There is a rank due to the United States, among nations, which will be withheld, if not absolutely lost, by the reputation of weakness. If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known that we are at all times ready for war.
‹George Washington›
Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
31Jan
2016
Sun
15:45
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sexagesima

Luke 8:4-15

Sexagesima 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

When St. Luke wrote his Gospel, the recipient he had in mind was Theophilus. It’s an odd name—odd, in that it’s very rare name, not often, if ever, found in any historical records—outside of Luke’s writings, there is hardly anyone named Theophilus, especially anyone not connected to the Church. The name means “friend of God” or “one who loves God,” and for that reason, some surmise that Luke’s recipient is not a specific person, the epithet “most excellent” aside (as perhaps referring to a government official), but any person who is a friend of God or who loves God; as they might explain it, Luke’s Gospel and Acts are written for the believer—he wrote them for you, dear hearer.

To what end did Luke write to Theophilus? “[T]hat you may know the certainty of those things in which you were [catechized].” (Luke 1:4) Theophilus was someone who had been catechized—prepared for Holy Baptism in the ways of the ancient church—and Luke was writing to the catechized friend of God so that he would know for certain the reliability of the words by which he had been catechized. It’s a stated purpose in several places in the Scriptures that the Word of God is given in order that faith would be created in an individual. (cf. John 20:31) And in fact, God’s desire is that all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4) In essence, these are all the same thing: God wants all men saved, to that end, He sent His Son and gave His Word in order to redeem mankind and give them faith.

17Jan
2016
Sun
17:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Transfiguration of Our Lord

Matthew 17:1-9

The Transfiguration of Our Lord 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.”

Here we are, just one week removed from hearing about the heavens opening up for Jesus after coming out of the waters of the Jordan, and the voice from heaven thundering, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17) Now, we advance just under three years later in the span of a week, and Jesus, Peter, James, and John are at the top of a mountain where Jesus is transfigured before them. Moses and Elijah join them. Peter, enraptured with everything going on, wants to build tabernacles for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. He is interrupted by the voice thundering from heaven once again: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

As they come down the mountain, Peter, James, and John hear Jesus tell them not to tell anyone what had happened. They were to wait. Jesus still had to suffer for the sins of the world. He still had to die on the cross. He still had to be placed in a grave and announce to the souls in prison His victory. (cf. 1 Peter 3:19) And He still had to rise from the dead. Jesus’ three disciples would know that they could tell everyone about their mountain top experience once they had seen Jesus again after His resurrection. What you heard from today’s epistle is St. Peter doing just that.

10Jan
2016
Sun
22:28
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

The Baptism of Our Lord 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”

There was a time in the past, before Jesus came up out of the waters of the Jordan, when the windows of heaven were opened. At that time, when heaven opened, the wrath of God was poured out, in a very literal sense. At that time, YHWH had seen “that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And YHWH was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6) God had resolved at that point to start over, essentially. He was going to destroy everything that He had created on the face of the earth, expressing regret at having created that which he had, just a few generations previously, called very good.

6Jan
2016
Wed
22:15
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Epiphany of Our Lord

Matthew 2:1-12

The Epiphany of Our Lord 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

On this day after the Twelfth and last day of Christmas, we observe and celebrate the Epiphany. Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God, God-with-us, is revealing Himself to the nations. He is bringing news of salvation to the Gentiles, just as He promised. (cf. Isaiah 49:6) And He is doing so by bringing some Gentiles to Him, having given them the sign they were waiting for in the heavens.

But, how did they know to equate this sign with the birth of the King? We have to go back about 600 years before Jesus was born. At that time, Judah was taken captive by Babylon. It was the third year of the reign of the king Jehoiakim, and King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem.

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god. Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. (Daniel 1:2-7)

There was a very ingenious reason for Nebuchadnezzar to appoint these four young men and others among the Judean men to their positions. As was just read from the book of Daniel, they possessed knowledge and understanding, they were gifted in wisdom, which made them suitable to serve in the king’s palace. In order to rule over the Hebrews effectively, Nebuchadnezzar would need to surround himself with Judeans who were popular and able to be taught the ways of the Chaldeans.

1Jan
2016
Fri
21:58
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Circumcision and Name of Jesus

Luke 2:21

The Circumcision and Name of Jesus 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

After all the ooohing and ahhhing over a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger, the Church reminds her members that the season of Christmas—these 12 days counting from December 25—is a bloody season.

  • The second day of Christmas is St. Stephen, often referred to as the first martyr. It was shortly after Jesus ascended that Stephen was martyred, stoned to death for proclaiming Christ and Him crucified, shedding his blood for the sake of the faith into which you also were baptized.
  • The fourth day of Christmas is the Holy Innocents, the first to die because of Christ. The Church often refers to them as martyrs, but they didn’t die because of what they proclaimed or what they did, but simply because they were young enough to be mistaken for the Infant King and Priest, Jesus.

After the First Day of Christmas, the day that Jesus’ nativity is observed and celebrated, the rest of the season points to the bloodshed that Jesus’ coming has brought.