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LCH Sermons—Lent 2008

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Palm Sunday—March 16, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Matthew 21:1–11; Isaiah 50:4–9a; Psalm 31:9–16; Philippians 2:5–11; Matthew 26:14–27:66
Summary: We are about to distribute palm branches and take our procession around the church building. It’s often thought that Lutherans just go through the motions at times like these. We know that Jesus was not going through the motions when he entered Jerusalem and began down the road to his passion and death. It’s the same for us. We must passionately enter into Holy Week in order to really experience the joy of Easter.

Audio of this week’s homily is not available because it was delivered in the courtyard as part of the Liturgy of the Palms.

Lent V—March 9, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Ezekiel 37: 1–14; Psalm 130; Romans 8: 6–11; John 11: 1–45
Summary: What can we say about the story of the raising of Lazarus? The key is that, as Jesus said, “This is for the glory of God.” Faith and grace and love are at the center of this story. Death does not have the last word. Life is about being light. We know about death from the story of Ezekiel. God does not leave the dry bones alone, just as Jesus does not leave Lazarus in the tomb. We know about death from the news of the world around us. There are bones everywhere, but God does not leave dry bones alone. God calls us from our dry bones to be light in this world that seems hopeless. Jesus saves Lazarus, and God saves us to be light.

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Lent IV—March 2, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: I Samuel 16: 1–13; Psalm 23; Ephesians 5: 8–14; John 9: 1–41
Summary: You’d think that there would have been celebration when Jesus gave sight to the man born blind, but there was a theological argument. The disciples asked who had sinned, and the Pharisees were upset that Jesus had broken the Sabbath rules. The point is the story is that God brought light into the world and good to someone who didn’t deserve it. God puts mud on our eyes and washes it out in the water of baptism so that we can see differently. What will we do with this gift? Do we want to be children of the light?

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Lent III—February 24, 2008

Preacher: Pastor J. P. Sabbithi
Lessons: Exodus 17: 1–7; Psalm 95: 6–11; Romans 5: 1–11; John 4: 5–42
Summary: In the Hebrew scripture, the people are suffering without water, and God gives hope from the rock. In the gospel, the Samaritan woman is also without hope, and Jesus gives hope. When Jesus gives the woman hope, she runs to her village and becomes a missionary. We in the church are not a club for our own needs. We exist for those who have not heard, and we must begin where people are. Our lives must become gospel for others.

(Webmaster’s Note: The Rev. Dr. Sabbithi, a third-generation Lutheran from India, whose grandfather was that country’s first Lutheran bishop, currently serves as chaplain at Kaiser Medical Center, Moanalua.)

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Lent II—February 17, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 12: 1–4a; Psalm 121; Romans 4: 1–5, 13–17; John 3: 1–17
Summary: In today’s gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus the he cannot see the kingdom of God without being born from above. Nicodemus misunderstands and asks how someone can be born again. There is often talk about being “born again,” but this approach seems to be saying that we choose God. However, the point of this story is that God has attached God’s self to us through water and the spirit. Lutherans are rarely called “born again,” but we really believe that we are transformed through water and the spirit and born again, and again, and again. Puting the familar words of John 3:16 in this context lets us understand its real meaning.

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

Lent I—February 10, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 2: 15–17; 3: 1–7; Psalm 32; Romans 5: 12–19; Matthew 4: 1–11
Summary: Genesis describes the beginning of the relationship between God and humans. The first humans are set in a garden and given everything, except for the tree in the middle. The crafty one offers the fruit, and the relationship changes. The rest of the Bible tells what God does to mend that relationship. The story is about human disobedience, but it begins and ends with God’s love. In the gospel, Satan tempts Jesus with scripture, and Jesus responds with scripture. Who should we trust? The one who is loyal to God. Jesus resists temptation because he knows who and whose he is. It was told in his baptism. We know who and whose we are because it was told in our baptisms. Satan cannot tempt us because God has given God’s self.

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Ash Wednesday—February 6, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Joel 2:1–2, 12–17; Psalm 103:8–13; 2 Corinthians 5:20b–6:10; Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Summary: Ash Wednesday is first about humility. Tonight dust was placed on your foreheads, and you were told, “Remember that you are dust.” This is not what we expect in this era of self esteem. We are told that we are no different from the earth we walk on, and one day we will go back to the earth. Paul wonders what will happen between dust and dust. Jesus reminds us to go into the world full of repentence. We are dust that God loves so much that God gave God’s son so we might live.

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