Shine, Jesus Shine? Not Yet!

Mark 9:2-9 / Transfiguration B / 19 February 2012 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

And Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God having come with power.” (Mark 9:1)

The some “some standing here” were Peter and James and John. Sorry, no Andrew. He got left out. Three is more symbolic than four, so three disciples it is. Not four and certainly not six. Seven would be the next acceptable number. Or all twelve, but one of them was rotten. Andrew and the others would see the kingdom of God having come with power in Jesus’ death and resurrection. But for now, here in what is almost the exact middle of Mark’s Gospel, it is given only to Peter and James and John to see this “sneak peek” of Jesus’ glory as the Son of God.
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Name and Circumcision of Jesus

Luke 2:21 / Name and Circumcision of Our Lord / 01 January 2012 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21 

It’s one little verse in Luke. Easily overlooked in Luke’s narrative of Jesus’ birth and infancy. But the verse demonstrates Luke’s attention to detail. Up until this verse, he does not refer to Jesus by name. In Bethlehem’s manger he is simply a baby, a swaddled newborn with no name. When the shepherds visit, they don’t ask what most people ask when a child is born, “What’s his name?” He didn’t have a name a week ago, until today. Today He gets His name Jesus, and with His name He gets the mark of the covenant: circumcision.
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Christmas 2011

John 1:14 / Christmas Day / 25 December 2011 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

Note:  I am indebted to a 1964 sermon by Rev.  Alton F. Wedel for many of the thoughts and words expressed in here.  This sermon is dedicated to his memory. – WMC

The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us.

This one sentence captures the heart and essence of Christmas. This is more than a miracle; this is a mystery. A profound revelation full of meaning. When you get past the angels and the shepherds and the stable and the manger, when you peel back the soft sentimentalities and the holiday expectations and the nostalgic remembrances of Christmases past, there remains this infinitely deep Mystery that goes to the very depths of our existence: The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us.
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But Wait, There’s More!

Matthew 05:01-12 / All Saints / 06 November 2011 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

In the life of the believer, there is both the now and the not yet. What is seen is now, what is not yet is not yet seen. There is the now of faith and the not yet of sight. All Saints Day is about the now and the not yet. The now of this life and the not yet of the life to come.
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Reformation: Back To The Basics

Romans 03:19-28 / Reformation / 30 October 2011 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

“For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.” (Romans 3:19-28)

It doesn’t get more basic than that, does it? This is the heart of the Christian faith. In fact, this is what sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. A sinner, condemned by the Law, sentenced to death and damnation by God’s own law is justified, declared righteous by a forensic act of God’s Word, by faith, trust in Jesus Christ and His atoning blood shed on the cross, apart from works of the law. How much clearer could Paul have been?
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Holy Trinity

Matthew 28:16-20 / Holy Trinity A / 19 June 2011 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

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

And the catholic faith is this: that we worship one God in three persons and three Persons in one God, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the Substance.

“Make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20

Today is Holy Trinity Sunday, a feast day devoted to the mystery of the Godhead, a mystery that must be revealed in the Word and by the Word made flesh, a mystery that cannot be known by our own reason or senses. And let’s be honest here. If we were going to invent a god and a religion, we would not start with the paradox that God was three in Person yet one in Essence. It just doesn’t make sense. Or as the writer/apologist Dorothy Sayers put it: The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, the Spirit incomprehensible, the whole thing incomprehensible. And that’s how it should be. Any god that fits neatly inside of your head is not God.
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Pentecost: Come, Holy Spirit

John 07:37-39 / Pentecost A / 12 June 2011 / Holy Trinity – Hacienda Heights, CA

In addition to the readings we just heard, I would add this verse from Ephesians chapter 4 verse 30: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Today is, of course, Pentecost, the day the Church celebrates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as Jesus breathes on His Church from the right hand of God and gives His Church breath and life to proclaim the good news of His saving death and resurrection. It’s a day full of grace and gladness, a day of promises fulfilled.
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Easter Sunday 2011 (bilingual)

Matthew 28:1-10 / Easter A / 24 April 2011 / Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – Hacienda Heights, CA

Christ is risen! Alleluia! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

It feels good to shout that again, doesn’t it! After 40 Lenten days of hushed Alleluias in and a full year since the last Easter season, it feels to shout the Easter acclamation once again. Jesus who was crucified is risen from the dead just as He said He would. Death has lost its sting. The grave has lost its grip on humanity. Death, the greatest enemy of our humanity has been defeated single-handedly by the Son of God who came in our flesh to conquer Sin and Death for us.
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