Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Readings for June 12-18, 2011

Daily Lectionary

June 12 Numbers 21:10-35; Luke 21:20-38
June 13 Numbers 22:1-20; Luke 22:1-23
June 14 Numbers 22:21-23:3; Luke 22:24-46
June 15 Numbers 23:4-28; Luke 22:47-71
June 16 Numbers 24:1-25; Luke 23:1-25
June 17 Numbers 27:12-23; Luke 23:26-56
June 18 Looking Ahead to Trinity Sunday  Isaiah 6:1–7; Romans 11:33–36; John 3:1–15 (16–17)


When Isaiah beheld the glory of the Lord, he cried out “Woe is me!” For the sinner cannot stand in the presence of a holy God and live (Isaiah 6:1–7). But God the Father lifted up His Son Jesus for us on the cross, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:1–15). This eternal life of Christ is given us according to the Holy Spirit’s good pleasure in Baptism. “Unless one is born (again) of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” To sinners in fear of death, the messengers of God place on our lips the living body and blood of Christ and speak His words of absolution, “Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Having received forgiveness and life from the Father through the Son by the Holy Spirit, we join with the angels in praising the blessed Trinity, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts!” “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:33–36).

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who has given to us, Your servants, grace, by the confession of a truth faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity, we implore You that You would keep us steadfast in this faith and evermore defend us from all adversities; who lives and reigns, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Old Testament: Isaiah 6:1–7
Epistle: Romans 11:33–36
Holy Gospel: John 3:1–15 (16–17)

Pentecost Sermon June 11-12, 2011

June 12, 2011
Acts 2:01-11, John 14:23-31

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

Pentecost: A mighty, rushing wind; tongues of fire; an utterance given by the Spirit of the wonderful deeds of the Son to redeem mankind, which is heard and understood in the myriad languages of the many hearers; the Holy Spirit visible upon the heads of the Eleven in burning fire that does not consume.

They, the Eleven who watched Jesus ascend, are then anointed to be sent. From their mouths (and pens) the Holy Spirit reveals the Son and the Father. He - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - is the One who spoke to Moses from the bush that burned but was not consumed. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob invoked by the Prophet Elijah to bring down fire from heaven. He overrides the rules and laws of nature to benefit and bless His people. It is He who created, who has redeemed, and who now sanctifies His people. For this purpose the Son, the Second Person of that most Holy Trinity, has become Flesh. We was nailed to the tree until dead, buried in a borrowed tomb, but is alive, risen out of that grave victorious, His mission complete. He has ascended in glory to the right hand of the Father. From Him and the Father proceeds this Holy Fire on Pentecost. He inspires the Apostles and through them converts men from dead works to serve the living God by bearing witnessing of the Son.

The Church is born by the Word. Not by the passion or plans of men, but by Spirit-given utterance. That utterance changes lives. It draws half-men, sub-human sinners out of death, darkness, and chaos and into life, light, and order. It makes them men again, as men were meant to be: the crowning point of God's creation, the focus of His adoration. This Word created all things. This Word separated the waters of the Red Sea. This Word is the blessing pronounced upon God's people that Balaam in his greed was unable to resist. This Word felled the walls of Jericho. This same Word became Man, and dwelt among us that He might rescue and recreate us. This Word, born of Mary, is the Truth. He calls us to new birth, to new life. He is spoken by the Spirit of Truth who leads us into Truth, that is, into Jesus. This Word has accomplished what He was sent to do. He has not returned void to His Father but has processed there in glory leading captivity captive. The Bridegroom has fathered the Church by His Word.

Pentecost is the beginning of the end. It is the undoing of the curse of Babel, the reuniting of brothers and sisters divided by ethnicity, culture, economics, and language; diverse and separate, no more, but now, one in Christ Jesus who transcends all these other things. God has made a people for Himself. He has forged them in forgiveness, cleansed them with His Blood. The Spirit has called them with His Gospel: the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He has gathered them by and around His Word. He has enlightened them with this Gift. And He sanctifies them in this, the one and only, Truth. He named them in Baptism with His own Name. He has declared them to be His people. He will not let them go. So it is that you are here today. You are the rightful heirs of Pentecost. You stand in the heritage of the Apostles. The Word of Pentecost, that blessed utterance given by the Spirit through the Apostles, is yours. And where is it? Where is this glorious, miraculous, powerful, life-changing utterance? In His Apostolic Word, that is, in the Bible. There we hear Him, the Word of Life, and hearing Him we hear the Father. We hear them by means of the Helper, the Holy Spirit, who inspired men of old to write the very words and the very thoughts of God thereby revealing God in His Grace and Mercy to us poor sinners. This Spirit is sent from the Father in Jesus' Name. He speaks not His own Words, but the Son's Words. And those Words are also the Father's Words. For the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one. Through the Triune rescuing Word of love the Spirit teaches us and reminds us what Jesus has said, who Jesus is, and who we are in Him. Thus, this Holy Spirit delivers peace.

Pentecost isn't over. Even though we may not enjoy a rushing wind or tongues of fire or fluency in unlearned languages, by His Grace, in His providence, we still have His Word. We have the Good News of the wonderful works of God for us in our own language. We have the Spirit who entered into us in Holy Baptism and has been pleased to dwell in us for mercy's sake, who has made us the sons and daughters of God. We have the Word made Flesh in the Flesh, which given for us to strengthen and nourish us, to sustain and encourage us. We have the shed Blood spilled by Calvary's violence to appease God's wrath. That Blood which enters into us speaks better things than that of Abel. It is the Blood of the Lamb who was slain but who lives, who ascended but who is here. It is for the remission of our sins.

Soon, all things written shall be fulfilled. All the elect will be sealed and Pentecost will be over. We will reside in our Father's house where there is but one language, one song, one holy, no-longer waiting people! He will not ask us to endure a minute longer. But for now, while we wait, living in these Pentecost days of conversion and mission, we rejoice in the peace that is already ours. For this peace He gives, He does not give as the world gives. Which is to say, this peace which passes all understanding will never end. No, the peace will not end, but our suffering shall. The trumpet shall sound. The dead shall rise. Prophesy and preaching and Pentecost shall cease. What a happy day it will be!

In + Jesus' Name. Amen.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June 4-5 sermon

Ascension (Transferred)
Acts 1:1-11, Luke 24:44-53
June 4-5, 2011
Trinity Girard, IL

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

For forty days He had suffered in the wilderness. He endured hardships greater than any other man has ever known or survived. He resisted the temptations that we didn´t. For forty days, He fought the devil by His weakness in that barren, dusty place. He overcame Him simply by not giving in, by suffering the abuse and the attacks. That passive resistance led to His horrifying death. He could have stopped it at any time but it was necessary. It was the price of our rebellion. So the devil did his worst. He had his way with Him. He raised up the cross beam of hate. He drove in the killing nails. He mocked and spat upon him. All that through men, his controlled and loyal followers in the Sanhedrin, in the Roman Army, and in the city.

The Lord of Life died, but then He rose. The grave could not hold Him. Death is dead. Life lives. Satan lost. Murderers like us and Barabbas go free. For forty days, Our Lord walked the earth in His Body and Soul. He ate broiled fish. He invited doubters to place their fingers into His side. But during those forty days He no longer denied Himself His Divine rights and attributes. He passed through the stone and through the door in the Body born of Mary. This Man is also God. God comes to us as a Man. God breathed the Holy Spirit out upon His disciples. God gave them authority to preach, baptize, and forgive sins. Finally, all things being complete, God ascended to the Father as a Man, forever elevating our nature and opening heaven for us.

But it was still a week before the Holy Spirit would light upon the Apostles in fiery tongues. And even when that Spirit had come and anointed them for this preaching, it still was not given to them to know times and periods. It was but given to them to be martyrs: to witness unto death.

They could not know that the letters they would write would be heard by hundreds of thousands, even millions; that cathedrals would be built in their memory; that pious men and women would be forever calling their sons by their names. They could not know all the good their suffering preaching would accomplish. They saw little of it. They followed in the way of the cross. They lived their lives in poverty. They were rejected by men. They were killed for the faith. It was not theirs, this lightening brigade of grace, to reason why. Theirs was just to preach. That is what was given them. That was the charge. They were to be martyrs: to witness unto death.

The Kingdom is not restored to Israel. His Kingdom is not of this world. Instead, the Gospel calls a new Israel forth. He makes men who hated Him citizens in a kingdom of grace. The sons and daughters of Ham and Japheth are welcomed alongside of Shem´s. He raises up praise from stones. These holy apostles are sent to the ends of the earth, to the byways and highways, to the greatest and the least, to the Jews and the Gentiles. For His invitation is not discerning. There is no strategic planning session, no vision for the future, no goals, objectives, websites, or brochures. They just preach. God does the work.

The Word of God goes forth. He accomplishes that for which He was sent and it is to the amazement of those who preach it. The apostles breathe the Holy Spirit back out again. He changes the hearts of men. They proclaim the death Our Lord died and the Life He now lives. Their preaching is the power of God unto salvation. It raises up new men forgiven by the love of God in Christ Jesus. A new and greater Israel is born.

Thus you are free even while you yet endure the bonds of this fallen creation and suffer under temptation. You live even though you die and live the most and the fullest when you are most dead. You do not belong here. Your kingdom is not of this world. You will rise and you will ascend. Our Lord bids, “Follow Me.” And there He bids you even to heaven, you go.

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