“Open Your Eyes”

The Last Sunday of the Church Year (B)
“Open Your Eyes”
November 25, 2018

Sermon Text: Isaiah 51:4-6, Mark 13:24-37

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

Dear Friends in Christ,

It may seem odd, but nevertheless true. We learn in Holy Scripture to use our senses. Indeed, the Lord our God teaches us to engage them all, and especially our ability to hear and see, all for the purpose of making us aware of the truth… aware of reality… that which is and what will soon be.

Furthermore, in His divine teaching, God clearly explains that there is physical hearing and seeing… and then there is spiritual hearing and seeing. The latter being only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

I mention all of this because hearing and seeing… and the knowledge, the insight that comes from the same… is so critical to our understanding of the end times… so critical in our preparation for the last things and the last day.

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“He Has Done All Things Well”

“He Has Done All Things Well”  Mark 7:37, Isaiah 35:4-7a
The 16th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  9/9/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Of all the churches to have a “Rally Day.” A Lutheran Church? A Lutheran congregation? Missouri Synod no less! Really? The idea of Lutherans getting excited, enthusiastic, all pumped up and primed, can seem more than just a little far-fetched.

But here it is! Rally Day at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Lockport, Illinois. So, what does it consist of? Our “rallying” that is? And why do we rally?

Well, let’s take the last question first. We rally, in part, because the world around us gets us down. It incessantly seeks to drag us down. It… this world… our society… and things happening in this very country… can leave us downright depressed… sad and forlorn.

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“The Anointed One”

The Third Sunday in Advent (B)
“The Anointed One”
December 17, 2017

Sermon Text: Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11

Peace be unto you from our Advent King, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One would expect it to be verses… passages… sentences… found in one of the Gospel accounts… in either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, where Jesus declares to the disciples,

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

This describes perfectly the person and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ does it not? Jesus, “the Christ”… literally translated, “the Anointed One.” He was anointed to be our “Servant, Substitute and Savior” as we have been considering in our midweek Advent services. Chosen by the Father, sent by Father, with the Spirit of the Lord God upon Him.

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“Before We Were Born”

The Second Sunday after Epiphany (A)

“Before We Were Born”

January 15, 2017

Sermon Text: Isaiah 49:1-7, John 1:29-42a

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

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Prophet Isaiah declares, “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.” (Isaiah 49:1-2)

Isaiah paints the picture of a divine quiver or case strapped to the Lord God Almighty and filled with arrows of His making, people of His making, each one there for a purpose, yet unknown, until the Lord God sends it out… sends him or her out.

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“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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