“Sharing in Your Father’s Character” (Luke 6:27-38)

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany
February 20, 2022

“Sharing in Your Father’s Character” (Luke 6:27-38)

Listen to the things Jesus tells us to do today: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.”

Sounds like a tall order! Are you up to it? Well, I’m going to say yes! Why? Because you, dear Christian, you share in your Father’s character.

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Published in: on February 18, 2022 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Plain Speaking: Blessings and Woes” (Luke 6:17-26)

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 13, 2022

“Plain Speaking: Blessings and Woes” (Luke 6:17-26)

Our text today, from Luke chapter 6, begins with these words: “And he came down with them and stood on a level place.” Who is the “he,” who is the “them,” and where is he coming down from? The “he” is Jesus, the “them” are his twelve disciples, and where Jesus is coming down from is a mountain. He had been up on that mountain all night, praying. In the morning, he came down and gathered together the twelve, along with a whole bunch of his other followers. Having come down from the mountain, he now stood on a level place, a plain, and began to teach this large group of disciples. The teachings that follow in Luke are very similar to those known as “the Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew. But because on this occasion Jesus is standing on a level place, the teachings here in Luke are known as “the Sermon on the Plain.”

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Published in: on February 12, 2022 at 10:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Catching Men Alive” (Luke 5:1-11)

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 6, 2022

“Catching Men Alive” (Luke 5:1-11)

Last week we saw Jesus’ authoritative word in action: proclaiming good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to the captives, setting at liberty those who are oppressed. We saw his authority in doctrine, his authority over demons, his authority over disease and death. This week we see Jesus’ authoritative word in action again, this time persuading fishermen, catching fish, and using the witness of sinners to be “Catching Men Alive.”

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Published in: on February 5, 2022 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority” (Luke 4:31-44)

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany
January 30, 2022

“Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority” (Luke 4:31-44)

In last week’s Gospel, from the first half of Luke chapter 4, we heard Jesus say what he was anointed and sent to do. He quoted these words from the book of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Now in this week’s Gospel, from the second half of Luke chapter 4, we see Jesus do those things he said he was sent to do. He puts his words into action. If Jesus says he’s going to do something, he will do it. You can count on it. Jesus does what he says.

Jesus said he would proclaim good news to the poor. Today we see him doing that. Jesus said he would proclaim liberty to the captives. Today we see him doing that. Jesus said he would set at liberty those who are oppressed. Today we see him doing these things. He is faithful to his promises. Jesus’ words are trustworthy and true.

And his words are powerful and effective. They do what they say. His words are not mere empty syllables. No, Jesus’ word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. His word is powerful. It is effective. His word called creation into existence. He, the Son of God, upholds the universe by the word of his power. When Jesus speaks, things happen. His words bestow the very gifts he offers. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” And so our theme today: “Jesus’ Word Possesses Authority.”

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Published in: on January 28, 2022 at 2:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do” (Luke 4:16-30)

Third Sunday after the Epiphany
January 23, 2022

“What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do” (Luke 4:16-30)

Here’s a question: What did Jesus come to do? Today Jesus himself tells us. He’s at church, and he stands up to read the Old Testament Reading–well, actually, they were all Old Testament readings at that point. He reads it, and then he says, “This is about me.” Boom! Mic drop. Jesus’ ministry, described in a few short lines. Oh, and you’re included in this text. So listen now, as we hear “What Jesus Has Been Anointed and Sent to Do.”

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Published in: on January 22, 2022 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
January 16, 2022

“The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding” (John 2:1-11)

“This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory.” It was a sign. The thing about a sign is, you need to be able to read it and know what it means. A sign points to something beyond itself. So, what does this sign point to? What does it tell us? Let’s find out now, about “The Sign of the Water into Wine at the Wedding.”

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Published in: on January 15, 2022 at 9:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods” (Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 3:15-22)

The Epiphany of Our Lord/ The Baptism of Our Lord
Sunday, January 9, 2022

“Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods” (Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 3:15-22)

Every year, the Epiphany of Our Lord always falls on January 6, which was this past Thursday. The Gospel reading for Epiphany is the visit of the wise men, from Matthew 2. On the first Sunday after the Epiphany, which is today, we always observe the Baptism of Our Lord. And this year the Gospel reading is the account from Luke. This past Thursday, we had to cancel our Epiphany service. So now today, I decided to combine the readings for the two services, the Epiphany of Our Lord and the Baptism of Our Lord, into one message around a common theme: “Epiphany, Baptism, and a Tale of Two Herods.”

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Published in: on January 7, 2022 at 10:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection” (Matthew 2:1-12)

The Epiphany of Our Lord
Thursday, January 6, 2022

“The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection” (Matthew 2:1-12)

It’s January 6. A group of visitors travel to the nation’s capital. They are there to raise questions about who the nation’s real leader is. This does not sit well with some in positions of power. They consider people raising such questions in a bad light. They think of those who challenge their authority as “insurrectionists” who need to be put down.

No, I’m not talking about what happened on January 6 one year ago today. That was when a group of protestors went to Washington, D.C., to raise questions about who really won the election. And for the majority of people who were there, it truly was a peaceful protest. But a few malcontents did misbehave and got arrested, and since then, the people in power have used that occasion to put anyone who raises such questions in a bad light. They are eager to use the label, “The January 6 Insurrection.” “Insurrection” is a scarier word than “protest,” or even “riot,” and that’s why they use it.

But that’s not the January 6 insurrection I’m talking about. No, I’m talking about the Epiphany of Our Lord. Epiphany always falls on January 6 every year, right after the twelve days of Christmas. And it is sort of an insurrection, in a way. Epiphany does challenge the power of the rulers of this world. Epiphany does tell us who the real king is. And so our theme for this day, “The January 6 Epiphany Insurrection.”

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Published in: on January 5, 2022 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Christ’s Transfiguration and Our Hope of Glory” (Mark 9:2-9)

The Transfiguration of Our Lord
Sunday, February 14, 2021

“Christ’s Transfiguration and Our Hope of Glory” (Mark 9:2-9)

O wondrous type! O vision fair
Of glory that the Church may share,
Which Christ upon the mountain shows,
Where brighter than the sun He glows!

So we just sang, and so we will now hear, under the theme, “Christ’s Transfiguration and Our Hope of Glory.”

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Published in: on February 13, 2021 at 10:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Jesus Vaccine” (Mark 1:29-39)

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany
February 7, 2021

“The Jesus Vaccine” (Mark 1:29-39)

Have you gotten the vaccine yet? That’s a question that’s been going “viral” lately (yes, pun intended). Have you gotten the vaccine? Everybody’s talking about that, because the vaccine is supposed to protect you from the virus–the Coronavirus, Covid-19. And so, people are lining up at the various vaccination sites in order to get the shot–or two shots, as the case may be. There are a couple of different vaccines available. The two I’ve heard about are the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer. And so far, the results sound encouraging. The numbers I heard Friday are these: The Moderna vaccine is currently posting a 94.1% efficacy rate and the Pfizer vaccine is showing an efficacy rate of more than 90%.

But, dear friends, those results are not nearly good enough. Because that still means that anywhere from six to ten percent of people who get the shot get the virus anyway. And if the Coronavirus doesn’t get you, something else will. So far, I have not heard of any vaccine that can prevent you from succumbing to something. As a famous surgeon general once said, “We all will probably die with something sooner or later.”

Well, actually, let me take that back. I do know of something that can and will prevent you from dying. And I’m here today to tell you about it. It’s called “The Jesus Vaccine.” The Jesus vaccine. It’s not 90% effective. It’s not 94.1% effective. No, the Jesus vaccine is 100% effective, and against all causes of death, Coronavirus included.

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Published in: on February 6, 2021 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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