Worship

July 4, 2010
Text:
Luke 10: 1-20

First of all, happy Fourth of July!  Happy Independence Day!  Families and individuals from Maine to Hawaii, from Nome, Alaska to the Florida Keys will celebrate today the United States Declaration of Independence from England.  When I let Lucy, our dog, out for her morning constitutional, I thought, “aaaah, ‘tis the season for the smell of sulfur dioxide.”

Independence Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.  After all, I was born in a town called Independence, MO.  When I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, kids could buy fireworks at the corner stand and had the freedom to blow their fingers off all day long, if they wanted to.

I know there are some war veterans in our congregation.  If you have served in the military, Thank You for your courage and sacrifice.

I’m sure many of you will be observing the holiday with the traditional backyard cookouts with family and friends, maybe catch a parade and then go somewhere to watch fireworks.

The United States of America is founded on the values of liberty and justice for all.  Those are noble ideals and we should all give thanks to God for the freedoms and opportunities which we enjoy as Americans.

June 20, 2010
Text: Luke 8:26–39


Demon Possession.  That’s what today’s Gospel lesson is about.  Some of you might find my sermon today a little bit weird, but I ask you to bear with me.  

In 1973, when the movie “The Exorcist” came out, there was a rise of interest in the idea of demon possession.  Since that time, there have been lots of imitations and remakes and other movies made about the Satan and Satanism.  Many moviegoers are quite desensitized nowadays to the subject, but as recently as the 1970s, this was pretty provocative stuff.  There were reports of people running out of movie theaters to the nearest church, people fainting in the aisles or losing their lunch.  It is said that there was a burst of applications to the Catholic priesthood as a result of the movie. 

A recent Gallup poll of 1,200 adults revealed 55% of Americans believe in a personal devil and 49% of Americans believe a person can be “possessed” by the devil or demons.  I think it’s interesting that only 55% of Americans believe in the Devil whereas about 90% believe in the existence of God.  Certainly, believing in God is more important than believing in the Devil but I wonder why there is such a great disparity.  Just as I can look around me and see evidence that there is a Creator, I can also see a lot of evidence that there is a Destroyer too.

What do you think?  Do you think the devil is real and that people can become demon-possessed?  I do.

 

May 30, 2010

Do you believe in God?  I’m going to guess that most of you probably do and that’s why you’re here.  In fact, surveys show that about 80% of all Americans say that they believe in God.  That’s 4 out of 5.

What about the other 20%?  About half of them are atheists and the rest say they simply don’t know.

This means that the vast majority of the people you sit next to on the train, the people that live in the houses next door to you, the children your sons and daughter know from school, the shopowners, business people, town council members, etc. … almost all of them believe in “god.”  Very few Americans are actual atheists, that is, in the sense that they deny completely the existence of a supreme being.  It would be different in Europe.  The percentage of atheists in Europe today is much much higher than here.

But here in good ol’ American, there has never been a shortage of people who believe in god.  Hollywood starlets thank “god” for helping them win their Academy Awards.  The members of the U.S. Congress pledge allegiance to the flag and say, “one nation under God.”  The world is OK with God-talk as long. . . as you keep it generic.  If you speak of God, in general, you are usually on fairly safe ground.  Where you get into trouble is when you try to get specific, when you try to put a name on God or define who he is.  Once you do that, people become uncomfortable.  At least when you do it in public.  Then you become the one who stops conversations and creates awkward silences.

 

June 6, 2010
Text: Luke 7:11-17

Luke chapter 7 records the time when Jesus was walking on a road and he encountered a funeral procession passing by.  They were coming from a town called Nain, which was just five miles from where Jesus grew up.  The funeral was for a young man who was the only son of a widow.  Sometimes mourners in those days would smear ashes on their faces and you can picture this woman with her tears making tracks in the black soot on her cheeks.

The text says that Jesus had compassion on the woman.  The Greek word there in the original says literally that he felt it in His intestines.  The ancient Hebrews believed that the bowels were the source of the emotions.  Today, we might say He felt it in His gut.  And it was His love that motivated Him to act on her behalf that day.

So Jesus touched the mat they were carrying the dead boy on and told him, “Young man, arise.”  Here is an example of Jesus going on the offensive, attacking our enemy, Death.  Jesus kills death and the boy is restored to life.

Jesus is killing your death as well.  It’s a work He began in you at your baptism and He continues it through the Word and through Holy Communion.  And it will be completed for you on the Last Day when you rise from your grave, in the name of Jesus Christ.

May 23, 2010
Text: Acts 2:1-21

During Superbowl XXXVII, in 2003, Federal Express ran a funny commercial.  They spoofed a movie that some of you may remember called Castaway which starred Tom Hanks.  And in the movie, Hanks played a FedEx employee, whose company plane went down over the ocean, stranding him on a desert island for many years.  The FedEx employee in the commercial is eventually rescued and when he gets back to the States we see him going up to the door of a suburban home with a package in his hand.

When the lady comes to the door, he is standing there in rags with a 12-inch beard and seaweed in his hair.  And the man explains that he survived five years on a deserted island, and during that whole time he kept this package safe and secure in order to be able to eventually one day deliver it to her.  So he hands the package to her and she takes it and she gives him a simple, "Thank you."

His curiosity got the best of him, so he says, "If I may ask, what was in that box after all?"

She opens it and shows him the contents, saying, "Oh, nothing really.  Just a satellite telephone, a global positioning device, a compass, an inflatable boat and a flare gun."

 

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.

Redeemer Lutheran Church

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