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11th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 18:9-14 + August 12, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Jesus tells a parable of two men in today’s Gospel lesson. The first is a Pharisee. The Pharisee goes to the Temple, the house of the Lord, to pray. He approaches God purely out of thanksgiving, but not thanksgiving for what God has done for him. He thanks God that He is not like other men. He is not an extortioner. He’s not ravenous for other’s possessions or property. He hasn’t gotten his goods by threat or force. He thanks God that he is a hardworking and industrious fellow. And this is a good thing. He thanks God that he is not unjust. He is not an unrighteous person who wallows in the sins of the flesh like lust and covetousness. And this, too, is a good thing. His litany continues. He gives thanks that he is not an adulterer. He is faithful to his marriage vows and this, too, is a very good thing. Then he gives thanks to God that he is not like the man standing at the back of the Temple, head bowed,…

10th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 19;41-48 + August 5, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The first part of this Sunday’s Gospel lesson takes place on Palm Sunday as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. Surrounded by shouts of ‘Hosanna,’ Jesus looks upon the city of David and weeps. He weeps because He desires the Jew’s salvation but knows they will reject it. He says, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Christ’s coming to Jerusalem is the gracious visitation of God Himself. But they will crucify Him and for the next forty years, reject His apostles sent to them. For this rejection, the city will be l…

9th Sunday after Trinity + 1 Corinthians 10:6-13 + July 28, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
St. Paul warns the Corinthians, and all Christians, against the false belief that Christians can never lose their salvation. The Corinthians had become cocksure and arrogant. They were baptized. They had the Lord’s Supper. The Lord had called them out of the darkness of slavery to sin. They imagined themselves to be secure in God’s grace and free to do as they pleased. The Corinthians had become secure in their sins and abandoned the life of repentance, imagining that they could not lose what God has so graciously given them. Paul writes to correct this impious notion, and we would do well to heed Paul’s warning as well. We see this deception of the devil today in many who teach and believe that once a man is saved he will always be saved, regardless of what he does with the rest of his life. This is a false notion of security. Although God has promised never to revoke His promises and grace, it is entirely possib…

8th Sunday after Trinity + Romans 8:12-17 + July 22, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
In today’s Epistle lesson St. Paul summarizes the new life we have by faith in Christ. Through faith our sins are forgiven. God declares us righteous through faith apart from the works of the Law. Through faith in the promise of the Gospel God adopts us into His holy family, making us heirs of all His heavenly blessings. Because we are sons of God by adoption, we are brothers of Christ Jesus. Being brothers of Christ and co-heirs with Christ, we suffer in this life as He suffered in this life, knowing that if we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him at the consummation of all things. This new life of faith in Christ is beset by many challenges, one of which Christ warns us against in today’s Gospel lesson. There will be false prophets, preachers and interpreters of His Word, who intentionally, and most unintentionally, try to draw us away from the new life of faith.
Paul begins by reminding us that we are no…

7th Sunday after Trinity + Mark 8:1-9 & Romans 6:19-23 + July 15, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 
The Collect of the Day collects all the thoughts of the Sunday into one brief prayer. It’s tempting to think that because it’s brief it’s generic. But each prayer summarizes the main thought for each Sunday’s readings and ties them together. This makes the Collects good for more than just Sunday mornings. The Collect is for each day of the week, rooting each day in Sunday’s thought. If you use the Collect each day of the week you’ll find that it, and the readings for Sunday, conforms your prayers to its thought. Consider today’s Collect, the prayer for the seventh Sunday after Trinity. “O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in Heaven and earth, we humbly beseech Thee to put away from us all hurtful things and give to us those things which be profitable for us.” It sounds generic. It also sounds like something the prosperity preachers could pray. We pray for two things. First, put …

6th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 5:20-26 + July 8, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Most everyone today thinks they are righteous. They wouldn’t use that word. They would use the word ‘good.’ And externally, many people are ‘good’ to a certain degree. They don’t murder or steal. They don’t commit adultery or perjure themselves in court. They don’t complain out loud. On top of all that they don’t do, they’re nice folk who work hard and for the most part mind their own business, at least in comparison to others. This is what passes for “good” and “righteous” in our day. The same mentality passed for righteousness in Jesus’ day. The scribes and the Pharisees thought they were righteous as long as they kept God’s Law externally. They didn’t murder or steal. They didn’t commit adultery or perjure themselves. They didn’t complain out loud. They were pious folk who stood on the street corners praying. They tithed a tenth of all their possessions. They went to the Temple as often as they could. …

5th Sunday after Trinity + Luke 5:1-11 + July 1, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In today’s Gospel lesson Christ preaches to a large crowd that pressed in on Jesus because they want to hear the Word of God. Like a fisherman, Jesus casts the net of the Gospel and catches a great haul of souls. He teaches them to repent of their sins, be sorry for them, and strive to leave them behind. He preaches to them the good news that God loves mankind and has sent His Son to come to the aid of sinners. He teaches them that they have no righteousness of their own and that God the Fathers offers them a righteousness apart from works of the law that is offered to all. He has come to forgive the sins of those who are penitent and bring them new life in God’s kingdom. This is how Christ calls men to salvation. He has cast the net of His Word and drew them to Himself. The multitude crowded Him up against the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret. There He climbs into Peter’s boat and tells the tired fisherm…