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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

July 28, 2019

“Walking Hand in Hand” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, July 28, 2019, Year C / Pentecost 7 – Genesis 18:20-32, Psalm 138, Colossians 2:6-15, (16-19) and Luke 11:1-13

 

THEME:  Praying the Lord’s Prayer forms us into a family who care for each other as God cares for us.

 

 

           

Do you consider yourself to be a theologian?  Let me see a show of hands.  That’s not very many.  But allow me to suggest that all of us are theologians, whether we know it or not.  And we affirm our theology every time we pray.

Someone far wiser than I once said that every prayer we utter is a theological declaration.  I had to ponder that for a little bit, but I think I know what he’s getting at.  Our prayers reveal what we think God is like.  

Think about the prayers you’ve said this week.  What do they say about how you view God?  Maybe they assume he is the giver of material things?  Do they suggest God is also a healer of sickness?  Or maybe a righter of wrongs?  How about a reconciler of conflict, or a peacemaker?

Those are all theological statements.  They describe our view of God.  And that is exactly what Jesus is impressing on his disciples when he teaches them to pray. 

He and his disciples are on a journey that will take them to Jerusalem and the tumultuous events of Jesus’ passion.  As they set out on the road, his disciples have noticed how much time Jesus spends praying.  They’ve also noticed that John the Baptist’s disciples pray in a distinct way.  They want to be able to pray in a way that identifies them with Jesus.   

So, they ask him to teach them to pray as he does.  What Jesus teaches them is the basis of what you and I know as the Lord’s Prayer, which is slightly different here than in Matthew’s gospel. 

His disciples are undoubtedly surprised when he begins by telling them to address God as “Our Father.”  In Jewish prayers, God was almost never referred to as a father.  In the broader Roman culture, however, there was a definite understanding of what a father was like.

For Romans, the family was sacrosanct.  It was the fundamental building block of the empire.  Just as the Emperor enjoyed almost unchecked power in Roman civic life, so did Roman fathers have unquestioned authority over family life.

Fathers often used their power in coercive, even violent ways.  For example, would a child be permitted to live, or would it be left exposed to die?  Would a daughter or son be permitted to marry, or not?  Would a slave be freed or beaten?  It was all up to the father, who was the head of the household.

But Jesus has in mind a very different kind of father.  One who is even more powerful, and therefor also must be obeyed, but whose nature is gracious, forgiving, and merciful.  In fact, so much so that his name – Yahweh – has become sacred precisely because it’s a synonym for God’s benevolent nature. 

What Jesus is doing here is far more than simply teaching his disciples the words to use when speaking to God.  He’s inviting them into the same loving and dependent, familial relationship with God that he himself has.  They can depend on God’s generosity and goodness just as he does.

For example, God may be their father in Heaven, but he’s also very much present to his children in the here and now.  It’s in his nature to provide for their daily material needs.  So, he can be relied on to provide bread for the coming day.

And God not only forgives sins, but he also releases his children from their indebtedness, and expects them to do the same for others.

You know that in some denominations, they say trespasses. But the better translation is what we read here:  “indebtedness”.  It’s really a code word.  It refers to the social obligations that Roman culture demanded. 

Roman society operated on a system of patronage.  Relationships were based on a cycle of debt and repayment.  If you did someone a favor, that placed on them an obligation that absolutely must be repaid, at the risk of being publicly shamed and shunned.     

But that’s not the kind of relationship God has with his children.  He releases them from the whole quid-pro-quo patronage system.  As a result, he expects them to do the same: giving and doing for one another with no expectation of return.  That’s what you would do for kinfolk.  

Finally, his disciples are already undergoing testing, so he advises them to ask God for no more.  Jesus knows a thing or two about testing.  Satan tempted him for 40 days in the wilderness.  The root of that test was whether Jesus would trust himself and his own power, rather than depend on God’s care.  Jesus was strong enough to resist that temptation.  But he knows his disciples are not.

 

To help them trust God’s care, he tells them a story.  A reluctant neighbor in a small village will nevertheless get up in the middle of the night to meet the needs of his neighbor, because what’s at stake is his name and reputation among the villagers who can all hear what’s happening.  Even more so, God – who is not reluctant at all – will surely meet the needs of his children.

Jesus’ point here is that God’s children should trust him to act and provide for their genuine needs.  They have only to ask and God will give them all good things – no scorpions or snakes from him!  

He’ll even give them more than they ask for.  In fact, he’ll give them the thing they need most:  the Holy Spirit, to empower and guide them on their journey of discipleship.  It’s the sure sign of his presence, walking along with them just as Jesus is doing now:  like a father leading his small child by the hand.

When we can pray the Lord’s prayer like that, with such clarity and confidence in God’s goodness and provision, our prayers become so much more than mere words.  They form us into a family.  They reaffirm our relationship to God as a parent who loves us and cares for us like a mother and a father combined.  They encourage and embolden us to care for one another in that same way.  That’s what the Kingdom of God is like.

However, it’s glaringly obvious that God’s Kingdom is not here yet.  Suffering and evil are still very real and present in our world.  And, sometimes, when disaster strikes in the form of a disease, a death or loss of a job or marriage, we ask that hardest of all theological questions:  how could God let this happen?  I know for a fact some of you are asking that very question right now.

          It’s natural to wonder, at a time like that, “Where is God in the midst of all this?  I can’t feel his presence at all!”

But, friends, God is there.  He’s always there.  And we’ll know it by the way others care for us and walk with us.

That’s what the Lord’s prayer asks of us:  to care for one another like a loving family, just as God loves us and cares for us.

As we teach our children how to pray the Lord’s prayer, let’s make sure we are teaching them that’s it so much more than just words to memorize.

By sharing with them our convictions about God, we are teaching them to be theologians, too.  Like Jesus taught his disciples, we are teaching them to claim the special relationship God offers us as our loving parent, a father and mother who doesn’t always give us everything we want, but always gives us what we need. 

That’s the promise Jesus is asking his disciples to trust, as he teaches them the Lord’s prayer.

The question for us is:  do we dare to believe it?  Can we affirm this theology of a loving, gracious and just God, by living it out?

If so, then every time we recite the Lord’s prayer, we and our children are doing far more than just regurgitating words from memory.  We are forming and reforming the bonds of a family – God’s family.

May it be so.

Last Published: July 31, 2019 1:51 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

November 2019


November 24, 2019  "How to Recognize Your King" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 17, 2019  "A Good Ending" by Rev. Don Wahlig

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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