Trinity Sunday Sermon, 2017

Trinity Sunday, 2017
John 3:1-15 (16-17)
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Where are Church and State separate?

I don’t ask because there’s one answer—I ask because there are so many answers.

Some people will tell you that the two are, or at least should be, completely separate.

Some people will tell you that the two are inseparable.

For the Lutheran Church, and even for Luther himself, describing the place of the State in the life of the Church is a difficult task.

Here’s why this is important—and here’s why it’s this is important in the context of Trinity Sunday.

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Pentecost Sermon, 2017

Pentecost, 2017
John 14:23-31
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Define “peace.”

Would you agree that “peace,” as we use the word, can be defined as “the general absence of trouble”?

I think that’s a fair place to start—but is that how Jesus uses the word peace?

Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).

But what kind of peace did Jesus have?

Or what about this: When Jesus speaks of peace, the peace that He possesses and gives to us, what’s going on around Him?

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Easter 7 (Exaudi) Sermon, 2017

Exaudi (Easter 7) Sermon 2017
John 15:25—16:4
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Jesus says, “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away” (John 16:1).

We see, very clearly, what Jesus desires: that you do not fall away.

He wants everyone to live and reign with Him forever. He wants us to have and keep the faith, be baptized, eat and drink His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of our sins.

Jesus wants us to be saved.

And to that end, Jesus says “all these things” to us.

But what are “all these things”?

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Ascension Sermon, 2017

The Ascension of Our Lord, 2017
Mark 16:14-20
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

The sermon tonight is intentionally brief and simple.

The topic is not.

How—on what basis—can we say that the bread and wine that we eat and drink in the Sacrament of the Altar is Jesus’ body and blood?

The simplest and best answer is: “Because Jesus said so.” And, the Ascension gives us another opportunity to see and understand the how behind our understanding of Jesus’ authority, enthronement, and presence with us.

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Baccalaureate Sermon, 2017

Baccalaureate, 2017
John 16:23-33 / Matthew 6:9-13
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

In the fictional world of Harry Potter, what are the three Unforgivable Curses?

The Killing Curse—Avada Kedavra.

The Cruciatus Curse—Crucio.

And the Imperious Curse—Imperio.

Do you know the origins of their names? Do you know why the spell for the Killing Curse is Avada Kedavra?

You’ve heard the same phrase before as abracadabra. It’s Aramaic and means “Let the thing be destroyed.” The “thing” was usually a disease and the phrase a cure, but J.K. Rowling turned it into a curse.

Crucio comes from what? Latin. Crucio means “I torture.” We see this especially in the word crucify.

And Imperio—whence comes Imperio?

We’ll come back to that one.

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Easter 6 (Rogate) Sermon, 2017

Rogate (Easter 6) Sermon, 2016
John 16:23b-33
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

You can’t always get what you want. But…what?

But if you try sometimes, well, you might find, you get what you need.

The world teaches us that if we try, we get what we need. If we put forth the effort necessary, we get what we need.

It’s up to us.

That’s what the world teaches.

Today, Jesus teaches us to pray, and so it’s good to ask:

Does prayer rely upon your faithfulness or God’s?

Should the Rolling Stones have taught us to sing, “You can’t always get what you want…so pray the Lord’s Prayer, because God’s going to provide your daily bread”?

That wouldn’t have sold many albums, but it’s right.

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