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Archive for September, 2009

Pastor M. Beecroft, 09/29/2009

Today we honor St. Michael and all the angels. Only two angels are named in the canonical books of Holy Scripture: Gabriel and Michael. Gabriel, which means, “Man of God,” announced the incarnation of the Son of God to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Michael, which means, “Who is like God?” leads the continuing cosmic battle against Satan and the demonic. St. Michael’s name could not be more appropriate. “Who is like God?”

The right and true answer, of course, is no one. Yet this does not stop creatures from attempting to be like God. Satan, originally a created angel, wanted to be like God. The prophet Isaiah reports about Satan, “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Is. 14:3-4). Satan attempted to exalt himself to the place of God. So he was cast out of the heavenly presence of the Triune God. Christ then defeated him by the victory of the cross. On the Day of the Lord, Michael and the angels will defeat him once for all. Satan’s prideful attempt to “be like God” will end in his destruction.

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Trinity 16 – Homily

Pastor M. Beecroft, 09/27/2009

The drought remained over all the land and Elijah remained at the house of the widow of Zarephath. If we recall from the lectionary text last week, the Lord had made the land as dry as dust, withholding all rain, as His judgment on King Ahab, Jezebel, and the people for their worship of the Canaanite rain god Baal. YHWH, the true and living God, refused to give rain to the earth to demonstrate the impotence of Baal. His people would learn again that He alone provides rain and all things. And they would learn the hard way. The land would not produce food. The stores of grain would run low. Food would be scarce. The people would be filled with fear, dread and anxiety. To make matters worse, the Lord sent Elijah, the only hope the people had to hear the Word of the Lord, far away to Zarapheth. There the Lord provided a widow to care for Elijah. And in fulfillment of His Word, the Lord provided daily bread for this widow, her son, and Elijah.

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The Book of Hebrews – Part 2

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Pastor M. Beecroft, 09/21/2009

In our Gospel Lesson, our Lord Jesus Christ has just called Matthew to follow him. Jesus is not asking Matthew to hang out for a while and listen to his teaching. He is not promising Matthew an easy life of comfort and happiness. Jesus is not offering Matthew a better religion or system of morality. Rather, Jesus’ call on Matthew demands his entire life. To follow Jesus is to die to yourself. Matthew is called to die to himself. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, Matthew responds and follows Jesus. Today, the Holy Catholic Church commemorates the power and grace of God at work in the life of St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. We know St. Matthew was an Apostle, one of the twelve, an eyewitness of Jesus’ death and resurrection. We confess St. Matthew wrote the Holy Gospel that bears his name and gives testimony to the life and ministry of our Lord. Other than that, we do not know much. Nothing definite is known about his later life. Tradition points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions mention of Parthia and Persia. It is uncertain whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom. We do not know much about St. Matthew.

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Trinity 15 Homily 2009

Pastor M. Beecroft, 09/20/2009

It was a time of drought and famine. The land was dry as dust. There were no crops to harvest. The stores of grain were low. Parents worried about how to feed their children. Anxiety, fear, and stress grew with the trouble of each day. People were desperate, desperate enough to leave their homes to search for food. Much like the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the thirties, the drought during the reign of King Ahab was severe.

This drought was YHWH’s judgment on King Ahab and the people. King Ahab had married Jezebel, the pagan daughter of a Canaanite King. She was not good for Ahab or the people. While Ahab was wicked enough on his own, Jezebel drove him deeper into the depths of darkness. By Jezebel’s influence, Ahab re-introduced the worship of Baal to Israel. At first, they were content to allow the Israelites to worship YHWH, or Baal, or both, but this did not last long. Soon Jezebel wanted to eliminate the worship of YHWH altogether. Religious pluralism will allow people to think their religion is one of many ways to God, but to say there is only one true God is intolerable. The faith of Israel, of course, was exclusive. When the people were thinking rightly, they confessed YHWH as the only true God. His first commandment was clear, “You shall have no other gods.” The wicked, idolatrous Jezebel hated YHWH and Israel’s exclusive faith. So she began to systematically kill off the prophets of YHWH. And the people of Israel did not really mind. Baal was fine with them. So Ahab and Jezebel and the people of Israel followed after their false gods.

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Associate Pastor Chris Tiews, 09/14/2009

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