Category Archives: Luke

Knights Errant

050816wordle

Biblical Text: Acts 1:1-11, Luke 24:44-53
Full Sermon Text

We observed Ascension Day yesterday. The core teaching of Ascension day is right in the creed. He sits at the right hand of god. Christ reigns. Simple teaching, plenty of proofs throughout history. But there are two standing complaints, both express right away by the disciples. THis sermon looks at both of those complaints. It suggest a reasoning, part of it is where the title comes from. God does not desire courtiers, but Knights of Faith. It ends with a comparison of everything that we might find “more real” than an ascended king with a challenge to compare their realities. When you do that, you’ve answered the second complaint.

The final hymn in our worship I think captures the message of Ascension Day perfectly. LSB 830 Spread the Reign of GOd the Lord. It is also paired with a pretty tuned that I’ve been humming for the last day.

Broken Things Risen Things

032716wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 24:1-12
Full Sermon Draft

Preaching on Easter is a unique experience. You do get the full joy. A full house. The best music and hymns. The core message. But you also get the full foolishness of the gospel. As if some loser 2000 years after the event could possibly have anything to say. At least the Orthodox just get in the pulpit and repeat Chrysostom. Likewise the proclamation is unique, sui generis, not replicable until well it is replicated. All examples and illustration and props are gone. All you can point at is Christ. He’s risen. Any eloquence you might have, any cunning or logic is stripped away. He’s Risen. This is how God fixes broken things. After the cross, resurrection. And there you have it. He’s either defeated death, and it will be given to you at the right time, or his hasn’t. I’m just the messenger telling you what I’ve been told and believe. He’s risen. Broken things will rise.

Recording note. I would love to have left some of the music on, but the gap between the live experience of Easter music and our poor recording of it is just too much. So, it is just the lessons and sermon. Come to church next week. We will still be singing the Easter hymns on the octave.

Two Parades

032016wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 23:1-56, Luke 19:35-40
Full Sermon Draft

Palm Sunday has the best hymns, they even rival Easter in my mind. Since the lectionary (the assigned readings for the day) have pushed Palm Sunday toward the Sunday of the Passion it sets up an interesting dynamic. There is a juxtaposition of the Palm Sunday parade which we re-enact in a small way with the via dolorosa. The hymns capture this changing dynamic. Hosanna, Loud Hosanna (LSB 443) and All Glory, Laud and Honor (LSB 442) are more pure Palms and celebration. But then No Tramp of Soldiers Marching Feet (LSB 444) starts perceiving the irony of the Palms and another parade. (For my opinion, this is a classic of what hymns are supposed to be – sung meditation. And it does it from a modern viewpoint.) And then Ride On, Ride On in Majesty (LSB 441) ends with the eschatological note. These parades of palms and cross are not the final word.

I don’t have the hymns on the recording. (The sad truth is we just don’t have the equipment for that sort of thing.) But the sermon attempts that sort of motion. It starts off with thinking about what parades are actually about and hopefully demonstrating that these biblical parades are the same as we can understand from our own time. It then moves on to the heavy irony, here defined as the difference between human and divine perception, that covers these parades and all of holy week. In that irony it perceives what Christ has done for us. It attempt to align our perception with the divine. We do that through the moral burden that comes with knowing the divine view, and knowing that we don’t measure up. It concludes with that eschatological view. We accept the moral burden because that is how we live out faith. We believe this is what God had done. And we believe that he will do as promised. So we walk in this parade.

Authority of the Cross

031316wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 20:9-20
Full Sermon Draft

All of Chapter 20 in Luke is Jesus teaching on proper authority. It is set in the conflict between Jesus and the Temple, and this text is the parable that Jesus uses as the loadstone of the entire teaching. You find true north in regards to authority by pondering this parable.

It happens to be a fortuitous text as the political season moves in strange ways this year. It also comes up at the same time as a situation I have been pondering simmers. This sermon attempts to think through the text and those situations. What it emerges with I hope is a picture of what authoritative leadership looks like. In this world authoritative leadership looks like the cross.

I don’t bring it up in the sermon itself, but Luther once attempted to talk about the marks of the church, how you would find it. His biggest mark was the cross. You will know you’ve found the church when what you are looking at bears the cross. It is only that type of authority and leadership – a leadership that is directed toward God and neighbor willing to bear the burden – that is truly fruitful.

I hope that this is helpful in your meditation. Also, I want to add a note about the recording. This is a re-recording after the fact, because the recording at the time something went wrong. Which is a shame, because the choir sounded wonderful, and we sang one of my top-5 hymns. LSB 423, Jesus Refuge of the Weary. The words are by the original Bonfire of the Vanities Girolamo Savonarola. The author is a cautionary tale. He rose is acclaim and fortune castigating a corrupt authority. He was later hung and burned at the same time. I believe the text of the hymn comes from his prison meditations. It might not be true, but I hear the confession of a man who got lost but came to see the cross anew. A historical support for the limits I attempt to point out in the sermon.

All Found

030616wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 15:1-32
Full Sermon Draft

The assigned lectionary text for today was the parable of the Prodigal Son, but one of the things that I found out in preparation is that the church fathers never really treated the prodigal separately from the two parables preceeding it. And when you do the translation, they do seem to roll together with specific roles for a point. So, this sermon attempts to address these parables as the church fathers did.

We’ve focused on the theme of division in Lent so far, but Luke 15 turns that focus around. It assumes the division, and starts portraying reunion. THe question these parables focus on to the church fathers was not evangelism or restoring a wandering brother. That is a valid moral lesson. We are the body of Christ and have those responsibilities. But instead, these parables were about God’s action on behalf of his elect. The perfect number will not be broken. There will not be 99 sheep, or 9 coins, or 1 brother. God will gather all of the elect no matter where they find themselves and through whatever troubles.

And how God does this is first through the good shepherd who has carried us on his shoulders on that cross. Then he calls, gathers and enlightens us through the church – the woman with a lamp looking for that coin with the image of the King. And the purpose of this is to reunite us with the Father. All that the Father has is ours. That doesn’t change regardless of our actions. He has chosen to give us the Kingdom. It is just necessary that we come in and rejoice.

The Problem of the Will

1415wordle

Text: Luke 2:40-52
Full Sermon Draft

The text is the boy Jesus at the temple. It is the only picture we have of Jesus and his family between the infancy narratives and the Baptism by John. In it Jesus interacts with two groups, the teachers in the temple and Mary and Joseph. What this sermon does is ponder how Jesus reacts to each and how he addresses different problems in the Christian life. It uses Jonathan Haidt’s work as an entry point. Connects that to the Reformers view of fallen man and then to how Christ heals the fallen mind and then the fallen will.

The Divine Passive

121414wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 1:26-38
Full Sermon Draft

We moved the Lectionary Readings up a week. Normally Advent 3 is John the Baptist 2, but our kid’s program is Advent 4, and skipping Mary for JB the sequel isn’t right.

This sermon starts out with the observation on the recent year of Bible movies and how they really just miss the boat. When you cast Batman and Maximus the Gladiator you are after action and conflict. Not that Bible stories are absent that, but for the faithful what appears like a leading man or woman is anything but. They are held in the divine passive. By faith God acts through them.

This is tied to the beatitude blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. That is the beatitude that is probably the most despised by the world. The only thing the meek get is abuse. Yet the bible puts forward Moses as the meekest man on the face of the earth (not a role for Christian Bale) and then you get Mary – most highly favored lady, in the words of the hymn The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came. It is meekness that makes way for God to act. And God acted in a might way through Mary bringing about the salvation of the world through the incarnation.

The application I tie this to is our general busy-ness, especially at Christmas. We are constantly casting ourselves as the action hero, not a meek role, and that casting leads to conflict. Mary response is not to jump into action but to ponder or to discern the greeting. And this greeting is not a dead letter, but echoes to another highly favored lady, the church. You have found grace. The Lord is with you. Rejoice, o daughter of Zion.

The Location of Security

2214wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 2:22-40
Full Sermon Text

If you ask the question How do you know, the vast majority of answers come down to some form of “internal” knowledge. Whether that knowledge is feelings or intellectual or sensory it depends upon you. Yet all of those things are highly suspect. Which is part of the good news. The acts of God come from outside of us. Christ came into the world, to us, but remained what he was. Jesus himself is the light of revelation to the Gentiles as Simeon sings. Part of what he reveals is our salvation. And that doesn’t depend on us or anything in us.

Divine Necessity & Our Necessity

1514wordle

Text: Luke 2:40-52
Full Sermon Draft

The first words of Jesus recorded in Luke contain what the ESV translates as “must”. It is a little word, that signals big things – the divine necessity. This is why Jesus came, to take care of the things of his Father. The extra file here looks at all the uses of this word in the Gospel according to Luke.
Must in Luke

I think what you can see is exactly what the things of the Father are. You can also start to see what the things we “ought” to do are. And you can see the conflict as at one point the Synagogue tries to put an ought on Jesus rejecting his. The switch from must to ought in translation is revealing. Jesus must and can, while we ought to but can’t. Good think the one covers the other.

The last note really is one the attitude of the heart, captured by Mary, that allows for the reception of wisdom that we can’t receive by natural means from simple piety to learned study.

Christ the King whose Throne is the Cross

112413wordle

Biblical Text: Luke 23:27-43
Full Draft of Sermon

The last Sunday of the Church year (today) is often called Christ the King Sunday. The appointed reading from Luke is the crucifixion. I usually dodge preaching directly on this text. For those who have been around Holy Week at St. Mark’s, Good Friday has been our collective reading of the passion text. We let the gospel preach itself in our midst. If you can’t be moved by the text itself…what am I going to say. I couldn’t dodge it today, but today compared to Good Friday the purpose is slightly different. Good Friday is more about the lens of atonement – the cross as what buys our salvation. Christ the King is about the revelation of the God. When we say Jesus is Lord, what kind of King or Lord do we have. It is that word – King – that the text can tell us about. “There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews’”. It is here, at the place of the skull, we are to see most clearly, to learn the type of King we have.

This sermon looks at the text and application to our knowledge and lives through looking at three pictures that are concluded by memorable phrases of the gospel.
1) For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry.
2) The mocking contrasted with the criminal’s – “remember me when you come into your kingdom”.
3) And Jesus’ words from the cross – “today, you will be with me in paradise.”
So, what what this sermon does is invite you to ponder three pictures or three phrases.