Worship

April 4, 2010

During the last presidential election campaign, we heard a lot of speeches about change.  Don’t worry.  This is not going to be a political sermon.  Because regardless of which candidate you supported, I think all of us can agree that we could really use a change.  Of course, change can mean a lot of different things.  Not all change is good.  We don’t just want change for change sake.  That would be pointless.  If were going to have changes, they really ought to be changes for the better.  

All politicians talk about making changes.  I don’t know of any political party, left or right, which advertises as its platform: Let’s keep things the same! We are all in agreement about the need for change.  The disagreements come about once we start to decide what specific things we want to change and how to go about doing it.  The devil is in the details, as they say.

Let me ask this question: Do you think the world, as it exists today, operates the way God intended when He created it?

 

April 2, 2010

The torture and murder of Jesus Christ is one of the strangest events in all of human history.  At first glance, it appeared to be a PR disaster of truly epic proportions for the fledgling church.  Imagine how disoriented the disciples must have been.  This man to whom they’d devoted the last three years of their lives was being crucified. Crucifixion was the mode of death for a criminal, a murderer or a thief.  Not the way you expect to see God’s Anointed One go out.

Jesus was somewhat of a mysterious figure in his day.  Some people believed that He was the One sent from God who would set everything right.  Others believed he was a dangerous fraud.  But I suspect that for many average Joe Israelites, the jury was still out.  A lot of them probably thought, “Well maybe he is the Savior.  Let’s wait and see what happens.” And for those many who were in the mushy middle, the death of Jesus on the cross must have been supremely disappointing.

The idea that they might possibly be killing God-in-the-flesh was unimaginable.  “If he truly is the Son of God, let Him save Himself,” they said.  I’m sure there were some members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling body, who thought they were hedging their bets by voting for Jesus’ execution.  How could they lose?  If Jesus truly were the Messiah, God would intervene.  If He’s not, then they’d eliminated a dangerous rabble-rouser.  You see, it’s win/win. 

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.

Seven Last Sayings: Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.
April 2, 2010
Tre Ore

If you’ve watched the news much in the last couple of months, you’ve probably heard way more than you ever wanted to hear about golfer Tiger Woods and his multiple infidelities.  It’s all a big sordid mess, to be sure.

Back in January, a news commentator named Brit Hume was on a roundtable talk show on television and the question was asked whether he thought Tiger would be able to make a comeback.  The question was really about the terrible PR scandal aspect of his behavior and his career as a pro golfer, but Brit Hume made these provocative comments:

“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it's a tragic situation for him. I think he's lost his family, it's not clear to me if he'll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal -- the extent to which he can recover -- seems to me to depend on his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist; I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, 'Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.'"

 

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?

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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