Μεγαλύνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν Κύριον [Luke 1. 46b]

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Saint Matthew 17. 1-9
The Transfiguration of our Lord: 25 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

“The lightnings lightened the world; the earth trembled and shook.” This is Law. This is Sinai. This is even “old natured sinners,” Peter, James, John, and you reacting to The Lord’s “Light of Light.”

  What you think you want—lightning miracles, and thunderous power—and what you really need: being found, being washed, being restored, being bandaged and bound up, being covered with balm to staunch the bleeding and pain, being fed, and being given peace at Table and Side.

   Christ’s Transfiguration is not just about how He, the Nazarene, the Carpenter’s Son, is in reality The Second Person of The Trinity—I AM—come to Redeem Israel.  Although to be sure, that is a reality and it should have been impressed upon Peter and the brothers.  This theophany of Christ as God was also not to strengthen Christ’s humanity with a “rah-rah you can do it Jesus” pep talk from the Old Testament heroes.  The Prophet and The Torah writer did on that mountain top what they had always done and will always do: talk about Jesus’ Gospel in His Exodus for you.  They were doing what Paul calls “preaching Christ Crucified.”

   Your sin, because you are a sinner, is that you crave the experience of what James and John must have felt; the excitement, the fear, the transcendence, the unique “specialness” to be there with the God/Man.  That is pride and ego oozing out of your Adamic heart: Repent!  You are a mass of rotting dead flesh in-and-of yourselves…not special one whit.  Looking for excitement or entertainment or empowerment to “come off the mountain and do great things” is all Satan’s lie.  It’s the Exodus of Jesus.  It’s the love, the Grace of Jesus, Who is God, that makes this text not historical but today!  You are no longer dead and blackened husks. You are transfigured IN Christ for He is IN you!  You were and are transfigured—you are + Baptized!

Jesus does the Exodus…the going into your hot desert of sin and temptation and He triumphs by perfect obedience.  When you sinned this last week, and earlier this morning, Jesus kept the Commandments perfectly. He went on an Exodus to Calvary where He made sure you passed through the Red Sea by having His own sea, flood, gusher of His red Blood part your way to Heaven. You were carried over to His sheepfold not on dry land but on His very Body—scarred and punctured and speared.

   How amiable are The Lord’s Tabernacles—His tents.  And what are those tents?   Your bodies are tents of God, yes, but only by way of Christ in Baptism, Eucharist, and Preached Word.  Jesus is the Tabernacled GOD.  When He is IN you and you are IN Him you are His Body because He makes it so!

   O Lord of Hosts Jesus is…Gabriel, Raphael, Michael and legions surrounding Him.  But The Host of your Feast is The HOST in the Sacramental bread which IS His Body Itself.  And yes, your soul WILL faint during the long Lenten week until it finds Sabbath; REST, here in His arms.

  Christ is fairer than the children of men, not that He is Hollywood handsome but in that He is the perfect second Adam—the sinless Man Who is God/Man. The stains which make you ugly He removes with His Blood. His fairness is found on the Tree wherein He’s covered with sweat and dirt and caked in Blood and spittle. And THAT’s what Elias and Moses were talking to Him about!

   Trinitarian imagery abounds: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; Moses, Aaron, and Hur; Peter, James, and John, Jesus, Elias, and Moses; and the Holy Triptych of Christ, the Baptist, and the Blessed Virgin. Three is perfect harmony and community wherein even “two” falls just a bit short.  For The Lover and His Beloved always desire LOVE between them.  The Groom and His Bride always produce children.

   The Voice (The Father), the Cloud (the same Counselor who helps inform and inspire Peter’s later account in the Epistle), and The Lamb are Trinitarian Godhead.  Jesus is the fullness in flesh for He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Jesus raised on high between two malefactors. His Work completed; His obedience now credited; His Bloody Body drawing all His to His feeding side—His Blood and Body.

   Is it magic? Oh yes, it’s the deepest of magic’s for it is true and real: substantive, constructive, originative, generative and constitutive.

   This Transfiguration in Scripture is this morning’s Transfiguration of His brethren, of you, as you are assembled on a mountain in which you never need leave.  You depart the structure called Augsburg for the desert outside yes, but with Christ inside you, The Transfiguration of Jesus’ presence safeguards and preserves.

   You, dear Saints, you are fairer than the children of men for you are now the children of God. Grace is poured into your lips.  Jesus transfigures you and says: “sit thou at My right hand.”  Hallelujah!

In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Confession of Saint Peter: Homily

Saint Mark 8.27—9.1
The Confession of Saint Peter: 18 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson

In The Name + of Jesus: The Christ of God

   Who do you say Jesus is?  If all you can say is that He is God’s Son you’re saying nothing more than a damned Mormon.  If you answer He’s the “Lord” but you do not believe the Biblical content of Kurios as understood by the Saints from Moses, Elias, and Esaias all the way to Paul and John, you’re nothing more than a Nestorian heretic.  No wonder the Blessed Virgin Mary is denigrated by non-denominational Protestants.  Only by knowing Who Jesus is can one appreciate who the Virgin is.

   Philip of Macedon was a powerful warrior and brutal conqueror. He was the father of an even more famous world ruler Alexander…called “great.” The Roman Caesar, be it Octavian when Jesus was born, or Tiberias, when our Gospel occurred, were likewise dominating Lords…masters of all their controllable worlds.  They died. They rotted. They join Judas in perdition.  Who were they?  Most people could care less.  Most people only care about themselves…and maybe their “loved ones” so long as these family members and “retainers” sufficiently comport to their will and build up their egos.  I am talking about you.  You are little Caesars and you count yourselves “great”…at least compared to other men who don’t “fast” (i.e. don’t do what you want the way you want).  Repent!

   If you had to put before the throne of God this morning your own merits of loving, fearing and worshipping Him above all the things rather than what really occupies you during your waking hours…you too would be with Nero and Napoleon in hades!  If you had to stand upon how you treat other people—the things you say about your fellow creatures—who are loved by God—your “chief of sinners” status would be confirmed in the very center of hell.  Repent!

   Hallelujah; you do not have to trust in your own works or person. Your Mediator and Savior is Jesus. And Who do you say Jesus is?

   While the answer comes from Holy Scripture, the Bible is not your Redeemer.  No “King James” or the enshrined-on-high Missoura “synod” ESV is nailed to a cross.  While the Symbols, the Book of Concord 1580, is a compendium of Scriptural Confessions—“Here I stands”—it too is no Justifier.  The Augustana bleeds for no sinner.

   The Confession of Saint Peter’s is his confession to be sure; it came out of his mouth.  This first Bishop of Rome, this “prince of the Apostles” the spokesman for the “12,” is to be rightly honored for his bold testimony.  But the words were not of his work or will.  The genesis and origin of the pronouncement was not from His faith but from God’s Grace.  As Saint Matthew also records the event (Matthew being an eye-witness) Jesus replies to Simon Peter’s confession: “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven.” [Mt. 16.17]

   The beautifully true introduction to Lutheran Worship reads: “Our Lord speaks and we listen. His Word bestows what it says. Faith that is born from what is heard acknowledges the gifts received with eager thankfulness and praise…saying back to Him what He has said to us, we repeat what is most true and sure.” [LW p. 6]

   Peter is simply the polished mirror reflecting like a moon the Light of the Sun the Light of Life—He Who is The Confession.  Jesus is The Confession of The Trinity—of God.

   So then, Who is Jesus and Who do you say that Jesus is? 

   He is not John the Baptist, the greatest human Prophet. He is not Elias, the miracle working resurrector and multiplier of food who went up to heaven without dying. “And Peter answereth and saith unto Him, Thou art The Christ.”  Saint Mark writes “Christos” the Greek word but Peter’s Aramaic or even Hebrew expression reflected the truth of all the Hebrew Scripture—Jesus is Messias!

   And Luther asks “what does this mean?”

   It means that Peter was saying that Jesus was GOD!  Jesus was YHWH, I AM, as He revealed to Moses from the burning bush.  Jesus was The Seed promised Eve, the suffering Servant written about by Esaias, the Ancient of Days spoken of by Daniel, the everlasting Son promised King David.  To be LORD according to God’s Word is to be GOD the Author of said Word!  Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us, and The Word made Flesh!  He in His Person and Work is THE CONFESSION.  You don’t do the confessing Jesus did. You receive the Confession and you repeat it back: “Oh Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise!”

   When the Apostle writes the Philippians that “Jesus Christ is Lord” he is saying by Holy Inspiration of the Spirit that the Nazarene, the anointed One (Christ) is God.  Until this truth was so perverted, challenged and compromised by Arius and other heretics, the Church of The Lord always so testified.  And after years of battle, persecution, and martyrdom, the Church again confessed, spoke back, with one mouth, what Jesus had first spoken into its heart.  At Nicea and Constantinople, Peter’s Confession—your Confession, THE CONFESSION rang forth until Jesus returns: “I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made. Being of one substance with The Father, by Whom all things were made; Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by The Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried; And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; And ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of The Father; And He shall come again with glory to Judge both the quick and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have not end.”

   With angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven…The Blessed Virgin, Saint Mark, Saint Peter, you now Confess THE CONFESSION by receiving THE CONFESSION—in His true Body and real Blood. “As often as ye eat This Bread and drink This Cup: ye do show, i.e. “confess,” the Lord’s death till He come.”

   This is The Gospel. This is THE CONFESSION.

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Baptism of our Lord: Homily

Saint Mark 1. 4-11
The Baptism of our Lord: 11 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The Name + of Jesus

   Jesus did not need to be baptized. Jesus is God. Mary’s true Son is the Son of The Father, begotten not made. The one Who approached John in the wilderness made the universe and was there to begin reclaiming the desert that your sin created.

   Jesus is sinless, the perfect unblemished Paschal Lamb.  There was no defect or stain to be washed off His immaculate Body.  There was no trespass for Christ to repent of.  Then why His baptism?

   The Lord was baptized for you. He was washed for you for the same reason He was crucified for you.  You are sinners overflowing from sinful hearts/natures in daily treasons against both God and your neighbor.  You need the sin washed off from your body. You need the dead enemy heart in your blackened corpse brought back to life. You need to be rescued from the prison house of death and the devil and given freedom, family, and adoption.

   You should be punished with death and damnation…with crucifixion of yourselves.

   But Christ was your substitute sacrifice. Jesus died on the tree in your place.  Now with faith given you by The Spirit, you can daily crucify your “old Adam” with contrition and repentance.  But your life of repentance and faith did not begin at the rail in Holy Communion, or in the nave during corporate confession and absolution, or, even at Calvary…in the sense that you were not at Calvary.  Your new life of repentance and faith began at the Baptismal Font.  In the eight-sided womb of Holy Mother Church you were birthed in Christ; bathed and scrubbed in His Blood and His pure regenerative Water.  You were washed in three handfuls of water that were not just simple water, but “…water comprehended in God’s command and connected with God’s word.”  [SC 4.1]

   God gives you in the outpouring of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism what He put into the water by the very Word of God made Flesh when He stepped into the sewer of the Jordan. 

   The Spirit constrained “all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him [John] in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”

   All those sinners, in that water, and John in light of the coming atonement of His Kinsman, washed their sins away into the swirling current.   God “cleansed” Israel when they crossed the Red Sea.  The Lord delivered them by way of crashing waves destroying Pharaoh’s host.  So too the Jews at John’s Baptism were saved from sin and death and also crossed over Jordan to God’s Kingdom of Grace. 

    And then Messiah is in their midst. Jesus steps into the flood and has all of their sins washed on to Him, washed on to His Body to begin carrying them.  His Law keeping obeyed the Commandments, and also carried the disobedience of that large crowd, and this smaller crowd, all the way to the cross.

   Your new baptized life produces new men and women.  Your cleansing creates clean new creatures that by the power of The Holy Ghost confess your sins daily and do in fact repent and fight the good fight of faith.  Your adoption of sons, whereby you cry out Abba, Father, is not an indolent and slothful relationship but an active walk of obedience and change in attitude.  You are Christ’s brethren. You have been “Christened” in the fonts bloody bath…you are “little Christs” and by Spirit you do seek to live a life worthy of your new Name and new Imputed Image…Father, Son + and Holy Ghost…the Name of Jesus!

    Baptism is “for you” because Jesus is for you. He wants to cover you with His robes and wants to be in, with, and “for you” in the Water from His blessed side, His sacred heart.  Without Jesus you die and are damned. Without His atoning Sacrifice covering and cleansing your sins you die and are damned. Without the faith which He gives you to grasp His flesh, His blood, His Water, and His person and work, you die and are damned.

   Jesus saves and He saves you in Holy + Baptism.

   “Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: ‘Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of The Holy Ghost.’” [SC 4.1b]   It His desire for you wild and hitherto dead lifeless branches to be so grafted into Him the living vine, in this humble Sacrament, which He gives to all nations…including infant and newborn nations as well as the entire family of Philippian jailers.

   What did Jesus’ own Baptism profit?  What did it profit Him?  He joyously did His Father’s will to fulfill all righteousness.  He heard His Father’s voice of love that day and saw the descent of the Paraclete.

He began finding His lost sheep and reclaiming His lost prodigals.  The family began to be rebuilt that day…this day…for every day is a day of your + Baptisms.

    “But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter third: [according to His mercy He saved us] by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.” [SC 4.3]

In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sunday after New Year: Homily

Saint Matthew 2. 13-23
Sunday after New Year: 4 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP

In The + Name of Jesus

   “That it might be fulfilled.”  The Lord is fullness. He wants you to be filled.

   You don’t need psychologists telling you that January is a depressing month. These days are the valley after the pinnacle of the Holy Days.  Change and decay in all around you see.  Foolish people make New Year resolutions that are about effort. Such efforts produce “blueness” when “will-power” doesn’t last much past half-time of the Rose Bowl.  You simply pray the Holy Ghost constrains you ever deeper into the Word and into receiving the Sacrament. 

   Your despair does not reach the level of the mothers of the dead baby boys in Bethlehem. But your struggles are yours and they hit you with an immediate pain that transcends empathy over past historical truths.

    Who will free you from your captivity in the Egypt of sickness and disappointment?

    The Lord acts. The Lord is here for you!

    The angel of The Lord came to Joseph. But it was no Elisha-like deliverance with an army of Seraphim slaughtering Assyrians in military triumph.

    The angel, the minister of the Trinity, gave Joseph a saving Word but it was a Word of the Cross.  It was deliverance by way of fleeing and hiding. It was good news of escape from Herod by waiting among strangers in a strange land.  The Word always gives what it says or requires.

   “That it might be fulfilled.”  The good news to Eve promised the deliverer would be her Seed and would have His heal bruised.  The Son of God took on flesh and veiled His Divinity in humiliation. His heal was caused to flee His birth-place and His mother’s home. His heal experienced much more work, dirt, sweat, strife, and worse in His next 30 years of visible presence.

   You do not fear, love, and trust in God above all things.  You fight the Spirit’s attempts to sanctify you by deeper immersion in Word and Supper; in love and service. Thank God the Paraclete moved Saint Joseph to action even as He had once pushed Abram out of Ur.  In time of trial your reaction is either fight or flight.  God’s answer is that “your” reaction is not what wins the day but rather His doing does what has to be done!

   The young Christ allowed His faithful Guardian and the Blessed Theotokos to spirit Him away in darkness and frailty.  This was a foretaste of the Cross at Calvary—darkness and humility.

   For your lack of trust Jesus trusted.  Jesus trusted His heavenly Father and He trusted the Word’s work upon the hearts of Mary and Joseph.  For Joseph’s sin, Abraham’s sin, Mary’s sin, and your sin, Jesus obeyed and paid.

   Like Jacob’s son Joseph, this New Testament Joseph dwelled in a foreign land. The dreams of the first both offended brothers and foretold a role as deliverer of Israel from famine and death.  The Carpenter was an offense to his family even as his Holy Charge would later be.  This second Joseph would also sojourn in Egypt until the time was right, “that it might be fulfilled.”

    The Hebrews had been in bondage to Pharaoh.  God’s chosen flock imprisoned and mistreated.  Moses was sent to bring them home but ultimately it was not Moses…for the Law can never deliver one to Peace.  It was Joshua who led the lambs over Jordan into Canaan.  “That it might be fulfilled.”

    Jesus, was eventually carried back to Mary’s hometown, no doubt on a donkey, presaging His future Jerusalem entrance.  Then there would be cheers of Hosanna instead of great weeping in Rama.  But the weeping would recommence at the foot of the tree—sorrow by a Virgin, widowed, and pierced by Her Son’s death; a death for you!  “That it might be fulfilled.”

    There are Herods everywhere.  There is even a Herod within your breast.  Repent.  Herod’s efforts were thwarted by Jesus’ passive lamb-like smallness.  Another Herod’s efforts, along with the Sanhedrin’s, were defeated by Jesus’ passive lamb-like paschal sacrifice. 

    God’s Son, the 12 tribes, were called out of Israel when the time was right.  His people came to a temporary earthly home.

    God’s only begotten Son, the Christ, was called out of Israel in the fullness of time to be your fullness.  Jesus today delivers you into a permanent sheepfold.

    The “Israel,” i.e. The Son of God, comes to His “Israel,” i.e. the sons of God—the Church of the New Testament.  You are carried back to Nazareth.  You are carried to the root and the branch of the Tree of Life when you receive its fruit—Jesus Christ.  

    Your slavery in Egypt, all Egypt’s, is over.  Your captivity to sadness and sickness is loosed.  Your emptiness is filled by Jesus.

   The “when,” is now.  The “where” is here.  The “how” is by His Word and Meal.  The “it” is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. He forgives you! Peace to you!

    “That is might be fulfilled.”  Be filled!

In The Name of The Father and of + The Son and of The Holy Ghost

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Poem that might be a Hymn

The Lord

Text: Jay Watson
Tune: Coronation; Oliver Holden, 1765-1844

Lord, catechize us with Thy Flesh

Which is The Truth indeed

Thy Body is The food of Peace

This mercy Manna feeds

Lord, Eucharize us in Thy Blood

Which is The Way indeed

Thy Bloody path the drink of light

This chalice Sabbath feeds

Lord, purify us in Thy Flood

Which is the Life indeed

This water from Thy riven side

The cleansing font doth feed

Lord Trinity, for us Thy flock

The One in Three indeed

The Spirit and The Son of Thee

Thy blessing hath us freed

- - - JWW 1/1/15

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Hymn for The Circumcision and The Name of Jesus

This Glad Eighth Morn

Meter 9, 8, 9, 8, 8, 8,
Tune: Wer weiss, wie nahe:  Christian Mock, 1813
Text: Jay W. Watson, 2014

The seventh day the good Lord did rest
All that He made was very good
Adam and Eve did fall at the test
Thus at the gate the Seraph stood
This glad eighth morn we sing His praise
God this eighth day His Son did raise

The seventh day the dear Babe did sleep  
Came the eighth His small Body bled
Mary with love held Him and did weep
To one day grasp His Body dead
This glad eighth morn we sing His praise
God this eighth day His Son did raise

The seventh day the pierced Lamb was done
And this eighth day His Gospel seeds
To eat vict’ry by His own blood won
Now all his sheep His Supper feeds
This glad eighth morn we sing His praise
God this eighth day His Son did raise