Posts tagged “Word of God

How to Prepare for the Lord’s Supper

Posted on July 6th, 2017

The whole power of the mass consists in the words of Christ, in which he testifies that forgiveness of sins is bestowed on all those who believe that his body is given and his blood poured out for them. This is why nothing is more important for those who go to hear mass than to ponder these words diligently and in full faith.  Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 36: Word and Sacrament II, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald, and Helmut T. Lehmann, vol. 36 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 43.

Sermo Dei: Psalm 119:105-112 (“Nun”)

Posted on November 9th, 2016

A strange way the Psalm speaks to us. God’s Word is not a light to our eyes, but to our feet and path. Why not the eyes? Because what we see leads us astray. All around we see boasting and pride, despair and death. What we see with our eyes deceives us. But with the ears comes something different, something higher. Our eyes say, “You will not prevail.” But the Word says, “Christ is risen, He has prevailed.” Our eyes say, “The wicked triumph.” But the Word says to our ears, “The wicked shall be put to flight.” Our eyes gaze in the mirror and say to us, “I am imperfect, I am getting older, I shall die, and perhaps alone.” Our ears hear…

Sermo Dei: Sexagesima 2016

Posted on March 4th, 2016

“Allahu Akbar!” the Taliban insurgents cried. Combat Outpost Keating, in northeastern Afghanistan, was under heavy fire. It was before dawn on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009. The enemy was inside the wire, and air support would not arrive for hours. Sergeant John Francis reported, “The gates of hell just opened up on us.” Taking fire from a sniper, Sergeant Jonathan Hill tried to fire back. He missed high. Then he missed low. His friend, Sergeant Francis, barked at him through cracked ribs the same words Hill would say as a drill sergeant: “Practice your … fundamentals!” He went through his routine, and when the next opportunity came, he did not miss. (Adapted from The Outpost, by Jake Tapper)   Today’s Gospel reading (Luke 8:4-15) is…

Sermo Dei: Sexagesima 2014

Posted on February 23rd, 2014

This parable is a sad one. The sower sows his seed but it chiefly ends without fruit. So it was with the preaching of Jesus. In John 6 He feeds 5000, but by the end of the chapter everyone has left, everyone except the Twelve disciples. And one of them betrays Jesus, while the rest run away in fear as Jesus is arrested. The preaching of Jesus often appears to fail. People refuse to hear, they hear but don’t take seriously, or they hear but then make other things a priority. This Parable of the Sower preaches to us the Third Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy. What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do…

The Word needs the water

Posted on January 14th, 2014

The blasphemer supposes he is clever when he says, “The Word does not need the water.” The blasphemer says this to reject God’s means of grace in Holy Baptism. Let us consider an analogy. “The Word does not need the flesh.” This is altogether true, of course. The eternal Logos has no need of matter. He was, like the Father and Spirit, incorporeal. He does not need the flesh for Himself. Adam, however, was made as ensouled flesh, and we children of Adam likewise share in his nature. We are flesh. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us not for His own sake, but for ours. The Word, who needs no flesh for Himself, takes on flesh for us, to redeem our flesh. The…

Prepare for the storm

Posted on November 19th, 2013

When Peter was walking upon the water, he was safe as long as he kept in mind Jesus’ Word. When he lost the Word, he began to sink. The storm comes to drive us back to Jesus and His Word. Thus writes Dr. Luther: This is how it is when Christ comes into your ship. It will not stay calm for long. A storm will come. If you want to be a Christian then you should prepare for this storm and this discord…. Whoever wants to live bless by God in Christ must suffer persecution, as St. Paul says. –Luther Brevier, p340

Activating the Spirit’s Power

Posted on August 22nd, 2013

Reflecting on Luther’s discussion in the Smalcald Articles of the power of the spoken Word of God, Hosten Fagerberg observes, This Word bears the power of the Holy Spirit, or, to be more exact, that the Holy Spirit’s power is activated through the Word. The Word is a Word of promise, which is valid now and is addressed to us through a personal assurance of God’s grace and the forgiveness of sins. A New Look at the Lutheran Confessions (1529-1537) (Kindle Locations 446-448)

Sermo Dei: Trinity 8 (Jeremiah 23:16-29) 2013

Posted on July 21st, 2013

One of the most prominent mega-churches in America boasts that they are “built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision.” While this church is exceptional in that they have had wild numerical growth, they are quite typical of a new breed of church emerging, all centered around a dynamic leader with a “vision.” It’s not just a “vision” in the sense of a hope or aspiration. The pastors of such churches claim to be receiving direct revelations from God. The result? The church is built on the vision of the pastor—which cannot be questioned—rather than the Word of God.   This is a new kind of papacy, where the authoritative, infallible ruler of the church…

The people in the preacher’s study

Posted on November 20th, 2012

When I have writer’s block in preparing a sermon, I try to think about explaining the text to particular members of my congregation, mentally bringing before me a child in our school, a young mother, an elderly person approaching death. I shouldn’t wait until I have writer’s block. Gustav Wingren, in his The Living Word: A Theological Study of Preaching and the Church, puts it this way: When the Bible lies open on the preacher’s desk and the preparation of the sermon is about to begin, the worshippers have already come in; the passage contains these people since it is God’s Word to his people. The “bad sermon” is not bad because it is “lifeless” or “uninspiring”; it is bad because “men [were] not present…