31 January 2012

Right to Vote?

Now this is a tad funny and incredibly sad at the same time. It certainly puts the fruits of "progressive education" on display, and it might even be proof positive why beating hearts and breathing lungs are not sufficient qualifications for some persons having the right to vote!

29 January 2012

Homily for Transfiguration of Our Lord

Those of us using the Lutheran Service Book One-Year Lectionary celebrated the Transfiguration of Our Lord this morning. While others in Christendom celebrate the Transfiguration on 6 August, our Lutheran custom of placing it at this time of the year serves as the perfect transition from the joyous Epiphany season to the time of penitential reflection in Lent. Not only do we get to bask in the wondrous type and vision fair of our Lord revealing Himself in brilliant, radiant glory, but we also get prepared for descending into our Lord's Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. That, after all, is our Lord's real glory--going to the Cross to atone for our sins and conquer our worst enemy, death.

Today's homily, "Your Transfiguration Too!", used the Transfiguration hymn "O Wondrous Type, O Vision Fair" (LSB 413) to lead us in pondering this great event. To listen to "Your Transfiguration Too!", click here and download the audio file.

27 January 2012

Gems from Walther

C. F. W. Walther has some great things to say about preaching "faith," namely, how to do so without leading hearers to think, "Oh, I must work faith in myself," or "I must not have enough faith," or other such harmful sentiments. I've read and used these quotes before, but here they are for edification:
When we demand faith, we do not lay down a demand of the Law. Rather, we extend the sweetest invitation, saying to our listeners, "Come, for everything is now ready." If I invite a half-starved person to sit down to a well-set table and to help himself to anything he likes, I do not expect him to tell me that he will take no orders from me. In the same way, the demand to believe is to be understood not as an order of the Law, but as an invitation of the Gospel. (C. F. W. Walther, Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible, 287.)

A preacher must be able to preach a sermon on faith without ever using the word faith. It is not important to use the literal word faith. Rather, the preacher needs to frame his address in a way that he would awaken in every poor sinner the desire to lay down his sins at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and say to Him, "You are mine, and I am Yours." (C. F. W. Walther, Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible, 287-88.)

The Transfiguration - On Issues, Etc.

Yesterday gave another privileged opportunity to appear on Issues, Etc., this time to discuss The Transfiguration of Our Lord as recorded in Matthew 17:1-9. Listen here for the discussion between Pr. Todd Wilken (host), Pr. Jim Roemke (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Middleville, MI), and myself.

Homily for Conversion of St. Paul

One of the great blessings of having a regular midweek Divine Service is that we get to celebrate the minor feasts and festivals (see Lutheran Service Book, xxii-xxiii), which we may not always get to celebrate on Sundays.

This Wednesday's Divine Service gave us the privilege of remembering the Conversion of St. Paul--25 January. What a great account that is! If our Lord Jesus Christ can save a murderous, Christian-persecuting scoundrel such as Saul of Tarsus, He can certainly forgive me all of my many sins, no matter how great or small they may be. Wednesday's homily, "Loss for Christ," focused not only on how our Lord rescued Saul of Tarsus from himself, but also on how He rescues us from our ego-centered selves.

To listen to "Loss for Christ," click here and download the audio file.

22 January 2012

Homily for Epiphany 3

The Gospel reading for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany - Matthew 8:1-13 - is also perfectly suited for the observance of Life Sunday. Jesus reveals Himself as the great healer, giving life by "His Healing Touch," as He heals both the leper and the centurion's servant. What a perfect message for addressing the sickness and scourge of abortion in our land! Our Lord bestows the very same healing, wholeness, and holiness on us as He did for the leper and the centurion's servant. And the healing He grants is also the perfect remedy for those impacted by the societal sickness of abortion.

To listen to "His Healing Touch," click here and download the audio file.

Homily for Epiphany 2

[From last week, the Second Sunday after the Epiphany. Apologies for life getting in the way!]

On the Second Sunday after the Epiphany we hear the account of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). It's a fascinating combination of Jesus revealing Himself as the Messiah who ushers in the age of hills dripping with sweet wine (Amos 9) and doing so at a run of the mill wedding. Some try to say that a preacher best proclaims this text without preaching so much on marriage - focus instead on the Epiphany theme of Jesus revealing Himself in order that His disciples may believe in Him. But Luther used the occasion to preach on God still turning water into wine even in the household. So why not both? After all, Jesus is "Still Turning Water Into Wine" in our midst - in both our households and in His Church.

To listen to "Still Turning Water Into Wine," click here and download the audio file.

06 January 2012

Homily for Epiphany of Our Lord

Hope's Nativity Scene
Historically, Epiphany used to be a grander feast than Christmas, but these days one must search for congregations that celebrate this great festival on its actual day, January 6. That's one reason I like to say: "There is Hope in St. Louis." :-)

As we do each year, this evening's Divine Service showcased the Hope Kantorei (children's choir) as we heard the Good News of the Son of God revealing Himself to the nations. In the homily we heard how "Actions Speak Louder than Words," that is, how God's actions of revealing Himself and redeeming us speak loudly and clearly - that is, in fulfilling His promises for all nations and for sinners such as us.

To listen to "Actions Speak Louder than Words," click here and download the audio file ... and remember that our Lord Jesus, the Word made flesh, reveals Himself for you.

04 January 2012

Homily for Circumcision of Our Lord

This past Sunday gave us the rare opportunity to celebrate the Circumcision and Name of Jesus on its appointed day as well as on a Sunday. The one verse account - Luke 2:21 - of the Infant Savior being circumcised and given the name "Jesus" speaks volumes of Gospel for us as we continue to celebrate the season of Christmas. Sunday's homily focused on the importance of our Lord's circumcision and the meaning of His name under the theme of "First Blood."

To listen to "First Blood," just click this link and download the audio file.