Showing posts from February, 2012

Christ Comes in Cross and Conflict

Many people will use conflict or the sinful actions of some in the Church for a reason to distance themselves from the Church.  They conclude: "With all the bad things that seem to happen when people get involved in a congregation, perhaps it is better just to stay home and read my Bible rather than risk such conflict and turmoil."   Some will even go so far to cite examples of negative behavior as evidence of the ineffectiveness of the Gospel: "If what they were teaching were really true, they would certainly behave better."
In a sermon on "The Seizure of Christ in the Garden," Martin Luther uses the example of Judas to counter such claims.Would anyone dare say that Judas betrayed Jesus because Jesus is to blame?  Could anyone honestly say that if our Lord would have taught him better things, Judas would not have committed so grievous a sin?No!  The Lord is holy and righteous, and the enemy of every vice.  The object of His teaching and preaching was to c…

On the Reading of Books

“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”So writes Dutch humanist and theologian, Desiderius Erasmus, a contemporary and sometimes opponent, of Martin Luther.

Anybody who has ever helped me move can testify that I can relate to Erasmus’ philosophy.I like books, all sorts of books, classic and new fiction, history, politics, academic, and more than anything else—theological books.My shelves (when I have space for bookshelves) are full of books.In addition to the 150 on the shelves in our apartment I also have one 4’ X 6’ X 7’ storage room packed with books.I’ve read all of them but about 20 that are sitting on the shelf when I get a few minutes or hours of leisure time.The best ones I’ve read several times.I’ve underlined them and made notes in them.That’s an advantage to owning a book as opposed to borrowing a book.You can go back to it again and again.

The books that you read help to shape your way of thinking.They expand your mind, your voca…

Salvation Comes in Such Simple Ways!

The text for today is our Old Testament lesson, 2 Kings 5:1-14, which has already been read.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
There was once a boat that sank in a storm in the ocean.Another boat saw the accident and went to help.Only one man was in the boat that sank.Luckily, he got out in time and was swimming pretty well, but he definitely needed help getting out of the water.The rescue boat pulled up about twenty feet from the man.Someone quickly grabbed a blue life preserver and threw it out to him.
The man in the water caught it, but then he did something odd: he threw it back.The person in the rescue boat was confused, so he hurried up and threw the blue life preserver back out to the man.This time it landed right around his head—it was a perfect throw!The man in the ocean grabbed the blue life preserver with both hands, picked it up off his head, and threw it back again!
The person on the rescue boat couldn’t believe what was …

Jesus Comes Today with Healing

The text for today is our Gospel, Mark 1:29-39, which has already been read.
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Straight from the Capernaum synagogue, Jesus goes off to Simon Peter’s house along with brother Andrew and James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law isn’t feeling terribly well. “She’s been running a bit of a fever lately, which is why she missed services today,” they tell Jesus. “Probably one of those 24-hour bug things. A little rest, some chicken soup, a couple of aspirins, and she’ll be fine.”
Yet there is Jesus, in the little house, completely there for this woman with the flu. He comes to her bedside, bends down, takes her by the hand and lifts her up. At that very moment, it’s as though there was no one else in the world but this woman. And there is no doubt as to why Jesus is there. He is there for her.
He gently lifts her up by the hand, and the fever leaves her, without so much as a Word. He sure makes it look easy, do…