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  • "Leading a Chaste and Decent Life" (Sermon on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20)

    01/16/2021 10:29:09 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 17, 2021 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Leading a Chaste and Decent Life” (1 Corinthians 6:12-20) Have you seen the January issue of the Lutheran Witness? On the cover it has a quote from Luther’s Explanation of the Sixth Commandment. It says: “We should fear and love God so that we lead a chaste and decent life.” And that’s the theme of the issue: The articles are on how we as Christians should lead a chaste and decent life in what we say and do. And so, when I looked at the Scripture readings coming up for today, I thought, “Wow, the Epistle lesson ties right in...
  • "The Baptism with Our Lord" (Sermon for the Baptism of Our Lord, on Mark 1:4-11 and Romans 6:1-11)

    01/09/2021 12:02:15 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 10, 2021 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Baptism with Our Lord” (Mark 1:4-11; Romans 6:1-11) Today we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. On Wednesday we celebrated the Epiphany of Our Lord. That makes today the First Sunday after the Epiphany. And that means that today, as we do every year on this Sunday, we hear an account of Jesus being baptized, whether from Matthew, Mark, or Luke. This year it’s the account from Mark. And Mark says, “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.” And you say, “OK, so Jesus got baptized. Why is that...
  • "Why Have a Special Epiphany Service?" (Sermon for the Epiphany of Our Lord, on Matthew 2:1-12)

    01/06/2021 2:54:38 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 6, 2021 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Why Have a Special Epiphany Service?” (Matthew 2:1-12) So here it is on a Wednesday. And we’re having the Divine Service. How come? It’s not Sunday. “Pastor, why are you dragging us out here in the middle of the week, in January, to have church? What’s the big deal about Epiphany that we should come out on a non-Sunday?” In other words, “Why Have a Special Epiphany Service?” Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you now. There are a number of reasons, which I will explain. But first, what are not the reasons for having a special Epiphany service?...
  • "At Home in God's House, Growing in Wisdom" (Sermon for the Second Sunday after Christmas, on Luke 2:40-52)

    01/02/2021 10:04:28 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | January 3, 2021 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “At Home in God’s House, Growing in Wisdom” (Luke 2:40-52) We just sang: “Within the Father’s house the Son has found his home.” Even at twelve years old, Jesus was at home in God’s house. And earlier in this service, we sang: “For He is our childhood’s pattern, day by day like us He grew.” Jesus is our childhood’s pattern, but he is also our adulthood’s pattern, as well! Listen to these verses from today’s Gospel. At the start of the reading, Luke 2, verse 40: Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was...
  • "A Great Way to End Things" (Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas, on Luke 2:22-40)

    12/26/2020 10:05:00 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 27, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “A Great Way to End Things” (Luke 2:22-40) Our text today is the story of Mary and Joseph presenting the infant Jesus at the temple and the reactions of Simeon and Anna. As we will see, what happens in this story is “A Great Way to End Things.” And that applies not only to the persons involved but also to us. A great way to end things. The first thing it ends is Mary’s time of purification. Reading again the opening verses of our text: “And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they...
  • "The Word: Tabernacled and Received" (Sermon for Christmas Day, on John 1:1-18)

    12/24/2020 8:50:53 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 25, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Word: Tabernacled and Received” (John 1:1-18) On this great festival of the Nativity of Our Lord, Christmas Day, the Holy Gospel every year is St. John’s profound prologue that opens his gospel. And today, as we look at this text, I want to zero in on three portions of this prologue, under the theme, “The Word: Tabernacled and Received.” First, the Word. And that literally is the first thing John writes about in his gospel, namely, the Word. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the...
  • "Christmas in Three Acts" (Sermon for Christmas Eve, on Luke 2:1-20)

    12/23/2020 11:26:44 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 24, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Christmas in Three Acts” (Luke 2:1-20) The Gospel reading that we hear every year on Christmas Eve, Luke 2, verses 1-20--this account naturally falls into three sections, three parts, corresponding to the three paragraphs you find in your bulletin. In a way, it’s like a play that has three acts. Only this play is entirely factual; nothing fictional about it. It really happened this way. And when I say it has three “acts,” I not only mean that the story presents itself in three scenes, but I also mean that these are acts of God. In other words, God is...
  • "The Handmaid's Tale" (Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent, on Luke 1:26-38)

    12/19/2020 6:43:51 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 20, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Luke 1:26-38) I’ve never seen the program, but I have heard about a television series called “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The premise of the show is that there is a tyrannical, theocratic government that is oppressing women. Of course, the religious people are portrayed as evil. The women that they are oppressing and enslaving are called “handmaids.” Well, the American Left have seized upon this, and in some of their marches, their women dress in the handmaids’ costumes as a way of protesting how religious people in our country are oppressing women. However, in the Holy Gospel for...
  • "The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From the Deportation to the Christ" (Advent sermon on Matthew 1:1, 12-17)

    12/16/2020 10:35:49 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 3 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 16, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From the Deportation to the Christ” (Matthew 1:1, 12-17)During this Advent season, we are preparing to meet and greet our coming king. The king is coming--to us, for us--coming at Christmas, coming at the end of time, coming now into our midst through Word and Sacrament. So we prepare to meet him--in repentance, in faith, in holy joy. That’s what Advent is all about. But this king we are preparing to meet--this king who comes to us--this is a lowly king. Lowly, not high. Lowly, humble, coming in a way you might not expect. Our...
  • "The Year of the Lord's Favor" (Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent, on Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11)

    12/12/2020 7:01:58 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 13, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Year of the Lord’s Favor” (Isaiah 61:1-4, 10-11) We’re coming to the end of this year, and what a year it has been! 2020--a year that will live in infamy! Our country has had a very tough year: Covid-19, economic shutdowns and lockdowns, people losing their jobs, people losing their businesses, people losing their lives. We had rioting in the streets, looting and burning, and governors and mayors letting it happen. We had a tense election season, with the results very much in dispute. What a year it has been! Those “year in review” retrospectives you’ll see at the...
  • "The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From David to the Deportation" (Advent sermon on Matthew 1:1, 6b-11)

    12/10/2020 8:50:34 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 9, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From David to the Deportation” (Matthew 1:1, 6b-11) Last week we began looking at how Matthew begins his gospel. He begins with a genealogy, a genealogy that takes in much of Old Testament history. It is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. But Jesus was, first of all, the Savior of Israel. He is the promised Messiah, who fulfilled the promises given to Israel’s forefathers. Jesus came into the world as the culmination, the climax, of Israel’s history. And so Matthew writes: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the...
  • "Messengers Marking Out the Messiah" (Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent, on Mark 1:1-8)

    12/05/2020 10:57:45 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 6, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Messengers Marking Out the Messiah” (Mark 1:1-8) In centuries past, in lands where there were kings, when the king was about to go visit various parts of his realm, messengers would be sent out, heralds, to go ahead to each town and announce the soon arrival of that mighty monarch. “The king is coming! Everybody get ready! The king is on his way!” And the people would know what to do. They would clean up any trash littering their town. If there were potholes in the roads, those would get filled in. Got to have everything in order for the...
  • "The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From Abraham to David" (Advent sermon on Matthew 1:1-6a)

    12/02/2020 9:35:57 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 7 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | December 2, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Genealogy of Jesus Christ: From Abraham to David” (Matthew 1:1-6a) I am interested in family histories and genealogies. My own, for example. I am a direct descendant of Peter Gunnarsson Rambo, one of the first Swedish settlers in America back in 1640 and one of the founders of the colony New Sweden along the east coast. Peter Rambo’s name, by the way, was the inspiration for the movie character Rambo. My maternal grandmother was Grace Rambo Clark, and, through that Clark connection, I am related to William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and governor of Missouri. So...
  • "Reserved for a King" (Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent, on Mark 11:1-10)

    11/28/2020 1:09:57 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 1 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 29, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Reserved for a King” (Mark 11:1-10) Happy New Year! No, I’m not time-traveling ahead to January 1. But it is a new year today. A new church year, that is. Because today is the First Sunday in Advent, and thus the start of a new church year. And every year on the First Sunday in Advent, we have as the Gospel reading an account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Which seems a little odd, doesn’t it? Here we are in Advent, the season leading up to Christmas, and we get a reading for the start of Holy...
  • Thanksgiving 2020

    11/25/2020 2:38:37 PM PST · by lightman · 3 replies
    American Lutheran Publicity Bureau ^ | 25 November A.D. 2020 | Peter Speckhard
    When we picture the classic, stereotypical Thanksgiving scene, what are we picturing? The glow of candles, the golden turkey, the large table laid out with the feast, the family gathered in their Sunday best on a Thursday, perhaps with a “kids’ table” in the background—it has always been more of a Norman Rockwell-esque idea than a reality for any particular family. The real pictures of what is going on in tens of millions of homes around the country on Thanksgiving Day would show tens of millions of distinct, unique variations on that theme. They would have a certain, central aspiration...
  • "Giving Thanks in--and for--2020" (Sermon for the Day of National Thanksgiving, on Philippians 4:6-20)

    11/25/2020 3:04:19 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 26, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Giving Thanks in--and for--2020” (Philippians 4:6-20) We have come together today to celebrate America’s Day of National Thanksgiving. This is the time every year when we gather in our churches to give thanks to God for his blessings on our country. However, this year is 2020. And if you listen to most folks, you would think there is nothing to be thankful for this year. But is that really the case? Today I want to tell you that it is possible to have a happy Thanksgiving this year, under the theme, “Giving Thanks in--and for--2020.” All of our readings today...
  • "The End Is Coming" (Sermon for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, on 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 and Matthew 25:31-46)

    11/21/2020 3:00:54 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 20, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The End Is Coming” (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Matthew 25:31-46) The end is coming. The end of the church year, I mean. In fact, today is the Last Sunday of the Church Year. Next week we’ll begin a brand-new church year with the First Sunday in Advent. But the thing is, the church year mirrors the life of Christ and the course of history. That’s why, in these darkening days of November, our readings and hymns deal with the last things, the end times, and the return of Christ on the Last Day. Think of the hymns we’ve been singing this...
  • "Living as Children of the Day" (Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Zephaniah 1:7-16)

    11/14/2020 11:31:36 AM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 2 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 15, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “Living as Children of the Day” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30; Zephaniah 1:7-16) “Christ has brought us out of darkness, made us children of the day.” The hymn we just sang was written to go with the three Scripture readings assigned for this day. Each stanza corresponds to one of the readings. The point of the lessons and of the hymn is this: The day of the Lord--that is, the return of Christ--the day of the Lord is drawing near, a day of both judgment and salvation. For us it will be a day of joy, because of what Christ...
  • "The Parable of the Ten Virgins" (Sermon on Matthew 25:1-13)

    11/06/2020 7:37:50 PM PST · by Charles Henrickson · 4 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 8, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “The Parable of the Ten Virgins” (Matthew 25:1-13) Today we are entering the last three Sundays of the church year. And, appropriately enough, the readings these weeks all have to do with the end times and the second coming of Christ. You see, the church year mirrors the life of our Lord, culminating in his return on the Last Day. And so the last things of this age are emphasized in the last days of the church’s calendar. But while we know exactly when the church year will end, we do not know when our Lord Jesus Christ will return....
  • "For All the Saints, With All the Saints" (Sermon for All Saints' Day, on Revelation 7:9-17)

    10/31/2020 11:26:54 PM PDT · by Charles Henrickson · 8 replies
    stmatthewbt.org ^ | November 1, 2020 | The Rev. Charles Henrickson
    “For All the Saints, With All the Saints” (Revelation 7:9-17) Yesterday, October 31, was Reformation Day, when we remember how Martin Luther had to break with the Roman Catholic Church. Luther made it clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone and not in the slightest measure by our works. This teaching of justification is the central teaching of the Christian faith. It is the article by which the church stands or falls. And the Lutheran Church is still waiting for the Catholic Church to correct her errors, but she has yet to do so. So...