Sermon - Trinity 8.2013

St Matthew 7.15-23 Trinity 8
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.7.21

In the name of the +Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A few weeks ago you were up on the Mount with Jesus, and He was preaching to you His Sermon on the Mount: “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,” Jesus said, “you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven,” remember?

Yes, and last week you were back up on that mount with Jesus, this time to be fed by Him in that miraculous meal of the Feeding of the 4,000.

This is the Christian life. You need instruction / and you need sustenance. Jesus will be your teacher / and He will also be your Cook, of sorts. You listen to Him and you eat from Him. That is what happens on the Mount of the Lord. That / is Sunday morning.

But it can't stay Sunday morning all week (not yet at least). Monday morning must come and you must get off the mountain of the Lord and be sent off to your various duties in life: the laundry must be done, the farm needs tended to, the kids need to eat and play and grow, you need to go off and bring in the bacon so that the family can thrive and the bills get paid, you must interact with your coworkers and family and friends and enemies, in other words, you have a daily life to live. Rest is for the mountain; work is for the week.

Sermon - Trinity 6.2013

St Matthew 5.20-26 Trinity 6
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.7.7

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

I must admit at the outset this morning / that when this portion of the Gospels come up in the Lectionary, I feel quite ashamed and silly to preach it. Matthew, chapters 5, 6, and 7 are Jesus' own Sermon on the Mount. The task at hand is to take a portion of Jesus' own Divine Sermon and make a sermon of my own. As tempted as I have been in the past (as was the case this week, too) to just read Jesus' sermon, say “Amen” and sit down, nonetheless, you've called me to this task, and our Lord has promised His blessing upon it, / so here goes (and hopefully not “nothing”):
You get angry, don't you? Then you murder your brother. Who is it that you get angry at? You have murdered that one.

Dearly beloved, we are called by God to a righteousness that exceeds any righteousness, any goodness, any morality that is found in the world. And that shows just how screwed up we are. Just think about it: God, who made this place, who created all that exists, He would not have given His creatures some foreign or enemy righteousness or goodness, but would have transmitted His own goodness not only to the outward things of the body, but also to the inner things of the soul. And so it was: man was created in God's image, yes, even with God's own righteousness and goodness. Man's heart, mind and soul were conformed to God.

Sermon - Trinity 5.2013

St Luke 5.1-11 Trinity 5
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.30

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Being a fool for Christ. Is it wise? / And is there strength / in weakness?

Elisha left everything / and went after Elijah and assisted him in the prophetic work of the Lord. The story goes like this:
So [Elijah] departed from [the mountain] and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him.  And [Elisha] left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me [first] kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?”  And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.

Elisha was only a farmer, what did he know about all this prophet stuff? And who would want to be troubled with such suffering and persecution? For what? You know what happens to prophets? Elijah himself declares that prophets get killed, that is there end. People will hate you, Elisha, why do you follow Elijah? Why leave everything you've work for, everyone you love, including your mother and father, why assist Elijah when it means death for you? It's foolishness.

Sermon Trinity 4.2013

St Luke 6.36-42 Trinity 4
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.23

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

In today’s Collect we prayed that the “course of this world” would be so “peaceably ordered by God’s governance” that His Church would “joyfully serve Him” – and here’s the phrase I'd like us to concentrate on this morning – “in all godly quietness.”

What is this “godly quietness” for which we ask? In brief, it is the peace of heart (the quiet and calm that can rule in our hearts) even in the midst of the most difficult and trying times. / As you'll hear in just a bit, this godly quietness is nothing less than the peace that passes understanding, which guards your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. In other words / one who has this godly quietness doesn’t fret and get all worked up, but instead entrusts him or herself completely into the hands of God. Godly quietness of heart is one of the fruits of faith, and Joseph (whom we heard about in the Old Testament Reading) is a great example of this.

Sermon - Trinity 3.2013

St Luke 15.1-10; Micah 7:18-20 Trinity 3
St Johns Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.16 

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Micah has a hard time understanding what sort of a God this is that Israel has. In the Old Testament reading for today he wrote, "Who is a God like you?...Pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression... He does not retain His anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love." 

God is hard to understand because He's so different from us; unlike our merciful God we have a problem with retaining anger.  Someone gets under our skin and we tend to hang onto the anger until it turns to bitterness.  But there must be no hanging onto anger / when you're hanging about with the God of Israel.  He's the God who loves to forgive, to pardon, to pass over transgression.  He looks for excuses and opportunities to wipe out sin and reestablish relationships.  He longs to show mercy!  And He invites us to live in that bounty of forgiveness, that river of mercy.

Sermon - 1st Sunday after Trinity

St John 16.19-31 Trinity 1
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 2013.6.2

In the name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Gospel reading records a story that Jesus told to the Pharisees. Whether this story is true or not, we aren't told. It certainly could be, as Jesus uses the names of real people: Jesus' good friend, Lazarus, and the patriarch Abraham; though, the circumstances surrounding this story make it seem a bit unrealistic.

Whatever the case, God saw fit that we didn't need to know, so we don't; and that's just fine. The important part / is the story itself. It is a story about the two extremes of earthly life: abundance / and scarcity; having everything you ever imagined / verses having nothing but the filthy clothes on your back; being rich / verse being poor.

Sermon - In Memoriam +Dwayne Norman Jahlas 1943-2013

In Memoriam + Dwayne Jahlas
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

Job 19:21-27
Hebrews 2:14-16
John 3:16-17

In the Name of the Father and of the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God urges us to come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy in time of need. It is now our time of need. We have lost a loved one. We cannot yet go where he has gone. We must carry on in this life / without him. There are no easy answers or solutions. Some things must simply be endured.

And so we look to our Lord for the strength to endure. Our Lord does not disappoint; Dwayne's Confirmation verse is 1 Corinthians 10:13, it is printed on the front of your bulletin. It says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”