Christmas Eve – Candlelight, Stille Nacht, 200th Anniversary

Christmas Eve Candlelight Homily:

On Christmas night, 1818, mice were stirring and chewing through the organ bellows at St. Nicholas in Oberdorf, Austria. For two years parish priest Joseph Mohr had been working on the lyrics to the now famous carol, Stille Nacht, Silent Night. He penned them as he reflected and gazed often at a parish painting  depicting the miracle that is Christmas, that nativity of Jesus in the arms of his mother Mary.

Pastor Mohr then worked with teacher Franz Gruber to compose a melody for the hymn. Because of the persistent organ problems at St. Nicholas Church it was desired be simple. It was completed but not done for Christmas Eve Mass, as is fancifully and popularly told. Rather, after the midnight service was complete, the two remained outside and sang it together.

It was not immediately popular and in fact rejected several times over. In 1839 the Rainer Austrian family singers brought the carol the New York and it became an annual tradition. Mohr never heard such news and never lived to know the appreciation of his hymn, likewise for the music teacher Gruber. It would not be until 1995 that we had knowledge of Mohr and Gruber as the authors, 177 years after they first sang it on Christmas Eve.

 

Never pressing for glory, never pressing for fame, it is fitting that these two servants of God’s Word remained in anonymity. For you see, it was never about them, it was the deeply theological and poetic description of the Nativity of Jesus Christ that was the focus, it is God’s love and proclamation of heavenly peace that was to endure.

What we will sing soon is actually half the original, and not in order, we will sing what was originally verses 1, 6, and 3. Hear it now, in full:

Silent night! Holy night!
All’s asleep, one sole light,
Just the faithful and holy pair,
Lovely boy-child with curly hair,
Sleep in heavenly peace!
Sleep in heavenly peace!

 

Silent night! Holy night!
God’s son laughs, O how bright.
Love from your holy lips shines clear,
As the dawn of salvation near,
Jesus, Lord, at your birth!
Jesus, Lord, at your birth!

Silent night! Holy night!
Brought the world, peace tonight,
From the heavens’ golden height
Shows the grace of His holy might
Jesus, as man on this earth!
Jesus, as man on this earth!

 

Silent night! Holy night!
Where today all the might
Of His fatherly love us graced
And then Jesus, as brother embraced.
All the peoples on earth!
All the peoples on earth!

Silent Night! Holy night!
Long we hope that He might,
As our Lord, free us of wrath,
Since times of our father He hath
Promised to spare all mankind!
Promised to spare all mankind!

Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds first see the sight.
Told by angelic Alleluia,
Sounding everwhere, both near and far:
Christ the Savior is here!
Christ the Savior is here!

 

This beautiful hymn has not the gusto of some other beloved carols, nor the deep contemplation of others, but this night, as we sing to close the night 200 years after first done the same, we can imagine and sense the awe and majesty that is significance of this birth. Christ, the Savior is born! Let that gentle peace wash over you and its simple assertion refresh you, you have redeeming grace in this child. This child will fall on a silent Friday night upon a cross and the news of angels will sing with alleluia, overcoming the darkness of the grave, radiating from His resurrected glorious face, is your redeeming grace. Now receive this child in body and blood that forgiven and restored you may sleep in heavenly peace. Merry Christmas. Amen.

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Posted in Christmas, hymnody, sermon | Leave a comment

Christmas Eve – A Night in Bethlehem

Homily for Christmas Eve, 3rd-8th grade program, A Night In Bethlehem:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Bethlehem
Every creature was stirring, for what the angels said to them;
The promised Messiah was certainly near,
As prophets foretold, God’s Word was clear;

From the very beginning, from our first sin;
God had promised that His grace would enter in;
Born of a virgin, as the Father had willed,
The Creator among us, the time is fulfilled.

When all through the town, there arose such a clatter,
For a Virgin, they wondered, what was the matter?
The angel of the Lord, provided Joseph a joy,
That this is of the Spirit, that this is God’s dear boy.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave paths of light, to Judea they went for Ceasar to know.
They wondered as there was no room in the inn,
But in a manger is where the babe was swaddled within.

Then angels appeared from heaven above ,
They proclaimed to truth of God’s love;
To the shepherds all nestled upon the hill,
Glory to God in the Highest, and peace to men of good will!

Most rapidly the shepherds then exclaimed!
They found Mary Joseph, his name they proclaimed!
He’s Jesus, the Messiah, Savior, Emmanuel!
God with us! The Lord of all! To conquer death and hell!”

The shepherds then left from the baby boy,
They went with haste, to share the news of great joy;
So up to the mountaintops they flew
There is peace and joy, it’s Jesus Christ for you!

And then, in a twinkling, the Magi stood on a roof
Looking and searching the skies for Biblical truth.
Night after night they searched in the skies,
Then the star proclaimed the Child’s glorious cries.

“There,” they said, “out in the east,”
They traveled afar on their two-humped beasts;
With gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh,
They went with haste, for the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus’ eyes toward the righteous, born of Virgin Mary,
The sins of the world, to the cross He would carry!
And all who adored, approached with a bow,
For there is joy to the world, here and now!

The stump of Jesse’s tree, the King of Kings they had found,
All fell to their knees, for the Christ they had found;
He had peace that extended from His glorious face,
All adored, for here is the Lord of all grace.

He was humble and meek, laid aside His glorious self,
To forgive and bless in spite of my sinful self;
With a crown of thorns and a twist on his head
Resurrection life He gave you, with nothing to dread;

So, history was changed on that first Christmas day,
The Word became flesh in humble display,
To the cross he’ll go, come what may,
To forgive, redeem, and give life on Easter day;

On a night in Bethlehem, for all to hear:
Jesus, the Savior, is surely here.
Him we proclaim, that God is in sight—
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Posted in Angels, Christmas, sermon | Leave a comment

Advent 4: Magnify the Lord

Magnificat anima mea Dominum. “My soul magnifies the Lord,” pregnant Virgin sings. “My life makes the Lord very great, enlarges, amplifies Him. Don’t look at me, look at Him. He is mighty and merciful and holy. He puts down the proud, He lifts up the humble. He fills the hungry, He empties the full. He keeps His promises. My soul magnifies the Lord.”

The life of faith not a selfie.

The world says, “Hey, look at you! You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re strong, you’re pretty, you’re handsome, you’re fabulous, you’re a winner!”

The devil says, “Look at you! You’re pious, you’re religious, you do good works, you’re kind to animals, you do volunteer activities you support the right causes, yo. You should be proud, and God should be pleased. Just look at you!”

Your old sinful Flesh says to yourself, “Look at me! I thank God I’m not like everyone else, especially, well…you know…those people. You know who they are. Let me snap a selfie so you can admire me too. How about a selfie with Jesus. Me and Jesus, Best Friends Forever. Hey, don’t we look good together? Me and Jesus?

Then God places the magnifying mirror of the Law in front of your selfie and says, “Look at you. Who do our worship, where is faith and trust in the heart each day, do you gladly hear and learn God’s Word at every opportunity or will you say you’ve had enough? What about that neighbor you passed by on the road in need, judging his motives and needs and so failing to help? Small white lies, greed, anger, and thinking yet still that it is best that you accomplish all on your own. Sinner. Take a good hard look at that selfie. Want it on your story or timeline? Proud of it? 

If anyone had reason for a selfie, it was Mary. Why, her older relative Elizabeth even calls her “Mother of my Lord” and blesses her. Wow! “God-bearer” the church calls her, Theotokos. She’s a teenage girl who has been given the highest blessing of all women. She’s pregnant with the Son of God, conceived by the Spirit and the Word. God chose her out of all the potential mothers of Israel. He chose her, Mary, a nobody from Nazareth, to be the mother of Messiah. That calls for a selfie, doesn’t it?

My soul magnifies the Lord, she sings. “He must increase, I must decrease.” “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.” “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy Name be the glory.”

The life of faith is not a selfie. It’s not look at me, look at me, look at me. It’s look at Him, look at Him, look at Him. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of your faith. The alpha and omega of your life and salvation. Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Look at Him who made you, who redeemed you, who makes you holy. Magnify the Lord.

Mary magnifies the Lord. Her faith is the magnifying lens. Mary was faith-filled even as she was faithful. Before she ever conceived, she believed. Before the Word became Flesh in her virgin womb, the Word took hold of her sin-filled heart. Mary found favor with God not because she was prettier, purer, or more pious than the other girls of Israel, but because she believed. She trusted God’s promise to her forefathers, to Abraham and all generations. She was filled with faith by the Spirit. And being faith-filled, she was faithful. She is the Lord’s servant and instrument – full of faith and grace. Her faith magnifies the Lord.

Mary magnified the Lord as she the impossible news of the angel that she would conceive and bear a son. She pondered the proclamation of the shepherds on the night her Son was born. She magnified the Lord at a wedding in Cana when the wine ran out. “Do whatever he tells you,” she said to servant. Sound words for us as well today; her last recorded words in Scripture. Do whatever her Son tells you. Even when the sword of grief pierced her soul as she stood at the foot of the cross to watch her Son die to be her Savior, she magnified the Lord. Even as the religious world, and even Joseph, harbored doubts over whose child she really was bearing, she magnified the Lord.

Mary magnified the Lord because the Lord had magnified her. He had done great things for her and to her and with her. And He is doing great things with you too. When you doubt, when others question your actions of serving, when you wonder what is going on and where life is going, seek the answer that magnifies, that makes it appear bigger, the Lord’s serving you, forgiving you, and providing for you. In unexpected ways, in seemingly impossible ways, in ways that are not yours but His.

The church sings Mary’s song as her own song, each of us within our own calling. Mary was called uniquely to be the Bearer of the Word. She was called to be Eve’s counterpart. Eve listened to the Lie and was deceived; Mary heard the Word by the angel and conceived. To be the mother of our Lord was uniquely hers to do. And you have your place in life, mother and father, son and daughter, citizen, and most importantly, baptized Child of God, that your life not magnify you but like Mary, that your life magnifies and makes known the Lord.

Luther taught the church to pray and we will do so as we go forth from the Lord’s Supper, that God would strengthen us in faith toward God and love for the neighbor. There is no place for a selfie in that outside-of-ourselves, magnify-the-Lord, way of faith and love. So, Magnify the Lord. And He will magnify you. For He has blessed you, forgiven you, saved you, lifted you up, fills you with good things, and is merciful to you, just as He has promised. Amen. 

Posted in Advent, children, hymnody, Liturgy, sermon

Advent 2: Waiting

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

We wait around all the time. Perhaps at this time of year you have been able to reflect on those new year’s resolutions you made in 2017 and vowed to get around to doing in 2018 and have already thought 2019 will be the year. What hear this Advent season and in our Gospel lesson today is that the Kingdom of God will not wait around. God does not always wait for us to get our act together and for us to be as prepared as we would like. Heaven and earth will pass away, God’s Kingdom will come, the Lord is here.

Advent is a time for such preparation though. Are you ready for Lord and His kingdom to come? We speak and act of one who knows when we are sleeping, of if we’ve been bad or good, and truly our Lord does. But he does not tell us to be good for goodness sake, but rather knows our sin and still He comes to you out of His goodness and still gives you gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation.

The preparation that we receive this Advent season is to repent, to confess our sin. For we see the signs of the Kingdom that is to come. This is what St. Paul shares with us Romans 15 today, that the Word made flesh comes to us that we might have patience and comfort, which brings hope. He brings that because we are impatient and want everything now. It is ironic how much we put off things and yet for temporary pleasure and trivial matters become impatient. We want things now, we want changes now, we want results now, we want to move on to the next thing now. Continue reading

Posted in Advent, sermon

Advent 1: Happy New Year

Happy new year!

 

With the preparations for the birth of Christ, this season of Advent, the new year begins. The King is coming! Are you prepared? While this season of Advent involves preparation for family and friends, it also involves the preparations of the King. We often hear how we are to be prepared for the coming Savior. How can we be prepared, particularly in a time of abundant activity? The relationships with friends and family are important. They are a part of Advent preparations. Yet Advent is primarily about preparing for the coming King who took on flesh to bear it to the cross. He took on flesh never to leave it behind, but by His flesh to bear our iniquity. We prepare in Advent for Christ. Yet, once again, how do we prepare for Him?

That preparation is made today, the first day of the Church’s Year, through meditation on His ride into Jerusalem to die. It has not been arranged sequentially, chronologically, but theologically. Advent, which simply means “He comes.” Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of the Christ. But it is much more than what we often think of in merely the historical remembrance. 

Here Jesus comes, riding on a donkey. Here comes the one who heals diseases, casts out demons, feeds thousands, gives sight to the blind, makes the deaf hear, and preaches repentance. Here comes the King, entering as Solomon did in 1st Kings chapter 1 so that there is no doubt who is King.

“Hosanna!” Which means “save us now, Lord.”

 

That’s the name in which He comes, in the name of the Lord. As Jeremiah proclaimed, the Lord is our righteousness. He comes as the branch of Jesse’s stem, as beautifully depicted on our Advent banner in the back, the Christ who comes to give life from a seemingly cut off tree. He comes as our righteousness because on our own we have no righteousness, we repeatedly live unrighteously, serving ourselves rather than God and our neighbor. He comes to be your righteousness still, that is the good news of Advent. 

This Advent season is a time to reflect. A time to take our eyes off the world and things of the world, for they can’t save you, and look at the King of Kings who comes to grant you an answer to shouts of “Hosanna!” and saves you. Advent is a time to shout “hosanna, save us, Lord” in repentance and faith.

Behold, a King comes for you. Righteous and having salvation. Behold, your king comes to ride on to death and resurrection to save you. 

Two questions are asked this season that need to be answered: one asks, what’s in your wallet? While the other asks what’s in your heart? One has done all the clever advertising and packaging to make it as attractive as possible in hopes you go take it but only for certain hours, the other offers what you need even when you don’t want it and keeps it available at all times. Both are voices calling out to you: “behold, new technology, new toys, bigger and better things,” the other cries out, “have mercy, save me, Lord.”

So sing it out, “hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” It is our Advent prayer that we sing as we prepare to receive Christ’s body and blood. He rides on to the cross to save you and here gives you the fruits of His death to forgive you and save you. 

So what do we do from here? The same as what those in the past have done. We spread our cloaks on the road and let Him walk over them. These cloaks are what Isaiah the prophet refers to as the polluted garments of our righteous deeds. We confess our sins and lay them under His feet that He may trample over them. He loves to trample over our sins. He loves for you to recall your baptism. He rejoices in the words of Absolution spoken to you. He is overjoyed in you receiving His meal here today. He is delighted in the delivering of the forgiveness of sins because He trampled and stamped them out in His holy and bloody passion. Christ is the gift giver as He comes to you and He has so much to give to you. Our Advent King comes to us forgiving our sins and keeping His promises. He rides into a receptive crowd now, but the shouts of “crucify Him” will come quickly and for that He moves forward so you can enter eternal life blessed and in the name of the Lord. Now, watch our King this Advent season as He fulfills all He has promised you. He comes, to save you. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Amen.

Posted in Advent, Divine Service, sermon

Reformation; Sts. Simon and Jude

Audio link

Today, October 28, is the day the church historically remembers Saints Simon and Jude.  This minor festival is normally bumped in favor of Reformation Sunday, so we rarely observe it.

In the lists of the twelve apostles (Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6: 14—16); Acts1:13), the tenth and eleventh places are occupied by Simon the Zealot and by Jude (or “Judas,” not Iscariot), who was apparently known also as Thaddaeus. According to early Christian tradition, Simon and Jude journeyed together as missionaries to Persia, where they were martyred. It is likely for this reason, at least in part, that these two apostles are commemorated on same day. Simon is not mentioned in New Testament apart from the lists of twelve apostles.

Jude appears in John’s Gospel (14:22) on Maundy Thursday, asking Jesus how it is that He will manifest Himself to the disciples but not to the world. The answer that Jesus gives to this question is a pertinent emphasis for this festival day: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Jude, as mentioned above, traditionally is thought to have been the brother of James, the brother of the Lord and therefore the author of the epistle of Jude. Surely both Jude and Simon exemplified, their love for Jesus and their faith in His Word. We are encouraged by the faithfulness of the Lord in keeping His promise to them to bring them home to Himself in heaven. 

As Jesus responded to Jude’s question about how he would be manifest by speaking of Christian love, Martin Luther reminds us in a Galatians lecture in 1535 on this Christian love:

“Serving another person through love seems to reason to mean performing unimportant works such as the following: teaching the erring; comforting the afflicted; encouraging the weak; helping the neighbor in whatever way one can; bearing with his rude manners and impoliteness; putting up with annoyance, labors, and the ingratitude and contempt of men in both church and state; being patient in the home with a cranky wife [or husband for that matter] and an unmanageable family, and the like. But believe me, these works are so outstanding and brilliant that the whole world cannot comprehend their usefulness and worth.”

Continue reading

Posted in Reformation, Saints, sermon

Poverty in Christ

moneyProper 24B:

Ecclesiastes 5:10-20, Mark 10:23-31

Ever since those thirty pieces of silver, money has played a treacherous role in the life of the Church.  Why, even the Lutheran Reformation was launched on October 31, 1517, because of money!  Oh yes, it was also about those great themes of grace and faith…but if you read Martin Luther’s 95 Theses which he nailed to the Wittenberg Castle Church door, most of the theses deal with money!

#27, “It is nonsense to teach that a dead soul in Purgatory can be saved by money.” #42, “Christians should be taught that the buying of indulgences does not compare with being forgiven by Christ.” #82, “Why doesn’t the pope [empty Purgatory] for holy love, if he can redeem innumerable souls for sordid money?”

It’s no wonder Luther found himself in hot water.  Yes, the abuse of the Gospel riled him concerning the selling of indulgences, buying God’s forgiveness like a sack of potatoes.  A person can quickly find himself getting burned at the stake because of what he says in the Church about money!

Oh sure, the wise and faithful use of money has witnessed incredible blessings in the life of the Church, from the time of the Apostles and even the Old Testament.  But it is this potential for great blessing is also the potential for great treachery, greed, and angst. And in this passage, Jesus makes it scary: “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

The passage makes me think of various accounts of the same scene, one who is not viewed as particularly religious is once found him studying the Bible and the friend asks,  “What are you doing with that?” To which the reply is, “lookin’ for loopholes!” Continue reading

Posted in Ethics, Luther, Reformation, sermon

Rev. Dr. Marion L. Hendrickson

Isaiah 25:6-9, John 11:17-44

Dear Connie, Matthew, and Michael, beloved family members, dear brothers in the ministry, saints gathered today, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In just two short weeks we will celebrate this day, and yet there will be many more remembered as well. Every funeral is in a way a commemoration and celebration of All Saints Day. A day of memory for those who have died before us. Today, we mourn, we remember, but we look forward to the day we will celebrate. 

For you dear family, it may be accounts that recall not only Marion’s life but those whose lives traveled across the Atlantic and are but a mere memory. The memory will continue back on the farm in Iowa, back to Lars and perhaps even to Silas or even back to Lars who traveled across and settled the farm life for this family. Ah yes, all the saints who now rest from their labors, those who have died in Christ are many, from this family, from this congregation, and from the holy ministry. 

Today highlights once again how much we know death. We’ve experienced it much. There are many not here to mourn this day, for they too now rest from the labors. Death surrounds us, it makes us uncomfortable. As the 14th century poem often read at committal, a favorite of pastor’s and written in Latin in memorial on the plant given from Pastor Dave Herald and on the back of your bulletin proclaims, in the midst of life we are in death.

We much prefer the life of Easter Sunday and shy away from the death of Good Friday. We all want to go to heaven…but no one wants to die to get there! Yet, it is precisely through death that we have life. It is through death that we are delivered from death. This was true of Marion and is true for you. And it is through death that you are declared a saint. 

It’s like when Ole moved and he discovered that he was the only Lutheran in a little town of Catholics. That was okay, but the neighbours had a problem with his barbecuing venison every Friday. Since they were forbidden to eat meat on Fridays, the aroma was so tempting that something had to be done.

Neighbours went over to Ole and managed to convince him to join their church. The big day came and the priest made Ole kneel. He put his hand on Ole’s head and said, “Ole, you were born a Lutheran, you were raised a Lutheran, and now,” he said as he sprinkled some incense over Ole’s head, “now you are a Catholic!”

Ole was happy and the neighbours were happy. But the following Friday evening at suppertime, the aroma of grilled deer steaks was coming from Ole’s yard. The neighbours went to talk to him about it. As they approached the fence, they heard Ole say, “You were born a deer, you were raised a deer, and now,” he said as he sprinkled seasoning salt over the choice tender loin cut, “now you are a fish!”

With the washing of water, buried with Christ and raised with Him in Holy Baptism, Marion and you are declared saint, Christian, child of God. It’s the same song that continues for all the saints. That song goes on…and, as the saying goes, we contribute our verse.  But it remains His song we sing, His land we plow, His life we live, His cross we bear—that is, His death and resurrection, His blood, His sweat, His tears, His joy, His life, His glory we preach. 

You cannot face death honestly and fully unless you have faced that death on the cross. But we face death knowing that it is swallowed up forever by Jesus on the cross. We can make that confession with Isaiah only because of what Jesus said to Martha in the cemetery at Bethany: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me though he die, yet shall he live.” We gather here today because we believe Jesus’ words are true for Marion and for all who cling to the Savior in faith.

Jesus does what Ole and so many others cannot do, change reality with a mere word and declaration. But first, he mourned, he wept. He wept for death is why Jesus came. To swallow it up forever. With a word he raised called Lazarus forth from the tomb and brought him to life. 

Soon, Jesus would swallow up death in Himself. The next week in Christ’s death we see that victory over death and the grave comes by death and the grave. His death shows us that Paradise, the Resurrection, is there in death. Risen from the dead, ascended into heaven, we await for him to come again in the resurrection to hear “Marion, come out!” Jesus is going to say that again someday– with your name too! 

So, as we have memorial of a dear husband, father, brother, pastor, colleague, and friend, let us keep memorial of that which he preached, Christ, and him crucified for you. As you dear saints of St. Peter’s receive from the chalice given at his retirement let us keep in remembrance the preaching and teaching that accompanied that first chalice passed, this cup is the new testament in Christ’s blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.

We now lay Marion’s body, spent from a lifetime of living, into the grave to await the resurrection. So weep, mourn, but in these days listen, but lo, there breaks a yet more glorious day, the saints triumphant rise in bright array, for the King of Glory says to you, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” 

Alleluia, Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Posted in Baptism, Day of Resurrection, Funeral, resurrection, Saints, sermon

Image and Likeness

Audio Link, Proper 22B: Gen.2:18-25, Hebrews 2:1-18, Mark 10:2-16

There are many things that are basic in life. The basics are needed for a person to build on. Learning the ABCs is basic for education. Learning to boil water is a basic for culinary skills. As Vince Lombardi brought his team back to basics at the start of the season when he said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”

And today we get this wonderful text which does the same thing, brings us back to basics. Ladies and gentlemen this is how God created you. This is His desire for creation, in the midst of a perfect garden, with everything necessary provided and living life with God.

And yet note what is said toward the end of the creation wee, something is said to be “not good.” This is in contrast to the end of the first five days of creation where everything was always good. Now it wasn’t said to be “bad,” but rather “not good.” Not good for whom? All is good for Adam, newly created, new life given, complete dominion over the creation, even naming the animals. God says it is “not good,” not bad but more along the lines of “not yet complete.” Continue reading

Posted in Baptism, sermon

Angels Guard and Keep

Observed: St. Michael’s and All Angels (Audio Link)

You don’t get very far in the Bible before you start bumping into angels of this sort, that sort, and the other.  They come in a bewildering array of varieties, but in two basic flavors:  good or evil.  And since the fall of our race into the power of the evil angels (and the evidence of that is all around you – you don’t need to open your Bible for it.  Just check a social media news feed, or read the newspaper, or watch any so-called news channel for a bit – or you might even try the gutsy approach and look into your own heart), as I was saying, since the fall of our race, we find the good angels somewhat frightening.  Even holy prophets do.

So when Daniel in his room suddenly feels an angel’s hand touching him, he drops trembling to his hands and knees.  But the angel wasn’t sent to scare him, just to bring him good news.  Hence:  “O Daniel, man greatly loved… fear not!”  The good news the angel brings is more than a tad mysterious.  It’s hard enough to make sense out of human warfare, knowing who to believe and sorting out what really happened and such.  But angelic warfare?  How will we ever understand that?  Continue reading

Posted in Angels, Day of Resurrection, End Times, sermon