Sermon for Advent 3

Advent 3, 12/21/05, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church

“John, a son who prepares”
Mark 1:1-8

Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, you once proclaimed salvation; now grant that we may know this salvation and serve you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for Advent 3, LW, 12-13)

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” This beginning, as with other beginnings, starts with a word. In the beginning, God spoke and it was. In the beginning was the Word. And so it goes in the beginning of Mark’s gospel—-better: Jesus’ Gospel. First, the written word of the prophet of God: “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way; the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight’” (Mark 1:2-3). Second, a preached word, a proclaimed word: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Third, the Word made flesh; the One both preaching and being preached. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

What good are these words? For that matter, what good are any words? Words are expendable; words are a dime a dozen, or cheaper. Words are not to be trusted because words can be misused and twisted. And shall we heed the words of a dirty desert-dweller? His words are as wild and unpredictable as the elusive insects he eats.
Continue reading

Communion Fellowship: Thesis IX

“In Holy Communion the body and blood of Christ is actually present, distributed, and received by every communicant. Therefore it cannot, without grievous sin, be administered to those who do not confess belief in this mystery” (C.F.W. Walther, “Communion Fellowship” in Essays for the Church: Volume I [St. Louis: Concordia, 1992], 219).