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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

 

 

February 11, 2018

“Listening to God’s Beloved” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, February 11, 2018 [Transfiguration] – 2 Kings 2:1-12  •  Psalm 50:1-6  •  2 Corinthians 4:3-6  •  Mark 9:2-9

FOCUS:  As God reveals himself to us in Jesus and continues to do so in scripture, nature and love, listen and follow Jesus in self-giving, trusting that God is with us.

 

          Have you ever had the feeling that God is right there with you?

          It’s a wonderful feeling isn’t it?  Peaceful, calm – reassured?  Like no matter how hard things might get, how difficult a task we have ahead of us, it’s going to be ok.  God’s with us.

          As I read our gospel text, it occurred to me that this is how God wants the disciples to feel.

          Six days earlier, Jesus promised them “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”  And that’s exactly what happens.

          The privileged few who got to witness this are Peter, James and John.  In order to show them, Jesus takes them high up on a mountain. 

          In scripture, mountains are special places.  They’re what the Celts call “thin places” – places where the separation between the divine and human realms is narrowed to nothing, so that we might glimpse the true figure of God.

          That’s what happens.  Up on the mountain, Jesus is transformed.  Suddenly, the cloth of his robe becomes a shimmering, glowing white. 

          The color is no accident - It’s the color of the martyrs who’ve been washed clean in the blood of lamb. 

          It reminds us what Jesus told the disciples almost a week before.  He shocked them that day.  He told them he’d have to suffer and die.  Peter even tried to talk him out of it.

          But Jesus made his point loud and clear: not only would he have to suffer, but so would they.  “If any of you want to be my followers,” he told the crowd, “you’ll have to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.”  

          Yet, as emphatic as Jesus was, his disciples clearly failed to connect his message with what they’re seeing up on the mountain.  Can you blame them?   There they are -  watching, transfixed, as Jesus takes on the appearance of the apocalyptic Son of Man who will return to judge the world.  It’s an image straight out of the OT book of Daniel. 

          Then, suddenly, he’s joined by the figures of Moses and Elijah.  They represent the Messianic promises in the law and prophets.

          As Peter fumbles for words and what to do, God’s voice boom out, just as it did at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my Son, the Beloved.  Listen to him!”

          And so God reveals the kingdom by unveiling the king.  The message here is, if we want to know what God’s realm is like, we don’t have to look any further than Jesus.  And if we want to enter the Kingdom, then we – like the disciples – need to listen to him.

          Jesus’ word to them is his word to us.  We, too, have to suffer and lose our lives for him and the gospel.  That’s the message the disciples most need to hear – and it’s the hardest one for them to accept.  Only after Easter did they understand it. 

          We know that what lies ahead for them is a time of questioning, confusion and, ultimately, persecution.  And it cannot be rushed – they’ll have to live through the dark times in order to see the light of Christ’s resurrected glory.  

          And, friends, the same is true for you and me.

          Suffering is part and parcel of being human.  Most of us here know this first-hand.  Some of you have lost loved ones to sudden illness, disease and old age. 

          Others are nursing parents and spouses as their bodies break down.  Some of you are suffering the heartbreak of a failing marriage.  Still others have lost jobs and even homes.

          On top of that, we all experience the suffering that comes from being Christ’s disciples.  Thankfully, we aren’t being fed to the lions any more.  But it is still very much the case that Christians are the most widely persecuted people on the planet.

          And, even in a place as receptive to our faith as central Pennsylvania, we nevertheless encounter persecution right here at home.  It’s more subtle and gradual, but you can feel it every time kids’ sports games and other activities are scheduled on Sunday morning.  It’s the slow, relentless marginalization of our faith by the increasingly secular world around us.  

          Whatever causes our suffering, it leaves us asking some pretty hard questions, including the one Job asked:  “Why do good people have to suffer?” 

          God never promised our lives would be be trouble-free.  What he does promise is that he’ll be with us, even in the midst of suffering.

          The question is how do we know God is with us?  Peter, James and John were given a front-row seat to Jesus in all his glorious divinity.  But, where can we experience God’s reassuring presence in Jesus Christ?

          There’s no more appropriate time to ask that question than today.  On this Transfiguration Sunday, we stand at the apex of the liturgical season of Epiphany.

          When I say Epiphany, I mean a moment when we suddenly become aware of something crucial.  Although they didn’t fully grasp it at the time, the epiphany to Peter, James and John was intended to reveal that the rabbi from Nazareth they’ve been following is no less than God in human form.

          That’s how God intends us to understand Jesus:  as Immanuel, God with us.

          We need that reassurance – especially now.  In three days time, on Ash Wednesday, we will enter into the throes of Lent.

          That night we’ll gather in worship to smear ashes on our foreheads.  It’s a reminder of our mortality and our sinfulness. 

          For the next 40 days we’ll consider how often, and how deeply, we have fallen short of what God intends us to be.  We’ll confess to God and one another that we’ve failed to love as Jesus commands us to do. 

          But, instead of simply wallowing in guilt, we’ll actually do something about it.  We’ll rededicate ourselves to faithful discipleship and helpful spiritual practices.  All of this will bring us to realize, in humility and gratitude, just how much we all need a Savior.

          That is the road that lies ahead of us.  It’s a difficult road.  In fact, the harder we try to be faithful in Lent, the more difficult we will find it to be.  It’s the road of self-giving that Jesus himself walked.  What we need most is the reassurance that God is walking with us.

          But where do we get that?

          The first place to start looking is also the most obvious one.  As Jesus promises in the gospel of Matthew, where two or three are gathered together, he is present in their midst. 

          Nowhere is that more true than in worship, specifically in preaching.  

          Our theological forebear, John Calvin, believed that preaching is a kind of divine epiphany.  In the sermon, the Holy Spirit uses the preacher’s words, flawed though they may be, to make tangible the presence of God in grace and mercy.

          In the same way that Christ is present in preaching, he’s also present in Communion.  Calvin believed that we don’t receive a different or better Christ in communion.  But, because of the way the Lord’s Supper is added to the Word, the Spirit gives us the same Christ better.  This is why we in the Reformed Tradition never have communion without first preaching the Word.

          We also sense God in the beauty of his creation.  Christian tradition tells us that God wrote two books:  the Book of scripture (the Bible) and the Book of Nature.

In fact, the former points to the latter.  Psalm 19, for example, tells us:

The heavens are telling the glory of God;
   and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 
Day to day pours forth speech,
   and night to night declares knowledge. 
 

          The great architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, would have agreed with that.  He once said, “Nature is my manifestation of God.  I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day’s work.”

          I think we’ve all had that experience of God’s presence in nature, maybe in the midst of a gently-falling snow, or floating down a quiet stream in the fall, or simply looking out at a field on a breezy summer day.

          In addition to worship and nature, we also sense God’s presence wherever there is love.  That makes perfect sense – I John tells us that God is love.  But what’s in mind there is not just any old kind of love – rather, agape love, a love that is unconditional, unreserved and undeserved. 

          If you’ve been fortunate enough to have the experience of someone who loves you for no other reason than you are who you are, then you’ve experienced what it’s like to be in God’s presence.    

          God is present to us in all these places, and no doubt others well.  As we embark on the difficult road of Lent this week, following Jesus in giving ourselves for others, let’s remember that God is walking with us – now, and always.  Amen.

 

 

Last Published: February 13, 2018 4:12 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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