“Rivers of Living Water” (John 7:37-39)

The Day of Pentecost
Sunday, May 28, 2023

“Rivers of Living Water” (John 7:37-39)

Last weekend Susan and I went to Excelsior Springs, Missouri, to attend the wedding of Pastor and Mrs. Paul Flo. Excelsior Springs got its name and its fame long ago from the springs of water located there–healthful, healing waters, with restorative powers, it was said. Well, it so happened that when we went out there on that Friday, I wasn’t feeling so well. But when we returned on Sunday evening, I came back . . . with a bad case of acute bronchitis. I guess the healing waters of Excelsior Springs didn’t do me much good. By the way, I went to the doctor Monday morning, and now I’m doing much better.

Now while the springs of healing water in western Missouri may not cure what ails you, I know some waters that will. And these healing waters are flowing right here, right now. Because today our Lord Jesus Christ invites you to come to him, and he will give you “Rivers of Living Water.”


Published in: on May 26, 2023 at 11:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Thus It Is Written, Thus You Shall Preach” (Luke 24:44-53)

The Ascension of Our Lord
Thursday, May 18, 2023

“Thus It Is Written, Thus You Shall Preach” (Luke 24:44-53)

During the forty days from Christ’s resurrection to his ascension, our Lord met with his disciples on a number of occasions. Jesus was preparing these disciples to be his apostles, his sent-out ones, who would preach and teach and begin to carry out the church’s worldwide mission. So he needed to instruct them, to make it clear to them what their mission would be. And that’s what we find going on in the reading today from Luke 24. Jesus makes clear what the content of their preaching and teaching will be, and he tells them how to deliver that message to people and apply it to their lives. And so our theme today, Jesus saying to the disciples and to us, the church: “Thus It Is Written, Thus You Shall Preach.”


Published in: on May 18, 2023 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“I Perceive That You Are Not Very Religious” (Acts 17:16-31)

Sixth Sunday of Easter
May 14, 2023

“I Perceive That You Are Not Very Religious” (Acts 17:16-31)

In our reading from the Book of Acts, Paul is in Athens, at the Areopagus, and he begins his address there by saying, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious.” Now I wonder how Paul might begin a speech here, if he came to America in our day. He might just say, “I Perceive That You Are Not Very Religious.”


Published in: on May 12, 2023 at 9:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Our Identity as Church: Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:2-10)

Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 7, 2023

“Our Identity as Church: Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood” (1 Peter 2:2-10)

There’s a lot of talk about “identity” these days. How do you “identify”? What do you identify as? A guy may be born as a male, but now he decides that he identifies as a woman. It doesn’t matter what the reality is, because that’s how he identifies. Whoops, I should watch my pronouns: If that’s how “she” identifies, then that’s who “she” is. And you have no right to say any different.

Identity. How do you self-identify? How do you see yourself? “I’m an American!” “I’m a Cardinals fan!” Oh, I’m sorry. . . . I’m a husband, wife, parent, grandparent, butcher, baker, or candlemaker. And those all may be true. But all of those are individual identities. They all start with “I.”

But what about something larger? Do you and I–do we, together–have a collective identity? Yes, we do! Today I want you to think not just about your “me” identity but more so about our “we” identity: who we are together, who we are as church. And in our Epistle today, St. Peter tells us who we are. He says, “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” And so our theme this morning: “Our Identity as Church: Living Stones and a Holy Priesthood.”


Published in: on May 6, 2023 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“The Sheep Hear the Shepherd’s Voice” (John 10:1-10)

Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 30, 2023

“The Sheep Hear the Shepherd’s Voice” (John 10:1-10)

Today is the day in the church year we call “Good Shepherd Sunday.” Every year on this day we get a reading from John 10, the chapter where Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” Every year we hear Jesus talking about the relationship of the shepherd and his sheep. And so today Jesus says: “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

Dear friends, my fellow sheep, it is vitally important–it is a matter of life or death–that we hear and know and follow the voice of our shepherd. For there are other voices out there that would lead us astray, lead us into grave spiritual danger, if we were to follow them. Thus our theme this morning: “The Sheep Hear the Shepherd’s Voice.”


Published in: on April 28, 2023 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“On the Road and at the Table with Jesus” (Luke 24:13-35)

Third Sunday of Easter
April 23, 2023

“On the Road and at the Table with Jesus” (Luke 24:13-35)

The painting I’m holding in front of you–and you can see it on your bulletin insert–is called, in German, “Gang nach Emmaus,” or in English, “The Road to Emmaus.” It’s by a 19th-century Swiss artist, Robert Zünd. And it’s one of my favorite paintings. Imagine putting yourself into this picture and getting to walk alongside Jesus as he opens up the Scriptures! And then when you get to Emmaus, to be right there at the table with Jesus! What a day! What an experience! “On the Road and at the Table with Jesus!”


Published in: on April 22, 2023 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Quasimodogeniti: Like Newborn Infants” (1 Peter 1:3-9; 2:2-3)

Second Sunday of Easter
April 16, 2023

“Quasimodogeniti: Like Newborn Infants” (1 Peter 1:3-9; 2:2-3)

Today is the Second Sunday in the Easter season, which means it’s the first Sunday after Easter itself. Like many of the Sundays in the church year, this one has an old and traditional title. The name of this Sunday, in Latin, is Quasimodogeniti. Sounds like the character Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” doesn’t it? That’s because Quasimodo was named after the day he was adopted as a baby, Quasimodogeniti.

The word, Quasimodogeniti, is actually several words strung together: Quasi, meaning, “like” or “as”; modo, meaning, “just now”; and geniti, “those having been born.” Quasimodogeniti, “like those just now having been born.” These are the opening words of the traditional Introit for this Sunday, Quasimodogeniti infantes, “Like newborn infants.”


Published in: on April 15, 2023 at 10:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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“Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!” (Matthew 28:1-10)

The Resurrection of Our Lord: Easter Day
Sunday, April 9, 2023

“Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!” (Matthew 28:1-10)

“Alleluia! Christ is risen!” (“He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”)

“He is risen indeed!” Why such a joyful response? Because of the glorious good news that Christ is risen from the dead. This good news of the resurrection of our Lord brings joy and gladness to troubled, weary hearts. His resurrection calls forth our joyous response. On this Easter Day, then, the whole church on earth–all across the earth–hears the good news, “Christ is risen,” and we respond, “He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”


Published in: on April 8, 2023 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Why?” (Matthew 27:11-50)

Good Friday
April 7, 2023

“Why?” (Matthew 27:11-50)

Why? That is the question of the day here on this Good Friday. We hear the question raised twice in our Gospel account. First, when the crowd is demanding that Jesus be crucified, Pontius Pilate asks, “Why, what evil has he done?” And then second, when Jesus is crucified, he himself asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” These “why” questions are understandable, since none of this makes any sense–until we know the real reason for the “Why?”


Published in: on April 7, 2023 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Christian Questions with Their Answers: ‘This Do'”

Holy Thursday
April 6, 2023

“Christian Questions with Their Answers: ‘This Do’”

This is the night our Lord Jesus Christ gave his disciples to eat and to drink of his body and blood. And he didn’t mean just for that night. No, Christ was instituting a sacrament to be used often. Already in the pages of the New Testament, we see that the church partook of this sacrament whenever they met on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day. And that practice continued through the history of the church. Now tonight, on this night when our Lord instituted the Sacrament, we here intend to go to it. And to prepare our hearts to receive the Sacrament rightly, in repentance and faith, we’ve just read the section in the catechism designed to help us do that. And so our theme for tonight: “Christian Questions with Their Answers: ‘This Do.’”