Posts tagged “Oculi – Lent 3

Sermo Dei: Oculi 2016

Posted on March 7th, 2016

On June 16, 1858, the Republican State Convention met in Springfield, IL, and chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for senate. Lincoln’s speech that night is said to have cost him the election, but eventually propel him to the presidency. Outlining the Republican position that slavery must be ended, Lincoln turned to the Scripture passage read as part of today’s Gospel (Lent III [Oculi], Luke 11:14-28) and used the same analogy concerning a country divided by slavery: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.  It will become all one thing or all the other.  Either the opponents of…

Sermo Dei: Oculi 2015

Posted on March 26th, 2015

Kingdoms among men have risen – and fallen. Great empires—the Babylonian, the Assyrian, the Roman—and more modern powers. None of them could last, and if the world continues, this great republic in which we live, already in deep decline, will fall and give place to a new power. While taking place across great spans of earthly empires, the story of humanity recorded in Sacred Scripture presents another kingdom, the kingdom that rules all the others. Dr. Luther said, “Every child that comes into this world is born into the kingdom of the devil, the lord of death, who exercises his sway through sin’s tyranny.” This world is the devil’s kingdom. He is the Strong Man whose tyranny governs the world. All freedom under this…

Sermo Dei: Oculi (Lent III)

Posted on March 3rd, 2013

My first roommate in college was a great guy … when he was sober. But when he drank, he became violent. And one night that violence was turned against me. I was assigned another room, and my former roommate soon left school. A few years later I was surprised to receive a letter from him. He explained that he was in an alcoholic recovery program and as part of the program was reaching out to people hurt by his drinking, to try to make amends. That letter made me very happy, most of all that he was getting the help he needed. Making amends is part and parcel of the Bible’s teaching on repentance. In today’s reading from Jeremiah, the prophet instructs Jerusalem, “Mend…

Sermo Dei: Oculi 2012

Posted on March 11th, 2012

A 2009 survey by the Barna Group showed that 40% of self-identified Christians  in America strongly believe that Satan is not a living being but simply a personification of evil. Another 19% said they “agree somewhat” with that statement. With the majority of Christians in America rejecting the existence of a literal devil, it’s no surprise that candidate for presidential nomination Rick Santorum’s 2008 statement that he believes Satan is targeting America has caused people from all political perspectives to question Santorum’s fitness for office. I won’t be endorsing Santorum or any other candidate in this or any election—that simply has no place in the church’s pulpit—but I certainly endorse the senator’s belief in Satan. Yet belief in Satan seems positively medieval – a…

Oculi sermon

Posted on March 27th, 2011

Oculi (Third Sunday in Lent) – Gospel: Luke 11:14-28 Libya. Syria. Egypt. Houses divided against themselves. Kingdoms divided against themselves. If Gaddafi does not put down the rebellion by force, he falls. But his fear must be, what if the United States sends more than cruise missiles, what if something worse than Canada’s six planes enters the fray? If a united free world were to bring everything it had, Gaddafi could not stand. The image Jesus paints in today’s Gospel reading is of a strong man ruling his kingdom as a tyrant, brutally putting down all opposition until everything is safely inside his walls. Then there is peace, but it is the peace that comes when no one dares oppose the tyrant. So one…

Oculi sermon – Luke 11.14-28

Posted on March 21st, 2009

In the political realm, there is a term many of you have probably heard: RINO’s – Republicans in Name Only. Faithful Lutherans sometimes refer to  church bodies that have given up on Lutheran doctrine as LINO: Lutheran in Name Only. Today’s Gospel demands that we answer this question: What kind of a Christian are you? Are you a Christian in Name Only? There can be no neutrality with respect to Jesus. “He who is not with Me is against Me.” Yet there are those who try to have it both ways. They do not want to openly reject Christ, but neither do they wish to make a real break from the Old Adam, the sinful nature. C.F.W. Walther calls these “half-Christians”: “They are straddling…