Monthly Archives: November 2018

How do you Measure Peace?

Biblical Text: Mark 12:38-44
Full Sermon Draft

The big think event for this week would or should have been peace. This was the 100th anniversary of the WW1 Armistice. The text for the week was the widow’s temple offering. And we had a local congregational fact of passing a budget and the fact of stewardship.

The through line that I worked on in this sermon was this. Jesus points out the Widow as an example of faith. Her faith went in two directions. First she found what happened at that Temple to be meaningful. She supported the temple not because of the great stones that her mites wouldn’t do anything to support. She supported the temple because that is where she found the mercy and peace of God at. He faith also went outward in the fact that this God who had provided this peace was not limited to the temple, but would bestow his providence in her life. She offered the whole of her life because he trusted the promises of God which she had experienced there. In our world there are lots of things that want to say they provide peace and security. But the truth of all of them is that peace is not something we can create or every maintain. Peace is a gift of Almighty God. The history of the 20th century and the American experience of the 21st is proof of that. I didn’t include it here, but echoing Lincoln, it is beyond out ability to hallow. The only thing our great stones – our monuments – can do it point to the greater peace. And seeing that greater peace is acting as the widow. It requires faith. Specifically it requires faith in the other one who would give all he had to place the new cornerstone of the living temple – Christ. This sermon uses the example of a WW1 memorial cross that is currently under assault for exactly what it does – point not to the Armistice peace which soon failed but to the greater peace of the one who hung on the cross. The test of that peace then becomes are we willing to live out of it. Do we trust the providence of God like the widow? Or do we measure our peace and security like the others bringing their offerings. How do you measure the peace that Christ has given? Do we recognize its worth, or begrudge its price?

Probably tried to do too much. But it is a much more complex and messy answer I think. It is the mystery of faith and its sustaining in this world.

Worship Note: LSB 787, The Temple Rang with Golden Coins, is lovely simply hymn that walks the sermon through line very closely. It was our hymn of the day. I have included it at the end of the recording as a conclusion.

What (or who) is a Saint?

Biblical Text: Matthew 5:1-12
Full Sermon Draft

Who is a Saint is an interesting question. The typical answers I think fall into three categories.
a) Anyone we loved who has died. This is the generic or default answer. It is either just being nice or an unthinking universalism.
b) All those who have faith in Jesus. This the “Protestant” answer.
c) Those displaying heroic virtue. This is the “Catholic” answer.

All of these are bad answers, and all of them have a bit of the Truth. On All Saints Day (observed) this sermon attempts to ponder that question and why each one of those is a bit wrong. It also attempts to think about what a better answer would be. It then encourages us to take action in our lives. The theological engine is the distinction that Luther drew between passive and active righteousness. Passive is our righteousness before God. Only God can make saints. Active is our righteousness towards our neighbors. A tree, or a Saint, is recognized by their fruits. The sermon attempts to hear and sort and apply the word to our lives in Christ.

Operation Christmas Child (Shoeboxes!) Drop Off

St. Mark’s is a drop off location for Samaritan’s Purse – OCC shoeboxes again this year. Here are the formal hours of collection week.

Mon, Nov. 12: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Tue, Nov. 13: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Wed, Nov. 14: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Thu, Nov. 15: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Fri, Nov. 16: 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Sat, Nov. 17: 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Sun, Nov. 18: 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Mon, Nov. 19: 7:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Many of those days there will also be someone here during regular church hours that would be happy to collect the box.