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Sermons

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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

June 2022


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

 

 

May 15, 2022

“Easter Discipleship, Part 3:  Love One Another (as I Have Loved You)” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, May 15, 2022  -  Year C / Easter 5  Acts 11:1-18  •  Psalm 148  •  Revelation 21:1-6  •  John 13:31-35

THEME:  Help others experience God through your loving kindness toward them.

 

        I have a rather personal question to ask you, and I hope you won’t be offended.  Do any of you have smelly feet?

        If you do, please don’t be embarrassed.  You are not alone.  Foot odor is a common problem.  There is a perfectly normal physiological reason for it. 

On our feet, are thousands of sweat glands, along with numerous kinds of fungus and bacteria.  As these little organisms feed on the sweat our feet produce, they create an acid that causes our feet to stink.  There is actually a medical term for this condition.  It’s called bromodosis.

If this is you, fear not.  You are in good company.  Some very famous people have suffered from this condition:  Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and Kate Hudson all have notoriously smelly feet.  So does Kanye West. 

So did Elvis Presley.  As the story goes, Elvis’ mother had to wear gloves and a face-mask just to do his laundry!

As bad as this condition can be for us today, can you just imagine how much worse it was back in Jesus’ day?  For one thing, the climate was dry and water was not readily available.  So, people did not wash regularly.

Second, there were no paved roads or concrete sidewalks or grassy lawns to walk on.  Everywhere you went, you walked on a dirt path.  And because the animals used the same roads to travel, donkey and sheep dung were probably everywhere.

To top it all off, footwear consisted of open-toed sandals.  So, even when you took off your shoes, your feet were, well, let’s just say, they didn’t smell so sweet.    

That’s why foot-washing was such an important part of the culture.  It was first and foremost a form of hygiene.  In a dry, dusty climate, washing off your feet was the last thing you did before crawling into bed at night.

But foot washing was much more than that.  It was also an important expression of hospitality.  Having your slaves wash a guest’s feet, or at least providing water so they could wash their own, conveyed the host’s honor in the presence of his guests, and this made them feel welcome.

Most of all, foot washing was a marker of status.  Women and children would wash the feet of their husbands and fathers, as a sign of love and reverence.  Slaves washed everyone’s feet, which was a sign of their humility and their place at the very bottom rung of the social ladder.

Which helps us understand the significance of what Jesus did when he washed the disciples’ feet at the last supper. 

For the first time in recorded history, a master washed the feet of his servants.  This was unheard of.  His disciples were shocked, and rightly so.  They’d never seen anything like this.  That’s why Jesus asks them, “Do you know what I have done to you? . . . You also ought to wash one another’s feet.” 

Jesus is setting the example for his disciples to follow.  They are to humble themselves and serve others in his name, just as he has humbled himself.  And, the next day, as he hangs on the cross between two notorious criminals, he will show them just how far that service goes.

This lesson of foot washing takes the form of a new commandment.  “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Friends, that is the message for you and me, too.  You and I are to offer ourselves in the service of others as Jesus did.  His command begins with his disciples, his closest friends - but it doesn’t stop there. 

Throughout his entire ministry, Jesus was forever crossing boundaries of class, position, status, family, gender, and ethnicity – and all in order to serve others with the healing message of the gospel.  He delivered that message as much through his actions as his words.

That’s how it should be for you and me, too.  There are no limits on whom we should serve and the kinds of needs we meet.  Jesus did not limit his love for us, and nor should we limit our love for others.

In other words, we are to serve the needs of all God’s children – even if their feet stink.

That is how you and I glorify God.  When Jesus talks about all that mutual glorification going on between him and his father, what he means is that God is present in an especially powerful, palpable way.

That’s what glorification is.  To glorify God is to make his presence felt through our loving words and our loving actions. 

That’s why the community of disciples that gathered around John after Jesus’ death came to understand that God is love.  Neither they, nor anyone they knew had ever seen God.  But, when they followed Jesus’ commandment to love one another, they recognized God’s presence among them. 

That’s how it is for us, too.  The love we share and the love we feel are not just the sign of God’s presence. They are the experience of God’s presence.

The question is how will we enable others to experience the presence of God through our expressions of love?

Shane Claiborne is someone who can help us do that.  You may know that name.  Shane has written a number of popular and influential books about the life of faith. 

As a teenager growing up in Tennessee, Shane’s life was one that any of us would wish for our own children.  A straight-A student, a committed Christian, active in his church and his youth group, and clearly headed for success in the world.

But then Shane began to encounter scripture passages like the one we read this morning.  He began to take them seriously.  When he did, it presented for him a crisis of faith.

He says, “People tell me all the time ‘my life was such a mess and then I met Jesus and everything came together.’”  Shane usually replies, “God bless you.  For me, I pretty much had my life together and then I met Jesus and he messed me up.”  As Shane says, he’s been recovering from that encounter with Jesus ever since.

A milestone on his path to recovery happened when he and some college friends went searching for Christians who were really following Jesus and the gospel way of life.  Their search took them to India where they worked alongside Mother Teresa and her ministry in the slums of Calcutta.

What struck Shane about that experience was the overwhelming desire of all those who served there to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Each morning, they would pray that Jesus might live in and through them.  They truly hoped and believed that they were the extension of Jesus’ love for the world.

And what Shane experienced was exactly that.  The marginalized, the homeless, the diseased and the wounded of Calcutta turned up at Mother Teresa’s door.  As the sisters and volunteers dressed their wounds and washed their faces, hands and feet, the facial expressions of their patients said it all:  they were at peace in a way that can only come in the presence of God.  

For them, God’s presence became real in the loving words and actions of Shane and the others who ministered to them in Christ’s name.

But you and I don’t have to go all the way to India to wash the feet of lepers in order to share God’s love.  One of the things Mother Teresa was fond of saying was don’t come to Calcutta.  Look for Calcutta wherever you are.  Shane found his Calcutta back here in the states, in the Kensington Neighborhood of North Philadelphia.  

He spoke about that experience when he was here in Harrisburg a few years ago.  That night, he talked about being an ordinary radical.  By that he means those who do what Jesus teaches us to do by loving one another as he showed us. 

One of his great quotes from that night was this: “ordinary radicals are committed to doing small things with great love.”  That’s how we reveal God’s presence among us.  That’s how we glorify God.  Maybe I should say, that’s how God is glorified through us.

Would you take a moment and look at your worship bulletin?  For those of you online, click through to view the electronic version of our worship bulletin.  Turn to page 11 – the very last page. 

You’ll see our vision statement at the top.  That is where we are headed.  That picture of the grace-filled family of faith sharing Christ’s love with all is the vision God has given us through our Session and which we, as a congregation, are moving toward. 

The values that our Session has identified to get us there are listed just below that.  At the very top of that list of values is this one:  Glorify God.  Serving others in Christ’s name, is one of the most important ways we do that.

Friends, there are an awful lot of folks out there whose feet desperately need washing, metaphorically speaking.  And we don’t have to go to Calcutta to find them.  In fact, you probably know some of them right now.

Who in your life needs to know they are not suffering alone, that God is with them and loves them? 

What word or act of loving kindness, great or small, can you offer to make God’s loving presence real to them?

Whoever and whatever that is, let’s take that step – and witness the power of God’s presence.   

May it be so.

Last Published: May 17, 2022 10:50 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

June 2022


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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