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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

December 24, 2017

“Here Am I” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, December 24 2017, Year B / Advent 4 –  2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16  •  Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26   •  Romans 16:25-27   •  Luke 1:26-38

THEME:  God has a part for all of us to play in his plan, and we should trust him and accept it as Mary did hers.

 

           Have any of you every had a part in a theatrical production? Maybe a high school musical?  Maybe a Christmas pageant?

          My turn on the stage came when I was in the sixth grade. My teacher moonlighted as an amateur actress and director in the local dramatic society.  One day, she approached me after school about auditioning for one of the lead parts in a production of the local children’s theater in downtown Wilmington.  The play was the Prince and the Pauper. 

          Now, don’t get overly impressed just yet. If you remember the story, the two of them change places during the course of the play. The part of the Prince had already been cast.  They needed someone who looked like him to play the Pauper.  My number one qualification was that I was a dead ringer for him.

          I had never done theater of any kind.  I wasn’t at all sure this was something I could do.  I thought certainly there must be plenty of others who could do a better job at this than I could.  And was this something worth spending so much effort to do?

          But my teacher was persistent.  She continuously encouraged me try out.  She even called me the night of the auditions.  If she hadn’t, I don’t think I would have done it.

          But I did.  And I got the part.

          It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I spent hours memorizing the script and rehearsing after school and in the evenings.  It was nerve-wracking, but in the end it was a wonderful experience.

          As I reflected back on this later, I realized it was what I was meant to do.  To this very day, I’m glad I said yes.

          I can’t help but think that, on a more cosmic level, Mary has a similar experience.

          This fall we’ve been talking about how important it is to be ready for Jesus’ return.  Over these past four Advent Sundays, our scripture passages have encouraged us to wait with hopeful expectation as Christmas draws near.  We do so trusting that God is at work fulfilling his promise of redemption.

          This morning’s gospel story of the Angel Gabriel and Mary adds an astonishing twist to God’s promise.  God is going to fulfill the promise he made 900 years before to David, Israel’s greatest King.  It’s often called the Davidic covenant.  That is the story in our OT text.

          Through his prophet, Nathan, God reminds David what he’s already done for him.  He plucked David out of obscurity tending sheep in his father’s fields, and made him King over all Israel.  Every step of the way on that journey from obscurity to royalty, God has walked with David, scattering his enemies wherever he’s gone.

          Then God makes an extraordinary promise:  “your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.”  It’s a dynasty – the dynasty of the House of David.  Not bad for a grubby little shepherd boy from Bethlehem, huh?

          Now God is ready to fulfill that promise.  That’s the message he sends with Gabriel to give to Mary. 

          Let’s stop and consider for a moment what must be going through Mary’s mind.  What did Gabriel call her?  Favored one?  

          What must Mary be thinking?  She’s a 12-year old girl, still legally the property of her father, though she is betrothed to Joseph, son of the local carpenter.  In a patriarchal society where a woman’s pride or shame hung on her ability to get married and produce sons, she’s off to a good start.

          We hear nothing about her immediate family, however.  That’s a sure sign that she is not someone of any real importance. 

          Further, she’s from a backwater town way up in the Galilean hills, far removed from the trade routes below.  Not just any little town, but Nazareth - a small village that has a bad reputation.  

          Maybe you know the kind of place I’m talking about.  Some of you probably grew up in a place like that – the kind of place where nothing important ever seems to happen, and young people try their hardest to get out.   

          Nazareth was exactly that kind of place. 

          Which is certainly why Mary is so puzzled by Gabriel’s greeting.  She knows better than anybody that she is a nobody. She’s well aware that she’s done nothing to merit God’s favor.  And yet the angel’s words linger:  “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

          Then Gabriel drops the bombshell.  Mary is to be the vessel of God’s redemption, mother of the Messiah, the Holy Son of God. She will be the means by which God fulfills his ancient promise to King David.  Her son will rule from David’s throne forever and ever.     

          Like all of us, her first question is “How can this be?”  Afterall, she’s a virgin.  A lot of things have changed since the first century, but how babies are made is not one of them.  

          To reassure her, Gabriel gives her some more astonishing news.  Her cousin Elizabeth, who is well beyond child-bearing years, will also bear a son.

          But the full impact of Gabriel’s message for Mary is bigger even than the miraculous mechanics of divine conception.

          With God, nothing is impossible. 

          Does that sound familiar to you?  It’s what God said to Abraham when Sarah laughed at the promise of a child in her old age.  It’s what Job and Jeremiah confessed after they encountered God’s majesty.  It’s what Jesus will tell the rich ruler about his salvation:  what is impossible for mortals is possible for God.

          And to her credit, Mary responds as any faithful disciple should:  “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word."  And, sure enough, it was.

          Friends, the same is true for you and me.  God has a plan for us, too.  It’s not going to involve giving birth to his son or ruling his kingdom, but every single one of us has a part to play in the unfolding divine drama of God’s covenant people.

          Each of us has been cast in a love story - the greatest love story of all time, in fact.  It began with creation.  It reached a stunning plot twist on that very first Christmas. God became one of us in order to show us how much he loves us, and to teach us how we’re supposed to love one another. 

          And you and I have a part to play in this love story.

          Maybe your part is raising children in the faith and supporting them as they grow into it in fits and starts.  Many of us know firsthand the challenge of encouraging our kids as they navigate early adulthood in a culture that is cynical and hostile to faith of any kind.

          Maybe your part is treating a colleague or boss with uncommon charity and patience.  It has been my experience that there are few places in this world more in need of God’s love than the workplace.

          Maybe your role is learning to love a spouse again after trust has been broken.  Forgiveness is one of the surest, most difficult and most powerful signs of God’s love.

          Maybe your part is to share God’s love across the boundaries of race and place.  Many of you are already doing this.  If you’re wondering how we might do this in a fresh way, we might consider following Jane’s example.  She’s been caring for the children at the preschool in Camp Curtin at Memorial Mitchell United Methodist church.  There are plenty of other places for us to share God’s love in the city of Harrisburg.  

          Whatever role God has in mind for you, there are three things for us to keep in mind.

          First, no matter how insignificant we may think it is, we must never under-estimate how important it is.  If God wants us to do something – it’s important.

          Second, we should never second-guess whether we’re the one to do it.  If God is asking you or me to do something, we are the ones to do it.  It doesn’t matter how ill-suited we may think we are.  The Christmas story is proof that God works through unexpected people in unexpected places.  

          Third, and most important, we must never doubt whether we can do it, with God’s help.  If God can turn a little shepherd boy into a great King, and a 12-year old virgin into the mother of the Messiah, then he can certainly handle whatever obstacles we face in doing his work.  With God all things are possible. 

          Finally, let’s remember that God is remarkably persistent.  He doesn’t take no for an answer!

          So, as we consider taking up the part God wants us to play in this divine love story, let’s follow Mary’s example and steal a line from her script:  “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." 

          May it be so.  Amen.

Last Published: January 4, 2018 3:35 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

May 2022


May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 2021


November 14, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 2: Resurrection" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 7, 2021 "How It All Ends, Part 1: Return" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 2021


October 31, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 5: Steward God's Gifts" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 24, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 4: Nurture Relationships" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 17, 2021 "SSPC Values Part 3: Share Hospitality by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 10, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 2: Show Compassion" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 3, 2021  "SSPC Values Part 1: Glorify God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 2021


September 19, 2021  "Gentle Wisdom, or Worldly Ways?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 12, 2021  "Prophetic Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

September 5, 2021  "A Vision of Our Future" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 2021


August 15, 2021  "Wise Living" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2021


July 4, 2021  "Humility Over Hubris" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2021


June 27, 2021  "Faith Over Fear" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2021


May 30, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 3: :Life and Peace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 23, 2021  "The Spirit, Part 2: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 16, 2021  "The Spirit, Part I: Wisdom and Revelation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 9, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 4: Love and Christ" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 2, 2021  "Love Actually, Part 3: Love and God" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2021


April 25, 2021  "Love Actually, Part II: Love in Action" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 18, 2021  "Love Actually, Part I: Love and Family" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

Easter, April 4, 2021  "How Does It End?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2021


March 28, 2021  "The King We Weren't Expecting" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 14, 2021  "The Cure for Snake Bite" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2021


February 28, 2021  "Are you Kidding, God?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 14, 2021  "Premature Joy" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 7, 2021  "Need a Liftt?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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