“The One Who Hears”

The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The One Who Hears”
August 20, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 15:21-28

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

If only. If only the persistence of this Canaanite highlighted in our Gospel text was also the persistence of the Israelites… all the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” which our Savior mentions here. (Matthew 15:24)

If only the persistence of this Canaanite was also that of every Christian man, woman and child. If only her persistence was our persistence – yours and mine. As well as her humbleness, her humility, as she likens herself to of all things, a dog, and considered Jesus the Master, her Master.

I have shared with you before that unlike today, dogs back then were just that, just there, roaming around, not having the “pet” status… the “man’s best friend” status… of today. There were no Petsmarts, no pet doctors, no pet food. They ate whatever garbage was on the street and if one did make it into the house, as this woman attests to, they ate at best the scraps, the meager crumbs, which fell from the master’s table.

And she was perfectly willing to do likewise… to accept the same… crumbs of kindness, mercy, help and comfort from her Master and ours… Jesus.

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“The Wind, the Water and the Waves”

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The Wind, the Water and the Waves”
August 13, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 14:22-33

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Today’s Gospel text comes on the chronological heels of last week’s. Our Lord had just fed five thousand men, not counting women and children, and we read that He “immediately” (A word St. Matthew used quite often) makes the disciples get into a boat and go… head out… set sail.

It was almost as if He had plans, arrangements… that what soon would take place was all worked out… now set into motion. Well, you and I know there is no “if” about it.

Our dear Savior sends the Twelve off while He dismisses the crowds… those whom He had miraculously healed and fed… and He makes His way up a mountain, all by Himself, to pray.

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“The Pearl”

The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The Pearl”
July 30, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 13:44-52

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Three parables in a row. Three different scenarios, but one in the same message… one point… one key fact or factor that our dear Savior would have us know about the kingdom of heaven.

Out of love He shares this… that which is before us in our Gospel text… that we may understand what we have… all that we have… what has been graciously given to us… the kingdom that is not of this world and yet is ours now, while we are in this world… while we live and work with the dying and decaying kingdom of the world… the kingdom of darkness… that is all around us.

Could it be that some of you are already drifting off into other thought because you think you already have a good enough idea and understanding of the priceless treasure that is yours… that “one pearl of great value” which our Lord speaks about? (Matthew 13:46)

Well, if that were the case, my friends, your life and mine… how we live it… what we do and say… what is important and what is not… would be quite different than what it is now.  Our life in this mortal flesh only shows we still have much to learn… much to understand and truly grasp… and this all by the Spirit’s power as He works mightily in us through Word and Sacrament.

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“Until the Harvest”

The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Until the Harvest”
July 23, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43  

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

Dear Fellow Redeemed,

Two questions – How often have we heard the phrase, “In the Lord’s time?” And how often have we found ourselves wanting that time to come a little quicker, if not a lot quicker? Right now, in fact, would be good!

Again and again, though, history bears out that how we view and measure time is not how God views and measures it. His, the perfect view and measure. Ours, not so much… not at all actually… where time and time again, we grow weary and impatient oh-so easily. So often, we want to rush things. We want certain things to start and other things to end… to be over with.

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“Spiritual Audiology”

The Sixth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Spiritual Audiology”
July 16, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 13:1–9, 18–23

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

St. Matthew tells us “great crowds” had gathered to hear our Lord there on that sea shore. It was so large, the people so many, that Jesus gets into a boat allowing more people to gather in close to hear Him speak.

All of this paints an impressive picture. Is this not what we like to see? Many people hearing the Word of God? Many people gathered around our Savior…  be it on a beach, in a church or wherever?

Yes! Certainly, but… here is the thing. Just being in close proximity to our Lord… simply having the opportunity to hear what He says… physically being able to receive into one’s ears the words coming out of Christ’s mouth does not guarantee that those words… God’s message… is really being heard, let alone understood, let alone rendering any blessing and benefit.

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“Come to Me”

The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Come to Me”
July 9, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 11:25-30

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

What an honor and privilege it is to hear the Word of God and consider it this morning… to take it in… to have ears that spiritually hear… the ears of faith, that is, which we have been graciously given through the Holy Spirit. And to have hearts that hear as well… minds that hear… again, all by the Spirit working mightily in us.

For it is God in Christ Jesus who speaks to us today – directly, personally and passionately… including where He says to us… all of us… “Come to Me.”

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

I would be very surprised if this passage does not rank high on the list of everyone’s favorites. And to understand and appreciate the full import of this amazing invitation issued by our Savior, we would do well to consider the context of the same.

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“For the Healing of the Nations”

The Second Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“For the Healing of the Nations”
June 18, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 9:35-10:8, Revelation 22:1-7

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

In April of this year, seventy-two people including women and children where killed in a deadly chemical attack in Syria. Some four hundred others were seriously injured.

It was a terrible scene, a heart-breaking one, a very challenging one for medical personnel as they rushed to treat victims and were, some of them, injured as well by rubble that fell when the hospital was bombed shortly thereafter.

So many people needing help. So many people suffering. So many… in misery.

St. Matthew tells us that our beloved Savior, Christ Jesus, went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching… proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. We are also told that “when he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:35-36)

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