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LCH Sermons—Lent 2012

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Sunday of the Passion/Palm Sunday—April 1, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Mark 11:1–11 | Isaiah 50:4–9a | Psalm 31:9–16 | Philippians 2:5–11 | Mark 14:1—15:47
Summary: Today’s Gospel for the Procession with Palms begins with the theft of a colt. After the procession, our worship continues with the story of the Passion and a life stolen away. Just as Jesus needed the colt, we need that life given up so we receive life that can never be taken away. How wonderful to be here today as we begin out journey together through Holy Week.

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Lent V—March 25, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Jeremiah 31:31–34 | Psalm 51:1–12 | Hebrews 5:5–10 | John 12:20–33
Summary: In today’s Gospel, some Greek Jews ask Philip to see Jesus, and in response Jesus says that the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. This is the same word used when a king is enthroned, but Jesus immediately replaces the image of a king with a grain of wheat dying to bear fruit. For Jesus, being glorified is being lifted up on the cross. The Greeks never get to see Jesus in this story. We can see Jesus, but only through the cross. It is through the cross, that the new covenant of God is written in our hearts.

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Lent IV—March 18, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Numbers 21:4–9 | Psalm 107:1–3, 17–22 | Ephesians 2:1–10 | John 3:14–21
Summary: Today’s Gospel includes John 3:16, perhaps the most famous verse in scripture. It is the kind of verse that makes a really good slogan, but as with all of John, we need to understand it in context. And the context John gives is Jesus being lifted up on the cross. If we read the newspapers, we find a view of Christians obsessed with rules, out of touch, and with little regard for the poor. A more fitting view is found in the recent story of a woman whose husband was killed in Afghanistan but who knows that he is still alive in Christ. We are called to live out our lives in the light of the cross, to bring light to the world, and to stand with the poor and suffering. These are the kinds of Christians I want to read about in the paper.

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Lent III—March 11, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Exodus 20:1–17 | Psalm 19 | 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 | John 2:13–22
Summary: In the Ten Commandments we are told to remember the Sabbath. There has been a profound connection between Sabbath and Shalom (peace), but it is often broken in the modern lives we lead. The old “blue laws” may have been misguided, but they marked the Sabbath as special. Now our lives are filled with stuff, and Sabbath has disappeared. In the Gospel, Jesus drives the money changers and merchants from the temple. He is making room for a true Sabbath, which Paul tells us is rooted in the cross. Sabbath is more than a commandment; it is a gift. It clears our lives and opens a way for us to meet God.

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Lent II—March 4, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 17:1–7, 15–16 | Psalm 22:23–31 | Romans 4:13–25 | Mark 8:31–38
Summary: Today’s Gospel is a very difficult text. Following success at healing and preaching, Jesus tells the disciples he will suffer and die. They are shocked, Peter rebukes him, and Jesus in turn rebukes Peter. We hear this from a post-resurrection understanding, so it is difficult to comprehend the disciples’ reaction. But if we really listen to Jesus saying that whoever finds their life will loose it, we can see how much this runs counter to our modern way of life. To have life, we must follow Jesus and pour it out. It took the disciples a long time to understand what jesus said, and it will take us a long time as well. But our calling is to pour out our lives for the Gospel and to bring Good News.

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Lent I—February 26, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Genesis 9:8–17 | Psalm 25:1–10 | 1 Peter 3:18–22 | Mark 1:9–15
Summary: Today’s lessons talk about water. In Genesis, we hear of God recreating the world through the Flood and Noah’s Ark and about the rainbow as a symbol of God’s redeeming love. First Peter draws a parallel between the Flood and our own baptism. Mark tells us about Jesus’s baptism. In baptism, we are called back to the promise that the kingdom of God is here and that we are God’s children. These stories tell of God’s faithfulness rather than about us getting our lives in order. They reaffirm that in Jesus we belong to God.

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