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

28 January 2009

Jeopardizing My Evening

Wish me well. I’m registered to take the Jeopardy! online test at 2000 CST.

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Homily: Grade School Chapel

MP3 Audio of the Chapel Homily for 28 January AD 2009

Preached to the Pre-K through 8th Grade students and the faculty of St. Paul’s Lutheran School, Concordia, Missouri.

Nathan and DavidText: To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51

Theme: A Clean Heart and a Right Spirit

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25 January 2009

There She Is ... Miss (LCMS) America

Congratulations, Katie

Katie Stam, the newest Miss America is a Lutheran. Not only that, but an LCMS Lutheran. Furthermore, she’s the daughter of a church worker. Her mother, Tracy Stam, teaches 5th grade at Immanuel Lutheran School, Seymour, Indiana. During the talent segment, she sang Via Dolorosa, a song confessing Jesus Christ, His death, and His cleansing blood.

Katie received her crown and earned her prizes, including a $50,000 scholarship, on Saturday. After several days of competition in Las Vegas, retiring 2008 Miss America Kirsten Haglund crowned Katie at the conclusion of the TLC broadcast on Saturday night 24 January. There remains a further Lutheran connection: Haglund is a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church, a body that grew out of Swedish Lutheranism, Pietism, and the theology of the Great Awakening.

Anyhow, the news is especially interesting in our household since the Snyder part of my family hails from that part of Indiana. Great-grandpa George Schneider pulled a G. T. T., Americanizing our name along the way. (The jury remains out as to whether or not the change possibly related to the relocation of some of his Indiana neighbors’ cattle.) I don’t have the family tree in front of me, but I know that I’m kin to many of the Schneider, Peters — originally Peterschlingmann(!) — and related households in Vallonia, Brownstown, Seymour, and the rest of Jackson County.

By the way, if Seymour sounds familiar, that might be because John Mellencamp hails from there. He also grew up Lutheran but I have no idea if he remains part of the church. Maybe he can put together a little ditty about Katie and her crown from the front porch of his little pink house. Meanwhile, someone needs to amend The Lutherans Song, adding 2009 to “’89 and 1992’s Miss America.”

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Sermon: Epiphany 3

MP3 Audio of the Sermon for 25 January AD 2009

Fishers of MenSermon Text: Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Mark 1:14-20

Sermon Theme: Immediately!

Other Readings: Psalm 62; Jonah 3:1-5, 10; 1 Corinthians 7:29-35

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24 January 2009

Like a Cow Staring at a New Gate ...

... or an Emeritus Professor at a Statue of Saint Paul*

The Word Becoming FleshAs part of its Day of Reflection, Saint Paul Lutheran High School, Concordia, Missouri honored the Reverend Doctor Horace Hummel, a 1945 graduate of St. Paul’s College, with its Apostle Paul Award. This award was bestowed in honor of Dr. Hummel’s years of distinguished service to the Church. Hummel preached and taught in a number of places and spent two decades as a professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis. He wrote a number of scholarly works, including an excellent introduction to the Old Testament, The Word Becoming Flesh.

Dr. Hummel intimidated many students but those who persisted in their studies under him saw great reward in their understanding of the Hebrew language and the theology and structure of the Old Testament. I must admit that after hearing “horror stories” about his expectations for his students, I hoped to avoid him.

However, the sem’s alphabetical lottery put me in the last group to register for my first OT class and Dr. Hummel was the only prof with openings for my requisite course. After finishing that initial quarter under him, I was in the first group to register for the next term and could choose my teacher. By that time, HH had me hooked and I chose him as my first option. Today, I had opportunity to talk with him as a beloved colleague and then to join those assembled at the evening’s banquet in a standing ovation for this scholar and teacher par excellence. Of course, our thanks also went out to his wife Ruth for her support of her husband through the years.

After our eating and drinking, SPLHS Headmaster Paul Mehl introduced Doctor Hummel, who approached the microphone to respond to his introduction and reflect upon his years as a theologian:

Dr. Hummel

He soon warmed to the task and began punctuating his unique verbal delivery with classic gestures:

Dr. Hummel

Finally, he received a statue of Saint Paul from Pastor Mehl as a physical token of the Church’s gratitude:

Paul Mehl and Horace Hummel

The Day of Reflection is held on or close to the commemoration of the Conversion of Saint Paul (25 January). This year’s opening service was led by the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Schurb of Zion Lutheran, Moberly, Missouri. Following the day’s theme “Educating for Vocation,” the morning presenter was Pastor Brent Kuhlman of Murdock, Nebraska and the afternoon session was led by Pastor Mark Sell of Friends of Mercy. Jim Dahlke, pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Ernestville, Missouri and SPLHS religion instructor, conducted the closing service.

*For those unfamiliar with Dr. Hummel, he fully appropriated and frequently cited this remark attributed to Martin Luther. You could almost guarantee that it would pop up at least once in any course he taught. And since he grew up in Nebraska farm country, you can bet that HH knew whereof he spoke and always used it in context.

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18 January 2009

Sermon: Epiphany 2

MP3 Audio of the Sermon for 18 January AD 2009

Note: Day also observed as Life Sunday.

Jesus and BabySermon Text: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psalm 139:13-16

Sermon Theme: Made by God, Known by God

Other Readings: Psalm 139:1-10; 1 Samuel 3:1-20; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51

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11 January 2009

Sermon: The Baptism of Our Lord

MP3 Audio of the Sermon for 11 January AD 2009

BaptismSermon Text: John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Mark 1:4-11

Sermon Theme: Baptized to Baptize

Other Readings: Psalm 29; Genesis 1:1-5; Romans 6:1-11

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04 January 2009

Epiphany Hymn

MagiI wrote this hymn a few years ago and am reposting it for anyone who might like to use in in a worship setting or for private devotions. I cannot imagine many circumstances where I wouldn’t grant permission for its use as long as the copyright information and authorship are noted and the lyrics remain unchanged.

The Wise Men Traveled works with several other L M (Long Meter) tunes. However, I wrote it with this particular melody in mind. The only downside is that When Christ’s Appearing Was Made Known, an Epiphany hymn in Lutheran Worship, uses the same music. Other hymns in various hymnals, including On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist’s Cry, are also set to Puer Nobis.

The Wise Men Traveled from Afar
Text by Walter P. Snyder, 1957–
St. Matthew 2:1–12
Suggested tune: Puer Nobis Nas­ci­tur

  1. The Wise Men traveled from afar
    To worship Him who, by a star,
    Was shown to be the Royal Son —
    King David’s Heir, Anointed One.

  2. A Child they found in Bethlehem,
    By Holy Ghost conceived, yet man:
    The Father’s Son in flesh and blood
    Was fully man and fully God.

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

  4. Yet tomb was not His final end;
    He rose — our Wisdom, Savior, Friend.
    The Morning Star still beams His light
    And scatters Satan’s gloomy night.

  5. Salvation, pardon, life, and health —
    Richness beyond all earthly wealth —
    Through Word and water, body, blood,
    Christ gives these gifts of highest good.

  6. To God the Father and the Son,
    With Holy Ghost forever One,
    Be honor, glory, hymns of praise
    By men and angels ever raised.
— W. P. Snyder © 2004
May not be used or reproduced without permission

I previously wrote several articles concerning the young Christ Child’s distinguished visitors. If interested, please see Unbiblical Christmas Carols, Jesus and the Wise Men, and Names of the Magi.

The Wise Men Traveled from Afar is also posted at Ask the Pastor.

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Sermon: Christmas 2

MP3 Audio of the Sermon for 4 January AD 2009

Jesus in the TempleSermon 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

Sermon Theme: Right Place, Right Time

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

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01 January 2009

Sermon: The Circumcision (Gospel)

MP3 Audio of the Sermon for 1 January AD 2009

New Year's DaySermon Text: And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21

Sermon Theme: Claimed and Named

Other Readings: Psalm 8; Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 3:23-29

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