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LCH Sermons—Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany 2011/12

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Last Sunday after Epiphany: Transfiguration of Jesus—February 19, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: 2 Kings 2:1–12 | Psalm 50:1–6 | 2 Corinthians 4:3–6 | Mark 9:2–9
Summary: Today’s Gospel story of the Transfiguration can be written off as a miracle moment, but there is more to it. Mark tells the story simply: Jesus was changed and a voice says to listen to him. This reminds us of the Baptism, but this time the people hear the voice. Jesus was revealed as our Messiah in the world. It is no accident that Jesus does not stay on the mountain as Peter suggests. Jesus returns to the plain and gets involved with people. Transfiguration means nothing if we do not get excited and burn with the fire of the Spirit, if we do not go into the world to share the light.

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Sixth Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 6/Faith and Arts Sunday—February 12, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: 2 Kings 5:1–14 | Psalm 30 | 1 Corinthians 9:24–27 | Mark 1:40–45
Summary: Today’s Gospel story about Jesus healing the leper seems to be a simple story of healing, but there is more. At that time, skin diseases were religious and not medical problems, and people with leprosy were cut off from the community. In our story, Jesus does not ask the person with leprosy to do anything. Jesus chooses to heal him and restore him to the community. There are many conditions today that cut people off from community. Jesus tells us that whatever has cut us off, God chooses to restore us. We are restored when we least expect it and loved when we least deserve it. Then God calls our our gifts. Today we share those gifts in our Faith and Arts Sunday.

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Fifth Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 5—February 5, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 40:21–31 | Psalm 147:1–11, 20c | 1 Corinthians 9:16–23 | Mark 1:29–39
Summary: There are two key words in today’s Gospel. Jesus lifts up Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, and she serves them. We know that the church and we are called to lift up the broken hearted and poor. But, as much as we like to be lifted and to lift up others, we often neglect serving. ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson often reminds us of our calling to lift up and serve. In the Gospel, the disciples wanted Jesus to stay with the crowds who had been healed, but Jesus took them to the next town. In the same way, God is sending all of us out to serve.

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Forth Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 4/Welcoming Sunday—January 29, 2012

Preachers: Bill Potter and Jim Cartwright
Lessons: Deuteronomy 18:15–20 | Psalm 111 | 1 Corinthians 8:1–13 | Mark 1:21–28
Summary: Today we focus on LCH’s welcome for all people, and particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. Bill talked about welcoming as key to our calling as Christians, said the welcome to LGBT persons must be explicitly stated, and asked about our welcome to others who may be different. Jim described the journey from his upbringing in a pioneer Mormon family to his realization of God’s love for him as a good part of creation.

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Third Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 3—January 22, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jonah 3:1–5, 10 | Psalm 62:5–12 | 1 Corinthians 7:29–31 | Mark 1:14–20
Summary: Today’s lessons talk about God’s call and what happens when people respond. In the first lesson we hear about Jonah fleeing from that call, his eventual response, and how the people of Nineveh repented. This is a radical story of enemies being transformed into friends. A friend of mine resisted God’s call to become a pastor, but she is now set to become assistant to her bishop. This shows how we can be called to places we cannot imagine. In the Gospel, Andrew, James, and John are called to become disciples. In the life of our congregation, we are working out the call of an associate pastor. God calls us into ministry and will keeps us all as God’s people.

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Second Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 2—January 15, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: 1 Samuel 3:1–20 | Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18 | 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 | John 1:43–51
Summary: Today’s lessons talk about God being revealed through disciples, sometimes in unexpected ways. Samuel did not know God when he was called, and he was drawn into a powerful story in which God is revealed by a prophet telling truth people did not want to hear. The Gospel tells of the calling of Nathanael and God being revealing in a new way through Jesus. There are prophets of our own time, like Martin Luther King, who lived out a life of discipleship and advocated that race, sexuality, and class be set aside so we can be truly human. God is calling you to be disciples. May you reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

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Baptism of Jesus—January 8, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 1:1–5 | Psalm 29 | Acts 19:1–7 | Mark 1:4–11
Summary: In the modern world, we often reduce religion to a mechanical relationship. Most of you were baptized, but you probably never think about that. In the lesson from Acts, we hear of Paul baptizing a group with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit moves where she wills, and the wind of the Spirit may blow us where we do not want to go. The Spirit can take us to places we never imagine—all because of the vocation of our baptism. Remember that you are God’s child and ask how you can live out your vocation as God’s beloved.

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Name of Jesus—January 1, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 1:1–5| Isaiah 9:1–7| Isaiah 11:1–9 | Philippians 2:5–11 | Luke 2:15–21
Summary: Today we celebrate the Name of Jesus. We know Jesus by many names, which describe how God is working in and through us. While everyone knows the names of large corporations, the world does not know the names of Jesus. Our task is to go out and make the name of Jesus known in this world.

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Christmas Day—December 25, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 52:7–10 | Psalm 98 | Hebrews 1:1–4 [5–12] | John 1:1–14
Summary: We like to keep God at a distance so we can go about our business and pretend we are in control. When the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, individualism and selfishness begin to crumble. Imagine the disruption to your routine if a stranger moved into your house. When the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, we can no longer live for ourselves. In Christmas, God interrupts our lives and moves us to dance and give praise.

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Christmas Eve—December 24, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 9:2–7 | Psalm 96 | Titus 2:11–14 | Luke 2:1–20
Summary: Tonight we celebrate the time when a child was born to a scared mother—when God became flesh. We may want to dismiss this as a fairy tale, but God became real flesh, felt what you feel, and experienced what you experience. He grew up to preach good news, and we killed him. This is the God who chose to be present in the world and chooses to live with you. The world has not been the same since that night.

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Advent IV—December 18, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: 2 Samuel 7:1–11, 16 | Psalm 89:1–:4, 19–26 | Romans 16:25–27 | Luke 1:26–38
Summary: In today’s first lesson, David wants to make a great house for God, and God replies that he will make Israel his house. In the Gospel, Mary meets Gabriel, and she is told he will bear a son because she is of the house of David. Then the angels says the glory of God will overshadow her. Though afraid, Mary said she would be the house of God. We have the same opportunity for God to come into our lives and overshadow us.

No recording of this week’s sermon for technical reasons.

Advent III—December 11, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11 | Psalm 126 | 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24 | John 1:6–8, 19–28
Summary: Leymah Gbowee is a Lutheran Christian in Liberia, a country that has been at war for years. Having had enough of the situation, she gathered Christian and Muslim women to pray, sing, and bring about change. Strengthened by her faith, she pointed to the the light, and as a result, was awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. In today’s lesson, Isaiah calls us to bring good news. Like Leymah Gbowee, we are called to point to the light.

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Advent II—December 4, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 40:1–11 | Psalm 85:1–2, 8–13 | 2 Peter 3:8–15a | Mark 1:1–8
Summary: In today’s Gospel Mark tells us “This is the beginning of the good news.” There is no genealogy, no dogma. The church has used many tolls to prepare the way: swords, doctrine, and homogeneity. Mark identifies different tools, such as love to bring life in the time of AIDS. Love, compassion, peace, and courage are just the beginning but not yet the end. We are called to use these tools to prepare the way of the Lord.

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Advent I—November 27, 2011

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 64:1–9 | Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19 | 1 Corinthians 1:3–9 | Mark 13:24–37
Summary: Today’s lesson from Isaiah and the Gospel both talk about heaven and earth being destroyed and remade. We can respond with fear, or run around like Chicken Little, or do nothing to change our lives. But Paul shows us another way. We have been given the spiritual gifts that allow us to see the revealing of Christ in the future and to be a part of that revealing here and now. We are called to light candles that will bring the light of Christ into the world and to become that light as the body of Christ.

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