“The Light of the World Arises out of Darkness”

The Epiphany of Our Lord

“The Light of the World Arises out of Darkness”

January 1, 2017

Isaiah 60:1-6

The word “Epiphany” is important for us to define.  In a wide sense, the way it might be used outside the church out in the world, an epiphany is a discovery or disclosure of previously unknown or unrevealed information that changes the way we look at the whole world around us.  When, for example, Copernicus demonstrated that the earth was not the center of everything in the universe, but rather that everything in our solar system actually revolves around the sun, that was an epiphany.  It rewrote all the astronomy books in a single moment and we would never look at the universe in the same way again.

When we speak of Epiphany in the church, we mean the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the light of the world, with a special emphasis on the revelation of Jesus Christ to those who are not historically the people of God.  Hence this festival within the church focuses specifically on the revelation of Christ to the Magi, the wise men of the east, who by national identity were outside the people of God but who were to be joyfully included in Christ’s great mercy and compassion.

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“Unto Us a Child is Born”

The Nativity of Our Lord

“Unto Us a Child is Born”

December 24, 2016

Sermon Text: Isaiah 9:2-7, Luke 2:1-20

Peace be yours now and always from the One who is God incarnate, our Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

“For unto us a Child is born.” (Isaiah 9:6)

So said the prophet Isaiah. And most people unfortunately could care less. After all, it is estimated that 273 babies are born every minute in this world of ours.

That is a lot of newborns. So what is so special about one of them? What is so special about the Child Isaiah foretold would be born in the fullness of time?

We could not even begin to count all of the ways, but we should nevertheless try. We should nevertheless consider them. Consider Him… this Child… actually all of the time, each and every day, including today… on the very eve of His birth.

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The Truly Blessed

All Saints’ Day (C)

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:1-12

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Rejoice and be glad!” It is what we just sang, but more importantly, it is what our Lord just said in our Gospel lesson and quite frankly, is echoed throughout Holy Scripture.

“Rejoice and be glad!” Now… this minute… this hour… this day… everyday of your life. From the moment of your birth… certainly your “second birth” in the waters of Holy Baptism… and on… infinitum.

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Thy Works, Not Mine, O Christ

The Festival of the Reformation

Sermon Text: Ephesians 2:8-9

Peace be unto you from the Lord of the Church, its Sovereign Head, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

So, what should we talk about? Odd question, I know, on this very special day. The word “reformation” certainly gives it away, but it may not say it all. To this, it would be fitting to add the words “restoration” and “preservation.”

What was reformed was the Christian church here on earth as it was cleansed of so many impurities and pollutants that had been added over time, sad to say, by the very men who were entrusted to keep it pure and undefiled.

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The Unfettered Word

The 21st Sunday after Pentecost (C)

Sermon Text: 2 Timothy 2:1-13

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear Friends in Christ,

The letter was dated September 4, 1944. It does not have much on it, but then again, it didn’t have to. Its purpose was simply to leave some trace evidence… to let whoever found it know that the people listed on this note really existed… that they were there… at Auschwitz… in the Nazi concentration camp where over 1.1 million prisoners died.

The letter was found in a bottle hidden in a concrete wall. It bears the names, camp numbers and hometowns of seven young men, six from Poland and one from France, all between the ages of 18 and 20.

Clearly, there were those who never wanted this message to get out, but it did. It was proof of life.

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Wait for It

The 20th Sunday after Pentecost (C)

Sermon Text: Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

There are certainly many jobs that a person can have and we know that they are not all the same in terms of their degree of difficulty, safety, satisfaction, benefits and rewards, etc.

Some jobs seem better than others. We all probably have our “dream job.” But then, too, it would not be hard for any of us to fire off a list of jobs we would not like to do. There is even a television show, “Dirty Jobs,” where you can see what certain work entails and be glad that you do not have to do it.

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One God, One Mediator, One Ransom for All

The 18th Sunday after Pentecost (C)

Sermon Text: 1 Timothy 2:1-15

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

In the early 1970’s, a man by the name of Art Fry was a member of a church choir in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Fry, however, was frustrated. Not by the choir, but by his hymnal and the fact that bookmarks he placed on the pages of hymns the choir was set to sing, kept falling out.

But then, Mr. Fry remembered that a few years prior, a colleague of his by the name of Spencer Silver had developed an adhesive that was strong enough to stick to surfaces, but left no residue after removal and could be repositioned and reused.

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