Posts tagged “Palm Sunday

Sermo Dei: Palm Sunday 2017

Posted on April 9th, 2017

It’s nice to talk about resurrection, but the words I speak at the time of death sometimes feel hollow. It’s all future-oriented, and while I believe it, we’re still left with the corpse. Someone has to call the funeral home, someone has to open the grave, and then there we are, looking down into the earth. Most of our life is so sanitary, and even at death, we farm out the dirty work to others. But there, when the casket descends, and you see off in the distance the men waiting to come and close the vault and cover it with dirt – for just a moment, you see and you know that our clean lives are a lie. Squirt the anti-bacterial fluid, rub…

Sermo Dei: Palm Sunday 2016

Posted on March 21st, 2016

There are people in this country who do not belong. So say the nationalists. They’re angry, and ready to drive these foreigners out. Others have welcomed the foreigners. “The world has changed,” they say, “and we have to accept the new reality.” The parties bicker while the situation gets worse. We once were a great nation, but we haven’t had a leader in a long time: a real leader, someone who can make us great again. There is a bold man, a strong man who is willing to fight for us. But there’s been near riots in the city, and he’s made the establishment nervous. Many say he goes too far. There’s another man who has helped the poor. He advocates sharing property, and…

Sermo Dei: Palmarum 2015

Posted on March 31st, 2015

One was angry with Him, the other confused. They were sisters, and their brother was dead. Do you know the panic, when you’ve called for help, and help is not coming fast enough? Do you know the terror, when death has come for your brother, your husband, your father? Nothing matters, because everything that is anything is gone. That’s how these sisters felt. And besides that, disappointment. No – betrayal. What a friend we have in Jesus? Some friend. He’s not there when you need Him. He even skipped the funeral.   Are you angry with God? Or worse, maybe you find it hard to believe at all. It’s been a long time since anything happened. The tombs have closed on your brothers, and…

Sermo Dei: Palmarum 2014

Posted on April 13th, 2014

“Friend, why have you come?” So Jesus said to His betrayer. So He says to you. “Friend, why have you come?” Judas seeks to betray Him. Others seek to control Him. Soon they will beat Him, batter Him, abuse Him. Yet Jesus calls His betrayer “friend.” “Friend, why have you come?”   What is this? Does Jesus not understand? Is it irony, tongue in messianic cheek?   No. He understands what is happening. Nevertheless, He calls His betrayer “friend.”     Betrayal hurts. There is a prophecy of Judas in the Psalms: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.” (Ps. 41.9) “My own familiar friend.” Betrayal hurts. Still, Jesus calls Judas…

Palmarum sermon 2011

Posted on April 20th, 2011

April 17, 2011 Gospel of the Procession: John 12:12-19 Passion Reading: Matthew 26-27 +INJ+ Quite naturally we cluck our tongues at Simon Peter, condemning him as a coward for saying to the servant girl, “I do not know the Man!” We know better. He does know the Man! And if you are anything like me, that is, if you too are a sinner, you say to yourself, “I would not have done that. Put me in that situation, and I would certainly say I know Jesus. I would identify with Him.” But we are in that situation, every day. And not just when we have an opportunity to talk about Jesus with someone who is not His disciple. When someone angers us, and we…

Trinity 23 sermon

Posted on November 15th, 2009

Trinity 23 texts: Proverbs 8:11-22; Philippians 3:17-21; Matthew 22:15-22 Bianca Ehling was baptized at this Divine Service. It’s early in the week – just a day after Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem. The crowds hail Jesus as their king. All Jerusalem is abuzz. “Messiah has come!” It is time, the Pharisees decide, to solve this Jesus problem once and for all. So the Pharisees conspire with the Herodians to lay a trap for Jesus. The Herodians were a Jewish political party that was loyal to King Herod; a key part of their platform was submission to Roman rule. Together with the Pharisees, they try to put Jesus in a no-win situation. They ask, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar,…

Palm Sunday

Posted on April 5th, 2009

Dearly beloved, this week is our holiest of weeks. Holy Week comes at the end of a season of self-denial, a season of repentance, a season of renewal in prayer. Perhaps it’s been such a season for you. But for at least some of you, it hasn’t. Lent has been a disappointment and a frustration, as it seems instead of becoming more holy, more of a disciple of Jesus, you’ve been exposed for what you really are. A fraud, perhaps; or a traitor; or a pragmatist, going along with the crowd in order to keep your job, your position, your reputation, what’s left of your savings. Lent is a time to discover anew the love of God, and how much good can come from…

Are we really that strange?

Posted on March 17th, 2008

I was particularly surprised at the number of comments after Divine Service today that indicated people had not experienced before a Palm Sunday liturgy like what is observed at Immanuel. (The biggest surprise seemed to be the reading of the entire Passion of St. Matthew. Um … isn’t that what everybody does?) To be sure, some things are relatively rare in the Missouri Synod: kneeling for the Verba, the minister genuflecting at the altar, etc. But the liturgy we use is, I am happy to say, simply what is given in the Altar Book. It will be the same on Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. None of it is my own invention, or something we bought from a “creative communications” outfit. It’s just the…