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Archive for August, 2010

Sunday School Lesson by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft

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Homily by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft, 08/29/2010

Our Gospel lesson this morning almost begs for a lawyer joke. So a lawyer, a priest, a levite, a Samaritan and Jesus walk into a bar…. We hear “lawyer” in our lawyer-filled culture and we have certain associations. Since there are so many lawyers among us, I will not make those associations for you. The lawyer in our Gospel lesson, however, practiced a different sort of law, a specialty largely unknown to us.

Then, a lawyer was also known as a scribe. He was probably a member of the Pharisee party and functioned as a respectable professional in society. Scribes studied, defended, and instructed on God’s law for the benefit of the people. As a professional expert, scribers were responsible for administering and judging God’s law in the Jewish courts. So this man knew the law, inside and out. There was nothing this man did not know about the law.

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Homily by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft, 08/24/2010

Where is St. Bartholomew? He is clearly not prominent in the Holy Scripture. Even the appointed lessons for his festival day appear to leave him out. The Christian tradition holds that St. Bartholomew proclaimed the Gospel in the Middle East and Asia; in places like Armenia, Arabia, Persia, and even India. Reliable reports claim he suffered martyrdom in modern-day Azerbaijan, being skinned alive before he was crucified upside down. This tradition is likely. Then there are the legends. The people of Lipari, a small island located between Italy and Sicily, contend that his body washed up on shore there and was miraculously recovered by the children of the island. Now their Cathedral of St. Bartholomew the Apostle claims to possess a large piece of his skin and a collection of his bones. His skull, however, was transferred to Frankfurt. One of his arms made it all the great Canterbury Cathedral. People in these places would suggest that St. Bartholomew, or at least bits and pieces of him, can be found there. We will not look for St. Bartholomew in such places. The fanciful and profitable legends of relics may be something, but they are not reliable or trustworthy. We will not find him in those places. So where do we find St. Bartholomew?

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Sermon by Rev. Christian C. Tiews – 08/22/2010

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel” (Isa 29:18-19).

A mixture of sadness and excitement hung in the air at the port of Bremen in November 1838.

Within a span of two weeks, five sailing ships carrying a total of over seven hundred Lutherans from the Kingdom of Saxony would cast off and bring the passengers to a new and as yet unknown home across the Atlantic Ocean.

Tragically, one of the five vessels would go down with all hands.

But after a harrowing voyage, some eight weeks later the remaining four sailing ships would arrive in New Orleans.

The Saxons would travel up the Mississippi River and eventually put down roots in Perry County, Missouri.

Why did these Lutherans leave their homes in Saxony?

Because the government back home had prohibited the teaching of Biblical truth in Lutheran churches.

This was something these Christians would not tolerate.

You see, over thirty years earlier, Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia had merged the Reformed and Lutheran churches in his territory by force.

And as this unfortunate practice spread to other regions of Germany, including Saxony, the Calvinist doctrine of the Reformed churches gained the upper hand.

Consequently, the Lutheran churches were forced to give up the ancient teachings of early Christianity.

Instead they had to adopt biblically unsound teachings, which had been invented only three hundred years earlier.

Any Lutheran who resisted Reformed doctrine was persecuted and even thrown in prison for wanting to adhere to the original Biblical teachings which had been handed down to the Apostles by Christ Himself.

In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.

Nine years after they had settled in Missouri, under the leadership of C.F.W. Walther, the Saxon immigrants would form the nucleus of what later would become the LCMS.

These Christians knew that the key to keeping their faith free from heresies and errors was to make sure that true Biblical doctrine—as exposited in the Lutheran Confessions—would be taught in their churches and passed down to their children.

***

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Sunday School Lesson by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft

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Homily by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft, 08/15/2010

Submission. The word alone makes us cringe. As modern, enlightened, prideful people, the idea of submission is reserved for dog training. Dogs submit to their masters. We do not submit to other people. Submission is not an appropriate word for our relationships. At least not for progressive, educated people. Some six years ago, when I presided at my sister’s wedding in Virginia Beach, I based my homily on Ephesians chapter five, where St. Paul writes, submit “to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” For ten minutes, I attempted to encourage my sister and brother-in-law to submit to one another as Christ submitted Himself for us. Our Lord Jesus Christ, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, and yet He submitted Himself to death for our sake, even death on the cross. The submission of Christ for sinners was a submission of love and service, it was not an authoritarian, autocratic, dog-training submission. No. Christian submission is one of love for the sake of neighbor. Still, the word “submission” plugged the ears of my sister’s friends. After the wedding, they approached my sister and brother-in-law, shocked that her brother would use such antiquated, pre-historic language and categories. I was a woman-hating, low brow caveman. I was an unenlightened, dull, imbecile. Never mind the inseparable connection of submission with the love of Christ for sinners. Utter the word, and the modern, prideful, arrogant, evolved person shrink back in horror. Submission belongs to dogs.

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Sunday School Lesson by Rev. Mason T. Beecroft

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