Holy (Maundy) Thursday (1 Cor 11:23–32; Jn 13:1–15, 34–35)

Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO


How do you gauge God’s love for you? We think all sorts of things about how you know that God loves you. If your life is generally pretty good, if you are generally pretty good (healthy or whatever), if you’re generally a nice person—in all these sorts of ways we figure out if God loves us and how much He loves us.

But what about experiencing God’s love? How would you go about doing that? We want to feel something. As if love is simply a feeling. (That’s what we think today.) Don’t get me wrong: if you feel something (joy, sadness, anything in between), that’s okay as far is it goes. But it’s not a sign of God’s love for you, nor is it a sign of how weak or strong your faith is.

“God is love:” each person of the Trinity putting the other two first. Anyway, experiencing that—God’s love: how? Well, we look inside ourselves. We meditate on whatever (Jesus, His death, His resurrection, whatever blessings we’ve received), and by our meditation, our works, our spirituality we try to drum up some sort of feeling because, we think that’s the sign of true faith.

We boil it all down to feelings: a quiver in the liver, a lump in the throat, a glistening of the eye. God’s love, Jesus’ love is something far different than all that, it’s more concrete. Faith is same way too, too. Continue reading


Maundy Thursday (Lk 14:16–24)

“Welcome to the Feast”
April 2, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bossier City, LA


(1. Oops!: Nothing worse than excuses)

There’s nothing worse than excuses. We hear excuses all the time. It often seems that most, if not all, politicians are the kings and queens of excuses. But we also get it in our every-day lives. We get excuses from people at work. We get it from our friends, even our family members too! We ask them to do something, and, when it doesn’t get done, we get all sorts of excuses. We get the grown up equivalents of “the dog ate my homework.” Or maybe just: “I didn’t have time.” “I forgot.”

It’s all very frustrating, We hear excuses not only for things we ask people to do, but we hear them when we want to do something for others. We want to have a get-together, go on a special vacation, make a special dinner, and we hear all sorts of excuses about why they can’t come, why it’s a bad idea, and how they want something else for dinner. It’s more than frustrating. Excuses seem to be the name of the game in our lives and in our parable this evening: “One and all began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I bought a field, and I must go to see it. I ask you, have me excused.’ Another said to him, ‘I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to inspect them. I ask you, have me excused.’ Another said, ‘I married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’” Continue reading