Sermon for the Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
July 31, 2022
Pastor Amandus Derr

Readings
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23; Psalm 49:1-11; Colossians 3:1-11; Saint Luke 12:13-2

I’ve said every one of these to myself. Sometimes, “relax, eat, drink, and be merry” precisely describes my experience. Just as often, life feels like “a chasing after wind.” Occasionally, I’ve even experienced all of these in a single day. I’m sure that, in this respect, I’m not particularly unique. One can hardly be a human living these days in this society without experiencing life as exhilaration and frustration, as well as everything else in between. Today’s readings affirm the reality of each of these experiences and simultaneously invite us to use the resources God gives for the living of these days, resources for living that make us “rich toward God.”

It’s all, you see, a matter of orientation.

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Sermon for the Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

Sermon for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
July 24, 2022
Pastor Amandus Derr

Readings
Genesis 18:20-23; Psalm 138; Colossians 2:6-19: Saint Luke 11: 1-13

There are two historic impediments to hearing the Gospel today. The first is bad preaching; and by “bad preaching” I mean one or both of two things: Either preaching that makes the Gospel useless; or preaching that turns the Gospel into law; implying that we’ve got to do something to get God to pay attention to us; “if…then” preaching, suggesting that our relationship with God is transactional: we do something for God or to God so God will do something for us. I’ve heard more bad sermons based on today’s Gospel text than on any other. So let’s deal with that impediment now. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is not telling us that if we bug God long enough, God will give us what we want. That’s not Gospel, that’s law, “works righteousness” in Lutheran terms, the exact opposite of Jesus’ absolutely unqualified Good News statement “how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!” Free gift, not human-like transaction! If you’ve heard that with God “persistence pays off,” please put that notion out of your mind. It’s useless!

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