Sermon: St Stephen.2010

Text: Acts 6.8-7.60; Matthew 23.34-39
Date: 2010.12.26
Let us pray and meditate upon the Word of God just read, upon this season of Christmas, upon the holy martyrdom of the first martyr St Stephen, upon our own sinful condition, but most especially let us pray and meditate upon God's promises and benefits to us.

Sermon: Nativity of Our Lord - Christmas Day

Text: John 1.14, 16
Date: 2010.12.25
Grace and truth be to you from our Savior, the Christ-Child. Amen.
Sermon text: John 1:14,16 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw for ourselves His glory, glory as of the Only-begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. For from His fullness we all received, grace upon grace.”
Perhaps the best name for the Church Year is “The Year of Grace”. For we walk through the Year with the God of all grace and truth. And this, not only on Sundays, but every day.
Beginning with last night, now is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus; the mystery of how the God of creation became part of creation Himself.

Sermon: Christmas Eve - Quempas Children's Service

Text: Luke 2 and Quempas Carol
Date: 2010.12.24

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

Movement. Lots of movement takes place in the story of the Nativity of our Lord:

People moving to their towns of origin to be registered, including Joseph with his betrothed Mary and the unborn Savior yet in Mary's womb. Angels moving out of the realms of glory into time and space to awe the nomadic shepherds before they would move from their fields to a stable in the humble city of David. The Gentile Magi begin their movement, their journey from the east that will take nearly 2 years.

But all these movements aren't isolated instances. They all have an aim, one common purpose. And that purpose is finally The Movement of the night, Jesus, from the relative safety of the womb into His mothers embrace, then eventually laid into the manger in Peaceful sleep.

Sermon: Advent 4 Midweek (Quempas)

Text: Genesis 3.1-15; 2 Corinthians 5.17-21
Date: 2010.12.22

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

Be reconciled,” writes St Paul in our second reading. But reconciliation means that someone has caused a particular offense; committed an act that broke trust or betrayed an agreement, an act that somehow hurt or killed a relationship. / And St Paul's statement is absolute, it applies to everyone: “All must be reconciled to God,” because all have broken the trust and thus hurt and killed the relationship.

Sermon: Advent 4.A.2010

Text: Matthew 1.18-25
Date: 2010.12.19

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

Well, here we are. Advent 4. So this week: yep, Christmas. For us, it comes so fast. For Him, the Center of the season, Jesus, it took an eternity. Literally. “Begotten of His Father before all worlds,” working in time once time began, yet waiting with eagerness for His human birth in about 3 AD. It happens so fast for us we might just miss it; we might be so caught up we don't realize what has happened, and what continues to happen.

What honor! And yet we don't recognize it. What privilege, and yet we don't claim it as our own. God has become one of us. God, in our flesh! Have you taken the example of Blessed Virgin Mary or the shepherds or Simeon and stopped to ponder what this might mean, that God's own Son is born a childi.

Sermon: In Memoriam +Rachel Lenore Rinehart Stoker + 1930-2010

Died: Saturday of Advent 2.2010 (12.11.2010)
Service: Thursday of Advent 3.2010 (12.16.2010) 

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

Marcia and David, family and friends of our beloved sister in Christ +Rachel, if there is any consolation for your heavy hearts, let this be it: +Rachel is not dead. Scripture gives us many ways of speaking of those who have fallen asleep in Jesus, but dead is not one of them. She may not be with us now, in this life, but she is alive. +Rachel is more alive now than she ever was. She is beholding her Savior Jesus Christ face to face. She lives because He lives.

Sermon: Advent 3 Midweek (Quempas)

Text: Hebrews 2:10-17; Luke 1:39-56
Date: 2010.12.15

Sermon based upon Quempas Carol, stanza 3:
Sing with Mary, virgin mother;
Praise her Son, our newborn Brother;
Angel ranks lead one another,
Hailing Him in holy joy.

In the name of +Jesus. Amen.

A virgin mother. How impossible! A Divine Brother. How much more impossible! And yet both are true, both are real.

It is a miracle when any mother conceives, a divine gift of human life! We often don't think of it in these terms, perhaps because it is so common. “Another child, that's wonderful,” we say, although we aren't often filled with any wonder at all. We know how it happens; there are certain events that must take place, it's clear and it's reasonable. One man and one woman; then, one womb as temporary shelter for the precious life/lives inside it.

Sermon: Advent 3.2010

Text: Matthew 11.2-15
Date: 2010.12.12

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

What did you come out into the wilderness to see? I mean, think about, how inconvenient! For Goodness' sake, it's the wilderness. It's desolate, there's nothing out there but sand, a nasty river they call Jordan, and a grungy, un-socialized young preacher-man. How disappointing! But what did you expect way out there in the boonies? A man dressed in kingly apparel? You have no idea! But really, what did you inconvenience yourself to see?

This John the Baptizer: did you think his preaching would be like a reed that is blown around by the wind? What sort of message did you come out to receive from him? Did you think him to be a preacher who proclaimed man's wisdom, trying to win your favor by saying the right things in the right way to you, the right people? Did you think he was one who would be swayed back and forth by your opinion, of anything?

Sermon: Advent 2 Midweek (Quempas)

Text: Genesis 49:8-12
Date: 2010.12.8

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

Genesis 49:8-12
8"Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
    your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
    your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
9Judah is a lion’s cub;
   from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He stooped down; he crouched as a lion
   and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?
10The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
   nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
   and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11Binding his foal to the vine
   and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he has washed his garments in wine
   and his vesture in the blood of grapes.
12His eyes are darker than wine,
   and his teeth whiter than milk.

The Quempas Carol speaks so simply and beautifully: Jesus is Judah's lion.

He whom sages, westward faring,
Myrrh and gold and incense bearing,
Humbly worshiped, off’rings sharing,
Judah’s lion reigns this morn!

Sermon: Advent 2

Text: Matthew 3.1-12
Date: 2010.12.5

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

John the Baptizer comes as a bridge. He was the last of the OT prophets, but so closely connected to the New Testament that the Gospel writers couldn't help but include him. And this because He is so closely connected with Jesus.

St John the Baptist is the cousin of our Lord, their mothers being relatives not far removed in the blood-line of the Savior. Perhaps they played together as kids; perhaps they took a liking to common interests. Perhaps John and Jesus would play 'temple' when they were together, perhaps not. Perhaps John was with Jesus when Jesus stayed back in the Temple when he was twelve years to “be about His Father's business.” And perhaps John knew what that meant when Jesus spoke those words to His parents. And then again; perhaps not.

But what we do know is what this great prophet and baptizer taught. And it was curiously similar to what The Great Prophet and Baptizer and Savior taught: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is brought near.

I'll save you the suspense, and I'm hoping you already get it by now, namely, the Kingdom of heaven is Jesus, whom John will point to and make the good confession: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”.