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LCH Sermons—Easter Season 2008

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Pentecost—May 11, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 2: 1–21; Psalm 104; I Corinthians 12:3b–13; John 7: 37–39
Summary: In the Pentecost story the Holy Spirit comes in a mighty rush of wind and tongues of fire. It was a spectacular scene. But that was not the most wonderful part of the story. There were people gathered from all over the world, and the disciples went out and preached to them in their own languages. At the beginning of the story, the disciples are afraid and hiding in the room. What brought this about? It could only have been the Holy Spirit. Paul talks about the gifts of the Spirit. There are a variety of gifts, but they all move us out of our area of comfort into the places where we are called. It is tempting to remain in this enclosed space, but the Spirit is not in this building. It is in you. The power of the Pentecost story is not the there were wind and flames. It is that the Spirit moved the disciples into the world to give that Spirit away. Will we give it away as well?

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Easter VII—May 4, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 1:6–14; Psalm 68:1–10, 32–36; 1 Peter 4:12–14; 5:6–11; John 17:1–11
Summary: When the disciples ask in Acts about the time for the kingdom to be restored, Jesus answers in effect that he will make them the church. In many ways, we respond like the disciples and look up into heaven asking what time it is. I just got back from Synod Assembly, and those meetings usually make me depressed. But this year’s meeting was an amazing time of hearing about wonderful things happening in our congregations. The people involved in these stories don’t know the end of their stories; they are content to be the church. I was not depressed when I came back from Synod Assembly this year. We have wonderful gifts to share. We are doing the work of the church. “Is this the time to be the church?“ That’s still our question.

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

Easter VI—April 27, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 17: 22–31; Psalm 66: 1–8; I Peter 3: 13–22; John 14: 15–21
Summary: In the gospel, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” It seems simple, but it is followed by the promise of the Paraclete. Obviously, Jesus knows we won’t be able to do it. What is this commandment? To love one another. We are living in difficult times; people are afraid and wonder how they can even eat. When Jesus says he will send the Advocate, how do we hear it? One way is to believe it is true and be paracletos for others. God’s love is designed to be given away, so you are God’s advocates. Love God, love one another, and the world will be transformed.

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Easter V/Earth Day—April 20, 2008

Preacher: Jim Sullivan
Lessons: Acts 7: 55–60; Psalm 31: 1–5, 15–16; I Peter 2: 2–10; John 14: 1–14
Summary: When I agreed to preach, I hoped to find something in the lessons related to Earth Day, but it was difficult. I was always taught that the gospel lesson that “in my Father’s house there are many mansions” related to life in heaven, but Earth Day is about living responsibly on Earth. But digging deeper, I see these lessons as being about relationship, and relationships are built on recognition, responsibility, and respect. Jesus is talking about being in one ‘ohana (family)—whether through birth or adoption. Peter is also talking about a relationship with Christ the cornerstone. If the cornerstone is not set square, the building will not be in alignment. Numbers tell us that our world is not in alignment. It’s like we have a credit card we never intend to pay off. We have an opportunity to look at our carbon footprint and take action. We can act responsibly and reduce, reuse, and recycle. Let’s make room for relationship with God, with the Earth, and with each other.

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Easter IV—April 13, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 2: 42–47; Psalm 23; I Peter 2: 19–25; John 10: 1–10
Summary: We call this “Good Shepherd Sunday,” but it’s really “Shepherd Gate Sunday.” In the gospel, Jesus says, “I am the gate for the sheep.” It doesn’t attract much attention, but it’s a powerful image. Some gates keep people out, others keep people in. Sometimes we want to interpret Jesus to keep people out, but this text shows Jesus as a gate to wlecome people in. We see this on the cross where Jesus says, “I am here for you.” Jesus is a cross-shaped gate that is always open for everyone. When Jesus left this world, we became his body, so we are both the sheep and the gate. What kind of gate will we be?

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Easter III—April 6, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 2: 14a, 36–41; Psalm 116: 10–17; I Peter 1: 17–23; Luke 24:13–35
Summary: The other day I waved at an acquaintance, but he didn’t recognize me because I was “out of context.” This is what happened to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Jesus had said he would arise, but in their heads, they were not ready to recognize it. Only when Jesus breaks bread with them do they recognize him. This is a powerful story of God surprising us with hope, but it is really a communion text. They did not know Jesus, but he communed with them. Even after years of study, we may not know what is happening in communion, but we are welcome. Some people cannot understand what keeps Christians hopeful in this troubled world. We are like the disciples who had their hopes dashed, but Christ came into their midst. And those disciples did not stay home after they recognized Jesus. They went back to Jerusalem. And they did not stay in the upper room. Peter went out and made a fool of himself proclaiming the good news. How will the world recognize Jesus? In the breaking of the bread—in all of you.

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Easter II/RICSunday—March 30, 2008

Preacher: Jim Niermann and Bob Zimmer
Lessons: Acts 2: 14a, 22–32; Psalm 16; I Peter 1: 3–9; John 20: 19–31
Summary: In celebration of Reconciling in Christ (RIC) Sunday, two members of the congregation spoke about experiences in their lives that illustrate how being an inclusive congregation embodies the love of God and helps us all to be light for the world.

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Easter Sunday—March 23, 2008

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 31: 1–6; Psalm 118; Colossians 3: 1–4; Matthew 28: 1–10
Summary: This is the day Jesus rises from the dead, and in Matthew it is an earthshaking event. Death has been defeated; the world is turned upside down. Jesus has changed the status quo, but we as individuals and as a church try to return to the status quo. It makes us nervous that Jesus has stirred everything up. But resurrection is not just something spectacular that happened to Jesus. It is something spectacular that happens for us. We fail God when we try to retrieve the status quo. Tell someone this good news! As long as we keep it to ourselves, we are keeping Jesus in the tomb. We need to let ourselves out of the tomb to be light for the world. Alleluia! Christ is risen!

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