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2nd Sunday after Trinity + Luke 14:16-24 + June 10, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
This week someone asked me how I selected the texts for each Sunday. I explained the Lectionary, that is, the series of readings that we’ve received and how it works. The entire year has been crafted so that you’ll hear every doctrine you need to know within a year. The woman asking me this then asked me how I preach about current events if I follow predetermined readings. I told her that if the event really needed to be preached on I could “free-text,” though I really don’t care for that. It is more than that, however. The church’s business isn’t all that much about current events. You get enough of that from the television news networks, the newspaper, and the internet. The conversation reminded me of St. Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:2, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” On the Lord’s Day we gather in the Lord’s house to hear the Word of the Lord and …

1st Sunday after Trinity + Luke 16:19-31 + June 3, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Two very different men live two very different lives. The first man is very wealthy. He wears the color of kings. His clothing is soft and luxurious. His table is always filled with good things to eat. The second man is the opposite in every way. Instead of great wealth he has great poverty. Instead of being clothed with the finest linens, his body is covered in terrible sores. Instead of full table, Lazarus has a perpetually empty stomach. The rich man’s crumbs would have been a feast to Lazarus, but none fell from the rich man’s table. The rich man lived a life of comfort and ease. The only comfort poor Lazarus received was from dogs who came and licked his sores. As they are very different in life, so they are very different in death. The beggar Lazarus dies and angels carry him away to paradise, the bosom of Abraham, where finally receives comfort and rest from his burdensome life. The rich man dies a…

Feast of the Holy Trinity + Athanasian Creed + May 27

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Trinity Sunday is the only Feast day in the entire church calendar which is not about a specific event in the life of Christ. Instead, it is a day set aside for us to contemplate in a deeper way what we confess every other Sunday of the year: the catholic faith. Not the Roman Catholic faith. Just catholic, meaning universal. The catholic faith is not bound to one specific place, even Rome. The catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity.” One God. Three persons. Each person coeternal, uncreated, and incomprehensible. That’s the unity. But there is a distinction of persons within the unity. The Father is unbegotten. The Son is begotten of the Father from all eternity, of the same substance as the Father, while the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. You see this ineffable doctrine the most clearly in your baptism. You were baptized in the name of the Father…

Pentecost + Acts 2:1-13 + May 20, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
On the day of Pentecost, God the Father sent the Holy Spirit as Christ had promised. The apostles are in one place when “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” Tongues as of fire sit atop their heads while new tongues, that is, foreign languages, fill their mouths. This special gift was given to them because outside the house, all throughout the city of Jerusalem, were Jews, devout men from every country, who had gathered there for the Old Testament festival of Pentecost. The Spirit gives utterance to the apostles so that they can preach “the wonderful works of God” in languages previously unknown to them. Men from all over the world hear the gospel in their own tongue, not in a cacophony of confusion like after the Lord visited the tower of Babel. It happened orderly, each one hearing only his own native tongue. Some …

Exaudi, the 6th Sunday after Easter + John 15:26-16:4 + May 13, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In today’s gospel lesson Christ promises His apostles hardship and persecution. He says, “The will put you out of the synagogues.” Jesus tells them that the Jews will excommunicate them. This was already happening during the ministry of Jesus. After Jesus heals a man born blind, the Pharisees question the blind man’s parents to make sure he had really been blind from birth. They confessed that this man was in fact their son and that he had been born blind, but they stopped short of confessing that it was Jesus who had healed their son. John writes that “his parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had agreed already that if anyone confessed that He was Christ, he would be put out of the synagogue” (John 9:22). That the Jews would expel the apostles from their churches would be difficult to swallow. They had all been brought up in the synagogue. But their testimony of Jesus woul…

Rogate, the 5th Sunday after Easter + John 16:23b-30 + May 6, 2018

Grace and peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Today our Lord teaches us to pray. This is a lesson that you need often because the devil, your adversary wants to convince you that you are not worthy to pray. He tells you that you deserve none of the things for which you pray and too often you believe that, so you don’t pray as you should. The world in which you live insists that your prayers are ineffective. Too often, you feel the same way, wondering why the Lord hasn’t answered your prayer. So you don’t pray as often as you should. Your own flesh tempts you to imagine that self-reliance is more godly and pious than humbly asking the Lord for what you need. Your flesh likes the sound of worldly aphorisms like “God helps those who help themselves.” So you imagine if you just work harder at things, that’s better than prayer and reliance upon the Lord. It is because we are hounded by the devil, influenced by the wicked world, and tempted by our sinful n…

Misericordias Domini, the 2nd Sunday after Easter + John 10:11-16 + April 15, 2018

Grace and Peace be unto you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
When Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd He calls His people sheep. Israel sang in Psalm 95, “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” Even though the Lord is the true shepherd of Israel, He used undershepherds throughout history. Psalm 77:20 says, “You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” The undershepherds appointed by the Lord were to lead the flock with the Word of the Lord, guide the sheep into repentance, teach them to avoid sin, and protect the lambs of God’s pasture from those who threatened the safety of their faith with false teachings which would scatter and destroy the flock. After Moses and Aaron, the Lord appointed priests and the Levites to teach the flock the Word of God. But mostly they were hirelings who didn’t care for the sheep. The Lord condemned such false shepherds. He said in Jeremiah 23:2, “You have scattered m…