Showing posts from January, 2015

Sermon on 1 Samuel 3:1-10, for the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany, "Speak, Lord, for your servant hears"

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The life of the prophet Samuel in the Bible has much to tell us still today, but today we see a major turning point in his young life. Who are Samuel and Eli in the passage? “Samuel” means “God has heard.” Samuel was God’s answer to the earnest prayers of a young Hebrew wife Hannah, living in Old Testament times, who was unable to have children. She earnestly prayed to God for a son, and God heard her prayer and blessed her with Samuel, who, from a young age, she dedicated Samuel to serve in the Lord’s house. Eli was the priest of the Lord at the tabernacle, the tent of worship for the Lord. Hannah had brought her young son to serve under Eli. While Hannah was a woman of great faith, Eli believed in God, but did nothing to stop the wickedness of his two sons, who were complete scoundrels. They committed brazen acts that dishonored God’s name and house—sexual immorality in God’s house; abusing their authorit

Sermon on Romans 6:1-11, for the Baptism of our Lord, "Baptized into Christ"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we remember God’s gift of baptism. We honor the Baptism of our Lord Jesus, when He came to the Jordan River to undergo a sinner’s baptism, in solidarity with and for us. We also remember our own baptisms into Christ Jesus, and what that means for our life today. St. Paul opens our reading from Romans 6 with some provocative questions: “ What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?” To understand his meaning, we have to look a chapter earlier, and see that he has just been talking about the incredible greatness of Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness and salvation. A gift that we did nothing to earn, that is ruled by no law, that is conditioned by no demand, but freely given by Jesus Christ. Because the Gospel is so free, and what Jesus has done for us comes as pure gift, Paul asks: Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? He’s saying, if God is so free and generous in fo

Sermon on Matthew 2:1-12 and Isaiah 60:1-6, for Epiphany, "Worship the Light"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The prophet Isaiah said, “ Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Isaiah 60:3). The rising Light is Jesus, and His infant home of Bethlehem was bathed in miraculous starlight announcing: the King of the Jews has been born! Wise men came worshipping. Kings came to the brightness of His rising—the dawning rays of Jesus’ infant light drew joyful worship, costly gifts, and hushed awe. Why would such a birth warrant such attention? This was not a king of the Roman Empire, or any similar superpower or great nation. The Jews were a subject people, a broken nation, held firmly under the Roman yoke. King David’s royal line was reduced to nothing but the stump of a tree, by all appearances dead and defeated. Why would the birth of a new king to this tiny, defeated nation, bring any foreign dignitaries at all? What were the wise men hoping to see? Who were they and why did they c