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LCH Sermons—Time after Pentecost 2011 (August and September)

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 26—September 25, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Ezekiel 18:1–4, 25–32; Psalm 25:1–8; Philippians 2:1–13; Matthew 21:23–32
Summary: Today’s readings ask us what authority God has in our lives. The Gospel parable of the two sons leads us to ask which son represents us as individuals and as a church. Paul urges us to have the mind of Christ and to empty ourselves and live the life of the crucified Christ. We need to understand that when we have the mind of Christ, we have the authority to love, forgive, and heal.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 25—September 18, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jonah 3:10—4:11; Psalm 145:1–8; Philippians 1:21–30; Matthew 20:1–16
Summary: With today’s readings, this should be called “God is not fair Sunday.” Jonah is upset that God doesn’t destroy Ninevah, and the wokers who labored all day are upsent that they got the same as those who only worked a few hours. We try to impose our ideas of fairness on God. But we would be in trouble if we received what we deserved from God. But the Gospel tells us that we don’t get the wages we deserve; we get what God has promised. All are invited to the banquet; God’s justice is the justice of love. We all have peace and love poured out through Christ who died on the cross for all of us.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 24—September 11, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 50:15–21; Psalm 103:1–13; Romans 14:1–12; Matthew 18:21–35
Summary: Unlike so many of the parables we have talked about recently, the one in today’s Gospel is completely clear. Peter asks how many times to forgive, and Jesus says we must forgive seventy times seven times. As we listen to the parable about the slave who is forgiven for a huge debt but does not forgive the tiny debt of another, we sit convicted for the times we have not forgiven. As we remember the events of September 11, the words of Jesus echo for us. This is the Gospel we must follow. We have received rich mercies from God over and over, and each week we pray for our sins to be forgiven as we forgive others. We are called to give away forgiveness in the face of poverty, fear, and terrorism.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 23—September 4, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Ezekiel 33:7–11; Psalm 119:33–40; Romans 13:8–14; Matthew 18:15–20
Summary: Today’s Gospel outlines a process for resolving conflicts that we can put to use in our daily lives. We know that conflict is not healthy for us or our communities. Jesus recognizes that conflict happens and tells us to meet with the other party face to face. If that does not work, we are to take some witnesses to preserve the community and protect the dignity of both parties. This process saves us from law and revenge and lets love prevail. Note also the call to announce God’s grace and let go of the sin. In this lesson, we learn how to live in the love that sets us free.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 22—August 28, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 15:15–21; Psalm 26:1–8; Romans 12:9–21; Matthew 16:21–28
Summary: Today’s Gospel continues from last week when Peter confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, but today Jesus calls Peter Satan because his idea of what it meant to be Messiah was so different from Jesus’. Jesus goes on to explain that he will suffer, die, and be raised and that if we are his disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross. Jesus shows us that we cannot transform the world by conforming to conventional wisdom. Our hearts must be transformed so that loving our enemies is the norm. On the cross and through the cross, God’s love transforms us.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 21/Carl Crosier’s Last Sunday—August 21, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 51:1–6; Psalm 138; Romans 12:1–8; Matthew 16:13–20
Summary: In today’s lesson, Paul calls on us to present ourselves as living sacrifices and not to be conformed to this world. We are to use our individual gifts and be transformed into the body of Christ. Then, instead of being individual instruments, we become an orchestra making music that sweeps over the word. In many cases, being a choir director is just a job, but Carl Crosier has woven the gifts of many together to build up the body of Christ.

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 20—August 14, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 56:1, 6–8; Psalm 67; Romans 11: 1–2a, 29–32; Matthew 15:10–28
Summary: Today’s Gospel lesson seems to combine two unrelated stories, and I never understood why they connected Jesus’s teaching about clean and unclean food with the story of the Canaanite woman who asks for healing. The question of what food you ate was very important to the religion of Jesus’ time, but he turns the usual teaching on its head by saying it is what comes out of our mouths that defiles us. Then he demonstrates this truth by calling the Canaanite woman a dog. But her response shows him that he was wrong. Imagine what the world would be like if Jesus had never repented and given us this teaching. The story changed his movement from one of reformation to one of transformation. Given this teaching, we can say to those who do not look like us or act like us, “You are welcome.”

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Time after Pentecost • Lectionary 19—August 7, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: I Kings 19:9–18; Psalm 85:8–13; Romans 10:5–15; Matthew 14:22–33
Summary: In today’s Gospel story of Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm, we often focus on Peter’s lack of faith, but we should really focus on the fact that Jesus saves him and puts him back in the boat. Jesus had sent the disciples by boat to the other side to tell the Good News. These days many want to get out of the boat (the church), but Jesus wants us in the boat, and Jesus wants that boat to be traveling where it is sent. We can be comfortable in the boat, but we want that boat to stay exactly where it is. A boat that never moves becomes a rotten hull and sinks. We are called to stay in the boat and see where God is taking us.

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