Advent Preparation

Martin Luther loved Christmas. There are countless stories from students who would stay with the Luther family at their home, a converted monastery that they opened to many visitors and guests. He would grow more and more cheerful as Christmas approached, students reported, and gather his...

Advent 2 A: Reclaiming Repentance

Matthew 3:1-12, Isaiah 11:1-10 Dear Partner in Preaching, What do you think: Is there any chance we can reclaim the value of the word “repentance” this Advent? Or, for that matter, Advent itself? Here’s why I ask. I’m guessing that most of our folks assume repentance means saying you’re sorry. Or better, that you’re really, really sorry and will never do it – whatever “it” is – again. And, sure, that’s a part of repentance but, honestly, a pretty small part. As you know, the heart of the word repentance means turning around, starting over, taking another direction, choosing another course. All of those actions by their...

Giving Thanks To God

I hold and believe that I am God’s creature, that is, that God has given me and constantly sustains my body, soul, and life, my members great and small, all my senses, my reason and understanding, and the like; my food and drink, clothing, nourishment, spouse and children, servants, house...

Advent 1 A: Watching for God Together

Matthew 24:36-44 Dear Partner in Preaching, I am writing this letter to you on the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day. In a few hours, stores will open and people will flock to cash in on Black Friday deals. It used to be that Black Friday started on, well, Friday, but as you likely know those shopping “opportunities” have slowly but surely crept back into the wee hours of Friday morning, then to midnight, and most recently into the evening of Thanksgiving Day itself. On the whole, we seem to have a very hard time waiting for things. So did the early Christians to whom Matthew was writing. Keep in mind that Matthew likely writes in the early...

Luther on Education

While we’re on the topic of public education… Okay, so we weren’t on that topic, but rather Luther’s understanding of good government. Last week I cited Luther’s urgent appeal to the city councils and magistrates of Germany to establish schools as an example of what government was...