Category Archives: liturgy

The Song of Simeon (Christmas 1, 2012)

Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rocklin, California
Rev. Todd Peperkorn
Christmas 1 (Dec. 30, 2012)
Luke 2:22-32

TITLE: “The Song of Simeon”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our text for today is from the Gospel just read from St. Luke chapter 2. Let us pray:

O God, our Maker and Redeemer, You wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature. Grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

I’ve always liked this reading after Christmas. It is the picture of a man who is waiting to die. Now don’t think of this as morbid. Simeon was given a promise by God that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s anointed one. So like so many others we heard about this past Advent, Simeon was waiting. He was waiting for the “consolation of Israel,” our text says. In fact, this whole Song of Simeon is packed with rich, Gospel words. So let’s take a look at them. In fact, open your hymnal up to page 165 so that you can follow along.

This translation has us starting with “let go in peace.” When I was growing up, it was “Depart in peace.” We still sing it that way in Divine Service 3. Really none of those quite get it. The word means release. It’s also the word we often translate as “forgive.” God’s forgiveness is tied up with our desire to let go of this fallen world and embrace the resurrection of the dead. Like Simeon, we need not fear anything, not even death itself. Why? Because God has released us from the bonds of sin and death in this little babe of Bethlehem.

Next we see the word “salvation”. Now that is a good church word, isn’t it? But what does it mean? Salvation. Literally, it means healing. Can you see the word “salve” in “salvation”? Salvation, save, heal, they are all one and the same idea. God has prepared the healing of the nations in the sight of the whole world. The babe, our Lord Jesus Christ, He is presented here before the whole world as the medicine of immortality. He is salvation, for only in Him can we receive the healing that we need.

The next word is “revelation”. Jesus is the light of the world that the darkness cannot understand. He is the one that enlightens us. He is the only one that can give true understanding. We by nature are, well, we’re in the dark. We don’t get it. We don’t understand how God can both love the world and be so intolerant of sin. We don’t understand death, and everything that flows from it. There is so much we don’t get. There is so much we don’t understand. But in Christ we have revelation. We hear in the book of Hebrews, “In many and various ways God spoke to his people of old by the prophets, but now in these last days he has spoken to us by his son.” What this means is that everything we need to know about God we can find in Jesus. He is the light. I don’t look in the sunset or the tsunami. I look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For that is enough.

The last one is the word “glory”. If ever there was a misunderstood church word, this is it. When I think of glory, I usually think of the wonder and amazement and hero-worship that goes along with winning a football game. Or maybe a war. Glory and pride seem to go together in our world. Glory and might or power also seem to go together.

But here, glory doesn’t mean that. It really means the gracious presence of God with His people. God’s glory in the Old Testament was in the cloud on Mt. Sinai, in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple. God’s glory meant that if you wanted to know where to find God, you don’t look in your heart, you looked right there, in the Temple. That’s where He promised to be.

And that’s where He is in our reading. Jesus is God in the flesh. Mary is, in a sense, the Temple preparing for the Temple not made with hands. In her womb the very glory of God dwelt.

And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this word in the Christmas story, is it? We also heard the angels sing it to the shepherds. Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth. God’s glory here is His holy and gracious presence with His people.

But notice who is on the receiving end of the glory in our text. Israel. Or the Church, if you will. We are the ones who receive the glory, the victory, the gracious presence of God. We sing “glory be to the Father” and then He turns around and gives the glory right back to us in His own body and blood.

This old man, Simeon, must have had quite the twinkle in his eye when he beheld our Lord in his lap. Heaven and earth could not contain His majesty and glory, yet here he is. The mystery of the word made flesh is right before his very eyes. Depart, salvation, revelation, glory. It’s all right there:

Depart in the peace of the forgiveness of sins.
Salvation or healing in the person of Jesus.
Revelation or understanding that can only come from God. And
Glory where God gives us the credit for all of his great work.

This, beloved, is why there is so much joy to be found in these words of Simeon. And we sing them every single week. These words, as our Epistle puts it, dwell in us richly. In these words we give thanks to God for all He has given to us in His Son.

It is an almost uniquely Lutheran tradition to sing the Song of Simeon at the end of our Holy Communion liturgy. But it is a really, really good one. For Simeon confesses for the whole church everything that we receive by eating his body and drinking his blood.

So come, receive the Christ-child this day, and sing with saints and angels, with Simeon and Anna and Mary and Joseph and all of heaven and earth. Christ our Lord has come to us even now. Rejoice and be glad!

Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.

Advent Donkey Preachers

We’ve all heard how if He could use a donkey then perhaps even me. Commendable humility, but don’t stop there looking at your humility–there’s more to being His donkey than that, gloriously much more. You are His donkey as you are no one else’s. Now there’s freedom! Let no one take it from you or lay on you some other yoke. …The yoke He puts on you at ordination. You belong, then, to no other lord, no other work, than what He puts you to do, than what He does by His use of you. You instrument. You donkey. For His use, for His doing, and so, Holy Ministry. …A yoke can be bondage, but not our Lord’s. He knows His donkeys and exactly where they are as Mark tells us with vivid locatedness. He has promised to be with them whom He sends. He is not a burden who crushes them. Quite the reverse. Who’s carrying whom? Dr. Luther has faithful donkey Peter say if we drown He does too. Royal donkeys. If that got through to us we would, as Luther was wont to say, die of joy.


Norman Nagel,

In the Name of Jesus, Advent 1, 1994

Advent Longing

Annunciation 1 large

It is always dangerous to say that a season is my favorite time of the year.  But there it is.  Right now Advent is my favorite time of the year.  The hymns are sublime, the Gospel is clear and beautiful.  The hope of the One to Come washes over you like a flood.

The longing of Advent for me is also closely associated with death.  Our daughter, Nadia, died in utero the day after Thanksgiving in 2005.  Our Son, Emmanuel, died in utero on December 21, 2009.  My mother died on January 9.  So this season is really a time of longing for me.  Longing for what is gone.  Longing for what can never be.

But that really is what our Lord’s coming is all about.  Our Lord’s birth is miraculous.  It should not have happened.  By all reason and common sense, it is impossible.  Yet it is true.

This season as we long for what is lost, look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  He is the One who wipes away our tears.  He is the one who will create all things new.  He is the one who has gives us hope (Nadia) by becoming one with our flesh and blood.  He is God-with-Us (Emmanuel).

Lord, make all things new.  I hope in your Word alone.

-Pr. Peperkorn


Cross+Words – A Lenten Preaching Seminar



A Lenten Preaching Seminar

The Presentation of Our Lord and the Purification of Mary

February 2, 2009

Hosted by
Messiah Lutheran Church
Kenosha, Wisconsin

Cross + Words

The holy apostles used several words to preach about the work of Jesus on the cross. Among them are “reconciliation,” “redemption,” “justification,” “covenant,” and “propitiation.” These words were not drawn, as it were, out of thin air but were already part of the Biblical vocabulary of God’s Old Testament people. By examining these “cross words” in their Old Testament contexts, one will gain a deeper appreciation of what the apostles meant when they used them to proclaim the atoning death of Christ. Based on the book by Leon Morris, The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, this Lenten Preaching Workshop will explore the Old Testament roots of these words and give suggestions on how to develop this theme into a Lenten sermon series.

Come and learn about the art and gift of preaching in Lent, flowing from His Holy Word, leading to His Body and Blood, and giving us the very gifts of heaven.


* The forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

* Great insights into the art of preaching.

* Practical advice about how to preach in Lent.

* Sample outlines which may be used.


Rev. Paul Beisel is a 1997 graduate of Concordia University in Nebraska, where he majored in English and pre-seminary studies. He is a 2001 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, where he recived his M.Div. He also recived his S.T.M. in exegetical theology from CTS in 2004, where his thesis was on the Gospel of Matthew. He is the pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Warsaw, Illinois, and Messiah Lutheran Church Keokuk, Iowa. He is also an Adjunct Instructor for John Wood Community College. He and his wife, Amy, have four children.


Registration 10:00-10:30 a.m.

The Feast of the Presentation
of our Lord and the Purification
of Mary (Festival Divine Service) 10:30 a.m.

The Reverend David Juhl, Preacher

Welcome and Opening Remarks 11:15 a.m.

First Presentation 11:30 a.m.

Lunch 12:30 p.m.

Noonday Office 1:15 p.m.

Second Presentation 1:30 p.m.

Break 2:30 p.m.

Third Presentation 2:45 p.m.

Break 3:45 p.m.

Q&A and Closing Comments 4:00 p.m.

Vespers 4:15 p.m.


Check into hotel & supper on your own 4:30 p.m.

Evening Event TBD 7:00 p.m.

Evening Prayer 8:30 p.m.


Matins (with Academy) 8:15 a.m.


There are several excellent hotels in the area. The one we recommend is the Country Inn and Suites. To make a reservation, please call:


7011 122ND AVE


(262) 857-3680

We will also be providing housing by congregation members for those interested, as it is available.


You may either email me (toddpeperkorn +at+ mac dot com)

Or call 262-551-9081

if you have any questions

Let us know you’re coming so we know how much food to prepare!