Sermon for Pastor’s Conference

Listen Here.

Read after the jump (If you must).

Some comments about this sermon:

  1. Each circuit takes turns preaching at our conferences.  It was the turn of the High Plain’s Circuit.  I was told by my Circuit COUNSELOR (Grr.  Stupid District Convention) that I would be preaching.  I said I wouldn’t be there.  He said I would.  Turns out he is better at predicting the future than I am.
  2. The sermon has been slightly altered so that I no longer say that Mary saves us.  (Don’t even ask – of all the times to misstate something so badly…)
  3. My favorite comment came from the son of one of our pastors : Cats and Dogs don’t wear makeup.
  4. This sermon represents that “shotgun approach” to sermon writing : Talk about everything, so that everyone will get something from it.

With all of those disclaimers, go ahead and listen.  Or read.  Or whatever.

He Created them male and female : The man first, and then the woman, with a bone taken from Adam’s side.  Order of Creation, or to put it in Catechism terms, the fourth commandment.

They shall become one flesh : marriage.  The sixth commandment.

Since Lutherans like to speak of law and Gospel, it would be one sided of us not to also note that this is first article stuff.  Creation.

Of course, in Song of Solomon, husband and wife, naked and unashamed, is the image of the Lord God and His Holy People Israel.  Or as Saint Paul calls it : Christ : Second Article, and His church : Third article.

Two commandments and all three articles of the creed.  According to the conference schedule, we have seven minutes allotted for the sermon.  We probably won’t get through everything that is presented in just these few short verses.  But a few comments are in order.

The command to lead a chaste and decent life in word and deed is given for our good.  We were created as sexual beings, but we were not created for sexual promiscuity.  Dogs and cats can rut in the streets without consequence to there psychological makeup.  God could have created us this way.  He did not.  There are attachments that go with intimacy.  There are consequences for promiscuous behavior that are not easily borne.

The difference between cats and dogs, and man, is that mankind was created in his image.  Dogs and Cats were created by a Divine Word “Let there be” and it was.  Humanity comes out of a divine conversation, “Let us make man in our image.”  Humanity comes from an act of God “God formed man from the dust of the ground.”

And we were created in his image.  Unlike the animals, we can reason, we can talk.  But also unlike animals, we can sin.  The fallen creation is not the fault of dogs and cats.  It is the fault of mankind.  Your sin can not be blamed on any other being than yourself.  And yet, as we learn in Pieper, non posse non peccare : Not possible not to sin.  Once again, Genesis puts it so elegantly : every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all of the time.

But “God would not have the sinner dead.”  And so, the angel appeared to Blessed Virgin Mary.  The Word of God was spoken, and as Mary heard and believed that word, Almighty God did more than simply implant his word in her heart, he implanted his word in her womb.  “Blessed is she among women, all generations shall call her blessed.”  For she is now and forever, the mother of God, the God bearer.  She who knew not a man, would bear God become man, who would save man.

The savior is born, and his bride will not be, as some claim, the redeemed harlot Mary Magdalene, but the redeemed harlot Israel.  His bride will be the holy church, redeemed by him, and now presented without spot or blemish.

Saint Paul writes the classic treatise on this, which Pr Zill will preach on tomorrow.  The submission of wife to husband, the love of husband for wife.  And just at the point that our modern sensibilities are getting hot under the collar at Saint Paul’s backwards anti-feminist thinking, he says, “If you don’t like it, you have a problem with Christ and His Holy Church.”

With the Blessed Virgin Mary, the seed of the word is implanted in her womb.  For the church, the seed of the word is implanted in your heart.  And that word begets a saint.

“”No one can have God as his Father who does not have the Church as his Mother” (St. Cyprian)

This Genesis account explains why pastors must be male.  It is not simply Saint Paul’s prohibition, for if it was, it could be disregarded.  And there are those who believe in biblical inerrancy, who do just that.

The pastor must be male, not because of Saint Paul, but because of how it is that God created them : male and female.  The male to have spiritual headship.  A headship renounced by Adam in the garden at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  A headship restored by Christ, who  implants the seed of the word in his holy bride the church.  And the two are joined in flesh and blood, bone of his bone.  No longer two, but one flesh.  What God has joined together between Christ and His church, man can not put asunder.

And It is not only because “the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce” that Jesus says not to do it.  It is unbecoming for those joined eternally to Christ as part of His Holy Bride, to partake of something that puts asunder what God has joined together.

And so also, the creation is why Closed communion is the practice of the One Holy Christian and Apostolic Church : It is similarly unbecoming to invite those who are not joined to Christ in his bride the church to take part of that holy sacrament which joins them flesh and blood to Christ.

And so scripture calls unfaithfulness of doctrine spiritual adultery.

The doctrine of the church does not begin with Saint Paul, it goes back to creation, to the way he made them, in his image, male and female, and the way that he joined them together, one flesh, naked and unashamed.

For in Marriage, we have the picture of Christ and his Holy Bride the church.  Into which, by God’s grace, you have been born; in which, by God’s grace you have been joined to Christ in a one-flesh relationship. And in which you are privileged to serve, in the stead of Christ, who is our head.  Amen.

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