If you can't convince them, confuse them.
‹anonymous›
Atlantis: the domain of the Stingray
24Dec
2016
Sat
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord

Matthew 1:18-25

Eve of the Nativity of Our Lord 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

There was a television show that ran my last year in high school and into my first two years in college—seaQuest DSV; think Star Trek, but under water. As the second season began, a riot breaks out in a prison camp for people who were genetically engineered to be warriors. These people, grown entirely in a laboratory, were called GELFs, Genetically Engineered Life Forms. They were seen as less-than-human because they weren’t born in the usual way, they lacked many of the traits that make the rest of humanity human (since they were bred as fighting machines), and they were unable to have children of their own. They seek recognition as people and their freedom, though it’s safe to say, given the derogatory attitude people have toward them, that could likely never happen.

As these genetically engineered warriors riot and take over their camp, one of them gives birth; the first GELF conceived and born in the natural way—a miracle! As the powers that be seek to quell the riot and retake the camp, the rioters jettison the baby in a life pod, hoping to save it. It was picked up by the submarine seaQuest. As they discover the baby and it’s GELF traits, the boat’s doctor exclaims, “If this is their baby, that means they’re becoming human.”

21Dec
2016
Wed
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Rorate Coeli

Philippians 4:4-7

Wednesday of Rorate Coeli 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice...The Lord is at hand,” the Apostle wrote.

Here it is, the last liturgy before the Festival of Christmas. The Lord is at hand! The celebration of His first coming is nearer now than it has ever been this season; just three more days! This is cause for rejoicing, and it is cause for there to be rejoicing always and alway. Thanks for the question last week; that the Lord is at hand, that He has come to you before and continues to come to you in His means is cause for rejoicing at all times and in all places. This is true because He came as your brother to be your propitiation; He is your kinsman Redeemer!

14Dec
2016
Wed
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Gaudete

1 Corinthians 4:1-5

Wednesday of Gaudete 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God,” the Apostle wrote.

There’s a stanza in an old Advent hymn: “Once He came in blessing, / All our ills redressing; / Came in likeness lowly, / Son of God most holy; / Bore the cross to save us, / Hope and freedom gave us.” It’s the first stanza of the hymn and describes the coming of Christ in blessing. That is what the church is now looking forward to celebrating in just over a week: Christmas, the coming of Christ in blessing.

And why not? Why would the church not celebrate such a thing? God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, assumed human flesh as He was conceived by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary. In the lowly maiden’s womb, flesh and blood formed and came together, sinew joined to bone, and a life was borne. This was no ordinary life, though—this was Life in the flesh. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:4-5)

7Dec
2016
Wed
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Populus Zion

Romans 15:4-13

Wednesday of Populus Zion 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God,” the Apostle wrote.

Agnus Day ComicThe two sheep on my door are talking about this passage. “Easier said than done,” the one says to the other.” That is typically the case with every passage of Scripture that exhorts you to do something, then pointing out Jesus as the example in doing so. The other sheep replies, “It’s just that some people are so difficult!” “So difficult” probably describes everyone who is not exactly like you—which is...everyone.

Nevertheless, this is what God in Christ exhorts you to do. Receive one another! Of course, the people to whom Paul was writing this were Christians, so the exhortation is first and foremost that you receive one another here, among your brothers and sisters, as Christ received you.

30Nov
2016
Wed
23:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Ad Te Levavi

Romans 13:8-14

Wednesday of Ad Te Levavi 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Love is the fulfillment of the law,” the Apostle wrote.

Now, as you initially hear that, your mind should bring you to the idea that part of keeping the law is the love of your neighbor. You’re not wrong. The last seven commandments all tell you how to love your neighbor as yourself.

  • You are to honor your father and mother, and that means to respect and obey those who God has placed in authority over you.
  • You are not to murder, and that means not only that you shouldn’t take the life of your neighbor, nor strike him in any way, not even call him names, but also to be of service to him and help him to protect himself.
  • You are not to commit sexual immorality, and that means to remain chaste and pure, having sexual relations only with your husband or wife.
  • You are not to steal, and that means, much like murdering, not only are you not to take what is not yours, but you are to be of service to your neighbor in keeping his possessions and income.
  • You are not to make false claims about your neighbor, and that means that you shouldn’t like about your neighbor, but also to speak well of him and defend his reputation.
  • You are not to covet anything which, in any way, belongs to your neighbor, and that means, like stealing, that you shouldn’t desire what does not belong to you, but also that you should urge those things, such as a spouse or animals, to stay with the one to whom they belong.

In doing all of these things, you have not only shown love for your neighbor, but you have actually loved your neighbor. And in loving your neighbor, you have fulfilled the law.

23Nov
2016
Wed
17:45
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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+ Doris Bissitt + [a funeral sermon]

Revelation 7:9-12

+ Doris Bissitt + Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

Dear saints of Christ Our Savior and guests, friends and family of Doris, Julie and Stanley...the beatific vision which the apostle St. John was privileged to see, the host arrayed in white, was of a time beyond time, the Church Triumphant in bright array, a multitude which no one could count at the Feast of the Lamb in His kingdom which has no end. It’s the life eternal to which all who in Christ aspire, and that to which our dearly departed Doris is but one step closer.

She now rests from all of her labors. She is now gone out from the great tribulation, this existence in the Vale of Tears in which you still live, battered about, as it were, by every care and concern, worry and anxiety that befalls man in his corrupt state. Chaos reigns here. Brother strives against brother, which you hear about from Cain and Abel, and see throughout history and into today. All manner of evil is spoken against you who are in Christ for the mere fact that you are in Christ.

13Nov
2016
Sun
15:56
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Seventh Sunday after Michaelmas

Matthew 25:31-46

Seventh Sunday after Michaelmas Year Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Every time this text comes up, you hear me tell you that in the part of the text that many focus on, Jesus differentiates how His messengers are received by believers compared to unbelievers. To the sheep, He says, “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” The sheep are confused, because they don’t know when they did this. To the goats, on the other hand, Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.” The goats are also confused, because they didn’t see Jesus in order to do any of these things.

6Nov
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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All Saints' Day [transferred]

Matthew 5:1-12

All Saints Day 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In the year that King Uzziah of Judah died, St. Isaiah had a vision of the Most Holy Place in the courts of heaven. The Lord was sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. There were angels standing above the throne—six-winged seraphs—covering themselves with two pairs of wings out of respect and modesty, being in the presence of YHWH Sabaoth. They cried to each other antiphonally words from which the Sanctus is derived, and the place shook for the sound of their cries while the smoke of incense filled the temple.

St. Isaiah was privileged to get a glimpse of heavenly worship. You can say with confidence that he didn’t see everything that happened in the Most Holy Place, and what he revealed might only be but a portion of what he was given to see. The sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of everything going on must have been more than he could understand; I would wager even the taste of things happening was palpable and more wonderful than anything he had ever experienced below. Once the wonder of the scene catches up to him, though, he realizes who he is and where he is.

“Woe is me,” he exclaims, “for I am undone!” Who is he? He is a man of unclean lips living in the midst of a people of unclean lips. And let’s make things perfectly clear here. It wasn’t just his lips and his people lips that were unclean. From head to toe, inside and out, St. Isaiah was impure, as were the people among whom he lived. Where is he? He is in the presence of the King, YHWH Sabaoth, and more than that, his unclean eyes have seen Him. (cf. Isaiah 6:1-5)

9Oct
2016
Sun
15:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday after Michaelmas

John 4:46-54

Second Sunday ater Michaelmas 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

You have in the certain nobleman today a beautiful example of faith. He exhibits the nature and character of faith, namely, that it is supposed to increase and, as Dr. Luther put it, become perfect. He shows that faith is not a quiet and idle thing, but a living and restless thing; it rises and falls, ebbs and flows, lives and moves. If this does not occur, then faith does not exist; it is, then, only a lifeless notion of the heart concerning God. “For true, living faith, which the Holy Spirit pours into the heart, cannot be inactive,” as even St. James wrote. (cf. James 2:17) Therefore, do not think that if you have attained faith, that you now have everything; you must constantly grow and increase and continue to learn to know God better.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Here is a primary reason why: the devil is not idle. You are under constant barrage from the enemy, and this is not always something you can see or feel or otherwise even comprehend; sure, there are times when you will, such as when temptations come alluring. However, this is no mere persecution from a world hostile to the Gospel, but from the powers of darkness, as you heard today in the Epistle. (cf. Ephesians 6:12) The devil howls and rages; he is mad and foolish, and he cannot bear that a Christian grows in his faith; therefore, he is always, always at work against it.

2Oct
2016
Sun
15:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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First Sunday after Michaelmas

Matthew 22:1-14

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

When one hears this parable, the natural inclination is to look at what the all of the people are doing. These people are invited to a feast. When it came time for the feast, they are fetched by a servant, but each of them gives excuses and declines showing up. Additionally, they take those who came to fetch them and treated them spitefully and killed them. Of course, this would incense the one who invited them, and in the parable, he destroyed the invitees and burned up their cities.

Then, there are other people brought to the feast, and again, the attention is on them. The hall is filled with guests, but one of them isn’t wearing the proper wedding garments. It was traditional in the time of Jesus that when you invited someone to a wedding feast, you provided them the appropriate attire. When he’s approached about it, he hasn’t an answer. So, he is bound hand and foot and thrown into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

25Sep
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Michaelmas

Luke 10:17-20; Revelation 12:7-12

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

“For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.” Such is the first verse of today’s Gradual. Satan used this verse to tempt Jesus to throw Himself down off the temple mount (cf. Luke 4:9-10), telling Jesus that He could do so without fear of injuring or killing Himself. While that is true, it is no reason to put God to the test, as Jesus informs the crafty serpent. This verse, and the entire 91st Psalm, is written for your benefit; it is written about you with the Christ in mind. You are the one, like Christ, who God has given His angels charge over, to keep you in all your ways.

So, look at Christ and this Psalm. Building up to verse 11, the Psalm lists danger after danger that could befall you after acknowledging that YHWH is your refuge and fortress: a fowler’s snare, perilous pestilence, night terror, arrows by day, thousands upon thousands of perils that may fall at your sides. “But [none] shall come near you.” (Psalm 91:7c) Jesus certainly had perils to contend with from the moment He was conceived and born, and not once did they lay a hand on Him until it was His time to die for you.

But, these dangers also come your way. You know it, and you can feel it. An enemy sets a trap for you, besmirching your reputation. Illnesses overcome you. There are those who seek your life and property who prowl around at night, and it seems no more safe during the day at times. You walk in danger all the way as you sang to start the service today. Yet, God gives His angels charge over you, to keep you in all of your ways. They will not let you dash your foot against a stone.

18Sep
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 14:1-11

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fellow redeemed of Christ, here is a topic of much importance to the Church. Jesus speaks of taking places of honor at a wedding feast. In his own way, He relates this to the Great Wedding Feast—the Feast of Victory of the Lamb. So, when Jesus speaks of a wedding feast, you really have no option but to look at the Foretaste of the Feast to Come that He has given the Church to do in remembrance of Him. It is a matter of much importance to the Church because it is in this feast that Her members find their Life in Christ.

11Sep
2016
Sun
15:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 7:11-17

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Jesus said, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” (Revelation 1:18) The exercise of this office of the keys is on display for you in today’s Gospel lesson. There, as Jesus enters a village called Nain, He and His party encounter another party of people.

Jesus’ party is one of life. He has come into the world that you would have life and have it to the fullest. (cf. John 10:10) Along the way, He gathered disciples as He taught. He healed and performed many wondrous miracles. And He gathered a following. His party, that day, was generally joyful and hopeful and expectant. The people had seen this Jesus do some pretty amazing stuff—some of them probably had some of that amazing stuff happen to them—and they knew Him to be the promised Messiah of the Scriptures, today’s Old Testament; greater things were going to happen. This party was entering the village.

From Nain proceeded an opposite party, and it was heading in the opposite direction. A widow followed a bier. In the box was not her husband, however, but her only son. This woman had lost everything, having previously lost her husband, and her party, gloomy as it is, was heading out of the city to the necropolis—the city of the dead, the graveyard—to bury all that is left of her livelihood.

21Aug
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 10:23-37

Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested [Jesus], saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? It isn’t the only time Jesus is asked the question. If you ask two of our catechumens the question, they may give you the answer, since we talked about that just about one year ago—it won’t be the one Jesus gave, because He saw right through the question to what those who were asking really wanted.

What must you do to inherit eternal life? You do nothing to inherit anything! To be an heir and inherit something, you find yourself a beneficiary of someone who has died. You exist, for one thing, and find yourself related to or befriended by another. That person dies and bequeaths something to you. That you inherit anything is totally dependent on the person on the person who has died. That’s why what you do to inherit anything is nothing! Matter-of-fact, you are a passive part of inheritance.

14Aug
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Twelfth Sunday after Trinity

Mark 7:31-37

Twelfth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

What Jesus does in today’s text is very indicative of St. Mark’s Gospel. There’s no soft and sweet beginning to his Gospel, no angel choirs, no lineage, none of those “tedious” details. In fact, there is no softness at all throughout the Gospel. No 12-year old Jesus causing Mary to marvel, in fact, no sweet Mary at all. No, for Mark, his point is to get to the meat of the story of Christ, so the first thing he does is introduce John the Baptist. Then, Jesus arrives on the scene and is baptized. Immediately, Mark’s favorite word, Jesus makes His way into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

The same kind of thing is happening in today’s pericope. Jesus is making His way to the Sea of Galilee when a deaf man with a speech impediment is brought to Him. Jesus pulls him aside, puts His fingers in the man’s ears, spits, touches the man’s tongue, and shouts, “Ephphatha,” “Be opened!” Immediately (see, I told you Mark likes this word), the man could hear and speak.

7Aug
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

Luke 18:9-14; Genesis 4:1-15

Eleventh Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I’m going to say it again: there are only two religions in the world. If it’s been a while since you’ve heard me say that, you may be surprised to hear it. After all, there are multiple -isms and -anities out there, and it’s impossible to keep them all straight. Volumes have been written which only give synopses of the world’s many religions. However, when you get to the core tenets and facets of these world religions, they fall only into two types of religions. In many ways, they are polar opposites, yet they can be indistinguishable in many instances. And while the religions are polar opposites, the core tenets are, for all intents and purposes, complementary. Today’s Old Testament and Gospel lessons show the two religions at work.

One religion is that of the Law; the other is the religion of the Gospel. Law and Gospel are complementary in that you cannot have one without the other—the Law shows you your need for the Gospel, since you cannot keep it, and the Gospel tells you that the Law in fulfilled for you by another. However, the religion of the Law and the religion of the Gospel are polar opposites. St. Paul relates that the religion of the Law is of the devil, the world, and your sinful flesh. He states that this religion is the way of death. For, walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience...in the lusts of [the] flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,...by nature children of wrath,” adherents to the religion of the Law are dead in the trespasses and sins. (cf. Ephesians 2:1-3) Elsewhere, the apostle wrote, “...the law brings about wrath....” (Romans 4:15a) However, the religion of the Gospel declares that we are saved by grace through faith—and this faith is the gift of God, it is from the Gospel, not borne of works, not of the Law, lest anyone should boast. (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10)

24Jul
2016
Sun
15:33
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 16:1-13

Ninth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

It’s a strange parable that Jesus told—strange, because it doesn’t really fit the mold of the other parables that Jesus told. For years, the parable has been known as “The Unrighteous Steward.” You heard it already, but here’s a quick summary:

  • A master has a slave that is in charge of the master’s financial affairs. Think of Joseph in Potiphar’s house—he had the same role. (cf. Genesis 39:1-6)
  • Word reached the master that his steward was wasting his money. If true, it’s enough for the master to put him out at best or to have him executed at worst.
  • The master confronts the steward and demands an answer and puts him out right then and there.
  • The steward, put out, devises a plan to go to the master’s debtors and forgives them each a portion of their debt to the master.
  • When master catches word of what the former steward had done, he praised him for his shrewdness.

Why is the steward called unrighteous? It is not because he forgave a portion of the master’s debts without the master’s consent or knowledge, but likely because as the parable starts, he is mismanaging his master’s wealth.

17Jul
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Matthew 7:15-23

The Eighth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Grapes and figs and thorns and thistles—these fruits of grace and wrath, holiness and sin: they are marks of right preaching and false teaching. And, so, Jesus says, “Beware of false prophets... You will know them by their fruits.”

19Jun
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Luke 6:36-42

The Fourth Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I know of a story of a counselor who met with a prostitute who was in dire straits. She was homeless and sick. She could hardly buy food enough to feed her two-year old daughter and herself. With tears and through sobs, she told the counselor that she was renting out her two-year old daughter to her men. She made more money that way than in the “traditional” way. It’s not that the woman wanted to do it, but that she felt that she had to. The counselor could hardly bear to hear any more—he had already heard enough to make him legally liable to report a case of child abuse. He wasn’t sure what he could tell her, but the thought occurred to ask her if she had ever thought about going to a church for help.

When he did ask, the look on the woman’s face was one of consternation. “Church!? Why would I go there? I am already feeling terrible about myself and what I have done. They would only make me feel worse.” Once, a prostitute sought refuge from an angry mob with Jesus. (cf. John 8:2-11) Now, a prostitute dare not find refuge among those who call themselves His disciples.

I know of a story of a missionary who was in Cambodia. He was in a coffee bar where a conversation was struck up, and as they invariably do, he was asked what brought him to Cambodia. He, being a white man of European features, stuck out in Cambodia like a sore thumb. “I’m a Christian on a year-long mission trip.” The conversation took a sour turn after that; the other participants did whatever they could to bring it to a close.

What brought the conversation to a screeching halt? The man called himself a Christian. Now, sure, Jesus told His disciples that the world would hate them because it hates Him. (cf. Luke 6:22; John 15:18; et al), but this is a bit different. The people in the coffee bar weren’t necessarily hostile toward the man—they didn’t hate him—they simply wanted nothing more to do with him. He didn’t tell them about their Lord and Savior, didn’t ask to pray with them, didn’t invite them to a church or Bible study. He merely said He was a Christian.

12Jun
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Third Sunday after Trinity

Luke 15:11-32

The Third Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to [Jesus] to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, ‘This Man receives sinners and eats with them.’” (Luke 15:1-2) As you heard last week, this is the complaint against Jesus. It comes after Jesus told the parable you heard last week, in which a certain man gave a great supper where the invitees were not present, but outcasts—read, sinners—from inside and outside of the city were in attendance.

So, Jesus tells more parables following the complaint.

  • A man has 100 sheep, but one wanders off, so he goes off in search of it, leaving the 99 behind. When he finds it, he throws it over his shoulders and carries it back to the flock. Then, he throws a party with his friends.
  • A woman has 10 coins, but she loses one somewhere in the house. She cleans up and turns the house upside down looking for it. It goes without saying, but the other nine are left alone, just fine. When she finds it, she throws a huge party, inviting her friends.

In the same way, there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 9 or 99 just persons who have no need of repentance. (cf. Luke 15:3-10)

Why does Jesus eat with sinners and tax collectors? Because Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. (cf. Luke 19:10) Because those who are healthy have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. (cf. Luke 5:31) Because, again quoting Rev. Matthew Harrison, “Jesus dwells in the hearts of sinners, so you better be one.” Because they—the sinners, tax collectors, the sick...those who need Jesus—are the people of the lanes of the city and hedges outside of the city. (cf. Luke 14:21, 23) In other words, these are the very people for whom Jesus has come. They are like the 1 lost sheep or 1 lost coin, for which the shepherd and woman, respectively, go searching.

But, what of the 99 or 9?

5Jun
2016
Sun
14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Second Sunday after Trinity

Luke 14:15-24

Second Sunday after Trinity 2016 Wordle
In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” Prompted by this statement, made by a guest at the dinner thrown by a Pharisee whereat Jesus is also a guest, He teaches a parable about a certain man who gave a great supper and invited many. He had just taught the Pharisees all around the dinner table about table etiquette. Take the lowest available seat and be told to move up, for it is better to be told to move up than to move down. “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (cf. Luke 14:8-11) When you are host, invite those who cannot repay you. for it is of no credit to you to invite someone you then expect to invite you back. “And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (cf. Luke 14:12-14) Now, a master is giving a banquet, and the invitees are refusing to come.

The parable, like all the others, is meant to convey the reality of the Kingdom of God in the form of a story. The master, therefore, is the Father who gives a banquet, being, of course, the victory feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom which has no end. The servants, then, are the prophets and ministers that God sends to proclaim His message—to give His invitation.

Beyond that, there are three types of people in the parable. The first type would be the invitees. They are the many that the certain man invited to his great supper. The second type would be the people of the streets and lanes of the city who a servant brought in. When these were all gathered at the great supper, there was still room. So, then, the third type would be those from the highways and hedges from outside of the city. The people of the second and third type are similar, but they are not the same, and they are both quite different than the people of the first type.

22May
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Holy Trinity

John 3:1-17

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

In the wilderness, as the Hebrews made their way from Egypt to Canaan, the people grumbled against God and Moses. They had grown discouraged in their trek, for they had already spent a long time in the wilderness, away from what they, at that point, thought was a life of comfort, making bricks without straw, working in unbearable conditions, and beaten or killed for their inability to work and meet their quotas. But, compared to where they were in their exodus, they did have some comforts, like better and tastier foods, and at least, again, as they perceived it, had a chance to live. On top of that, they lived in the best part of Egypt, not the barren wilderness they were in. “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Number 21:5)

There were God’s people, rescued from slavery, being brought into their own land, incapable of trusting in Him who saved them. And to top it all off, they called the bread that He sent them worthless! What’s an almighty and just God to do? Well, point out their sin to them, of course. So, He sent fiery serpents—seraphim, it says in the Hebrew, a word for fiery or venomous ones—into the camp; they bit the people, and many of them died. (cf. Number 21:6)

The people realized the error of their ways. They approached Moses and confessed their sin to him. They asked him for a way to make the death by serpents stop. “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.” (Numbers 21:7) This is the work of the Law: it reveals the wrath of God to you; it kills you—when you sin against God, it declares to you that the just punishment for your sin is death. The fiery serpents were the proclamation of God’s wrath against the sin of the Hebrew children in the wilderness.

8May
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Exaudi

John 15:26—16:4

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

No one likes going to the dentist—at least, no one that I’ve met. However, there are those times when you must go. There’s a sharp pain when you chew; it’s the tell-tale sign of a cavity. So, you have to go have it filled. You make the appointment, and it just happens that they can get you in that afternoon. The sooner the better, right? Get it over with, right? Still, your anxiety goes through the roof as you arrive at the office, are ushered to the back, and wait in the chair for what feels like hours. Finally, the dentist comes in, and begins the procedure. First, a pinch as you receive an injection of Novocain. Then, your heart rate spikes, especially as you hear the whining of the drill.

But, the cavity is being filled and you know that whatever unpleasantness you’re experiencing now is only temporary. Once all is said and done, at least today, the pain will be gone, both from the procedure and, as is the point of having the cavity filled, when you eat.

5May
2016
Thu
22:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ascension of Our Lord

Luke 24:44-53

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

“And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.”

After going before His disciples into Galilee (cf. Matthew 26:32; 28:7), and appearing to many, many people, giving them many infallible proofs of His resurrection (cf. Acts 1:3), Jesus leads His disciples through Jerusalem to Bethany to be received into heaven there before them. Christ’s ascension does not happen in Galilee, which served as something of their home base during His three-year ministry, but just outside of Jerusalem. They had been there a mere 40 days previous where they had witnessed His passion, suffering, and death, and where He had risen from the dead.

1May
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Rogate

John 16:23-33

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

These “flashbacks” in John 16 have been happening for the last three weeks, today included. At this point in St. John’s Gospel, it’s the day of Jesus’ betrayal into the hands of the elders, chief priests, and scribes; He celebrated His last supper with His disciples back in chapter 13, and in chapter 18 Judas brings the Temple guard to arrest Him. Between these two events, Jesus is preparing His disciples for the time that He will no longer be with them and His church as He had in the three or so years since His baptism. While He will soon be taken from them to be crucified and die for their sins and the sins of the world and on the third day rise again—events which on a few occasions He had told them would happen—there’s something different about these sayings of Jesus, about His telling the disciples that He is going away.

“A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:16) “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7) “He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:14) “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:22ff)

17Apr
2016
Sun
15:55
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Jubilate

John 16:16-22

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

In what has been a journey in reverse since Quasimodo Geniti—that is, moving from the resurrection to times before the crucifixion—we’ve moved forward from John 10 to 16. The section that chapter 16 falls in is known as the “Farewell Discourses.” Jesus had celebrated the Last Supper, though John hardly mentions it; he just gives you a little foot washing and A New Commandment. (cf. John 13:34) From then on, Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure, for His crucifixion. Today’s text is right in the middle of it all. There, He says, “A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.”

10Apr
2016
Sun
16:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Misericordias Domini

John 10:11-16

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

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

Of course He’s good; He’s God, and that makes Him good. But what makes Jesus the good shepherd? Precisely that second sentence: “The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

3Apr
2016
Sun
15:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quasimodo Geniti

John 20:19-31

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

“You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” “We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”

Over the centuries since the early church, St. Thomas has gotten a bit of a bum rap. No longer is he referred to as the Twin, as the Scriptures label him, but as the Doubter—Doubting Thomas. Now, it certainly isn’t a lie to say that he doubted; today’s text illustrates for you one such time when that was the case, and it is this text which has led the church these days to call him the Doubter. But what does such a label and name make of his reputation? He is now known as the Doubter, and people think the lesser of him compared to the other apostles, and especially in comparison to themselves. His reputation has been hurt, it’s borderline slanderous, and as a result, few speak well of him or explain things in the kindest way.

Consequently, you have been more than a little unfair in calling Thomas the Doubter. If you are going to be honest, he was not asking for anything more than the other apostles had already received. Jesus appeared to the 10 of them the evening of the Resurrection. He speaks peace to them who had been shut up in that room with the doors locked for fear of the Jews. It wasn’t until He proved to them that He was really Jesus, by showing them His hands and side, that they were glad to see Him.

27Mar
2016
Sun
14:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Resurrection of Our Lord

Mark 16:1-8

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

The women went to the tomb, supposing to spice the body of Jesus since they had little time to do it before the Sabbath. They wondered about the stone. They likely worried about the Roman guard. They were surprised to see the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, like it had been before Jesus was laid to rest there; it was, after all, a new tomb—no one else had been buried there yet. However, the tomb was not totally empty; a young man was sitting inside, waiting just for them. He proclaimed,

Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.

An angel proclaimed the incarnation of the Son of God, and now an angel proclaims His victory over death for the women and for all men!

What good news. “He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.” The stone is rolled away, granting the women access to the empty tomb. Where once there was death, now they see the absence of death and hear the proclamation of life from an angel of God. Luke reports that the angels even told the women, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) Jesus is alive, which means that He who once was dead has conquered death. He is risen! Hallelujah!

25Mar
2016
Fri
23:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Good Friday

"It is finished!" and "Father, 'into Your hands I commit my spirit.'"

Good Friday 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

The lifeless body of God hangs on the cross. It was a short life of about 33 years for the eternal Word. “The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) Humbly, the Son of God began His fleshy existence in a house when Gabriel visited Mary; gloriously, it reaches its conclusion on a hill outside of Jerusalem called Calvary. How appropriate that today, March 25, is not only Good Friday this year, but also the Annunciation—the day when the church acknowledges the Incarnation of Our Lord. It’s an ancient church belief that a prophet died on the day He was conceived, and this year, that belief plays out as the date of honoring His death falls on the date of observing His conception. The Son of God took on human flesh and blood in order to give that flesh and blood over to death—the living God finishes His mission, breathes His last, and dies.

At the third hour on a Friday morning, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, saw to His appointed duty to die for the sin of the world, and was nailed to a cross. In the matter of a few hours, it was done—it was finished. Satan was humiliated, brought low, his head crushed by the bruised heal of the Seed, declared in one last word from the cross: τέτελεσται. One little word has felled the devil, and we translate it as “It is finished,” or, “It is completed,” or, “It is ended.”

20Mar
2016
Sun
14:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Palmarum - The Sunday of the Passion

Matthew 27:11-54

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

The Passion according to St. Matthew as you have heard it today begins with Jesus before the governor. There, He is on trial for no other reason than because the Jews want Him killed, and they cannot legally do that themselves. He stands before Pilate on some trumped up charge, that He claims to be a king, and if He is a king, then He stands in opposition to Caesar and is an enemy of the state. “Are you the King of the Jews?” “It is as you say.”

Now, the governor must decide how to proceed. The chief priests and elders pressed Pilate, further accusing Jesus, and the King says nothing. Pilate marveled at Him for this. This was not how a Jewish king would respond to their accusations. This is not how an enemy of Rome would behave. He figured that something more was going on. Then he has a brilliant idea: He’ll give the people a choice between a known evil man and Jesus.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.

The choice should be obvious—it would be more dangerous to release Barabbas; they just have to pick Jesus. But what do they shout? “Barabbas!” “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” “Let Him be crucified!”

16Mar
2016
Wed
22:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Judica

"I thirst!"

Wednesday of Judica 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

When Jesus preached on the mount, He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) This evening, you heard Him cry out from the cross, “I thirst!” For what does Jesus thirst?

According to John, He said it to fulfill the Scripture. Many point to Psalm 69, wherein the Psalmist bemoans the fact that his enemies outnumber the hairs on his head. (cf. Psalm 69:4a) But it also says that “they” have given him gall for food and vinegar to drink. (cf. Psalm 69:21) Finding a hyssop branch, they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on the branch, and placed it on Jesus’ lips. And so were the words of Psalm 69 fulfilled.

9Mar
2016
Wed
22:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Laetare

"'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'"

Wednesday of Laetare 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

“[A]bout the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” It’s a strange question for a Man who is God to ask. If the Son and the Father are truly of the same essence, with the Holy Ghost, then why is the Son asking this question. One must conclude that He is asking it from His human nature.

2Mar
2016
Wed
22:22
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Oculi

"Woman, behold your son!" "Behold your mother!"

Wednesday of Oculi 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

At the point in time of tonight’s text, the wedding vows are being spoken. True, it doesn’t sound like, “I take you to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish,” et cetera, but in this last word, “Woman, behold your son,” and “Behold your mother,” Jesus is leaving His mother to be joined to His bride. Next week, the vows will be complete as Jesus cries out the word by which indicates the leaving of His Father; but there is more to that word that simply leaving Father.

And there is also more to this third word, too. From a purely cultural view, Jesus is probably His mother’s caretaker at this point. When Mary was very young and with child by the Holy Spirit, she married Joseph, who was likely considerably older than her. Therefore, some 33 years later, as Jesus hangs on the cross dying, that Joseph had already died, and the task of caring for Mary fell to her oldest Son, Jesus. Now, Jesus is dying, and He makes sure that Mary is cared for. As much as Jesus is substitute for mankind on the cross, now John, the young disciple, becomes the substitute son in Jesus’ place, and he is given the task of caring for the Mother of God. It’s the work of a loving son; of course Jesus would look out for His own mother in this way.

“Jesus, loving to the end / Her whose heart Thy sorrows rend, / And Thy dearest human friend: / Hear us, holy Jesus.”

24Feb
2016
Wed
23:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Reminiscere

"Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

Wednesday of Reminiscere 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Much can be and has been said of the second of Jesus’ seven last words. “Today you will be with me in Paradise.” The focus is almost always on the word “Paradise.” The penitent criminal acknowledges Jesus for who He is, an innocent man and the Lord, and begs to be remembered when He comes into His kingdom. Jesus speaks the second of His seven last words, and the masses think that Jesus told the criminal that he would be in heaven that day.

Paradise is rightly equated with Eden. Eden, that garden of ancient times wherein the first man was placed to live and to tend, is said by some to have a name that is related to the Greek root hedonism. At the core, hedonism is the teaching that pleasure or happiness is the highest good, and, by extension, this pleasure or happiness is enhanced by a lack of clothing, much like Adam and Eve were in the Garden naked and not ashamed. There, in Eden, Adam and Eve lived in perfect bliss and harmony with God and all of creation. Eden was, for all intents and purposes, a God-made and planted paradise.

17Feb
2016
Wed
23:24
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Wednesday of Invocabit

"Father, forgive them, for they do no know what they do."

Wednesday of Invocabit 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus has made His way from Stone Pavement to Skull. There, the nails are driven into His hands and feet. The cross is fitted into its post hole, and the Son of God is on display for all to see die. He, along with two criminals, are dying for their crimes.

The two criminals are justly being executed for their crimes. Robbers or insurrectionists, they were considered enemies of Rome, worthy of being crucified and not simply jailed for a time. Jesus is dying for His crimes, too, though He did not originally commit them—in and of Himself, He is innocent. His crimes He assumed into His flesh from all flesh, for He has taken the sins of the world and made them His own in order to die with them as the lambs slain at the temple—“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Otherwise, Jesus is an innocent man, proclaimed as much by Pilate himself before having him beaten.

If the agony of the nails piercing His skin wasn’t enough, Jesus also bears the marks of having been scourged and crowned, skin and flesh ripped from bone, the prick of thorns on His brow, scabs and blood all over the place. Behold the man, the teacher who trained as a carpenter, brought low and frail by the stripes of Roman punishment. Then, as He was nailed to the cross, it is dropped into the post hole. The pain must have been excruciating.

10Feb
2016
Wed
23:23
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Ash Wednesday

Matthew 6:1-21; Jonah 3:1-10

Ash Wednesday 2016 Wordle
In the name of Jesus. Amen.

What is Lent? This season we are entering is a time when, as the Maundy Thursday liturgy reminds you, our Lord calls us to “intensify our struggle against sin, death, and the devil.” Easier said than done, for the harder you work at this, the bigger your failure will be. What can you do to struggle against sin, death, and the devil?

The struggle against the devil is a done deal. Oh, he still prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (cf. 1 Peter 5:8), but he’s a conquered lion. He will bite at you, perhaps take a small bit of flesh and injure you, but he’s a lion with dull or no teeth. His head is crushed, he has no dominion over you. Therefore, your struggle against the devil is this: Jesus has conquered him and given you the victory. Scowl fierce as he will, he can harm you none; one little word fells him: It is finished!

The struggle against death is also a done deal. Death is a conquered enemy now in service to God as the gateway to life eternal. To struggle against it is a futile struggle; should Jesus not return in your lifetime, death will get the better of you—you will take your last breath and be laid in your grave. Remember, “All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust,” (Ecclesiastes 3:20) “For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19c) However, there is still a struggle against death for you. This intensified struggle against death is exemplified in constantly being reminded of your baptism. There, at the font, you were drowned, joined to the death of Jesus, which is your death to sin, only to be brought forth from those waters a new creation, created in Christ Jesus for eternal life. So, how do you struggle against death? By being reminded that you are alive in Christ through Holy Baptism.

The struggle against sin, though, is different. Why are you dust that will return to dust? What did you have to die with Christ in order to live with Him? Because you are a sinner. And for as long as you remain on this side of eternity, you will continue to struggle with sin. That’s what Lent is; an intensified struggle against your sin.

7Feb
2016
Sun
14:44
author: Stingray
category: Sermons
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Quinquagesima

Luke 18:31-43

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

“Then [Jesus] took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.’”

We have come to the last Sunday before Lent. We have exited the season of Epiphany in which we witness Jesus revealing Himself to the nations. The Magi have visted, Jesus was Baptized, and Jesus was Transfigured before His inner circle of disciples. These last few Sundays—the Gesima Sundays—we have taken a look at a couple of Jesus’ parables which illustrate the workings of the Kingdom of God in the lives of the faithful and unfaithful, that show that God is an unfairly generous God who scatters the seed of His Word without concern for where it lands.

Now, as the church turns toward the season of Lent, preparing to recognize Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus tells His disciples this third of His passion predictions. Jesus and His followers are making their way to Jerusalem—the temple city—whereat Jesus will give His life as a ransom for all. All that was written of Him by the prophets will be accomplished. He will be delivered by the Jews into the hands of Gentiles who will torture and crucify Him. He will die, giving His life that others may live. And the third day He will rise again. The Kingdom of God is come, and the Lord has staked His claim on you on the cross.

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.