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.