Good Friday-Tenebrae.2013

Good Friday-Tenebrae
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

It's black hole day.

Recall the story I told on Sunday about the September 11th airplane pilot, who saw where He was supposed to die, / but didn't. [*See Sermon below titled "Sermon-Palm Sunday.2013]

The crucifix above the altar kind of looks like a black hole tonight. You know what's behind there. You've seen it many times. You see it up close when you come and receive the Sacramental gifts in it's shadow. The image of the crucifix / represents the reality that you take into your own body.

So, in a way, you come up here to die. And that's really the whole point of Good Friday. The reason Good Friday remains so hard for us (though we know Jesus is already raised from the dead); the reason it is so hard for us sinners, is because we see in that crucifix / our own death.

Or to put it another way: “We go to Holy Week services as if we are going to our own death, / so that when we go to our own death, it is as if we are going to Holy Week services.”

And what a blessed perspective this is. For if you go to your death as if you are going to Holy Week, then there is really only one thing that's going to be on your mind when you die: the death of Jesus.

Good Friday-Tre Ore.2013

Good Friday—Tre Ore 2013.3.29
7th Word, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.”
Delivered at St Paul's LC, Williamsburg, IA

The Spirit of the Son / is in the hands of the Father.

Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.”

The Spirit of the Son // is in the hands of the Father.

Into the hands of the all-merciful God, the Son dares to put His Spirit.

What else does a man have? Naked a man comes to earth. So also with the Son of Man.

A man only has his body, his mind, and his spirit. These three / that's it. So also with the Son of Man.

As a man dies, we take his body and place into the ground, or, in the case of the Son of Man, into a tomb.

There, in the dust of the earth, a man's body begins to rot. It wastes away and the worms come and...well, you know.

As for his mind, in most cases, as you know from watching loved ones in their last hours, the mind slowly fades away. It doesn't rot away like the body does, rather it just fails.

What is left? The spirit. A man's spirit is the only thing that will really last.

Father, into Thy hands I commit my Spirit.”

Holy (Maundy) Thursday.2013

Maundy Thursday Exodus 12.1-14
2013.3.28 1 Cor 11.23-32
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA St John 13.1-15

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

The Feast of the Passover. For Israel, it was to be the beginning of months, the beginning of the yearly cycle, the beginning of their new life of freedom. They weren't going to be slaves anymore. God was going to do that. He would free them. He would give them this new life.

And like any new adventure, the first big hurtle to overcome is: “well, what now?” The prospect of new adventures is exciting and exhilarating; but can also be scary as you step out into the unknown.

Sermon--Holy Tuesday.2013

Holy Tuesday St John 12:44-50
Preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

John 12:44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

The Light of Christ's Words, shattered the darkness in the hearts and minds of those who heard Him that day.

After departing and hiding Himself from the crowd for a short while, / with what BOLDNESS does He come back onto the scene.

The whole world was going after Jesus; even some of the Jews were believing in Him, even many of the authorities, perhaps even Pontius Pilate himself. What a strange phenomenon. Was Jesus shocked by this? It would seem that they were actually on His side. So much for “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” They were receiving Him, even those who were supposed to reject Him the most. What now? Is this just a worldly kingdom teaser? Was this “believing” the work of God, or a temptation from Satan?

Whether Jesus was confused or not, we do know that He departed from the crowds for a while. Probably to pray. But whatever happened in that interim, the focus and depth of Jesus' next teaching / hits an absolute high point.

Sermon - Palm Sunday.2013

Palmarum (Palm Sunday)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA

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

Here we are already. It's Palm Sunday, already. It seems like we just began Lent not too long ago and we're already at the beginning of Holy Week; the “home-stretch” of the Lenten season. Easter's so close we can almost taste it.

But not yet. Patience. There is yet some preparation to do. Jesus is leading us somewhere else first.
In Holy Week, / we are led to someplace / we'd rather not go. We're being led through Jesus' bitter suffering, to His bitter death. You, O disciple, / must also follow Him now, stay with Him even now, especially now, as His Passion (His suffering) / becomes most intense.

Remember, Lent symbolizes our own journey through this world. Luther once commented that the whole life of a Christian is a life of repentance. Jesus Himself preaches, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near.” Your life in this world must be a life of repentance because it is a life filled with sin.

So, repent. And keep on repenting.

But you must know, repentance is not enough. Hear me rightly, repentance is good and necessary; Repentance gets rid of sin, because “when we confess our sins, [God] is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” And that is good and necessary, because sin is a problem for you; sin separates you from God; sin makes you insane, addicted, and unholy. But as terrible / and as problematic as sin is, / it is not the main problem. Death is the main problem.

Sermon - Anointing of Our Lord.2013

The Commemoration of The Anointing of Our Lord
2013.3.23 (Saturday before Palm Sunday)
Preached at Trinity LC, Millersburg, IA

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

Quite a contrast. On the one hand, a generous act of love, of self-giving. That was Mary. On the other hand a selfish act of betrayal, of hate. That was Judas.

An act of love; an act of hate. Both acts done to our Lord. Our Lord receiving both. Our Lord suffering both.

Which one will win out? Acts of hate are powerful; they are intentional, deliberate, premeditated. / Acts of hate are well organized. And it takes a true enemy to accomplish, for acts of hate require the whole person. The heart must nurture enmity toward the victim, the soul and conscience must grow cold toward the victim and before God our Judge, / likewise, the mind must make the plans, and the body must carry out the actions.

Sermon-Lent Midweek Vespers 2013

Lenten Midweek 2013—Williamsburg Circuit, IDE
Pr Nicholas Huelsman, St John's, Victor
Preaching the Sixth Chief Part
Part Five: Beneficial Eating and Drinking!

[Read 1 Corinthians 11]

Parishoner: “I’m coming to communion today, Pastor.”
Pastor: Wonderful. Now tell me. What do you expect to receive with your mouth at the Sacrament?
Parishoner: “What do you mean, Pastor?”
Pastor: What is it that I will put in your mouth to eat and drink?
Parishoner: “Oh, I get it. Bread and wine.”
Pastor: Is that all?
Parishoner: “Of course. It’s just bread and wine.”
Pastor: But don’t you believe that you also receive Christ’s Body and Blood for the forgiveness of your sins?
Parishoner: “Are you kidding me. No way! It’s only bread and wine. There’s no body. And certainly no blood! I’m no cannibal, Pastor! And I don’t go for forgiveness! It’s just a memorial meal where I show I’m obedient to the Lord.”

To put it plainly, if a pastor would let someone like that go to the Sacrament, / this most holy gift would be like glass in his belly.

Sermon-Lent 5 (Judica).2013

St John 8.42-59
Judica (Lent 5)
St John's Ev LC, Victor, IA 

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

Jesus could have made those stones into bread, you know. How foolish those despisers would have looked, throwing pieces of bread at Jesus. But He didn't. He let them have their sticks and stones. / Rather than miraculous self-defense, Jesus simply trusted in the Word of the Father which says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Ps 18.2).

Jesus lived out the prayers of the Psalms. Jesus prayed as we just prayed in the Introit, “Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge.”