A meditation on the Hebrews 1:1-6 reading – the Word Spoken long ago in many ways, today made ours.
Today was our Children’s Pageant. The pageant this year was built around the hymn “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”. That is LSB 358 is you would like to see all 15 verse by Luther. The recording here is my homily introducing the kids followed by the children’s songs and sayings. The photos are parson’s wife’s as I didn’t get a chance this year (thank you!). They did an outstanding job. Lend and ear and a voice if you would like to sing along.
Biblical Text: John 10:1-10
Full Sermon Draft
The text is the fascinating precursor to the “good shepherd” passages. In the context, precursor is the wrong word because the first 6 verses of John 10 are the basis. Verses 7 through 10 are an expansion or a change of emphasis. The good shepherd verses are elaborations on these initial “truly, truly” sayings. What this sermon attempts to do is meditate on those sayings. It asks the confirmation question “what does this mean” about the structure. After answering is examines three things: a) how God acts in this world as explained by the parable, b) our duty after “hearing the voice” and c) what Jesus means by abundant life. I think this is a rather thick sermon, but worth a listen
Maybe it is just getting older, but two things I experience daily that a younger man wouldn’t think could happen together. It could just be becoming set in my ways, but that isn’t how I experience it. Daily I am more convinced both of basic Christian doctrine and also with specific Lutheran doctrine. I’m a contrarian by nature. It is the last thing I would have expected. At the same time as becoming more sure of that doctrine, I’m becoming less militant. What I mean by that is while I can’t imagine something that forces a rethink on Augsburg Confession doctrine, I’m also much more willing to say with Paul “and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Phil 3:15-16)” We are all straining toward a goal we have not attained. I save my militancy for those situations where I see people deliberatively leaving the narrow way, and those tempting them off it.
A Great and Mighty Wonder is my favorite Christmas hymn. It helps that it is set to Es IST Ein Ros (Lo, How a Rose is Blooming), but that isn’t everything. When you understand a little of the life of the writer it becomes all the more powerful. This sermon hopefully proclaims the savior’s birth, reflected through St. Germanus, while living in the eschatological hope. Germanus’ life is a life that is incomprehensible outside of doctrine. It is also one that understands how that doctrine itself can deny the hope that is only Christ. His hymn is a moving meditation moving to the great hope when all idols – seen and unseen – shall perish and satan’s lying cease. And Christ shall raise his scepter, decreeing endless peace.
The slave child and the free child (Paul’s Allegory)
All Israel & God no longer “passing by” but getting into the boat with us
Who is our enemy and rejoicing at their fall, Proper complaints about authority, Shadows & Reality
Praise Be to Christ – Lutheran Service Book 538
Note: When I get to 10 minutes I more or less cut it off. I actually want to keep it under 9 minutes, but the readings have been longer recently, and these are some deep passages. (If they are too long at 10 minutes, I’d love some feedback. Reading & recording isn’t the same as listening.) So, if you want to discuss them more please come to Thursday night bible study, St. Marks @ 7 PM, 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month.
Biblical Text: John 1:1-19
Full Sermon Draft
Our soundmaster included a bunch of the service from this morning. The message is from John, but the hymns and carols selected tell the same story. Merry Christmas.
Text: Mark 9:30-37
Full Sermon Draft
That title or the graphics might be a little macabre, but just give a listen (or a read). Every now and then you come across a story that has meaning beyond the simple facts. That’s what happened here.
Text: Ephesians: 2:11-22
Full Draft of Sermon
Had one of the best comments possible I think – a 4 year old at McDonald’s after service commented on the sermon.
The stories in the world today – especially in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting – are stories of alienation and loss. They are stories of searching. Sometimes finding. Sometimes not and remaining lost. Those stories play with a deep truth. Sin alienates. It is the cause and the manifestation of our lostness. The artists and the church actually agree on the diagnosis, but they disagree on the prescription. The church actually has an answer. It is found in the incarnation…in the flesh and blood of Christ.
I wanted to share this poem primarily because I found it strikingly beautiful.
The woman with the alabaster jar
She knew the lines of a man’s back
as well as she knew the taste
of decanted fig-wine, or the way the spine
girdered the back under her hand;
an uneven scaffolding of flesh under fingers.
It was a gentle gift, this. Acquired slowly
in the stones arranged on her mother’s grave,
in the deep vault of her hip against his.
Dipping like water, she learnt to press libations
into her hair — lavender, dill, coriander;
to twist strands against the frame.
There was salvation in this. And Art too;
that fingers still wet from mulberry
could etch a form of truth on the skin,
like the rim of flung-coin, or the
consolation of Spring oranges and their spurting.
But the truth of them has been forgotten.
His dirty feet and tired eyes, her hennaed-thighs
in sandalwood and linen, how she swung her hips,
how his loneliness was an atrium arching from his chest
to the lip of the buttress; aching for her to unfurl her hair.
The allusions swim around these texts (Matt 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:37-39 – although note that the Luke story is a different setting; also look at Song of Solomon 5:15-16). Does it step over a line for the pious, or does it push to the right line reminding us ‘…and he was made man…’?