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Sermons

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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 21, 2019

“So, Where Is He?” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 21, 2019, Year C / Easter –  Isaiah 65:17-25 •  Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24  •  1 Corinthians 15:19-26  •  Luke 24:1-12

THEME:  Jesus is risen and is alive in us when we share his love.

 

I’ve never really thought about it before, but I‘ve discovered that people go to cemeteries for a surprising variety of reasons.  The most obvious one, of course, is to pay respects and remember a deceased loved one.  

But apparently a significant number of people go for other reasons.  Some are history buffs.  Some like the ornate statuary and architecture. 

Others go for exercise.  That makes sense because cemeteries are great places for walking. 

And a number of people go simply to be alone.  Cemeteries are ideal for that.   They tend to be quiet peaceful places, even more so than public parks.  As one person said, “So many people, but no one talking!”

Evidently, that also makes them a good place to go with a date.  I’ll never forget when my mother told me that when her sister, my aunt, was at the University of Pennsylvania, she used to go with my uncle to a local cemetery to be alone.

That’s not my idea of a romantic outing, but then again, they were a couple of science nerds, so who’s to say?

Then there are some people who go for the epitaphs.  An epitaph is like a little window into someone’s life.  Most epitaphs are short, poignant and sincere.  Others are down-right funny.  I didn’t understand that until I came across a list of the funniest tombstone epitaphs.

For example, Merv Griffin, the great talk show host has engraved on his tombstone “I will not be right back after this message.”

Mel Blanc, the voice behind cartoon characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, had engraved on his tombstone “That’s all folks!”

Then there is Rodney Dangerfield, whose epitaph reads, “There goes the neighborhood.”

But of all the things you go to a cemetery for, what no one expects to find are the actual people buried there.  Clearly, that was true for the disciples on that very first Easter morning.

 

Our gospel story begins with the women. They’ve followed Jesus all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem. They’ve witnessed all the tumultuous events of this Passover week.

They stood at the foot of the cross, grieving as Jesus drew his last breath.  They were there when Joseph of Arimathea took down his body.  They went with him when he placed it in the tomb.

And so it is, on the morning of this, the third day, that these faithful Galilean women make their way in the early morning darkness to the tomb.  They’ve brought spices to use in performing the traditional Jewish burial rites.

That fact alone tells us, despite all Jesus has said about his coming betrayal, death and resurrection, none of his disciples understood or believed him.  Not these women, not the other disciples – no one.  What they expect to find in that tomb is a cold corpse.

What they actually find is . . . nothing!   Just the linen cloth that was wrapped around his dead body. 

Only when two angels appear to remind them, do they recall what Jesus had said.  That sends them running back to tell the other disciples - who promptly dismiss their story as an idle tale.

All except Peter, that is.  But even as he stands in the empty tomb, looking around in awe-struck amazement, he fails to grasp what you and I celebrate on this Resurrection Sunday:  Jesus is risen! 

What they’re all wondering, however, is just “Where is he?”

As it turns out, that is precisely the right question – for them, and for us.

Like the disciples, we, too default to the seemingly obvious truth that when someone dies, they stay dead.  We no longer expect that person to be present to us in any real sense. 

That’s why we have cemeteries.  They give us a place to go, a physical location that offers a tangible reminder of the person we’ve loved who is now no longer with us.

And I sometimes wonder if we do the same thing with Jesus.

If only by default, I suspect many Christians, even as they celebrate Jesus’ triumph over death, confine him to memory.

We recall he was a wise, inspirational teacher, a fiery and forceful prophet, and a loving, compassionate healer.  But he died.

So, we praise his legacy, for the same reason the women go to the tomb to anoint his dead body:  to honor him in memory, without stopping to consider that he might be very much alive.

Friends, there is so much more to Jesus, and so much more to our faith.

It all starts by remembering that he was willing to die for us.  There is no greater love than that.  That love demands something of us in the church.

Just as God called the nation of Israel to be a kingdom of priests, so the New Testament tells us the church is to be a “royal priesthood”, what the Reformation theologian Martin Luther called the priesthood of all believers. 

But no matter what you call it, it means you and I not only experience God’s self-giving love in Jesus, but we have the responsibility to mediate his loving presence to one another and to the world.  

That’s what priests and ministers do:  in the Word and in prayer, in sacrament and song, we interpret and proclaim the ongoing reality of God’s self-sacrificial love in Jesus Christ.

But if we’re going to truly become a Royal Priesthood of believers, things can’t stop there.  There’s another step. As Martin Luther put it, all of us are to become little Christs to our neighbors.

The great Christian writer, C.S. Lewis agreed with that.  He said “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men (and women) into Christ, to make them little Christs.  If they’re not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself are simply a waste of time.”  He is oh-so-right.

Jesus showed us what God’s love looks like in the flesh.  Our goal, with his help and the encouragement of one another, is to become like him in order to show God’s love to the world.

We do that the same way Jesus did.

Just as he became servant of all, so should we.  Just as he gave himself unconditionally for others, so should we.  That’s how we become little Christs to our neighbors.

But, that’s where things begin to get complicated.  As we all know, it isn’t always easy to be Christ-like.  And there are some folks who are, well, difficult to love.

Now, I’m sure none of us have neighbors, work colleagues or family members like that.  And I’m equally sure no one in this congregation would ever act like that.  And I certainly don’t recall ever personally acting that way.

And if you believe any of that, as the saying goes, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you.

The truth is, from time to time, all of us are difficult to love.  But that doesn’t give us a pass when it comes to being little Christs to one another.

So, how exactly do we do that?

Here, too, C.S. Lewis has some helpful advice.  He said, "Don’t waste your time bothering whether you 'love' your neighbor.  Just act as if you do.  As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets.  When you’re behaving as if you love someone, you will presently come to love him (or her)."

That may sound counter-intuitive, but psychologists have proven him right.  As William James, the trail-blazing 19th century sociologist wrote, “by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not."

With regard to romantic love It turns out that acting as if we love someone – staring into their eyes, touching them, being open and vulnerable – actually makes us fall in love with them.  Which explains why so many movie stars end up in relationships with their co-stars.

The same can be said for friendship.  Being a friend, creates friendships.  Acting cheerful, really does makes us happier and, when shy people act assertively, they actually become more assertive. 

What all of this means is we have a choice.  We can choose to love one another as Jesus loved us.  And when we do, we will know that Christ is alive in us – and others will see him in us, as well.

So, who in your life do you need to love more?  Maybe a spouse or a sibling?  Maybe a friend who’s in need, or a child who’s become estranged?

Whoever it is, even if they’re difficult to love, don’t be discouraged.  Just keep on loving them.

 That’s how Christ lives in us.  As Paul wrote to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” 

People will see that.  And it’ll make them want to love others the same way.

When the day comes to write our epitaph, may our tombstones read, “Here lies a disciple in whom the risen Christ was very much alive.”

May it be so.

 

Last Published: April 23, 2019 8:40 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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