Posts tagged “Reformation Sunday

Reformation500 Sermon

Posted on October 31st, 2017

The Five-hundredth Anniversary of the Reformation When your baby boy bonks his head, what matters? When your husband lies dead, what matters? When you sit with Job on a dung-heap, children gone, possessions gone, sores covering your stinking body, what matters? Job’s own answer, through a long struggle of pain and torment, was this: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He shall stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” The Redeemer is Jesus. Jesus is what matters when you hold tightly to your sick child. Jesus is what matters when the coffin of your father descends into the earth. Jesus is what matters when your own life…

Sermo Dei: Reformation 2016

Posted on October 30th, 2016

The ghosts that haunt us are not the ones hanging from trees around our neighborhoods every October. We have our own Dickensian specters, the wraiths in our minds poking at our memories, haunting us with past abuse, wrong decisions, deeds that seemed pleasant but are now recognized as worthless, destructive, evil. A conscience not yet entirely seared is haunted by past sins. Worst are the besetting sins, the sins we return to like comfort food. These ghosts that haunt us whisper, “You will never change. You are my captive, and we will continue on this path that leads to destruction.” We grow to love our captors. The world is deep in the throes of Stockholm Syndrome. Are you in danger of joining them in…

Sermo Dei: Reformation 2014

Posted on November 1st, 2014

“What drunken German monk wrote these?” That was Pope Leo X’s response when he was shown a copy of Luther’s Ninety-five Theses, posted on the door of the Schloßkirche in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. Perhaps those were your mental words about some of the songs we’ve sung so far this morning. “What drunken German monk wrote these?” I love these songs, but admittedly they can be an acquired taste. They come from a different time and place, and we cannot help but be affected by our own language and culture. But liturgy is not about taste – or at least, liturgy should not be about taste. We live in a unique time, a tragic time when Christian worship has degenerated into shallow pop…

Colorful bickering [updated]

Posted on November 23rd, 2011

I find the kerfluffle over colors among the guardians of the Reformation to be positively hilarious. (See here, and then here.) LCMS pastor Joshua Genig suggests using purple instead of red for Reformation, and the poor fellow gets his shins kicked repeatedly. (Genig’s got a few things seriously wrong, mind you – I won’t defend his position.) It’s no fun being on the receiving end when the ecclesial brute squad takes issue with your colors. Or so I’ve been told. But what’s so terribly humorous about the whole thing is this is the same crowd that thinks nothing of changing the color for a whole season (Advent) to follow—whom again? oh yeah—the Papists! Snigger. Of course, anybody who digs just a smidge into the…

Reformation Sunday 2011 sermon

Posted on November 2nd, 2011

From October 30, 2011. There was a baptism at the beginning of the Divine Service for this day. It’s lonely being a Lutheran. One of the great twentieth century theologians, Hermann Sasse, resisted the Nazis and was forced to flee to Australia. A collection of his essays has been published under the title The Lonely Way. It’s called The Lonely Way because of this quote from a 1943 essay: As Luther once went the lonely way between Rome and Spiritualism, so the Lutheran Church today stands alone between the world powers of Roman Catholicism on the one hand and modern Protestantism on the other. Her doctrine which teaches that the Spirit is bound to the means of grace is as inconceivable to modern people…

Apple customer service

Posted on October 25th, 2009

I came home today to a disappointment after a wonderful Reformation service and Oktoberfest at Immanuel. Our Divine Service this morning followed Lutheran Service Book’s Divine Service, Setting Five to the letter, the congregation singing all of the chorale ordinaries. I was completely overwhelmed by the incredible grace of the pure doctrine of the Gospel while kneeling before the altar during the singing of “Isaiah, Mighty Seer” and “Lamb of God, Pure and Holy” after the Consecration. After the Divine Service was our congregation’s annual Oktoberfest, rescheduled for today after an earlier rainout. We had a gorgeous autumn day, and the volunteers who organized and worked the event did a phenomenal job. So all I wanted to do was eat some of Kassie’s awesome…

Reformation

Posted on October 25th, 2009

Text: Romans 3:19-28 +++ An adult was also confirmed at this service. The problem with the church today is that Luther’s problem has stopped being our problem. Luther’s problem was the original problem of all true theology: How can mankind be redeemed – rescued from his sins, and the death and hell they have merited? For Luther, the question became a very personal one: “How can I be redeemed?” This question is really a question about God: “How can I find a God of mercy?” Today’s questions about God – if they are about God at all – are throughly self-absorbed: How can I find a God who can give me my best life now? How can I have a life of purpose? How…