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LCH Sermons—Time after Pentecost 2011 (June and July)

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 18—July 31, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 55:1–5; Psalm 145: 8–9, 15–22; Romans 9:1–5; Matthew 14:13–21
Summary: In today’s lesson, Isaiah invites the exiles of Israel who are thirsty and hungry to eat and drink without cost. As wealthy Christians, we may hear this as spiritual, but Isaiah was speaking to people who really needed food and drink. In the Gospel, Jesus has just heard about the death of his cousin John the Baptist, and yet he has compassion for the crowd and heals, teaches, and feeds them. The real miracle is that in the midst of his pain, Jesus has compassion. The real miracle is that—unlike most gods who are remote and unchanging—our God in Jesus feeds and heals, changes water into wine, calls Lazarus from the dead, and dies for us all on the cross. Feeling is not hard, but it is difficult for us to open ourselves up to feel with others and be changed. When we are knows as the church of compassion, we can truly be called the body of Christ.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 17—July 24, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: I Kings 3:5–12; Psalm 119:129–136; Romans 8: 26–39; Matthew 13: 31–33, 44–52
Summary: There is so much to talk about in this Sunday’s parables about the kingdom of God. A better word might be the reign of God because this is a process that stretches from the past, through the present, and into the future. We have parables about a mustard seed (a pesky weed), leaven (elsewhere something to be gotten rid of), a shyster buying land, and an indiscriminate and wasteful fisher. Jesus is telling us that God is up to something new, and we must be ready. We are the reign of God fleshed out in the world, called to bring that reign into being.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 16—July 17, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 44:6–8; Psalm 86: 11–17; Romans 8:12–25; Matthew 13:24–30, 36–43
Summary: If today’s parable about the wheat and weeds were the only thing Jesus ever said, it would be easy to understand Christianity. But in his ministry Jesus was always interacting with people we would call weeds. It is none of our business what happens at the end of time. God sows the seed and will gather in who God wants. Our responsibility is to grow, love, be transformed, and send out God’s word. The harvest will take care of itself. We are called to live as if the harvest is near—to live as God’s adopted children, filled with the joy of living.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 15—July 10, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 55:10–13; Psalm 65: 9–14; Romans 8:1–11; Matthew 13: 1–9, 18–23
Summary: Today Jesus tells the parable about the farmer scattering seed. Some falls on bad soil and dies, and some falls on good soil and bears fruit many time over. This way of farming is very different from the precise farming methods we know today. Many churches seem to want to be precise in proclaiming the Word, but Jesus tells us to scatter the seed of God’s Word generously. We are called to cast the seed, and God will be responsible for the growth. You are sowers of the Word. Be generous; there is plenty of seed in the bag.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 14—July 3, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Steve Jensen
Lessons: Zechariah 9:9–12; Psalm 145:8–15; Romans 7:15–25a; Matthew 11:16–19, 25–30
Summary: Today Jesus contrasts approaching God through strict observance of the law with the way his death and resurrection bring us God’s love and acceptance. In my current work, I see how our Wounded Warriors depend on God to ease their burdens. I also see how those of us who are are yoked to Christ can bring people to relationships with God and with others. If your life is full of challenges, know that Christ is with you. Reach out and take his hand.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 13—June 26, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 28:5–9; Psalm 89:1–4, 15–18; Romans 6:12–23; Matthew 10:40–42
Summary: Today Jesus talks about what it means to be welcoming. Churches think that having good ushers is enough, but Jesus is calling us to a much more radical ministry that is rooted in justice. The usual human welcome expects the stranger to become like us, but Jesus sees the stranger for who they are: God’s good creation. If we are truly welcoming, we are transformed by the new comer. In the end, being welcoming involves a risky love both given and received.

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Trinity Sunday—June 19, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 1: 1—2: 4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13: 11–13; Matthew 28: 16–20
Summary: Today is Trinity Sunday, when we use the idea of the Trinity to understand God better. We are used to the traditional Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but there are many other images of God in the Bible. Doctrine like the Trinity is supposed to open up our understanding, but too often it closes us off. If the Trinity is a static concept that boxes us up, it limits God. If we freeze ourself into on part of the Trinity, we loose sight of God’s fullness. In Matthew, Jesus sends the disciples out in the name of the Trinity to tell the story of God at work in the world. The Trinity can prepare us as well for sharing the Good News of God.

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