Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord make coats of skins and clothed them." Genesis 3:21

We hear from these words that man could not make clothes for himself when he had become naked because of sin, but God had to make clothes of skins for Adam and Eve. And although these clothes of skins were not as fine as the broadcloth and silk clothes which the whores of the world wear upon themselves, nevertheless they covered up the shameful parts and were a shelter from the cold weather.  But we have seen that such clothing of skins, which God at that time made for naked man, is no longer acceptable to the naked whores of the world, but they must have such clothes through which the sun shines, so that all the bucks of the world could have the eye entertainment of seeing a naked whore.  Namely, when a naked whore wants to live very meekly, she removes her sack-cloth shirt from herself and in place puts on a combric shirt, through which the moon and the sun shine.  On top of the cambric shirt she puts on a crinoline skirt, and so beautifully decked she goes to dance with the whore bucks, so that they would see her beauty.  Both breasts she leaves uncovered for pleasure for the eyes of all those who desire to look upon her, but the moon and the sun shine through her clothes, and when she comes into the sunlight or before a candle, all the shameful places are seen, although she has meekly covered those shameful places with finery.  But the meek whore does not believe that people can see her nakedness; she thinks that other people can see nothing when she herself does not see.  She does not understand that light shines through, and that those clothes of meekness which she wears are the see-through kind.  If she was so wise that she would wear clothes of skins, which God made for Eve, the shameful places would be covered better.  But those clothes are no longer suitable to the whores of the world, which God made for their Mother Eve, but now they must have such clothes through which the moon and sun shine, so that all people could see, not only their breasts which are hardly covered with the sea-through crinoline, but also other shameful places which they have supposedly covered with the cambric shirt and the see-through crinoline skirt. What does it help when she goes to the sauna and washes herself clean in front and behind before she goes to show herself to the world? She cannot anyway become so clean through that washing that the black places will not be seen. She has, namely, such black spots on her body which do not become white with natural water. Therefore God said to that old whore, Israel, "Even if you took much soap and washed yourself with lye, nevertheless your shame shows before me." When now people who have their eyes open cannot turn their backs on the whores of the world, nor do they know where they should turn their eyes when such a see-through whore comes to show her pass, with which she will get through hell's customs to travel in the kingdom of adultery. Then those people, who have not yet become entirely shameless, must say to the shameless whore of the world, "Oh for shame! are you not ashamed to show all the shameful places to the world?" Then she will say, "Are you seeing any more than what God has created?" But we know for sure that those black spots upon which the sun shines were not there in creation, nor in the innocent state, but they have grown afterward, when the lust of adultery began to be felt; and those black spots will not become covered with the cambric shirt of meekness nor with the crinoline skirt. Nor will the black spots become white even if she went into the sauna of darkness and washed herself in front and behind. Therefore the Lord also says to the meek whore, Israel, "If you would take much soap and would wash yourself with lye, nevertheless your shame shows before me." If old Adam's daughters would have put on those clothes of skins which God made for their foreparents, they would have been better able to cover those shameful places. But the clothes of skin are no longer acceptable, but now they must prepare the cambric shirts of meekness and white crinoline skirts, through which the moon and sun shine. Through those clothes the shameful places are also seen when they come before the sun or a candle.  Those shameful places were not seen formerly when darkness covered the earth and darkness covered the people.  Then the meek whores of the world lifted their blouses to the drunken ones and some also stripped off their blouse when the whorebucks came near, but then the whole world was in darkness, no one saw their devilishness.  But now light has come into the world; now the candle is put on the table; all who are in the house can see that such a life is not now acceptable which was formerly in the time of darkness.  The whores of the world do not dare to come into the wedding hall stark naked, as it once happened in Luther's time when the pope held a wedding, then all at once there came fifty naked whores to dance in the wedding hall, and all the chief priests and lords of the world were happy when these naked whores danced. But now such whores do not dare to dance stark naked in the wedding hall, but they cover the naked places with crinolines and think that people now see nothing, and nevertheless their shame is seen when they come before the light while dancing.  But if those clothes of skins were acceptable to them, which God made for Adam and Eve, their shame would be covered better. When now these naked wretches, who know their nakedness, are so foolish that they cannot make themselves clothes with which they could get along in the cold weather, and cannot cover their shame although they try to place fig leaves before the shameful places, then it would be the best advice for them that they would take on those clothes of skins, which the Heavenly Parent has made for their foreparents.  Then they would get along in the cold weather when the world's cold blizzard and tempest make them shiver so that the teeth chatter, especially on the shore of eternity, since that fire which the Saviour came to kindle has not yet really started to burn. Take upon yourselves the leather clothes, all you travelers to eternity, that you would get along in the tundras and on the billowing sea of the world, when the wind of the world, blizzards and tempests begin to rage severely in the cold weather!  For the poor travelers, the sun is not always shining, and that holy fire which the Saviour came to kindle on the earth is not burning at all times. Therefore one poor traveler needs to be covered with good leather clothes, so that he would get along in the cold weather if darkness overtakes him in the tundras. The naked whores certainly get along well as long as they lie in the devil's lap, but when their skin gets hot in that bonfire which the old man, the devil, has kindled from those dry trees, then they can cry out like they do here, "That certainly warms the butt."

Pray now, all you naked wretches who cry on the cold floor of the world, that the Heavenly Parent who has given you birth with great tribulation and shedding of blood, that He by His great love would take you into His lap and wrap you in clean linens and allow you to suckle His grace-flowing breasts. Hear, dear Heavenly Father, the crying voice of the naked wretches. Our Father, etc.


The Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14

In today's gospel our Saviour speaks about Christianity through a parable which shows that some because of love of the world cannot become Christians, and some hate and persecute those servants of the Lord who help true Christianity to prosper; some come into the Christianity or gladly receive the gifts of grace of God, but among them are some hypocrites or mouth-Christians who come into the wedding chamber without the wedding garment.  Let us observe, therefore, through God's grace: what kind of people are they who do not come to the heavenly wedding, and second: what kind of guests are they who come to the wedding, and third: what guest is he who comes without a wedding garment. May that heavenly King, who has prepared a wedding for His Son, give His grace that those few souls who come to the wedding would take on the wedding garment, and that they would be able to answer when the King asks what foundation of faith they have!

First: What kind of people are they who do not come to the wedding? It sounds from today's gospel that those respectable guests were already bidden before; they had already heard formerly that the King had prepared a wedding for His Son, but they were so pompous that they did not want to come to the wedding, although the King sent His servants many times to bid them.  They did not want to come, instead they went away, one to his farm, another to his merchandise, and some took the King's servants and blasphemed them and killed them. Who now are the pompous guests who mocked the King's servants and killed them? The expounders of the Scriptures think that they are the Jews who do not want to become Christians at all. The Jews have, namely, that old faith of Moses upon which they trust, therefore the Saviour says, "I do not judge you for there is one that judges you, namely Moses in whom you trust." But the Jews do not believe that Moses judges them, for they think that God is their father, and they become very angry when Jesus tells them, "Ye are of your father the devil." Now when the Christianity appeared, the Jews began to hate and persecute the Christians. The Jews have, namely, that faith that the Saviour is one disturber of the people, and the Christians are wild spirits and false prophets. The Jews think that the Christians are possessed of evil spirits, and therefore they gnash their teeth and stop their ears when one Christian, Stephen, cries out that he sees the Son of God sitting on the right hand of God.  The Jews become very angry when the Christians reprove them and say, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye." The Jews do not believe that the Christians are those servants of the King who call the Jews to the Heavenly wedding, but the Jews think that the Christians are servants of the devil. The Saviour also mentions in today's gospel that they went away, one to his farm and another to his merchandise.  The Jews are also noted businessmen and cunning at deceiving people, and those Jews who live in our country are also quite the liquor merchants.  Those who went to their farms are called "grain Jews"; they buy much grain in good years when the grain is cheap, and then when a poor year comes they take twice the price from the poor.  Otherwise, the Jews live decently outwardly, although the Saviour says that they strain at gnats and swallow camels; that signifies that they see many faults in the lives of the Saviour and the Christians, but their own evil deeds they do not see. Such now are those guests who do not want to come to the wedding or to the true Christianity. They mock the servants of the King and kill them. The Jews who live in these countries have not yet killed, but if they had the authority they would certainly soon make sausages out of the Christians' blood. But they cannot see yet to make sausages from the Christians' blood before they fetch fire from hell.

Second: Who are the guests who come to the King's wedding? The Saviour says that the King bid His servants to go to the highways and said to them, "As many as ye shall find, bid them to the marriage." But we know that those people, who stand on the highways and lanes, are especially the whores, thieves and drunkards, so also the robbers, who stand by the highways and lanes and watch if some person comes by so that they could gain something.  In the larger cities, the whores stand in the lanes and show their beauty to the passers-by, and sing their adulterous songs, because of which the meek damsels call them alley cats.  In the larger cities drunkards also usually stand on the highways and lanes, and there they sing their drinking songs. Thieves also stand in the lanes and watch when people lie down, that they could get to steal. Such ones the King's servants had to bid to the wedding, since the wedding was not acceptable to the lords. And so the whores, thieves and drunkards came into the King's wedding. And the lords of the world and also respectable peasants, who do not want to come to the wedding, become even more angry, when they hear that harlots and publicans go before them into the kingdom of heaven; and the children of the kingdom, that is the best men of the congregation, are cast into outer darkness. But it comes from that, that harlots and publicans have enough sin to be penitent over, but the respectable and meek ones do not have enough sin to be penitent over. The harlots and publicans, that is, the whores, thieves and drunkards who stand on the highways and lanes, come into penitence when the Christians reprove them, and also become partakers of God's grace when the heart has broken. But the lords of the world, who have a large farm and a liquor business, do not have time to become penitent and make repentance; therefore they remain without Christianity, but they are the ones who mock and hate Christians the most. Therefore the King also becomes angry and destroys those murderers and burns their cities.  But the whores or alley cats, the drunkards who call out in the lanes, and the thieves who stand by the highways, ate bidden by the King´s servants to the wedding, and they come willingly, for such vulgar and coarse sinners must become penitent and make repentance when the Christians do not give them peace of conscience. They must beg for grace, since they have no other recourse anywhere than to go to destruction if the King does not have mercy upon them.

Third: What person was it who came without the wedding garment? We hear from the Gospel that the servants of the King gathered all who they found, the good and the bad; and we hear it often said that some are true, but not all. And those who think that all are not true, can now come and examine the guests to see if they can say who are the true Christians, and who are not.  If they think that they know them, then let them come now to say who are the good and who are the bad.  But I think that those who say that all are not true are unable to examine them. Assuredly it is heard in the gospel that all are not good who become Christians, but it is unknown if the good are better wedding guests than the bad. Although the children of the world think that the Christians make themselves good when they bark and reprove the slaves of the world, and the Christians are very bad when they are no longer acceptable to the world for drinking companions, all the same they come into the heavenly wedding.

But who is that mute guest who answered nothing when the King asked, "Friend, how comest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" He became mute when he was asked how he had become a Christian.  He must be a thief of grace who has never stripped himself naked.  But it is first necessary that we understand rightly how the wedding garment is given to those guests who strip themselves naked. In the Old Testament there was the custom that when some king prepared a wedding, he also gave gave the guests wedding garments, as for example Joseph gave his brothers festive raiment, and the Father gave the prodigal son the best robe and a ring on his hand, but before these wedding garments were put on, the wedding guests had to strip off their own rags. But this wedding guest, of which it is now spoken in today's gospel, did not care to strip himself naked and change into new wedding garments. He had such great honor that he did not care to strip himself naked, and therefore he became mute when the King asked, "Friend, how comest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?" He could not answer why he had not taken upon himself those wedding garments which the King had offered him. And it should be a sign to you that everyone, who cannot say why he has come into the wedding hall without the wedding garment, has his own rags; he has such great honor that he does not care to strip himself naked; self-righteousness is so great in him that he does not need Christ's righteousness, which is the right wedding garment. But he holds himself to be a true guest, although he has come with his own black, dirty and filthy clothes. He thinks he is a true Christian, although honor is so big and stout that he becomes mute when the question comes, that how has he become a Christian, although he has not taken Christ's righteousness upon himself which was offered to him, but thought himself to be an acceptable wedding guest with his own repentance.

New take an example for yourselves, all you mute wedding guests, and consider closely why this wedding guest became mute when the question came of true Christianity, and how it will finally go with him. And you naked whores, who have formerly stripped off your blouses that you would be more acceptable to the slaves of the devil for a whore, strip off now all your own, clothes and take new wedding garments upon yourselves; strip off the old, dirty shirt, and take on a new cambric shirt which is washed in the river Jordan, which the heavenly Bridegroom has purchased for His poor bride. Formerly you have stripped off your shirt in the darkness where the people have not seen your shame, but now you must strip yourself naked before the whole world, before the angels and the devils, otherwise you will not receive new wedding raiment upon yourself, although the devils laugh, mock and sneer at a naked whore, and even spit upon her and say, "For shame, a devil's whore!  How terrible she is." And the meek whores of the world spit upon a naked whore and say, "Is that the kind the Saviour's bride is?" An old scabby and evil smelling whore of the devil who has no clear skin on her whole body, but from the heel to the crown of the head there is no sound part, but only wounds, bruises and blood blisters which have not been squeezed. As such the bride of the Saviour is depicted in the first chapter of the Prophet Isaiah, and in another place the Lord says of her, You have committed fornication with many idols, and Israel has allowed the Egyptian whorebucks to squeeze her breasts.  Is such one now the Saviour's bride, the meek whores of the world ask; they do not believe that an old scabby and evil smelling whore must be the Saviour's bride.  But strip yourself naked and show your wounds to the Saviour; who knows, He may have mercy on you, and take you for His bride, although you are one scabby whore. He will heal your wounds, and will give you new white garments. He will clothe you as a bride and will place a gold martyr's crown upon your head, in which there are twelve stars, and will put on a betrothal ring and a cross on the breast, and will lead you before the Father and all the holy angels, and say, "Here is that poor bride, which I have purchased with My own blood from the earth, and torn from the claws of the devil." Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, you heavens! for the heavenly King has prepared a wedding for His Son and His poor bride, and the wedding hall is full of wedding guests who rejoice and are exceedingly glad forever. Amen.