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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2019


November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

April 14, 2019

“A Wondrous Love” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 14, 2019, Palm Sunday – Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29  •  Luke 19:28-40

THEME:  Trust in God and embrace Jesus and his Kingdom.

 

When you think of great heroes, who do you think of?  I’m talking about people who sacrificed themselves for the love of others?

Often, it turns out to be a seemingly ordinary person who does an extraordinary thing.  Like those three scientists at the Chernobyl nuclear plant who, as it was threatening to melt down and blow up, dove into a pool of radioactive water to open a drain to stop the plant from exploding. 

Or the security officer at the World Trade Center who saved over 2,500 people on 9/11.  Or maybe the train engineer, Casey Jones, who famously stopped a speeding passenger train before it hit a stalled freight car?

Certainly, these are all great heroes, but the one that comes to my mind is Alfred Vanderbilt.  Alfred was one of the heirs to the Vanderbilt shipping and railroad fortune.  As you might expect, he lived a privileged life.  He enjoyed cars, fox hunting, and horse racing.

On May 1st, 1915, he and his valet boarded the RMS Lusitania headed for Liverpool on a business trip.  Although there had been published warnings that all ships entering British waters were possible targets for German U-Boats, it was widely assumed that a passenger ship like the Lusitania would be spared. 

So, the entire world was shocked and outraged when, on the morning of May 7th, the Lusitania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland.  Within 15 minutes, the ship sank, taking almost 1200 lives with it – including Alfred’s.

Among the 700 survivors stories began to circulate of what Alfred Vanderbilt did in those final minutes.  He took charge and directed women and children into life boats.  When they were all full, he gave his own lifejacket to a young mother clutching her baby.

Bear in mind, the memory of the Titanic was still fresh in everyone’s mind.  Alfred knew what was coming, especially because he couldn’t swim.  But instead of saving himself, he decided to save others.  He was still trying to save others when the boat slipped under the waves and sunk to the bottom.

I have to believe, having been raised as an Episcopalian, Alfred Vanderbilt was inspired by what Jesus does in our Gospel text.

Despite repeated warnings and death threats, Jesus has decided to go to Jerusalem for the Passover festival.  And he’s well aware of what he’s walking into.

Passover may not have been the most important feast in the life of Israel, but, in the eyes of their Roman overlords, it was the most worrisome.  That’s because it was the gathering most likely to erupt in violent protest. 

Passover, of course, commemorates the Exodus.  Every single Jew knew this story and treasured it. It was imprinted on Israel’s theological DNA.

We treasure this story, too.  God heard the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt and he determined to act.  He recruited Moses to lead his people out of oppression.

With God standing guard, Moses led the Hebrews away from Pharaoh and his task masters, across the Red Sea and out into the wilderness of Sinai. 

There on Mt. Sinai God gave Moses the laws and commandments to enable his people to live in peace and harmony with him and one another once he finally delivered them to the promised land of Canaan.

What every Jew also remembered was that God made this possible by conquering the greatest military superpower of the day.  The proof of that glorious divine victory was lying at the bottom of the Red Sea, amidst the wreckage of Pharaoh’s chariots.

The Exodus experience inspired the Jews of Jesus’ day to dream of divine liberation from their oppressors, the military superpower of Rome.

So, at the Passover festival, political unrest and revolutionary fervor were always ini the air.  That’s why Pontius Pilate and his Roman legions left their comfortable seaside palace down on the Mediterranean coast and traveled 70 miles up a 2,500’ mountain to take up residence in the cramped quarters of Jerusalem.

There, they were strategically placed right next door to the Temple.  That’s the place where the people gathered, and where the trouble usually started.

You can feel the tense atmosphere Jesus was walking into when he arrived with his disciples.  It was a powder keg waiting for a match.  And what Jesus and his followers did was to supply the match.

The kind of procession they arranged was a reenactment of the annual ceremony of the crowning of Israel’s kings back in the days when Israel ruled itself.  That’s what the donkey ride and the cloaks in the road are all about. 

And, as the disciples sing, they use the very same words of the Psalm that was sung for that ceremony.

In times of old, when the King entered the gate, the whole city rejoiced – but not here.  Luke is careful to tell us it’s only Jesus’ disciples who are cheering and celebrating.  They may regard him as Israel’s true King, but where are the rest of the people?  Where are the crowds? 

And then the Pharisees chime in with their objections.  Of course, that’s nothing new for them.  They’ve been offended by Jesus since the beginning of his ministry.  Whether he was forgiving sin, socializing with sinners or failing to observe the Sabbath, the Pharisees had it in for him from the get-go. 

Now they take offense at his disciples for singing, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”  There’s only one person worthy of that acclamation:  the messiah, God’s anointed ruler.  And the Pharisees are certain that’s not Jesus.

But, they’re missing something, something important – something Jesus’ disciples understand.  It’s why they sing, “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!"

That’s why Jesus has come:  to bring peace – peace with God and one another. That’s what the Angels sang to the shepherds the night Jesus was born. It’s what his disciples sing now. 

The open question is will the people and religious authorities respond like the disciples, or the Pharisees? 

Will they embrace Jesus and his message of peace, or will they reject him – and God’s peace? 

Friends, on this Palm Sunday, that’s also the question for you and me.  

What do we see as we watch God’s king riding on a humble donkey down the Mount of Olives heading for the city?  Do we embrace him and his message of self-giving love and reconciliation with God and neighbor?

Or, like the crowds in a few days’ time, will we reject him as king because, secretly or not, what we really want is a powerful political and military savior who will set this world right - right now?

In the end what it gets down to is “who do we trust?”  Do we trust God to bring us the peace and security we crave, or do we trust ourselves and our own power?

The Pharisees, the Jerusalem establishment and ultimately the crowds make their choice clear:  as much as they hated Rome, they trusted Roman power to bring them peace.

Only that didn’t work out too well.  Within a generation or two, the Romans turned on Jerusalem, sacked the city and leveled the Temple.

In due time, Rome itself was humbled and broken. It wasn’t the first empire to fall – not by a long shot.  Nor would it be the last.  Because every empire that places its trust solely in human power is always overturned.

But there is one Kingdom that will never be overturned.  Ironically, it’s led by a king who offered himself as a sacrifice.  Anyone who trusts in him can live in peace with God and others, now and forever.

That’s been God’s plan from the very beginning.  That’s why, in Jesus of Nazareth, he decided to become one of us.

Does that surprise you – a god who wants to become fully human?  Well, if it doesn’t, it probably should.  The question we should be asking is “What kind of god would do that?” 

The answer is a god who loves us so much, he not only made us, but, when we rejected him, decided to become just like us.  He willingly suffered everything we suffer, and faced all the challenges we do.  He was even willing to die the worst kind of human death in order to gather us back into God’s loving embrace.

And, folks, that’s what’s happening when Jesus enters Jerusalem on that donkey.  He knows what’s coming.  He knows the road ahead leads to the cross.  He can already hear the echoes of the crowd shouting “Crucify!  Crucify!”

But he rides on anyway.  And he does it for love.

That’s the hallmark of God’s Kingdom.  And it’s all around us if we just know where to look.

Friends, where in your life do you experience that kind of selfless, self-giving, self-sacrificing love?  

Maybe when someone goes out of their way to do something unexpectedly kind for you?  Or a friend or family member reaches out to help when your back’s against the wall?  Whatever it is, that’s a sure sign that God is present.

But the message of the gospel - today, during this Holy Week and every week – is we can’t let it stop there.

  Where can you share that wondrous, self-giving love?  At home – for sure. On a mission trip – you bet.   How about in some unexpected places – how about at work or just running errands? 

Wherever it is you share God’s love, you can be sure that you are someone’s hero, because you are following in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross. 

May it be so.

Last Published: April 16, 2019 11:57 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2019


November 3, 2019  "What Makes a Saint?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2019


October 20, 2019  "Money as Means" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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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