Posts tagged “Baptism

Holy Cross 2014

Posted on September 14th, 2014

As Adam lay dying, his son Seth went to the border of Eden. There he said to the angel guarding the way in, “My father is dying; give to me from the Tree of Life, that I may bring it as medicine to him.” But the angel would not give him from the Tree of Life. Instead, he gave him a shoot from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “When this bears fruit,” said the angel, “Adam will be fully restored.” So goes the legend. And the legend continues, that this shoot, planted on Adam’s grave, endured as a great tree, whose wood finally became used for the cross, thus fulfilling the angel’s words, “When this bears fruit, Adam will be…

Sermo Dei: Trinity 12, 2014

Posted on September 7th, 2014

Trinity 12 September 7, 2014 Baptism of Landon Robert Andrews Mark 7:31-37 When God made man, He did not make him defective. His ears were opened to the music of creation. His tongue, discovering nourishment and sweetness planted all around him, responded by singing the praise of his Maker, who had done all things well. Sucking in a gulp of air, the man was glad. He did not know how to sigh except in contentment. All this changed when death entered the world. The man’s sigh became his bitter companion. Breath burst forth from his rancid mouth in anger, annoyance, sorrow, until the day he sighed his last and returned to the earth. Gone were the days when a man said of God, “He…

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: Trinity 11, 2014

Posted on August 31st, 2014

August 31, 2014 Baptism of Elijah Robert Preus Luke 18:9-14   Labor Day weekend should make us think about the meaning of work. Every work that makes the world beautiful or functional, every work that serves the neighbor, is a good work. Work itself was intended to be good. The word “work” we now associate with drudgery – something unpleasant yet necessary. But work is honorable and noble. Including—or rather, especially—everyday work. After the Bible, the Small Catechism is the most important book for Lutherans. Often ignored is the Table of Duties, which is introduced like this: “Certain passages of Scripture for various holy orders and positions, admonishing them about their duties and responsibilities.” What are these “holy orders and positions”? Not just “Bishops,…

Sermo Dei: Trinity 5, 2014

Posted on July 20th, 2014

LORD, why have you rejected me? why have you hidden your face from me? Ever since my youth, I have been wretched and at the point of death; I have borne your terrors with a troubled mind. Your blazing anger has swept over me; your terrors have destroyed me; They surround me all day long like a flood; they encompass me on every side. My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, and darkness is my only companion. (Ps. 88, Book of Common Prayer) So ends the eighty-eighth Psalm. “Darkness is my only companion.” That’s not the beginning; it’s the ending. So can life be in this world, even for the disciple of Jesus. For this world is a dark place.…

Misericordias Domini 2014

Posted on May 14th, 2014

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!   Today is popularly called “Good Shepherd Sunday,” but the old Latin title is Misericordias Domini: “The goodness of the Lord.” It comes from the Psalm at the beginning of the liturgy after the Baptism: “The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.” That is meant quite literally. The goodness of the Lord is seen in nature – when you bite into an apple and it is the perfect blend of tartness and sweetness, that is the goodness of the Lord. The wonderful aroma of freshly roasted coffee. The smell in the air after a gentle rain. In spring we see particularly the goodness of the Lord with the earth in full bloom.…

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…

The Word needs the water

Posted on January 14th, 2014

The blasphemer supposes he is clever when he says, “The Word does not need the water.” The blasphemer says this to reject God’s means of grace in Holy Baptism. Let us consider an analogy. “The Word does not need the flesh.” This is altogether true, of course. The eternal Logos has no need of matter. He was, like the Father and Spirit, incorporeal. He does not need the flesh for Himself. Adam, however, was made as ensouled flesh, and we children of Adam likewise share in his nature. We are flesh. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us not for His own sake, but for ours. The Word, who needs no flesh for Himself, takes on flesh for us, to redeem our flesh. The…