My Christmas Day sermons are a little more contemplative. This one is from the texts of the day, primarily Isaiah 52:7-10 and John 1:1-14, but it also leans heavily on the hymn A Great and Mighty Wonder – LSB 383. It is a contemplation of the Holy set against the normal wisdom of the middle way. Merry Christmas
Tag Archives: Truth
Biblical Text: John 17:11-19
Full Sermon Draft
We all start off as parents with great expectations. It doesn’t take long, and the older they get, to see those expectations give way to more realistic definitions. Instead of forming the next president we take on goals like stopping them from doing stupid stuff, or in Chris Rock’s formulation “keep them off the pole”. We might think this is miles away from Jesus especially in that High Priestly Prayer on the night he was betrayed. But I think we’d be wrong. His formation of his spiritual children, those disciples, was over. And given the fact of what Judas and Peter were about to do we might even say it was a failure. Yet what Jesus prays is akin to every Mother’s prayer – “keep them away from the evil one”. It is not a prayer of formation or heroic desire, but of salvation and preservation.
And while that prayer often gets a “not yet” response, as it did with Jesus himself. It ultimately gets a “yes”. He will not lose a single lamb that has been given to him. On that great day, his children will be kept away from the evil one. And this is because Jesus consecrated himself, dedicated himself to the purpose of saving sinners. While formation as solid adults, prayer for their well being, and all the other higher goals of parenting good and proper. The highest truth of the job is to relay that truth – whoever has the son has life, and wherever we are at however stupid, we can have the son. Teach them that truth and the good shepherd will keep them from the evil one.
Biblical Text: Acts 17:16-31,32-34
Full Sermon Draft
The text is Paul in Athens. I could tell you very quickly what the core of the sermon is about, but then you might not listen. If there is one thing that we in the modern world are mistaken about it is the pace of truth. We think it is an intellectual exercise as quick as a download of information. And we expect it to be complete. Run the bit check on that download. Not that truth is more organic and takes time. But when you hear it, and you know you’ve heard it, well. That is what this is about.
Worship Note: I’ve left in our Hymn of the Day LSB 832, Jesus Shall Reign. The words are Isaac Watts’, the best hymn writer in the English language. The tune should be familiar from Easter, Duke Street, which is the common tune of I Know the My Redeemer Lives. It is a great hymn which captures the breadth of Paul in Athens.
Biblical Text: John 4:5-26
Full Sermon Draft
The gospel lessons for Lent this year are coming from John and they are emphasizing some of his vibrant characters. Last week was Nicodemus. This week is the Samaritan woman. Next week is the man born blind. These are archetypal meditations. That doesn’t deny their reality has happenings, but in this March Madness season they are the “one shining moments”. We’ve all had them. Those moments that explain so much else. Our problem is we rarely realize it at the time or even close to it. It is only on reflection and meditation that they become clear. And even then it is a personal truth, not Truth. With John as sacred scripture we have Truth.
Thirst is a subject that John’s Jesus talks about three times. Here at the well. He will connect it to the bread of life in John 6:35. And then on the cross. When Jesus talks thirst, he is thirsty to find those the Father desires. He is thirsty to give the gift and reveal himself, to give the spirit and show himself the truth. Jesus slakes our thirst, but he remains thirsty until the Kingdom. He is always thirsty for the lost and lacking to find the well.
Worship Note: I’ve left in our opening hymn, LSB 602, The Gifts Christ Freely Gives. It perfectly sets the tone based on the text. Christ talks about the “gift of God”. Those gifts are revealed throughout his life and empower the life of the church. We sang vs. 1,2,4,5. Another thing that the song reminds me of is the importance of that flesh and blood congregation where those gifts are found. You are invited.
The Gifts Christ Freely Gives – Lutheran Service Book 602
1 The gifts Christ freely gives
He gives to you and me
To be His Church, His bride,
His chosen, saved and free!
Saints blest with these rich gifts
Are children who proclaim
That they were won by Christ
And cling to His strong name.
2 The gifts flow from the font
Where He calls us His own;
New life He gives that makes
Us His and His alone.
Here He forgives our sins
With water and His Word;
The triune God Himself
Gives pow’r to call Him Lord.
4 The gifts are there each day
The holy Word is read;
God’s children listen, hear,
Receive, and they are fed.
Christ fills them with Himself,
Blest words that give them life,
Restoring and refreshing
Them for this world’s strife.
5 The gifts are in the feast,
Gifts far more than we see;
Beneath the bread and wine
Is food from Calvary.
The body and the blood
Remove our ev’ry sin;
We leave His presence in
His peace, renewed again.
Biblical Texts: Mark 6:14-29, Amos 7:7-15
Full Sermon Draft
The real question in free and bound is: to what?
The normal way we talk about free and bound is in regards to sin. That comes under the doctrine of the keys. But in this sermon we are looking not at that doctrine, but at the bets we all place at the foundation of our lives. We all place some. Sometimes we might not know it, but they are there. What these two passages do is give us a glimpse of two foundations and how they bind and free us.
There are several applications, but today we were saying good-bye to a man and family that is off to study for the pastorate. We as a congregation were wishing them farewell and Godspeed. We were freeing them for this larger call as much as it pains us, but we along with the entire church were binding them to the Word. The plumb line that makes us free from sin and the crookedness of the world, binds us all to Christ. We might be separated in the World, but we are still one in Christ. The hymn at the end – The Church’s One Foundation – perfectly expresses this.
Who is this God? Christopher Hitchens’ divine tyrant or revealed in Jesus Christ
The Romance of God
The Sovereignty of God and the problem of Pain
The emotional nature of Job’s story
What the revealed God tells us about love
Biblical Text: Mark 1:1-8
You could say it is one of my pet theories of the bible – the order of seeing and believing. Most moderns would emphatically say that sight leads to correct belief. (And hence the high priests of modernity sneer at Christ.) I think the reality is that faith or believing comes first. What we believe about the world influences what we see. And let me extend that further, I think that having a solid ground (i.e. Christ/God) is very important to having a good grip on truth overall. Without Christ we are much more likely to see all kinds of non-truth as truth. (I get that from Romans 1 FYI.)
I don’t expound on it often because: a) the culture believes just the opposite so b) it is hard to get solid accepted examples for such a mystical point. But this sermon is an attempt at just that because the immediate past has three examples of belief influencing sight, some very poorly.
The core of the problem is that false belief is always an attempt to justify ourselves (and demonize the other). The secure ground is what John the Baptist proclaimed as the beginning of the good news – a baptism of repentance. God’s story refuses to divide us; we are all sinners. God’s story refuses to divide us; we are all saved not by our acts or the law but by the acts of God. God’s story isn’t pretty or immediately believable. It just happens to be true good news.
1 Samuel 9:1-27
Saul’s self conception vs. reality vs. David,, Cultural blinders, Our Shared consciousness of Christ
Proverbs 30:1-9, 18-33
The limits of Wisdom and the need for the gospel,The middle path of wisdom, Hebrew Poetic Form and hard truths