“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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“Spattered in Blood”

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

“Spattered in Blood”

February 26, 2017

 Sermon Text: Exodus 24:8–18, Matthew 17:1–9    

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

 Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Quite a contrast we have before us this morning. Actually several contrasts that we would do well to consider and take to heart under the gracious guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

Probably though, it would first be good to do what is sometimes done at the beginning of television shows where it is announced that “viewer discretion” is called for because of the graphic nature of what will be shown.

We read in our Exodus text, “And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.” (Exodus 24:8)

Blood dripping down the clothes of the men, women and children gathered there. Doesn’t get more graphic than that. The people of Israel spattered in blood… the blood of the sacrifice made at the base of Mount Sinai. That, indeed, was how a covenant was made, enacted and sealed. It was literally “sealed in blood”… in the shedding of blood.

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“Whatcha Buildin?”

The Seventh Sunday after Epiphany (A)

“Whatcha Buildin?”

February 19, 2017

Sermon Text: 1 Corinthians 3:11–15

Peace be unto you from the One who is God incarnate, our Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

On March 15, 1986, at 11:24 a.m. all was well at the Hotel New World in Singapore. It was just another day with hotel guests and visitors coming and going and the staff doing their respective jobs. Less than one minute later, this six-story building was nothing but a pile of rubble, flattened, trapping 50 people. Seventeen were rescued, thirty-three died.

Needless to say, there was a lot of initial speculation as to what caused this disaster and one by one, possible reasons for the same were eliminated until one remained. It wasn’t an earthquake, bomb, gas explosion, etc.

As it turns out, the building collapsed because of a faulty foundation. You see, the structural engineer miscalculated the weight that would be upon the same. He calculated the building’s “live load” (that is, the weight of the building’s potential inhabitants, furniture, fixtures, etc.) but completely omitted the building’s “dead load” (the weight of the building itself).

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“Life and Death”

The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany (A)

“Life and Death”

February 12, 2017

Text: Deuteronomy 30:15-20

Peace to you from God our Father from His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen

I once had a boss who had an interesting view on St. Valentine’s Day.  The rest of us were talking about what we were doing for our wives and girlfriends on Valentine’s Day, and he, quite seriously, said that since he was already married to his wife, he didn’t need to do anything and didn’t intend to do anything for her on Valentine’s Day.  For him, cards and gifts and flowers and dates were not about expressing his love for someone or seeking to make her happy.  They were simply good works meant to earn her hand in marriage and, now that that had been accomplished, they were now completely unnecessary.

There’s probably no one here who can’t spot the error in his thinking, and even if we ever did think that way and blew off Valentine’s Day once, the repercussions would have been so severe that we would never make that mistake again.  Those of us guys who are fortunate enough to be married to wonderful women that we love know that the whole point is this:  if she was wonderful enough to marry, then she is worth loving today and she is worth spending time with and getting to know better and better.  Making her happy and expressing our love for her sure ought to be very high on our list of priorities.  As a matter of fact, calling it a priority is almost an insult.  It ought to be our joy to do those things.

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“In Case You Were Wondering”

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany (A)

“In Case You Were Wondering”

February 5, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 5:17-20

Peace be unto you from the One who is God incarnate, our Savior, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

When you come right down to it, we are no different sitting here this morning in the house of the Lord, hearing the Word of the Lord, than those who were actually sitting with Christ back then… the Twelve and whoever else was present… as He, Jesus, the living Word of God, spoke to them.

We are no different in wanting to hear what He had to say… in seeking to understand what all of it means, including the true meaning and import of Christ’s coming… what He said He would do and what He actually did do… for us… for our salvation.

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