What if today, instead of seeing me standing here or Pastor Casmer or Pastor Kolander, there was a complete stranger? Someone you had never seen before. But this stranger was wearing an alb just like this and he had on the stole, and in fact he was taller and much better looking than myself. And so you just figured that today you were going to have a guest preacher and you settle in for the service, most of which remains the same. There is a confession and absolution, there are hymns, there are readings, but then the sermon rolls around; its different. There is something off about this man’s message. He is a good speaker – very eloquent – but, but, something’s not right. You turn to the person sitting next to you and you ask, “Does this guy’s sermon sound right?” “Yeah, it does. I haven’t heard anything about my forgiveness through Christ, I haven’t heard a word about the salvation that is mine through faith in Jesus.” “Okay, well maybe he’s just hitting the law a little harder this time.” Next week the same man is here standing in front of you and again; you listen closely. No gospel. No forgiveness. No Jesus. Something’s not right, all you have to do is listen.
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