Tag Archives: Rest

God’s Work; Our Growth

Biblical Text: Mark 4:26-34
Full Sermon Draft

The year preaching on the Gospel according to Mark is one of the most interesting. Mark’s gospel has the most cryptic and odd parts. It is no wonder that the current reigning academic model puts Mark as the earliest. It makes sense that some thing like today’s parable or last Sunday’s visit by Mary would be smoothed out later. It makes sense, but I’m not personally convinced. Of the four gospels Mark simply seems to have a sense of the absurd. How crazy and paradoxical and wonderful at the same time life and the God of life actually is. This sermon attempts to ponder the odder of the seed parables. “The earth produces by itself.” It invites you to think of it as a parable of the work of the Spirit. God doesn’t seem to know what he is doing – “he sleeps and rise night and day”, “he scatters everywhere” – but the plants grow and produce a harvest. The Kingdom of God can be absurd that way, but it is God’s work. And he grants us the growth.

Just What is a Sabbath Anyway?

Biblical Text: Mark 2:23-28
Full Sermon Draft

In the course of my lifetime I’m not sure if there is a word that went from being in general use to almost obsolete more than Sabbath. It might be hard to imagine if you didn’t live through it, but the great deliberative bodies of our nation once spent great amounts of time thinking about a Sabbath and its meaning. Today I’d bet that the vast majority of folks wouldn’t even recognize the word. It is in the 3rd commandment. Lots of the controversies around Jesus are because of it. What is a Christian supposed to do? That is what this sermon is about. What is a Sabbath anyway? And if we are supposed to keep it holy, how do we do that? It is so easy, and yet awfully hard. It is all about the gospel, and yet we so often want a law. But as Jesus says, the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So we need to understand how to receive it as a gift, not work to secure it. We have a Sabbath rest, even if we don’t know it. This is about knowing it, and living it.

Transcendent – Sign and Reality

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Biblical Text: Mark 9:2-9
Full Sermon Draft

One of the things I think is constant in our experience is a desire for the transcendent. I’ll use as a quick definition of the transcendent something that is larger that we are. Augustine recognized this in his phrase “we are restless until we find our rest in you”. The biblical text is the Transfiguration, a direct experience of the transcendent and the reaction of Peter. What the sermon attempts to do is first demonstrate that we aren’t any different. We long for transcendence and we cling desperately to its signs. It does this primarily by looking at pop music which in my head expresses openly our common longings. The second step is to point out what actually happens on the mountaintop. Jesus is left alone and the voice says listen to him. Instead of clinging to the fleeting signs of transcendence, we have the reality, Jesus Christ. And his words tells us where we can find him. We are restless until we find our rest in him.

The hymn of the day captured in the recording points at one of those places we see face to face: Lutheran Service Book 631 – Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face. All the words and some history of the hymn are here. Here is the LSB link which has an extra verse and is set to an interesting/different hymn tune compared to the most standard.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Exodus 10:21-11:10 and Hebrews 4:1-16

Exodus 10:21-11:10
Hebrews 4:1-16
The Word of God which makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel, The Gospel for Type-A personalities
Come Unto Me, Ye Weary – Lutheran Service Book 684

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Exodus 9:29-10:20 and Hebrews 3:1-19

Exodus 9:29-10:20
Hebrews 3:1-19
Hard Heart, The Rest of God, Not that God denies the rest but our hearts do
Jesus, Refuge of the Weary – Lutheran Service Book 423