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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

 

 

April 10, 2022

“The Deeper Meaning” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, April 10, 2022  -  Year C / Passion and Palm Sunday:  Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29  •  Luke 19:28-40  •  Luke 23:13-27

THEME:  As we make our way through this Holy Week, stay on an even keel - remaining faithful, humble and hopeful, and never ceasing to act with love..
 

Have you ever considered how many expressions in the English language come from nautical terminology?  There are some obvious ones.  On board.  High and Dry.  Sink or swim.  Batten down the hatches.  All hands on deck.  We use these boating expressions all the time.

There are others that are less obvious and may surprise you.  “Down in the doldrums” means to be drifting with the current in the absence of wind.  “Hunky-Dory” is another one.  That’s what sailors called a certain street in the red-light district of a Japanese city.  To “turn the corner” meant that your boat had made it past the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and was headed for easier sailing in more favorable seas.  

But of all the sailing expressions that have made their way into our common language, one of the most useful is this one:  “stay on an even keel.”  Originally, it meant that the keel, which is like the spine of a boat hull, is kept in a level position.  That meant that the boat was balanced and stable, so it could move forward in the right direction. 

That’s what it means for us, too.  If we are on an even keel, we are balanced, stable and moving in the right direction.  That is the message God intends us to take away from the dramatic events of this coming Holy Week.

But first we have to ask a question.  How does God speak to us through events?  

We all know that God speaks to us through scripture, of course.  This is true whether we are reading the Bible at home, or hearing the Word sung or preached here in worship.

We recognize God speaking to us in other ways, too.  Through the beauty and bounty of nature, he communicates his love and provision.  In spiritual disciplines like prayer and silent meditation we encounter God’s presence and direction.  Through all these means, we hear God speaking to us in intimate and personal ways.

But does God speak to us through the events in our lives?

Some people adamantly deny this.  In their view, it’s either impossible to read the meaning of events, or it’s inadvisable because it’s too easy to misinterpret them.  This is a caution worth heeding.  There is no doubt that when it comes to interpreting the meaning of the events in our lives, we can be both absolutely sure and utterly wrong.

And yet in our Presbyterian Reformed tradition, we trust that God is not only involved in the world he created, but he is in control of what goes on in it.  God is not only speaking to us through events, but somehow working out his will through those events.

We call this divine sovereignty, the sovereignty of God.  This means that, in some way that we do not fully understand, God is in charge of what goes on in all aspects of our lives and our world.

And this is where things get more complicated.  It’s one thing to try to discern what God is up to in our personal lives.  That’s tricky enough.  It’s another thing entirely to try to determine what God is saying as he works through the events that affect our lives.

But that doesn’t relieve us of the obligation of trying.  God wants us to listen for his message to us through the events of our lives in the same way that we try to understand God’s will through scripture, worship and prayer.

However, just as we can misinterpret scripture, so can we misinterpret worldly events.  In truth, we often get it wrong.  When things go right for us, we fall into the trap of assuming that our will is the same thing as God’s will, that God is affirming our desires and furthering our interests.

When things go wrong, whether on a world scale as is happening in Ukraine today or in our personal lives, we fall into the trap of assuming that God either doesn’t care or is just not there at all.  Neither assumption is true.

So, whether things go right or wrong, our interpretation of God’s meaning is never better than partially accurate.  That’s because God’s plan is not our plan.  As God says through his prophet Isaiah, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways.”

And I can think of no better example than the events of Holy Week.  Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of those disciples who walked with Jesus that fateful week.

At first, things go spectacularly well.  The disciples find the colt exactly where Jesus says it will be.  The owner agrees to surrender it exactly as Jesus says he will.  Then Jesus fulfills the ancient coronation practice of Israel’s kings who rode into Jerusalem in a triumphal procession.  In fact, it looks a lot like the kind of procession a Roman general would lead following a major victory.

If you were placing all your hopes on the possibility that Jesus would be just such a strong military leader who would finally overthrow the hated Roman occupiers, you could hardly wish for a better beginning to the week.

There is no sign of the Roman guards, for one thing.  Normally they’re on hand for any public commotion during the Passover festival.  That’s because it was their job to stamp out any rebellion before it got started.

Nor is there any opposition to Jesus among the people.  The crowd are unanimous in their enthusiastic support, waving palm branches, laying their coats in the road and singing the cry of liberation, “Hosanna – save us!”.  

What conclusion would you have drawn?   As Jesus’ disciple, you would probably have assumed what they did:  Jesus is their liberator, the fulfillment of all their hopes for a new future.  Surely, you’d say to yourself, this must be God’s will. 

But then fast-forward to Good Friday.  In just 5 days, everything has gone wrong.  Jesus has been betrayed, arrested, slandered, accused falsely, beaten and sentenced to death as a common criminal.  As he breathes his last breath on the cross, his disciples are nowhere to be found.  They have deserted him.  Only the women are left to weep over his crumpled, lifeless body.

As his disciple, now what would you think?  It’s safe to say that all those high hopes that Jesus would be a liberating king would be completely dashed.  We would ask how could God let this happen?  Where is God?  Does God even care about us? 

Friends, I think something similar happens in our day-to-day lives.  Sometimes we have moments of real triumph.  A relationship goes spectacularly well.  We win a trophy or an award.  We get a promotion, a raise or a new job.  When things like these happen, it’s easy to assume that God is affirming our fondest hopes and granting our deepest desires. 

But, inevitably, there are other moments, moments of failure and even disaster.  We flunk a test.  An important relationship becomes frayed or comes to an end.  We lose a job, a car, a house or a family member.  We harm the very person we are supposed to love and cherish.  We no longer recognize ourselves.  As we’re spiraling down into despair, we question everything, including God. 

But the message of Holy Week is that neither our greatest triumphs nor our worst failures are ever final.  God always has a deeper purpose, a purpose that includes us, but goes beyond us.  He imbues the events of our lives with a meaning which only he knows and which inevitably furthers his will.  The trouble is we don’t get to recognize the meaning until after the fact.

In the meantime, it is up to us to trust that God loves us and wants us to flourish.  He does not desert us when we stumble and suffer, nor does he elevate us to perfection through our successes. 

So, we do not let pride consume us, nor do we let despair rule over us.  We stay on an even keel:  stable, balanced and moving in the right direction.  That is God’s message of Holy Week.  It’s also the secret to a lifelong journey of faith. 

The disciples learned this lesson, too.  After the resurrection, God’s purpose became clear to them.  The personal triumphs and failures of Holy Week were not final.  God’s plan transcended them.  His deeper purpose in the highs and lows of Holy Week was to conquer death once and for all, so that all those who trust in his son might have new life.

Now that they could see that, the disciples could move forward in faithfulness, without getting sidetracked by fear on the one hand, or pride on the other.  They were on an even keel:  balanced, stable and moving in the right direction.

Friends, where in your life could you put to work this message of humility in the face of success, and hope in the face of failure?  Maybe you have experienced a triumph or a trial lately, a spiritual high or low that threatens to sidetrack your discipleship?

If so, let’s remember.  Our triumphs and failures are never final.   God always has a deeper, greater purpose than we can see.

It is up to us to trust that God is at work for good, even if we can’t see it in the present moment. 

So, as we make our way through this Holy Week, let’s make sure we stay on an even keel - remaining faithful, humble and hopeful, and never ceasing to act with love.

May it be so.

Last Published: April 11, 2022 11:45 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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