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For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

February 2023


February 5, 2023  "The Kingdom, Part 2: Tasty and Bright" by the Rev. Wahlig

 

January 2023


January 29, 2023  "Revealing the Kingdom" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 1, 2023  "Love in the Stars" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2022


December 18, 2022 "Coming Home" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 4, 2022 "The Future King and his Peaceable Kingdom"  by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2022


November 20, 2022  "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

 

 

December 4, 2022

“The Future King and his Peaceable Kingdom” by the Rev. Don Wahlig, December 4, 2022  -  Year A / 2nd Sunday of Advent – Isaiah 11:1-10  •  Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19  •  Romans 15:4-13  •  Matthew 3:1-12

THEME:  Create signs pointing to the peaceable kingdom by reaching out to others, offering and receiving support

 

Last week Beth and I flew out to California to spend Thanksgiving with our youngest daughter Jane in Los Angeles.  I always enjoy going out there.  It’s just such a different place.  That starts with the weather.  75 and sunny every day was a welcome change.

But it’s more than the weather.  It’s the different birds, plants, and especially the trees.

Most of us think about palm trees, of course.  But the tree that really stands out in California is the Coastal Redwood.  For one thing, they are huge. They are the tallest trees on the planet.  They grow to more than 300 feet and live for thousands of years.

What is most striking to me is how they grow so tall.  When Redwoods drop their cones, the roots of the seedling become intermingled with the roots of the mother tree.  A spout can also grow directly from its parents’ roots.  In both cases, the mother tree helps the sprout grow by feeding it water and sugar.  It’s like a mother nursing a child.

Equally remarkable, when a Redwood is cut down, its roots go into high gear and a new tree invariably grows from the dead trunk.  For the Redwoods, death is not the final word.  New life can emerge even from a seemingly lifeless stump.

That is the poignant image God uses to convey hope to the people of Judah.  The Judeans sure could use some hope.  They have been traumatized by the violence and horror of the mighty Assyrian army overrunning Judah’s northern neighbor, the Kingdom of Samaria.  The people of Judah fear they are next.

God’s message to them speaks of a shoot emerging from the stump of Jesse.  Jesse was the father of King David.  God is signaling the fulfillment of his promise to David some 300 years before.  One of David’s ancestors will rise up to be the ideal king of an ideal kingdom.  He will bring peace for all, even those who are sworn enemies.

He will be like David, only greater.  He will be wise and perceptive.  He will triumph over his enemies and show compassion for the poor.  He will uphold the meek and reject the evil-doers.  

Above all, he will be obedient to God, faithful and righteous in all his ways.

You and I know this king.  He’s the reason we are here.  We have several different names for him.  We call him Messiah, Emmanuel, Christ, and King.  Like the people of Judah, we too look forward to the peaceable kingdom he will usher in when he returns.

Oh, what a kingdom that will be!  In Jesus’ kingdom, war and violence are no more, because the age-old antipathy between the powerful and the powerless, between predator and prey, is no more.

Can you imagine a world like that?  Think about that for a moment.

How will the wolf relate to the lamb then?  When they’re out in the field together, grazing side-by-side, might the bear and the cow start bonding over all the things they have in common?  Maybe when the serpent loses its instinct to bite the hand of the child who invites it out to play, how much fun can they have?

They will begin acting a lot like those redwood trees.  They’ll become involved in each other’s lives and nurture each other’s well-being and growth.   

Redwood trees do the very same thing.  They do it through their root systems.  For such a huge tree, their roots are surprisingly shallow – 12 feet deep, at most.  You might wonder how can such shallow roots support such a massive tree?

The answer is the roots grow laterally – up to 100 feet away from the trunk in all directions.  The roots of one tree become intertwined with the roots of its neighbors.  So, when there is a flood or strong winds, the trees literally hold each other up.

And the roots do more than that.  They allow the trees to communicate with each other.  Scientists have discovered that Redwoods use their roots to tell other trees when they are in distress, for example when they’ve been hit by lightning.  When an insect is attacking one tree, it alerts other trees to raise their defenses.   

That is truly remarkable, but there’s more.  They also use their roots to provide nourishment to other trees that are struggling.  In some cases, connected trees will keep sending nutrients to the roots of a dead stump for hundreds of years until new growth emerges from the seemingly dead trunk.

This is extraordinary behavior, don’t you think?  It seems to fly in the face of what we regard as the law of nature.  It defies Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest.  Many people find that strange.  And this week I have been wondering why that is.

Is it perhaps because we fear what our fellow human beings will do to us when we become weak and vulnerable?  So much of our living – our economic life, our political life, even our social life – is structured around the assumption of individual competition for resources we regard as scarce.

But the Redwoods have a different lesson to teach us.  God has made them such that no matter how tall they grow, when their neighbor is in trouble, they too feel less secure.  When their neighbors struggle to flourish, it becomes their mission to help them.  

They are interconnected.  By growing together and depending on one another, they live longer, and they grow taller.  In other words, they experience more abundant life together than they ever could individually. 

That is what God’s peaceable Kingdom will be like for you and me.

Much of the rest of the world, however, is skeptical about this future kingdom.  As Woody Allen famously put it, “The wolf may lie down with the lamb.  But the lamb won’t get much sleep!”

To the skeptics among us, the peaceable Kingdom is a pipedream, something which, if it happens at all, can only happen in the far-off, cosmic future.

But we Christians think differently.  We trust that our King is already reigning, even now.  And Jesus is calling us to create signs of his coming kingdom in this life, here and now. 

So, then the real question is how do we live today in such a way that others around us can see signs of his future kingdom in all its fullness?

The Redwoods have an answer for us.  We need to learn that we are all interdependent.  That means we are never entirely independent, nor are we entirely dependent.  We need one another, and we support one another.   

This is true in the church, including this congregation.  You know we are in the midst of some difficult times financially. 

The answer to these challenges is for each of us to do what we can to support each other in the ministry to which God has called us.  We have a 300-year history of working together and responding faithfully to overcome challenges like this one.  I have no doubt that this will be the case in this instance, too.  When it happens, it will be a sign pointing toward Jesus’ peaceable kingdom.

The same is true as a community and as a nation.  The political polarization we have experienced in this country has not only threatened personal and family relationships, it has endangered our very system of democratic government.  It is simply tribalism in its rawest form. 

And at its root, tribalism is just the collective expression of hyper-individualism, the mentality that says “I am right, and I don’t need anyone who disagrees with me.”  It is the false assumption of self-sufficiency and self-righteousness.  That is a toxic combination.  Both are misguided.  Both are dangerous.

The same thing has happened on the international stage.  Russia’s war against its Ukrainian neighbors is just the latest example of vain political ambition and excessive national pride run amok.  “We are right and we don’t need anyone who says we aren’t.”

Friends, there is a better way.  As Christians, our king calls us to understand that we need each other.  Whatever surface differences threaten to divide us, God created us all.  God’s vision for us is to love one another, because he first loved us.  Jesus Christ is the living embodiment of that love. 

So, the place to start is right here.  This is what our small group ministries are all about.  Growing in faith together, recognizing that none of us can be faithful alone.  We need each other.  Sometimes we need others to inspire our faith.  Sometimes we are the inspiration for theirs.  And small groups are the best way I know to nurture that.

That interdependent faith can and should overflow into our families, our communities, our nation, and our world.

And therein lies the challenge. If we are to create plausible signs pointing to God’s peaceable Kingdom, then we have to be willing to live out this faithfulness not only here and at home, but in our public lives. 

Think about your day-to-day life.  Where do you interact with other people?  At work?  Online?  In line at the store?

Wherever you are, remind yourself that, no matter who we come in contact with, we are here to help them flourish.  And God may very well use them to help us flourish.

When he does, don’t be surprised when you both get a glimpse of God’s peaceable kingdom!

May it be so.  

Last Published: December 7, 2022 11:41 AM
Sermons

Click here to view Worship Videos.

For sermon texts, please click on the links below.

 

February 2023


February 5, 2023  "The Kingdom, Part 2: Tasty and Bright" by the Rev. Wahlig

 

January 2023


January 29, 2023  "Revealing the Kingdom" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

January 1, 2023  "Love in the Stars" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

December 2022


December 18, 2022 "Coming Home" by the Rev. Don Wahlig

December 4, 2022 "The Future King and his Peaceable Kingdom"  by the Rev. Don Wahlig

 

November 2022


November 20, 2022  "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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