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Sermons

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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

 

 

January 30, 2022

“Love, Faith, Hope – Part I:  Acts of Love” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, January 30, 2022 Year C Epiphany 4:  Jeremiah 1:4-10 •  Psalm 71:1-6  •  1 Corinthians 13:1-13  •  Luke 4:21-30 / John 1:1-5,14

THEME:  Love others even when it is difficult because love changes us and causes us to grow closer together with others and to God. 

I was looking at the calendar this week when it suddenly dawned on me Valentine’s Day is just two weeks away.  Naturally, I panicked.  I immediately started calling restaurants and was relieved to finally get a reservation.

That got me thinking about love and all the ways we communicate love.  I suppose the classic way to do that is in a love letter.  But, I wonder, how many of you have ever tried to write a love letter?  How did that go for you?

If you have, then you know just how difficult it is to put love into words.

Many have tried.  Some have done it better than others.  One that comes to mind is Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the great English Romantic poet.  She is the one who famously wrote:  “How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.”

Shakespeare and his love sonnets are equally classic.  Especially “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

The great Scottish poet Robert Burns also wrote his fair share of love poetry.  In fact, at the age of 15, his very first poem was about his love for a young woman named Nellie Blair.  He called this poem “Handsome Nell”.  It begins like this:

"O, once I loved a bonnie lass, Aye, and I love her still;
And whilst that virtue warms my breast, I'll love my handsome Nell." 

Not a classic.  But his most famous love poem was much better.  You probably know it.  It’s called “A Red, Red Rose” and it starts like this:

O my luve's like a red, red rose.
That's newly sprung in June;
O my luve's like a melodie
That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As beautiful and well-known as these words are – and deservedly so - none of them fully captures the experience of love.  There’s a good reason for that.  Love is more than what words can convey.  Love is action.

That is what Paul is trying to help the Corinthians understand.  It’s also what he’s telling us.  He gives us a wonderfully vivid description of the true nature of love.  

“Love is patient; love is kind.  Love is not envious or boastful, or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way.

It is not irritable or resentful.  It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”

Paul was a very gifted writer.  These words of his are beautiful and timeless.  But I’m afraid our translation does not do him justice.

What it fails to capture is that all these descriptions of love are verbs.  There are no adjectives here.  What Paul is really saying is “Love waits patiently; love acts kindly” and so on.

His message is clear.  Love is what love does.  Love is not passive.  It’s more than a feeling.  Love takes the form of action.

And acts of love - true, selfless love - never pass away.  All the other gifts that we have been given in order to honor God are secondary and temporary.  Even the ones that we assume are so pleasing to God and fill us with pride.  These are nothing if they are not offered and received with love. 

And love – self-giving love – lasts forever.  It is timeless.  It exists not only in the present, but it extends into the future.  That’s why for each generation, our greatest literature and music is almost always about love.

And here is the truly curious, awe-inspiring thing about love:  love also extends into the past. 

Every act of truly selfless love is an echo of the love God first showed us.  He showed his love for us in creation.  And it was good – oh, so good.

Then God showed his love for his people in the law.  The Jewish law was not just some penal code.  The whole purpose of the law was to provide a mechanism to maintain and restore the loving relationship between God and his people.  

Then, inevitably, God’s people had trouble keeping the law.  But, instead of throwing up his hands and casting us aside as hopeless, God showed us his love by sending prophets to call us back to him and his ways. 

Even then, when we still didn’t grasp his law of love, God wasn’t finished.  When the time was right, he showed us the depth and breadth of his love by becoming one of us. 

He did the unimaginable, the unthinkable:  God willingly and intentionally took on our human nature.  In Jesus of Nazareth, God chose to suffer with us, and even die for us.  And he did it all so that you and I could be joined to him forever and ever.

When we talk about eternal life, that is what we mean. Never again to be separated from God who made us and loves us.  Never again to be alienated from God.  Because in Christ we have a perpetual bond of love that joins us to our Maker.

Friends, ain’t no love greater than that.  That’s why we have faith in God and hope for the future.  Because God loved us from the beginning, even before he made us. 

In fact, he made us for love:  to be loved and to love others.  Love is the source, the foundation and the goal of our faith and our lives.

But, we are not God.  We do not always love as wisely, as widely or as well as we should.  Which is why there are so many love stories.  We want to see how other imperfect people work out their imperfect love for one another in an imperfect world. 

Think about your favorite love story:  Romeo & Juliet, The Notebook, Dr. Zhivago, Gone with the Wind, Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones Diary.  All of these love stories have a twist, a complication that the characters have to work through.

Sometimes the complication is just a twist of fate, a matter of circumstances.  But more often than not, that twist revolves around human imperfection when it comes to trying to love one another.

My personal favorite (after Casablanca, of course) is Shakespeare in Love.  It’s the imaginary backstory for the creation of Romeo & Juliet.  Will Shakespeare is a young struggling playwright in London.  He falls in love with a noblewoman named Viola De Lesseps,  The problem is that she is promised to marry someone else. 

Although things do not work out for these two lovers the way we would like, the experience of true love leads them to new lives.  For Will Shakespeare, it leads him to create not only his most famous play, Romeo & Juliet, but also his next great work, Twelfth Night.

That’s how it is with love.  When we love another, and give ourselves to another, there is no guarantee that everything will come up roses.  That’s just not how life works.  Human imperfection and the vagaries of life have a habit of intervening.  Spouses die.  Friendships end.  Those we care for sometimes reject us and treat us cruelly.

That’s because we are all flawed.  We do not always know how to give and receive love the way God intends.  

That’s true whether we’re talking about romantic love, parental love or the kind of platonic love that leads us to reach out to a friend or stranger. 

It is never easy to love others, but it is always important that we try.  Because more often than not, even when people and events conspire against us, God can still make something good come from the love we show toward one another.

  The experience of love changes us.  One of my spiritual heroes is Thomas Merton, the great 20th century writer and monk.  Here is what he said about love:

“Love demands a complete inner transformation – for without this we cannot possibly identify ourselves with our brother. We have to become, in some sense, the person we love. And this involves a kind of death of our own being, our own self.”

To love is to be transformed from the inside out. It not only changes what we do and how we act, it also changes who we are.  When we love someone, we see that person differently.  We begin to see them for who they really are – how God made them. 

And after seeing them as they really are, something inside of us resonates, like a tuning fork vibrates to a specific sound.  We realize that we are human just like they are. 

We focus less and less on surface differences, and more and more on deeper commonality.  As our love for another deepens, we gradually cease to be a separate individual.  We become part of those we love.  And they become part of us.   

At its very best, that is what marriage is.  It’s what true friendship is.  It’s what true compassion is.  It’s what it means to become truly human. 

To truly love another, our highly individualized, demarcated self has to die so that, together, we can become something greater.  In that sense, the death of the self gives birth to new life.

Friends, that is exactly what Jesus Christ did for you and me.  And it’s what he wants us to do for one another.

Who in your life seems to be so different that you could never possibly love them?  Try anyway – and then watch what happens to you both as you grow together. 

May it be so.

 

Last Published: January 31, 2022 10:20 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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