Sermo Dei: +Peg Seitz+

Text: Luke 5:1–11

Dear Family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“It’s not about me.” That’s what Peg wanted to get across – she titled her book with this sentence. It’s not about Peg. It’s about Jesus. Everything is about Jesus; all of life is about Jesus. That’s what Peg believed.

This belief is a gift from God. Jesus says, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” The one necessary work that God asks of us, and that God works in us, is that we believe in Jesus Christ, our Savior. Peg believed in Jesus Christ, her Savior.

But she couldn’t do it on her own. She was sinful from conception, just as King David knew he was when he wrote down those words in Psalm 51: “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Like all of us, Peg was dead in her transgressions.

But new life was given to her from God. Her faithful parents brought her to the font, where she was baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection on October 1, 1953. Thereafter she walked in the “newness of life” that Paul describes in Romans 6, which we spoke together at the beginning of the service. “We were buried therefore with [Jesus] into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Having been blessed with the baptismal gifts of a regenerated heart, the Holy Spirit, faith, and the complete and certain forgiveness of her Sin, Peg could rightly say that it wasn’t about her. It’s all about Jesus, for her; and for you.

Continue reading “Sermo Dei: +Peg Seitz+”

Sermo Dei: +Edward Pontarelli+

Text: John 6:27–40; Revelation 7:9–17

Dear Alice, Terry, Cherie, family and friends; grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21b)

Those are words of tremendous faith, uttered by Job. He’s just lost everything: home, property, servants, even all his children. And yet he remains faithful and leaves all things in the hands – the merciful, loving, trustworthy hands – of the Lord.

I remember these words coming up somewhat casually on Wednesday night, after our dear Ed had fallen asleep in Christ. So I want to bring them up far less casually now: these words of Job teach us how to respond to everything which we go through in our lives. The mark of a Christian is to trust that God’s will is good for His beloved people – no matter how difficult it is.

Continue reading “Sermo Dei: +Edward Pontarelli+”

Sermo Dei: +Mary Brockhouse+

Text: Psalm 23

Maurice, Patti, Tony, David, family, friends, brothers and sisters in Christ: our Lord has seen fit to call our beloved Mary to Himself. “What God ordains is always good.” That’s a hymn text you can cling to over these next weeks and years. What else can we say but “Amen”?

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus.

That same Lord Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and indeed He is. He was Mary’s shepherd. He’s my shepherd. He’s the shepherd of all his sheep. And like a Good Shepherd, He goes out and seeks and finds and saves the lost. He found Mary. Continue reading “Sermo Dei: +Mary Brockhouse+”

Sermo Dei: +Kevin James Trimpe+

Text: Luke 7:11-17

Dear Cindy, Jared, Ryan, Curtis, Hillary, brothers, family, friends; Our Lord’s comfort be yours today as you mourn.

Funerals have a bittersweetness to them. We’re here in Christ’s Church because this man – Kevin James Trimpe – belongs to Christ; He is a child of God who has received Christ’s forgiveness and life. At the same time, though, this isn’t where we want to be today. This isn’t what we want to be doing. We want no part of death, or the great sadness that comes with it; especially when it’s a man we love and who loved us.

resurrectionWe want no part of death because it scares us. We want no part of death because it reveals to anyone who’s looking just who we truly are. We are sinners. So was Kevin. We all are slaves of sin; and so we behold our reward: death. We want no part of it. We desperately want to deny it or at least move on from it as quickly as possible.

This is, I think, in large part why we don’t know what to say to people who are mourning. What do you hear at the reception? “I’m sorry for your loss.” “My condolences.” “Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.” “He’s in a better place.” “It’s going to be OK.” And you know what? All of these are fine things to say. They are the best we can do on our own at offering comfort, especially when we have been made most uncomfortable.

We say these things because though we empathize, and we want to help, we know that there’s nothing we really can do to help and so we don’t really know what to say.

The Gospel lesson for the funeral service today is the same Gospel lesson that was heard here in the Divine Service this past Sunday. The story told in these few verses teaches us that when it comes to funerals, the one who can speak the most comforting words – the words that give us true comfort and hope – that person is Jesus only.

Jesus approaches the widow there at Nain, and He speaks to her. But it’s a little shocking, at least at first: “Do not weep.” That is, Jesus says, “Stop crying.” Which seems a bit blunt. But Jesus says this because He has in mind what He’s about to do.

Jesus stretches out His arms and halts those who are bearing the boy’s body to the grave. And He opens His mouth again and speaks words which make alive: “Young man, I say to you, arise!” And the young man sits up and begins to speak. He is fully alive.

Jesus’ words and actions here are a comforting lesson for us. Jesus can gently tell us that there’s no need for weeping, because He has all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus has the power to forgive sin. Jesus has victory over death.

This is the most important thing you can ever hear. Jesus, the Son of God, became man to trample down death by His own death. And this resurrection of this young man at Nain is a preview, a foretaste of things to come.

On the Last Day, Jesus will return and say “Arise!” to all the dead. Kevin will sit up, stand up, behold Jesus. It will be just like we heard in the reading from Job. Kevin will see Jesus with his own eyes, in his own glorified, perfect body that Jesus has resurrected. Sickness and suffering, ill-health and mysterious ailments will not return.

When Jesus raises the widow’s son at Nain, He shows us who He is. He is the Lord God, the only one who has true power to give life. And we learn what His eternal kingdom looks like. Death is not natural; it’s not just a part of life. Death has no place in Jesus’ kingdom. So there is no death. There’s no sickness, no pain, no weeping. Death is defeated, Jesus reigns. And where Jesus is, there is forgiveness and life for His people – for Kevin.

When Jesus rose from the dead, He dies no more. Death has no more power over Him. On the Last Day, Kevin will rise from the dead. He will die no more. Death has no more power over Him. For he belongs to Jesus, forever and ever.

Dear friends, this is our hope, for Kevin and for ourselves, in Christ. Not a hope based on speculation or wishful thinking, but on the promises of Jesus. Christ dies and was raised. Kevin has died, and he will be raised from the dead on the Last Day into the joyful, wonderful, glorious eternal life with Christ.

How do we know this? Because Kevin is a baptized child of God. We heard this at the beginning of the service. In Kevin’s baptism Jesus gave His own death and resurrection to Kevin. Christ joined Kevin to Himself, and Himself to Kevin. Christ’s death for sin is Kevin’s death. Christ’s resurrection from the dead is Kevin’s resurrection. Christ died, was buried, and was raised. The same is and will be true for Kevin.

So do not weep, Cindy. Do not weep, Hillary, Jared, Curtis, Ryan. Or, I should say, do not weep as those who have no hope. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Kevin believes in Him, so though he dies, yet shall he live. Everyone who lives and believes in Christ shall never die. Jesus is the Christ, the one who has taken all sin with Himself to the Cross. Jesus is the Christ, who was raised on the Third Day as a promise of eternal life. And Kevin is His. On the Last Day, Christ will resurrect Kevin and give Him everlasting life. And in Christ, we will be there with him.

Amen.

Sermo Dei: Resurrection

Text: Mark 16:1-8

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

The will of man shall never overpower the will of God. Today we hear the proof of this.

Man’s will was to elevate himself, reject God, and then make a new god in man’s own image. This is the god who grants you whatever your heart desires. This is the god who smiles approvingly at however you decide to live your life.

When the true God breaks into our false lives, we push back all the more. We’re so deluded that we’re convinced we can keep Him out. If we have to, we’ll declare Him dead.

Man will kill God if he must. And so we did. The will of man is to sin, declare it freedom and enlightenment, and thus imagine that we’ve “grown up” from the fairytales of God. In our will to sin, we killed God. We crucified The Lord of Life by hanging Him on a tree. Our will did this. Our sin did this.

But He did not stay dead. For it was the will of God that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, would die for the sin of all. Our will killed Him, but it was God’s will all along that He should die.

For natural man, death is the end. But not for God. For when the women went to the tomb, they did not find the Son of God dead. Instead they received the wondrous good news: “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”

The will of man shall never overpower the will of God, for it is God’s will that the Lamb who was slain now has begun His reign!

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

The work of Satan shall never overpower the work of God. Today we hear the proof of this.

Satan’s will was also to defeat God by killing His Beloved Son. Satan entered into Judas, so that Jesus would be betrayed. Satan sifted Peter like wheat, that he too would deny Jesus and despair. Satan worked through His children, the teachers and leaders of the Jews, so that they would arrest Jesus and hand Him over. Satan acted through a Roman governor who would rather guard his job and life than free an innocent man, even in the face of city-wide upheaval.

In Satan’s domain did the hosts shout and jeer, / For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones fear. Satan had the victory, he thought. He had manipulated God’s creatures into even rejecting their own Messiah. Just as in Eden so long ago, His twisting and lying had again brought condemnation to humanity.

But the will of God should have been apparent to Satan. God had laid it all out, creating the system of sacrifices that showed anyone who would listen exactly how He planned to forgive sins. As clever as Satan thought he was, God had the upper hand.

“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was slaughtered. The will of God was to crush Jesus. The will of God was to cast Him off into death. The will of God was to make Jesus as one untimely born, one who appears to by no means be the way, or the truth, or the life, one whom to look upon is unbearable.

Satan’s seeming victory is his complete defeat. For again, the Good News at the tomb: “He has risen; he is not here.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Death and the grave shall never overpower God and life. Today we hear the proof of this.

Death and the grave had claimed their most precious prize. Into the tomb was laid the body of the Son of God, lifeless, cold, dead. The Creator was subsumed into His creation. The Light of life was taken away to where there is no light nor life. The gates of hell had seemingly prevailed against the kingdom of God.

And yet on the third day light crept back in. Breath was drawn. Lifeblood flowed through His veins. Warmth and color returned to His skin. The stone was rolled away. The gravecloths, those marks of slavery to death, were cast aside and laid there in the tomb to stay. The Suffering Servant emerged as the King of all creation.

O grave, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? It has been stolen from you, ripped away and cast aside to never be useful again. Death has no power. The grave has no terror to cast upon us any longer. For the One Man has stepped out of you, being raised by God from the dead.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Let us hear this marvelous good news:

The will of God is that sin would be forgiven. And it is. For Christ has died and Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The will of God is that Satan would have no power of you. His accusations are all empty words. His lies are exposed to be only that – untruths now completely exposed in the One who is The Truth. For Christ has given Himself into death and Christ is risen! Alleluia!

The will of God is that death and the grave are no longer the gaping maw of hopelessness and meaninglessness and terror for mankind. For Christ has died and has entered there. He has declared His victory to the spirits in prison. He has descended into the place of the dead and has emerged forth victorious, glorified, and oh-so-very-much alive.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Dear beloved, today listen and hear that this good news is also for you. Lay hold of this promise. Believe it. For where Christ has trod you do not have to go. Satan is powerless over you. The Holy Spirit has been given to you, that you would seek to align your will with God’s. The grave has no hold on you any longer. You will merely fall asleep, and when Christ calls out on the Last Day you will awaken. And your eyes shall behold Him, and not another. Only Jesus, the Christ, who has died your death and has been raised just as you will be.

Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)
Alleluia! Christ is risen! (He is risen indeed! Alleluia!)

Amen.