure about being a disciple. Minds open to the scriptures and we are the witnesses of these things. Has Easter changed you?
That might be a scary thought, are we ever sure we are changed? Good news it is not us there either. We have been clothed with power from on high. The Spirit who spoke by the prophets still ensures that everything written is fulfilled including the salvation of the saints.
I just wanted to post a message for any who have been following the Daily Lectionary Podcast. I’ve been quiet for a couple of weeks because we’ve been transitioning our server. Between the preschool and the increased load from the Podcast and the fancier calendar, we’ve outgrown shared hosting. As with any change there are good things and there are bad. The bad has been somewhat front-loaded (although I wouldn’t rule out something popping up) in that I’ve minimized use before the formal transition and until I understand how the new server works. The good news here is that you should experience a quicker connection as we have dedicated resources on the server side. So all those things that increased the load should work better. I’ve still got some work to do in understanding the new server environment, but I’m comfortable moving forward, so I think the Daily part of the lectionary will start back up this next week. I apologize for the unexplained gap. If you have any thought or question just drop me a note. – Mark aka Parson Brown
Biblical Text: John 20:19-31
Full Sermon Draft
The text is the second Sunday of Easter standard, Doubting Thomas. At least that is the first element that gets caught, but the text is larger than that one character. It is a story of seeing God, but it is also a story of beatitude or blessing on not seeing. The reality of the action works at counter-purpose with most of our natural assumptions about seeing God. The beatitudes bless not sight, but the Word. This sermon moves from the text and what it tells us about Christ, to our sending and moral responsibility and lastly to the eschatological reality of seeing God.
Biblical Text: Mark 16:1-8
Full Sermon Draft
The Easter Text in Mark’s gospel ends on a strange word – fear. What this sermon does is look both at our discomfort at fear and at what Easter has to say about it. Mixed in with a bit about that interesting ending of the gospel.
Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!
Our Good Friday service at St. Mark’s is a Tenebrae or Shadows service. I obviously can’t replicate the visual experience of this service as the light go off reading after readings. But what I have grown to love is the raw essence of this service. We read the entire passion story from Gethsemane to burial and we do that with voices from the congregation. Those contemporary voices blend with the hymns that have been paired after the readings. Its a living example of religion. We received this, we make it our own and then we tell it.
Biblical Text: Mark 14:12-26
Full Sermon Draft
Maundy Thursday is the night of the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This sermons keys off of two things: 1) the idea of preparation. The disciples asked what they needed to do to prepare the Passover. What is a fitting preparation for the Lord’s Supper? The text helps us answer this. 2) What are the effects of reception? There are two groups who receive the first – the 11 represented by Peter and 1 represented by Judas. Again in this we get a glimpse of our answer.
I’ve left in the recording the Choir singing O Perfect Life of Love, and the congregation singing Aquinas’ Now My Toungue The Mystery Telling (LSB 630) and the first verse one of the classing Lutheran Chorales Soul Adorn Yourself With Gladness (LSB 636)