Happenings

Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.





06 February 2016

Transfiguration Sermon: Exodus

Preached on Luke 9:28-36
The Last Sunday after the Epiphany, Series C
7 February AD 2016

Title: Exodus (MP3 Audio)

Chagall's Exodus Summary: In earlier days, the Lord revealed His glory to Moses — and later to Elijah — on Mount Sinai. In the fulness of time, Jesus revealed His glory to Peter, James, and John as He conversed with His prophets on the Mount of Transfiguration.

He spoke with His forerunners about His impending departure — His exodus (v. 31). Unlike Moses, who led Israel from death at the hands of Pharaoh, or Elijah, who fled death at the hands of Ahab and Jezebel, Jesus was preparing to offer Himself up into death’s hands.

On the mountaintop, Christ manifested Himself as the Completion of the work of Moses and Elijah, the Fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, and the final and greatest Redeemer. He would soon transfigure His own exodus from life into humanity’s exodus from death.

We often join with Moses and Elijah, with Peter, James, and John in confusing or abusing God’s commands and promises. Jesus, however, stayed true to His path. He kept the commands, bestowed the promises, and now credits us with His righteousness.

We participate in Christ’s exodus through Baptism. In it, we pass through watery death and are given new life in Him (see Romans 6:3-4). By water and the Word, we receive new citizenship, not in a land flowing with milk and honey but in the Lord’s eternal kingdom — the new heavens and new earth that will be ours in the Resurrection (see Philippians 3:20).

The Transfiguration Text: Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.

And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said.

As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”

And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. Luke 9:28-36

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Exodus.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 99; Deuteronomy 34 or Exodus 34:29-35; Hebrews 3:1-6

Illustrations: The painting Exodus by Marc Chagall was begun in 1952 and completed in 1966. Line drawing from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas, available through Higher Things Store.

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31 January 2016

Epiphany 4C Sermon: Hope and Trust from Womb to Tomb

Preached on Psalm 71:1-11
The Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
31 January AD 2016

Title: Hope and Trust from Womb to Tomb (MP3 Audio)

Psalm 71:6 Summary: Whether plagued by demonic forces, physical distress, foes of God and His people, or personal enemies, troubles can fill our days. We find refuge, health, and healing only in the Lord. Even before we ask, He answers.

He knows us deeply and completely. We were in His thoughts prior to Creation. He cared for us before we were born. He took us in His hands from our mothers’ wombs. He holds fast to us through this life and will lay us to rest in our graves that we might awaken to life everlasting.

There is nothing we can do to earn His favor. He loved us before we could or would love Him. When Christ called out, “It is finished, (John 19:30)” it was a sign that He had won salvation for all people throughout all time. As the sermon notes, Jesus’ declaration of forgiveness from the cross is “proactive, retroactive, completely active through all of time.”

Even before we are born, we can hear and be blessed by God’s living and active Word. And long after we die, we will hear and respond to His Word as He calls us forth into eternal glory. Truly, the Lord is the believer’s hope and trust from womb to tomb.

Psalm 71:3 Text: In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man. For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent. For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together and say, “God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.” Psalm 71:1-11

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Hope and Trust from Womb to Tomb.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Jeremiah 1:4-10 (17-19); 1 Corinthians 12:31b-13:13; Luke 4:31-44

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25 January 2016

Chapel Sermon: Nothing but the Christ

Preached on Acts 26:22-23
The Conversion of Saint Paul
25 January AD 2016

Title: Nothing but the Christ (MP3 Audio)

Paul and Agrippa Summary: From his conversion until his death, Paul’s message remained unchanged: Jesus Christ came to earth to suffer, die, and rise that all sinners — that is, all mankind — would be saved. In person or in writing, he proclaimed the harsh, condemning Law and the sweet, redeeming Gospel.

Paul admitted that, in his own mind, he was the worst sinner imaginable. He had directly attacked Christ’s Church, wilfully ignoring the Scriptures and resisting the message of salvation in Christ Jesus. He also celebrated his complete forgiveness and restoration. This undeserved mercy focused his in-reach to Israel and his outreach to the Gentile nations.

We, too, are helpless and hopeless without Christ. We are born in sin’s darkness and would remain there without Christ’s light shining upon us. Yet shine it does. In Word and Sacrament, by the power of the Holy Spirit, sin is forgiven, darkness illuminated, hearts uplifted, and fears banished.

Text: [Paul said to Agrippa,] “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” Acts 26:22-23

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Nothing but the Christ.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

About the Service and the School: The theme for the 2015 – 16 academic year at St. Paul Lutheran High School is Arise and Shine, taken from Isaiah 60:1. Under this theme are monthly emphases and weekly foci. Today shows Paul’s bold proclamation of Christ’s light to Jews and Gentiles. Time is at a premium for the SPLHS chapels, so I always try to make a few quick, concise Law applications both to students and to teachers and to bring the Gospel’s forgiveness and Christ’s encouragement to each.

While certainly a Lutheran educational institution, St. Paul is also a mission field. Not only does it admit academically qualified Lutherans, the school also welcomes a number of other Christians as well as non-Christians — even some atheists. A high percentage of students come from other lands, so chapel speakers must tailor their messages age-appropriately while remaining mindful of those unskilled with English, uncomfortable with Christianity, or both. Along with Americans, current and recent students include some from Slovakia, Norway, China, Madagascar, Japan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, and elsewhere.

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20 January 2016

Funeral Sermon: Forgotten and Remembered

Preached on Psalm 25
The Funeral of Hattie Mae Shelton
20 January AD 2016

Title: Forgotten and Remembered (MP3 Audio)

Sharp Mind Summary: Today, I preached the funeral of a woman who died deep in the clutches of Alzheimer’s Disease. The fear of developing such dementia makes many people nervous. Christians can be particularly concerned about themselves and their loved ones, since throughout Scripture, the Lord has called us to remember Him, His works, and His Word.

If we suffer from dementia, how will we remember our Savior when we can’t remember the names of wife, children, or even self? How will we recall and cling to His promises of salvation and eternal life when we can’t recall what we just said? When our world turns entirely into phantom memories and fractured thoughts, how will we lean upon Jesus Christ, the unshakable Rock?

It’s possible that we could forget all of the Church’s statements of faith, including the Ecumenical Creeds and the Catechisms. The day might come when we can no longer say with the Psalmist, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. (Psalm 77:11)” We might not be able to say or comprehend even the most simple confession, that “Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:11)”

However, none of the saints will be separated from the love of God in Christ Jesus because of fading memory and dulled comprehension. Faithful to us, Jesus will keep us “faithful unto death” and, remembering to call us home, He will give us each “the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)”

Thus we celebrate God’s wonderful remembrance of us. Yet His Word reveals something else just as vital — His forgetfulness: God maintains total amnesia about our sinfulness. Not only does He graciously forgive us, He also refuses to recall any transgressions in thought, word, or deed. Through Jeremiah, He said of His people, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (31:34)”

Summary excerpted and adapted from the Ask the Pastor article Remembering and Forgetting: Christians with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Dull Minded Text: To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great. Who is the man who fears the Lord? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose. His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. Psalm 25

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Forgotten and Remembered.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

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17 January 2016

Epiphany 2C Sermon: The Wedding Feast Begins

Preached on Luke 2:1-11
The Second Sunday after the Epiphany
17 January AD 2016

Title: The Wedding Feast Begins (MP3 Audio)

The Wedding at Cana Summary: Of all the signs He could have worked, Jesus chose His first to be changing water into wine at a wedding in Cana. He didn’t heal someone lame, sick, or blind. He didn’t cast out a demon. He didn’t raise someone from the dead. Instead, He prolonged a party and spared a Galilean gentleman the shame of shorting his guests’ wedding wine.

While this seems odd at first glance, it’s quite in keeping with the person and work of the Christ. In the Gospel from Advent 3, about a month ago, Jesus noted that many of His enemies had branded Him as a party animal — calling Him “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! (Luke 7:34)”

When the Pharisees would later ask Him why His disciples didn’t fast, He replied, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. (Mark 2:19)” Even as He was helping Cana’s bridegroom with the festivities, Jesus was also beginning to reveal Himself as the heavenly Bridegroom, come to cleanse and claim His bride the Church.

If you observe Jesus’ other signs and miracles, you notice various Old Testament direct prophecies and types being fulfilled. Along with the subtle reference to God’s “marriage” with His people, could Jesus have been fulfilling a specific prophecy? Perhaps this sign announced Him as Judah’ heir (cf. Genesis 49:3-12), claiming the prophesied scepter and ruling staff by making wine flow so abundantly that even most impoverished vine grower could afford to tie his donkey to his grapevines without risking ruin.

Jesus and His Mother Text: On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.

When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. John 2:1-11

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of The Wedding Feast Begins.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 128; Isaiah 62:1-5; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

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10 January 2016

Epiphany 1C Sermon: Through the Waters

Preached on Isaiah 43:1-7
The Baptism of Our Lord
The First Sunday after the Epiphany
10 January AD 2016

Title: Through the Waters (MP3 Audio)

Waves Summary: Jesus entered the baptismal flood in order to take our sins upon Himself. He continues to stand in the waters, forgiving, renewing, and restoring us. When He is with us, no deluge, no tsunami, no storm — whether actual or figurative — can sweep us away.

Likewise, the Christ endured a “baptism by fire,” suffering temptation, torture, and hellish abandonment by His own Father that He might quench hell’s blaze and keep His people safe.

Entering the Jordan, the Son declared war on sin, death, and Devil and announced Himself as our Savior. After hearing His Father call out to honor Him, Jesus began calling sinners to Himself that they might receive forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Now, no matter what floods swell in our lives, He is with us in the waters. Whatever fiery trials await us, they can never consume us, for he stands with us just as did the Fourth Man with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3).

Red Sea Crossing Text: But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

“I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

“Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:1-7

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Through the Waters.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 29; Romans 6:1-11; Luke 3:15-22

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06 January 2016

Epiphany Sermon: Wise Men, Did You Know?

Preached on Matthew 2:1-12
The Feast of the Epiphany
6 January AD 2016

Title: Wise Men, Did You Know? (MP3 Audio)

Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh Summary: A Christmas song that’s only about twenty-five years old poses a series of questions to the mother of the Christ Child. It asks, “Mary, did you know” about what this Baby will grow to become and to do?

Our text could lead us to ask the same of the Magi who visited the Holy Family sometime after Jesus’ birth: “Wise Men, did you know?” Matthew tells us that a sign in the heavens announced to them that “the King of the Jews” had been born but there was much of the story they didn’t know.

Yet they brought not only treasures fit for a king but also gifts that pointed to who this King was. Gold is truly a gift for a king while many cultures use incense in connection with their prayers. This was true of Israel, which had an incense altar in the temple.

Meanwhile, myrrh, a spice which holds great intrinsic value, was also used in preparing bodies for burial. It could be rubbed on a corpse or on the cloth with which a body was wrapped. Thus, while the Wise Men probably didn’t know many details about the Child, nor have any real idea what He would accomplish through His life and death, their treasures can illustrate Jesus’ kingship and His divinity, while pointing toward His atoning death on the cross.

I wrote of this in a hymn titled The Wise Men Traveled from Afar:

   Their incense honored Deity
   And gold was gift to royalty;
   While myrrh foreshadowed death and grave
   As sinful men He came to save.


The story of the Wise Men also shows that it is only through God’s Word that we know the King. It took the words of the prophet to lead them away from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. So it is for us. Signs in nature and feelings within are poor guides while Holy Scripture tells us in great detail who He is, what He did, and how much He loves us. We receive the treasures of heaven not because we seek and find the Christ but because He came to earth “to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10)”

Epiphany Star Text: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:1-12

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Wise Men, Did You Know?.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 72:1-11 (12-15); Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:1-12

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03 January 2016

Christmas 2 Sermon: Your Father, My Father

Preached on Luke 2:40-52
The Second Sunday after Christmas
3 January AD 2016

Title: Your Father, My Father (MP3 Audio)

Jesus in the Temple with the Teachers Summary: Mary spoke to her Son about “Your father” and Jesus mentioned “My Father” in return — yet mother and Child aren’t speaking of the same father. Although she heard God’s Word through the angel, the shepherds, the wise men, and Simeon and Anna in the Temple, Mary still looked at Jesus more with her human eyes than with the eyes of faith.

Jesus’ reply perplexed Mary and Joseph. It seemed to both agree and to disagree with Mary’s words. As He would later do in His parables, Jesus carefully crafted a response that demanded a new way of looking at things, a newer and deeper understanding. With His simple questions, Jesus gently reminded Mary why He had been born to her and Joseph why God had called him to be His earthly guardian.

We’re prone to the same error. Viewing the Christ with our preconceptions and attitudes, we attempt to form Him in our sinful image rather than the holy image of the Father who sent Him. Instead, He calls us to know Him through the eyes of faith. Jesus was constantly about the things of His Father in order to earn forgiveness for our rejection of the Father’s words and ways.

Text: And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom.

And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him.

After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.”

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?”And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them.

And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:40-52

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Christmas sermon Your Father, My Father

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 119:97-104; 1 Kings 3:4-15; Ephesians 1:3-14

Illustration: Line drawing from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas, available through Higher Things Store.

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31 December 2015

New Year’s Eve Sermon: Self-Made Sinners, God-Made Saints

Preached on Isaiah 30:15-17
The Eve of Jesus’ Name
31 December AD 2015 / The Seventh Day of Christmas

Title: Self-Made Sinners, God-Made Saints (MP3 Audio)

Holy Communion Summary: When we take stock of our thoughts, words, and deeds throughout the waning year, we may see some change, perhaps even a bit of “improvement.” Yet there is nothing we can do to improve our standing with God, our righteousness in His sight.

When the Lord makes us holy, we are completely holy. To attempt to do better than His best is to flee the gift of salvation in Christ Jesus every bit as much as are any crass sins against God or man.

Therefore, we continue returning to the rest found in His presence, pardon, and peace. In Word and Sacrament, our spirits are quieted, our faith sustained and upbuilt, and our lives remade. And receiving this blessing, we respond in faith toward Him and in fervent love toward one another.

Text: For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.

A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. Isaiah 30:15-17

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the New Year’s Eve sermon Self-Made Sinners, God-Made Saints

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 90:1-12; Romans 8b:31-39; Luke 12:35-40

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25 December 2015

Christmas Sermon: God Rest Ye Merry

Preached on Luke 2:10
The Nativity of Our Lord
25 December AD 2015

Title: God Rest Ye Merry (MP3 Audio)

Govert Flinck: Angels Sing to the Shepherds Summary: The angel’s message to the shepherds is ours also — “Good news of great joy” belongs to us and to “all the people.” As the old English carol says, God rests us merry. We who find neither true peace nor lasting joy by ourselves are given both in abundance.

When we know that this Child carried our sins to the cross, dying for us and rising on the third day, we know that God has reconciled us to Him. Our hearts are gladdened as we join in hymns and carols ancient and modern, all of them reaching into eternity to proclaim the Savior’s birth.

Text: The angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Christmas sermon God Rest Ye Merry

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 98; Isaiah 62:10-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:1-20

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13 December 2015

Advent 3C Sermon: Calling the Tune

Preached on Luke 7:18-35
Third Sunday in Advent
13 December AD 2015

Title: Calling the Tune (MP3 Audio)

Calling the Tune Summary: The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”

In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” Girl with Flute Text: The disciples of John reported all these things to him. And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to the Lord, saying, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And when the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?’”

In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

When John’s messengers had gone, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings’ courts. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

“I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

“To what then shall I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.’

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by all her children.” Luke 7:18-35

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Advent 3C sermon Calling the Tune

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 85; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7

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29 November 2015

Advent 1C Sermon: Blessing, Peace, and Glory

Preached on Luke 19:28-40
First Sunday in Advent
29 November AD 2015

Title: Blessing, Peace, and Glory (MP3 Audio)

Advent Wreath Summary: It was certainly right that Jesus’ disciples gave Him such an enthusiastic welcome as He entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Without them realizing it, their song of praise was faith’s fitting response to the angelic song at Bethlehem. Heaven’s blessing, peace, and glory came down to earth at Christmas and on Palm Sunday, it was sung back to heaven.

To this day, as we bless God, praising His glory and giving thanks for the Prince of Peace, we do so in response to God’s love come down to us. Yet unlike Jerusalem, Jesus comes to us again and again through Word and Sacrament.

Just as the disciples, so we praise the Christ because of His “mighty works” — particularly the work of salvation. He valiantly resisted temptation, obeyed the Father’s will, and suffered terribly on our behalf. He stayed faithful unto death and won for the crown of life. He left the tomb a conqueror and blesses us with the fruits of that victory.

Now we eagerly await His bodily return. He entered time through virgin’s womb and Bethlehem’s stable. He entered Jerusalem’s gates on the back of a donkey. On the Last Day, He will enter His creation accompanied by the heavenly host and will grant us the final, great, and everlasting blessing of life with Him in the New Creation.

Palm Sunday Text: And when [Jesus] had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’”

So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

And they said, “The Lord has need of it.”

And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near — already on the way down the Mount of Olives — the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”

He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” Luke 19:28-40

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Advent 1C sermon Blessing, Peace, and Glory

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 25:1-10; Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

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25 November 2015

Thanksgiving Sermon: Whatever Situation

The Eve of Thanksgiving
25 November AD 2015

Title: Whatever Situation (MP3 Audio)

Feasting Summary: The apostle makes a few points that many of us miss: We need to learn how to deal not only with loss and lack but with gain and plenty. In faith, by the Spirit’s work, Paul learned to be thankful when imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, and snake bitten. He also learned how to receive lavish and abundant gifts without hoarding, wasting, or taking them for granted.

Paul also learned — and teaches the Church — that we are forgiven no matter under what circumstances we sin. If we sin in our times of lowness, hunger, and need by complaining, despairing, or envying, God forgives us for Christ’s sake. If, in times of abundance and feasting, we sin by boasting in our good fortune, hoarding, or lack of charity, God forgives us for Christ’s sake.

Also, when we thanklessly ignore that He sends poverty and health, sickness and wealth, times of plenty and times of need, God forgives us for Christ’s sake. As we learn true contentment in every situation, we also learn true thanksgiving. We realize that everything we receive and everything that is taken away is under divine control, as God works good for all who trust in Jesus for salvation.

Bread and Water Text: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me — practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more.

I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:6-20

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Whatever Situation, preached to the saints at Grace Lutheran Church, Lexington, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 67; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Luke 17:11-19

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22 November 2015

End of the Church Year Sermon: Salvation Forever

Preached on Isaiah 51:4-6
Proper 29B/Last Sunday of the Church Year
22 November AD 2015

Title: Salvation Forever (MP3 Audio)

Isaiah 51:4 Summary: The entire Creation, this world, our own bodies — the testimony of a fallen world falling apart is constant. Only eyes blinded by sin fail to see the signs of the End Times. Sinners think they can save themselves or they fail to acknowledge responsibility to any judging God. Through Isaiah, the Lord says otherwise.

He calls to His people Israel and to other tribes and nations scattered across the face of the earth. He invites us to welcome His redemption rather than to dread His wrath. He promises life and health rather than doom and gloom to all who believe in the judgment of His arms — arms not raised to smash but rather outstretched to save.

The Lord guarantees not a temporary fix for our fallen beings but rather complete healing and everlasting salvation. His pledge is written in Holy Scripture, sealed with Christ’s blood, and offered freely to all of sinful mankind.

Isaiah 51:5 Text: “Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait.

“Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and they who dwell in it will die in like manner; but my salvation will be forever, and my righteousness will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 51:4-6

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Proper 29B sermon Salvation Forever

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 93; Jude 20-25; Mark 13:24-37

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08 November 2015

Pentecost 24 Sermon: Trustworthy Word, Trustworthy Lord

Preached on 1 Kings 17:8-16
Proper 27B/Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost
8 November AD 2015

Title: Trustworthy Word, Trustworthy Lord (MP3 Audio)

Elijah and the Widow of Zarephath Summary: Just as happened with the widow of Zarephath, God’s Word still creates trust in doubting hearts. Furthermore, when we doubt and waver, God credits us with the faithfulness of His Son who constantly and completely trusted in His Father even in the midst of suffering and death.

This trust becomes more than passively accepting the divine will. The Holy Spirit also moves believers to act on this trust, to give of themselves not only out of our riches but also—as in the case of the widow in today’s Gospel—out of our poverty and weakness.

Whether He is filling us up or emptying us out, we can have confidence that all God does, he does for our good, both in this life and to life everlasting.

Text: Then the word of the Lord came to him, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.”

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”

And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.”

And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’”

And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. 1 Kings 17:8-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the Proper 27B sermon Trustworthy Word, Trustworthy Lord

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 146; Hebrews 9:24-28; Mark 12:38-44

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01 November 2015

All Saints Day Sermon: Children of God

The Feast of All Saints
also Proper 26B/The 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
1 November AD 2015

Title: Children of God (MP3 Audio)

Mignard: The Heavenly Glory Summary: “Children of God” is more than an honorific. For those who believe in Jesus, it’s an absolute fact. There’s no way we could purchase our place with Him, neither must we earn His love. The Father claims us as His for the sake of His Son, adopting, nurturing, and sustaining us through this life into life everlasting.

Text: See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.

The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:1-3

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Children of God, preached to the saints at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Fayette, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 149; Revelation 7:(2-8) 9-17; Matthew 5:1-12

Illustration Credits: The Heavenly Glory by Pierre Mignard, a fresco in the dome of Val-de-Grâce, Paris.

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25 October 2015

Reformation Sunday Sermon: Abide

Preached on John 8:31-36
also Proper 25B/Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost
25 October AD 2015

Title: Abide (MP3 Audio)

John 8:31 Summary: Jesus freed us from sin and its consequences through suffering and death on the Cross. He delivers our release from slavery to sin and death comes His Word and through the sacraments.

The Lord doesn’t seek to grant us parole or a temporary release from our satanic chains but wants us to remain completely free. In order for us to maintain abiding freedom, Jesus tells us that we must abide in His Word.

Abiding doesn’t mean casually dipping into Scripture, occasionally communing, or once-in-a-while remembering our baptisms and confessing our sins. Abiding entails a life of total immersion, of absolute trust, and unwavering attention.

Yet because we cannot do this on our own, we also cling to Christ’s forgiveness for our failures — even our failure to always cling to Him. He never wavered in His faithful attention to His Father. The Father credits us with this same steadfast abiding for the sake of His Son.

Text: So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:31-36

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Abide, preached to the saints at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, Fayette, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 46; Revelation 14:6-7; Romans 3:19-28; alternate Gospel Matthew 11:12-19

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18 October 2015

Feast of St. Luke Sermon: Wholly Healed

Preached on Isaiah 35:5-8
The Festival of Saint Luke
18 October AD 2015

Title: Wholly Healed (MP3 Audio)

Isaiah 35:5-6 Summary: People often attempt to spiritualize the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and the message of the Gospel. They ignore, downplay, or deny the good of the original physical Creation and God’s efforts to restore and remake it through His Son.

Luke, as a physician, made special effort to show both Jesus and His followers ministering to the fullness of human needs. Of course, reconciliation with God through the forgiveness of sins takes precedence. But Christ and His Church also care for body and mind.

The miracles of healing prophesied by Isaiah and performed by our Lord and those He sent out are the first signs of the complete restoration that awaits believers in the Resurrection. All that sin damages and corrupts will be made new and we will be made whole in body, mind, and spirit and kept thus through life everlasting.

Text: Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. Isaiah 35:5-8

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of the sermon for the Feast of Saint Luke Wholly Healed

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 147:1-11; 2 Timothy 4:5-18; Luke 10:1-9

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