Category Sermons

Sermon Rewind: Tear the Heavens

(Note: I preached this sermon on the first Sunday of Advent in 2014) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Raise your hand if you had a mother (or father) who woke you up at 4 a.m. to go to the highest hill in […]

Sermon Rewind: The King in his Court

(Note: I preached this sermon on the Feast of Christ the King in 2008 at Wicker Park Lutheran Church). Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Imagine, for a moment, that it is England in the 14th century, and you are an ordinary person […]

Thus Does the God Stand Upon the Earth

(Note: I preached this sermon in May, 2007, at the University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel. I repost it for Kierkegaard’s commemoration tomorrow). A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke [9:51-62]: 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent […]

Sermon Rewind: Flasks of Oil

(Note: I preached this sermon on this Sunday in 2014) Can you wash off your baptism? That’s the question of a character in an astonishing new book. Lila the book is called, and the character of the same name is wondering just what she’s gotten herself into. Born around the time of the First World War, […]

They in Glory Shine

Note: I preached this sermon today for the commemoration of All Saints, which we transfer from November 1 to the following Sunday. Lutherans make a rather peculiar use of this festival, for two reasons: First, our approach to the cult of the saints was not total rejection but modification. For this reason many Lutheran churches […]

Sermon Playback: Authority

I preached this sermon on September 28, 2014, on the Gospel for this coming weekend. And it is easy, too easy, to think of this parable as being about sinners who change their ways. The prostitutes and tax collectors believed John, and were baptized, and then they stopped doing their sins. But that’s not what […]

Sermon: Holy Cross Day

I preached this sermon on September 14, 2014. Now, as I mentioned earlier we are not a society that is very interested in wisdom. The church in Corinth seems to have been divided over the question of who had true wisdom, which is not something we’re likely to lose friends over. We are, on the […]

Chicago Diarist: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

(I wrote this in January, 2007) My literary production, such as it is (and as far as I may use the term without self-mockery), is highly dependent on the CTA. Back when I still tried to write poetry, a conversation about a dead man overheard on a bus furnished the matter of one of the […]

Sermon Playback: Speaking of Satan

I preached this sermon three years ago on this weekend’s text (Matthew 16): And for Christians, this may be our special temptation and our special sin. It is to refuse Jesus as he offers himself to us. It is to look for or hope for or expect a different Jesus than the one who comes […]

Preaching Notebook: Flesh and Blood

I was stunned and saddened to see this post from Freddie deBoer on Sunday: My day-to-day existence has become entirely unmanageable, and I fear for my health and safety. I do not have much of a plan at this point other than to get checked in. When I am back out I will try to […]