Posts tagged “Blessed Virgin Mary

Sermo Dei: Trinity 1, 2017

Posted on June 18th, 2017

God built fatherhood into man’s nature. God made man and blessed him for fatherhood. “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it” (Gen. 1.28). Man was made for fatherhood. The man we call Abraham is—as you can see from today’s Old Testament reading (Gen. 15:1-6)—originally named Abram. Abram means “exalted father.” That refers to God, Our Father. Abram, named for the Father, wants to be a father himself. Abram wants a son. But he is old, and his wife is old. Some of you know how difficult it can be to conceive a child. And as the years go by, you feel worthless, and hopeless. That’s where Abram and his wife Sarai are. They didn’t have the many options that confront…

Annunciation 2015 (ILS Choral Vespers)

Posted on March 26th, 2015

Nothing is more offensive to the human mind than that a baby could be God. We like the idea of growth, progress, achievement. If you work hard enough, then someday you’ll get into a good high school, then college, and someday you could be a doctor, or a lawyer, or even president. The Roman Empire had something like this. The Roman Senate had deified Julius Caesar—declaring him to be a god. Julius Caesar had adopted a son, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, later called Caesar Augustus. He eventually was called filius dei, “son of (a) god.” It was during the reign of Caesar Augustus that a Baby was conceived and born, in a far-flung region of that great empire. He was in truth filius dei,…

Sermo Dei: Christmas I (observed)

Posted on January 4th, 2015

With every Bible passage, we have to ask two questions: First, what does it mean? And Second, how does it apply to me? For the first question, What does it mean?, we use grammar, history, and context. But the second question, How does this apply to me?, recognizes that these words are also the Word of God to us and for us. The Apostles tell us that they write these things not only as histories, but to admonish us (1 Cor. 10.11), to instruct us (2 Tim. 3.16). The Law of the Lord changes our soul, gives us wisdom, joy, and enlightenment (Ps. 19.7f), and the testimony of Jesus gives us life (Jn. 20.30f). St. John says that the things they wrote are the…

Christmas Eve Vespers

Posted on December 25th, 2013

Christmas Eve Vespers Matthew 1:18-25 Families. Probe beneath the surface and you’ll find they all have problems. That becomes especially manifest at Christmas. Some are divided by distance, others in anger. Divorce, death, wayward children, resentments and grudges – every family knows brokenness and pain. So it is fitting that Jesus is born into an unconventional family. Families have had problems since Cain, the first son of our first parents, killed Abel his brother. The rest of the Old Testament reads like a family therapist’s case study: betrayal, hatred, infidelity, polygamy, incest. The occasion of Mary’s pregnancy would seem to be another in a long line of sordid tales. Joseph doesn’t believe that virgins conceive. Who would? Surely nobody believes this anymore. After all,…

Sermo Dei: St. Mary, Mother of God

Posted on August 14th, 2013

In the hour of trouble, we want attention. There is an enormous feeling of comfort when you are broken down on the road and the tow truck comes pulling up. Everything is going to be taken care of. In the hospital as your family member seems on the edge of death, when the doctor comes in and pays attention to the sick patient, we are relived. But so often in this life there seems little attention paid to our troubles. Not just by other people, but by God Himself. No one expressed this with greater sorrow than our Lord Jesus Himself, shouting the 22nd Psalm as He died: “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” No one looks, no one cares, no…

Sermo Dei: The Annunciation of Our Lord

Posted on April 10th, 2013

Delivered at the LCMS Evening Prayer service at the Lutheran Service Association conference in Washington, D.C., April 10. The theme of the conference was Service Speaks.   Dear Christian friends, your theme for this conference is Service Speaks. It’s a good one – so long as we get the order right. In the beginning, God speaks. He speaks creation into being: “Let there be light”; “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters”; “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together”; and on and on. God speaks. And the entire purpose of His speaking was love. God created the world from nothing in order to bestow His gifts, His love, His life upon the man. The entire world was given…

McClean on Kieschnick on the Papacy as Antichrist

Posted on April 4th, 2013

My colleague and friend, Charles McClean (who will be installed as Pastor of Our Saviour Church in Baltimore next month) wrote a lengthy reply to a previous post on Esgetology highlighting Gerald Kieschnick’s remarks on the papacy. You can read the original post here.     Once again Dr. Kieschnick demonstrates ignorance of the Lutheran Symbols when he deplores the emphasis on private confession and suggests that the perpetual virginity of the Mother of God is purely Roman Catholic doctrine. Confessional Lutherans differ on the latter but, given the fact that Lutherans from Luther through Pieper to this very day (e.g. John Stephenson, Charles McClean) have accepted the perpetual virginity, it can scarcely be seen as uniquely Roman Catholic teaching. Confessional Lutherans have also differed on the identification…

Sermo Dei: The Resurrection of Our Lord

Posted on April 1st, 2013

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!   The dirt was still wet with blood as a mother wept. How had everything gone so wrong? Not many decades earlier, the world was innocent. Not the way we look back on earlier times and think, “Things were simpler then.” No, the world once truly was innocent, and this mother remembered it. It seemed like a dream now, or rather her life had become a nightmare. She had met her husband while still a little girl. Now, as she sobbed, she leaned against that husband for support. When she had first seen him, those many years ago, it was love at first sight. He was perfect for her, the only man in the world.…

The proper definition of God

Posted on January 11th, 2013

Still more Luther on God’s regard for Leah, commenting on Genesis 29:32: This is the title and the most proper definition of God: “He who regards the despised and the humble.” He also has regard for the proud and the great men in the world. But they have no need of His grace and mercy; they despise His regard. Therefore He must disregard them, as it is stated in Ps. 138:6: “The haughty He knows from afar.” Moreover, it seems that the verse in Mary’s song (Luke 1:48)—“He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden”—was taken from this source, because they are the same words that are found in this passage.

Sermo Dei: Dormition of the Mother of God

Posted on August 15th, 2012

It is my joy to gather with you, dear brothers and sisters, on this day of great joy. Today we remember that most blessed of women, the holy virgin Mary, who was chosen above all women to be the bearer of God. For truly it was God in her womb. This is the great mystery hidden from the wise and powerful, yet revealed to a young girl in Galilee: that God would become flesh, God was a foetus, God was an unborn baby conceived in the virgin’s womb. Truly it was God whom she cradled in her loving arms, God who nursed at Mary’s breast, God who grew up beneath her feet. It was God whom she took to Jerusalem, to visit the Temple…