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LCH Sermons—Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany 2012/13

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Transfiguration of Our Lord—February 10, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Exodus 34:29–35 | Psalm 99 | 2 Corinthians 3:12—4:2 | Luke 9:28–43a
Summary: Today’s Gospel story of the Transfiguration, which our children just presented in their skit, is a very strange story that tells us that the glory of God is revealed in the Word and in our lives. Throughout the season of Epiphany we begin to see the light, but it is not complete. In the Transfiguration, we see that glory fully revealed. The story in Luke also shows the importance of prayer. On Wednesday we begin our Lenten journey, and I encourage you to listen and pray. Take advantage of opportunities for prayer as we all prepare for the glory of the Resurrection.

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Fourth Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 4—February 3, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Jeremiah 1:4–10 | Psalm 71:1–6 | 1 Corinthians 13:1–13 | Luke 4:21–30
Summary: In today’s first lesson, Jeremiah is a reluctant prophet who doesn’t want to speak,. He is ignored, and he complains a lot. But the story is about God and not Jeremiah, and God says, “Before you were born, I chose you.” Even when we are not sure, God has a purpose for each of us. We are called to the everyday ordinary, and the ordinary is the work of God. Go, knowing that you are called and that you have been given exactly what you need to be children of God.

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Third Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 3/Welcoming Sunday—January 27, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10 | Psalm 19 | 1 Corinthians 12:12–31a | Luke 4:14–21
Summary: This is the week we set aside as welcoming Sunday. In the Gospel, Jesus reads from Isaiah that God is calling us to bring freedom, health, and justice to the world. He is announcing God’s mission in the world and calling us to be a part. Paul uses the image of the human body to say that all are part of the body of Christ, but often we only want to be with those who are like us. I want you to talk together about who is missing from our congregation. We often talk about welcoming and miss the barriers we put up. The future of our welcome cannot be inviting those who are different to join us. We must be drawn into the conversation the rest of the world is having. Then we can help to bring about the mercy, justice, and love of God.

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Second Sunday after Epiphany • Lectionary 2—January 20, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 62:1–5 | Psalm 36:5–10 | 1 Corinthians 12:1–11 | John 2:1–11
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus was at the wedding, they ran out of wine, and his mother came to him, but Jesus said that his time had not net come. But God’s time had come. Jesus performed that miracle, was revealed, and started down the road to the cross. Throughout history people have tried to hold back time. For example, the clergy of Birmingham wrote to Martin Luther King asking him to wait. Bringing change and setting people free point to the presence of God in the world and change water into wine. When we use the gifts Paul describes, we turn water into wine and God is revealed.

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Baptism of Jesus—January 13, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Isaiah 43:1–7 | Psalm 29 | Acts 8:14–17 | Luke 3:15–17, 21–22
Summary: Today’s Gospel from Luke is very direct and to the point. Jesus is God’s son and God loves him. We can have complicated discussions about baptism, but the essence is that God claims us as God’s beloved, chosen children. Isaiah has the same message. God calls us and continues to come to us, even when we are helpless infants. We are called to remember and live in our baptisms—to walk drenched with God.

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Epiphany of Our Lord—January 6, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 60:1–6 | Psalm 72:1–7, 10–14 | Ephesians 3:1–12 | Matthew 2:1–12
Summary: In today’s Gospel, the Wise Men come from the East seeking a king. They are scientists and strangers trying to find out what God is up to. They visit Herod, who had not noticed anything and is afraid when he hears that something new is happening. Many in the church are afraid that something is up, but God is still revealing God’s self not only in scripture and worship but also in science and the arts. With God active in the world, we do not deny what we already know, and we can look to the stars that God puts in place to guide us.

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Name of Jesus/German Vespers—January 1, 2013

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Deuteronomy 30:11–20 | Matthew 25:31–46
Summary: In today’s reading from Matthew, Jesus say “Just as you did ito one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” We judge people by their appearances, or we make assumptions about others’ feelings and experiences. These judgments are not ours to make. Jesus is the majestic, exalted Judge and King whose identity is hidden in the poor. The parable calls us to evaluate our own actions, rather than spend our energy judging others, and deciding whether they are sheep or goats. We are called to love others with the compassion and love that Jesus has given us./p>

Listen to this sermon in German (English translation)

Sunday after Christmas—December 30, 2012

Lessons and carols—no sermon

Christmas Day—December 25, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Isaiah 52:7–10 | Psalm 98 | Hebrews 1:1–12 | John 1:1–14
Summary: In today’s Gospel, John turns from the specifics of the babe in the manger to the beginning of creation and the statement that the Word became flesh and dwells among us. God’s presence is now and forever. Pr. Jeff finds the Word of God in everyone at LCH. The Word becomes flesh in singing and organ sounds, in healing and holding. The hands and feet of God are not at rest, they may be pesky, but they are beautiful. (Note: Towards the beginning of the sermon, Pr. Jeff’s iPad rang with a video call from a pastor in California, to the great amusement of the congregation.)

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Christmas Eve—December 24, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Isaiah 9:2–7 | Psalm 96 | Titus 2:11–14 | Luke 2:1–20
Summary: In tonight’s familiar Gospel, the angels who tell the shepherds not to be afraid. Like the shepherds, we are often afraid and need to hear those same words. And like the shepherds, we need to get past our fear and go to see what God has done. God does not knock and wait; God breaks into this messy world. The words of the angels are for us, just as they were for the shepherds. God loves us enough to leave heaven’s perfection and to be with us. The great joy is that the Savior is born to us.

No recording for technical reasons

Advent IV—December 23, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Jeff Lilley
Lessons: Micah 5:2–5a | Luke 1:46b–55 | Hebrews 10:5–10 | Luke 1:39–55
Summary: It is difficult for us to really understand how the Annunciation and Nativity affected those involved because when know the whole story, but today’s Gospel gives us a good clue. Elizabeth responded with a loud voice when Mary came to visit, but Mary responded by saying “My soul magnifies the Lord.” We are good at speaking with a loud voice, but how can our souls magnify God in this season? It is easy to put on a big show, but we are called to magnify God in the little things. How will our ministry bring justice? How can we walk humbly with God?

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Advent III—December 16, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Zephaniah 3:14–20 | Isaiah 12:2–6 | Philippians 4:4–7 | Luke 3:7–18
Summary: I was ready to bring a message of joy today, and then New Town happened, and like the folks in our Gospel came to see John, we ask what we should do. This is ironic since today’s lessons from Zephaniah, Isaiah, and Paul call us to rejoice, and this is the first Sunday of this church year when we hear the phrase Good News. The world is full of difficult news, and Paul tells us the Lord is at hand. We are reminded that at Christmas God became flesh, and so God knows our pain and promises to be with us. The wounds of New Town are deep, and so is the hope of Emmanuel, God with us.

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Advent II—December 9, 2012

Preacher: The Rev. Dr. Michael Ward, Chaplain, St. Peter’s College, Oxford, England
Lessons: Malachi 3:1–4 | Luke 1:68–79 | Philippians 1:3–11 | Luke 3:1–6
Summary: The Bible frequently tells how the heavens reveal God to us, not in words but by simply being. As our presence or our actions can communicate better than words, the Sun and stars give us a way to conceptualize truths about God. The babe of Bethlehem, like the heavens, is wordless yet still speaks to us. We cannot go to Bethlehem and see the babe, but we can look up into the heavens and hear God speaking to us without words.

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Advent I—December 2, 2012

Preacher: Pastor Angela Freeman
Lessons: Jeremiah 33:14–16 | Psalm 25:1–9 | 1 Thessalonians 3:9–13 | Luke 21:25–36
Summary: In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that the reign of God is near and warns us not to be caught unprepared. The world around us is rushing to Christmas, but we are in Advent, the beginning the church year, and we are called to prepare and be on guard. Advent gives us the opportunity to be in the dark and to be alert, to sit and wait as God does miraculous things that cannot be hurried up. I urges us to take time each day, to let go and be still, to let the miraculous child come to full term. Then the day of the Lord will not catch us unprepared.

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