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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2021


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

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

June 27, 2021

“Faith Over Fear” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, June 27, 2021, Year B / Pentecost 5 – Lamentations 3:22-33  •  Psalm 30  •  2 Corinthians 8:7-15  •  Mark 5:21-43

The big idea:  God’s love in Christ overcomes fear through faith in him.

Application:  Put our faith into action to write our own headlines that tell God’s story of love.

 

Do we have any journalism majors here?  Has anybody here worked in journalism? 

As an English major in college I loved writing, but I never took a fancy to journalism.  It seemed to me that writing a news story was all about collecting dry facts, and then arranging them. 

Where was the craft of rhetoric, the art of persuasion?  Where was the creativity of expression?

Eventually, I found that there was one aspect of journalism where creativity did matter, and it mattered a lot:  writing the headline. 

The challenge in writing a headline is to produce a short, sharp summary of the content of the story.  Equally important, the headline has to engage the reader.  It has to lure readers into reading the story.

We can only imagine the headline Mark would have written for the story he relates to us this morning.  Here is how that story goes:

Having just stepped off the boat from the far side of the lake, Jesus is confronted by Jairus.  Jairus is a big deal in this community.  He is the President of the local synagogue.  So, it’s startling to see him begging on his hands and knees. 

But when Mark tells us why, we completely understand.  His 12-year old daughter is at death’s door.  He desperately wants Jesus to come and heal her.

But as they make their way through the crowds, a woman reaches out and touches the hem of his garment.  In an instant she is healed.  In that same instant, Jesus is aware that that healing power has gone out from him.  Naturally, he wants to know who he’s healed.

When the woman fesses up, it becomes clear why she did not ask him first.

She has a hemorrhage.  The constant bleeding renders her perpetually unclean.  This makes her an outcast.  It prevents her from taking any meaningful part in the life of her community.   

She and Jairus are as far apart on the social spectrum as they could possibly be, but they have one thing in common.  They are both desperate for healing and wholeness.

Just as Jesus pronounces that the woman’s faith has made her well, he is interrupted.  Word has come from Jairus’ household.  It’s too late.  His daughter has died.

But that doesn’t stop Jesus.  In the face of disbelief and derision, Jesus assures Jairus that his daughter is merely asleep.  “Do not fear,” he says, “only believe.”  And, with a word, Jesus restores her to life.

Now, if you were Mark, what headline would you write for this story?  Maybe something like “Faith Triumphs Over Fear”?

That is certainly Mark’s message.  God’s love is extravagant and indiscriminate.  From the lowest to the highest on life’s socio-economic ladder, it makes possible new life for everyone and anyone who trusts in Christ.  As a result, no fear is ever insurmountable.

Mark’s audience would sure have appreciated that message.  They had a lot to worry about.  A couple generations removed from the events that Mark describes, these Gentile Christians in Rome were living through one of the most turbulent times in their lives and indeed in all of Roman history.

Nero, that great persecutor of Christians, was dead by suicide.  With his death, the dynasty of Rome’s founding family that began with Caesar Augustus, came to an end.  What followed is known as the year of four emperors. 

One after another, three different Emperors from rival families rose rapidly to power, only to fall just as quickly.  By the time the fourth one came to power, the damage had been done. 

The economy was in ruins.  The government was almost bankrupt.  The army was in revolt.  All of Rome was in turmoil.  Ordinary citizens lived with daily trepidation and anxiety.  

          Now, that was a long time ago.  But, as we look at our lives today, I think we can all relate to those feelings can’t we?  Things are finally beginning to look up now, but consider what we have lived through over the past decade.

The headlines have been about economic recession, high unemployment and record debt.  Incessant war abroad and political turmoil at home.  Ethnic, racial and class tensions boiling over across the globe.

Rising secularism, rising temperatures and rising seas.  And an international pandemic causing the most severe public health crisis in 100 years.

          These are headlines.  They tell a story.  It’s a story whose message is that we live in an age when fear is much more reasonable than faith.

          And, yet, Jesus calls us to faith, just as he did Jairus and the hemorrhaging woman.  “Do not fear, he says, “only believe.”

          But that’s a lot easier said than done, isn’t it?  We all worry.  We all have fears.  Worry and fear are universal.

          This week I’ve been wondering why that is.  Why do we fear what might happen in the future?  Are we just wired that way?

          Recently, a psychologist from the University of Georgia suggested that it has to do with a shift we made 10,000 years ago.  According to her, we have always looked into the future.  But only when we moved from being hunter/gatherers to living in agricultural communities, did focusing on the future become a problem.

          Until that point, there was no need to look more than a day or two ahead.  Each day would take care of itself.  We didn’t have any long-term goals or ambitions.  Nor did we have homes or possessions to be concerned about.  We just had to concentrate on living day-to-day.

          But then came the agricultural revolution.  We became concerned with planting, tending, harvesting and storing crops.  That’s when we started looking further and further ahead. 

The vagaries of weather became a big concern.  Would there be enough sun?  Enough rain?  Or too much rain?

          And since we were no longer nomadic, we had to have homes to live in and barns to store our crops.  We had to protect what we had from thieves, pests, rot and disease.

          And because we needed to rely on family members for labor, we had to worry about them, too.  Would we have enough of them?  Would they become ill?  Would they die?  What would happen to our ability to feed ourselves if they did?

          Through hard experience we learned to worry.  No matter how well things were going at any given moment, we knew that everything could be lost in an instant.  And so we learned to look into the future and worry about it.  We learned to fear what might happen down the line, knowing that we could not predict it, control it or repair it.

          But there is one who can. 

That’s what Mark is telling us.  Even when things seem desperate and lost, we can trust that God still loves us.  Like a mother caring for her child, she holds us in the palm of her hand.  In Christ, God’s love even conquered death itself.  There is nothing and no one that God’s love cannot redeem.

          Love that big has the power to overcome everything else. That’s the good news.  If God’s love can overcome death, then it can certainly break the hold that fear has over us.  

This week I came across a story in a social media post that described exactly what that looks like.  The post begins by describing what so many of us have been feeling over the last year.  It says:

          “Sometimes, I just want it to stop.  Talk of COVID, looting, brutality.  I lose my way.  I become convinced that this “new normal” is real life.

Then I meet an 87-year-old who talks of living through polio, diphtheria, Vietnam and yet is still enchanted with life.  He seemed surprised when I said that the last year must have been especially challenging for him.

“No,” he said slowly, looking me straight in the eye.  “I learned a long time ago not to see the world through the printed headlines.  I see the world through the people around me.  I see the world with the realization that we love big. 

Therefore, I just choose to write my own headlines:

“Husband loves wife today.”

“Family drops everything to come to Grandma’s bedside.”

Then he patted my hand and said, “Old man makes new friend.”

          Folks, these are headlines that matter, and you and I get to write them.  They speak of God’s love in action.  They prove that love is stronger than fear.  No matter how desperate we are, there is a love bigger than our fear.  These headlines call us to faith, just as Mark does.

I don’t mean for one moment to suggest that faith all by itself overcomes all the things we fear.  Faith is not a substitute for common sense and prudent action.

In fact, genuine faith and action are inseparable.  Faith in Christ drives us to do whatever we can to address the things we fear.  Climate change is a great example.  Real faith compels us to make the changes necessary to address it and correct it. 

Faith also compels us to confront racism, sexism, homophobia, and agism.  It calls us to recognize the un-loving attitudes we all hold and which perpetuate these social evils. 

Faith also calls us to the equally difficult but essential  work of changing the social and economic playing field that keeps marginalized people on the margins. 

That is how you and I write headlines of love, headlines that draw others into God’s story, the greatest love story of all time.  That is the story Mark is telling. 

And you and I get to write the headlines for each and every new chapter as it unfolds in our lives.

So, friends, let me ask you.  What headlines will you write this week?

Last Published: June 28, 2021 11:39 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

October 2021


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

 

January 2021


January 31, 2021  "Are You God's Prophet?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 24, 2021  "God's Annoying Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 10, 2021  "Light to See" by Rev. Don Wahlig

January 3, 2021  "The Outsiders' Perspective" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2020


December 24, 2020  "Light in the Darkness" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 20, 2020  "Are you a Royal?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

December 6, 2020  "While You're Waiting..." by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2020


November 15, 2020  "Accepting Your Mission" by Rev. Don Wahlig

November 1, 2020  "The Hope of the Saints" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2020


October 18, 2020  "Whose Image Do You Bear?" by Rev. Don Wahlig

October 11, 2020  "Righteous Clothing" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2020


September 13, 2020  "The Circle of Grace" by Rev. Don Wahlig

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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