Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Congregation at Prayer

For the Week of Holy Trinity (May 28 - June 2, 2018)

Invocation: In the Name of the Father and of the (+) Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Speak the Apostles’ Creed. 

Verse: 2 Corinthians 4:6 - “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Hymn of the Week:  Lutheran Service Book #906 “O Day of Rest and Gladness”
Hymns for Sunday: 650, 906, 620, 581 (vs. 1-4, 11-12), 687, 818

Readings for the Week: [The readings for Thursday-Saturday are the Scriptures for this coming Sunday.]

Monday:  Psalm 81:1-10
Who is God? What has He done? What does He ask of us? What does He fill our mouths with?

Tuesday:  Hosea 2:14-20
Who is the “her” God is talking about here? What great promises does He give to her?

Wednesday:  Mark 2:13-22
Why do sinners have joy in Jesus? How is that joy for you as well? Who does not have that joy? Why not?

Thursday:  Deuteronomy 5:12-15
What were the people of Israel to do on the Sabbath day? How would they do this?

How does God show His power in your life? Does God’s power always look powerful? What is the key?

Saturday:  Mark 2:23 – 3:6
Why did God give the Sabbath day? How did some not understand this? How do we keep the “Sabbath” today?

The Catechism - The Ten Commandments: The Sixth Commandment – You shall not commit adultery. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we lead a sexually pure and decent life in what we say and do, and husband and wife love and honor each other.

The Prayers:  Please pray for . . .
+ yourself and for all in need (remembering especially those on our prayer list).
+ God’s blessing on our outreach in the community.
+ God’s blessing, wisdom, and guidance for our congregation’s keyboardists and musicians.
+ the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil, for God’s blessing, guidance, and provision.
+ God’s blessing, wisdom, and provision for Mill Neck Manor and Lutheran Friends of the Deaf.
Conclude with the Lord’s Prayer and Luther’s Morning or Evening Prayer from the Catechism.

Now joyfully go about your day (or to bed) in good cheer, child of God!

Holy Trinity Sermon

Jesu Juva

“Our Glorious, Glorifying God”
Text: Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 2:14a, 22-36; John 3:1-17

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity.
Let us give glory to him because he is glorious.


Oh, wait . . . that’s not what we said, is it? What we sang earlier, in the Introit. But it’s how we think. How we’ve been trained to think. Give glory to the glorious. The athlete who is at the top of his game. The celebrity with all the awards. The best-selling author. The mega-billionaire with all the cars and houses. The celebrity pastor who’s always on TV. The inventor of the latest hot app or viral video. These are the people who get invited to the White House, who go to royal weddings, who get to sit at the head table, who don’t have to wait in lines like the rest of us. These are the people - let’s be honest - we want to be around. Because maybe some of their glory will rub off on us. And maybe we’ll be considered glorious, too.

Because you know what’s not glorious? Cleaning up your child’s vomit, or changing her diapers. Holding the hand of an old person who doesn’t even know you’re there, or who will soon forget. Struggling to pay your bills. Doing the laudry. Cleaning bathrooms. Being stuck in a dead end job. Driving a car that still has a tape deck in it! (Some of you probably don’t even know what that is!) Or how about this: worshipping in a rented, non-descript building instead of a beautiful church with stained-glass windows and a pipe organ . . . and being happy to be back! Again - let’s be honest - wouldn’t you like to jettison all that and be glorious? And not have to worry and bother with all the rest? Most of us, I think, would take it in a heartbeat. It’d be like winning the lottery - another glorious thing we often dream about.

So why doesn’t God just give it to us? All this stuff, this glorious stuff? That’s what a lot of people wonder, and ask. If God is glorious, as we claim He is, as we heard today from Isaiah that He is, why doesn’t He make you glorious, too? And if He doesn’t . . . well, that must mean your God isn’t very glorious after all, or that He can’t do it, or won’t - that He must not like you very much. Either way, that’s not a God I want to believe in. And so some walk away from such a life, such a church, such a God. And so are we tempted as well.

But here’s the thing: God is glorious, and He does give His glory to you. He does want you with Him so that His glory will rub off on you. Just so. The problem, you see, is not with God, but with us. It’s that we don’t understand what glory really is, and what it means to be glorious.

So this is what we actually sang, to teach us about that:
Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity.
Let us give glory to him because he has shown his mercy to us.

So on this Holy Trinity Sunday, that’s what we celebrate. Not just who God is - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; God in three persons, blessed trinity (LSB #507) as we sang at the beginning of the service today - but who He is for us. What He has done for us. Because you cannot separate the two and get either one right. We cannot know God apart from what He does for us. And what He does for us is really who He is. And if this is what God is doing for us, then it is glorious. And we can begin to know what glory really is, and is really all about.

So the Creed we speak on this day, you know, the really long one . . . the Athanasian Creed, which we’ll speak right after this sermon, that’s what this Creed does. First it tells us who God is. All that stuff about the Trinity, and it kind of makes your head swim, right? Trying to understand about how there is only one God, but He is in three persons. And that these three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, while all being God are really only one God. Whaaaaat? But then we get toward the end, and we start talking about Jesus. We start talking about what this God has done for us. And we’re at home. We’re comfortable. We get it. This is who God is because this is what God has done for us. And it is glorious.

Isaiah, though, he had a first-half Athanasian Creed moment. He saw God in His unveiled glory, apart from His work for us, and so He was beyond terrified. He said I am lost. I’m dead. He could not really know God this way. God, this way, is dangerous . . . until He did something. Until God had one of His angels, called a seraph, take a coal from the altar, a coal from a sacrifice, and touch it to Isaiah’s lips. And with that touch, cleanse and forgive Isaiah. What God did for Him then completely changed Isaiah, as He went from scared stiff to eager beaver. Here am I! Send me!

On the other hand were the people to whom Peter preached on Pentecost - the people who heard his sermon that we heard in the Epistle. They saw the work of God for them, even had a hand in it, putting Jesus on the cross. But they didn’t know who God really is, so they didn’t know that this man they put on the cross was God in the flesh. And so they didn’t understand what it meant. And so Peter preached it to them. Showed them from the Old Testament prophesies that this is what God had said He would do all along. Because this is who He is: a loving God, a serving God, a merciful God, who is all these things for sinners like us.

And when He is all those things for sinners like us, when He most showed His love and mercy, well . . . it didn’t look very glorious at all. It was pain. It was blood. It was rejection. It was gory. 

And there, in the midst of all that, we learn what glory really is all about. And it’s not about the White House, royal weddings, or head tables. It’s really about loving and serving and mercy. God’s for you and yours for others. 

I think that’s what Nicodemus had to learn. At least, one of the things he had to learn. He came to Jesus at night, looking for some glorious teaching because he had seen some glorious signs. And so Jesus gives it to him - but he is utterly confounded because he didn’t really know God and so he didn’t really understand what God was doing. And how God was the one sitting before him and talking to him. He doesn’t understand earthly things or heavenly things! 

So finally, to teach him, Jesus points him to the time when Israel was in the wilderness - a most unglorious time in Israel’s history! And when Israel was in the wilderness, as Nicodemus surely well-knew, God led them those 40 years with a pillar of cloud and fire. And maybe that’s what Nicodemus was hoping for now - some kind of big, impressive sign or teaching, like that. But instead Jesus tells him this: Nope! It’s not going to be like that. Rather, when you see the Son of Man lifted up - which meant lifted up on a pole, or on a cross, like the bronze serpent was in the wilderness - when you see that, then you will see God, then you will know God, then you will learn of God. Then you will see how God will give you life. For this is how God loves the world, that He sends His only Son to do that, for you. That you might not perish, but have eternal life. There is God’s glorious working for you.

So if you want some of God’s glory to rub off on you, that’s where you go; that’s where you’ll find it. And so to do that, to share His glory with you, God brings His cross to you. And so when you are born again of water and the Spirit, you are being gloried. When God sends one of His messengers to touch your lips with the sacrifice from the altar of the cross, you are being gloried. When God sends you a preacher to speak His cross to you, you are being gloried. When God tells you your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for, you are being gloried. You are being gloried by the glorious work of God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - for you. For in all these ways your sins are forgiven. The forgiveness won on the glorious cross given to you here and now, some 2,000 years later.

For this is who God is. The glorier of the glory-less. The strength of the weak. The lover of the unloveable. The forgiver of the guilty. The embracer of the shamed and shunned. So if that’s you - and I know that it is, just as it is me - draw near to your glorious God who is here for you. Draw near in truth. Confessing, repenting, baring your soul - you can’t fool Him anyway, and nothing is hidden from His sight. So draw near to Him in the truth of who you are and what you have done, with all your doubts and fears and sins and confusion, and not only let His glory rub off on you, but be washed in it, filled by it, abounding in it, rejoicing in it. For He doesn’t have just a little for you, but more than you can imagine. That’s why He’s here, after all. To be who He is for you. Your loving, serving, merciful God.

But a word of caution here: if God’s glory rubs off on you and is poured upon you and into you, then you’re going to be glorious not as the world thinks of glory, but with God’s kind of glory. His loving, serving, mercying glory. You’ll be glorious in all those ways I talked about at the beginning of the sermon - all those things we thought not so glorious. Turns out, those things really are quite glorious after all. God’s kind of glory. Because all those things you do for others, it’s what He has done for you. And now is doing for others through you. 

So cleaning up your child’s vomit, or changing her diapers? That’s God, through the mother or father He gave you, or for the children He gave you.

Holding the hand of someone in need? That’s God, too. Giving you someone to love or serve, or giving you someone to love and serve you.

Doing the laundry, cleaning bathrooms - yup, that’s God, too. Providing for you; using you to provide for others.

Do you get it? When you lay down your life for others, when you love and serve and mercy as He did, that’s because His glory - His real glory - has rubbed off on you. Because His forgiveness and love and mercy live in you. 

And if you look at your life and see a shortage of these things, and find yourself thinking of that other kind of glory, don’t beat yourself up. Jesus already took your beating for you. No, come get what you need. Come get some glorying. Come to where the glory of God is for you. Come to this rented, non-descript building, or to a beautiful church with stained-glass windows and a pipe organ, or to a hospital room with a small group gathered around a small cup and plate. For in those places - in all those places - where His Word is proclaimed and His gifts are given, there is God for you in all His glory. To glory you.

And then on the Last Day, when Jesus comes again, you will be among those who, as we will say in the Creed today, have done good and will enter into eternal life. Not because your good things have earned you that - but because your God has glorified you with His glory, and the good that you lived is because of the good you received. From Him. From the glory of the cross in your life. 

And then, on that Day, you will get your invitation - not to the White House! That will be long gone. But to a better and greater house. The house of your God and Saviour, and to a feast that will never end. 

And the song we sang today will be your song then, too. For it will still be quite true. For the truth is eternal. And so the song we sing today is the song we will sing forever.

Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity.
Let us give glory to him because he has shown his mercy to us.

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Feast of Pentecost

No sermon to post this week as I was away at my son's college graduation. I'll post a link to some pictures and video soon.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Easter 7 Sermon

Jesu Juva

“The Power of the Word”
Text: John 17:11b-19

Alleluia! Christ is ascended! [He is asended indeed! Alleluia!] Alleluia.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the Holy Gospel we heard today, we hear Jesus speaking from His heart. He is mere hours from be lifted up on the cross, to lay down His life for His friends, for His enemies, for you and me, for all people. And He knows it. And so He does what is most important to Him, the best thing He could do for His friends, for His enemies, for His disciples, for you and me - He prays for us. Because He knows we’ll need it. He knows how difficult it is going to be for them, for us. And what do you do when you’re concerned for someone? You pray for them.

And in His prayer, the part that we heard today, from John, Jesus said this: I have given them your word. We use that phrase today. You have my word. I give you my word. That means not only that you have words, but that you have my promise. I will do what I have said. The problem with us is that sometimes we keep our word and sometimes we don’t. The good news for us is that God always keeps His word. His word is different. His word is sure. What He says He will not only do - His word will do it. His Word is powerful. In the beginning He said “Let there be,” and what He spoke came to be; it happened, it was. He says “I forgive you” and you are. He says “This is My Body” and it is. God’s word isn’t just a word - it is a powerful word that does what it says.

So to be given this Word . . . that’s no small thing. Before now, I have kept them, Jesus says. But now He is going to the Father by way of the cross, the empty tomb, and His ascension. He will no longer be with them in the same way as before, and it is a treacherous world. So, Jesus gives us God’s Word, God’s powerful Word and promise, to do three things, we heard today - three things that we need: (1.) to keep us from the evil one, (2.) to sanctify us, and (3.) to make us one. 

So first, Jesus gives us the Word to keep us from the evil one

His Word first did that for most of us when that Word was combined with the water of Holy Baptism. Whenever we baptize someone we say: Depart unclean spirit and make way for the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit comes and makes you His own. You become a child of your heavenly Father, and the evil one is forced to flee. 

But he does not flee for long. He comes back and tries to lure you away from your father and away from His keeping. He tries to lure you back to your old sinful way of life. He’ll make sin look good and satisfying and pleasing, and He’ll twist the truth and deceive and do whatever it takes to get you to believe his lies.

But Jesus has given us his Word. And the Word of God tells us the truth. The truth about who we are and who God is. The truth of what is good and what is not. The truth of the past, the present, and the future. And so if we leave this Word that Jesus has given to us, the truth of God and the promises of God - either by not hearing it, not reading it, or not believing it - we leave ourselves open to the lies and deceptions of the evil one. That’s why the devil tries so hard to pull us away from the Word, making us too busy to read it, too tired to hear it, or too skeptical to believe it. He knows how powerful and important it is. 

And if we leave this Word and its strength and the Spirit of God which works through it - if we leave it behind and try to fight the evil one ourselves - if you do that, you will lose. Every time. Jesus knows it. He knows how difficult the temptations, how good sounding the rationalizations, and how convincing the devil can be. And I’ll bet you know it too. So He gives us the Word, and the Spirit that works through that Word, and, He asks His Father, to keep us. Keep us in that Word and through the Word. 

That’s first. Second, Jesus gives us the Word to sanctify us.

To sanctify means to make holy. To take something that is not holy, that is common, and make it holy. The opposite is to profane, or desecrate. To take something that is holy and make it common. As in: Don’t profane the name of the Lord - don’t take His holy name and make it like a common, ordinary word. Keep it holy . . .

But we can’t even do that - keep His Name or our lives holy. For if we cannot keep our New Year’s resolutions for a few months, or our Lenten disciplines for 40 days, how in the world are we going to keep something holy all our lives! And if cannot keep something holy, how can we make something holy? Well, of course, we can’t. 

We cannot make anything holy. Holiness can only be given to us - by the Holy One. God is holy, and He wants to share His holiness with you. He did so in the beginning. Adam and Eve were created holy, in the image of God, but they fell from their holiness, their sanctity, into sin. But God has given us His Word to make us holy again, to restore us to what we once were but are not now. Only He and His Word can do it.

We try though, right? Whenever something around my house or on my car is broken, I often try to fix it. But I often don’t have the right part to do so, and so I use whatever is lying around. And sometimes it works, at least temporarily. It gets me by. But I know it isn’t right, and it probably isn’t going to last. Like that car driving down the street with a coat hanger for an antenna, or the wobbly table with a wadded up piece of paper under one foot to keep it steady . . . That’s what our self-made, pseudo-holiness looks like.

So, sanctify them in the truth, Jesus said. Your word is truth. That’s the right thing; what we need to make us truly holy. It is the only thing that can. For the only thing that can restore us from our sin and back to righteousness, back to holiness, is forgiveness. The forgiveness of God poured upon us, the forgiveness of God spoken upon us, the forgiveness of God placed into our mouths. If we leave that Word behind and don’t receive the forgiveness we need, we cannot be holy. There just is no other way.

And then third, Jesus gives us the Word to make us one

And the Word that does that is not just any word, but a very special word: His name. We are marked, we are branded, with the Name of God in baptism. And that is what unites us - that we are all in Him. Otherwise, most of us don’t have much else in common. We’re different nationalities, we’re different ages, we have different interests, different abilities, we live in different places, we do different jobs - and yet here we all are, gathered together here, in this place. United by Jesus. United in Jesus. One in Him.

But not only here -  this oneness, this unity, is with others in our Synod, and it’s also with believers of all times and places. That we be one with those who came over from Germany and started our church here. That we be one with those who lived at the time of the Reformation, and back through the Medieval Church and back even to the early church. That we be one with 16th century Germans, like Luther;  with 4th century Africans, like Augustine and Athanasius;  with 1st century apostles, like Peter and Paul;  and with even BC Hebrews - the believers from the Old Testament. What else but the Word can do that?

For think about it; think about the unity we try to achieve on our own. How united, really, is the “United” Nations? Or after the tragedy of 9-11 or other terrorist acts, after the shootings that sadly take place today, communities come together, churches are often filled. But that unity doesn’t last. It does for maybe a couple of weeks or at best a couple of months. But then the old ways, the old divisions return. Because it is a unity not from the Word. It is from emotion, or nationalism, or sympathy. Only the Word can truly make us one. And it is departing from the Word that causes division among us. 

And if there is disunity, it is not by ignoring those differences or ignoring the Word that we will be one again. It is only through the Word that true oneness can be achieved - and not by us, but by the Holy Spirit, working through the Word, working in our hearts. That we repent. That we humble ourselves to the truth of the Word. That we humble ourselves before one another. His Word is the glue that keeps us connected to Christ, that keeps us in His forgiveness, and that therefore makes us one because we are united in Him. 

I have given them your word, Jesus says. To keep us from the evil one, to sanctify us, and to make us one. And if we have those things, we truly have all that we need. Think about it . . . to keep us from the evil one, to make us holy, to make us one . . . The trouble is that we often think we need lots of other things, and we go after those things, often at the expense of the Word and these things that we truly need. But we are not better off. Jesus knows what we need, and prays for us for exactly those things.

Yes, Jesus knows what we need, and so He not only prays for us, He has not only given us the Word, He gives us His very self. That’s what this whole church year has been all about. Jesus coming for us. Jesus living for us. Jesus dying for us. Jesus rising for us. Jesus ascending for us. Jesus doing what we could not do, that we have what we need. Without Jesus coming and giving Himself for us and to us, all those words of His that He gives us? They’re just lies, a fairy tale. Empty words with no power at all. Wishful thinking. Delusional, misleading, and damaging words, giving people false hope.

But guess what? Jesus’ tomb is empty. His dead bones and body never found, because He is risen and alive. And so His words are true and life-giving. All of them. Protecting us from the evil one, making us holy, and uniting us as one. Jesus’ prayer fulfilled, even as it is still being fulfilled. For Jesus is still praying for you. And He will not stop. You are too important to Him and He loves you too much to stop. For He knows how treacherous still this world is. He knows, and so He prays . . . and the Father hears, and the Spirit works. In you and for you. All that you need. For you are His and He is yours. 

And so we confidently proclaim, one last time this season: 
Alleluia! Christ is risen! [He is risen indeed! Alleluia!] 
Alleluia! Christ is ascended! [He is ascended indeed! Alleluia!] 
He has done it! And when He comes again, He will keep His Word to you. You too will rise, and you too will ascend and be with Him forever.

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Ascension of Our Lord Sermon

Jesu Juva

“Restoring the Kingdom?”
Text: Acts 1:1-11; Luke 24:44-53; Ephesians 1:15-23

Alleluia! Christ is ascended! [He is ascended indeed! Alleluia!] Alleluia.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”

Throughout His ministry, in His parables, in His teaching, Jesus had spoken a great deal about the kingdom of God. But as the disciples looked around, there was no kingdom in sight. And now He was leaving. So, now Jesus? Will you now, at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel? 

It is not wrong to ask such a question. Some think it is. That it is wrong to ask about a kingdom; that that is worldly thinking. But Jesus is the King, He is being enthroned, and He does have a kingdom. So such a question is okay.

And Jesus doesn’t say no, that there is no kingdom. His response is simply one of timing. That it is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. So it seems that yes, there will indeed be a kingdom. 

But here’s the thing - it’s in the other half of their question. Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? That’s what many of the people of that time were waiting for. For Israel to be freed from the control of the Romans. For the restoration of the Promised Land. For a son of David to again sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem.

But that is the old way of thinking. The Old Testament way of thinking. But Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has made all things new (Revelation 21:5). So as we heard in the Gospel from Luke, Jesus has to open the minds of the disciples to understand; that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. That all the old must be filled up by Him, so that the new come to pass. So there is a new Promised Land, His Promised Land. There is a new Israel, His Church. There is a new throne of David, His throne. And there is a new kind of kingdom, His kingdom. Jesus is not restoring things to the way they were, but completing the old and establishing something new. 

And so there will also be a new way of restoring the kingdom of God. Not with earthly power, but with power from on high. The power of the Holy Spirit. Wait for Him, Jesus tells them. I am ascending to send Him to you. And when I send Him, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Or in other words, they will give eye witness testimony to Jesus’ death and resurrection. And as they do, the kingdom of God will be restored. But not to Israel. Not to a nation or land of Israel, to a piece of ground with borders and a name. Yes, it will be established, He says, in Jerusalem, and it will be restored in Judea. But it will also grow in Samaria, and it will, in fact, spread to the ends of the earth. For wherever the Word is proclaimed, there will be the kingdom of God. There will be faith. There will be the Church.

Wherever His Word is preached, that Jesus died for your sins, that He paid the price, that He is your substitute on the cross . . . Wherever people are baptized into His name, dying to sin and rising to a new life . . . Wherever there is absolution of sins, guilty consciences set free and given peace . . . Wherever His Body and Blood are given us to eat and to drink, giving life and salvation . . . Wherever these things are, there Jesus is restoring broken sinners and establishing His kingdom. He promised.

And Jesus is the one doing it. Even though He is ascending, and is ascended, He is the one doing it. Luke tipped us off to this when he wrote: In the first book, O Theophilus [the Gospel of Luke], I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up . . . But now in this second book [the book of Acts], he will speak of what Jesus continues to do. Now, through His Word. Through His apostles. The ones He is now sending out to speak in His stead and by His command. So that when you hear them, you hear Him (Luke 10:16). And the kingdom of God will grow. 

And as Jesus said, it will grow at times and in places you do not expect. It is not for you to know that, exactly. It will surprise you. Jesus will surprise you. How His Word works, and when, and in whom. But this we know: that the kingdom of God will be established and grow, and the gates of hell will not overcome it (Matthew 16:18). Though sometimes it may seem like it. But just as death could not defeat Jesus, and the grave could not hold Jesus, and as we celebrate tonight, this world cannot contain Jesus, so too His kingdom. It will grow and spread, rising and growing even though persecuted; even after being given up for dead.

So this kingdom Jesus is restoring is a hidden one now. Hidden in weakness and poverty, hidden under persecution and oppression. Hidden in the hospital room and the nursing home, hidden in the ghetto and refugee camps. Hidden in poor, miserable sinners who screw up and make mistakes - sometimes whoppers. We, like the disciples, look around and ask: Where is this kingdom? For there seems to be no kingdom in sight. 

But in the same way as Jesus ascended and was hidden by the clouds, but will on the Last Day come again in glory for all to see, so too on the Last Day will the kingdom of God be seen. On that day what is now hidden will be revealed. The glorious reality that has been here all along will finally be seen. And we just might be surprised at what we see . . .

But that is not yet. Now, is the time not of sight but of faith. Of believing the words and promises of Jesus, what He says about His kingdom, His power, and His glory. And so Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was that they would see now, by faith, what was hidden to their eyes. That having the eyes of their hearts enlightened - that’s what the Holy Spirit does, He enlightens us - that they (we!) may know (1.) the hope to which he has called you, (2.) what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and (3.) what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe. That we know this, believe this, and live this. A reality hidden, but nonetheless very, very real.

And you know, that will look foolish to many. To those who have no faith, who believe only what their eyes see. But the kingdom is being restored and established. Though ascended, Jesus has not left us. He is working for the good of His Church and the good of His flock. For your good. That you believe, that you have the same joy as the disciples, and that you have an eternal inheritance with Him in His kingdom. One day we’ll see that. But for now, we stay in the city - not a physical city, but a new one: the city of God. For here He sends us the Spirit, here He speaks to us His Word, here He washes us, here He feeds us, here He absolves us, here He strengthens us and keeps us. He promised.

And thus fed, supplied, and cared for, we proclaim to the world, like Luke and the disciples, all that Jesus began to do and is still doing for us. We proclaim His victory in our words and in our lives, in our love and in our forgiveness. We proclaim that Christ is ascended! [He is ascended indeed! Alleluia!] And that He is still working, and restoring the kingdom, for you and for all.

In the Name of the Father, and of the (+) Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Easter 6 Sermon

This weekend was my congregation's annual Good Shepherd Seminar, and as part of that we were privileged to have Rev. Dr. Timothy Quill as our guest preacher. No manuscript, but here is the audio of his preachment to us yesterday. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Easter 5

There is no sermon to post for this week as I was away at my SELC District Convention and a good friend, Rev. Joe Schruhl, was the Guest Pastor for me. Thank you, my friend!