Tag Archives: living stones

The High House and The False House

Biblical Text: 1 Peter 2:2-10
Full Sermon Draft

I think the lectionary makers have stuck us with the end of one devotion and the start of another. I think 2:1-3 complete the chapter 1 thought. Peter then picks up a new thought in 2:4. The first devotion moves from new birth to craving pure spiritual milk. It is a devotion about growing up in Christ. The second devotion moves from that individual and early growth in faith to the communal nature and its maturity. As individuals we are newborns (baptism), babes (milk) and eventually grown up into salvation. As the church we are living stones built into the new temple, the royal priesthood, a holy nation. When we are grown we come into our maturity which is as a people.

This being mother’s day, the childhood analogy works well. The bridge from the childhood to the communal is that the church is the feminine or mother image. God is building his church, and he builds it from the stones that are rejected by the world. We living stones conform to Christ, the rejected cornerstone, with all the rough angles of the cruciform life. In this there are always two building projects: the world’s and God’s, the false house and the high house. Mom, the church, is the means by which we are built as the living stones of the High House. (Note: I’ve stolen those labels from an enchanting work of fantasy (The Evenmere Chronicles by James Stoddard).

Music note: I lost most of the music in the recording, but I think I kept the best piece, although as a congregation we got off to a rough start on it. LSB 645, Built on the Rock, captures the spirit of the text and the sermon quite well.

Recording note: I’m sorry for the overall quality. The volume level was quite low (our line volume ghost came back). I had to re-record the lesson as the early parts were unusable. I’ve normalized the volume levels to the best of my ability, but you will notice the change from a studio sound to the live static.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Zechariah 4:1-5:11 and Romans 15:14-33

Zechariah 4:1-5:11
Romans 15:14-33
Tough Passages, Reading the Bible with Christ at the center

Memorial Day:Pentecost::Law:Gospel

Text: John 15:26-17, John 16:4-15
Full Draft of Sermon

Poor Pentecost, it is one of the three High Holy Days of the Church Year (Christmas, Easter and Pentecost), and yet it is the one that often gets forced to share its celebration with a secular holiday. A couple of years ago it was Mother’s Day. This year Memorial Day. In a odd way though that might be appropriate. The Spirit doesn’t call attention to himself. The other thought is that its really hard to make a materialist celebration out of the Spirit.

Putting those thoughts aside, the juxtaposition of Memorial Day and Pentecost makes for some tough but I hope enlightening comparisons. The driving force of memorial day is to hallow something, to make it holy. The graves of soldiers who died fighting the nation’s ware we have a good and natural desire to make holy. The problem is that our efforts still are over the dead. Even the most powerful and permanent of our memorials have limits. These too will pass. But Pentecost, the work of the Spirit, is not to make dead tributes but living stones. It is the work of the Spirit that sanctifies our efforts, gives them life and turns them to the glorification of Christ who released us from our dead stone.

Paradox Maintained


Full Text

There are a bunch of paradoxes that are part of how the church talks about reality, but one of the biggest is about the end times. Side one of the paradox is that the end has already come. Side two of the paradox is that we are still here. With the resurrection of Jesus, the last day has happened. The age to come has arrived. But the current age still roles on. And we live in that tension.

As we saw the past week, living in a Divine tension is not comfortable. We’d like to resolve it. We want the old age to be done with, now. Hence the rapture warning, but also the much larger number of apocalypses and Armageddons predicted from a wide variety of folks religious and secular. Or, we’d like to just say – same as it ever was, world without end. Hence the lukewarmness, the despising of church and sacrament, the lack of holiness. We collapse the paradox, on our terms, on our time, in our way.

But Peter calls us living stones, placed on The Living Stone. Think for a second about that juxtaposition living…stones… Can you come up with a stranger notion? And we are living stones for God’s purposes. Those purposes are: growing up to salvation, to take our place in being built up into a spiritual house on the cornerstone (i.e. the church is important, its a corporate image), to proclaim Jesus who has called us out of darkness into his light.