130217 Psalm 150

Text: Psalm 150
Theme: Praise the Lord!

It is a time honored tradition, at least in some circles, for Christians to give up something for Lent, but were you aware that some churches do the same thing? In my previous congregation, as a way to recognize the somber and subdued mood of the Lenten season, we gave up saying or singing "Hallelujah." We sang a "Farewell to Hallelujah" hymn on Transfiguration Sunday, and the word was not repeated in church again until Easter morning.

I talked to Pastor Schmidt and Mrs. Elowski about doing something like that here at St. Matthew's, but we decided that it wouldn't be a good idea, at least not this year For one, it would be extremely difficult not to say or sing, "Hallelujah" on a day like today. And with the sermon text I have chosen avoiding "Hallelujah" would be all but impossible.

Read more: 130217 Psalm 150

130213 John 18:33-37

Text: John 18:33-37
Theme: Names of Wondrous Love: King

Unless you are an expert in 19th century English hymnody the name William Walsham How probably doesn't mean very much to you. How was a British minister who also dabbled in poetry. Some of his poetic words were set to music, and six of his hymns have found their way into our hymnal.

We owe William How a debt of gratitude this evening because we have modified one of those hymn titles, "Jesus! Name of Wondrous Love" (CW 76), to serve as the theme of this year's Lenten sermon series. For six consecutive Wednesdays different pastors will stand in this pulpit and explain the spiritual significance of names like the Way and the Truth and Immanuel and Christ Crucified. Tonight we begin with a divine name that sounds more like an earthly title, but when we apply this title to Jesus it becomes a name of wondrous love: KING.

Read more: 130213 John 18:33-37

130210 Luke 9:28-36

Text: Luke 9:28-36
Theme: "It is Good for Us to Be Here"

About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, ''Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what he was saying.) While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ''This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him." When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

This is the Word of the Lord.

"It doesn't get any better than this. It is good to be here." Perhaps you have said this to yourself as you sat in your favorite spot on the lake or in the mountains, or as you sat in front of a warm fire on a cold and snowy night. In our Gospel Lesson for today, we read that Jesus' disciple, Peter, along with James and John had the opportunity to witness a glimpse of the Savior's glory. This caused Peter to say: "It doesn't get any better than this. It is good for us to be here." On this Transfiguration Sunday we travel along with the Savior, Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain. As we witness the Transfiguration of our Lord, we say along with Peter: " IT IS GOOD FOR US TO BE HERE!"

Read more: 130210 Luke 9:28-36

130203 Jeremiah 1:4-10

Text: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Theme: I Want You!

The mini heat wave we experienced last week is long gone, but if you are like me those precious hours in the upper-fifties reminded you that the warmer days of summer are on the their way. When I think about summer I think of baseball and barbecue and the Fourth of July.

I like the Fourth of July because it is a uniquely American holiday. More than any other holiday the Fourth of July gives us the opportunity to reflect. We remember the people who fought and died to preserve the freedoms we enjoy. We remember the soldiers who are serving thousands of miles away from their families and friends. With fireworks and parades, we salute the men and women (including some of our own members) who have answered our nation's call to serve.

That call is captured best by one iconic symbol, a poster. The picture depicts a gray-bearded man decked out in patriotic red, white, and blue. There is a sense of urgency in his eyes as he points his finger at anyone who passes by and says, "I Want You." Uncle Sam and the United States government want you to serve your country.

In our sermon text for today you could say that the Lord is pointing his finger at someone, and his call has even greater urgency.

Read more: 130203 Jeremiah 1:4-10

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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