“Terrified on Top”

The Transfiguration of Our Lord (B)
“Terrified on Top”
February 11, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 9:2-9

Peace be unto you from our glorified Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

They followed the Master, their Master as He took them up what St. Mark describes as “a high mountain.” Not all of the Twelve, mind you. Just Peter, James and John who no doubt wondered “What are we doing? Where are we going?” And this, as they went higher and higher with Jesus leading the way.

St. Mark keeps it succinct…to the point regarding what happened to our Lord on that mountain. “He was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them.” (Mark 9:2-3)

It is safe to say that Peter, James and John did not see that coming. And that is saying a lot because these three along with the rest of the disciples had certainly seen a lot already… a lot of amazing things… miraculous and truly extraordinary things involving our Lord.

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“All Who Are Sick and Demon Oppressed”

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (B)
“All Who Are Sick and Demon Oppressed”
February 4, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 1:29-39

Peace be unto you from our revealed Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One of my favorite television series of all time is MASH. You just cannot get enough of the 4077th with all of their hilarious antics. But what the show was also known for is its attempt to vividly portray and depict the horrors of war and the casualties they produce. I thought they did a pretty good job of that.

In how many episodes did we see the surgical teams working non-stop for hours upon hours? All the wounded. There was actually a lot of reality behind this fictitious show. In my previous career in hospital administration, quite a few times, I saw doctors and nurses in mass casualty situations tirelessly attempting to help those in need… those who were hurting… those who were dying. They just kept on working.

A sad fact of sin entering the world is that there will never be a shortage of people who are hurting, people who are in pain and misery, people who are afflicted with various diseases and illnesses… people who are dying.

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“What is This? Who is This?

The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany (B)
“What is This? Who is This?
January 28, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 1:21-28, Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Peace be unto you from our revealed Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

It wasn’t as if they were not told in advance… as if He, Jesus, was not foretold because they were in the very place where the “foretelling” took place, namely in the synagogue. St. Mark tells us,

“And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath [Jesus] entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.” (Mark 1:21-22)

One of the “precepts,” if you will, of interpreting God’s Word… of coming to know and understand the Bible more and more… is to keep in mind that “Scripture interprets Scripture.” In other words, the more and more that we read Scripture, study Scripture, the more we will understand the same as more and more passages become clear to us by reading other passages, other sections of God’s Word. Clear connections, wonderful connections and insights take place. It is truly remarkable and enlightening.

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“After John… Jesus”

The Third Sunday after the Epiphany (B)
“After John… Jesus”
January 21, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 1:14-20

Peace be unto you from our revealed Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

He begins his gospel account connecting all that is to be found in this account with what was already prophesied and said in the Old Testament.

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'” (Mark. 1:1-3)

St. Mark talks about the work of John the Baptizer, the forerunner of Christ and truly, how important was his work in preparing the way for Jesus. That work is done though… completed… finished… in our Lord’s actual coming and the start of His ministry… Jesus’ ministry, Jesus’ baptism by John and then the time our Lord spent in the wilderness.

John’s work is also seen as done by the very fact that Mark speaks of his arrest and emphasizes the transition from John to Jesus… from the forerunner to the long awaited One… from the faithful servant of the Lord to the Lord Himself.

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“How Do You Know Me?”

The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
“How Do You Know Me?”
January 14, 2018

Sermon Text: John 1:43-51

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from our Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

If you live with a person for a while, work with a person for a while… spend any real time with a person… be it quality time or a sheer quantity of time with them… you cannot help but get to know them… know things about them.

In fact, spend enough time with someone and you may know that person better than he or she knows himself… or herself.

In our Gospel text for today, however, we see how one Person knew someone, but their knowledge of the same really has nothing to do with spending time with them. In fact, this Person never met the other individual before… at least, not in a conventional way. But certainly, in a divine one… for you see,  the Person we are talking about is none other than our Savior, Jesus, God in the flesh.

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“On Good Authority”

The Baptism of Our Lord (B)
“On Good Authority”
January 7, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 1:4-11

Peace be unto you from our Savior, Lord and King, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Seriously? Is anyone going to believe this stuff – the account of our Lord’s baptism as recorded and reported by St. Mark… or that which is found in the other two readings for today… or actually anything and everything found in Holy Scripture?

Life makes us skeptical. This world and our experiences in it make us skeptical. What to believe? What is true and what is not? Who can we trust?

Whether you buy into the whole “Fake News” issue of today and what is happening in the news media – print and electronic… even on their best days when the cardinal rules of journalism are being adhered to regarding only reporting substantiated facts while diligently seeking to eliminate all bias and leaving editorialization to the editorial page, one still needs to take what they read, hear and see with a grain a salt. That is to say, it seems that one must be very careful as to what amount of credence, weight and import is placed on information received from various sources.

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“O Come Let Us Adore Him!”

The Epiphany of Our Lord
“O Come Let Us Adore Him!”
December 31, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 2:1-12

Peace be unto you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

So, what gives? From the title of this sermon, one would think that what follows is a “Christmas message.” After all, it is the well-known refrain to the great hymn, yes, Christmas hymn, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

Here is the thing, the adoration of our Lord did not begin and certainly did not end with the angels and all of the heavenly host as they sang out, rang out the glorious news of Christ’s birth.

It did not end with the shepherds out in the fields, watching their flocks by night. Those who heard the news and came to the Baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

It did not end with Simeon and Anna who are given the great honor of seeing, meeting and greeting the Christ Child in the temple.

It did not end with the wise men whose account we consider this morning and all who will have the great epiphany… the greatest of epiphanies… that this Jesus is truly the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world… that He is Immanuel, God with us… God in the flesh.

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