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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

 

 

April 15, 2018

“Daring to Hope” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 15, 2018 [Easter 3 B] – Psalm 4  •  1 John 3:1-7  •  Luke 24:36b-48

 

FOCUS:  Dare to embrace the hope of Jesus’ resurrection by taking up our call to be his witnesses.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exasperated with this weather.  It seems like every time we get a little hint of some real springtime temperatures, we get yet another dose of winter.   But we have hope that spring will actually arrive, even though it’s not here yet.

And that’s true for many things in our lives.  When we’ve gotten fed up with circumstances and events as they are and yearn for them to be different, hope is a very good thing to have.  In fact, hope is essential.

That’s exactly the point being made in our gospel text. 

When we pick up the story, the disciples are in an uproar.  It’s the third day since Jesus was crucified.  They’ve gotten reports from some in their group who claim to have actually seen Jesus alive earlier that same day. 

Two of them have just returned from Emmaus.  They swear they encountered Jesus on the road.  They only recognized him when he broke bread with them -  and then, suddenly, he was gone. 

There’s also been word that Peter, too, has seen Jesus alive.  And all of this is on top of the very strange reports of the women who went to the tomb and found Jesus’ body gone.

As they stand buzzing about these things, Jesus is suddenly right there in their midst! 

          Understandably, they’re overcome with confusion and terror.  ‘Is it a ghost?’, they wonder?

Jesus brings them his peace.  To lay their doubts to rest, he offers them physical proof that it really is him, resurrected - in the flesh.  He reminds them that not only did he tell them earlier about the need for the Messiah to die and be resurrected, but the scriptures all point to the same thing.    

Then, as their joy begins to overcome their disbelief, he gives them their commission.  They are to be his witnesses.  

Their job is to call others to repent – to reorient their lives to God and trust in the Messiah.  They’re to start in Jerusalem, and then take this message out to the world beyond.  

They will no longer be disciples – i.e. ones who are taught.  From now on, they are apostles – ones who are sent.

Let’s step back a moment.  Can you imagine what they’re feeling?  They’re on an emotional roller coaster.  One minute, they’re grieving the humiliating death of their teacher, the one they thought would redeem Israel.

Then, in the midst of their grief, come a series of reports that make them wonder “Can he somehow still be with us?”.  A part of them desperately wants to believe this, but their rational minds tell them it’s an impossibility.

          And then, even as they’re questioning all this, Jesus appears to them in the flesh, nail marks visible - and he’s hungry!  How much more human can you get?  

His message is that everything that’s happened was supposed to happen.  Its’s all part of God’s plan of salvation.  And they have a key part to play in it. 

The question is do they trust in him and the reality of his resurrection enough to place their hope in God’s plan?

That’s the only way they’ll be able to do what he’s asking them to do.  They can hardly call people to repent and trust in Jesus as God’s means of redeeming humankind if they themselves don’t have that same hope. 

So, everything hinges on whether or not they’re willing to embrace that hope.  

That’s the question this text poses to you and me. 

God’s plan for salvation is in motion.  Just like the apostles, you and I have key parts to play in that plan:  Jesus wants us to be his witnesses.  Are we willing to embrace his message of hope?

That hope is as essential to us as it was to the apostles.

One of our modern-day experts on the power of hope is Dale Archer.  He’s a well-known Psychiatrist, media personality and New York Times best-selling author.  He says, “Hope is an emotion that springs from the heart, not the brain.  It's not a wish for things to get better -- it's the actual belief, the knowledge that things will get better, no matter how big or small.”

That’s exactly what the disciples need.  It’s what we need, too.      

Repentance, of course, means change – a change in direction, turning around – in other words, a new way of living.  If you and I are going to call others to repent, then we have to start with ourselves. 

The first step in that change is our willingness to believe that we can change.  Many people have a hard time believing that.  We tend to think that who we are and what we will be are necessarily dictated by who we have been.  We all know the old saying that leopards don’t change their spots. 

But, while we may not be able to change our skin, research shows we can change our lives.  Our attitude makes all the difference.   

Henry Ford said it best, “Whether you think you can do a thing, or you can’t do a thing – you’re right.”  In other words, our hope – which comes from our trust in the resurrected Jesus Christ– is what makes that change possible.

A terrific story about that kind of hope was told in the movie called “Under the Tuscan Sun.”  It’s the story of a woman named Frances May whose life in San Francisco is upended when she divorces her philandering husband.  On a whim, she buys a house in Tuscany.  Her hope is to change her life, to create a new life for herself in this 500-year-old villa outside a small Italian village.

Eventually, the reality of what she’s done comes home to her and she confesses to a friend, Signor Martini, how foolish she feels thinking she can actually have the new life she wants.  He reassures her by telling her this story. 

 “Signora, between Austria and Italy, there is a section of the Alps called the Semmering. It is an impossibly steep, very high part of the mountains. They built a train track over these Alps to connect Vienna and Venice.  They built these tracks even before there was a train in existence that could make the trip. They built it because they knew some day, the train would come.”

          Friends, that is the kind of hope Jesus wants us to have.  The assurance that, no matter how things are right now, they don’t have to stay that way.  God has a plan for this world, and for each of us.  There’s a new life waiting for anyone willing to follow Jesus in reorienting our lives to God’s purposes, just as Jesus teaches us to do. 

          If placing our hope in Jesus and his resurrection makes this change possible in our own lives, then we’ll have no problem sharing with the world the good news that new life is possible for them, too.

It’s like being a good sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous.  A sponsor is like a mentor.  AA members will tell you that effective sponsors are those who’ve walked the path of sobriety, with the help of their own sponsor who taught them to surrender to God.  Now, they feel called to help others make that change in their lives, too.

In the same way, our effectiveness as Christ’s witnesses rests, first and foremost, on our own repentance, our openness to being changed by embracing the hope of new life in Jesus.  Then, we have to be willing to take up our commission to share that hope with others.

But take note:  Repentance is a lifelong process.  Yes, our lives have been changed by Christ, but none of us can ever claim to be fully the person God intends me to be.  We are always a work-in-progress.

That’s simply the nature of being human.  We are ever and always susceptible to sin, most especially to pride.  The danger comes when we think we must look pretty good in God’s eyes, because, well, we look pretty good in our own eyes!

But with humility and perseverance, we can be at peace.  We can dare to embrace the hope of Jesus’ resurrection and take up our commission to be his witnesses.

To whom will you witness this week?   Who will see the way you live and wonder “How can he be so hopeful and positive, even in the midst of hard times?”  Or, “How can she be so patient and concerned for others, even folks she doesn’t know?”  Or “I wonder why they go to Silver Spring Presbyterian Church?”

Don’t be surprised if they ask you out loud.  When they do, let’s tell them the source of our hope, plain and simple:  Jesus Christ, who died and rose for us and teaches us how to live.

As we witness to him, we would do well to remember the words of the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, who said, “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

Friends, let’s plant those seeds: seeds of new hope in others.  And let’s trust that the Holy Spirit will water them and make them grow.

May it be so.

 

 

Last Published: April 17, 2018 9:10 AM
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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