Sermon summaries and audio files
God has made us for himself, and our hearts are therefore restless until they find their rest in him. This is true of everyone, even the most hardened of sinners. Even Zacchaeus. But Jesus looked up and saw him, and his eye penetrated to the depths of his soul, even as it had done when he saw others, like Nathaniel at his call, or Peter at his denial of his Lord. Yet then came his unexpected and wondrous words: I must stay at your house today. So does he also see you: he sees everything about you, he knows all, even those most embarrassing things that you would be mortified if anyone else know. And yet he calls you as well: I must stay at your house! His mercy is new every morning, and now he enters your house when you receive him in the Blessed Supper. Sermon for Midweek of Trinity XX.
Jesus' continual preaching concerning the kingdom of heaven is complemented by his clear assertion that he is its king. His kingdom, he said to Pilate, is not of this world; and Pilate's inscription is therefore correct: he is King. He is our gracious Monarch, and we, as citizens in his kingdom, are blessed with eternal beatitude. Sermon for Tuesday morning at Oktoberfest.
St. Paul in Romans 11 looks at salvation from the heavenly perspective: a hardening has come over part of Israel, that the Gentiles might be grafted in. This suggests that there is a perfect number of the elect to be filled up, in Christ. And this ought not trouble us but comfort us; for it means that our salvation in Christ, who is himself the only true Israelite, is secure. It is a mathematical certainty. Sermon for Monday Vespers at Oktoberfest.
When the foundation of the second temple was laid, there was great rejoicing, but the older priests wept as loud as the sounds of joy, for they remembered the first temple, how much more grand it was. Yet Haggai comforted them with the promise that the temple would yet be greater; for the greater temple, we now know, is the Body of Christ, whose incarnation fulfilled what the temple stood for. So our church is not the temple; rather, it houses the temple. For the Body of Christ is given from this altar. This is why we do what we can to make our place of worship beautiful. From the altar the Body of Christ is distributed, and we enter by receiving him into the true Temple of God. Sermon for the Dedication.
Little children, do not be fools. Do not think your farm or merchandise has more value than this wondrous invitation; do not despise this offer. And do not think you can attend this wedding in your own garments, falling into the folly of Adam and his wife who made themselves coverings of fig leaves. For such folly ends with weeping and gnashing of teeth. Rather, let this invitation sink into your ears and hearts; I, says the king, I have prepared my dinner. All things are now ready. Even the garment of baptismal regeneration. Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Live your life by this faith, from this feast. For your invitation is not merely to be a guest at the heavenly wedding, but the Bride herself, clothed in white, by the blood and righteousness of Christ. Sermon for Michaelmas II.
Martha was a pious and decent Christian woman, who knew the value of service, of welcoming, of feeding, of being a maidservant of the Lord, in her own home. But her many concerns got the better of her, and she worried to the point of wanting to pull her sister away from Jesus. So the Lord gently calls her to a higher place, to learn what Mary knew, who had come to him, laboring and heavy-laden, and he gave her rest. So let us know the value of serving, but more than that let us as of first importance know the value of resting in Him who is our Sabbath. And this will not be taken from us. Sermon for midweek after Michaelmas.
The angels that succor us at every moment do so, in spite of our unworthiness, because of the Father's command: they do always behold his face; and they also do so because of what they continually attend to, as is clear from Scripture: the birth of Jesus, his temptation in the wilderness, his ordeal in Gethsemane. They stood at the ready, when Jesus advised Pilate that they could have come to his aid; but he called them off, because he wanted to suffer for the sin of the world. And they were present at his resurrection, rolling back the stone, and announcing the tidings to the women. They see, better than we do, that we are redeemed and justified for Christ's sake. And they are especially attendant as we sing their songs in worship: the Greater Gloria and the Sanctus. They sing with us, they rejoice with us, and they will carry us, as they did Lazarus, to the bosom of Abraham. Sermon for Michaelmas.
The priests must have been the reason nine of the ten lepers Jesus healed did not come back to him. So also today's priests turn many away from Jesus: the priests of social justice, whose new morality cries bigotry, homophobia, racism, genderism, against anyone they hate; the priests of egalitarianism, who teach class envy and the end of all distinctions, whether economically or even in gender; the priests of environmentalism, who encourage confession to creatures rather than to the Creator; the priests of sexual freedom, who sacrifice their own children on the altars of abortion mills. Let us be like the one who returned, and continue to cry for mercy (as we did already this morning) and bend the knee before him at the altar and receive him gladly, hearing him say, "thy faith hath made thee whole." Sermon for Trinity XIV.
O Christians, your eyes are truly blessed if you see in the Good Samaritan not merely an admonition to love your neighbor, which of course you should do, but a picture of your Lord Jesus who came not merely as a foreigner to your city and country, but who came down from heaven, to help you, who were half dead beside the road, in your trespasses and sins, and who gave you new life by the healing balm of forgiveness, the oil and wine of the Blessed Sacraments, his own beast of his righteousness before God, taking you to the inn, that is, the church, and directing the innkeeper, that is, the pastor, to care for you until he returns. So kind he has been to you, therefore now you can see the pattern for your own life to follow: to be kind to your neighbors when they need your help and aid, that is, to go and do likewise. Sermon for Trinity XIII.
Pride was the undoing of the scribes and Pharisees, who had the audacity to ask Jesus for a sign, when they already had an abundance of them, but refused to believe; so proud of themselves were they that they were utterly blinded, even by the ultimate sign, the sign of Jonah: three days and three nights in the deep. Even the resurrection of Jesus they rejected, saying the disciples stole the body. They were beyond saving, having sinned against the Holy Ghost; blind guides. So humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, for the meek shall inherit the earth. Sermon on St. Matthew 12.