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LCH Sermons—Easter Season 2009

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Pentecost—May 31, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 2:1–21; Psalm 104:25–35, 37; Romans 8:22–27; John 15:26–27; 16:4b–15
Summary: Pentecost makes Lutherans uncomfortable because it’s so active. The Spirit descended, and the disciples began telling people about Jesus. Until Pentecost, they had had Jesus; now they had the paraclete, and they moved out of their chairs and into the square. The center of Pentecost is the proclamation of Jesus who came and died. Jesus promised that the Spirit would move the disciples into an unknown future. Like them, we have no idea where the paraclete will lead us.

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Ascension of Our Lord (transferred)—May 24, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 1:1–11; Psalm 47; Ephesians 1:15–23; Luke 24:44–53
Summary: When Jesus ascended, the disciples received both a promise and a command. Jesus told them both that he would send the Holy Spirit and that they should go into the world as witnesses. In the story from Acts, the men found the disciples looking up in wonder. As Lutherans, we often want to stay, but it is not desirable for us to watch and wonder. God sends us out. We need to let Jesus ascend so the Holy Spirit can come and we can go into the world, proclaiming Christ crucified.

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Easter VI—May 17, 2009

Preacher: Pastor J.P. Sabbithi
Lessons: Acts 10:44–48; Psalm 98; I John 5:1–6; John 15:9–17
Summary: Years ago in India, a classmate carried around his paralyzed son when they visited our hospital. He told me he wanted to be close to his son, and he was never heavy. Similarly, because of his love for us, God chose to bear our sins. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is preparing to leave his disciples, so he says he loves them and tells them to love one another. Of course, we can choose to love or hate, but love is the only choice that makes sense. Jesus also calls his disciples his friends. And friendship means trust. The disciples were not trustworthy, but Jesus chose to trust them. This is the good news: Jesus has chosen us because he loves us.

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Easter V—May 10, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 8:26–40; Psalm 22:24–30; I John 4:7–21; John 15:1–8
Summary: Today’s Gospel lesson about the vine is an amazing text that shows how we are called to grow and bear fruit. The vines we see in vineyards today have been grafted onto healthy root stock, just as we have been grafted onto the root stock of Jesus so that we can bear fruit. In I John, we hear that God is love, but we must remember that love is not God. Being Christians is not about liking each other. Sometimes there are disagreements, but from those disagreements we get good fruit. Picking grapes is hard work, and workers get dirty. And bearing fruit for Christ is not easy. The fruit may be different in different communities, but we are all called to bear fruit because God first loved us.

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Easter IV—May 3, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 4:5–12; Psalm 23; I John 3:16–24; John 10:11–18
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus says he is the good shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep. Sheep are only safe when they follow the shepherd and stay close together, so Jesus is calling us to a life of fellowship where we follow and are safe. However, sometimes—like Peter and John in the story from Acts—we can get in trouble when we follow Jesus. No matter how far we stray, Jesus searches us out. This is why we cry “Alleluia” and live the life of the cross.

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Easter III/Earth Day Sunday—April 26, 2009

Preacher: Jim Sullivan
Lessons: Acts 3:12–19; Psalm 4; I John 3:1–7; Luke 24:36b–48
Summary: When you listen to today’s Gospel, do you see Jesus the environmentalist? Jesus put himself on the line for others, just as environmentalists do. Jesus calls us to be witnesses to a damaged world, and as forgiven people, we are called to put our priorities right. Are you still doubtful? Compare Jesus’ carbon footprint to your own.

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Easter II—April 19, 2009

Preacher: Pastor J.P. Sabbithi
Lessons: Acts 4:32–35; Psalm 133; I John 1:1–2:2; John 20:19–31
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Thomas doubted the reports of Jesus’ appearance to the others. They were all hiding from their fear, and Jesus came bringing peace. They feared they could not fulfill expectations, but peace came through Jesus’ presence. Jesus did not reject the disciples when they failed. Jesus created peace through intentional unity and intentional sharing. Even when we hide in fear and shame and doubt, Christ comes among us with a message of peace.

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Easter Sunday—April 12, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Acts 10:34–43; Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24; I Corinthians 15:1–11; Mark 16:1–8
Summary: Mark’s story of the resurrection is simple and to the point, and it’s very powerful. His Gospel ends with the expectation that we will do something. Christ has been raised, and that is a reason to celebrate. There are many ways we can live out the ending to the Gospel. Some will dance or sing, some bring comfort, and others proclaim the good news. Won’t it be wonderful if the children here today are so moved by the joy of this worship that they remember it for years to come. That is how our faith—a gift from Jesus—becomes the faith of our children.

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