Tag Archives: forgiveness

Witnesses to Easter

Biblical Text: Acts 5:28-42
Full Sermon Draft

This is typically the Thomas Sunday, but the first lesson from Acts just struck my imagination too well this year. Gamaliel’s tolerance and wisdom typically gets pride of place, but I think that discounts Saul in the background. The sermon attempts to tell both the foreground story of Peter preaching repentance to the High Priests who a month ago crucified Jesus and the background story of Saul (soon to be Paul) who wouldn’t listen to his teacher’s advice. The point of preaching, of Peter’s and of ours, is repentance and salvation. It is not justice or balancing the scales. It is not getting back at anyone. It is simply repent and believe. That repentance is a gift. It is part of faith. Caiaphas or Annas, the High Priest, heard the preaching and knew what was going on, but they did not repent. Saul, did not repent, yet. The call of those who have repented is to be witnesses to Easter. Pray for the repentance of the unbeliever while bearing the cross for those who won’t, yet. In this we witness to Easter and the Great Easter to come in the resurrection of all flesh.

In the Wilderness

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Biblical Text: Luke 15:1-10 (Ezekiel 34:11-24)
Full Sermon Draft

Congregationally we were saying good bye to beloved members. The day also had the national overtones of the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I might be wrong in this, but to me part of preaching is giving the hearers ways to understand or recognize the Kingdom of God in our midst, even in sad things, especially in sad things. The primary theme of the texts of the day was not perseverance. The primary theme was forgiveness. But there is a secondary theme that hints at perseverance in the Christian life. This sermon attempted to spotlight that secondary thread for the purpose of understanding the day.

As with most days, the hymnody of the church is so much better than anything we say. Those hymns are sermons that meant so much to so many that they survived in some cases millennia and translation, in others simply centuries. Jesus Sinners Doth Receive was the Hymn of the Day on the primary theme, but I left in our final hymn. LSB 839, O Christ, Our True and Only Light. If one heard the message that we were attempting to speak, this hymn was a good and proper response. It reminds us that in this world Christ is our only true light. It reminds us that here we walk in darkness, the metaphorical equivalent of the text and sermon’s wilderness. It asks for the one to be reunited with the 99, and the perfect 100 to find the eternal joy. And it asks that we might be a part of that. Beautiful hymn.

Pronouns

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Biblical Text: Acts 2:1-21 (Genesis 11:1-9, Acts 2:22-41)
Full Sermon Draft

Pentecost, especially in the readings this year, is a day about language. For all we depend upon it, language is something that we don’t really think much about. We let writers and preachers do that. But if we don’t have the language for something there is a question how long it can actually exist, or if we can truly experience it. That is one of the spurs for stealing words from other languages – to experience and describe experience more precisely. One of the deep lessons of Babel is that when language breaks down, that is God’s punishment. Babel is God’s Punishment, Pentecost is God’s salvation.

The Jewish Pentecost was the receiving of the law at Sinai. That is the start of our salvation. It starts to make things clear, but the law itself has no power. That is this later Pentecost, when the Spirit is poured out.

The title comes from the diagnosis of a Babel and a call to a new Pentecost.

Our concluding Hymn is my favorite Pentecost one. LSB 500, Creator Spirit, by Whose Aid. The text is an ancient chant from the 8th century that comes to us through John Dryden the English poet. It displays both a sacramental view of the world and worship. At the end of verse two: Your sacred healing message bring, to sanctify us as we sing. But the jewel of it for me is verse three in how it describes the work of the Spirit abiding in us.

Your sevenfold gifts to us supply
Help us eternal truths receive
And practice all that we believe
Give us yourself that we might see
The glory of the Trinity.

Through the working of the Spirit, through His sanctification, we receive the eternal truth which is Jesus Christ. Receiving Christ and repenting, we then seek to follow him, to put into practice the love we have been give. And we do this because of our hope in the resurrection, that we might see the Trinity face to face. Just a beautiful hymn that maintains a bit of its chant origin.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Exodus 34:29-35:21 and Luke 7:36-50

Exodus 34:29-35:21
Luke 7:36-50
The veil of the old covenant, removed in Christ
The tithe-less tabernacle
Sin, debt and recognition

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Mark 10:13-52

Mark 10:13-52
The importance of humility
Christ the last

Pastor’s Circuit – “Your Sins are Forgiven”

Our Pastor’s circuit meetings always start with worship. The host, which this past week was St. Mark, is the presiding minister. Sometimes you get the previous Sunday sermon. Sometimes you get a recent “good one”. Since audience recognition is an important part of any sermon, I recognized that for me editing a sermon intended for the congregation for a group of pastors would often be just as much work as starting fresh. The second part of that is the topic to this group modifies itself. You can use a little more theological slang or shorthand for ideas. Your biblical allusions which make the sermon think and resonant don’t have to be quite as readily apparent. And what they are typically worrying about is a derivative of the congregational worries.

In this case the congregation might wonder how Christ works in their life or what is the purpose of the Christ. The simple answer is the forgiveness of sins. So you preach that pointing at word and sacrament. To the pastor’s group the worry might shift in a couple of ways: am I being faithful in that calling to preach, and does this really work especially with a flawed servant? In this specific case, are the numbers telling me I’m a loser or a heretic. The proclamation, if it works as I would hope, works as the law to call preachers to faithfulness in their preaching and works as the gospel to calm fears about its power and effectiveness as measured by simple worldly standards.

So, I didn’t record it. I wavered about posting it, but if you want to get a glimpse at a message for pastors. Take a read.

Biblical Texts: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, 1 Tim 1:18-20, Mark 2:1-12
February Circuit Meeting Sermon

Christmas Eve 2014

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Full Sermon Draft

This sermon is about our Candles and Silent Night ritual placing it within the context of the carols sung. It is not the ritual of earlier times, but it is beautiful and right and proper in its own way.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Deuteronomy 29:1-29 and Matthew 18:21-35

Deuteronomy 29:1-29
Matthew 18:21-35
Difference between the edge of the Jordan and Sinai? – doubtful
And standing covenant for all
The purpose of the law, to point us toward mercy
Christ is merciful first and greater
Not to go back into debt/sin

The Proper Work of Mercy

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Biblical Text: Matthew 18:21-35
Full Sermon Draft

The word cloud are completely random outside of reflecting the usage in the sermon, but I like the one above for two reasons. I went with the black and white because that is how Jesus present having mercy. It is a black and white issue. Not being merciful to your fellow christian is the same thing as cutting yourself off from Christ. The second reason is the order the big words got spit out in. The Mercy flows down from the Lord God to fellows slaves. Fellow slaves become the conduits, the extra nos or outside of us paths of the mercy of God. It is through our fellow Christians that we hear the good news and the absolution of Christ. This sermon reflect on that through the parable of the unmerciful servant in the gospel text for the day.

Sacramental Life – A Maundy Thursday Meditation

ChristWashingFeetIcon John’s gospel is what is sometimes called thick. This is my attempt to ponder John’s Last Supper, which is a Last Supper and not one at the same time. The icon at the left is the footwashing. That is what John talks about when the synoptics relate the institution of the Lord’s Supper. This sermon meditates on how John captures the sacramental life: Baptism, Lord’s Supper and Confession in one scene. And then relates how we live that sacramental life.

Full Sermon Draft