“With fear and great joy”

When the Angel of the empty tomb appeared to the Roman guards, those courageous battle-hardened soldiers were so afraid that they passed out.  When the same Angel appeared to the women who came to care for the body of Jesus, they were also afraid, but they left “with fear and great joy.”  What was the difference?  The women had the Word of God proclaimed to them.  So explained our pastor in an illuminating Easter sermon, excerpted and linked after the jump. [Read more...]

What the Bible is all about

On Sunday we read the entire Passion narrative from Matthew 26-27.  Read what our pastor said about it in a sermon that contains the “God  who didn’t act like a God” bit that I blogged about yesterday.  From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Palm / Passion Sunday Sermon:

You just heard the story that all the Bible is about. This is not just part of the story, this is what it’s all about. Take this story out and the Bible is just another holy book – teaching us what to do and how to be good. But with this story, the Bible becomes a wholly different book, and everything in it gains new meaning. Everything in the Bible must be understood through the lens of this story, or not be understood at all. [Read more...]

Creation and the new creation

In last Sunday’s sermon on the dialog between Nicodemus and Jesus (John 3), our pastor drew parallels between the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters at the creation (Genesis 1:2) and what Jesus told Nicodemus about the role of water and the Spirit in the new creation (John 3:5). [Read more...]

Temptation to a false good

The Old Testament reading for the first Sunday of Lent was about Satan’s successful temptation of Adam & Eve.  The New Testament reading was about Satan’s unsuccessful temptation of Jesus Christ.  That’s a good reminder about how Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sins; he also fulfilled the righteousness that we so painfully lack.

We had a great, great sermon about it.  Read it all–and I am going to make another post about it–but after the jump I excerpt a point that Pastor Douthwaite made about temptation, how we tend to be tempted not so much by overt evil but by evils that present themselves as being good. [Read more...]

How to see what is invisible

The final gem I want to share with you from last Sunday’s sermon at our church is this quote from the early church father Theodore of Mopsuestia: “We have eyes to see what is visible, and faith to see what is invisible.” [Read more...]

“They’re not the enemy”

Have you noticed how Jesus fulfilled the Sermon on the Mount–turning the other cheek, returning good for evil, exemplifying each of the Beatitudes?  We don’t, but He did, on our behalf.

Now note how Pastor Douthwaite treats “love your enemies,” moving from Law to Gospel, with a bit of the Gospel-motivated Third Use of the Law. [Read more...]


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