Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lent 2

Today's readings, again off-campus, were Jeremiah 26:8-15, Philippians 3:17-4:1, and Luke 13:31-35 (sermon text).

Jesus speaks to His child, Jerusalem, in exasperation - and in love. They give no heed to Him, rejecting Him, refusing to be protected. Who is Jerusalem today? The world - many people see Him as irrelevant or even an enemy; their obsession with stuff will consume them. The Church - not all pastors preach God's whole Word; we are becoming more like the world - why? What seems to be good (earth-focused, me-focused worship) is but a lie. The world's wisdom shapes us far too much. For what are we chasing after things?

We deserve Christ's rejection. But He promises to be always there for us. Since we are His 'chicks,' we matter to Him. Instead of us being devalued by death and Satan, Christ Jesus took the bait for us! In the Sacrifice we are reconciled to God! In the Sacrament we see Him after we sing "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD," as He prophesied. Now we have citizenship in heaven.

Till heaven, we work - vocation, prayer, fearlessness, taking refuge under His wings. We look forward to an eternity of singing the Lamb's praises.

Soli Deo gloria.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quotes

HT Steve Martin at The Old Adam Lives! Some of my favorites (quotes attributed to Luther):
  • Pray, and let God worry.
  • There is not a word in the Bible which is extra cruem, which can be understood without reference to the cross.
  • Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women? The sun, moon, and stars have been worshipped [sic]. Shall we pluck them out of the sky?
  • Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.
  • In the worst temptations nothing can help us but faith that God's Son has put on flesh, is bone, sits at the right hand of the Father, and prays for us. There is no mightier comfort.
  • One ought to love one's neighbour [sic] with a love as chaste as that of a bridegroom for his bride. In this case all faults are concealed and covered over and only the virtues are seen.
Soli Deo gloria.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lent 1

My 600th post! A milestone of some sort. Today's readings were Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Romans 10:8b-13, and Luke 4:1-13 (sermon text).

There is no one good on earth - except the Man Jesus. Satan, aware of this, tempted Him sorely. The first temptation struck at His bodily needs. One thinks: if God loves me, why does He let me hunger? As He did, one uses the Word of God to block this blow: God alone sustains.

The second was a head shot, aimed to inflate the ego. Satan's offer was hollow, yet all of us succumb to it - coveting, greed, pride. Yet Jesus, the Ransom, blocked this hard blow again with the Word: God alone is our God.

The third twisted Scripture. It shatters the Church, shames those who should witness, and eats from within. Yet Jesus knew He must be wounded to deliver us. He used the Word a third time: God is not to be tested thus.

Every year we hear of this three-fold victory. "One little word can fell him." Satan's attempts to keep Christ from the Cross continued, yet His heel crushed Satan's head. Rejoice that this Man died for you! And that He still lives for you, giving His perfect, sinless body and blood to you in the Sacrament! His obedience brings you life. You will not be put to shame by the Accuser.

Soli Deo gloria.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Forgiveness Sunday

Today we went to a Greek Orthodox church. Highlights from the children's and adults' sermons (besides the paedocommunion and apparent Baptismal processions - does anyone know the history behind the latter?):
  • Tomorrow is known in Orthodox churches as Clean Monday, a time to clean our hearts.
  • Fasting is our privilege (since Christ says "when you fast"), between us and God.
  • God measures what comes out - in particular, forgiveness - not what goes in.
  • Today, especially, we forgive because God forgives us. Repentance leads to His joy.
  • Together we are Christ's community. The LORD is in our midst when we gather in His name, to do His work.
  • Thank God for the beginning of Lent [this begins tomorrow in the Orthodox calendar]! Let the next forty days be clean.
  • Love and forgive your brethren in Christ.
Soli Deo gloria.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

HT Steve Martin: why ritual is good. A very apt statement.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Epiphany 5 (Sexagesima)

Today's readings were Isaiah 55:10-13, 2 Corinthians 11:19-12:9, and Luke 8:4-15 (sermon text).

As with a bonsai tree, small roots and branches stunt growth. What kind of soil are we, since God sows the Word in us? The seed is always good, so any fault lies with the soil. If our hearts are hard, the Word bounces off our entrenched ignorance that rejects it from the beginning. If our hearts are rocky and shallow, the Word can start growing but cannot continue because it has not deepened. The world tries to make us shallow and so open-minded that the Word falls out - it's "un-Christian" to stand dogmatically on the unaltered, error-free Word.

If our hearts are thorny, the thorns peck at us, with worldly cares illogically choking off our faith. Other pleasures invade the weekends set aside for us to worship God. Shockingly, we are all each soil, each bad in its own way! "Who will save me from this body of death?"

Jesus Christ. There is no excuse not to improve the soil - since it is not we who improve it. Our efforts are putrid to God. Step 1 is to realize this. Step 2 entails God using the Word and Sacraments constantly to work on this. The Law conditions the soil by thoroughly shredding it. Then Gospel, the seed, is sown, and we are watered. This is via daily contact with the means of grace - God does it. We go by what He says, not fitting it to our expectations. Works come naturally from this work. He will grow it.

Soli Deo gloria.