The day will come when you will experience the wrath of God; this is shown us in death, and in other disasters that visit us. The holy prophet Habakkuk teaches us to pray to God like this: “In wrath remember mercy” [3:2]. This is our prayer in the day of trouble. But from the New Testament we have something even better; in the hour of trouble we can pray the prayer of the dying thief: “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” The Lord’s remembrance brought him, and will bring you, even to paradise.Read More
Have you measured everything by what pleases you? Too easily you are provoked. Has your mind been filled with anger, revenge, and thoughts of how you’ve been wronged? Is it love that fills your thoughts and fantasies – or is it lust? Have you rejoiced in iniquity, taken pleasure and delight in things you know are displeasing to God? Then you have not love.
Love bears all things, endures all things, but you have said, “Enough! I will bear no more! Love has a limit.” We want our sins forgiven, but keep a record of how we’ve been sinned against.Read More
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.”Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
The post-Christmas letdown stems from misunderstanding Christmas. Even those of us who celebrate Christmas as Christians are not immune to this. We are heavily influenced by cultural expectations of sentimental joy. When families again separate, when the everyday challenges return, the holiday of Christmas recedes. Struggles can again bring us down. Or, worldly ambitions take our eyes away from Christ. We end up thinking like this: “The story of Bethlehem, shepherds, and angels was nice. But it’s not the stuff of real life.”
Into this steps a man and woman older and wiser than us. The man is named Simeon. The woman, Anna, is that rarest of people, a prophetess. Each tells us an important truth about Jesus. Each also shows us how Jesus was not only for them the stuff of real life, but the center of all human life.Read More
To you who are faint-hearted;
To you who are weary;
To you who feel the burden of your sins;
To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior.
To you who are broken-hearted;
To you whose children are not home;
To you who know the fear of darkness;
To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior.
To you pompous;
To you proud;
To you who have trusted in your own merits and strength;
To you also is born this day in the city of David a Savior.Read More
Christianity is for sinners – sinners who see that self-improvement cannot save them. Christianity is for sinners who confess, sinners who hate their sin, sinners who long for remission of sins like a cancer patient longs for the remission of the cancer.Read More
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.”Read More
“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.Read More