Luke 2:33-40: A Sword Will Pierce Your Soul, O Mary

A maiden mother brings God, pulsing with blood and moving with muscle, into this world.  From her womb, the Lord formed for Himself a human frame.  More than any other in all human history, God united to her in a way like no other.  So, if anyone deserved preferential treatment from God, Mary should be […]

Christmas Eve Sermon, Luke 2:19: Mary Pondered

This is the hour, the place, and the time for pondering.  What a wonderful word: “ponder.”  It means something like “meditate.”  But meditate sounds a bit too active.  “Ponder” comes from the Latin word pondus, meaning “to consider, to weigh, to hold in balance.”  “Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and […]

Matthew 1:18-25: The Holy-Spirited Conception of Jesus

Today, especially within the media and intelligentsia, many mock the Christian Faith.  Sometimes, it’s subtle; sometimes, it’s not.  You may find that they treat a Christian the way someone might treat a mentally challenged person who does something awkward.  They smile, nod politely, and then quickly shuffle him off.  At best, they tolerate us; even […]

Understanding Isaiah 66:24

In adult instruction (catechesis) for those being brought into the Church, we cover many teachings of Scripture.  Sometimes, we have classes dealing with people’s specific questions.  One such class dealt without how to understand the last verse in the Old Testament book of Isaiah.  That verse reads: “And they will go out and look on […]

What are We to Make of the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

What are we to make of the traditional Lutheran position that Mary remained a virgin her entire life?  This short theological pondering from Pastor Futrell helps us look at this teaching with historic eyes.   From the time of Martin Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church taught and believed that Mary […]

Luke 2:19: Learning to Ponder

At first listen, it sounds as if the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord, has it all wrong.  St. Luke tells us, “But Mary continued to treasure all these things in her heart and to ponder them” (2:19).  Isn’t Christmas a time for celebration, not pondering and meditation? Ah, the contrast is striking. […]

Confessional Address for Advent 4: Luke 1:26-45

Few passages in Scripture astound as much as Elizabeth’s words to her younger cousin, Mary.  Exclaiming loudly, she does with Mary what her unborn child, John the Baptizer, would later do for Jesus.  She proclaims the coming of the Lord. Elizabeth’s prophetic words begin with, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit […]

St. Mary, Mother of God: Luke 1:39-55

Whenever possible, artwork has always adorned the chancels of Christian churches.  Since the beginning, the Church has never sought after stark and stern places of worship.  Even in the Old Testament, beautiful artwork and engravings adorned God’s holy Temple, according to His own specifications.  This longing to have beautiful art within God’s house continued even into […]

Christmas Eve

Intro This evening, we leave the world behind, and we travel together on a long journey.  It is a journey that leads beyond Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and gift giving.  This journey leads us to the quiet, sleepy town of Bethlehem.   We stand with the shepherds, huddled around the manger.  We stand, straining our […]