Posts tagged “Repentance

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: Rorate Coeli 2014

Posted on December 21st, 2014

The Fourth Sunday of Advent John 1:19-28; Philippians 4:4-7 December 21, 2014     Advent says, “He is coming!” Christ is coming, to be your judge. You are not ready to meet Him, if you have not confronted your own sins. A light must penetrate the darkness of your soul. What lurks there, in those dark places? What are you hiding, from God and man? John the Baptist says, “He is coming, and you do not recognize Him.” John preached in the wilderness. This is not geographical information. The wilderness is the wild place: untamed, uncontrolled. The wilderness is haunted by gloom. There are creatures eager to devour you. The wilderness is for us not a place. Or rather, it is every place. Wherever…

Sermo Dei: Gaudete 2014

Posted on December 14th, 2014

The call of John the Baptist reverberates across the centuries, and still applies to us today: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Today’s Gospel reading has John in prison. Nevertheless, he is the only free man, while his disciples are the true captives. The disciples of John the Baptist, though walking freely, are bound in a prison of doubt and fear. They had once answered the summons of the Baptist, been washed with a baptism of repentance unto the forgiveness of sins — but they had not heeded their teacher when he pointed them to JESUS as the One who fulfills all righteousness. Thus they remained in a prison worse than the one holding their teacher. The Baptist’s call also comes…

Faith without repentance

Posted on July 23rd, 2013

Last Sunday during Scripture Study we were discussing the nature of justifying faith. Paul Techau, a member of Immanuel, said something at once perfectly simple and deeply profound: “Faith without repentance is dead.” This is an excellent complement to St. James’ well-known saying, “Faith without works is dead.”

Sermo Dei: Ash Wednesday Divine Service

Posted on February 13th, 2013

“Who knows?” said the king of Nineveh. Jonah had come preaching. He came against his will. There is a certain madness to preaching, at least the kind of preaching God demands. Jonah knew they wouldn’t like it, so he set out in the opposite direction. Chapters 1 and 2 of Jonah tell quite a tale, but it’s chapter 3 set before us tonight. Jonah announces, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” What must he have expected? “Some will laugh at me, and others will kill me.” For his instructions at the beginning were, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” This is no generic message of a far-off judgment…

Luther on the spiritual bond of the tongue

Posted on August 19th, 2010

Christ heals the deaf mute (Mk. 7.31-37, Gospel for Trinity XII), loosing the bond of his tongue. Luther in his lectures on Genesis explains the spiritual bond on our tongues which keeps us from confessing sin: Thus these brothers of Joseph are not only troubled about the sin of which they were conscious—although they took pains to cover and conceal it—but they were also afraid of all their words and deeds, and they imagined that there was new guilt in every action or thought. Yet in such great disquiet and confusion they are dumb and do not confess their sin. This was true of Adam in Paradise, when he was almost dead from fear of the voice and wrath of God. Nevertheless, he does…

Rhegius on Repentance

Posted on June 18th, 2010

My friend, David Juhl, a former parishioner of mine and now colleague in the ministry, recommended some time ago Urbanus Rhegius’ Preaching the Reformation. (The original title in 1535 is rendered, “A Guide to Preaching about the Chief Topics of Christian Doctrine Carefully and without Giving Offense, for Young Ministers of the Word in the Duchy of Lüneburg.” They certainly knew how to write titles back then!) I am so grateful for the recommendation. The chapter on Repentance has been a profitable read for me in preparing for this Sunday’s sermon (Trinity 3, Luke 15:1-10). Here is Rhegius’ summary. It beautifully demonstrates how the second through sixth articles of the Augustana hang together. Acknowledge, repent, and confess your sin from the heart. Believe, however,…

Meditation on Psalm 6

Posted on July 16th, 2008

Continuing our meditations on the Psalms during midweek Evening Prayer: Psalm 6 is the first of the seven penitential psalms. Immediately striking is the psalmist’s concern about divine wrath directed towards himself. In Ps. 2, God’s anger was against the rebellious; but here, the psalmist himself fears God’s wrath: “O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.” God’s anger is not like ours. Our anger rises and falls based on mood swings or emotional reactions to external stimuli. But the wrath of God is not a divine temper tantrum. Instead, it is His deliberate, just response to mankind that persists in rebellion despite God’s constant love and care, and call to repentance. So the wrath of God is…

Trinity 3 sermon: Luke 15.1-10

Posted on June 9th, 2008

Note: I wasn’t feeling well yesterday, and so wasn’t nearly as alert as I would like. I think I skipped the paragraph marked *** below. If I did, that would be unfortunate. I’m really not sure.   A well-known preacher recently preached a sermon series entitled “Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life.” I expect that you are like me – you would like to have a life with no regrets. The problem is that it’s too late! You cannot embark on a program or a series of disciplines that will atone for your mistakes, remove your regrets. There are things you have done, and things you have left undone, that fill you with regret; and there are things you have done, and things you…