Monday, August 25, 2014

Sermon Audio 8/24/2014, 11th Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo


"Who do you say that I am?" Who so we say Jesus is? Who do others say we are? Given the recent (and ongoing) unrest in Ferguson, MO, who do we say Michael Brown is? Jesus asks hard questions, and invites us to do the same.


Matthew 16:13-20


13Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

As always, listen here or subscribe on iTunes by searching "Tengwall." 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sermon Audio 8/17/2014, Tenth Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo


The history of Lutheran churches in this country is primarily a history of northern European ethnic groups maintaining their cultural identity amidst the American "melting pot" (more of a jambalaya, as the American parts remain distinct in the mix, but that's a story for another day). Seemingly in spite of, but more likely because of, this insider-focused history, as the Lutheran churches have grown up we have become more engaged in our society, more welcoming of outsiders, to the degree that Lutherans are doing vital work with unaccompanied migrant children on the southern border of the US. 

In today's lessons from Isaiah and Matthew's Gospel, we are reminded why we engage in this difficult, compassionate endeavor. We do this work because we know that God's promise is for everyone.


Helpful links for today's sermon:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran Social Services of Michigan
One Michigan Lutheran church's local efforts

As always, you can listen here or subscribe by searching "Tengwall" on iTunes.

Sermon Audio 8/10/2014, Ninth Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

Today we talked about faith in its most basic form, as trust in God. Peter trusted God until his Wile E. Coyote moment out on the water. Then what?

As always, you can listen here or subscribe on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sermon Audio 7/27/2014, Seventh Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

On this Sunday we heard Jesus tell parables about the kingdom of heaven (aka kingdom of God / reign of Christ / kin-dom of God / empire of heaven), so in this interactive sermon we tried to imagine what this kingdom is "like."

As always, listen here or on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sermon 7/20/2014 6th Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo


What's the difference between the gospel and the Gospels? Comparing today's Gospel lesson from Matthew with our first reading from Wisdom of Solomon (not even in the Lutheran version of the Bible!) can help. Confusing? Probably. Worthwhile? I hope so.

As always, listen here or on iTunes by searching "Tengwall."


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sermon Audio 7/13/2014 5th Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo MI

5th Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary Year A

Jesus tells the parable of the sower, with four kinds of ground into which the seed of God's Word might fall. If we are that ground, then I clearly see myself in one kind more than the others. Hint: it's not the good soil. Luckily for me, that's not the end of the story.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the lake. 2Such great crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat there, while the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. 5Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. 6But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away. 7Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9Let anyone with ears listen!’

18 ‘Hear then the parable of the sower. 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path. 20As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away. 22As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing. 23But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.’

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sermon Audio 7/6/2014 4th Sunday after Pentecost A

Lutheran Church of the Savior, Kalamazoo

4th Sunday after Pentecost, Lectionary Year A

Jesus' words today bring to mind the old saying, "You're damned if you do, and you're damned if you don't." Can I say that in a sermon? Based on the reactions I heard to this sermon, apparently I can, so long as that's not the content of my actual message. Law and gospel is the word today.


Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

16“But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, 17‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; 19the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”


25At that time Jesus said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; 26yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. 27All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”