Judica, 2017
John 8:46-59
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

We don’t say things like we used to.

Around the end of the calendar year, every year, schools let out for some kind of vacation. What do they call it?

Two weeks from now, the schools will let out for another kind of vacation. What do they call that?

Everyone used to call it Christmas vacation. There’s even a movie called Christmas Vacation, but it has nothing to do with either Christmas or vacation.

And everyone used to call it Easter vacation. There’s no movie, that I’m aware of, yet.

Everyone used to say, “Merry Christmas!.” And you still can, but the preference is to say what? Happy Holidays.

We’re so afraid of conflict and causing offense, that we’ve changed how we speak.

Really, we’re afraid to insist that we know what’s true.

I don’t do this often—but please indulge me for about ninety seconds, I’d like to read this: (more…)

Laetare, 2017
John 6:1-15
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

One of my favorite words—because I only thought I knew what it meant—is the word “condescending.”

Tell me, is it good or bad to be condescending?

And what does it mean?

Normally, and this was the only way I understood the word, normally, when we speak of condescension, we mean to say that someone acts like he’s so much higher up than we are, that he’s better than us, that he deigns to dwell with us, for the briefest of moments, and we’re so much better off for having been in his presence.

Pastors, especially, I think, can be guilty of this. So if I ever have or if ever do condescending magnanimity, please talk to me about it.

But, anyway, that’s what I thought condescension was—patronizingly looking down upon someone and thinking they were better for it.

But, today, we remember and behold our Lord’s condescension, how he comes down, from heaven to earth, and waits upon His Creation as though we were all lords.

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Oculi, 2017
Luke 11:14-28
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Don’t answer this question, just think about it: why do bad things happen?

I don’t mean “Why do bad things happen to good people?”. Jesus says, “No one is good except God alone” (Luke 18:19), and “[God] makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

I mean, in general, why do bad things happen?

When a serial adulterer has his manhood mangled in an accident, every Christian father of girls thanks God and smiles, because, to them, t’s not an accident.

Now, that’s a hypothetical example. It’s not real. But here’s a less than hypothetical example.

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Reminiscere (Lent 2), 2017
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt
Matthew 15:21-28

Is it wrong to hurt someone’s feelings?

I think that’s a good question, because it seems when someone says “That offends me,” (which is just another way of saying “My feelings are hurt”), that saying shuts down conversations.

Sometimes, I hope I hurt your feelings.

Sometimes, I hope God hurts your feelings.

If your feelings are wrong.

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Invocavit, 2017
Matthew 4:1-11
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Is Jesus God? Is He the second person of the Holy Trinity? Is He of the same substance with the Father, by whom all things were made? Yes, of course.

Could Jesus have sinned? Be careful. You just said that Jesus is God, of the same substance with the Father.

Can God sin? Can Jesus sin? No.

The forgiveness of sins earned by Jesus’ perfect sacrifice were never in doubt. Jesus being God means that He could not sin. He’s perfect.

So when we read of the temptation of Jesus by the devil, we need to understand that we don’t have to hold our breath and hope He makes it.

Rather, we rejoice in our Lord who has come to save us from all the assaults of the devil.

Context will help with this: (more…)

Ash Wednesday, 2017
Matthew 6:16-21
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I say that Christianity is about faithfully receiving the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake.

I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I continue by saying that Christianity is about remaining faithful to Christ.

And I don’t think anyone’s surprised if I say that Christianity is about humility before and worship of God and not prideful self worship.

So, it should be of no surprise that Jesus says: (more…)