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LCH Sermons—August and September 2009

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 26—September 27, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Numbers 11:4–6, 10–16; 24–29; Psalm 19:7–14; James 5:13–20; Mark 9:38–50
Summary: In today’s readings, people are doing things without permission, but both Moses and Jesus say it is a good thing. We often try to constrain God’s gifts, but God works through those gifts for good. God has given each of you gifts and passions for worship and ministry, sometimes working through church structures, and sometimes working outside them. Jesus’ words today free us to be disciples and to go out empowered to do good.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 25—September 20, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Bruce P. Craft
Lessons: Jeremiah 11:18–20; Psalm 54; James 3:13–4:3, 7–8a; Mark 9:30–37
Summary: In this part of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is trying to get the disciples to understand his mission, but they are slow and faithless. They argue about who is the greatest, and Jesus tells them to become like children. Jesus loved, forgave, and empowered the disciples, and Jesus does the same for us.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 24—September 13, 2009

Preacher: Pastor J. P. Sabithi
Lessons: Isaiah 50:4–9a; Psalm 116:1–8; James 3:1–12; Mark 8:27–38
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to deny self, take up our cross, and follow him. This is hard in our culture where people fight for their rights. Each of us is called to take up our own cross. Christ goes before as our example, and we pray that we can follow.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 23—September 6, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 35:4–7a; Psalm 146; James 2:1–13; Mark 7:24–37
Summary: In this section of Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is travelling around and heals two people: the Syrophoenician woman and the man who is deaf and cannot speak. But these texts are about us as strangers and as people who need to be opened up to the Spirit. Our ears must be opened to hear the word of grace and our tongues loosed to tell of that good news. We all can be transformed to do good things.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 22—August 30, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9; Psalm 15; James 1:17–27; Mark 7:1–8, 14–15, 21–23
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that it’s not what goes into our mouths that harms us but what comes out. We know this is true from all the times when we regretted saying something. James goes on to say that religion is all about taking care of others. Traditions are good, but they do not bring us closer to God. Religion must be lived as part of our being.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 21—August 23, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Joshua 24:1–2a, 14–18; Psalm 34:15–22; Ephesians 6:10–20; John 6:56–69
Summary: Today’s lessons are all about choices. Joshua asked the people of Israel to choose between God and their former gods. Jesus told the people to eat his flesh, and many chose to leave. But the disciples chose to stay with Jesus because he has the words of eternal life. At root, this is about God’s choice to call us, no matter how we may reject God. This past week, our ELCA Churchwide Assembly made choices. We know some may disagree with those choices, but we also know that God continues to call all of us. We must remain faithful to God’s message and call for us.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 20—August 16, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Proverbs 9:1–6; Psalm 34:9–14; Ephesians 5:15–20; John 6:51–58
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd to eat his flesh and drink his blood. We are so used to these words that we miss their power, but they shocked the crowd. Americans do not like to eat with strangers, but when we gather for communion, we don’t know who will be next to us. At communion we are fed by the body and blood of Jesus, and we are sent out to be the world’s feast.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 19—August 9, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: 1 Kings 19:4–8; Psalm 34:1–8; Ephesians 4:25–5:2; John 6:35, 41–51
Summary: In the first lesson, Elijah has done everything God asks and is worn out. He goes to the desert and asks to die. An angel comes and says, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” In the Gospel, Jesus is telling the crowd that he is the bread from heaven, but they get caught up in theological discussion. When we are worn out, theological discussion and exhortation are no help. God tells us to get up and eat the bread from heaven. This is the oasis where we eat and drink so that the journey will not be too much for us. Eternal life is not about lengthening our physical lives; it is the promise that we will always be with God.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 18—August 2, 2009

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 16:2–4; 9–15; Psalm 78:23–29; Ephesians 4:1–16; John 6:24–35
Summary: What gives you life? There can be many answers. Biologically we know we need food and water, but those are for living, not for life. In today’s Gospel, the crowd is waiting for the next miracle, and Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” Every day we go to work or school, eat, have relationships, but life happens in relationship with God founded on grace. This may sound ethereal, but the life Jesus promises comes through the cross. When we eat the body and blood of Jesus in communion, it is the bread come down from heaven. God gives us life, and we live it out by being bread for the world.

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