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Showing posts from January, 2014

Sermon on Isaiah 9:1-4 & Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25, for the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany, "The Light Shines in the Darkness"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. A few weeks ago we heard how Jesus began His public ministry with His baptism in the Jordan River. Immediately after that, Matthew 4 records Jesus’ temptation by the devil in the wilderness, and then our reading today begins. So today we hear Jesus’ first public words of teaching, as He embarks on His ministry: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And Matthew ties Jesus’ teaching debut in with the prophecy we heard in Isaiah 9. He highlights where Jesus began His ministry—in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali—two rather insignificant tribes at the northern border of Israel. The prophecy said: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles— the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:15–16, ESV) And Isaiah describes this region h…

Sermon on Isaiah 49:1-7 for Life Sunday, "Light for the Nations"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today we observe Life Sunday, in memory of over 50 Million innocent lives taken by abortion in the U.S., since it was legalized nationally in 1973. 50 Million is a shocking number, but it’s only a fraction of the unjust deaths by abortion world-wide, and only since 1973. And as millions continue to die each year, do we remain numb and unfeeling to the tragedy? It’s not the casualties of a war on a faraway continent, nor the body count of some disaster in the distant past, but it’s an ongoing, daily reality all around us in our communities, and touching our families, friends, and neighbors. Inside and outside the church, on Maui and in every community. Yet so often it is a hidden reality, done quietly, and few, if any, know that it has even happened. Many women suffer silently with the pain and guilt, whether they chose it of their own accord, or under the pressure of others. They feel …

Sermon on Matthew 3:13-17, The Baptism of Our Lord, "Stands in the sinner's place"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. The Baptism of Jesus marks the public beginnings of Jesus’ earthly ministry. In Jesus’ baptism, His identity is first publicly revealed. Let’s read back just a few verses earlier, to get the context from Matthew 3, starting at verse 11: “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptize…

Sermon on 1 Kings 3:4-15 for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas, "Christ, the Wisdom of God"

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Today we come to the end of the Christmas season, and tomorrow January 6, officially begins the season of Epiphany, which focuses on Christ revealing Himself. Today’s reading are linked by the theme of wisdom. In the Old Testament we see King Solomon, the 3rd king of Israel, and son of the great King David, having a vision from God and asking for wisdom. Then in our Gospel reading, we see the 12 year old child Jesus going to the Temple in Jerusalem, and “increasing in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” Like any other child, Jesus grew in knowledge of the Lord, studied the scriptures, and sat listening to the rabbis, asking them questions. Yet in a marvelous mystery, the Scriptures also reveal Jesus to be the eternal, all-knowing, Wisdom of God. In fact, while Advent is still fresh in our memories, we might recall the first of the “O Antiphons” which prays to Christ: O Wisdom, proceeding from th…