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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2019


October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2019


March 31 "Grace Forgotten" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 17, 2019 "The Love that Won't Quit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2019


February 17, 2019 "The Kingdom Vision" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 10, 2019 "Fishing Tips for Amateur Anglers" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 3, 2019 "Grace Unlimited" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2019


January 13, 2019 "The Promise of Baptism" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 6, 2019 "The Message of the Magi" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2018


Christmas Eve, 2018 "Self-giving Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 23, 2018 "Sing Along" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2, 2018 “Living in Between" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2018


November 18, 2018 “Persistent Witness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 11, 2018 “Everyday Foxhole Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2018


October 28, 2018 “True Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 21, 2018 “How the Truly Great Get that Way" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 14, 2018 “The Cost of Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2018


September 30, 2018 “Holding It All Together" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 23, 2018 “Gentle Wisdom" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 16, 2018 “Finding the Right Words" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 9, 2018 “Jesus: Savior...and Lord?" 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.

October 2019


October 6, 2019  "A New Family" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2019


September 15, 2019  "Sight? Or Insight?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2019


August 25, 2019  "Seeing as God Sees" by Rev. Don Wahlig

August 4, 2019  "Five Lies & the Truth" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

July 2019


July 28, 2019  "Walking Hand in Hand" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

June 2019


June 23, 2019  "The New, True You!" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 16, 2019  "The Fuzzy Logic of Discernment" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 9, 2019  "Speaking of Dreams and Visions" by Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2, 2019 "Who's the Prisoner?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

May 2019


May 5, 2019 "Vision Correction" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

April 2019


April 21, 2019 "So, Where Is He?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 14, 2019 "A Wondrous Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

April 7, 2019 "For Love, or Money?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

March 2019


March 31 "Grace Forgotten" by Rev. Don Wahlig

March 17, 2019 "The Love that Won't Quit" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

February 2019


February 17, 2019 "The Kingdom Vision" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 10, 2019 "Fishing Tips for Amateur Anglers" by Rev. Don Wahlig

February 3, 2019 "Grace Unlimited" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

January 2019


January 13, 2019 "The Promise of Baptism" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 6, 2019 "The Message of the Magi" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2018


Christmas Eve, 2018 "Self-giving Love" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 23, 2018 "Sing Along" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2, 2018 “Living in Between" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2018


November 18, 2018 “Persistent Witness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 11, 2018 “Everyday Foxhole Faith" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2018


October 28, 2018 “True Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 21, 2018 “How the Truly Great Get that Way" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 14, 2018 “The Cost of Discipleship" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2018


September 30, 2018 “Holding It All Together" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 23, 2018 “Gentle Wisdom" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 16, 2018 “Finding the Right Words" by Rev. Don Wahlig

September 9, 2018 “Jesus: Savior...and Lord?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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