Showing posts from February, 2015

Sermon on Mark 1:9-15, for the 1st Sunday in Lent, "Victory in Him!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In relatively short order, in 7 verses, the reading you heard from the Gospel of Mark outlines an important series of events when Jesus first came on the scene publicly, to preach and teach in the land of Israel 2,000 years ago. Jesus’ is baptized in the Jordan River by His cousin John the Baptist. God the Father speaks His approval over Jesus; the Holy Spirit appears at Jesus’ baptism—a miraculous and clear revelation of the Trinity—that God is Three in One—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And after these momentous events, Jesus is immediately propelled into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. And forty days later, John has been thrown into prison, and Jesus carries on the ministry, telling people to turn away from sin, and believe in the gospel—the good news of the kingdom of God. Mark throws a whole lot at us at once, and to unpack what it all means would be beyond our time here. And it’s all surprisingly

Sermon on 2 Corinthians 3:12-13; 4:1-6, for the Transfiguration of our Lord, "Fading Glory, Lasting Glory"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. “Hold that pose, look at the camera, smile!” Have you ever thought about how pictures seem to have the ability to capture a perfect, idealized moment? A split-second can be frozen indefinitely in time, so that the image of joy, excitement,   beauty, peace, or sadness, or any emotion is preserved in the photograph. Photo-editing software even makes it possible to polish and “clean-up” the image. But in real time the scene changes, the subjects in the photo move along to the next thing, the emotion changes one way or another, and life goes on. Peter might have wished he had a camera on the mount of Transfiguration, some way to capture the glory of Jesus, as His appearance was transformed to a brilliant, blinding light. He hoped for some way to extend the glory, to bask in it a little longer. But this was not possible. Life would go on, and Jesus was marking the time and pointing His ste

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 9:16-27, for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany, "Free from all, servant of all"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In today’s reading, Paul talks about the privilege and reward of preaching the gospel—the good news of Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and forgiveness. It was his unique joy to preach to the Corinthians free of charge. Like other servants of the gospel, he knew he deserved to earn a living by it. But among the Corinthians, he chose not to accept any payment, but worked for the sheer joy and reward of serving Jesus Christ. You can only understand this joy if you grasp the marvelous mystery of what Jesus has done for you. Working for a big paycheck we can understand. Working at an easy and rewarding job, we can understand easy enough. But facing constant rejection, persecution, beatings, and failure, and still finding the work so joyful that you would do it for free—that’s not so easy to understand. But the way that Paul carried out his ministry, and the joy and willingness with which he did it, all are f