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TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY PDF Print E-mail

TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – 10/23/16
MATTHEW 18:21-35; PHIL. 1:3-11; MICAH 6:6-8
OUT OF PITY THE MASTER RELEASES YOU, FORGIVING ALL YOUR DEBT!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center…Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN.


You wicked servant…should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?  And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers until he should pay all his debt. His debt was unpayable. The tortuous imprisonment Jesus speaks of here is eternal punishment – hell. Hell is a seriously avoided thought in our culture of death. Halloween decorations which purport to show corpses on the move or to humorously or gruesomely picture the realm of death largely mock what Jesus teaches here and elsewhere. People also much more readily speak of “hell on earth” than truly contemplating facing hell after death. In man’s expression, of course, the suffering will end. In the suffering of hell after this life it will not end.


Mormons try to oppose the horror of what Jesus taught by inventing a second chance after death. Jehovah’s Witnesses and some in pop-Christianity seek to replace hell with annihilation – simply going out of existence. Whether by fire that does not go out, or weeping in outer darkness or unending imprisonment, Jesus does not teach non-existence. He clearly teaches the reality of hell. In fact His mission can never be understood without the punishment of death and hell.


That brings us to Peter’s haunting question of accountability. “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  How often will my spouse – my child – my parent - my pastor – my fellow member – my friend - sin against me and I forgive him?  You see injury to others is inevitable in this life. Dr. Luther used some humor in making this point about causing harm or doing damage in external relations. He did so by noting how we even damage ourselves - inadvertently biting our own tongues or accidentally scratching our eyes (WLS – 1583). Adam’s sin so deeply poisons us that we do hurt others and others do hurt us. Sometimes this happens proudly and purposely as hearts seek to control others and put them in their place. Sometimes it happens unknowingly.

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ALL SAINTS’ DAY – NOVEMBER 6, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

ALL SAINTS’ DAY – NOVEMBER 6, 2016
TEXT: MATTHEW 5:1-12; REV. 7:2-17; 1 JOHN 3:1-3
THE HOLY COMMUNION OF SAINTS!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne (that is the Holy Spirit) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead (Rev. 1:1-2). AMEN. Dear Saints of God:


Remember how C. S. Lewis pictures the devil (Screwtape) teaching his nephew (Wormwood). Their dialog pictures one of Satan’s chief temptations as limiting Christians’ view of the Church to the present time. Think of Christ’s Church in our time – statistically challenged – rocked by doctrinal unfaithfulness within - mocked by media and political elites without – increasingly told that the influence of Christ’s teaching on your life and conscience must not be seen in the public square. This true but limited view of the Church Screwtape encourages Wormwood to promote. He then warns – “I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans.


Holy ones in Christ – Satan does tempt you this way - for the Church Triumphant is not visible to your eyes and senses!  To the degree that he succeeds – to the degree that the Church Triumphant falls from the hope of your heart and becomes unreal to you – to that degree you lose touch with reality. That is why the communion liturgy leads us to speak of all the company of heaven. That is why Jesus leads us to recall the unseen, eternal realm each day – teaching us to address our Father in heaven – and to pray first each day - Holy be Your Name – Your Kingdom Come – Your will be done (all) - on earth as it is in heaven.


Dear Saints of Christ – this is the day when we name our dead and today we will remember God’s gifts to Ann Lippitt – a former member for whom a memorial service was held here. This is the first year I have served you that no current member of Luther Memorial has been called home since the previous All Saint’s Day. That is a little blip – like a candle next to the sun – reflecting eternal reality – when the dwelling place of God is with man. For then - He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Rev. 21:4)

 

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TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – NOV. 13, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – NOV. 13, 2016
TEXT: MATT. 24:15-28; 1 THESS. 4:13-18; EX. 32:1-20
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the Church at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace. Amen.


In American politics these past weeks the major parties made incredible promises if elected. The major parties also foretold titanic threats if others were elected. Dear Christians, none of the threats identified by either party correctly reveal the greatest threat facing you. It is something the politics of our land simply does not understand.


Jesus does understand. Greater than any external enemy He names the supreme threat to you His church as false teachers. In this real sense, the Church is more dangerous to you than the world is. False teachers saturate this discourse of Jesus. Amid wars and rumors of wars with famines and earthquakes in various places – Jesus does not counsel you to stockpile and strategize a plan to run for the hills.  Jesus does say, “see that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying ‘I am the Christ…’”  False Messiahs, secular and spiritual will abound. In this messianic soup Jesus warns that many will fall away, betraying and hating one another. He adds, Many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. The lawlessness He speaks of has to do with God’s law and doctrinal corruption – not primarily lawlessness on the streets. Such doctrinal lawlessness rewrites the Ten Commandments to speak and live as one wants and it therefore also despises God’s loving forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Dr. Luther said of what Jesus reveals here – “Those who have the teaching office will become the devil’s tools (LW, Vol 68, p. 275).


Greater than any external enemy Jesus names the supreme threat to you His church as false teachers. It was holy week (Matt. 26:2). Jesus had earlier wept over the holy city seeking to gather her like a hen gathers her chicks (Matt. 23:37). In these last days of temple teaching His disciples had pointed to the impressive temple buildings. Jesus had prophesied that not one stone would be left on another (24:1). Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives in private with His disciples, they asked Him – “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”  That’s when Jesus poured forth the great threat of false teachers and warned of the love of many growing cold. He added - But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. That was Jesus’ preface to today’s Gospel. His answer here to “when these things will be” commences with the abomination of desolation spoken of the by the prophet Daniel and concludes with Jesus’ words - Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures (also translated as the eagles) will gather.

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NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER TRINITY – OCT 2, 2016 PDF Print E-mail

MATTHEW 9:1-8; EPH. 4:22-28; GEN. 28:10-17
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To the saints who are at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Dear hearers of the Word made flesh:


You know how it is when 10 minutes can seem like 10 seconds. At 5:20AM – lying in bed – you tap the snooze bar. There is nothing your mind and body feel like doing more than lying on that bed. Almost instantly the alarm is sounding again and its 5:30. 10 minutes seems like 10 seconds and continuing to lie on that bed can be so very tempting. In like manner lying on that bed can be so very satisfying at the end of a long and trying day.


For the man brought before Jesus, however, lying in bed was neither tempting nor especially satisfying. Rather, for him it was a major dwelling place - even a necessary means of travel. Some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. St. Mark provides details as to their actions – digging up a roof – lowering him down as their faith pressed to be in the presence of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.” 


In the face of physical paralysis – Jesus’ statement perhaps seemed off target. The most pressing visible need was surely bodily healing – being freed from the prison of his paralysis and his bed. Day after day 10 min for him may often have seemed like 10 hours. When the sun arose each day, he did not arise to move along his way. No one wants to be a burden to others but he certainly was – carried along on this day by others. Rather than craving to lie longer in bed, he would have rejoiced beyond measure to jump up for work or for class – to exhaust himself with vocational duties and the needs of others – to sink into bed tired and weary at day’s end. But such gifts of daily bread were denied him. Some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. His need was constant. His need was confining. His need was crippling. His need was now directly in the presence of Christ.

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