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LCH Sermons—Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany 2007/08

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Last Epiphany: Transfiguration Sunday—February 3, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 24: 12–18; Psalm 2; 2 Peter 1: 16–21; Matthew 17: 1–9
Summary: In the gospel story of the Transfiguration, the disciples are up on the mountain and are astounded by what they saw. They did not know what to do. Peter was dazzled by the sight but missed what the voice was saying. Throughout his career, he could not do what Jesus said. It was only at Pentecost that he heard the voice and was transformed. We too often see he vision but miss the voice. We too are called not to withness the Transfiguration but to listen to the voice and be transformed for the world.

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Epiphany III—January 27, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 9: 1–4; Psalm 27; I Corinthians 1: 10–18; Matthew 4: 12–23
Summary: Jesus says, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people.” They were simple fisher folk, just doing their jobs. They had no idea what was in store, but they followed. We recieve the same call. Just before this, Jesus is saying, “Repent.” “Repent” just means turn around and go in a different direction, but it is an uncomfortable world today because it implies we may not be going in the right direction. However, repentence is our calling, our vocation. We are called to be baited into the love of God so that the whole world may be changed.

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Epiphany II—January 20, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 49: 1–7; Psalm 40; I Corinthians 1: 1–9; John 1: 29–42
Summary: What are you looking for? John the Baptist was looking for the Messiah, so he recognized Jesus as the Messiah and told others. What do we expect to find in church? If we expect to be bored, we will be. But, if we look for life-changing transformation, it may happen. God is present here in powerful and exciting ways. What do you expect? What are you looking for?

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Epiphany I: The Baptism of Jesus—January 13, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 42:1–9; Psalm 29; Acts 10:34–42; Matthew 3:13–17
Summary: When Jesus came out of the water after being baptized by John, the heavens opened up and the voice of God said, “This is my son in whom I am well pleased.” Most of you don’t remember the heavens opening when you were baptized, but God does speak to us all at our baptism and says, “You are my child in whom I am well pleased.” This is good news worth remembering every day. Jesus did not stay at the river after being baptized; the whole point of baptism is for sending out. Baptism is more than a ritual, more than a moment; baptism becomes a way of life, of walking wet in the world.

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The Epiphany—January 6, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 60:1–6, Psalm 72: 1–7, 10–14; Ephesians 3:1–12; Matthew 2:1–12
Summary: Peek-a-boo is an exciting game for children because at their stage of development, if they cannot see a person’s face, they think that person has disappeared, and so they rejoice at their return. In the same way, in the Epiphany, God pulls back the veil and reveals God’s self in the manger. Herod, so wrapped up in his agenda of kingdom making, is suspicious of it all, but the Magi are amazed when they find the baby. We, as adults, are so used to the story that we have lost that wonder, but the power of the Epiphany is still there if we will give up our agendas. God comes to us over and over again in worship and community. How can we resist God’s game of peek-a-boo.

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German Vespers for New Year’s Day—January 1, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Fritz Fritschel
Lessons: Isaiah 62:1–5, 10–12; Philippians 2:9–13
Summary: We count many things, but what are we trying to measure? If it is “value,” how can we name the supreme value? What do we mean by naming? The names of God often imply supremacy, but it is important not to confuse supremacy with absoluteness. The supreme name is worthy of worship, as the tenor sings in the cantata, vor allen Schätzen [above all treasures]. Consider the different names poets use. to refer to God

Read the English translation of this sermon.

First Sunday after Christmas—December 30, 2007

Service of lessons and carols—no sermon

Christmas Eve—December 24, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 9:2–7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11–14; Luke 2:1–20
Summary: Isaiah writes that “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” It is not a light that is far away but a light firmly rooted in history, a light that is located in our lives. God came as a real baby. Not playing at being human, God became flesh. This is God’s universal gift to us. The gift began “when Quirinius was governor of Syria,” but Jesus lives today—now—so the vision of justice and no more hunger can become as real as the child.

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Advent IV—December 23, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 7:10–16; Psalm 80:1–7, 16–18; Romans 1:1–7; Matthew 1:18–25
Summary: Matthew begins his Gospel with Jesus’ genealogy leading to Joseph and then goes on to say that “the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way” and explains how Jesus was incarnate through the Holy Spirit. In most Christmas pageants, Joseph is ignored in favor of Mary, but he makes a risky decision to say “yes” to God. Just as Joseph adopted Jesus as his son, God also takes a risk in adopting us as daughters and sons. Through this adoption, we get a place in God’s grace and love.

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Advent III—December 16, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 35:1–10; Psalm 146: 4–9; James 5:7–10; Matthew 11:2–11
Summary: When he was in prison, John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Jesus replies, “Go and tell John what you hear and see.” We should ask a similar question about any church: “Are these disciples of the risen Christ, or shall we go and find others?” I cannot give you the answer; what do you hear and see around you? Those are questions you must ask yourselves, and they are questions only you can answer for yourselves.

Audio of this week’s sermon is not available for technical reasons.

Advent II—December 9, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 11:1–10; Psalm 72:1–7, 18–19; Romans 15:4–13; Matthew 3:1–12
Summary: John the Baptist proclaims, “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand.” “Repent” is an old-fashioned word that we often hear as condemnation, but the primary Advent message is to turn and come back to God. It is a call back from hopelessness to hope and a place where we belong. It calls us to the vision of Isaiah where “the wolf shall live with the lamb” or of Romans where “the God of hope [may] fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope.”

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Advent I—December 2, 2007

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 2:1–5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11–14; Matthew 24:36–44
Summary: The season of Advent calls us to hold the birth of Christ and the second coming in tension. We are called to keep watch, but we often nod off. Both Isaiah and Jesus in Matthew point to a future of hope, but as long as we cling to our own vision of the future, we are apathetic and bored, and we will miss the future they proclaim. The alternative is to live boldly and joyfully. Instead of worrying about who will clean up the mess or who will keep order, we should celebrate with abandon the love of Christ in our lives.

(Webmaster’s Note: On this Sunday, the Nave walls were covered with panels of the AIDS Quilt which had been hung for the observance of World AIDS Day on December 1.)

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