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Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

October 2022


October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

December 19, 2021

“Advent Anticipation” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, December 19, 2021 Year C Advent 4:  Micah 5:2-5a  •  Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 80:1-7  •  Hebrews 10:5-10  •  Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)

THEME:   Live in anticipation of Jesus’ return by working to help others.

           

        In my experience, it’s fair to say that we pastors have an odd sense of humor.  That’s especially true when it comes to religious things.  

I confess I am no exception.  For example, in my office I have a collection of religiously themed breath mints.  They’re called Messiah Mints.  They promise to “Save Your Breath”.

And where some people, I suppose, might have a bobble-head doll of their favorite baseball player, performer or President, I keep on my bookshelf a bobble-head doll of John Calvin, the 16th century Protestant Reformer.  The word you’re looking for is nerdy.

I have even more of these little humorous items at home.  For example, on our refrigerator I have a collection of magnets.  One of them shows Jesus preaching to the crowds.  Except, instead of any words we would recognize from scripture, the caption has him saying, “OK everyone, listen up!  I don’t want to end up with four different versions of this!”  Which clearly we have.

But the best one of all is the magnet right next to that one.  It pictures Jesus, holding his shepherd’s crook in one hand and knocking on a door with the other. The caption says, “Jesus is coming.  Look busy.”

 It’s funny, but underneath the humor there is some truth, especially that last one. 

We know that Jesus has already come.  He was born over 2,000 years ago in the most unlikely place, among the most unlikely people, to the most unlikely parents.  We look forward to that in Advent and then we celebrate it at Christmas.  But there’s more to this season than that. 

In Advent we also look forward to Jesus’ return.  At the end of the age, as scripture promises, he will come back to be our judge.  Then he will bring his father’s Kingdom to earth ruling it in all its glory, peace and righteousness.

We live in between what was, and what will be.  That is where Mary lives, too.  She can teach us a thing or two when it comes to living faithfully in these in-between times.

 In this morning’s passage from Luke, Mary sings about all the glorious things God is doing.  And, even though they haven’t happened yet, it’s as if he has already done them.  In the Greek, it’s even clearer.

In other words, what Mary really said is this:  God looked with favor on the lowlines of his servant. God did great things. He showed strength and scattered the proud.  He brought down the powerful, lifted up the lowly and filled the hungry.  He sent the rich away empty, and he helped his servant Israel.

Mary is singing about a future that God will bring about through the unborn Messiah growing inside her womb.  It’s a future where salvation is accompanied by the reversal of circumstances of the lowest and the least. 

And when her cousin Elizabeth’s child, the future John the Baptist, begins kicking in the womb as Mary approaches, it’s the sure sign that God’s deliverance is as good as done. 

As strange as this may sound, Mary is living in the already and the not-yet.  It’s a paradox.  That’s how it is to live the life of faith, Advent faith.

You and I live there, too.  The question is how do we do it?  What does faithful Advent living look like?

Mary gives us a clue.  Despite all that we have heard about the purely personal nature of salvation, that is not how Mary sees things.  For her – and for Luke, who tells her story – there can be no personal salvation without communal redemption.  Advent faith becomes real and vibrant in the work we do to lift up those whose lives are anything but vibrant.

It demands more from us than the acceptance of the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ.  It demands that we share the Good News by helping to put back together the broken lives of those whom Christ called the least.

Mary herself is one of those.  And so is just about everyone she knows.  She’s rejoicing because God is doing for her and everyone like her what God has always done for his people.  He’s keeping his covenant promise.  He’s redeeming their lives, and he’s doing it in a surprising way.

Instead of working through the powerful and mighty, God chooses to work through the poor and lowly.  He reverses the wisdom of this world and sets it on its head.  As the apostle Paul puts it, God makes his strength perfect in weakness.

And that explains the sheer joy that Mary feels.  Along with everyone she knows and loves, Mary is one of the poor, oppressed and exploited multitude living under Roman rule.  It grinds her down -  day after day after day.  And she is powerless to change it.

And then God steps in.  Suddenly there is a light in the darkness.  The Messiah is close at hand, even within.  Things are finally going to change. 

Have you ever had that kind of experience? 

Maybe you were deep in a financial hole, or stuck in an abusive relationship.  Or maybe you were in a job or a workplace that was toxic, that sucked the life out of you. 

Or maybe you were foundering in spiritual darkness, hopelessly lost in a place where you couldn’t see or feel God’s presence, let alone his grace and guidance.

And then, something happened that you didn’t expect. Someone threw you a lifeline and you were able to break free, to really live again.

That’s why Mary is rejoicing.  And Joy like that is contagious.  Once you’ve experienced it, you want more of it.  You want to help others feel that joy as well.

That is what faithful Advent living is all about. 

Often, we think of Advent as a time of waiting.  And that’s true.  We are waiting for the joy of Christ’s birth and the even greater joy of his return. 

But we are not called to wait passively.  We are called to prepare actively for the Messiah. 

That means living with anticipation, not just expectation. We often use these two words interchangeably, but there’s a big difference.  Expectation is purely mental, cognitive, intellectual.  Expecting means we think that something is likely to happen.

Anticipation is different.  When we anticipate something we not only expect it to happen, but we take action to prepare for it.  Expectation is passive.  Anticipation is active. 

        The secret to Advent living is that we not only expect Jesus’ return, we actively prepare for it.  The way we do that is to put our hearts and hands to work lifting up the lowly, just as Jesus did.

In recent times, few people have exemplified Advent living better than John Wooden, one of the greatest basketball coaches of all time.  Coach Wooden led UCLA to a record 12 national titles, including 7 straight NCAA championships, a record that has never been equaled.

What you may not know is that John Wooden was as much of a success off the court as he was on it.  He was beloved by his players.  Over the years, many of them have given him credit not only for making them better basketball players, but better human beings.

He was a devout Christian who faithfully lived out the Christ-like principles he believed in.  And he set the example for his players to do the same.

Coach Wooden was inspired by Mother Teresa and her selfless work helping diseased and dying outcasts in Calcutta.  She became his role model, and he adopted her credo as his own:  “Unless a life is lived for others, it is not worthwhile.” 

He realized, of course, that few among us have the means or capability or calling to build orphanages, schools or hospice ministries.  But all of us can still make a difference in someone else’s life.  As Mother Teresa often said, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

So, he resolved to do one kind thing each day for someone who could never return the favor.  He challenged his players to do the same.

That challenge is for you and me, too.  You and I are probably not going to build an orphanage in India any time soon, but we can all take a moment of each day to be kind and helpful to someone in need. 

Over time, those little moments of care and helpfulness add up to something bigger - for us, for others and for our world.  

Research has proven there is a deep connection between personal happiness and performing acts of kindness for others, no matter how big or small.

Even better, there is a ripple effect.  The kindness we show to others today is typically passed on to an even wider circle of folks tomorrow.  That’s what faithful Advent living does.

So, as we all get ready to celebrate Christmas later this week, whose life will you affect?  To whom will you be kind - this week, next week and on into the New Year?  Whose life will be better because of you?

There is an old Native American Proverb.  It goes like this.  “When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life in such a way that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.”

When Christ returns, we will indeed rejoice with him.  Because we will not have been worried about looking busy.  We will have been busy – living faithfully, anticipating his return and making those good things that Mary sang about a reality for those who most need them.

May it be so.

 

Last Published: December 20, 2021 9:35 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

October 2022


October 2, 2022,  "Keeping the Flame Burning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

September 2022


September 18, 2022,  "Mammon, Part I:  The Way of Righteousness" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

August 2022


August 28, 2022   "Why Do We Sing?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

August 7, 2022 "The Essence of Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 2022


July 24, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 4: The Judge Who Shows Mercy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 17, 2022  "God's Goodness, Part 3: The Covenant Partner Who Blesses" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

July 10, 2022 "God's Goodness, Part 2: The Law-giver Who Prospers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

June 2022


June 19, 2022 "Words from the Wise: Gamaliel" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 12, 2022 "The Trinity: The Holy Spirit" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

June 5, 2022  "The Day the Universe Changed" by the Rev. Lisa Strong Chase

May 2022


May 29, 2022  "Easter Discipleship, Part 5: Waiting with Joy" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 22, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 4: Trust in My Healing Grace" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 15, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 3: Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 8, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 2: Follow My Voice" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

May 1, 2022 "Easter Discipleship, Part 1: Feed My Sheep" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 2022


April 17, 2022 "New Life, or an Idle Tale?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

April 10, 2022 "The Deeper Meaning" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

March 2022


March 13, 2022  "Images of Jesus- Part II: Friend of the Cross" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

February 2022


February 13, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part III: The Life of Hope" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2022


January 30, 2022  "Love, Faith, Hope - Part I:  Acts of Love" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 2, 2022  "Jesus Draws a Crowd" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 2021


December 19, 2021 "Advent Anticipation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 5, 2021 "Advent 2: Wilderness Preparation" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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