“Our Living Bread”

“Our Living Bread”  John 6:35-51
The 12th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  8/12/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

It has been said many times that one of the great benefits and blessings of the lectionary of our Lutheran Church, both the three year and the one-year series, is the continuity and connection between and among the readings of Holy Scripture. This is true regarding the readings on any given Sunday as well as the readings many times from Sunday to Sunday.

I say this because once again we see how today’s Gospel text comes on the heals of last Sunday’s and what Pastor Meyer preached about.  Namely, our Lord showing Himself to truly be the Messiah, the Savior of the Word… and this, in Word and deed.

Mighty in Word and deed, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand and how news spread about this Jesus… how the people followed Him… pursued Him… but many, for the wrong reason.

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“The Rainbow is God’s”

“The Rainbow is God’s”  Genesis 9:8-17
The 10th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/29/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

It was a new start, a clean start, fresh start with the past gone forever… literally swept away in the waters of the great flood that covered all the earth.

It was a new day for mankind, the sum total being Noah, his sons – Shem, Ham and Japheth – and their wives. All of the others were gone. They perished. They drowned in their sins.

In the Book of Genesis we read, “The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

“… the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.  And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” (Genesis 6:11-13)

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“The Preaching of Peace”

“The Preaching of Peace”  Ephesians 2:11-22
The 9th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/22/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near.” (Ephesians 2:17)

The “he” is Jesus. The “you” refers to far more than the first recipients of this apostolic letter – Paul writing to the Christians at Ephesus some 1,960 years ago.

The “you” refers to Jew and Gentile alike, the circumcised and the uncircumcised down throughout the ages.

The “you” refers to all men and women, all teenagers and children of every race, color and ethnic origin. Yes, the “you” … refers to YOU… and to me… to us who once were far off, once lost and condemned creatures.

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“The High Price of Truth”

“The High Price of Truth”  Mark 6:14-29
The 8th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/8/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

They are the foundation of any solid relationship. And the closer the relationship, the more important, critical and essential they are. Be it in a marriage, in the life of a family, certainly in a church family, and any lasting friendship.

I am speaking about the elements of trust and truth. Over the past several weeks in our worship services and the sermons preached, we have been considering one’s trust in the Lord and now in the Gospel text before us, it is all about having and living in God’s Truth.

The fact of the matter is… as with so many other things in our life… the issue really is black and white… very clear cut. Not that you would know it by the world, our society and prevailing culture.

Simply put – there is truth and there are lies. The one, singular… truth… the other, plural… lies… and many of them. As there are countless shades of gray, so there are countless shades of lies… with none of them being true white. In one way or another, they are off color, tainted and tinted.

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“Whether They Hear or Refuse to Hear”

“Whether They Hear or Refuse to Hear”  Ezekiel 2:1-5
The 7th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/15/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

For a moment, let me take you back to Good Friday… to our Lord’s crucifixion where St. Matthew tells us that Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:50-54)

It was quite a revelation to them. The One who was just crucified… the One who died right there before their eyes was the very Son of God. He who openly preached and taught in their midst. He who was categorically rejected by both Jew and gentile. Jesus Christ, truly the Son of God… He who is also our ever-living Prophet, Priest and King. Indeed, the greatest of the prophets! He who spoke the Word of God and is that very Word incarnate… the very Word made flesh… the very Word betrayed, mocked, beaten and crucified.

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“In the Midst of It All”

“In the Midst of It All”  Mark 5:21-43
The 6th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 7/1/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“It doesn’t work. Praying to Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t help” many will say… “certainly not all of the time if any of the time one calls upon Him.”

And they will list off the people whom the Lord did not heal… including themselves possibly… as well as individuals… loved ones… whom they asked be spared from dying and this, to no avail.

So… you have those who will completely dismiss the Gospel text before us as pure fiction… and those who cannot come to terms with it… with the seeming incongruity of our Lord’s actions as to who gets helped and healed and who does not.

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“The Wind and the Waves”

“The Wind and the Waves”  Mark 4:35-41
The 5th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  6/24/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Lord do you not care that I am going through this horrendous experience? Do you not care that I am suffering, in pain or in anguish? Do you not care that I mourn the loss of a loved one? Do you not care that I see no way out of a particular situation? Do you not care that I am sinking in despair, “sinking and taking on water” much like that boat the disciples were on?

“Do you not care?” That is what the Twelve asked as they woke our Lord up from what clearly was a sound sleep. Really Peter? James, John… all of you? You are asking the very Son of God,  God incarnate, God in the flesh, God with you, God right there  with you in the same boat, He who is the Alpha and Omega… if He cares?

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