Epiphany 7 A: Telos

Matthew 5:38-48 Dear Partner, Ahh, the temptations we preachers are going to feel as we read this difficult passage! I’ve preached it enough, and you probably have to, to be familiar with at least two of them. The first will be to not take it seriously. I call this the “Lutheran temptation” simply because when Lutherans get to really difficult says from Jesus, we tend to assume that Jesus didn’t really expect us to do these things, only to remind us of our inability to satisfy God’s commands so that we might flee to Jesus for forgiveness and grace. While I’m not sure this actually reflects Luther’s thought, some of his...

Vocation in the New ...

“The Christian shoemaker does his or her duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”  I love this oft-quoted saying of Luther because it gets to the heart of his understanding of vocation. And that is, quite...

The Divine Exchange

In this manner Christ takes to himself our birth and absorbs it in his birth; he presents us with his birth so that we become pure and new in it, as if it were our own, so that every Christian might rejoice in this birth of Christ and glory in it no less than if he, too, like Christ, had been...

Hallowing Creation

The more we draw Christ down into nature and into the flesh, the more consolation accrues for us…. [Indeed,] how could God have demonstrated his goodness more powerfully than by stepping down so deep into flesh and blood, that he does not despise that which is kept secret by nature, but...

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...