Worship

April, 1, 2010
Text: The Verba
Preached at Lexington Retirement Home

This is Holy Thursday.  In today’s Gospel lesson, we heard about the time when Jesus washed his disciples feet.  That was the custom back in the time when people were wore sandals all the time and most roads were just dirt and dust, to wash you guest’s feet when you entered a home.  Of course, it wasn’t usually the host himself who did the actual washing.  He usually made a slave do it.

And that’s why St. Peter protested when Jesus knelt down to wash his feet.  It made him feel uncomfortable because he looked up to Jesus.  He admired him.  Naturally, Jesus should not have to perform this unpleasant task for him.  If anything, Peter knew he should be the one washing Jesus’ feet, not the other way around.  The thing he did not fully understand was that Jesus did not come in order to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Whenever I get a Sunday newspaper, the first section I pull out to read is not the Sports section or the Business section or even the World News section.  It’s the funny pages.  Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve enjoyed reading the funnies from the Sunday paper.  And I one of my favorite comic strips has always been Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz.  I love Charlie Brown and Snoopie.  One of my favorite minor characters in the Peanuts neighborhood, however, is the character named Pigpen.

March 21, 2010
Text: John 12:1-8


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had the power to instantaneously heal people?  I know medical science and technology have advanced very far and can do fabulous things today.  But still people get sick, and doctors are stumped, and people still die.  But what if you could go visit your dying grandmother, or your invalid aunt, or your brother-in-law battling lung cancer and just touch their bodies and they would be healed instantly, miraculously, by the power of God? Think of all the good you could do, all the suffering you could alleviate.

What if I had the power to heal people miraculously and instantly?  I don’t, but what if did?  What would happen if we posted that on the church sign out front, “Come and be healed”?  Most people would think we were crazy or unhinged fanatics.

But now that I think about it, I think an even more amazing power would be to be able to bring the dead back to life.  And not like zombies or weird science fiction medical experiments.  But to truly restore life to those who have died.  What would happen if we posted on the sign out front that we have found the cure for death itself and what’s more, it is free of charge?  Do you think people would storm down our doors demanding this most wonderful treasure?

Text: Romans 3:21-24
Title: Busting the Myths that Make Us Miserable.  Myth 3: I Should Never Have to Feel Guilty

We are about half way through our pilgrimage of Lent.  This is our fourth Wednesday together.  I’ve been working with a theme that I’ve called: “Myth-busting, Busting the myths that make us miserable.”  All of us go along through our lives telling ourselves little lies, myths about ourselves that we think will help us somehow have happiness or success, but which, in truth, are the source of our unhappiness and failure.

We revisit our theme of busting the myths that make us miserable.  And tonight’s myth is the idea that I should never have to feel guilty.  

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.  He used to tell of the time when, as a prank, he sent an anonymous telegram to twelve different men, all of them men of good reputation and high standing in society.  All twelve telegrams had the same message.  The message simply said, “I know what you did.  I’m going to tell the world unless you leave at once.”  They were all unsigned.  Within twenty-four hours, the story goes, all twelve of them had left the country.

It’s hard to imagine that this is a true story, but supposedly it is.  If it is true, what does it prove?  Seemingly, it proves that all people have secrets that they do not wish the world to know.

Text: James 4:13-16
Title: Busting the Myths that Make Us Miserable.  Myth 4: I Always Know Best

Today, as you know, is St. Patrick’s Day.  Today, all the bars and pubs in Ireland are closed, while the bars in America stay open extra late.  Needless to say, getting bonkers drunk is not the most pious way in the world to celebrate the great deeds of the apostle to Ireland.  I wonder how many churches in America are making a serious attempt to observe today as a religious holiday.  So in honor of St. Patrick and out of deference to any Irish Lutheran pastors who may be in our midst, I’d like to say a few words about St. Paddy.  And I will tie this together with the theme for this week which is to shatter the myth: “I always know best.”

Did you know that there is actually a hymn in our hymnal which is attributed to St. Patrick?  It is a good baptism hymn and confesses a firm belief in the Holy Trinity.

You might be wondering: “Is it OK for Lutherans to commemorate saint days?  Isn’t that Roman Catholic?”  The Lutheran reformers felt that it could be beneficial to observe saint days, as long as the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church were avoided.  We don’t pray to the saints or seek favors from them, but it remains perfectly reasonable to remember their lives and the wonders God accomplished through them.  So we can do that freely, celebrate the accomplishments of God through the men and women who’ve served Him, sometimes heroically, down through the ages.

If you ask people who Saint Patrick was, you're likely to hear that he was an Irishman who discovered green beer or maybe he was a leprechaun.  Something about a pot of gold or a four-leaf clover.  It may surprise you to learn that the real Saint Patrick was not actually Irish.  He was English.

Text:  Matthew 16:24–26
Title: Busting the Myths that Make Us Miserable.  Myth 2: The World Owes Me Happiness

[From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. 

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!" 

Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."]

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 

Redeemer Mission

Proclaiming to our community in word and deed the empowering love of God as demonstrated in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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