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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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

 

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

 

 

November 14, 2021

“How It All Ends, Part 2:  Resurrection” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, November 14, 2021 Year B Pentecost 24 (Proper 28, Ordinary 33):  Psalm 16  •  Daniel 12:1-4

THEME:  Be alert for others who do the work of angels by loving you and making you whole, and be an angel to others by loving them and making them whole.

 

What do angels look like?  How do you know?

As Protestants, we don’t give much thought to angels.  The only times we seem to hear about them are at Easter, when the women visit the tomb, and at Christmas, when Gabriel announces to Mary that she is pregnant with the Messiah.  Neither one gives us a definitive picture of what angels look like. 

So, naturally, we use our imagination to fill in the gap.  Which is why visual media are plastered with images of angels.  Michelangelo’s chubby little cherubs on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Marc Chagal’s pastel-colored angels floating around the ceiling of the Paris opera house.  More recently, hit TV series like Lucifer and Supernatural have shown us a whole host of angels, good and bad.

Still, the most widely-known portrayal of an angel has to be Clarence, Angel 2nd Class in the Christmas classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  But all of these images of angels are based on what the Bible tells us about angels.  Our verse today is one of several that give us a picture of the most important and famous angel of them all.  Not Gabriel, but Michael.

Michael is God’s warrior angel.  He is an archangel, a leader of angels.  In Revelation, Michael is the one who leads God’s angelic army in defeating Satan and casting him and his minions out of heaven.

Michael is also the patron angel of Israel.  He is the protector and advocate for God’s people.  And that is what Daniel sees in his vision of the end time when the dead are resurrected to face judgment.

The purpose of Daniel’s vision is to encourage God’s people to stay faithful until the very end.  If they do, they will inherit eternal life.  They’ll shine like the stars in the sky. 

But it won’t be easy.  The world will be a mess.  Arrogant tyrants will wage war after war.  God’s faithful will be caught up in the chaos.  They’ll be persecuted, even killed.  As the vision promises, evil will increase.

The early church understood that exceedingly well.  Persecution and evil were real for them. They trusted that Michael was at work on their behalf, not just in heaven, but on earth, too.  He was their guardian angel, the protector of the church.  He helped Christians wage spiritual warfare against the forces of evil in this world.  He stepped in to comfort and heal the sick and the suffering.

Over the centuries, we Protestants seem to have lost that understanding.  When we struggle in life, we often act as if we are the only ones who can make things better.  We pray for God’s help, but too often we are blind to his intervention.  

But, if we take Daniel’s vision of the end times seriously, there’s a whole lot more going on in this earthly life than we realize.  The cosmic struggle between good and evil doesn’t just happen in heaven.  It’s happening right here, all around us, in our very lives. 

Daniel wants us to know that we don’t face these forces by ourselves.  God has appointed a heavenly advocate to work on our behalf.  Whether you call it your Guardian Angel or the Holy Spirit, it works the same way.  It helps to make us whole when our life is going to pieces.  It helps to keep our faith, hope and love intact when they come under assault by the forces of this world.  Daniel reminds us that we are never alone.  And we do not face our times of trial alone, either.

The point in our lives when we are most aware of the presence of God’s angels is on our deathbed.  Few people know more about this phenomenon than Dr. Christopher Kerr.  Chris is the Chief Medical Officer at The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care in Buffalo, New York.  His research has focused on the human experience of dying.

At the bedside of patients in the final weeks and days of their lives, he began to recognize a common pattern.  Frequently, dying patients would reach out and call to their mother, their father, their children, even pets, none of whom were visible to others in the room and most of whom had died years earlier.  “What was remarkable,” Chris said, “was that so many of them looked at peace.”

This made him curious.  He found that, although these experiences are nearly universal and have been happening for millennia, no one had ever done any kind of quantitative study of patients’ end-of-life experiences.

So, he started asking dying hospice patients about these experiences.  He conducted over 1,400 interviews.  And what he found was that over 80% had vivid experiences of being in the presence of loved ones.  The experience became more frequent in the final month of life.  Were these just dreams?  Not in their eyes.

They described the experience as beyond any normal dream.  To the dying patient, these encounters with long-dead loved ones were more real than real.  Often, they led to the resolution of past losses, painful experiences, and broken relationships.  In other words, their encounters with these loved ones made them whole and brought them peace.

The following is just such an interview with a woman named Jeanne.   [PLAY YouTube VIDEO:   https://youtu.be/rbnBe-vXGQM, 6:26 – 7:40]

When my mother was dying one year ago, she too had these experiences.  She would mention to my brother and me and the hospice nurse conversations that she was having with her parents, her aunt, her sister, my dad and my brother, all of whom were long dead. 

She would gesture and point to them, even when she could no longer speak.  She wasn’t agitated.  She wasn’t confused.  She was utterly clear about who was with her, and what they did and said.  And she was at peace.  Her loved ones were as real to her as I was.

It is clear to me that they were doing the work of God’s angels.  They comforted her, they made her whole and eased her suffering.  They brought her peace, knowing that her faith was being rewarded.

I will see her again.  The same is true, friends, for you and your loved ones who have gone on before after living out their faith in this world.

But still, there is a nagging question.  Where are God’s angels now for you and me, in these hard times before our dying days? 

It occurred to me this week that they’re here with us alright.  They’re here all the time.  We just have a hard time recognizing them. 

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science movement in the 19th century, famously said, “When angels visit us, we do not hear the rustle of wings, nor do we feel the feathery touch of the breast of a dove; but we know their presence by the love they create in our hearts.” 

They don’t look like sweet little cherubs or armed warriors.  They look like people who love us.  And we look like angels to those whom we love.

George Bailey found that out.  Clarence wasn’t his only angel.  Not by a long shot.  Long after Clarence was gone, George’s family, friends, and neighbors came together in his hour of need.  They saved him, his Savings and Loan, his marriage and his life.

Their love, and the comfort and peace it generated in one another’s hearts, was the rock-solid proof of the presence of angels.

Friends, where do you feel comfort and love?  Where do you encounter others who selflessly work to make you whole, to mend your heart when it’s broken and lift your spirit when it’s dashed?  Most of all, who bolsters your faith through their love?

An even better question is where do you do that for others?  Whose lives do you help make whole?

When you leave here today, I’d like you to do something.  This week, I want you to make a list of those folks who have been angels to you.  Then keep track this week of those opportunities you’ve been given to be an angel to others.

As we love and comfort and encourage one another, we will surely be in the presence of God’s angels.  As Billy Graham said, “Believers, look up – take courage. The angels are nearer than you think.”

Amen.

 

Last Published: November 16, 2021 8:48 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

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

 

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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