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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

November 13, 2022

“Steady Faith” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, November 13, 2022  -  Year C / 23rd  Sunday after Pentecost – Isaiah 65:17-25 and Isaiah 12  •  Malachi 4:1-2a and Psalm 98  •  2 Thessalonians 3:6-13  •  Luke 21:5-19

THEME:  Trust in God’s sovereignty and providence and testify to his goodness in all circumstances.  

 

If someone were to ask you what is the most spectacular building in the world, what would you say? 

Recently an architectural design team from a major construction publication addressed this very question.  To measure the relative splendor of buildings, they used an ancient algebraic equation called the Golden Ratio.  This ratio is based on the distance between various points of a structure. 

You find this Golden Ratio throughout nature, as well as in man-made creations down through the ages.  The ancient Egyptians used it to build the pyramids.  Michelangelo used it to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  Leonardo Da Vinci used it to paint the Mona Lisa. 

When it’s used in architecture, it produces organic structures that are stable and aesthetically pleasing.  You get a sense of what this looks like when you examine the list of the world’s most beautiful buildings as ranked by this design team. 

Number one is St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  Number two is a stunning modern structure in Singapore called the Marina Bay Sands Hotel.  Third is Westminster Abbey.  The White House is close behind on the list, and so is the Guggenheim Museum in New York.  The list goes on to include some of the most iconic architectural structures ever created. 

This list confirms something we all know intuitively.  We humans are deeply affected by magnificent structures.  They are impressive achievements of human ingenuity and capability.  They make us feel secure and proud.  They make us feel powerful.

The same was true in Jesus’ day.  As his disciples walk through the courtyard of the Temple they are in awe of the magnificent structure.  Herod had recently completed an extensive rebuilding project.  It took 80 years and invovled a complete renovation from the ground up. 

He spared no expense.  He hired the most talented architects and artisans.  They used the very best materials.  Gleaming white marble.  Multi-colored linen tapestries imported all the way from Babylon.  The gates and doors were plated with silver and gold.  It’s no wonder the disciples were impressed.  Wouldn’t we all be?

Jesus interrupts their revery with some startling news.  The day is coming, he tells them, when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.

It’s a sobering reminder.  All human-made structures, no matter how magnificent they appear, inevitably collapse.  Like all things in this world, the buildings we construct are passing.  We view them as permanent, but ultimately they are not.  They all fall.  When they do, we become afraid.  Our confidence is shaken.  Our world is rocked.

We all experienced this on 9/11.  

I can remember the very first time I ever went to the World Trade Center.  I had just moved to the city and my mother was up for visit.  I took her to the observation deck on the 107th floor of the South Tower. 

There was an indoor observatory and, if you were really brave, there was an outdoor viewing platform 1,400 feet above street level.  When it was opened in 1975, it was the highest viewing platform in the world.  You could see for miles in all directions.  You could see the mountains in Western New Jersey and the beaches on Eastern Long Island.  It was spectacular.  

But on 9/11, all of that changed.  I’m sure you remember where you were that day.  I do, too.  I was in the city.  On the train ride into Manhattan news began to spread that a plane had crashed into one of the towers.  From the train we could see it smoking in the distance.

By the time we reached Penn Station, the second plane had hit and it was clear there had been a terrorist attack.  Masses of commuters were flooding back into the station to get out of the city.  I walked over to my office near Grand Central Station.  On the way, I looked down 6th Avenue.  I could see both towers smoking like gigantic candles.  It was surreal.

Beth and I met up at her co-worker’s apartment.  On TV, we watched in disbelief as first one, and then the other tower fell.  Later that afternoon, on the ferry ride back to New Jersey, we passed by the smoking rubble of 7 World Trade Center.  It had just collapsed minutes before.

I’m sure you have your own story of 9/11.  For all of us, no matter where we were, it was a wake-up call.  

For a time, people of all stripes were forced to recognize that the only true security, the only true power, and the only true hope we have is God.  Empires come and go.  Institutions come and go.  Buildings come and go.  Only God, and his love in Jesus Christ, endure forever.  That’s why, in the weeks following 9/11, our sanctuaries were full. 

The lesson for us is to trust in God, and in God alone.  That means resisting the temptation to place our trust in human-made systems and structures.  And when they inevitably falter and fail, it means that we don’t despair.  In all circumstances, good times and bad times, we remember that God is present and God is in control. 

That is what steady faith boils down to:  the willingness to trust that God is good and God is sovereign. 

Sovereign.  We throw that word around a lot, but I’m not sure we really understand what it means.

Some people think it means God is like a puppeteer pulling strings to dictate the events of our lives.  But that is not how God works.  To say that God is sovereign is to say that nothing and no one is able to withstand his will.  We do have free will and we have freedom of choice, but, in some mysterious way, no matter what we choose, God is able to work his will.

Now, I grant you, that is a big leap of faith for most of us.  If we’re honest, we have to admit that we would far rather believe we are in control, even though we are not.  I recently came across that illustrates this fallacy perfectly.

Toward the end of his life, the great 20th Century Christian writer, Henri Nouwen made friends with a group of German Trapeze artists.  Their troupe was called the Flying Rodleighs. They performed with circuses all over Europe.     

From the moment he first saw them perform, Henri was captivated.  He was mesmerized by the way they flew through the air and caught one another.  After seeing them perform several times, Henri approached them after the show.  He told them he was one of their greatest fans.

They were flattered, of course.  In return, they invited Henri to watch them practice, which he did.  Soon they became good friends.  One day, as Henri was sitting down with their leader, Rodleigh, Henri asked him what it was like to fly through the air and what it takes to do that. 

Rodleigh said, “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher. The public might think I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher.  Joe has to be there for me with split-second precision to grab me out of the air as I come to him.  The flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him.’

Friends, that is exactly how it is with the life of faith.  We are the ones flying through the air.  We are all tempted to put our trust in those man-made systems and structures that most people rely on to keep us flying high and to prevent us from falling.  But in the end, the only sure source of support and protection is God.  God is our catcher. 

Where are you on your faith journey?  In what kinds of things do you place your trust? 

Do you trust in wealth – like your IRA, your bank account, or your investment portfolio?  Do you trust technology – like your computer or your cell phone?  Do you trust a political party – its candidates and policies?  Do you trust the news channel you watch – what it reports and the opinions it offers? 

As important as these things may be to us, none of them have ultimate importance.  They are all subject to God.  When they fail, as they inevitably do, God is the only one left.

But this is not the only test of our faith.  The true test of our faith happens when those other support systems and structures are working, propping us up, propelling us ever higher.  Where is our faith in God then?

So, this week, I have an assignment for you.  I want you to keep track of what happens each day, the highs and the lows.  As you reflect on each, ask yourself this question:

Am I able and willing to praise God for his goodness and providence in the midst of both?

If so, your faith is like a great cathedral built according to God’s golden ratio:  It is:

  • Steady in your life
  • Pleasing to God
  • Built to last

  May it be so.

 

 

 

Last Published: November 14, 2022 12:07 PM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

November 2022


November 20, 2020  "Who Is This Jesus?" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

November 13, 2022  "Steady Faith" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

October 2022


October 30, 2022  "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 3: Relationship Redeemers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 23, 2022 "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 2: Generous Givers" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

October 16, 2022   "Tech, Time and Tithe, Part 1: Covenant Connectors" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

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

 

 

Click here for previous sermons

 

 

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