On Christ’s Ascension…
30 April 2010
On Christ’s Ascension…
25 April 2010
However, here's a version that I rather enjoy. No, it's not by John Lennon, though it does use his tune. No, it doesn't tout the same anti-God, man-centered philosophy as the original, but it does give a message that we need to hear these days, especially on the heels of reports not long ago on the "cooked books" of global warming climatologists.
Perhaps it's best to remember that "The earth is the LORD's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein." (Ps. 24:1) Somehow God has seen us through the scares of global cooling and nuclear holocaust; something tells me that He's still tending His creation and won't allow us puny human beings foolishly to destroy it.
As we continue to celebrate our Lord's Resurrection and His victory over sin, death, and the devil, we rejoice in His gifts of mercy, life, and forgiveness. On this day the Church bids us to "Rejoice!" Today's homily was titled "The Joy of It All," and drew several themes from the great little book by Rev. Matthew Harrison, A Little Book on Joy: The Secret to Living a Good News Life in a Bad News World. (I highly recommend this great little book!)
To listen to the sermon, click on this link, download the audio file, and enjoy!
20 April 2010
I first encountered the following quote from Evelyn Underhill when I attended "DOXOLOGY: The Gathering" back in January 2009. What a tremendous picture it is for refocusing a pastor's attention on his proper vocation! I've also used it to teach my congregation what a pastor's job really is, and the most recent attempt at this came in this past Sunday's homily for "Good Shepherd Sunday," a.k.a. the Third Sunday of Easter. For all of my brothers in office, may these words and this image help you, as it has helped me, to "transcend mere dogginess."
Now those sheep-dogs that afternoon gave me a much better address on the way in which pastoral work among souls should be done that I shall be able to give you. They were helping the shepherd to deal with a lot of very active sheep and lambs, to persuade them into the right pastures, to keep them from rushing down the wrong paths. And how did the successful dog do it? Not by barking, fuss, ostentatious authority, any kind of busy behaviour. The best dog that I saw never barked once; and he spent an astonishing amount of his time sitting perfectly still, looking at the shepherd. The communion of spirit between them was perfect. They worked as a unit. Neither of them seemed anxious or in a hurry. Neither was committed to a rigid plan; they were always content to wait. That dog was the docile and faithful agent of another mind. He used his whole intelligence and initiative, but always in obedience to his master’s directive will; and was ever prompt at self-effacement. The little mountain sheep he had to deal with were amazingly tiresome, as expert in doubling and twisting and going the wrong way as any naughty little boy. The dog went steadily on with it; and his tail never ceased to wag.
What did that mean? It meant that his relation to the shepherd was the centre of his life; and because of that, he enjoyed doing his job with the sheep, he did not bother about the trouble, nor get discouraged with the apparent results. The dog had transcended mere dogginess. His actions were dictated by something right beyond himself. He was the agent of the shepherd, working for a scheme which was not his own and the whole of which he could not grasp; and it was just that which was the source of the delightedness, the eagerness, and also the discipline with which he worked. But he would not have kept that peculiar and intimate relation unless he had sat down and looked at the shepherd a great deal.
[Evelyn Underhill, “The Teacher’s Vocation,” Collected Papers of Evelyn Underhill, Lucy Menzies, ed. (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., Inc., 1946), pp. 182-183.]
Picking up on the "Easter Evangel" theme from my homily for Easter Sunday, I wanted to tie the Good Shepherd theme into the Church's "Easter Evangelism." Here's a link to the audio file of this past Sunday's homily, "The Bishop, the Sheep, and the Sheepdogs."
Click on this link, download the audio file, and listen.
16 April 2010
06 April 2010
by Ephraim the Syrian
Christ the Resurrector will appear in the heights of glory. He will bring the dead to life and raise those in the graves. The children of Adam, who was made of earth, will all arise together and give praise to the Resurrector of the dead.
Let not your hearts be sad, ye mortals. The Lord’s day shall come and He will awaken and gladden us who have reposed. Those who have kept the law shall be roused before the Lord, and the angels shall rejoice in the day of resurrection.
Let not your souls be sorrowful, ye who were redeemed by the cross and called into the kingdom. The Lord’s day shall come; He will give voice to the deceased and the dead will arise and give Him praise.
Let us glorify and worship Jesus, the Word of God, Who, according to His love, came to save us by His cross and is coming again to resurrect Adam’s children in the great day when His majesty shall shine forth.
Grieve not, ye mortals, over your corruption. Christ the King shall shine forth from on high; He who is omnipotent shall beckon and thus raise the dead from their graves, and clothe them with glory in His kingdom.
If death has reigned and laid waste to our nature because Adam sinned and violated the commandment, then shall we not be justified and saved all the more by the sufferings of Christ Who has vanquished death and vindicated our nature?
Our Lord has granted the deceased hope and consolation, for He Himself rose from the grave, vanquished death, promised resurrection and life, and bestowed great blessings on Adam and all his children.
Praise and glory to the Father Who created us, to the Son Who saved us by His cross, and to the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to the all-praised and incomprehensible Trinity Who raises the dead and clothes their bodies with glory. (A Spiritual Psalter, #149, p. 231-32)
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
As we celebrated the Resurrection of Our Lord this past Sunday, the homily was based on the Gospel reading, Mark 16:1-8, and titled, "The Easter Evangel."
Click this link to download and listen to the audio file.
03 April 2010
An Ancient Homily
What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled. Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son. The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: “My Lord be with you all.” And Christ in reply says to Adam: “And with your spirit.” And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” “I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.” “I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.” (From the Fathers to the Churches, pp. 297-298; cited in For All the Saints: A Prayer Book For and By the Church, vol. III, p. 1037)
Good Friday's homily this year is titled "Great Reversal."
Click on this link to download and listen to the audio file. The Lord bless you as you prepare to celebrate His victory over death!
This year's homily for Holy Thursday focused on Christ our Passover under the title "Memorial Meal of Receiving Rescue & Living in Love."
Click on this link to download and listen to the audio file. The Lord bless you and keep you!
Holy Week began with the celebration of Passion Sunday (with Palm Sunday Procession). This day's homily, titled "Ready to Suffer," is based on Matthew 27:11-54, the shorter passion reading option for the day.
Click this link to download and listen to the audio file. God bless!
1. Click on this link. It will take you to my public iDisk page.
2. Select the folder "Hope Sermons."
3. Select the sermon you wish to hear (listed by liturgical day then calendar date).
4. Click the "Download" button and follow instructions for downloading and listening on your computer.
The Lord bless you and keep you!
01 April 2010
"Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture an sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. The new life must be guided so that it continually increases and progresses. But it must suffer much opposition. For the devil is such a furious enemy. When he sees that we oppose him and attack the old man, and that he cannot topple us over by force, he prowls and moves about on all sides. He tries every trick and does not stop until he finally wears us out, so that we either renounce our faith or throw up our hands and put up our feet, becoming indifferent or impatient. Now to this purpose the comfort of the Sacrament is given when the heart feels that the burden is becoming too heavy, so that it may gain here new power and refreshment." (Large Catechism, V:24-27; Concordia, pp. 434-35)