Happenings

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





12 April 2015

Sermon: Body of Evidence

Preached on 1 John 1:1-2:2
Easter 2B — 12 April AD 2015

Title: Body of Evidence (MP3 Audio)

Jesus and Thomas Summary: Christianity isn’t based on so-called “blind faith.” No one comes to Christ blindly. Nor is true faith built on wishful thinking.

Today’s text leads us to consider the biblical record, with eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Building on the Old Testament prophecies, it continues confessing the God who became flesh and blood whose life, death, and resurrection were witnessed by the women, Peter and John and the other apostles, the Emmaus Road disciples, Paul, and “more than five hundred brothers at one time. (1 Corinthians 15:6)”

Jesus “has risen, as he said. (Matthew 28:6)” This is the ultimate testimony that Scripture is true and our faith not in vain.

Text: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life — the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 1:1-2:2

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 Body of Evidence.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 148; Acts 4:32-35; John 20:19-31

Illustration: Public domain painting by Ludovico Mazzolino at Web Gallery of Art.

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05 April 2015

Sermon: Easter Day

The Resurrection of Our Lord
5 April AD 2015
Concluding a Lent – Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: A New Creation (MP3 Audio)

Christus Victor Summary: “In the beginning, God created....” Not long afterwards, as Satan led Adam and Eve to shatter their relationship with the Lord, the entire Creation was fractured.

Our first parents were driven out of the Garden after hearing only the most bare-bones promise that God would use the woman’s Seed to execute judgment upon the Tempter. As centuries and millennia passed, He gradually filled in some of the details, both how He would accomplish this purpose and what it would finally entail.

Isaiah gives the most complete glimpse: Not only would the power of evil be forever broken but God who had created the heavens and the earth would make them anew. This New Creation would be peopled by new creatures — redeemed sinners who trusted in His promises and thus received His blessings.

Paul tells us that already, before the End of Time, we Christians are made a new creation in Christ Jesus. Our sin-sick, festering natures are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. In Christ, we are hidden from divine judgment, for this judgment already fell on the sinless Son of God.

We await the Last Judgment with expectant hope and boundless joy, for we know that what we are now by declaration we will then be in complete nature. The One who was made sin for us made us new by water and the Word and through His Gospel and Sacraments continues renewing us until the fulness of the New Creation dawns and He returns to welcome us into our eternal home.

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   In Christ, the Second Adam,
   Creation is remade.
   Death cannot hold God’s children;
   His Son destroyed our grave.
   Though mortal cloak shall fray,
   Christ wove a new array:
   This righteous dress is giv’n
   To all He brings to heav’n.

   Unlike the old Creation,
   The New shall never wane.
   Endless, our glad ovation
   We sing the Lamb Once Slain:
   “Amen! Dear Christ be praised —
   You who from death are raised —
   With Father, gracious God,
   And Holy Ghost we laud!”

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

The Resurrection Text: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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 In the (New) Beginning: A New Creation.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 16; Isaiah 25:6-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8

Illustrations: Christus Victor from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld and the Auferstehung (Resurrection) picture from the Kupferstichpassion (Passion engravings) by Albrecht Dürer, both at Wikimedia Commons.

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04 April 2015

Sermon: The Vigil of Easter

The Resurrection of Our Lord
4 April AD 2015
Lent – Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: God Rested (MP3 Audio)

God Rested Summary: In the beginning, once He “finished his work that he had done,” God “rested on the seventh day.” On the sixth day of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, hanging from the cross, Jesus could say of His work of redemption, “It is finished.” On that following Sabbath, He, too rested “from all his work that he had done.”

The brutal battle is ended, the crushing work of saving mankind over. Jesus is now our Sabbath — our rest — any day of the week, any month, any year. Through time and into eternity, we know that we are at peace with God and free from the demands of the Law.

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   In sleep of death our Savior
   Rested in borrowed tomb;
   Disciples’ lives lost pleasure,
   Evermore grew their gloom.
   For Christ the Lord was dead;
   Their house had lost its Head.
   Doom and despair held sway
   That sorr’wing Sabbath Day.

   Forgotten in their anguish,
   God’s words from olden day:
   “My Holy One won’t languish
   In tomb to see decay.”
   Christ’s Sabbath hallowed graves
   Of those He came to save.
   From evil, woe, and harm
   He rests us in His arms.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Christ's Rest in the Tomb Text: Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. Genesis 2:1-3

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 In the (New) Beginning: God Rested.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: Genesis 1:1-2:3*; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:10-15:1; Isaiah 55:1-11; Ezekiel 36:24-28*; Deuteronomy 31:19-30*; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Job 19:20-27; Jonah 3:1-10*; Zephaniah 3:12-20*; Daniel 3:1-30*; John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8*

*Not read tonight.

Illustrations: On the Seventh Day God Rested from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons. Christ in the Tomb from Art of the Church Year by Ed Riojas available through Higher Things Store.

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03 April 2015

Sermon: Good Friday

3 April AD 2015
Lent – Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: The Fall (MP3 Audio)

Creation: The Fall Summary: In Creation’s early days, Adam and Eve listened to the Tempter, followed their own desires, and cast off the image of God. They brought divine judgment and death upon themselves and all generations to follow.

When the Lord gave them opportunity to fess up, they instead passed the buck: the man blamed His wife and His God while she blamed the serpent. God blamed them all and judged each. His harshest condemnation fell on the serpent — Satan embodied — as He promised that the woman’s Seed would one day crush the Devil’s head.

Jesus came in human flesh to undo the Devil’s damage, bringing life to those dead in their trespasses and beginning the New Creation that will supplant the Old at the end of time. He accepted the blame — not for His sins but ours — and paid the price by suffering and dying on the cross. He resisted Satan’s temptations, crushed the serpent’s head, and accepted our deaths as His own.

Christ clothes us in His own righteousness, restores the image of God, grants forgiveness instead of condemnation, and promises to raise all who believe in Him to everlasting life.

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   Christ, for the heirs of Adam,
   Knew strife and toil and pain.
   Sent forth from bliss of heaven
   He came our lives to gain.
   This Sinless One did bear
   All of our grief and care.
   To sin He would not yield
   And by His wounds we’re healed.

   Forsaken by His Father
   He hung upon the tree,
   That He might crush the
   Tempter And set Creation free.
   Through garden’s bitter cries
   And crucifixion’s sighs
   He fought His Valiant fight
   To give dead sinners life.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”

The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring [Seed]; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Genesis 3:1-21

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 In the (New) Beginning: The Fall.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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 22 or Psalm 31; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16, 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42 or John 19:17-30

Illustration: The Temptation and Fall of Adam and Eve from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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02 April 2015

Sermon: Holy Thursday B

Maundy Thursday 2 April AD 2015
Lent – Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: The Image of God (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Six Summary: God waited until the end of Creation’s days to make Man as the highest and best expression of His creative genius. Unfortunately, His creatures waited hardly any time at all to rebel against Him in whose image they were made.

Since we could not undo the horrible curse upon sin, God made Himself in our image, taking on human flesh in the person of His sinless Son. He righted Adam’s wrong and paid for the sins of our first parents and all their heirs by dying on our behalf.

He who is the creating Word of God spoke the recreating words of forgiveness, announcing from the cross, “It is finished.” He who shared our lifeblood gave His life-giving blood to us who were dead in our trespasses.

God in Christ took on the image of Man and by His suffering and death now restores to Man the image of God. As Paul tells us, ‘“The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)”

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   Adam, in God’s own image,
   Was formed of earthen clay.
   Satan him soon did damage,
   Defeat, destroy, dismay.
   With Eve, his wife, he fell
   Straight into sin, death, hell.
   Yet God, through Eve’s own Seed,
   Avowed He’d meet their need.

   Christ came — the Second Adam —
   Belovèd, perfect One.
   Image of God from heaven
   And mankind’s greatest Son:
   Likeness divine restored
   To us forevermore.
   As we in Him believe,
   God’s image now receive.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds — livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:24-31

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 In the (New) Beginning: The Image of God.

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 116:12-19; Exodus 24:3-11; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26

Illustration: The Sixth Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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29 March 2015

Sermon: Palm Sunday B (John 12)

29 March AD 2015
The Sunday of the Passion

Title: Unlikely Glory (MP3 Audio)

Palm Sunday Summary: Glory is something that many crave but few earn. Most lack the ability or the endurance necessary to bring even earthly glory to themselves. Even those who achieve it rarely hold it long and only a handful attain anything that lasts beyond their own days.

The vast majority of us either seek to gain cheap substitutes or else attempt to share in the accolades of those who actually excel. Much of our allegiance to various athletes and entertainers stems from settling for reflected glory earned by those with actual accomplishments.

In Jesus’ case, even those closest to Him had no idea what true and lasting glory was all about. Even with the prophecies of Isaiah, David, and others, they were clueless as to how the Christ would enter into His own glory.

Similarly, few had — or have — any idea how they receive glory from Him.. All too many think that they can either earn a share of Christ’s glory or at least come close enough to Him in order to reflect His glorious light.

Sinful eyes see Palm Sunday as Jesus’ day of greatest glory while the Father sees Good Friday. There, the Son completely set aside His own glory, fulfilling His rôle as the prophesied Suffering Servant. In response, the Father glorified Him, setting Him once again above all Creation. In turn, Jesus glorifies all who trust in His salvation and cling to Him with simple, humble faith.

Sunday of the Passion Text: Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

So the crowd answered him, “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains forever. How can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”

So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.”

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12:20-43)

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 Unlikely Glory.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media 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: John 12:12-19 (Palm Sunday Procession); Psalm 118:19-29 or Psalm 31:9-16; Zechariah 9:9-12; Philippians 2:5-11; Mark 14:1-15:47 or Mark 15:1-47 (Optional Gospel readings)

See Aardvark Alley for more on Palm Sunday.

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

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25 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 5 Midweek

25 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Sea Creatures and Birds (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Five Summary: We use the expression “neither fish nor fowl” to refer to something difficult to categorize. However, on the Fifth Day of Creation, God creates real birds and sea creatures. During Jesus’ years on earth, fish and fowl played both literal and figurative parts in His work of salvation.

His parents offered the sacrifice of a pair of birds during His presentation at the temple. He told fishermen how to fish and then called them away from their nets. He described His love for Jerusalem as that of a hen for its chicks. He fed huge crowds with a handful of fish. He appropriated the Sign of Jonah as a foreshadowing of His death and resurrection.

Just as does the rest of Creation, so the creatures of Day Five glorify the Lord, serving His purposes of preservation and salvation and and acting as His instruments to usher in the New Creation..

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   On eagle’s wings descending
   God moves to save His own.
   In might and pow’r unending
   He lifts us by His Son—
   Gathers us for our good
   As does a hen her brood;
   He knows each bird that falls;
   He meets the needs of all.

   Fishermen called by their Lord
   New life would soon begin;
   Left boat and net at Christ’s word:
   “Henceforth will you catch men.”
   They heard how Jonah’s sign,
   Following God’s design,
   Foretold the Savior’s doom,
   Foreshadowed conquered tomb.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.”

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”

And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. Genesis 1:20-23

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 In the (New) Beginning: Sea Creatures and Birds.

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 84 (antiphon Job 12:7-8); Isaiah 40:28-31; Matthew 12:38-41

Illustration: The Fifth Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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22 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 5B (Gospel)

22 March AD 2015
The Fifth Sunday in Lent

Title: Served by the Lord (MP3 Audio)

Riojas: Mark 10:32-45 Summary: Self-centered, self-righteous, and self-serving — that pretty much sums up the sinner. James and John carried that attitude to Jesus as they asked to be seated on either side of Him as He entered glory.

Jesus, however, came to serve. He set aside His rightful place at His Father’s right hand in order to become the prophesied Suffering Servant. No one deserves a place at His side, neither is it earned. Instead, it’s a gift granted to believers in His saving work.

Text: [And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.

And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”]

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.”

And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.”

Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”

And they said to him, “We are able.”

And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: (32-34) 35-45

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 Served by the 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 119:9-16; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 5:1-10

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

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18 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 4 Midweek

18 March AD 2015
A Lent — Easter Series on Christ and Creation

Title: In the (New) Beginning: Sun, Moon, and Stars (MP3 Audio)

Creation: Day Four Summary: Light, navigation, and keeping track of time — we’ve certainly found plenty of use for sun, moon, and stars. Sun and moon lift and lower the tides. And aside from all practical concerns, we enjoy the stars at night, the full moon, dawn and dusk, or sunrise and sunset for their sheer beauty.

We should expect this, for Scripture says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Psalm 19:1)” Yet nothing proclaims His glory like His crucified and risen Son — and God used the heavens to prophesy and to proclaim the Christ.

Old Testament prophecy concludes with the promise of the coming “sun of righteousness” bringing “healing in its wings. (Malachi 4:2)” The Lord used a special star to lead the wise men to the Savior (Matthew 2:1-12). Jesus prophesied concerning the End Times in terms of the heavens and Scripture concludes with His declaration that He is “the bright morning star (Revelation 22:16)” heralding the dawn of eternity.

The heavens, by themselves, cannot reveal the source of our salvation but God uses these lights to point those with willing hearts to His Son Jesus, “the life” who is truly “the light of men. (John 1:4)”

Hymn: During Lenten midweek services, through Holy Week, the Vigil, and Easter morning, we will be singing With God in the Beginning as Office Hymn or Hymn of the Day. Each time we will sing two stanzas focusing on the Christology of that day’s sermon text from Genesis. The tune I chose is Auf, auf, mein Herz, known among many English-speaking Christians as the Easter hymn Awake, My Heart, with Gladness.

   He who caused stars to brighten
   The farthest evening sky
   By them the wise enlightened,
   Announced the King was nigh.
   E’en in the darkest night
   Their glory, shining bright,
   Lights praises near and far
   To Christ the Morning Star.

   The promise of the sunrise
   Gives flight to earthly gloom
   Just as that darkened Friday
   Gave way to conquered tomb.
   The Sun of Righteousness
   In joy shines bright to bless;
   He rises over grave
   Eternally to save.

      ©2003, 2015 Walter P. Snyder

Text: And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.”

And it was so. And God made the two great lights — the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night — and the stars. And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. Genesis 1:14-19

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 In the (New) Beginning: Sun, Moon, and Stars.

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 104:1-2, 19-23, 31-35a (antiphon Psalm 148:3); Malachi 4; Matthew 17:1-9

Illustration: The Fourth Day of Creation from Die Bibel in Bildern by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld at Wikimedia Commons.

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15 March 2015

Sermon: Lent 4B (OT)

15 March AD 2015
The Fourth Sunday in Lent

Title: Look and Live (MP3 Audio)

Pellegrini: The Brazen Serpent Summary: Because the Israelites took their eyes off of Him, they couldn’t see the gifts that the Lord was giving them. Like spoiled children whining, “There’s nothing to wear; there’s nothing to eat,” as they stand before full closets and overflowing refrigerators, so Israel/ complained bitterly. In response, God judged their faithless insolence swiftly and severely.

If not for Moses raising the bronze serpent in their camp, the nation could have utterly perished in the wilderness.

If not for Jesus Christ being lifted up, we certainly would die eternally for our sinful self-centeredness. We look to Him to receive new life through His death on the cross just as His forefathers looked to the serpent for life after being bitten.

Cranach the Younger: Weimar Altarpiece Text: From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.”

So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live. Numbers 21:4-9

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 Look and Live.

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 107:1-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

Illustrations: Illustrations public domain from Web Gallery of Art.

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