Sermon summaries and audio files
Eckardtesian Thought: I think, therefore I write . . .
Which is better? The Word or the Sacrament? Dear flock, I wish to teach you this glad Easter morning why this question has an answer. I was once accused of the "heresy" of believing the Sacrament is better than the Word; I will gladly own it. But the Word of God is a wonderful gift. It is, as the Psalmist declares, sweeter than honey to my mouth; it is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. The Word of God is a rock of refuge, a sure and certain promise from heaven, something over which to rejoice greatly, and so we do. But the Sacrament is better. For, as the ancients used to say, the Sacrament is the Visible Word. The Word makes the Sacrament what it is; without the Word there is no Sacrament, but with the Sacrament we get something tangible, an even greater thing.
A similar question: which is better, the Easter Gospel in which the angel tells the women, Christ is not here! He is risen, even as he said, come see the place where he lay? Or the Easter Gospel in which Christ himself appears to the eleven in the upper room? The latter is the better; though certainly we rejoice on hearing the blessed Gospel, of the angel's message to the women, for we know the whole story. But those women who first witnessed the empty tomb did not. They were terrified; they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid, as it says. It was not until they met him on the way, until Mary Magdalene beheld Jesus in the garden and embraced his feet that they became overjoyed. And so too, the disciples did not believe the glad tidings, though they should have; and Jesus himself rebuked them for not believing it, and for their hardness of heart. But when he stood before them and said, Peace be unto you! - then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord. The Gospel of the empty tomb and the message of the angel is a marvelous thing, a reason to rejoice, certainly. But the Gospel of Jesus himself, inviting them to inspect him and see, that is a more marvelous thing.
Another similar question: which is better, this live streaming of the Sunday service and this hearing of the Gospel, or actually being here, to get it in person, and to receive Christ's true Body and Blood by mouth, and personally thus to receive your crucified and risen Savior? The answer is obvious.
Which is better? The Word is a wonderful and precious Gift from heaven. But the Sacrament is Christ, whom the Word proclaims. Sermon for Easter Sunrise.