Posts tagged “Baptism of Our Lord

Sermo Dei: Baptism of Our Lord 2015

Posted on January 16th, 2015

Approaching the waters, Jesus announces, “I am a sinner.” John knows better. “No You are not. While in the waters of my mother’s womb I leaped for joy, for the Righteous One has come at last.” Still Jesus approaches Jordan’s banks. “I am a sinner.” John replies, “Is this some kind of trick? I need to be baptized by You.” But Jesus insists. Descending into the waters, the sinless One becomes sinner, Life is steeped in death. The logic of the Logos, the orderliness of the Word descends into disorder, chaos. Into Himself Jesus absorbs all that is broken. He drinks in your pain, He soaks in your sorrow. It is as though every tear streaming from bitter eyes, every drop of blood spilled…

Sermo Dei: Rorate Coeli 2014

Posted on December 21st, 2014

The Fourth Sunday of Advent John 1:19-28; Philippians 4:4-7 December 21, 2014     Advent says, “He is coming!” Christ is coming, to be your judge. You are not ready to meet Him, if you have not confronted your own sins. A light must penetrate the darkness of your soul. What lurks there, in those dark places? What are you hiding, from God and man? John the Baptist says, “He is coming, and you do not recognize Him.” John preached in the wilderness. This is not geographical information. The wilderness is the wild place: untamed, uncontrolled. The wilderness is haunted by gloom. There are creatures eager to devour you. The wilderness is for us not a place. Or rather, it is every place. Wherever…

Meditation on Psalm 93

Posted on September 3rd, 2014

We live in a world of uncertainty and instability. Alarm bells clang regarding climate change, with fears of rising sea levels as harbinger of impending ecological devastation. Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, the Ukraine, and elsewhere spark fears of a great conflict on a global scale. But the uncertainty and instability now goes to the human person itself. Point to an ultrasound picture of a pregnant woman’s womb and ask, “What is that?” The scientific and moral reality gives way to an unstable world where only the strong are allowed to survive. The simple matter of boys and girls is no longer so simple. Mount Holyoke, an historic women’s college, has announced a broad redefinition of eligible students, recognizing “that self-identity may change over…

Sermo Dei: The Baptism of Jesus

Posted on January 15th, 2014

The Baptism of Jesus (observed) Matthew 3:13-17 The traditional date for the Baptism of Jesus is January 13, the octave of the Epiphany. This sermon was preached at Immanuel on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. “In Jesus Christ we behold a complete man.” (Hilary of Poitiers) All others who descended into Jordan’s waters were incomplete. All others who descended from Adam were incomplete. All others born of a woman, born under the law, were incomplete. For us incomplete, corrupt, sick men, poisoned with the contagion of sin, this One comes: a true Man, a whole Man, a complete Man. John had foreseen this. From the womb of his own mother Elizabeth, John had rejoiced at the news of the incarnation, that God had taken on…

Sermo Dei: The Baptism of Jesus

Posted on January 13th, 2013

When the Scriptures describe us as being in bondage to sin, it certainly includes the sins we commit – the twisted lusts, evil inclinations, harsh words, pouting, and worse that we do: the things contrary to the commandments. But often we are also held in bondage by the sins committed against us: when someone betrays us, when a friend you trusted doesn’t keep his word or is working against you, when a woman is mistreated or abused. Perhaps you remember a cutting remark spoken against you even decades ago, but still it lingers in the mind, making you bitter, cynical. And so it’s not only the sins that we have committed, but also the sins committed against us, that need to be dealt with.…

Ordain a Lady, LSB edition

Posted on January 10th, 2013

If you haven’t yet seen the “Ordain a Lady” video, you should. It contains the typical argument that Baptism is the qualification for ordination.


“Hey, I was baptized”, and an interior, subjective call, are the qualifications, according to the video. Couldn’t happen in the LCMS, right?

Well, this post isn’t really about the video. I just thought of the video as I was picking out hymns for the coming celebration of the Baptism of Our Lord (January 13). I came across a hymn new to the LCMS via Lutheran Service Book, #600, Mark How the Lamb of God’s Self-Offering. At first glance it seems good. First stanza checks out, tune is somewhat familiar and sturdy. A pastor in a hurry might not do any additional examination. But then, look at the second half of stanza two: “So we, by water and the Spirit / Baptized into Christ’s ministry, / Are often led to paths of service / Through mazes of adversity.” What does it mean to be “baptized into Christ’s ministry”? I’d like to think it means, “In baptism one receives the benefits of Christ’s work,” but from the context it clearly means the “paths of service” that we follow. And right there, in the LCMS worship book, is the argument for women’s ordination.

Lutheran Service Book has many wonderful elements. But there are some definite land-mines to avoid. One can only hope these are not time-bombs shaping the minds of our current and future pastors.

Baptism of Our Lord

Posted on January 13th, 2010

January 13 is the traditional date for the observance of the Baptism of Our Lord. The following is the sermon preached at Immanuel’s Divine Service for the Feast. The Gospel reading is Matthew 3:13-17. One of the first things to go when pastors start tinkering with the church’s liturgy is the absolution. Some pastors are uncomfortable with what’s called the “indicative-operative” formula of absolution: “I forgive you all your sins, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And it’s one of the common complaints a pastor hears: “Who do you think you are, forgiving sins?!”