Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Breathed upon. No one likes being breathed on. Usually because there is a case of halitosis. Even when they’ve disguised the smell with mint or some such, the fact is that fallen human breath isn’t much of an improvement on dog breath. It has the tinge of corruption about it. It smells like it comes from an organism that is decomposing (which is truly what is constantly happening.) The same is true of all parts of the body, which is why we wash, bath, and (hopefully) brush our teeth. But not so for this man, Jesus, the one who has conquered death.
And so when Jesus, still the same day as Easter, fresh from the grace came and stood among His disciples and breathed upon them, it was like something they’d never experienced before. His breath was like the spring breeze, only sweeter. It was the smell of life, the sweet scent of eternity was upon it, and so, of course, it was alive with the Holy Spirit.
“Receive the Holy Spirit” our Lord said, as His breath was breathed out on them. Continue reading
Listen Here from the Festival Divine Service
Alleluia, alleluia, Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed, alleluia!
The resurrection of Jesus is both a matter of fact and a matter of faith.
It is a matter of fact in that it is a fact of history. A pivotal fact of history. It is the fulcrum around which all of human history pivots and has its ultimate meaning. It is a matter of fact as any other fact of history from the Ming Dynasty to the Greco-Roman empire. The tomb of Jesus is empty. The body of Jesus is risen. That is a matter of fact.
It is a matter of faith in that the entirety of what we believe rests on the fact that Christ was put to death for our sins and raised for our justification. We don’t believe that Jesus rose from the dead, we believe because Jesus rose from the dead. It’s not April fools joke, it is a matter of history.
Here are the facts. Continue reading
Listen here: A series of
short sermonettes (alternating between Pastor Amen and Vicar Brown) highlighting different aspects of our Lord’s Passion. In between the conflation of the Passion of the four gospels from the LSB Altar Book. Continue reading
Most every child and parent goes through it. It’s late in the evening, kids are tired out, and they are placed safely into the car seat. Not ten minutes into the ride home they are sound asleep and so very tired that not a thing would wake him. They don’t realize how long it takes to get home. Just simply and soundly asleep. Finally, the car pulls into the driveway. Mom or dad gets out, reaches into the back seat, unbuckles the child, carries her safely up to her room and gently lays her in bed.
It isn’t until the next morning that the child wakes up. The last thing they remember is getting into the car. Now safely in bed, in their own bedroom and home. When they got into the car the previous night, they did so in complete faith of getting safely home. So trusting that they could sleep through an entire car ride. Never knowing how it all happened, but simple faith and trust in mom and dad meant that never doubting about arriving safely home. The kids get out of bed the following day standing in the faith that their parents take care of them, protecting and giving whatever is needed to live every day. Continue reading
It was the palm branches that made this day unique, and then again, it wasn’t.
For centuries, the church has memorialized today, the first day of Holy Week, as Palm Sunday because of the palm branches and cloaks that the people spread out before Jesus entering Jerusalem.
The Gospel writers tell us a crowd gathered, gushing with excitement, and lined the road in front of Jesus as he slowly rode into the city. As he made his way, one step at a time by the beast of burden on which he sat, a sort of carpet was being sewn together ahead of him.
And according to the Pharisees, this was a problem.
But actually, it wasn’t the palm branches that were the problem so much as what the people were saying.
Hosanna, which means “save us now.” “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” Continue reading
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Our culture is quite smitten with the yin-yang symbol from Chineses Taoism philosophy. In the dark half there is a contrasting dot of light and in the light half a contrasting dot of darkness. This symbol is meant to picture a dualistic philosophy of the universe with two equal and opposing forces of good and evil. The same philosophy is infecting our culture with belief and talk of karma, that good and evil work in harmony and counteract each other. It is also based on the assumption that even in goodness there is some evil and in darkness there is some light.
While it may be true that people the world considers good do some evil and people the world brands as evil do some good, this dualistic philosophy is not true and it does not reflect reality. At its heart, it is a false and deceptive philosophy that accuses God of evil and impotency to conquer evil. Continue reading
In the story of the ugly duckling, the true beauty of the swan is revealed in the end. Until the beautiful swan is recognized for whom he truly is, he is mocked and ridiculed by the ducks. He is considered unattractive and out of place. When you find a cocoon, you donot see the beauty of the butterfly. Until it emerges, its beauty and majesty are hidden within the cocoon.
In today’s Gospel, we have our Lord’s Transfiguration where Christ’s hidden glory is revealed.
Though, when properly understood, the Transfiguration of our Lord is not so much a new miracle, as the temporary halting of a 33 year miracle. The one whom the inner circle of disciples saw shining like the sun had done so since the beginning of time. He is the light of the world! At creation He said, “let there be light” and there was light. The real and astounding miracle is that His sun-like glory was veiled from His cradle to His grave – excepting for this day. Continue reading
Who’s asking about hope? Who’s gonna ask about our hope? And why would they have to ask us, Mister Apostle Peter? Wake up and smell the progress! I mean, welcome to the Roman Empire! You’re writing during the good old days, the golden age, classical antiquity, the height of human civilization. We’re living in the Pax Romana, the peace of Rome, an awesome civilization beyond the best years Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, or Greece ever saw. Over 200 years of bliss and economic growth. We are at the height of technological innovation and philosophical insight. They paint masterpieces and put up monuments to our society. Half the calendar is named after our era. Our cultural achievements will epitomize the western world for millennia to come, often imitated but never duplicated. Hope? We don’t need those stinkin’ pledges! We’ve got tonight; who needs tomorrow? Carpe diem!
How’s that working out for us? Continue reading
Listen here: http://stpetersarlington.org/gone-fishin-epiphany-3-january-21-2018/
Jonah was a court prophet, with a nice cushy job advising the king. God had other plans. He wanted Jonah to go and preach to the Ninevites, the avowed enemies of Israel who were known for such cruelties as skinning their enemies alive. You can understand why Jonah decided that a little trip to Spain might be more to his liking. And then came a storm, stirred up by the hand of God, and Jonah gets pitched overboard by the sailors as a kind of sacrifice to the gods of the Deep, and the storm quiets and Jonah gets “rescued” by being swallowed whole by a very large fish who subsequently unceremoniously barfs Jonah on the beach. And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. “Nineveh is that way, Jonah. Go and preach there.”
When the Lord calls, you had better listen, and don’t plan any cruises to go another way. So Jonah scrapes the seaweed out of his hair and heads off to those awful Ninevites and gets only about a third of the way through the city when lo and behold the whole bunch hear the Word of the Lord and repent, which really gets Jonah mad because he was hoping to see a major whooping from heaven. And all he gets is repentance and God’s turning away His anger from His enemies and the perennial persecutors of His people. Continue reading
Listen here: http://stpetersarlington.org/depart-in-peace-christmas-1-december-31-2017/
Today is the seventh day of Christmas, and I hope you’re still going strong with the holy days now that the holidays are behind us. It makes me sad to see the Christmas trees already curbed for the trash man. It’s like baseball fans who go home in the sixth inning to beat the traffic and miss the best part of the ball game. There’s plenty more left to Christmas, so don’t give up yet. We’ve even kept the candles burning to keep you in the mood. Continue reading