Tag Archives: peace

Humble Authority

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Biblical Text: Matthew 21:1-11, Isaiah 2:1-5
Full Sermon Draft

The text for the first Sunday in Advent is usually Palm Sunday. The theme is the Advent of the King. There are multiple ways that Advent invites us to ponder the Kingship of Jesus. We can reflect on the first advent in a holy longing for the second advent. The first time in grace and humility, the second in judgement and power. We could reflect on the King as stand-in for His people. In this case the King on the way to the cross and our penitential need. That is Advent as a penitential season. The Isaiah text which is just as much the sermon text of the day invites a third meditation, Advent as the dawning and growing of the light. What this sermon attempts to do is think about what it means to have a King. It posits a couple of forms of human kingship – modern and ancient. It then contrasts those with the Biblical picture of the Kingship of Jesus. It concludes with the encouragement as the natural light grows shorter, to let they spiritual light brighten. Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

Worship notes: The other voice you hear is our Seminarian Tim Bayer. He was in town for Thanksgiving and it is always great to be able to include him in the service. Since the break is a short one, he and his wonderful voice handled the liturgy for us. I’ve left in two hymns. At the start LSB 343, Prepare the Royal Highway. At the end LSB 331, The Advent of Our King. Both carry the Kingship theme and explore it is ways similar to the sermon. I love the hymns of Advent. I’ll often try to work some of them in during the year itself because the season itself is made to short. The other reason is that the themes of advent are so deep and worthy of reflection.

Division…Not Yet and Now

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Biblical Text: Luke 12:49-59 (Luke 12:35-59) – note: the larger text is really the basis, the shorter text was the lectionary reading

Full Sermon Draft

Getting last week off from having to polish a sermon because our Seminarian Tim did a great job gave me a lot of time just to meditate on Luke 12. On first read Luke 12 is all over the place veering from the harshest warning and condemnations to the sweetest promises. I think in our modern American Christian imagination we are all Jeffersonians of a kind. Jefferson famously cut out of his gospels all the “fantastical” accounts (i.e. the miracles and the resurrection) leaving nothing but a moralistic great teacher Jesus. We don’t cut out the miracles, at least not most of us, but what we cut out in the prophet. We string together nice Jesus, and come up with some way to tune out fiery Jesus. But if we refuse to listen to Jesus the prophet, we end up in situations like the OT lesson from Jeremiah, where our “prophets” blow us sweet nothings and we are shocked at division from both man and God.

Attempting to boil the chapter down into a single paragraph, it is more coherent that that first read. It is Jesus’ correction our natural views of the intersection of division/peace and temporal/eternal with the messiah or the work of God. Our natural view is that we want peace expressed temporally. Peace within families. Peace between religions. Peace on earth. Or at least we want those things assuming that they come with the correct division. Our temporal physical tribe get the peace while the out group is safely divided from us. And all of that peace coming with a healthy serving of temporal prosperity for our group. We want a sugar-daddy messiah, and we don’t give a second thought to the eternal. Or just assume like the rich fool that the good times will roll forever. But Jesus corrects us in our temporal thoughts. Now is not the time of peace, but the time of division. It is the time of division because this messiahs, and this God’s concerns, are not temporal, but eternal. Jesus has come to give eternal peace which you have right now. But this peace is by grace, through faith. And those that believe align their lives with the divine purpose. They know the will of the householder for whom they have been left as stewards. But, not everyone believes. Many might know, but they are unwilling to live with that knowledge. And that is the division in this life. That is also the cause of the temporal strife. A strife that is not yet resolved in peace. Not yet resolved in the hope that the full number will come in.

Peace, Healing & The Reign

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Biblical Text: Luke 10:1-20
Full Sermon Draft

Program Note: I’m sorry about possible recording quality. I’ve been having a little trouble with the line volume. I think the pulpit mic might be going out, so the altar mic is doing all the recording except for occasional pops. I’ve amplified and leveled the signal such that I think its okay. The altar mic is a real good one and the system isn’t bad, but I’ve got some wire work to do.

The text for the day is often appropriated for mission Sundays, and it can work that way. Biblical texts are multivalent in that there are often multiple appropriate understandings of them. But I don’t think that the sending of the seventy-two is primarily about lay evangelism. Using it to preach that people in the pews should be ready and able to share their faith misses a distinction. That is better preached from something like 1 Peter 3:15. The distinction which is missed using it for that is that the 72 are the new elders of Israel. There are traditions that don’t have an ordained ministry, but the apostolic church, following Jesus here, did set aside those called – think Stephen and the Seven deacons and Timothy and Titus and those Paul sent Titus to appoint and lay on hands. When the apostles did that they were following Jesus here.

What Jesus does here is give the charter for that office. When that office is functioning within bounds as intended what does it do? It preaches peace. It seeks to heal those of the house. It proclaims the reign of God. What this sermon does is attempt to do that while providing examples.

Music Note: I have left in two of the hymns. Our opening hymn Faith and Truth and Life Bestowing (LSB 584) is a wonderful prayer for the opening of service that mirrors Jesus’ words to pray to the Lord of the Harvest. The hymn of the day has a wonderful message, but I left it in primarily because of the tune – We Are Called to Stand Together (LSB 828). Both of them are newer hymns the texts written by people living at the time of hymnal publication (2006) and the tunes as well, although Holy Manna is a new setting of an older hymn tune. The text of We are called mirrors the progression of the sermon moving from Patriarch, Prophets and Apostles through ages to us. The urge is to continue in each generation to proclaim the truth, that the reign of God has come near to you with His peace. That time will end, when we will all be united, but till then we tell the story.

Seeing God

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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.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Numbers 10:11-36 and Luke 16:19-31

Numbers 10:11-36
Luke 16:19-31
The Pattern of Life is the Pattern in eternity, don’t build walls that can’t come down

Ah, thoughts on the staircase. It stuck me as I was completing the upload that the OT does have a lesson. In learning the very basics of being the children of God, Israel dwelt in tents. Those tents came down and went up at the command of the Lord at unknown times. Being the people of God requires living in certain dwelling lightly. The graceful practice in the church is not always going to look the same. Not talking about the eternal law, or the Word which abides forever, but about how we live it or incarnate it.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Leviticus 23:23-44 and Luke 12:35-53

Leviticus 23:23-44
Luke 12:35-53
“Grumpy Jesus”, Peace not universal, Peace on the new earth vs. this earth, rolling division

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Genesis 8:13-9:17 and Mark 4:1-20

Genesis 8:13-9:17
Mark 4:1-20
Loud vs. Quiet Metaphors, Divine Warrior vs. Peace, The Mystery of Election (Let the one who has ears…)
Note: Last Sunday’s Sermon (3/9/14) at the end brings in the parable of the soils read here. It uses it not to think about election but in a more descriptive way of how we react to temptation.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29 and Romans 7:21-8:17

Ezekiel 39:1-10, 17-29
Romans 7:21-8:17
The Divine Warrior declares peace, the War within our own members

Passion Absurdities

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Text: Luke 19:28-48, Luke 23:1-25
Full Sermon Draft

The sermon is somewhat pointillist. There is one theme, the absurdities in the Palm Sunday and Trial before Pilate sections of the Gospel according to Luke; and how those same absurdities play in our day. That choice of structure seemed fitting. Luke tells a story full of irony and absurd details. The modern world is the one that ceased making sense captured as the arts turned from form and beauty to abstraction and shock.

But of course the over-riding absurdity of the Palms and Passion is why did He do it? For a bunch of inconsequential dust. For creatures that strut about in stubborn defiance and invincible ignorance. Christ took to the cross to redeem all the absurdity. To redeem our absurdity.

And to compound it, he left us as His ambassadors. He gave us a roll to play. The only question is if we know the things that make for peace.

A Specific Peace

The word peace in the Gospel according to Luke is a big word. This was the First Sunday in Advent and the gospel lesson is often the triumphal entry or Palm Sunday. The theological theme of the that text is the Kingship of Jesus. No different in Luke, but Luke adds this strange cry from the crowd leading Jesus into Jerusalem. “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! (Luk 19:38 ESV)” Did you catch the strange word? Peace in Heaven. The entire phrase is an echo of the Angels at Christmas, but instead of peace on earth, now it is peace in heaven. And if you do the word study, roughly midway through Luke you find this, “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. (Luk 12:51 ESV)”

The peace of God is not a generic peace. The Angels were never singing just “peace on earth”. They sang “on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! (Luk 2:14 ESV)” The specific peace is the Kingdom of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The specific peace is one imposed…through grace. You can take it or you can leave it, but you can’t work for it. You can’t earn the peace. The Father just declared it. The war was over on the cross.

The only question is our response. Do we accept the peace, or continue an insurgent war. Which Kingdom do we choose, the Kingdom of this World, or the Kingdom of Heaven. The tyrant Satan or the humble Christ. Choose your prince.