Posts tagged “Septuagesima

Sermo Dei: Septuagesima 2017

Posted on February 20th, 2017

February 12, 2017 • Matthew 20:1-16 • Immanuel Evangelical-Lutheran Church, Alexandria, Virginia On Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a sign advertises a so-called gentlemen’s club. It’s not for gentlemen. This particular den of iniquity is called “Temptations.” The gaudy neon sign displays an apple. The devil himself is mocking the people there: “I don’t even have to try with you, because either you humans don’t know your own story, or you’ve relegated it to myth. You are easy prey.” But the audacious display of hedonism is not the only shingle the devil hangs out. In more refined places, his signs are lit with a softer glow, the lettering elegant, the product respectable. He has written “Temptations” with invisible ink. And you buy what he’s…

Sermo Dei: Septuagesima

Posted on February 18th, 2014

Thoughts of kingdoms consume us. Not that we call them kingdoms – but if you are not constantly worrying about your home life, your finances, your job and your company, then you are fixated on the Olympic medal count, how things are shaping up for the mid-term elections, or something else that overwhelms and dominates your mind. Jesus invites us to look far above all this and consider a very different kingdom. Many of our Lord’s parables begin just as today’s does: “For the kingdom of heaven is like…”. This means that the parable, the story, is going to use something the hearer will understand to explain what we do not understand: the kingdom of heaven. In the kingdom of heaven, extraordinary love fills…

Symphonic faith

Posted on February 15th, 2014

Below are some thoughts that didn’t make it into Sunday’s sermon on the Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Septuagesima, Matthew 20:1-16). Agreement is in Greek symphony. Hearing God’s Word and believing it, taking it to heart, we make a symphony, God the composer and conductor, we the orchestra who follow His lead and play His joyful music. Turning away from God’s Word brings discord. It is the atonal chaos of 20th century composers, dissonance never leading to harmony, tension never resolving.

Sermo Dei: Is the LORD among Us? (Septuagesima, Exodus 17:1-7)

Posted on January 28th, 2013

“What fools, those Israelites, for asking ‘Is The Lord among us?’!” Isn’t that what you thought, when you heard the story in today’s first reading, from Exodus? It’s pathetic. God preserved their life in the Passover, then parted the Red Sea, then He turned the bitter waters sweet, then He gave them Manna, bread from heaven. It doesn’t take a doctorate in theology to detect a pattern: Israel has a difficulty, they cry out to the Lord, the Lord saves them. Again, and again, and again. But still they complain. And not just a bit of moaning, the way you do when the weather turns cold or your quarterback can’t finish the big game. No, they quarrel: “Therefore the people quarreled with Moses…. and…


Posted on January 31st, 2010

Gospel: Matthew 20:1-16 Football season is over, and once again my Vikings lost in tragic fashion. So close. Which can only mean one thing: it’s time to start thinking about the Twins. Pitchers and Catchers report on Feb. 21. Spring training is almost here. Today is our reminder that a different kind of spring training is almost here. Septuagesima is the first of three Sundays known as “Pre-Lent.” We are now counting down to Easter, reminding us that the journey of Lent, our Christian training camp, is coming. I once played trombone in the University of Minnesota Marching Band. About a month before we were to report, I got a letter in the mail advising me to get in shape – go running, exercise…

Preparing for the change of seasons – 2010

Posted on January 18th, 2010

Reminder: traditional Lutheran congregations begin the season of Pre-Lent this year on January 31, Septuagesima. That means Transfiguration falls this year on January 24. Here are the seasonal customs for this time, from the wonderful liturgical resource Lex Orandi: The Season & Customs of Pre-Lent The three Sundays before Ash Wednesday are called Septuagesima, Sexagesima and Quinquagesima. These Sundays are privileged, not yielding to any other celebration. From Vespers on the eve of Septuagesima until Shrove Tuesday, the Alleluia is omitted, the Gloria in Excelsis is not sung except on festivals, and the Benedictus replaces the Te Deum in Sunday Matins. Flowers may still be used and the organ played as usual. At Vespers on the Eve of Septuagesima, the Alleluia, the ancient exclamation of…

Septuagesima – Matthew 20.1-16

Posted on February 8th, 2009

  The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner. When Jesus begins in this way, it means He’s telling a parable. A parable is a story that teaches us a lesson. It’s not necessarily a moral lesson, and in the case of Jesus’ parables, it’s almost never a moral lesson. Jesus tells us what His parable is about: the kingdom of heaven.