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Showing posts from October, 2012

Amazing Grace

Today a visitor came to church, sat alone, thumbed through the hymnal before the service and during communion.

After the service, he asked someone to help him find the thing he'd found about confession. Several people, including myself, tried, but failed. He kept looking for nearly half an hour before he found it and signaled to me.

He had found this section of Luther's Small Catechism:
What is confession? Confession consists of two parts. One is that we confess our sins. The other is that we receive the absolution, that is, forgiveness, from the pastor as from God himself and by no means doubt but firmly believe that our sins are thereby forgiven before God in heaven. 
He pointed this out to me and said, "Do you do this?"

"Do you mean, am I the person, the pastor, who would assure you of God's forgiveness?"

"Yes." He then went on to name some struggles and then said, "Can you, as the pastor, give me forgiveness?"

On a Sunday where we…

You Know Why They Built That Calf (Sermon 10/7)

Exodus 32:1-14
It is said that when Augustine preached, in his role as the Bishop of Hippo, that he preached for two hours or so at the time. Within the length of his sermon, he would have smaller sermons that were directed at different people who might be gathered in the congregation. He would preach to people who were just hearing of the faith. He would preach to the catecumenate, the people preparing for baptism. He would preach to those feeling lost and to those who were a long time in the faith. Everyone sat through all of the sermons, absorbing the lesson aimed at them and the lessons that swirled over them.
I have been thinking about Augustine this week as this text of the Golden Calf turned over in my mind. There are at least six sermons here. All of them do not apply to all of you. I think I can cover three of them and keep my time under two hours.
The first group to whom I will speak today are those who would consider themselves young in faith, those who still feel raw and u…