Happenings

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





23 October 2016

Trinity 22 Sermon: The Cup of Salvation

Preached on Psalm 116:12-19 and Matthew 18:35
The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity
23 October AD 2016

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of The Cup of Salvation.

Gill: Crucifix, Chalice & Host Summary: At the close of today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us of the consequences of not heartily forgiving those who sin against us. There’s no limit on how often: God calls us to forgive as we have been forgiven or risk forfeiting the forgiveness that is ours in Christ.

How, then, do we dare “lift up the cup of salvation”? What gives us the right to assemble “in the presence of all His people”? To do so in the “courts of the house of the Lord”?

We dare because Christ dared drink His cup of suffering and death. He drained the bitter dregs and refilled it with heaven’s most precious wine, His own blood shed for us. His cup, our salvation. In it comes full remission of our own sins.

On the cross, Jesus forgave the very people who were torturing Him to death. And not only them, He forgave everyone for whose sins He was dying—including us. As we truly grasp exactly how much He forgave, His spirit then leads us to respond by forgiving others.

Each of us stands as indebted as the servant who owed ten thousand talents, and when we realize this, the size of the debts owed to us by others appear tiny by comparison. Just as we owe God no restitution, so none of our debtors owes us.

Freed from the burdens of either paying (to God) or collecting (from others) any debts, we joyfully seek out His presence and the company of our fellow redeemed. We celebrate this freedom as we lift the cup of Christ's salvation in Christ’s Church among Christ’s people.

Italian Glass Chalice Texts: What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.

Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

O Lord, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.

I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem.

Praise the Lord! Psalm 116:12-19

[Jesus said,] “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.” Matthew 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 Cup of Salvation

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: Micah 6:6-8; Philippians 1:3-11; Matthew 18:21-35

Illustrations: Unknown Italian Master; Chalice (c. 1550); Web Gallery of Art. Eric Gill; Crucifix, Chalice & Host (1915); © Tate 1979, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).

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09 October 2016

Pentecost 21 Sermon: Unbent, Unbroken, Unbounded Love

Preached on Ruth 1:1-20
The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 23C
9 October AD 2016

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Unbent, Unbroken, Unbounded Love.

Ruth 1:16-17 Summary: Aliens. Strangers. Foreigners. Outcasts. In the minds of most Israelites, Moabites were all of these and more. Israel’s cousins were familial fallout, along with the Ammonites heirs of the incest of Lot and his daughters. Worse, instead of welcoming their kin home hundreds of years later, Moab hired Balaam to curse the God’s people as Israel journeyed to the Promised Land.

In response to their treachery, the Lord cursed Moab, pronouncing them unable to rejoin full worship fellowship with their family. Even if they married into Israel and lived in their midst, their men were barred from the tabernacle “even to the tenth generation. (Deuteronomy 23:3; see also vv. 4-8)”

Yet the Lord loved these outcasts and wanted them back as His own. And when an Israelite widow and her Moabite daughter-in-law found themselves impoverished and alone, He acted. Through the love shared by Ruth and Naomi — a love flowing from His own boundless mercy and grace — He received rejected Moab into His chosen people. Ruth of Moab found herself fully accepted into the clan of Ephrathah of the tribe of Judah.

More than merely showing that He cared even for oft-despised Gentiles, the Lord included Moab in the line of the coming Davidic kingship and thus into the earthly family of the coming Savior. An heir to Adam’s rebellion, Lot’s incest, Jacob’s deceit, David’s adultery and murder — Jesus was the righteous fruit who grew from a dead and decaying family tree. He not only claimed kinship with them but He also claimed their sins as His own and took them to the cross.

However, as the Lord said of His promised Son, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)” Therefore, Jesus claimed the sins of all people throughout all time — even yours and mine. We, the once-rejected, join all of the rescued, ransomed, redeemed, and restored people of God in rejoicing forevermore.

Jesus' Family Tree Text: In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah.

They went into the country of Moab and remained there. But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.

But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.

And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”

But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”

Then they lifted up their voices and wept again.

And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?”

She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1:1-20

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 Unbent, Unbroken, Unbounded Love

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 111; 2 Timothy 2:1-13; Luke 17:11-19

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Pentecost 21 Sermon: The Saving Hand of the Lord

Preached on Luke 17:11-19
The Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost — Proper 23C
9 October AD 2016

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of The Saving Hand of the Lord.

Luke 17:13 Summary: We cannot say with certainty that miracles of healing or heavenly protection from severe injury or death do not still occur — but we don’t seem to see much evidence. Lepers aren’t regularly sent to show themselves healed to the priests. Paralytics aren’t everywhere springing up, dancing for joy at their sudden healing.

A hymn tells us that, “in days of old,” the hand of the Lord was “strong to heal and save.” Scripture is replete with examples, including today’s Gospel, of miracles of deliverance and healing. The first stanza reminds us:

   Your hand, O Lord, in days of old
   Was strong to heal and save;
   It triumphed over ills and death,
   O’er darkness and the grave.
   To You they came, the blind, the mute,
   The palsied and the lame,
   The lepers in their misery,
   The sick with fevered frame.


But what about today? What has God done for us recently?

We easily forget the “everyday miracles” effected by our divinely created bodies as bones knit or as wounds close and heal. We tend to downplay advances in medical science and the amazing skills and training of those in the healing arts — even though these are also gifts from God.

Above all, we ignore the most splendid exercise of the Lord’s hand saving hand. In effecting our salvation, it is every bit as active as it was in Bible times. The hand of the Lord continues to forgive sinners, find the lost sheep, and shepherd His flock to the green pastures of eternal life. The healing hand of the Lord against sin’s cancerous sickness is evidenced as His pastors baptize, absolve, and commune. We see His loving hand in action as Christians reach out to comfort the hurting, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and otherwise love their neighbors as themselves.

Luke 17:17 Text: On the way to Jerusalem [Jesus] was passing along between Samaria and Galilee.

And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”

When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

And as they went they were cleansed.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.

Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19

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 The Saving Hand of the Lord

Hymn Text: “Your Hand, O Lord, in Days of Old” is public domain. Stanza One quoted from Lutheran Service Book

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 111; Ruth 1:1-19a; 2 Timothy 2:1-13

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