Great Expectations

Biblical Text: Luke 24:13-35
Full Sermon Draft

The text is the Road to Emmaus. Luke likes road trips. Chapters 10 through 19 are known as the road narrative as all the action is suppose to take place while Jesus is walking from Galilee to Jerusalem. The Emmaus Road I think is Luke’s poetic description of the Christian life. I don’t comment on in in the sermon, but imagine Luke himself for a moment. He interviewed all these people: Peter, John, James, Mary, Paul. All these people who knew the physical Jesus and testified to the resurrected Jesus. Luke knew him through them, and through the breaking of bread.

Life is full of expectations. The road to Emmaus present in the sermon is how we have wise expectations instead of foolish ones. The main part of that is recognizing Jesus. And we are given to recognize him in the Sacrament and the Scriptures – Word and Sacrament. Our life here, after that recognition is a walk toward the New Jerusalem. Now the walk and the witness, next year in Jerusalem. And as on of the metaphors has it in the sermon, next year happens. I’m a Cubs fan. It does.

Daily Lectionary Podcast – Job 3:11-26 and John 1:35-51

Job 3:11-26
John 1:35-51
Questioning the Wisdom of God
How the Call of Christ overturns our expectations
The destination of the wisdom of the World/The Wisdom of God

Whose expectations get met?

Full Text of Sermon

The text is Matthew 21:33-46 which is the parable of the wicked tenants. I’ve pondered this parable for a long time – at least in American terms. It is filled with an urgency and a venom missing is the mustard seed and birds of the air. It has an easy allegory, but one that seems tailor made to produce pharisees. There are parts of it that to a Lutheran are shockingly troublesome. The production and handing over of “fruits” reads like works-righteousness. And the whole “leasing” of the vineyard reducing the Kingdom to a financial transaction. It doesn’t fit my nice and tidy systematic theology. And if we accept the easy allegory the church has placed on the parable almost from the start, does it mean anything to us today? Not much that I could see.

So for me here the key isn’t so much allegorical as centered in the Question of Jesus – “What will the landowner do when he returns?” Everybody has expectations. Some expectations get met and others go bust. The thought for the Christian life is to get your expectations in line with God’s. The landowners expectations get met. The only question is by whom. A cornerstone has been set. The vineyard will produce a crop. Do we fall over that cornerstone attempting to meet our expectations against the landowner, or do we produce the fruit in season viewing the vineyard and its cornerstone in the cross as marvelous?

Easter reflection – New Life on the Way

This morning, about 4 AM, my wife pushes me and says she thinks its time and adds she is having contractions about 4 minutes apart. At 4 AM when I heard that I was thinking more about how to deliver a child than driving to the hospital becuase this thing is coming now. The 4 minutes things soon subsided. She got up and made the proper calls and walked around and what were felt to be contractions subsided or at least slowed way down. (While daddy is running around throwing the necessary stuff in the car only to be told not just yet.) The labor pains are starting, but not 4 mins apart. New life is on its way.

That seems a little like the drawing near of the kingdom to us. We are all pregnant (Romans 8:22-23) and can feel the pangs of our future glory. Sometimes the kingdom is as near as a 4 AM wakeup call with contractions 4 minutes about. And sometimes it says not quite yet. Babies and God both have their own timing. The thing that we do not have to worry about is the end. Babies are born. The Kingdom will be revealed in our flesh just as it is now in Jesus Christ.

With that note, here is the Easter Sermon. It was a glorious day. The congregation even drowned out the trombone. He is Risen!…He is Risen Indeed. Alelluia!


Full Text