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Showing posts from December, 2014

We only grow in obedience when we grow in grace

"..as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself."

"When you are baptized, partake of Holy Communion, receive the absolution, or listen to a sermon, heaven is open, and we hear the voice of the Heavenly Father; all these works descend upon us from the open heaven above us. God converses with us, provides for us; and Christ hovers over us--but invisibly. And even though there were clouds above us as impervious as iron or steel, obstructing our view of heaven, this would not matter. Still we hear God speaking to us from heaven; we call and cry to Him, and He answers us. Heaven is open, as St. Stephen saw it open (Acts 7:55); and we hear God when He addresses us in Baptism, in Holy Communion, in confession, and in His Word as it proceeds from the mouth of the men who proclaim His message to the people."

 --Martin Luther (1/19/1538 [LW 22:202])

There is no bad news in the Gospel

"The gospel is so clear that there is little need of learned interpretation. It is only necessary to ponder it well, to contemplate it, and to take it completely into your heart. None will benefit more from it than those whose hearts hold still and who divest themselves of material considerations and concentrate diligently on it. This lesson is just like the sun: in a placid pond it can be seen clearly and warms the water powerfully, but in a rushing current it cannot be seen as well nor can it warm up the water as much. So if you wish to be illumined and warmed here, to see God's mercy and wondrous deeds, so that your heart is filled with fire and light and becomes reverent and joyous, then go where you may be still and impress the picture deep into your heart. You will find no end of wonderful deeds."

-- Martin Luther, Christmas Eve Sermon

Martin Luther's Christmas Sermon, 1534

LUKE 2:1-20
After the angel’s proclamation, the whole army of the heavenly hosts sings a hymn of praise. A good message or sermon should be followed by a joyful hymn. That’s why the dear angels rejoice over the birth of this Saviour of all the world, and follow up the glorious proclamation with a joyful hymn in these words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” They divide their song into three assertions or points that form a triad, so that they cite three things: God, earth, mankind; and to each of these they attach an appropriate prayer request. To God be the glory; to the earth, peace; to all mankind, great joy. The word Wohlgefallen is bad German. The Greek text says eudokia, i.e., “joy and delight.” Their first assertion is: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST. What the blessed angels wish for God is glory, that is, they sing and wish that we people will recognize in this newly born infant the true God, and they thank God for the great, endless blessi…