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Showing posts from November, 2014

Sermon on Psalm 65 and Luke 12:13-21, for Thanksgiving, "Reaping a Richness Toward God"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. The parable of the rich fool and Psalm 65 portray two contrasting views of people who have an abundance of possessions, or who take in an abundant harvest. Jesus warns the young man to whom He tells the parable, that life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions. Life is not measured by how much we have. Rather, as Jesus teaches, what matters is that we be found rich toward God. Since Thanksgiving is also harvest-themed, let’s consider and reflect today how we might reap or bring in a harvest of richness toward God.
In the parable of the rich fool, we’re told that “The land of a rich man produced plentifully.” It’s significant that it was the land, and not especially his hard labor that produced the rich crop. This is a subtle reminder that God had provided his bounty, which is always at God’s own pleasure. Farmers know best that they aren’t in control of the rain or the sun…

Sermon on Matthew 25:31-46, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "What sort of people?"

“To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Amen. Over the past few weeks we’ve heard Bible passages warning and preparing us for the Final Judgment, the day of Jesus’ return. 2 Peter 3, faces the same concern, and explains Jesus’ patience in waiting for as many as possible to reach repentance and turn from sin. Then Peter makes a statement that fits well with our text today. Since we know Jesus is going to return, and that the end of the world is coming, “what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:11b-12a). It’s not really a question, but more of a conclusion about what sort of people we ought to be. To live lives of holiness and godliness as we wait for the day of God. Looking at the great judgment at the end of times, in today’s reading, we should come to the same conclusion, and live accordingly.
Wha…

Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30, for the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost, "Banking on the Master"

“To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Amen. Last week, this week, and next, we’re in Matthew chapter 25, a series of three parables that all focus on Jesus’ second coming, and our readiness. Last week we heard about the five wise and five foolish virgins, and how those who were wise were well supplied with God’s free gifts, and were ready for Jesus’ return. This week we have the parable of the ten talents; a lesson in stewardship and how we use God’s gifts until Jesus returns. Next week shows the final judgment and God’s sorting out of the sheep from the goats. Each lesson shows a different aspect of why some pass through the judgment of God into His blessing and glory, and others fall under the judgment and go to their eternal punishment.
In the parable today, the master who leaves on a long journey, and entrusts his possessions to three servants—represents Jesus, who has gone to prepare a plac…

Sermon on Matthew 25:1-13, for the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, "Meet the Bridegroom!"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today’s parable of the ten virgins calls the church to be ready for Christ’s second coming. The church is pictured as ten pure, young women invited to a wedding feast, and waiting with lamps for the Bridegroom and (it’s implied) the Bride to arrive for the feast to begin. Wedding celebrations are famous for delays, then as much as today. With all the preparations and joy, no one notices the time; the couple and the guests celebrating and savoring the moment. Though Jesus doesn’t describe the wedding customs, it may be that He had in mind a Middle Eastern custom of the bride and groom going on a long, slow, winding parade through the streets of town as everyone celebrated with them, before returning to the home for the wedding feast with the invited guests. In any case, the ten virgins were invited and waiting, and all fell asleep because the delay was so great.
This is a parable about…

Sermon on Revelation 7:9-17, for All Saints' Day, "Washed in the Blood of the Lamb"

To the saints who are in Maui, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our reading from Revelation chapter 7 is the vision Jesus showed to St. John, of what heaven was like. Chapter 7 is divided into two sections—today’s section about the “great multitude that no one could number” is part 2, and part 1 is the famous roll call of the 144,000. Scene 1 watches the angels guarding 144,000 of those on earth, who have been sealed by God to protect them from harm. The number 144,000 symbolizes the complete number of believers. Scene 2 moves up to the throne of God in heaven, and views a countless number of saints, having passed through the great tribulation, and washed their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.
As the scene moves from earth to the scene of heaven—it’s a transition from the place where danger and suffering still exist, to the place of God’s presence and eternal peace. We sometimes call believers still livi…