Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 26–27,2010
Trinity 4
Luke 6:36-42
Trinity Lutheran Church Girard, IL

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Mercy comes naturally to God. It is His defining characteristic. It endures forever. Not so for men still infected by Eve's curse. The devil has taught us to stand up for ourselves and defend our “rights.” He has taught us to calculate, to manipulate with dishonesty, mislead by half-truths, and to plot our deceptions. Presumptuously pious advisors advise “God helps those who help themselves.” It is just a rehash of Eden's seduction: “Take the fruit. He didn't really mean it. Only you know what is good for you.” It is just a sly way of saying, “Take what you want. Look after number one. God can't be trusted. Help yourself.”

The father of lies has begotten children of lies. He does not love you. Nor is he happy or powerful. He is a wretched, disgusting creature full of agony, suffering for his rebellion and hatred. And the students are not above their teacher. You won't find happy, satisfied people in crack houses and brothels, or on the payroll of the mafia. It is a trap, a vicious cycle, a tortuous existence. Honor among thieves is the biggest lie on the planet.

And yet, we, the decent middle class, good Midwest, Church-going folk, have lusted for it. We have wanted to run wild and free, without thought of cost or consequence, indulging every dark fantasy and enacting every base desire. Repent. That is way of death. The so-called pleasures of the flesh are not pleasant. Where, for instance, is the pleasure of drunkenness? Is it in the puking, the stumbling, the drooling, the inability to speak coherently, laughing like an imbecile, the hangover, the money down the drain, or the humiliation? Where is the fun? Your eternal destiny is at stake. Is it worth it? Yet we have succumbed. We have fallen prey to lust and adulterous temptations that shouldn't even be tempting. Pathetic. Our darker fantasies, those we mostly don't act out, are even worse. Would you risk the health of your spouse? Are you prepared to face your children and in-laws? Repent. These things are not satisfying. You are not missing anything.

Your Father, not the devil, not the devouring father of lies, but your Father, who begot you anew in the water and the Word of Holy Baptism, the Father of your Lord, Jesus Christ, is merciful. He does not punish you for your sins or the secret thoughts of your heart. He rescues you from death and despair. For while there is only One begotten of the Father, only One who can rightfully address Him as such, only One who came down from heaven, it is He, Jesus Himself, who bids you to stand in His stead and call His Father your Father. He says, “Your Father is merciful.” He teaches you to pray with boldness and confidence as dear children to their dear father. You are to address God as though you were His only-begotten, His beloved in whom He is well-pleased, the Apple of His eye, His Anointed One, without sin, without shameful past, without inside guilt and hidden thoughts; as though you were perfectly holy, abundantly gracious, and merciful.

Therein is the mercy of your Father. He accepts you for the sake of the Son as sons and daughters, the children of His adoptive, forgiving love. He lays your guilt upon the Son and sends it to death on the cross. He removes you from this horrid, killing world of self-preservation, tooth and claw, lies and power struggles. He raises His Son from your death and gives you the reward of His righteousness.

At His bidding, you stand in the stead of Christ before the Father, before your Father. You are just, righteous, and blessed. You also stand in the stead of Christ before your neighbors. Even as He bids you to come and receive His mercy, so you bid others to come and receive His mercy through you. He has removed the plank of sin from your eye with forgiveness. Now you can see clearly and remove the speck in your brother's eye with that same forgiveness. For Christ died for all. He would have all men turn and be saved. Planks and specks are not removed by rules and laws and punishment, nor by education and discipline or by ignoring or tolerating them, but by mercy, by sacrifice, by substitution.

In Christ, you will not be judged. You will not be condemned. Mercy and forgiveness will be given to you. The perfect, steadfast, unfailing love of God in Christ in good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your mouth, and from there into your bosom. The Lord Himself is present for you in His Body and Blood. It is the meal of mercy. It is prepared for you from eternity. Eat. Be satisfied. Here is rest not for the wicked, but for the forgiven, here is peace for rebels. In this Sacrament He will raise you up, remove the plank from your eye, and restore your vision. Your Father is altogether and forever merciful. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Daily Lectionary For June 27–July 4, 2010

Daily Lectionary For June 27–July 4, 2010

June 27 Joshua 2:1-24; Acts 8:26-40
June 28 Joshua 3:1-17; Acts 9:1-22
June 29 St Peter & St Paul Joshua 4:1-24; Acts 9:23-43
June 30 Joshua 5:1-6:5; Acts 10:1-17
July 1 Joshua 6:6-27; Acts 10:18-33
July 2 Joshua 7:1-26; Acts 10:34-48
July 3 Joshua 8:1-28; Acts 11:1-18
July 4 Joshua 10:1-25; Acts 11:19-30; Joshua 10:28-22:34


Collect: Almighty God, who has dealt wonderfully with Your handmaiden, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and has chosen her to be the mother of Your Son and has graciously make known that You regard the poor and lowly and despised, grant us grace in all humility and meekness to receive Your Word with hearty faith and so be made one with Jesus Christ, our Lord; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Old Testament: Isaiah 11:1–5
Epistle: 1 Timothy 3:16
Holy Gospel: Luke 1:39–56

Loking ahead to next Sunday: THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY

The Lord called fishermen to be fishers of men (Luke 5:1–11). The net they would use is the message of the cross, which is foolishness and a stumbling block to the world (1 Cor 1:18–25). The power of God to save is not in spectacular signs like wind and fire and earthquakes (1 Kings 19:11–21), nor is it to be found in human intelligence and wisdom. The power of God to save comes in the still, small voice of the preaching of Christ crucified. In worldly darkness the disciples could catch nothing. But in the light of Christ whose Word was attached to the water, the boats were filled with fish. So it is that in Baptism you have been drawn in to the ship of the church. Though the nets are breaking and some who hear the Word do not believe, pastors continue to cast the net of the Gospel and the Sacraments, that you fish may abide in the boat of the Church and that you may be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you (1 Peter 3:8–15).

Collect: O God, who has prepared for those that love You such good things as pass man's understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward You that we, loving You above all things, may obtain Your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Old Testament: 1 Kings 19:11–21
Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8–15
Holy Gospel: Luke 5:1–11

3rd Sunday after Trinity by Vicar Jacob Stuenkel

June 19-20, 2010
Vicar Jacob Stuenkel
3rd Sunday after Trinity
Trinity Lutheran Girard, IL

Grace mercy and Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Text for the Sermon today is from the Gospel Reading, Luke 15, “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."

Illustration: Have you ever done something so bad you thought you were never going to be forgiven? Have you ever done something so bad you just didn’t know what the response would be? For those of you in a marriage, or those of you that have parents, I’m sure you probably did something you weren’t supposed to do. You also probably weren’t sure what the response was going to be. I remember when I was in college. My school year was almost over so I was getting rid of all these files. I was deleting all this stuff I had worked on and I deleted something I wasn’t supposed to. After I deleted this file the computer stopped working. You have to understand my father owned the computer, and he let me borrow his laptop. Now, my father has a quick temper, so when I got home, I never told him about it! The truth is, I didn’t know how he would react. I didn’t know what he would say. I was where the prodigal son found himself in our reading.

Today’s reading is called the parable of the Prodigal son. It’s a son who was living in his father’s house. His father was a very wealthy man. So the son asked for his share of the inheritance. The father granted this to him. So then he takes the money and takes off. He goes so far away; he ends up in another country. The story of the Prodigal son in many ways is a metaphor for the entire human race. There is not that much difference between what the son does, and what Adam and Eve did. There they were in Paradise. They had everything. They could eat what ever they wanted. They had dominion over all the animals. We are told they even walked with God. But for some reason that wasn’t enough. The son also, had a wealthy father. He was not in need of food or a place to sleep. But it wasn’t enough.

Because of what the son did, he was considered by society to no longer to be in that family. He lost the title of son. Adam and Eve also lost there title as Children of God. They did this by breaking God’s Commandment. This is why they are banished by God from Eden. It shows they are no longer in the presence of God. Just like the Prodigal Son is no longer in the presence of his father. This is how we were born into this world. Not being children of God, but children of the devil.

We are all sinners. We are born into a world of sin, we sin ourselves. For this reason we are not in a right relationship with God. There is nothing you can do to fix this situation. We can not do anything that fixes what we have done. Notice how the son says to himself, 18“I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” He thinks at this point he can do good works to make up for, what his done. This might seem like a reasonable solution to the problem. The Pharisees Jesus was speaking too, might have also thought the son’s solution was a reasonable way for the son to regain his father’s favor.

So when the son is at his father’s field, his father sees him. Then it says, “20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” Then the son says, “21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” But he doesn’t even get a chance to say “Treat me as one of your hired servants”. Because his father jumps in and says to his servants 22 “Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.” The father forgives his son, and his son didn’t do anything to make amends.

Adam and Eve were not unlike the Son. After Adam and Eve sinned, they hide. It was the Lord who found them. It was the Lord who told them he was going to save them. They could not do a good work that would gain favor from the Lord.

We know for us, and our situation with God, that it is the Father who makes amends. This is because; it is the Father who sends the Son. It is Son who pays for our trespasses. It is the Son who comes into the world, and pays for our sins. It is his own Son, Jesus Christ, who dies on the Cross. Jesus Christ reconciles us to God. His death made it so we can be back in that relationship with God. It is our Baptism that makes this a reality for us. For it is in Baptism that we are clothed with Christ. Much like the prodigal son was clothed in a rope. We are declared Children of God. We are made part of his family.

What does the father have after the son returns? He has a feast. In that feast they eat the sacrificed calf. I think this is reminding us of Communion. Where we eat the body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Knowing that in this feast we are being forgiven of our sins. Also, we are having this feast in the presence of all of heaven. Knowing one day we will be in that presence for eternity.

We wish that were it, don’t we? We would like that to be it, wouldn’t we? We often times forget the second half of this parable. We forget son number two. We forget the son who is angry that his brother is forgiven. He is angry the fatten calf was slaughtered. If this were a Hollywood movie, the second son would run into the banquet and hug his brother. He would be so glad to see his brother is alive and returned home. That isn’t what happens, is it? For the Pharisees of Jesus’ time, they were angry everyone was being forgiven. They were mad that Jesus was sitting with Tax Collectors and Sinners. The Pharisees were a people who worked hard to keep the Torah. They tried to keep the Law. So to see Jesus sitting with people who were sinners was offensive to them. I don’t think the Pharisees ever figured out that they needed Jesus just as much as those sinners and tax collectors. I don’t know if they ever realized that they couldn’t keep the law. That they were also fallen, and not in a right relationship with God. Notice that the second son is not at the banquet. He is not in a right relationship with the father.

I think this too often happens with us. We have a fellow Christian sin against us, or do something to us. And we just can’t forgive them. We forget that they are fallen. We forget that they are children of God also. Sometimes we even get mad when we meet someone who is a Christian and all we see is a sinner. We make the mistake of the second son. Lord how can you forgive that person.

In those moments hopefully we remember how short we have come up. We need to remember that we are sinners, and in need of repentance and forgiveness. That Christ Died for our sins and theirs. Lastly we need to remember what the father told the son. He told him “It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found." In that moment God is speaking both to us, and about our brothers. That you were dead, and your brother was dead. And now you are alive and so is your brother in Christ. That you were both lost, and now you are found.

Conclusion: Eventually my father did find out the computer was broken. He also forgave me for breaking it. He realized that I was a sinful person and things happen. God works forgiveness in us to show others what forgiveness looks like. That is what we are; we are the forgiven children of God. AMEN.

Daily Lessons June 20-26

Daily Lectionary For June 20–26, 2010

June 20 Proverbs 22:22-23:12; John 18:15-40
June 21 Proverbs 24:1-22; John 19:1-22
June 22 Proverbs 25:1-22; John 19:23-42; Proverbs 26:1-28
June 23 Proverbs 27:1-24; John 20:1-18; Proverbs 28:1-29:27
June 24 Nativity of John the Baptist Proverbs 30:1-9, 18-33; John 20:19-31
June 25 Presentation of the AC Proverbs 31:10-31; John 21:1-25
June 26 Joshua 1:1-18; Acts 8:1-25


Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father in heaven” (Matt 10:26–33). To confess Christ before men is to speak the truth openly about who He is and what He has done to save us. It is to give public voice to our belief in Him who made the good confession before Pontius Pilate (1 Tim 6:11–16), and by whose cross alone we are justified and restored to the Father. It is to say in faith what He has first said to us in His holy Word, not fearing those who can destroy the body, but honoring above all Him who is the Lord of both body and soul. On this day we give thanks to God that our Lutheran forefathers confessed the truth of the Scriptures with courage and clarity. This is a holy day in which we rejoice greatly to understand the words of the Lord (Neh 8:1–12) and to share in Augsburg’s confession of the true faith. The Spirit of God grant us all continually to fight the good fight of faith until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing.

Collect: O Lord God, heavenly Father, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people, keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth, protect and comfort them in all temptations, defend them against all enemies of Your Word, and bestow on Christ's Church Militant Your saving peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament: Nehemiah 8:1–2, 5–6, 9–12
Epistle: 1 Timothy 6:11b-16
Holy Gospel: Matthew 10:26–33


“Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful”(Luke 6:36–42). The old Adam in us, however, wants to condemn and seek vengeance. But the Lord says, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay” (Rom 12:14–21). To condemn, to avenge yourself, is to put yourself in the place of God. It is to fail to trust that He is just. Ultimately, it is to disbelieve that Jesus suffered the full vengeance for all wrongs. Only Christ is merciful as the Father is merciful. He is the one who overcame all evil with the good of His cross, forgiving even His executioners. Jesus is our Joseph, who comforts us with words of pardon and reconciliation (Gen 50:15–21). He is the One who does not condemn but gives life that runs over. Only through faith in Christ are we sons of the Father—being merciful, forgiving, doing good to our enemies. For in Christ we know that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8:8–13).

Collect: Grant, O Lord, we implore You, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by Your governance, that Your Church may joyfully serve You in all godly quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament: Genesis 50:15–21
Epistle: Romans 8:18–23
Holy Gospel: Luke 6:36–42