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EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10/8/17

EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 10/8/17
TEXT: MT. 21:33-46; PHIL. 3:4b-14; ISAIAH 5:1-7
LOVE SO DEEP SO BROAD SO HIGH!
LOVE BEYOND ALL THOUGHT AND FANTASY!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

To all the Saints at Luther Memorial Chapel and University Student Center, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN. The Parable of the Two Sons, the Parable of the Vineyard today, and the Parable of the Wedding Feast – the Gospel for next Sunday - go together. They reveal the God of the Old Testament as the God of the New Testament whose Kingdom is graciously and lovingly given through His Son!

Jesus spoke the Parable of the Two Sons in response to the challenge - “By what authority are you doing these things?” He identified the son who said “yes” but refused the Father’s bidding as the chief priests and elders. “John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. John’s preaching and John’s baptizing caused a division in Old Testament Israel between self-righteous confidence and repentant sinners receiving righteousness as a gift from God.

Then Jesus spoke the parable of this one-of-a-kind Landlord - rich with detail about the Kingdom of God. The Lord’s care for His Old Testament people was extraordinary – planting and digging and building and leasing. He rescued them from slavery. He cut a covenant with them and gave them His commandments. He gave them an altar and the Day of Atonement and the sacrifices for guilt and sins. He planted them in the Promised Land with victory over their enemies. He gave them Sabbath Day rest for refreshment in His Word. He gave them His temple and promised to be in their midst. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Then, in longsuffering love He continued to send them His prophets. And the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first. And they did the same to them.

From Moses to John the Baptizer, none of the men God sent fared very well in Israel. Moses endured constant complaint and attempted revolt. Elijah was persecuted after defeating the prophets of Baal and followed by only a remnant (a tiny fraction of Israel). Isaiah was ignored in favor of politics. Jeremiah was viewed as a mental case. He was beaten and imprisoned. In such manner God’s people treated His prophets. God’s searching and sending love was extraordinary! So also, was their rebellion and rejection of His word through the prophets. “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?”

He sent prophet after prophet crying out “O my people!” Yet Israel often went through the motions of worship – not trusting God’s gifts in the appointed sacrifices. They looked for help in government and in pagan idols of their day. They looked for meaning in earthly comfort and pursuits. They refused to give the owner of the vineyard His fruits of faith and love and trust. Time and time again He sent His prophets to call them back. “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it?”

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The 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 3-year, Series A — 6 August 2017

Matthew 14:13-21
The 9th Sunday after Pentecost, 3-year, Series A — 6 August 2017
The Rev. Dr. Jason D. Lane

GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE FROM GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST! The text is miraculous feeding of the 5,000 from Matthew 14.


He was with the crowds, preaching, teaching, and healing the sick. But then Jesus received word that John the Baptist was murdered, decapitated as a party favor by Herod. So Jesus went off to a deserted place to mourn, the way that real people mourn when someone they love dies. All the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke put it in this order. First John’s death, then the miraculous feeding.


When Jesus heard the report about John, He TRAVELED BY BOAT to a remote place. It wasn’t late in the day. It’s just that death interrupted life. I guess the crowds were supposed watch Him go and then go back to their own lives, the way that any of us might hear the word of Christ and, when the religious service stops, go back to the weekly grind. After all, Jesus is great, but there’s work to do. We punch in and punch out, go to school, do school at home, work to stay out of debt, pay mortgages and rent and save up for car repairs, try to make peace in the home, whatever. The crowd could’ve have gone back to their lives, because the Lord is great, but there are mouths to feed and bills to pay.

But Jesus says, “SEEK FIRST THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE ADDED TO YOU.” And this crowd believed Him. V. 13, WHEN THE CROWDS HEARD [that Jesus had gone by boat to a deserted place], THEY FOLLOWED HIM ON FOOT, running along the shore. It’s a beautiful example of faith. I imagine them carrying the sick on stretchers and crying out to Him as they ran. But He didn’t seem to hear them—maybe they were shouting into the wind or maybe He was too sad to hear them at the moment—because it wasn’t until He got out of the boat that He saw the massive crowds…AND, v. 14, WHEN HE SAW them, HIS HEART WENT OUT TO THEM AND HE BEGAN HEALING THOSE WHO WERE SICK, because with Christ joy interrupts sorrow, and life interrupts death. They came for Him, but what they got was more, because it’s always more with Him. First Christ, then all things, because FROM HIM AND THROUGH HIM AND TO HIM ARE ALL THINGS!

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SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – JULY 23, 2017

SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – JULY 23, 2017
TEXT: MATT 13:24-30, 36-43; IS. 44:6-8; ROM. 8:18-27
THE SON OF MAN SOWS AND GATHERS THE HARVEST!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


To all at Luther Memorial Chapel, loved by God and called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


He put another parable before them saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field…” What beautiful Gospel! This undeserved sowing is all God’s doing! The King of Israel, the Lord of hosts (of angel armies), sowed good seed in His field. The world – His field – is groaning in bondage to decay – under the wages of death for the rebellion of sin. Yet God reaches down in profound love sowing good seed. “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me?” Indeed – who is like the Holy One - the Redeemer – who sowed good seed in His subjected-to-futility creation?


It is a mighty miracle that you believe this – that you hope in Him who sows good seed – that you are wheat – the church of Jesus Christ! Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. It is a mighty miracle that you hope for a new creation set free from all bondage to decay – even the redemption of our bodies. What beautiful Gospel is the man who sowed good seed in his field!


But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. Not just any weeds – as these sprout and grow they look just like the wheat. This cunning disguise is the work of the Master’s enemy – who Scripture elsewhere reveals disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man…The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. Dear Christians – the devil does not cease to exist because the world pretends he does not exist. Jesus identifies his work and warns against it. No pretending with Him. He who has ears let him hear.

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THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 30, 2017

THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER – APRIL 30, 2017
TEXT: LUKE 24:1-35; ACTS 2:14a, 36-41; 1 PETER 1:17-25
MATTERS OF THE HEART
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting

Christ has risen from the dead. God the Father has crowned him with glory and honor! Grace and peace be multiplied to you in His name, Amen.


In Jerusalem the word was out – the word “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth…a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people…delivered…up…condemned to death…crucified. Now it was the third day. Women, early at the tomb, reported a vision of angels who said he was alive. That very day Cleopas spoke with another about all these things. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!


In Jerusalem the word was out – the word of an open tomb and a risen Christ. But these two were headed away from the city and from the other disciples. Their sad report included their hopeless perspective. We had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Their eyes were kept from recognizing Him and they ended their account by saying Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.


And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.


What an incredible seven-mile sermon! Not seven principles to improve your lot in life – just Jesus preaching Jesus! What a homiletics class that was! Not a seven-point plan to prepare a perfect sermon – just the risen Christ preaching the crucified and risen Christ and repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name! Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

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Matthew 11:28-30, 3-Year Series A

Matthew 11:28-30, 3-Year Series A
Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center, Shorewood, WI
The Rev. Dr. Jason D. Lane


GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE FROM GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The second part of the Gospel Lesson appointed for today: Luke 11:28-30.


28] “COME TO ME, ALL YOU WHO LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST. [29] TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU, AND LEARN FROM ME, FOR I AM GENTLE AND LOWLY IN HEART, AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. [30] FOR MY YOKE IS EASY, AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.”


The One who took up the cross and who suffered in our place, who knows what it feels like to bear sins on His body, to sweat and to labor, He says now: TAKE UP MY YOKE. In the Gospel we heard, it’s a rather jarring transition in the text. Jesus moves from the knowledge of God as a gift, that we can do nothing of ourselves, and then speaks about our doing, our labor and work in this life. But He’s not talking about physical labor specifically. He means what we prayed for in the Collect of the Day: “Be our strength and support amid the wearisome changes of this world…” It’s as if He made the transition from Trinity Sunday to Labor Day and skipped the whole summer, from His work of revealing Himself to the revelation of our work with Him in this world.


But this is about work, and so we’ll do Labor Day a bit earlier than we planned. The YOKE Jesus is picturing is a great, big piece of bent wood—like an upside down U, with a connecting brace of wood across the bottom. But it’s not intended to hurt us. It’s meant to help with the labor, because, after all, we were created in this world to work by our Father’s side. The weariness that overcomes us, can’t be from the Lord, because He invented work and redeemed us, so that we’d work with Him while it’s still day, as we so often pray. So if you’re sick of work, it must be that you’re trying to pull the cart without a yoke. Or else you’ve got the wrong yoke on.

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THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT – MARCH 19, 2017

THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT – MARCH 19, 2017
TEXT: JOHN 4:5-30, 39-42; ROM. 5:1-8; EX. 17:1-7
THE WORSHIP THE FATHER SEEKS IS
JESUS QUENCHING YOUR THIRST FOREVER!
Rev. Kenneth W. Wieting


Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.


“Is the Lord among us or not?” If He is, if we are receiving Him who is the water of life, why are we not perfectly satisfied? Why do we thirst after harmful things? Why are we constantly tempted to drink from the shallow wells of this world?


(Exodus 17:1-7). “Is the Lord among us or not?” That is the question the Israelites asked at Massah and Meribah (meaning “testing” and “rebellion”). Newly freed from bondage to Pharaoh the Lord had sweetened bitter water for them at Marah (Ex. 15). He had rained down manna and quail for them to eat (Ex. 16). There was so much power in what they had witnessed in Egypt. There was so much promise in what God had in store for them. There was so much love and blessing in His daily provision for them through His servant Moses. But, the people of Israel were complaining again, for they were thirsty again. “Is the Lord among us or not?”


They quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.” Thirst is a powerful desire. It can cause far stronger actions than grumbling. So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And drink they did! Those grumbling, ready-to-stone-Moses people failed the Lord’s testing. It was they who tested Him with their rebellion. Yet He mercifully gave them water to drink. The Lord who spoke to Moses there in the desert was Christ. The spiritual rock who accompanied Israel and from which they drank was Christ (I Cor. 10:1-5).

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