Thanks, Rosemary; Matthew 2:1-12; Sermon Thoughts for January 8, 2012
2012-01-05 by David von Schlichten

You are right on target in saying that baptism tears lives apart into before and after. Hallelujah! Such language could easily help hearers to regard baptism anew.

THOUGHTS ABOUT FOLLOWING THE STAR: What does it mean to follow God's star? How do we know when we are seeing the light of God and when we are being deceived? Why is it that some people do not see the light?

A parishioner of mine suggested that Herod and his religious experts don't see the Star. They seem to have no awareness of it apart from the magi's account. So is part of the message of Matthew 2:1-12 that some people simply do not see the Star, that the Star is not visible to all?

What do you think? Follow Rosemary's example by submitting a post for possible publication here.

Listening to twelve drummers drumming (the're driving me crazy!), I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Torn Apart
2012-01-02 by Rosemary Beales

Thank you, David . . .I like your connection with Gen 1 and the light. I also focus in that reading on the "separation"  - how God separated the light from the dark (and later would separate the waters above from the waters below.) Like you, I love the power and verve of the Markan baptism account -- esp. the verb rendered as 'torn apart' in the NRSV. The lives of those baptized are torn apart into "before" and "after," even if they are "cute little babies." Their lives after baptism are different because they are called God's beloved and charged to live in covenant with God - a demanding covenant that expects them to see the "beloved" in others. Immersed in the Christian life, soaked in the stories of scripture, they (we) are "marked as Christ's own forever." Torn apart from the life that might have been, we are made whole by love. 

At least that's where my musings are taking me today. 

Initial Thoughts for January 8, 2012, the Baptism of Our Lord
2012-01-01 by David von Schlichten

JESUS' BAPTISM has been a conundrum for many of us in the Church. Why was Jesus baptized? Was he being a role model for us? Did the baptism teach him something about himself? Why does it matter to us that our Lord was baptized?

OUR BAPTISM: We preachers often use this day to reflect on baptism in general. One message that people need to hear is that baptism confers upon us humans an identity-change that demands a change in our behavior while also empowering us to make that change.

Genesis 1: God's voice creates light. The Word of God produces light that leads us. How does the voice of God generate light in our lives?

Acts 19: What does it mean to receive the Holy Spirit? We How can we tell if someone has the Holy Spirit?

Mark 1:4-11: Jesus' baptism features the ripping open of heaven, the descent of the Spirit in dove form, and the Voice declaring that the Son is the Beloved with whom God is well-pleased.

The ripping open of heaven foreshadows the ripping of the Temple curtain at the end of Mark. In both cases, we have the tearing away of a boundary between God and people.

The Spirit's descent is not a gentle lighting but a swooping penetrating.

In other words, the baptism of Jesus is not a sentimental moment but a shocking moment, and the same is  true when some cute little baby gets baptized.

Baptism is shocking, radical, an exorcism, an inversion and invasion, not something cutsy, thanks be to Trinity.

What thoughts do you have? Feel free to email me or to submit a post for possible publication.

Wishing the Orthodox a Merry Christmas, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator

Sermon for January 1, 2012, New Year's Day, Name of Jesus
2011-12-31 by David von Schlichten


Sermon on the New Year and the Name of Jesus

for St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church,

Youngstown, PA

with Sunday January 1,  2012,

Name of Jesus,

with the Reverend Dr. David von Schlichten

(word count: 786)

The Name and 366 Days

January 1, 2012: Today we focus on Jesus’ name. The angel Gabriel told Mary that her baby’s name must be Jesus, which means “God saves.” When the baby was born, Mary and Joseph did indeed name the baby Jesus.

As is often the case with names, Jesus’ name points to his identity. He is “God saves.”

How exactly does God save us through Jesus? Of course, most importantly, he saves us through dying for us to give us eternal life. The baby grew up and died on the cross to rise again so that we could live forever in heaven. Our sins no longer drag us down to hell. Jesus has cut us loose so we can, by God’s guidance, fly to heaven. Sins: forgiven. In the strong name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we are baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection, so we have freedom and power because of the strong name. We have life forever because of the baby whose name is “God saves.”

But Jesus is not just “God saves” for the next life. Jesus saves us in this life, too. How does he do that, how does Jesus save us in this life? Jesus saves us by comforting, teaching, challenging, and encouraging us in this life. In this life, Jesus saves us from ignorance and foolishness by guiding us through Scripture. In this life, Jesus saves us by responding lovingly to our prayers. In this life, Jesus saves us by strengthening us through each other. Even though we sometimes squabble and annoy each other, Jesus is still here, working through us, using us to make each other’s lives better. In this life, Jesus also saves us by feeding us his body and blood, what the Book of Concord calls the real presence of Christ in, with, and under the bread and wine of Holy Communion.

How else does Jesus save us? How else does Jesus live up to his name, God saves?

Just think: because Jesus is God saves, has saved you, you have a new name, a new identity. You have an identity that is perpetually new all throughout the year. Through baptism, God showers you into a new life, a new identity, a new name. Your name is now “Child of God.”

Hold fast to that name throughout this year.

On February 5, remember that God Saves has won the championship, has won the trophy, has defeated Satan and made you into an eternal champion. Jesus has won us a place on God’s team, and we are to respond by playing, by loving one another. May we live up to the Name.

On March 20, remember that God Saves has ensured that, no matter how brutal the winter, spring will always come. With God, winter never lasts forever. Sooner of later, spring comes. It always does. May we be spring for others. May we live up to the Name.

On April 15, may we respond to the love of God Saves by finding new ways to volunteer to help others. May we live up to the Name.

            On May 27, may we respond to the love of God Saves by allowing the Spirit to kindle in us a new dedication to live up to the Name by finding new ways to take care of each other and the rest of creation.

            On June 16, may we bloom in response to God Saves. May we journey home to remember whose we are. May we live up to the Name.

            On July 25, may we respond to God Saves by praising God for all the saints who have come before us. May we live up to the Name.

            On August 17, let us respond to God Saves by vowing to be safe and loving for all the vulnerable, including children, animals, the elderly, the poor. Live up to the Name.

            On September 12, let us respond to God Saves by cherishing our special, golden relationships, showing people we hold dear how much we value them. Live up to the Name.

            On October 11, let us respond to God Saves by remembering to unother one another, not treating others as inferior to ourselves, but valuing all people as equal. Live up to the Name.

            On November 6, we shall respond to God Saves by casting votes in accord with God’s will, striving to help our nation be a place of love, justice, and mercy. Live up to the Name.

            On December 21, we shall respond to God Saves by savoring anew that Christ was born in the dark to assure us unending light.

The Name. All 366 days. Time is short. By God’s power, let’s get busing living the Name. Alleluia!

Sermon Ideas for January 1, 2012
2011-12-28 by David von Schlichten

Name of Jesus: The name means "God saves." How does Jesus save us besides forgiving us our sins and granting us eternal life? Of course, forgiveness and eternal life are the highest of gifts, but Christ does indeed save us in other ways.

You could preach on the power and significance of names, especially names for God. Muslims, I believe, have 99 names for God, by the way.

It's Still Christmas: How does one celebrate Christmas after the festivities are over but the season continues? How do we celebrate Christmas without the celebrating seeming perfunctory or tired?

One way might be to pick up on the idea of newness in the year and juxtapose that with the newness of the Birth. New Year's Day can be a day for rejoicing over how the Birth makes us new.

RESOLUTIONS: Through Christ, God made us resoution to us, and God, unlike us, does not break resolutions.

PAST AND FUTURE: It is easy and tempting to be pessmistic about both, but the Christmas story calls us to be theoptimistic. We take the stonings and murdering of the innocents very seriously, while also rejoicing over the Birth, including by living the Birth.

NUMBERS 6: The Aaronic blessing. What does it mean to pronounce a blessing? Doesn't God always shine upon us, look upon us with favor, and give us peace? Why do we need to pronounce a blessing then?

PSALM 8: This psalm reminds us of how we small we are, how special we are, despite our smallness (thanks be to God), and how big of a responsibility we have to care for God's creation.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to email them to me or to submit them for possible publication here.

Joining a gym, I am

Yours in Christ,

David von Schlichten, Lectionary Blog Moderator 

[First Page] [Prev] 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 [Next] [Last Page]

Login - (This login is for administrators and bloggers. Usernames and passwords for GoodPreacher subscribers will not work here.)