Monday, May 31, 2010

The Holy Trinity

The Feast of the Holy Trinity grew out of a custom of using the Sunday after Pentecost for the "reconciliation of heretics." Hence Trinity Sunday is, in a way, an opportunity to point out false teachings against the Christian truth, in order to bring the world to the truth. The sermon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

God So Loved the World

The Gospel I preached this morning is actually appointed for Monday of Whitsun Week, but inasmuch as we didn't have mass then, I preached it today: (St. John 3:16-21), which includes the well-known "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

My guess is that most people don't know that this passage doesn't mean to say that God loved the world so much that he gave his Son, but rather that God loved the world thus and so, that is, God loved the world in this way.

His love is tangible and physical. It is not merely a feeling in his heart, but the expression of his willingness to give us everything that was his, and hold nothing back, all for us and for our salvation. For in giving his Son, who is in his bosom, this is what he did for the world.

The sermon.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


The Spirit which hovered upon the face of the waters in the beginning, which God breathed into the nostrils of man that he become a living being, that caused the lintels to shake when the angels in Isaiah's vision cried Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, that issued forth from Jesus' mouth to call Lazarus from the grave, by which also Jesus spoke to still the sea and the waves, and that will cause the world to end with intense heat at the last day -- that same Spirit is given to the people of God in Holy Baptism, and is within you (in spite of yourselves). Surely you have nothing to fear. The audio of the sermon is here,as well as a musical treat spliced in, a German solo stanza of the Pentecost hymn sung by Peter Eckardt, and also as a voluntary, a beautiful rendition on organ of the same hymn, by the same Peter Eckardt.

The Vigil of Pentecost

Sermon for the vigil of Pentecost is here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Glory of God in the Son and in His Disciples

In St. John 17:20-16 is this line: "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one." What does this mean? Today's sermon.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

He Shall Testify of Me

The Spirit does not testify of us, but rather of Jesus; which is why so many do not want the Gospel, and some in fact persecute and would destroy. But to those who believe, the Spirit's testimony of Christ is the only thing we need. The sermon.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rogation Tuesday

The Gospel for today (St. Luke 11:5-13) follows immediately after Jesus' giving of the Our Father. Thus the three loaves take on special significance, coming as they do right after 'daily bread', and remind us that in the Holy Supper we receive the Triune God. And the children in bed with the friend at midnight remind us of "all the company of heaven" who join us at the altar. And he who said he "cannot rise" and give, nevertheless did rise and give. So also Christ, who was dead, is risen, and now gives to his church as much as they need. The sermon.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Rogate, the Fifth Sunday after Easter

The Gospel for today contains this: His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb.

What does this mean?

The Lord's speaking in proverbs, riddles, mystery, and the like was his wont since the beginning of the world, and throughout the Old Testament. Now that he is come in the flesh and has accomplished his work, his revelation is complete. Therefore also his name is complete, and we learn of him as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And we learn of his love: the Son loves the Father as is evident on Good Friday; the Father loves the Son as is evident on Easter; and this love is the Holy Ghost, who is the one who brings us into unity with the Godhead through the Gospel. To think on these things is our defense against a troubled mind.

The sermon.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

The Truth Shall Make You Free

Today's Gospel contains the saying, "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free," which is so often misunderstood. It has to do with sin, as Jesus himself says here. But the Jews misunderstood, and misspoke according to their own understanding of it, saying that they had never been in bondage. Had they forgotten Egypt? Or Babylon? Or even in their present, their subservience to Rome? How could they call themselves free in any sense? But such is the nature of rationalization. Neither do we want to hear of our slavery to sin, and rationalize it away. Repentance must lead to the word of Christ, whose redeeming sacrifice alone makes us free. The sermon.

Whatsoever He Shall Hear, That Shall He Speak

More on the Cantate Gospel, on which yesterday morning's sermon was preached again. Jesus' words "the Spirit . . . shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" refer to the hearing and speaking of the apostolic ministers. In St. John's Gospel, the Spirit is used interchangeably with the apostles. He is sent, they are sent, etc. And Jesus breathed on them and said, Receive the Holy Ghost. So these words, "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" mean that when Christ is preached, the Spirit is at work glorifying Him. The sermon.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Cantate Sunday

In today's Gospel we hear Jesus describing what is the task of the Holy Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel: reproving the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. First comes the conviction of sin by the preaching of the law: the world--and we ourselves--need its correction and accusations, to be convinced that we are indeed sinful and unclean. Second, the righteousness of Christ is put forth, by sharp contrast. For he was without sin in every respect. But third, the judgment is not upon us who are worthy of condemnation, but upon the devil; for the righteousness of Christ is his gift to his people. Thus they are washed in his laver of Baptism, their sins are drowned in his blood which they receive at the altar, and they are pronounced innocent by this holy Gospel. The sermon.