Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
‹Robert Herrick›
Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
30Apr
2017
Sun
16:34
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Misericordias Domini

John 10:11-16

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

“[A] hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them.”

It’s appropriate, in an ironic way, that this Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, falls on the Sunday following Call Day at the two LCMS seminaries. This past week, men who have spent nearly 4 years preparing to become pastors learned where they would first be entering the Holy Ministry. Seminary professors and members of the council of presidents probably told them to emulate the Good Shepherd in their impending ministry, perhaps even including laying down their lives for the sheep.

It’s appropriate, in an ironic way, because the predilection for these men, as it has been for pastors since Adam, is to be more like the hireling than the Good Shepherd. The sheep are under constant barrage from the wolf, and sometimes those wolves are in sheep’s clothing. These pastors are charged with defending their flocks from the attacks of the wolf. For someone so new in the office—even despite the preparation from the Lord’s Church and Jesus Himself—this is no easy task; it’s no easy task for any shepherd of a local flock, but time does give him some other tools and wisdom with which to combat the foe in the name of Jesus Christ.

You see, that foe, the wolf is always attacking the flock, and his attacks come from without and within.

23Apr
2017
Sun
16:10
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:19-31

Quasimodo Geniti 2017 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

When Jesus was risen from the dead, an angel came to the tomb to roll the stone away. There was a great earthquake, and the guard posted at the tomb shook with great fear and “became like dead men.” (cf. Matthew 28:4) They fainted for dread and fell asleep.

After the angel and the women interact, he tells them to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen, just as He said He would. Jesus meets them on the way and tells them the same thing. Here are the first witnesses of the Resurrection. They have seen the negative evidence that Jesus is no longer dead: the empty tomb. They have seen the positive evidence that Jesus is no longer dead: Jesus Himself, alive and scarred.

The women go and find the disciples, but their message isn’t really all that they were told. “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” (John 20:2) Peter and John run to the tomb and see it just as the women had told them.

Peter and John leave, returning to their own homes. One might wonder what they were thinking, especially since they have yet to be told. However, John is said to have believed once he saw the empty tomb. What did he believe? Well, maybe he believed in the resurrection and did not really understand what it all meant; maybe he simply believed what the women told them: that someone stole the body, and that they didn’t know where they put it, but he didn’t yet believe that Jesus rose. (cf. John 20:1-9)

The women stayed behind. The angel meets them again. Then Jesus shows up again. He tells Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples that He is risen.

16Apr
2017
Sun
15:46
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Resurrection of Our Lord

Mark 16:1-8

The Resurrection of Our Lord 2017 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Media vita in morte sumus, the 14th century hymn begins. “In the midst of life we are in death.” It is often recited at committal services. It confesses the frailty of these bodies, the weakness of this flesh, and the brevity of this fallen life.

“In the midst of earthly life, snares of death surround us,” a more modern translation puts it. No matter the effort you put into it, you are surrounded by death, laying for you like a trap. School shootings, terrorist bombings, stillborn children, and many other things come upon you unexpectedly. But, there are also the expected endings of life, such as for a terminal disease and old age. All around you see constant reminders that you are mortal; even the very earth that you tread upon reminds you, for you are dust and to dust you shall return.

15Apr
2017
Sat
23:45
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Easter Vigil

The Resurrection—Baptism, Confirmation, and Lord’s Supper

Easter Vigil 2017 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I know that my Redeemer lives,” Job said. (Job 19:25a) On a night like this, it might be a bit strange to say something like that. The church has just celebrated Maundy Thursday, where Jesus celebrated His Last Supper, instituting the Sacrament of the Altar. The church has just memorialized Good Friday, where Jesus finished the work of salvation by his substitutionary death on the cross. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea had petitioned to take the body down from the cross and bury it; they had to be quick because the Sabbath was quickly approaching.

With the permission they sought, they laid the body of Jesus to rest. The Son of Man spent the most holy of Sabbaths resting in the grave.

14Apr
2017
Fri
23:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Good Friday

The Crucifixion

Good Friday 2017 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The history of the world converges at this one point in time. St. John wrote it in the beginning of his Gospel as John the Baptist said it. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” There, on the banks of the Jordan River, the Prophet points to the Son of God in the flesh and points Him out as the propitiation for the sins of the world. His blood will cover a multitude of sins—the sins of the whole world.

This history has it’s beginnings in the beginning, even as the Evangelist first wrote: “In the beginning...” There, in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. He created light and separated it from the darkness. He populated the earth with plants and animals. He created man out of the dust of the earth and placed Him on the very same rock from which he was made. He fashioned woman from the man’s rib and placed her next to her husband, a helper suitable to him, as there was none other to be found among all of the other creatures of God.

9Apr
2017
Sun
16:52
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Palmarum

Matthew 27:11-54

Palmarum 2017 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

YHWH met with Moses on the mountain where He gave him the Ten Commandments. Moses could have taken the dictation in several ways. He could have written it on a papyrus scroll; after all, he just came from the land of papyrus, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to think that they had plenty of it with them in the wilderness. He could have written on clay tablets; again, not a difficult resource to get a hold of. He could have even written it in the sand as a means of helping him to memorize what God had said. But he didn’t record the Ten Commandments on paper or clay or even in the sand, but they were carved in stone.

That phrase “carved in stone,” should cause you to think. Something carved in stone has endurance. Paper soon becomes brittle, and the writing on it can fade. Clay, likewise, can be brittle and easily break. And anything written in sand is quickly lost in a breeze or when the rain falls. But something carved in stone has a permanence that those other methods do not. Something carved in stone lasts. When you carve something in stone, it conveys an importance because of its permanence. The Ten Commandments are carved in stone.

This is God’s everlasting covenant with His people. His people will obey His will and keep this commandments. But these laws are not only for His people, but for all mankind, as they are all His creation.