Second Sunday after the Epiphany 2019

It is no mistake that our Lord chooses to perform His first miracle at a wedding. But it is not simply a miracle, a magic show, a spectacular event to wow the crowd or to help His mother save face. St. John calls it a sign, the beginning of signs. A sign does not exist for itself. A sign signifies, points to something greater.

This sign of transforming water into wine is done in the context of Jesus talking about His hour. Throughout John’s Gospel Jesus says repeatedly, “My hour is not yet come.” Then finally, just before Jesus washes the feet of His disciples, the night before His crucifixion, St. John tells us that that great event, the Passion of Jesus, is His hour: “Now before the Feast of the Passover,” John says in ch. 13, “when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.”

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March for Life sermon 2019

Everything that lives has life from God. St. Paul told the pagan philosophers on Mars Hill, “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

That doctrine undergirds our confession at the nation’s high court today. All human beings are created equal – because all human beings are created. The limbs that God has joined together, let no abortion tear asunder. That baby is living, no matter how small. To be pro-life is also then to embrace that life. Thus we also confess, “That baby, no matter his color, no matter what drugs or alcohol have done to his brain, that baby is loved by God and so by the people of God. He is welcome in our churches, and in our homes. And the teenager who is pregnant, and scared: she is welcome in our churches, and in our homes.”

We are not here to protest. We are here to confess. And we leave here ready to live in, with, and under that confession.

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The Name of JESUS

The Son of Mary bears the Name JESUS, but the Name is given to you. The Name is God’s gift to you. You can use the Name. 

We hurry through this world gathering money and stuff, but what we accumulate cannot save us. We call upon our parents for help, but in death they forsake us. Politicians promise but they cannot deliver.

But this Name, JESUS, is given to you, so that you can say, YHWH, save me! JESUS, help!

This name JESUS drives away demons. The name JESUS is light in our darkness. The name JESUS delivers us from death.

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Advent II, 2018

That is what we are doing in Advent: waiting for Him, waiting for Christ to return and set the world to rights. The worse things get for us, the more it is a sign that Jesus’ rescue is near. All the world will be fearful, Jesus says, but when you see the world in chaos and tribulation, “Look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

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The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity 2018

“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” These words from the holy prophet Job are about himself. But they are also about us: “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” Our days are numbered, yet in our folly we do not count them correctly. Your days are determined; the number of your months is with God; He has appointed limits for you that you cannot pass. And so the fear of death that every man experiences is not a fear of pain in dying, but pain in life escaping, slipping away. Like a flower, man blooms, then withers and decays. Like the leaves of an autumn tree, so beautiful in vibrant color, only to fall to the earth, destined to be carried away, burned or buried.

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The Marriage of Yonas Mekonen and Stephanie Lange

Your home, Stephanie and Yonas, is to be the Mekane Yesus - the dwelling place of Jesus. Yonas Mekonen, you are the angel of this home, the guardian and protector. Stephanie is the crown, the glory, the queen and treasure. Fill your home, Stephanie, not just with singing but with the song of faith. The Mekonen home is the Mekane Yesus - the dwelling place of Jesus.

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The Marriage of Jason Stegman and Rebekah Reistad

God’s created order is predicated on self-giving. The world itself is gift to mankind. Man and woman are then made to be dependent on one another. The woman’s life derived from the man’s body. God made her from man’s side, so she is bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. And she in turn would give her body to him. These two, becoming one flesh, giving themselves to each other, find then a third—a child—who receives life from their union.

The structure of the world is centered around this self-giving. The story of the world begins and ends with a marriage. And at the center of world history stands Jesus, who in today’s Gospel is attending a failing marriage. 

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