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12-20-20 Rorate Coeli

December 20, 2020
The name of this Sunday, the Sunday right before Christmas, is Rorate Coeli. It’s a beautiful name, because it expresses exactly the significance of Christmas. Rorate coeli are the first words of our Introit in Latin, “Rain Down O heavens.” It‘s God’s command to Himself, to open heaven and rain down the Righteous One. This is exactly what we just confessed, “Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.” And the…

12-16-20 Advent Midweek 3

December 16, 2020
During our Advent midweek services we’ve been focusing on the Last Day: what life is like for Christians leading up to the Last Day, and what will happen on the Last Day. Tonight we’ll look at what life is like for Christians after the Last Day. Eternal life after the Last Day will be very different from how life is now. In tonight’s reading, life on earth, now, was called “the great tribulation.” Our current…

12-13-20 Gaudete

December 13, 2020
Among those born of women there has arisen none greater than John the Baptist. If St. Paul can say, I am not aware of anything against myself, John the Baptist could say it a thousand times over. He is of that class of people we usually find annoying, people who seem practically perfect in every way. Most of us know that whatever front we put off in public, if people were to peer into our…

12-6-20 Populus Zion

December 6, 2020
We’re used to hearing about the world being evil here in Church. I preach it. Pastor Richard preaches it. The Bible preaches it. Jesus says, “In the world you will have trouble.” He calls the devil the prince of this world. And his apostle urges us to be in the world and not of it. We sing this way too. The hymn “Jerusalem the Golden,” is actually one of many verses of a hymn by…

11-29-20 Ad Te Levavi

November 29, 2020
The time will come, and it’s sooner now than when we first believed, when Christ will come in splendor and power to free His Church from every evil of body and soul. We confess every Sunday that we look for that day, “And I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” And that looking is a happy looking, it’s a looking forward to, like a child looks…

11-25-20 Thanksgiving Eve

November 25, 2020
It seems 2020 has given us more reason to complain than give thanks. The prayer of most is that God mercifully end this year as quickly as possible. We should be careful what we ask for. There’s no promise that 2021 won’t be worse than 2020. What is there to complain about in 2020? A disease that’s killed some two hundred thousand in our country, the shut-down of the economy, the loss of jobs (including…

11-22-20 Trinity 27

November 22, 2020
Faith in Jesus is a living thing that must feed on the Word of God, and if it does not feed, then it dies. In the passage immediately before today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warns that pastors had better be feeding his people properly, if they value their lives. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant,” Jesus says, “whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?…

11-15-20 Trinity 23

November 15, 2020
St. Paul reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. Jesus is our King. He has already conquered. His is a victorious Kingdom. It won’t fall and it won’t fail us. The gates of hell will not prevail against it. He has crushed the devil under His feet. He has overcome the world. He has borne the sin that so corrupts this world and all its kingdoms and all its people; He’s borne it and…

11-8-20 Trinity 22

November 8, 2020
It is heavenly when brothers dwell together in unity, as our Gradual says. It is hellish when they envy one another and hold grudges and refuse to forgive. This is what Jesus means when he speaks of hell as weeping and gnashing of teeth. It is the devil’s great aim, especially in these last days, to pit us against one another, to make us refuse reconciliation, to hold grudges, to withhold forgiveness from our brothers in the Kingdom of heaven. The world attacks us, entices us, lies to us, and we suffer this together, we must suffer it together. And we suffer it together strong and united, only when we rely on the forgiveness won by our Lord Jesus’ blood and given to us freely here in Christ’s Church, when this forms our faith and so our lives. Without this forgiveness, the wolf will scatter the sheep and there will be none to deliver. We rely on it completely. And if we are to meet the years ahead together, we need to live in forgiveness for one another. This is why Jesus tells us the parable he tells us today.

11-1-20 Trinity 21

November 1, 2020
Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount so that you would have hope. Though you be powerless in this world, disenfranchised, ignored if not oppressed, though you suffer grave injustices, terrible pain and grief, though you have shamed yourself, committed grievous sins and errors, so that you hunger and thirst for righteousness, long for mercy, and dream of peace: you shall be filled. Your sorrows, even as your repentance, are not without purpose or without end. Nor should you think it strange. For you do not belong here. This is not your home. The Kingdom of heaven is yours. The earth itself will be yours. And you will be part of a great, joyous reunion in heaven. This is the point of the Beatitudes.
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