Biblical Text: 2 Kings 2:1-12
The fancy word is typeology or archetype. The meaning is a person or character or action that is a distilled example of human experience. What makes the scriptures so powerful, at least if you catch the vision of them, is that the experience of Israel with GOD is the distilled archetype. The New Testament is THE specific example. The life of Christ is the fulfillment of all the archetypes, because in this one life we have God meeting one in on Christ. And seeing as our lives are conformed to his, they are going to rhyme with Israel’s experience. This sermon first looks at a couple of the rhymes of Elijah and Elisha in broad strokes. Then it looks at the specific call of our text and how our lives might rhyme with “the chariots and horsemen of Israel” and asks if we want them to.
Biblical Text: Isaiah 40:21-31
Winning solves a lot of problems; losing brings on a lot of questions. And man was Israel on a losing streak. The good news is that each question drew Israel back towards God, to knowing the God who had entered into covenant with them more fully. This sermon examines a couple of those questions, Isaiah’s answers to them, and how they apply to us.
Biblical Text: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
The text is Moses’ promise of “a prophet like me”. Prophet is one of those words that feels slightly archaic, but it just isn’t. It is used all the time. What this sermon does is hopefully three things:
- Define what a prophet is
- Understand what “a prophet like me” means, how that is different from many standard uses, and how Jesus is the only one who really qualifies
- And finally equip everyone how to not get suckered by people claiming Moses like prophetic authority.
Biblical Text: Jonah 3:1-10, really all of Jonah
The Jonah story is so much more than just a fish tale. It is a tale of repentance. It is a tale of what moves God. It is a tale of prophets going the wrong way while everyone around them goes the right way. It is a tale about learning to desire grace. It is a tale of seeing the signs and applying them to ourselves. It is about walking in joy even if the way is strange and hard. In short it is a tale of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. This sermon attempts to bring that stuff into the foreground, and put the whale in background.
I’m sorry for our technical difficulties for any who attempted to stream the service. After checking things out I don’t think it was on this end. Changing nothing, it all worked about 2 PM. I usually don’t post funeral services because they feel like a close private thing, which the internet is not. But, due to the troubles earlier, I’ve edited and put together the lessons and sermon from Gene’s service.
Biblical Text: 1 Samuel 3:1-10
Sometimes you feel like you live in a time of Eli. Just to be clear what that means is old, blind, uncaring, casually cruel, dismissive of almost everything as beyond your ability to do anything or even care. Like Ezekiel staring a valley of dry bones – Can these bones live? And it seems pie in the sky to say yes.
Yet this is how God works. He works by death and resurrection. And the form or the means of God’s work is His word. Just when we might think “the lamp of God” has gone out, it hasn’t, and it calls out “Samuel, Samuel”. And if comes and stands in our presence and speaks to us anew.
The renewal of the Christian life always starts with “Speak Lord, for your servant hears.” That is what this sermon ponders.
Biblical Text: Genesis 1:1-5
This sermon is a bit more philosophical that I typically get. It is also leaning of a work of systematic or dogmatic theology I’ve been reading by the Lutheran theologian Robert Jenson. Classic theology is build around what in Latin are loci. In English it is much less impressive, merely subjects of focus. And the classic first loci is God.
There is a blatant problem with that. Absent revelation we can know nothing about God. Most everybody would disagree with that. That is the inspiration for every rational and forced mystic quest for God. It is the thinking behind “seeking”. And all those quests seem to have the same goal, to get under or behind or beneath our existence to the eternal timeless reality. But the God of revelation is not timeless; He is the creator of time.
This sermon invites us not to be driven by fear into seeking some unchanging reality, but to hear Jesus is risen as the invitation to a way through time, through God’s good creation from alpha to omega.
Biblical Text: Luke 2:40-52
I am always surprised at how multivalent (fancy word for many valid levels) the scriptures are. A Protestant temptation, and a temptation of “smart” people, is to think that there is only one interpretation or reading that is best. For this text, Jesus in the temple, that “best” reading usually focuses on the distinction between the boy Jesus and the “teachers of the law”. And that is not an invalid way of thinking about the text. But I owe a big debt to Luther for this view, and I think it is a perfect example of the pastoral Luther. Luther put aside the immediately obvious Law and Gospel distinction, to focus on the situation of Mary. Mary who for three days has lost God. The core question is where do we find consolation, where do we find God?
This sermon ponders a bit why God would put his “most highly favored” in such suffering situations. And it then puts forward how we find consolation in such times, and how we should prepare for the crosses of life.
Biblical Text: Luke 2:22-40
This sermon owes a bunch to Luther’s Postil sermon on this text for this 1st Sunday after Christmas. That published sermon of Luther’s is one of those great overstuffed things. There are about 6 different sermons attempting to break out. In some ways I imagine the great man might have been under some of the similar pressures. He’d probably preached three times in the week already and had a few other things due. And then the next Sunday is there. What do you say? There is always a lot in God’s word, the real work of preaching is picking and expressing one specific thing. But sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth for that work. So you offer up a smorgasbord.
Solid potato dish – The faith of Simeon & Anna/Joseph & Mary.
Vegetables – The humility of Christ in this group
Fish – Typology, Anna as Old Testament Saints/Temple; Mary as New/Church
Desert (don’t take too much) – Some numbers, 7 & 84
Prime Rib – The sign of opposition
Ham – The Christmas promise against that sign